Graduate to make a difference to children with hearing loss

11/06/15
Malissa recieves her testamur from RIDBC Renwick Centre Director, Greg Leigh

Malissa King, is one of 51 trained graduates to be recognised at a ceremony at Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) for completing their postgraduate qualifications - helping to alleviate a critical shortage of trained teachers of children with vision or hearing loss.

Malissa, who always wanted to support children with additional needs, has completed her Master in Special Education (Hearing Impairment).

"I started my teaching degree later in life after having a family of my own," said Malissa. "I always wanted to help children who, through no fault of their own, needed extra assistance."

Malissa chose to study through RIDBC Renwick Centre, the largest provider of postgraduate education programs in the field of the education of children with a sensory disability in Australia. The centre operates in affiliation with the University of Newcastle (with all degrees awarded by the university).

"I would encourage anyone interested in field to study through RIDBC Renwick Centre – they were very supportive and it's very manageable studying via distance education while you are working and raising a family," said Malissa.

Malissa is now working as an itinerant teacher of the deaf in the Shellharbour/Shoalhaven region, and is currently Relieving as Assistant Principal Hearing based at Illawarra Sports High School.

"People don't realise that a child with hearing aids might still miss out on information – both verbal and non-verbal," said Malissa. "As an itinerant support teacher you go in and support children in mainstream schools to learn to look for that information. We also help teachers by supplying strategies to reinforce that information in class. 

"RIDBC Renwick Centre gave me the knowledge to support mainstream teachers to adjust their programs for these kids – that's the best bit. Simple things like keeping down background noise as much as possible, using the correct technology, and rephrasing rather than just repeating information.

"Further education is essential to ensuring these kids get the right support. Google is wonderful to find out lots of things – but you need to know what that breaks down to so you can transfer that knowledge. I now know that I have a far greater chance of meeting the needs of my students in the best way possible."

Through RIDBC Renwick Centre, RIDBC and the University of Newcastle have reversed a trend of diminishing professional specialisation in the field of educating children with a sensory disability. Over 818 graduates from the centre are now working to improve the educational opportunities available to children with sensory impairment around the country and the world.

More information about RIDBC teacher training, professional development and research is available at www.ridbc.org.au/renwick

RIDBC is Australia’s largest provider of services for children with hearing or vision loss, assisting thousands of children a year across Australia.  As Australia’s premier provider of training and education for professionals in the field of sensory disability, RIDBC also ensures that services delivered throughout government and non-government organisations remain cutting-edge.

RIDBC relies heavily on fundraising and community support to be able to continue to make a difference in children's lives.