Graduate to make a difference to those with hearing loss

Graduate to make a difference to those with hearing lossJoyce receives her testamur from RIDBC Renwick Centre Director, Professor Greg Leigh

Caringbah resident, Joyce Tan, is one of 75 trained graduates to be recognised at a ceremony at Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) for completing their postgraduate qualifications in sensory impairment.

Joyce has completed her Masters in Special Education (Hearing Impairment) through RIDBC Renwick Centre, the largest provider of postgraduate education programs in the field of the education of children with a sensory disability in Australia. The centre operates in affiliation with the University of Newcastle (with all degrees awarded by the university).

“I always knew I had an interest in helping and teaching children, but it wasn't until I started my university teaching practicals that I realised I wanted to be a specialist teacher,” said Joyce.

Joyce was delighted to be offered a teaching position at RIDBC Garfield Barwick School—a school for children who are deaf and use spoken language to communicate—while she was studying for her Master’s degree.

“I was thrilled to be offered a teaching position at RIDBC Garfield Barwick School,” said Joyce. “Working in the field and following and observing talented teachers made a huge difference.”

Shortly after she started her new direction in the field of special education, Joyce’s mum told her that her aunt was deaf.

“My mum’s aunt was unable to communicate with her family with sign or spoken language and used only basic gestures. During this time, education in China was not accessible for all and an understanding of children with additional needs was very limited. This was not the reason I pursued this career, but it gave me further reason to help the children I teach,” said Joyce.

Joyce believes it is critical that children with hearing loss continue to receive specialist support from trained teachers of the deaf.

“All children deserve to have access to education. Specialist teachers are extremely important as they provide the additional support to enable the same learning opportunities as any other child in Australia,” said Joyce.

Through RIDBC Renwick Centre, RIDBC and the University of Newcastle have reversed a trend of diminishing professional specialisation in the field of educating children with a sensory disability. Almost 900 graduates from the centre are now working to improve the educational opportunities available to children with sensory impairment around the country and the world.

More information about RIDBC teacher training, professional development and research is available at

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.