A three-year grant received from the Profield Foundation Trust is funding RIDBC’s Cochlear Implant Program outreach services in Dubbo, Orange, Tamworth, and Wagga Wagga. This service is helping to address the issue of hearing health in regional communities where hearing loss is present at much higher rates than the general population, yet often under-reported. This is due to the social stigma associated with deafness and the perceived need to be away from the farm for extensive periods whilst undergoing testing, treatment and rehabilitation.
The program being supported by the grant will include regional pop up clinics to provide follow up services for cochlear implantation recipients, first step hearing screening and seminars for local general practitioners, ear nose and throat specialists, audiologists and allied health professionals.
The Lazberger Family Fund has provided funding for the special equipment needed by students of the Alice Betteridge School. The grant enabled the purchase of Jenx Supine Standers, high backed swing seats with pommel and safety harnesses, a treadmill with safety features that helps the children improve their independent walking pattern and speed, and braillers for students with limited hand movement control.
Access Technology is being used to level the playing field for children with vision impairment, bringing them closer to being defined by their achievements not their disability.
The Morpheus Foundation provided a grant to purchase additional devices that will ensure staff can trial the most relevant device that meets each child’s individual braille learning needs.
The Morpheus Foundation also provided funding for the Early Literacy Development Program. Sighted children learn to read through exposure to print and picture. Consistent exposure to braille and large print books, eBooks and tactile picture books is how children with significant vision impairment will develop early literacy concepts.
This project, co-funded by the Denton Family Trust, will help RIDBC ensure more children who are blind or have low vision have access to appropriate resources that will support their early literacy development and promote opportunities for shared reading with family members and peers.
The majority of deaf children are born into hearing families who have no previous exposure to Auslan.
A trial playgroup, funded by the Maple-Brown Family Foundation, is being conducted where parents of babies and toddlers who are using Auslan participate in weekly morning tea sessions. Activities include craft, puzzles, building games and drawing, singing and reading.
An interpreter attends to support the young parents to communicate with the deaf mums and deaf staff. The session is delivered in Auslan to model for the parents how to engage in play activities using sign language.
At the present time, there is a severe shortage of training programs that provide teachers with the knowledge and skills required to enable equitable inclusion in mathematics for learners who use the sense of touch to access and communicate information.
The project team will use the recently developed online braille training programs, Unified English Braille (UEB) Online and Accessible UEB Online, as the basis for creating a linked series of lessons that can be accessed through online user registration combined with internet access.
The project will improve the quality of education outcomes for mathematics students with vision impairment through the provision of a comprehensive, high quality online training program in braille mathematics and the supporting teaching and learning activities. This will in turn increase the inclusive nature of education.
This is a significant long term project being undertaken with funding provided by the Skipper-Jacobs Charitable Trust, Duchen Family Foundation, Thomas Hare Investments Trust, JLDJS Foundation and the Sibley Endowment.