Children with hearing loss finish their first year at mainstream school with support from RIDBC

Children with hearing loss finish their first year at mainstream school with support from RIDBCMaddie Ferreira and Liam Hitchcock excel in their first year of school

The first babies to receive cochlear implants through Canberra's SCIC Cochlear Implant Program, an RIDBC service, have now completed their first year of studies at mainstream schools.

Bungendore residents, Kristi Payten and Morne Ferreira welcomed their daughter, Maddie, into the world in September, 2009. Then, a series of hearing screening tests revealed that Maddie was profoundly deaf in both ears.

“Being a paediatric clinical nurse consultant, I was acutely aware of what this diagnosis meant, but at the same time felt overwhelmed as nobody in my family has experienced hearing loss and it was completely unexpected,” said Kristi.

"After lots of research and many discussions with my husband, we decided it would be best for Maddie to have cochlear implants through SCIC Cochlear Implant Program.”

Maddie is now thriving with cochlear implants thanks to the services and support received from SCIC Cochlear Implant Program, a service of RIDBC.

“It has been wonderful following Maddie’s adventures since meeting her lovely family in 2009. Being able to offer assessments, surgery, all habilitation and mapping services from our Canberra office has made her journey to hearing seamless and accessible,” said Anne-Marie Crowe, Maddie’s Audiologist at SCIC Cochlear Implant Program.

Maddie has excelled in her first year at school and embraces every opportunity.

“Maddie is very creative and lives in a rich world of imagination and loves to role play," said Kristi. "She is shining at Pambula Public school and is age appropriate, if not above, with speech and language.”

Mark and Justine Hitchcock's son, Liam, from Latham was also diagnosed with profound hearing loss shortly after birth.

“We were initially confused and didn’t know whether cochlear implants were the right decision for Liam, but once we received professional advice from SCIC Cochlear Implant Program in Canberra, we knew we’d made the right decision,” said Mark.

"Since Liam's implants were ‘switched on’, he just hasn't looked back! It's been incredible to see him thriving alongside his peers at his mainstream school, Latham Primary.

“The help and resources we’ve received from SCIC Cochlear Implant Program have been second to none. We relocated to Port Augusta for 12 months and Liam relapsed and stopped talking - but as soon as we returned to Canberra and to SCIC Cochlear Implant Program, he started to thrive. If it wasn’t for cochlear implants our family would be lost."

SCIC Cochlear Implant Program supports clients to access a range of implantable hearing devices according to their needs. The program provides the highest level of care and support through RIDBC’s seamless, end-to-end suite of services, from early intervention and education for children with hearing loss; through to specialist assessment, surgical liaison and re/habilitation support services for people of all ages.

SCIC Cochlear Implant Program, an RIDBC service, is now located in a new purpose-built centre at Equinox Business Park Building, Deakin, co-located with Canberra ENT providing on-site access to leading ENT surgeons from one convenient location.

For more information about cochlear implants or SCIC Cochlear Implant Program, visit or call 1300 658 981.

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. Services are provided from 17 sites across Australia and through an outreach service that supports clients living in regional areas.

RIDBC relies heavily on fundraising and community support to be able to continue to make a difference in the lives of children and adults with vision or hearing loss.