Kiribati Islands visitors learn about hearing loss at RIDBC

Boikabane and Teannako from the Kiribati Islands visiting RIDBC

Two Teachers of the Deaf from the Kiribati Islands recently visited the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) to gain practical experience in the education of students with hearing loss.

Ms Teannako Teikaoti, a preschool teacher of Deaf children, and Ms Boikabane Ianea, a primary school teacher of Deaf children, spent two weeks at RIDBC to observe lessons and speak to RIDBC’s educators.

“My brother, sister and grandfather are all deaf so I have always been interested in being a Teacher of the Deaf,” said Ms Ianea. “They started to learn sign language at school and they would teach me and I would help our other family members to learn.”

Ms Teikaoti teaches a class of ten students, and Ms Ianea teaches a class of four.

“It’s very exciting but I am also learning as I go. Neither Boikabane or I have any formal training in deaf education, so we are learning as we go which is challenging,” said Ms Teikaoti. “The school we teach at is funded by AusAid and the school community has helped us come to Australia to learn about the work of RIDBC.

“It’s very different back home – none of our students have hearing aids or cochlear implants, so everyone needs to learn sign language to communicate. Also at RIDBC there is a big focus on bringing the family in to the process. That’s definitely something I feel like we can take home – trying to find ways to incorporate families more.

“We’d also love to be able to come back one day and do some formal training through RIDBC Renwick Centre. That would be amazing.”

RIDBC is Australia’s largest non-government provider of services for children with hearing or vision loss, assisting thousands of children a year across Australia.  As Australia’s premier provider of training and education for professionals in the field of sensory disability, RIDBC ensures that services delivered throughout government and non-government organisations remains cutting-edge.

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 approximately $2.5 million every month.