RIDBC residential week supporting children with hearing loss

Jacob and Jeremy, who are both supported by RIDBC Teleschool, with Hear For You Mentor, Heather Cook

Recently children from around Australia who have hearing loss visited the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) in Sydney for a residential week, 30 September – 4 October.

Families of children who are deaf or blind in regional and remote Australia access RIDBC Teleschool via high-quality videoconferencing technology.

“The week focused on giving the participants, aged 10 to 14, strategies to build confidence and resilience in the classroom,” said Head of RIDBC Teleschool, Tracey McCann. “This is particularly important when the children may be the only person with a hearing loss in their local area and they really have to self-advocate.”

“It’s also extremely important for children to know what technology is available to them and how to access this for the best chance of success at school.”

The children were also visited by a mentor from Hear for You - a charity which pairs young hearing impaired adults with hearing impaired teenagers to share hints and tips on how to deal with all the obstacles that come with being hearing impaired.

“Children with hearing loss often feel isolated because they have a hard time making themselves understood and this isolation increases when a child lives in a remote area. We told the children about our free workshops that aim to help participants succeed at school, at work, and socially,” said Hear For You Chief Executive, David Brady.

The week included a tour of Cochlear Limited’s new building at Macquarie University and a trip to the cinema to take advantage of the latest captioning technology available to movie goers with hearing loss. There was also an excursion to Hyde Park Barracks where the children used the new Open Mi app which provides a self-directed audio tour of the Barracks in Australian Sign Language (Auslan) and captions.

“RIDBC Teleschool not only helps children to learn strategies to build social skills and self-esteem, we also provide residential weeks such as this to give our families the opportunity to forge friendships and develop networks,” said Tracey.

RIDBC is Australia’s largest non-government 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.