Fact List - Royal Institute for Deaf & Blind Children

Fact List

RIDBC Background


  • On average, one Australian child is identified with impaired hearing every day.
  • 1 in 1000 babies is born with significant hearing loss.
  • By school age, 2 in every 1000 children will have been identified with hearing loss.
  • By the end of secondary school, more than 3 out of every 1000 children will require assistance because of hearing loss.
  • More than 12,000 children in Australia have a significant hearing impairment.
  • Newborns identified with hearing loss get the best possible start to life when they, and their families, receive immediate support and assistance.
  • Hearing loss affects a child’s speech and language ability. RIDBC relies heavily on community support to help a deaf child learn to speak, read and write.
  • With skilled special education, children with impaired hearing have the opportunity to enjoy parity with their peers at school.
  • Around 90% of children with hearing impairment enrolled in RIDBC services are learning to communicate through listening and speaking.
  • One in every six children enrolled in RIDBC services lives in a regional or rural area.
  • At RIDBC, 11.6 per cent of families of children who have hearing impairment are from non-English speaking backgrounds.
  • The number of deaf or hearing impaired children enrolled in RIDBC programs has increased by 40% in the last 7 years.
  • Every year, more than 60% of Australia’s new teachers of the Deaf undertake their professional training through RIDBC.
  • It takes one-year of postgraduate coursework to professionally train a teacher of the Deaf. More than 60% of Australia’s new Teachers of the Deaf graduate through RIDBC every year.
  • There is a worldwide shortage of highly trained Teachers of the Deaf.
  • More than 500 professionals from around the world have received qualifications in education of children who are deaf or blind through RIDBC’s Renwick Centre.
  • Without RIDBC, there would be 500 fewer professionals in Australia qualified to teach children who are deaf or blind.
  • Every year RIDBC provides more than 8,000 hours of continuing education for professionals working with deaf and blind children across Australia and internationally.


  • Vision impairment affects more than 1 in 2500 children in Australia.
  • RIDBC estimates that 4 out of every 10,000 children born in Australia will be diagnosed with severe vision impairment or blindness by their first birthday but there are no accurate statistics to verify this figure.
  • The number of blind or vision impaired children enrolled in RIDBC programs has doubled in the last 7 years.
  • At RIDBC 8.6 per cent of families of children with vision impairment are from non-English speaking backgrounds.
  • Vision impairment often is associated with other disabilities.
  • RIDBC is pioneering the development of Australia’s first Childhood Vision Impairment Register to more accurately ascertain the number of Australian children with significant vision impairment and how to meet their needs.
  • Blind children face challenges doing every day things we take for granted like reading. Braille is vital to literacy for many children who are blind.
  • Every year, RIDBC skills at least 30 teachers and professionals to work with children who are deaf or blind.
  • There are an estimated 1.5 million blind children world wide.
  • Children who have both hearing and vision impairment require very highly specialised education.