Chiara is ready to start high school

Chiara with Socorro Amos, Deputy Principal of RIDBC Garfield Barwick School, is looking forward to starting high school next year. Chiara with Socorro Amos, Deputy Principal of RIDBC Garfield Barwick School, is looking forward to starting high school.

Chiara, who has hearing loss, was one of seven students to graduate from Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) Garfield Barwick School this year.

RIDBC Garfield Barwick School caters for students from Kindergarten to Year 6 who have hearing loss, and who are learning to listen and speak with the assistance of hearing aids or cochlear implants. The school aims to gradually transition students into a mainstream environment by the end of primary school.

Chiara was diagnosed with hearing loss at three months of age. 

“When I found out my daughter had hearing loss, it came as a shock and was certainly a difficult time,” said Chiara’s mother, Stefanie. “But it was just one of my many worries as she was also diagnosed with Global Developmental Delay and was suffering from severe kidney reflux which eventually destroyed her left kidney.”

Chiara began receiving support from RIDBC when she was two years old.

“I decided to enroll Chiara in RIDBC Matilda Rose Centre as they had a holistic approach to support children like Chiara and didn’t just concentrate on one thing. She received individualised care from expert therapists and teachers who helped her with all her sensory issues and were fundamental in Chiara’s development.

“RIDBC Matilda Rose Centre also supported Chiara after she received a cochlear implant through SCIC Cochlear Implant Program, another brilliant service of RIDBC. As soon as her implant was ‘switched on’ I really noticed a difference in her hearing and felt so relieved! It had taken me two years of research and consultations with experts to reach a decision to go down this path,” said Stefanie.

RIDBC Garfield Barwick School is now supporting Chiara with her transition to high school.

“The committed teachers, aids and volunteers at RIDBC Garfield Barwick School have all been fantastic in preparing Chiara for her transition to high school. Throughout her time at RIDBC she has learned key practical skills as well as academic and social skills and I now feel much more confident that she’s ready for the next chapter!

“The deputy principal at RIDBC Garfield Barwick School, Socorro Amos, helped me to narrow down the possibilities and find the high school most suited to Chiara, which turned out to be Danebank Anglican School for Girls in Hurstville. RIDBC has since kept communication open with Danebank and informed her future teachers on their best practices and provided them with strategies to support Chiara’s hearing loss and additional needs.” said Stefanie.

Chiara is looking forward to starting Year 7.

“Chiara is very excited about starting high school. She is looking forward to studying science and making lots of new friends! I am so grateful and forever indebted to RIDBC for all the support we have received over the years. I’m now confident Chiara has a bright future ahead of her and will reach her full potential,” said Stefanie. 

RIDBC is a charity and Australia’s largest non-government provider of therapy, education and cochlear implant services for people with hearing or vision 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.