RIDBC is helping Natania develop her speech and language

Natania with her father, Anthony, at RIDBC Rockie Woofit Preschool

Five year old Natania is ready to transition to ‘big school’ with support from Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC).

Natania, who has hearing loss, has been preparing for school with support from RIDBC Rockie Woofit Preschool, a reverse integration preschool which is purpose built to cater for the needs of a child with hearing loss. Children from the community also attend and are excellent language and learning models for their peers.

“We were referred to RIDBC when Natania was first diagnosed and that’s been crucial,” said Natania’s father, Anthony. “Finding out that your child has hearing loss is not an easy thing. There are so many resources you need to ensure they develop their speech and language.

“Natania is now learning to listen and speak with two hearing aids and RIDBC’s guidance through this has been invaluable.”

Natania has accessed a number of RIDBC’s education and therapy services where she has learnt the skills she will need to transition to kindergarten at RIDBC Garfield Barwick School this year.

“When you have a child with hearing loss you want to make sure they have the best opportunities in life. With the tools and strategies provided by RIDBC, I know that Natania has a bright future aheadKnowing that she will continue to receive the intensive language and speech support she needs is wonderful,” said Anthony.

“The preschool has been supporting Natania with activities to get her ready for ‘big school’. They set up a play area to look like a classroom to help develop the vocabulary and language she will need next year.”

Anthony is positive about Natania’s future.

“Not only does RIDBC have a whole network of services that provide individualised support, you really do feel like you are part of a family. The support RIDBC has provided not only to Natania, but to my wife Deepa and I, has been wonderful,” said Anthony.

RIDBC Garfield Barwick School caters for students from Kindergarten to Year 6 who have hearing loss, and who are learning to listen and speak with the assistance of hearing aids or cochlear implants. The school aims to gradually transition students into a mainstream environment by Year Six.

RIDBC is Australia’s largest 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.