RIDBC opens critical new service for families in the Northern Territory.

19/12/12
(l-r) RIDBC Chief Executive, Chris Rehn, Jo and Aaron Pethick with their son Logan.

The Northern Territory Deputy Chief Minister, The Hon Robyn Lambley officially opened the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) Darwin Centre in November which will provide local services for children with vision or hearing loss.

While RIDBC has been successfully delivering remote services into the Northern Territory via RIDBC Teleschool for many years, the RIDBC Darwin Centre will enhance the support available for families in the Top End.

For Aaron and Jo Pethick, who live in Humpty Doo near Darwin, RIDBC Teleschool has already provided much-needed support for their six year old, Logan, who has hearing loss and is learning to listen and  speak with the aid of a cochlear implant.

“My wife and Logan stayed in Sydney for almost three months through cochlear implantation and habilitation,” said Mr Pethick. “Without the ongoing support and expertise of RIDBC Teleschool in our own home, we would have moved the family to Sydney.”

“With the new Darwin Centre we are delighted to be able to have face-to-face sessions in addition to our weekly videoconference and meet with other families who share similar challenges. Logan now has age appropriate language and attends our local school – I’m so grateful for the support RIDBC has given my family.

Over Christmas this year, Logan and his family will be in Sydney once again for his second cochlear implant surgery. The family will stay onsite at RIDBC and receive Teleschool and face-to-face sessions to continue Logan’s therapy as he learns to use his second cochlear implant.

“The Northern Territory may be a vast piece of Australia but with such a small population it is easy to see how we get overlooked,” said Mr Pethick. “Other states with their large populated cities, and a lot less kilometres in between, could be seen as a ‘higher’ priority.

“But RIDBC’s decision to open an office in Darwin, has already made a huge difference to Logan’s progress, the integration of other local service providers and many other families in circumstances similar ours. We know this has put Logan on track for a fulfilling, talking, hearing and bright future, and for this we cannot possibly thank Royal Institute of Deaf and Blind Children enough.”

Children with hearing or vision loss require consistent, quality, early intervention to achieve the best outcomes.

“Through regional centres such as Darwin, we seek to continue to expand the suite of RIDBC services provided to families through a blend of regular videoconference and face to face support for intervention and assessment,” said RIDBC Chief Executive, Chris Rehn.

“A physical presence in Darwin also allows RIDBC to form partnerships with local service providers to further explore the needs of local families, including Indigenous Australians.”