Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children
Annual Report 2016

Relocate Offices

Relocate RIDBC & SCIC Cochlear Implant Program Head Offices, Services and Support Functions Within the Macquarie University Precinct

By 2020, RIDBC plans to have relocated RIDBC and SCIC Cochlear Implant Program head offices within the Macquarie University precinct, co-locating and forging new partnerships and alliances with world-leading organisations in the sensory field.

In 2016, planning for the relocation of head offices commenced and discussions between RIDBC and Macquarie University are continuing, exploring potential sites to place RIDBC staff, as well as scoping requirements for the state of the art buildings and infrastructure that will house the RIDBC Centres of Excellence.

In 2016, over 950 people completed Continuing
Professional Education courses at RIDBC
Renwick Centre

Caption: In 2016, over 950 people completed Continuing Professional Education courses at RIDBC Renwick Centre

Develop a New Affiliation Agreement and New RIDBC Renwick Centre Programs Within the Macquarie University Academic Structure

RIDBC Renwick Centre is Australia’s leading provider of professional development and research in areas related to the education of children with vision impairment or hearing loss. The Centre offers postgraduate courses (at Masters and Doctoral degree levels) and an extensive program of continuing professional education for teachers, therapists, and a range of other associated professionals.

During 2016, there were 161 students enrolled in postgraduate courses through RIDBC Renwick Centre through a mix of full-time, parttime, on-campus, and remote-access modes of delivery. Seventy one students who completed their studies through RIDBC Renwick Centre were awarded postgraduate degrees from the University of Newcastle.

RIDBC Renwick Centre maintains an active and varied program of research and development of new techniques in assessment and a wide range of interventions for children with vision or hearing loss. 2016 was another year of significant achievement in the creation of knowledge and the sharing of that information through presentations to leading national and international conferences as well as publications in scientific literature. See Research, Publications and Presentations

The Centre also houses the Rydge Family Library which is Australia’s most comprehensive collection of resources in the field of education and early intervention for children and others with sensory disability.

New Affiliation with Macquarie University

In December 2016, RIDBC finalised a formal agreement with Macquarie University that will see the academic affiliation of the RIDBC Renwick Centre transition to that institution. The agreement paved the way for enrolment of students into new RIDBC Renwick Centre courses at Macquarie University in 2017. The core degree offered for 2017 entry is a new Master of Disability Studies, initially with three specialisations: (a) Education: Deaf and Hard of Hearing; (b) Education: Vision Impairment; and (c) Sensory Disability.

Over the next few years new RIDBC Renwick Centre courses will be developed under the auspices of Macquarie University, including potentially new courses providing professional preparation for allied health and other professionals seeking to work with children with vision impairment or hearing loss within the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Thank You to the University of Newcastle

These arrangements with Macquarie University will see RIDBC move into a new phase of the relationship with the University of Newcastle. RIDBC signed the first agreement with the University of Newcastle for the operation of RIDBC Renwick Centre more than 24 years ago. The collaboration with the University of Newcastle has seen a remarkable return on our joint commitment to graduate education.

Since the first formal graduation of students from the Master of Special Education (Sensory Disability) program in 1997, there have been more than 900 graduates who have completed doctoral, masters or graduate certificate level awards from the University for studies undertaken through RIDBC Renwick Centre.

In the transition phase to the new affiliation, students who are currently enrolled in the University of Newcastle degree programs will continue in their current studies to complete their program requirements with an expected completion of the last students in those programs by 2019.

Jemma’s Achievement

Jemma is recognised for completing her postgraduate qualifications in hearing impairment through RIDBC Renwick Centre

RIDBC Renwick Centre graduate, Jemma, celebrates the completion of her Master of Special Education (Deaf and Hard of Hearing) with her family

Caption: RIDBC Renwick Centre graduate, Jemma, celebrates the completion of her Master of Special Education (Deaf and Hard of Hearing) with her family

Jemma became interested in deaf education and the role of Visiting Teachers of the Deaf after teaching deaf and deaf-blind children in her mainstream primary school classes.

“I taught a little girl who used Auslan and I wanted to be able to communicate directly with her,” said Jemma. “I studied Auslan at TAFE at night for three years and then began the Master’s degree through RIDBC Renwick Centre.”

“Studying my Master of Special Education degree assisted me to gain the role of Visiting Teacher of the Deaf. In the future, when my children are a little older, I would like to continue on with further study in this area,” said Jemma.

Jemma believes it is critical that children with hearing loss in a mainstream setting continue to receive specialist support from trained teachers in this field.

“Whether teaching in a special needs class or visiting students and teachers in a mainstream setting, specialist teachers have the skills and intimate knowledge to cater to a child’s specific needs and are able to assist other teachers to do the same.”