Graduates to make a difference to those with vision or hearing loss

06/06/17
Amanda receives her commemorative certificate from RIDBC Renwick Centre Director, Professor Greg Leigh

Kellyville Ridge resident, Amanda, is one of 45 trained graduates to be recognised at a ceremony at Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) for completing their postgraduate qualifications in sensory impairment.

Amanda has completed her Masters in Special Education (Hearing Impairment) 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 program that she completed was provided in affiliation with the University of Newcastle, with her degree being awarded by the University.

“When I was in Year 10, I did work experience at RIDBC Thomas Pattison School which offers a bilingual educational program for deaf students who use Auslan (Australian Sign Language) and English in its spoken and written form.  I loved it and my goal was to become a Teacher of the Deaf and work at RIDBC,” said Amanda.

“I fulfilled my dream and became a teacher at RIDBC Thomas Pattison School in 2005. In 2013, I decided to further my knowledge in Deaf Education and study for my Master’s degree in Special Education through RIDBC Renwick Centre.

“I found it easier to study at RIDBC Renwick Centre because the online delivery fitted in better around my family and working life; however, we were also required to attend days at RIDBC as part of the course. This was a great opportunity for me to meet and socialise with the other students.”

Amanda grew up Hard of Hearing and later became profoundly Deaf.

“I initially struggled with accepting my deafness as part of my identity, but once I became involved in the Deaf community and learnt Auslan I finally felt like I belonged. My husband, sister-in-law and I were all born profoundly Deaf and we all studied through RIDBC Renwick Centre for our Teacher of the Deaf degrees,” said Amanda.

“Specialist teachers have specialist knowledge that generalists do not have. In the field of Deaf Education this knowledge is about the importance of language and how to develop it in children – in both sign and speech. I am one of a small number of Teachers of the Deaf that are Deaf themselves so we are easily able to relate to the challenges that our students face with accessing language, not just speech, as we have experienced the same difficulties,” said Amanda.

Through RIDBC Renwick Centre, RIDBC and the University have reversed a trend of diminishing professional specialisation in the field of educating children with a sensory disability. More than 900 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 a charity and Australia’s largest non-government provider of therapy, education and cochlear implant services for people with vision or hearing loss, supporting thousands of adults, children and their families, each year.

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