RIDBC Quarterly Newsletter - Spring 2016

The RIDBC Quarterly: A quarterly publication of current information about RIDBC (Spring 2016)

In this issue:

  1. From the Chief Executive
  2. Noah is thriving at preschool
  3. Rainbow Lottery winner gives back
  4. Outstanding student wins award
  5. Terrianne rediscovers sound
  6. Upcoming events

1. From the Chief Executive

With many exciting things happening at RIDBC over the last few months, the year is flying by.

In June, RIDBC played a key role in a significant milestone, when the Minister for Disability Services, The Honourable John Ajaka MLC, officially announced the launch and roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) for NSW at our North Rocks campus. It was an honour that our organisation was chosen as the key location for this major announcement.

The introduction of the NDIS has a significant and positive impact on the way services are provided to people living with a disability, allowing for greater control, flexibility and choice. Access to our services is strengthened under the NDIS, ensuring the best outcomes for people with vision or hearing loss.
In line with our strategic plan to reach more people and meet nationwide demand for our services, we are delighted to announce a new state of the art RIDBC site in Toowoomba, Queensland. With thanks to the generous support of local Philanthropist, Clive Berghofer, who has pledged $2.8 million to RIDBC towards the development of the new site, we look forward to supporting more people with vision or hearing loss in this important area of Queensland.

In May, I was delighted to recognise the achievements of three outstanding Year 12 graduates, Olivia, Alex and James, at our AGM. They all accessed support from RIDBC School Support Service from a young age and achieved excellent HSC results – Olivia received an ATAR of 97.5; Alex, 85.95; and James, 85.

Our ability to grow our services to support students like Olivia, Alex and James is thanks to the generosity of our community. Thank you for your continued interest and support of our work. 

Chris Rehn
RIDBC Chief Executive

2. Noah is thriving at preschool

When Noah was diagnosed with hearing loss at birth, parents Michelle and Geoffrey reached out to RIDBC. 

Noah was diagnosed with bilateral profound hearing loss at just two weeks old.

“It was a total shock to find out our little boy was deaf. Noah was our first baby and as first time parents we were already on an emotional rollercoaster,” said Noah’s mother, Michelle.

“I had heard great things about RIDBC through a friend who worked there and decided I would make an appointment with them. I found out as much information as I could so that I didn’t feel overwhelmed at the first meeting.” 

When Noah was one month old he started receiving support from RIDBC Early Learning Program (Hearing Impairment).

“RIDBC has helped in so many ways. We’re supported by a range of professionals, including teachers of the deaf, audiologists, speech pathologists and occupational therapists. Whenever Noah was struggling in a particular area there was always an appointment booked with a specialist who could help him – it was so encouraging.”

At six months of age Noah was fitted with bilateral cochlear implants.

“Noah started to respond to sounds immediately after his implants were switched on and hasn’t looked back,” said Michelle. “RIDBC has supported us through every stage of his development and he continues to make progress with his speech and language every week.”

“Noah really enjoys preschool and is a typical little boy who loves playing with his superheroes and trucks,” said Michelle. “Noah’s teacher, Andrea, has really helped him become more confident with his expressive language and trying new words without being scared.”

Michelle and Geoffrey are optimistic for Noah’s future.

“Knowing that RIDBC is committed to making sure Noah has the best educational and specialist therapy support around him, I’m confident Noah will be able to attend his local mainstream school,” said Michelle.

3. Rainbow Lottery winner gives back

When RIDBC Rainbow Lottery winner, Elizabeth, received the news that she had won first prize in the lottery draw, she immediately decided to donate half her winnings back to RIDBC. 

Elizabeth, also known as Lizzy, has been supporting RIDBC through the Rainbow Lottery since 2012.

“I donate every year and buy tickets in the Rainbow Lottery when I receive the phone call from RIDBC,” said Lizzy. “This year when they phoned, I couldn’t believe it when they told me I had won first prize.

“I was so surprised and straight away told them I would like to donate half of the amount I’d won back to RIDBC. I believe it’s difficult to raise money for a charity and I really wanted to help.

“I really enjoyed my tour of RIDBC at North Rocks. It was wonderful to hear about amazing technology such as cochlear implants which make such a positive difference to so many people’s lives.” 

Lizzy has used some of her winnings to purchase a few artworks from a gallery that supports emerging artists.

“I wanted to buy things that I love and remind me of RIDBC and all the wonderful things they do for people with vision and hearing loss,” said Lizzy.
RIDBC’s Rainbow Lottery provides an opportunity for you to support our work helping people with vision and hearing loss across Australia. At the same time you have a chance to win a wonderful selection of prizes. RIDBC thanks the many generous donors who support our Rainbow Lottery.

RIDBC Rainbow Lottery began in 1987 and has raised over $69 million for RIDBC. To buy lottery tickets, simply call 1800 043 411 or visit

4. Outstanding student wins award

Dural resident, Olivia, has been awarded two medals of excellence by RIDBC for her academic achievement in the Higher School Certificate (HSC). 

Olivia, who is 18 years old and has both hearing and vision loss, received an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) of 97.5. She attended Pacific Hills Christian School and received assistance from RIDBC School Support Service, which brings RIDBC support teachers into schools to provide students with vision or hearing loss, with in-class assistance and strategies for accessing the curriculum.

“I was first diagnosed with profound hearing loss in both ears when I was three months of age and received my first cochlear implant at 11 months,” said Olivia.  “When I was five years old I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, which impacts my peripheral vision and dark / night vision.”

RIDBC worked with Olivia to ensure she was able to access the curriculum alongside her peers.

“My RIDBC specialist teacher, Jo-Anne ensured that my teachers understood my needs and provided me with the necessary provisions for events such as exams and excursions,” said Olivia.

“Jo-Anne's support has been indispensable throughout my schooling and she has played a large part in my HSC success.”

Olivia is now enrolled in her first year of a Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Laws at Macquarie University. 

“I chose to study a double degree as it will provide me with more diversity and career options, as well as allowing me to study topics that I am passionate about, such as history,” said Olivia. “I am really enjoying my degree - it is challenging me and I am constantly being immersed in new information.”
RIDBC specialist teacher, Jo-Anne, said; "Olivia was a dedicated student who never allowed her sensory impairments to prevent her from achieving and participating in all aspects of her school life.

“Not only did Olivia consistently achieve excellent grades throughout her schooling, she has also been involved in community service activities within the local community and has attended two overseas school mission trips to the Philippines and Moldova,” said Jo-Anne. 

5. Terrianne rediscovers sounds

For Terrianne, whose cochlear implant was ‘switched on’ in November, the technology is already proving to be life changing.

“I started to lose my hearing almost 30 years ago,” said Terrianne. “I was rushed to hospital after a vertigo attack and was diagnosed with Ménière's disease, which causes hearing loss.”

At 25 years of age Terrianne was told she needed hearing aids.

“It was hard. I was only young and I felt like there was a lot of stigma,” said Terrianne.

"I have enjoyed a career in local council, but so often it's felt like I was bluffing and had to prove myself because of my disability. I did a lot of public speaking – but put myself in situations where people couldn't ask me questions."

When Terrianne's hearing continued to deteriorate, she began trialling different options.

“I’ve looked into different options, like top of the range hearing aids,” said Terrianne. “They made little difference. That’s when I found out about cochlear implants.

“I was definitely worried about music. Would it be the same? There was a day of ‘should I or shouldn’t I?’” That worry went away after I visited SCIC Cochlear Implant Program. It felt so good to talk openly about my experience with people who really understood."

Now that Terrianne has received her cochlear implant, she’s positive about the future.

“At switch on my son played bohemian rhapsody to me on his phone and I burst into tears, it sounded great!” said Terrianne. “I have missed out on so many sounds over the years. Wind rustling in the trees – and bubbles! I had a bubble bath after switch on and I had to pull my family into the bathroom. I thought – how cool is this? I can hear the bubbles popping!

“For anyone considering a cochlear implant all I can say is, don't be afraid. I am astounded about how much better I can hear, how much more I can distinguish sounds. Hearing aids make things louder but cochlear implants are so close to your normal hearing. The quality of the hearing is just worlds apart.

For more information about cochlear implants or SCIC Cochlear Implant Program, visit ridbc.org.au/scic or call 1300 581 391.

6. Upcoming events

Qantas Pathfinders Charity Flight

Join us on our chartered Qantas Pathfinders Charity Flight for an unforgettable trip to Tasmania and help raise funds for RIDBC. Enjoy the best Tasmania has to offer including fresh food and wine at Salamanca Markets and be treated to a stunning lunch at Tasmania’s iconic Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). Saturday 12 November 2016, 6.30am to 8pm, $895.Tickets are selling out fast. Call 02 9872 0329 or visit ridbc.org.au/charityflight.

Qantas Pathfinders Revue

Celebrating 41 years of raising funds for RIDBC. Tuesday 11 to Saturday 15 October 2016. NORTHS, Cammeray at 7:45 pm. Tickets $50 A Reserve / $40 B Reserve on sale from September at norths.com.au or call 02 9245 3000.

Corporate for Community

Coleman Greig Challenge. Friday 21 October 2016. Parramatta Park. The corporate community is invited to walk, run or ride to help raise funds for children with special needs and newborn care. ridbc.org.au/cgchallenge

Fundraise for RIDBC

Looking to support RIDBC but not sure how to get started? There are lots of ways to get involved!
You can run in an event like the City2Surf, be part of the Spring Cycle, or host a raffle, film night, sausage sizzle, garage sale, or fete. Check out our online calendar! For support with your community fundraising, contact RIDBC Fundraising Executive on 02 9872 0324.

For more information on how to participate in events and fundraise for RIDBC visit ridbc.org.au/events