Deaf and blind kids join National Simultaneous Storytime - Royal Institute for Deaf & Blind Children

Deaf and blind kids join National Simultaneous Storytime

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Lara and Sid from regional Australia meeting with RIDBC Alice Betteridge School students

Students from Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) who have vision or hearing impairment participated in National Simultaneous Storytime on Wednesday, 23 May.

The annual National Simultaneous Storytime (NSS) event encourages children from around Australia to engage with a love of reading, and RIDBC joined in, highlighting the importance of inclusion for children with a sensory impairment.

“Children accessing the range of RIDBC’s early learning, preschool, school, cochlear implant and regional programs all joined in the day, meeting in-person or via high-quality videoconferencing technology, to read Hickory dickory dash by Tony Wilson,” said RIDBC Head of Services, Bart Cavalletto.

“Our children were not only joining the national conversation, but linking up with their RIDBC community. National Simultaneous Storytime provides the perfect opportunity for our children to enjoy a shared reading experience that includes Australian Sign Language (Auslan) and braille.
“With events staged at RIDBC sites across Australia, as well as via RIDBC Teleschool – which uses high-quality videoconferencing technology to reach those living in regional and remote areas of Australia – our families were able to link up to share the joy of reading while  promoting the value of literacy.”

One event at RIDBC, saw four students with vision impairment from around Australia attending an RIDBC Teleschool residential braille camp in Sydney, meeting with students from RIDBC Alice Betteridge School in Sydney who are deafblind or have vision loss, as well as a level of intellectual impairment.

“Our students love to experience the world of literature, so National Simultaneous Storytime is a natural fit for us,” said RIDBC Alice Betteridge School Curriculum Coordinator, Ivy Carruth. “We used the day to experience the world of stories, words and literacy in a way that joined our students with the larger community. Several copies of the book were brailled so that our students who are braille readers could follow along at the same time as their sighted peers.”

For students attending RIDBC Early Learning Program (Hearing Impairment) in Sydney, the day provided an opportunity to connect with families accessing RIDBC’s services in the Hunter, NSW, via videoconference.

“Reading to children with hearing loss contributes to developing early literacy skills that are important for learning to read,” said Coordinator Early Learning Program (Hearing Impairment), Inge Kaltenbrunn. “Reading to children with hearing – or vision loss – truly sets them up for later success in life and in school!

“It develops an awareness of print, rhyme, alliteration, sound and word play; expands vocabulary and sentence structure; develops awareness of story structure; encourages cognitive development; increases concentration; increases world knowledge; sparks imagination and creativity; and creates a special bond between parent and child.”

RIDBC is a charity and Australia’s largest non-government provider of therapy, education and cochlear implant services for people with vision or hearing loss, supporting thousands of adults, children and their families, each year.

RIDBC relies heavily on fundraising and community support to be able to continue to make a difference in people’s lives.

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