RIDBC student excels in reading

Isan with his teacher, Melina WilliamsIsam with his RIDBC teacher, Melina Williams at RIDBC Thomas Pattison School.

Seven-year-old Isam, who is deaf and attends the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children’s (RIDBC) Thomas Pattison School, has impressed his teachers with a reading age well above average for his year.

Isam was born profoundly deaf and was ineligible for both hearing aids and cochlear implants. Despite this, his passion for language has seen him excel to the reading level of an 11 year old.

He was first enrolled in RIDBC Roberta Reid Preschool, and is now attending RIDBC Thomas Pattison School, which caters for students from Kindergarten to Year 10 who are profoundly deaf and bi-lingual.

“Isam has an extraordinary thirst for knowledge,” said RIDBC Primary Teacher, Melina Williams. “He is the only deaf child in a hearing family where English is a second language, so you can imagine the obstacles that he faces in acquiring vocabulary – and yet he likes nothing more than to pick up the dictionary to read in his spare time!”

“To support Isam we have been providing him with additional learning opportunities, including access to the Year Six English class where he can learn at his language and reading level. I also use class reading time to support Isam with advanced reading material – backing up his voracious appetite for language with the Auslan he needs to be able to express himself.”

Isam’s mother, Miki, is proud of her son and thankful for the support the family has received from RIDBC.

“Isam started showing an interest in reading at a very early age – which we encouraged,” said Miki. “As my husband and I aren’t fluent in Auslan or English it is important to feel confident knowing that RIDBC Thomas Pattison School teachers will support Isam in learning a bi-lingual curriculum.
“The extra lessons Isam has been able to access at the School are wonderful – I think he would get bored if he wasn’t given extra reading challenges.”

RIDBC provides vital support to over 1000 children with significant hearing and/or vision loss and their families across Australia. As well, RIDBC provides vision and hearing screening to thousands more babies and children each year.

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.