Deaf students celebrate Thomas Pattison Day

Students and staff at RIDBC Thomas Pattison School recently joined in the Thomas Pattison Day celebrations

Students from Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) Thomas Pattison School celebrated Thomas Pattison Day with an open day on Thursday 23 October.

RIDBC Thomas Pattison School caters for students from Kindergarten to Year 10 who are profoundly deaf. The school offers a bilingual program where students learn English and Australian Sign Language (Auslan).

“RIDBC Thomas Pattison School was named in honour of Thomas Pattison, a deaf migrant to Australia from Scotland who established RIDBC in 1860,” said RIDBC Thomas Pattison School Principal, Kim McArtney.

“This special occasion allowed us to celebrate the legacy of this visionary man. Thomas Pattison Day is a culturally significant day for the Deaf community as it reflects the value of equality and the power of education.”

In 1860, seven deaf children were enrolled in the fledgling school. Today, the lives of more than 6,000 adults and children with vision or hearing loss, and their families, are enriched by RIDBC’s services.

“It was fantastic to have parents join staff, students and volunteers to help celebrate,” said Kim. “Students were excited to share their presentations with those who attended, with performances throughout the day showcasing their creative, academic and sporting achievements.”

Thomas Pattison day was also used an opportunity to launch RIDBC & Me with the school community.

“This parent networking site puts families in touch with others who share similar challenges, as well as linking parents and local professionals with RIDBC experts in vision and hearing loss,” said Kim.

RIDBC is Australia’s largest non-government provider of therapy, education and diagnostic 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 children's lives.  In order to maintain its intensive educational and research programs, the organisation needs to raise more than $2.5 million every month.