Students ready for mainstream school

Daniel and his mum Lydia.Daniel, pictured with his mum Lydia, will be joining his twin brother in Grade Three at his local public school.

Seven students who have hearing loss are preparing to go to a mainstream school after graduating from the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children’s (RIDBC) Garfield Barwick School.

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.

One of the students, Daniel, has been supported by RIDBC since he was three years old.

“Daniel was diagnosed with hearing loss when he was two and half years old after passing his hearing test at birth,” said Daniel’s mother, Lydia.  “He received two hearing aids at three years of age and we started receiving weekly home visits from RIDBC Early Learning Program (Hearing Impairment).”

Daniel began Kindergarten at RIDBC Garfield Barwick School in 2010.

“We speak Mandarin at home and within six months of Daniel being at RIDBC Garfield Barwick School I noticed how good his English had become. If I gave him a sentence in Mandarin he would be able to say the same sentence in English – he had all the words!” said Lydia.

In 2013, Daniel will be joining his twin brother, Dennis, in Year Three at Darcy Road Public School.

“Daniel is so excited about next year. He has received so much support from RIDBC, it has been wonderful. The fact that Daniel now feels really confident and happy makes me feel really confident and happy too,” said Lydia.

RIDBC Garfield Barwick School focuses on developing students’ audition, speech and language, and this is done in small class sizes where there is a high ratio of teachers to students.

“When students like Daniel go into a mainstream school they face much larger and noisier classrooms. By slowly integrating into the school, Daniel has learnt strategies to deal with that,” said RIDBC Teacher, Ms Socorro Amos.

The Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children assists over 3000 children with significant hearing or vision loss, and their families, across Australia.

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.