Residential week for children with hearing loss a big success

Janet and Hugh Murphy at RIDBC in Sydney with RIDBC Teleschool TeacherConsultant Neryl HornJanet and Hugh Murphy at RIDBC in Sydney with RIDBC Teleschool Teacher Consultant Neryl Horn

The Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) Teleschool recently held a residential week for children with hearing loss in Sydney as part of Hearing Awareness Week.

Families of children who are deaf or blind in regional and remote Australia access RIDBC Teleschool via high-quality videoconferencing technology. The residential week brought families who have a child with hearing loss to RIDBC where they participated in an intensive, face-to-face language and speech development program.

Janet and Degen Murphy, whose son, Hugh, is three and a half years old and has hearing loss, flew in from Ballarat, Victoria, to attend the program. Hugh has both a cochlear implant and a hearing aid.

“With my determination to support Hugh, RIDBC Teleschool has been an incredible support for me, particularly as we are a country family and we struggle to find quality services close to home. RIDBC has taught me so many strategies to promote Hugh’s learning,” said Janet.

“With early diagnosis, hearing aids by eight weeks and the benefit of the expert early intervention services of RIDBC, the possibilities for Hugh’s future really are endless!”

Janet found she not only learnt more about language development but she also met other parents who have a child with hearing loss.

“Hugh starts in a mainstream school next year so this is a perfect time to meet other parents and to learn about their own experience with this process,” said Janet.

RIDBC residential weeks are as much about as much about giving parents the opportunity to meet and share common interests as they are about providing an intensive early learning program

“Families in rural or regional Australia who have a child with a disability can feel very isolated,” said Head of RIDBC Teleschool, Melissa McCarthy. “One of the most positive outcomes we can look forward to from the week will be families having the opportunity to meet other families in similar circumstances.”

“This residential week complements the quality early intervention provided by RIDBC Teleschool.  Such intervention in the first years of a child’s life is critical as it greatly improves the outcomes in language development,” said Ms McCarthy. “Combined with a dedicated family and the right technology, children with hearing loss can achieve their full potential by going on to mainstream schools, tertiary education and employment options in the future.”

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