Delivering remote services to children with hearing loss in rural Australia

RIDBC Teleschool provides education and therapy services to children with hearing or vision loss in regional remote Australia

During Hearing Awareness Week 2013, Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC), explains that through innovative tele-practice solutions, families in rural and regional Australia can receive services which are equal to those provided in metropolitan areas.

RIDBC is leading the way in remote service delivery so that children with hearing loss can receive the consistent, quality early intervention critical to achieving the best outcomes – wherever they live in Australia.

RIDBC Chief Executive, Chris Rehn, said tele-practice has been key in improving access. He says the possibilities for its use are constantly expanding as technological capacity increases. 

“In addition to RIDBC Teleschool, which has provided education and therapy to hundreds of children with vision or hearing loss across Australia via high quality in-home videoconferencing since 2002, almost all of RIDBC’s comprehensive suite of services is now available remotely.”

Investment in technology and infrastructure has enabled RIDBC to reach more children and reduce the burden of distance and travel on families who have a child with a hearing loss and live outside the major cities.

“In such a vast country, families who have a child with a disability can feel isolated not only from service providers but also from other families who share similar challenges. With the right technology and methodology, tele-practice can help overcome this isolation and reach more families than ever,” said Mr Rehn.

Providing innovative solutions to ensure families in country areas are not disadvantaged is a priority for RIDBC.  Remote cochlear implant mapping (programming the implant), is just one example of this.

“Up until just this year, a child would stay with us in Sydney for up to three months during cochlear implantation and subsequent mapping and rehabilitation,” said Mr Rehn.   

“We have reduced the time spent away from home to just three weeks. In an already difficult time for families, this significantly reduces stress caused by time away from work, other siblings and family members.”

RIDBC is committed to connecting families across Australia with the support they need, where they need it.

RIDBC is Australia’s largest non-government provider of education, therapy and diagnostics assisting thousands of children a year.

Find out more on what's happening at RIDBC for Hearing Awareness Week 2013 here!