Speech Pathologists helping children with hearing loss - Royal Institute for Deaf & Blind Children

Speech Pathologists helping children with hearing loss

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Andja at work

This Speech Pathology Week (23-29 August 2020) we celebrate our own speech pathologists who are part of a team of early intervention experts supporting children who are deaf or hard of hearing to get the best start in life.

The theme for Speech Pathology Week in 2020 is: Communicating with confidence! And RIDBC speech pathologists support children with hearing loss to do this every day by developing their communication, language, and literacy skills as either their key worker or part of the team around the child.

Playing a vital role in early intervention

RIDBC’s Best Practice Lead for Early Intervention (Hearing), Inge Kaltenbrunn, is a regular contributor to the knowledge base for early intervention for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Inge also began her career as a speech pathologist, something that she still practices. “RIDBC’s Early Intervention Programs are evidence-based and goal-focused to assist children to achieve their best outcomes with their listening, language, communication and social skills,” said Inge.

“Due to the child’s age, family support and parent coaching during individual and/or group sessions is essential as goals are best achieved by supporting the family to implement strategies from the team into the daily routines of the child and family.”

A team of support around the child

The Early Intervention services available at RIDBC offer families holistic care by building a team around the child to support them and their family with a tailored and individualised plan.

At the centre of the support is an expert consultant who is assigned to each child and their family, as their key worker. The child’s key worker provides intervention and coordinates services and supports to achieve the best outcomes for every child, and their family.

An image depicting the key worker model with the child and the key worker in the middle and services around the centrepiece

Adiely’s Story

Adiely reading a book Adiely smiling

RIDBC has been helping three-year-old Adiely to develop his communication, language, and literacy skills through early intervention. After a diagnosis of hearing loss at birth, Mum Sarah was referred to Hearing Australia where her little boy was fitted with hearing aids for both ears in response to his mild to moderate bilateral hearing loss.

It was Hearing Australia that connected Sarah to a mother of another child who had hearing loss. That mother had accessed services at the Catherine Sullivan Centre, an RIDBC service.

“She spoke glowingly of their services and, after consideration, I chose RIDBC too for Adiely,” Sarah said.

“The team at RIDBC have always been positive and supportive, answering any questions I have had and reassuring me when I need it,” Sarah continues.

Adiely with his family Adiely on a train with mum Sarah

At RIDBC, Adiely attends individual and group sessions. The groups allow Sarah to meet other parents on similar journeys.

Sarah said, “The groups are very helpful. Speaking to other parents is always comforting and we help each other along the way. I feel at ease when I speak with them.”

For individual early intervention sessions Adiely sees RIDBC Speech Pathologist, Andja Curcic.

“We are really supported by Andja, she is a really great speech pathologist and has a great relationship with Adiely, who looks forward to his sessions with her. He knows Monday is the day he gets to see ‘Aunty’ Andja,” Sarah said.

Andja incorporates games in her sessions to develop Adiely’s speech and language, something that can be replicated in everyday environments in the family home.

“Adiely is showing excellent progress with his speech and language goals and has started communicating with more confidence. Mum Sarah is great at implementing goals and strategies used within the sessions at home which is making a big difference in Adiely’s overall communication.”

Adiely also plays an important role at home as big brother to his baby sister, Avianna.

Adiely with his sister Adiely playing with his sister

“He is such a sweet big brother. I ask Adiely to play with his sister, to read to her and to tell her about what he does with Andja, which helps his speech too.” Sarah said.

Three years since his first sessions Adiely continues to access individual and group therapy sessions at RIDBC. Mum Sarah says the goal is for Adiely to attend a mainstream school in a couple of years.

Adiely with his Aunty Jess

Thank you for helping children communicate with confidence

RIDBC has a team of 45 speech pathologists nationally helping thousands of children and adults with hearing loss.

To them, and to all speech pathologists, on behalf of RIDBC, our families and supporters, we say ‘thank you’ for the amazing work they do every day.

Access more information about early intervention services for children who are deaf or hard of hearing on the RIBDC website.

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