Senator Jan McLucas visits RIDBC

Jan McLucas, Alison, Richard and ElijahSenator Jan McLucas meets with RIDBC families including Alison and Richard with their son, Elijah

The Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) welcomes the Government’s investment in Australian children with a disability with the Better Start Initiative.

The funding will support families requiring early intervention services for children who are diagnosed with severe hearing or vision loss, Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy and Fragile X syndrome.

RIDBC Chief Executive, Chris Rehn said that this demonstrates that the Government is recognising the research which clearly shows early intervention in the first years of a child’s life greatly improves language, cognitive, motor and social development.

“RIDBC provides early education programs for children and their families from the time of diagnosis of hearing or vision loss,” said Mr Rehn. “This support may continue right through the child’s teenage years, but it is the intensive early support which maximises the outcomes for children.

“Early intervention ensures that each child has the opportunity to reach their full potential. For children who are hearing or vision impaired, this means access to mainstream schools, tertiary education and employment options in the future.”

Senator Jan McLucas visited RIDBC on Friday, 20 May to meet families such as Alison and Richard Porter who began receiving intensive support from RIDBC when their son Elijah was two months old. Elijah is now learning to listen and speak with the aid of two cochlear implants.

“When Elijah was first diagnosed as profoundly deaf we weren’t sure what opportunities would be available for our little boy,” said Alison. “Now, at 22 months, his language is progressing beyond some of his hearing peers.

“The work RIDBC is doing with Elijah is providing the foundation for him to reach his full potential. Thanks to RIDBC, we know that Elijah will be able to achieve and go on to do great things.”

The Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children provides vital support to almost 1000 children with significant hearing and/or vision impairment and their families across Australia. As well, RIDBC provides vision and hearing screening to around 2000 babies and children each year.