RIDBC Hear the Children launched

Minister for Disability Services, Andrew Constance, helped launched RIDBC Hear The Children in Rouse Hill.

Minister for Disability Services, Andrew Constance has launched the integration of Hear The Children (HTC) Service to the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC).

RIDBC Hear the Children provides auditory-verbal therapy for children with hearing loss up to the age of six. Children are taught how to listen and speak with the assistance of hearing aids and/or cochlear implants.

RIDBC Chief Executive, Chris Rehn said RIDBC Hear the Children in Rouse Hill is an important addition to RIDBC’s suite of services providing more access for families in Sydney’s western suburbs.

“The aim of RIDBC’s programs is to give parents the tools they need to help develop their children’s language and communication skills. With quality early intervention and the right technology, most children who are deaf can now go on to access mainstream schools.”

The centre was successfully integrated into RIDBC’s range of services for children with vision or hearing loss in 2012, with support from the NSW Government Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care.

“Early diagnosis through newborn hearing screening has ensured that children who are deaf are able to access specialist early intervention from just a few weeks of age.  For those families who decide for their child to learn to listen and speak, we focus on giving them access to the sounds needed to develop language, either through cochlear implants or hearing aids,” said Mr Rehn.

Even with cochlear implants or hearing aids, children who are deaf must learn to understand the new sounds they hear - they have to learn how to interpret words and they have to learn to develop speech.  This takes hard work from a dedicated family and specialist teachers and therapists but the results are remarkable.

“These listening and speaking skills have a big impact on children with hearing impairment because it more readily enables them to participate fully in their communities and to go on to attend mainstream schools,” said Minister Constance.

RIDBC is Australia’s largest non-government provider of therapy, education and diagnostic services for children with hearing or vision loss, assisting thousands of children a year across Australia.