Char­i­ta­ble Foun­da­tion hears the good work of Dubbo’s Hear our Heart Project

Dubbo Photo News - - Dubbo Weekender -

Tell us about the fun­da­men­tal im­por­tance of the Hear our Heart (HOH) project – what are the gaps it’s fill­ing?

There are far too many chil­dren who re­main at high risk and con­sis­tently fall through the ser­vice gaps, with their hear­ing prob­lems uniden­ti­fied and un­treated.

With Hear our Heart in­ter­ven­tions (in­di­cated in the main di­a­gram as green pil­lars) across the hear­ing con­tin­uum, the ser­vices they pro­vide fill the gap and sup­port and strengthen the im­pacts of ex­ist­ing ser­vices.

If a child isn’t di­ag­nosed and treated for hear­ing dif­fi­cul­ties early on, how much pain and loss of op­por­tu­nity can this mean for them in their later lives?

An Itin­er­ant Sup­port Teacher Con­duc­tive Hear­ing Loss (ISTCHL) teacher pro­vides sup­port, try­ing to as­sist the many chil­dren who have hear­ing is­sues and fall through the ser­vice gaps across the con­tin­uum.

If a child doesn’t get picked up at this early stage, what are the chances they can be helped back on track dur­ing their sec­ondary school­ing, or is that too late?

For a stu­dent of high school age with hear­ing loss that does not get “picked up”, their strug­gles can be multi-faceted and have wide-rang­ing im­pli­ca­tions.

Th­ese may in­clude not only not hav­ing equal ac­cess and par­tic­i­pa­tion to the cur­ricu­lum, but also they’re for­ever play­ing catch-up to fill the gaps in learn­ing.

Many have sig­nif­i­cant lan­guage de­lays, speech, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and be­hav­iour is­sues. Reg­u­lar cur­ricu­lum should to be dif­fer­en­ti­ated for them to as­sist their un­der­stand­ing so they have a chance to learn the fun­da­men­tals. GRAPHIC: HEAR OUR HEART

Some of th­ese stu­dents have lan­guage deficits that place them at an age equiv­a­lence of a five-year-old.

For them, cop­ing with the huge amount of top­ics and con­tent thrown at them at the high school level can be very over­whelm­ing.

The im­pact can af­fect their well­be­ing, con­fi­dence and iden­tity.

For our teens, this is a time when ev­ery­day life can be chal­leng­ing, and so with a hear­ing loss on top of it all they cer­tainly need sup­port – in­clud­ing di­ag­no­sis and am­pli­fi­ca­tion if needed, but also un­der­stand­ing from their teach­ers and fam­ily.

You’ve been push­ing for state and fed­eral fund­ing. Why is such a suc­cess­ful on-the-ground project so dif­fi­cult to get op­er­a­tional fund­ing for?

There is fed­eral fund­ing and it’s quite sub­stan­tial. The lat­est bud­get ac­tu­ally an­nounced $30 mil­lion for ear health! (The 2017 fed­eral re­port ti­tled “Ex­am­i­na­tion of Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment Indigenous Ear and Hear­ing Health Ini­tia­tives”) is an in­ter­est­ing read from our per­spec­tive! It de­scribes where/who the dol­lars have been with over the past few years. Again, quite sub­stan­tial!

Lo­cally there are providers who have fund­ing from the HEBHBL (Healthy Ears – Bet­ter Hear­ing,

Con­tin­ued on page 21

HOHEBP (Hear our Heart Ear Bus Project) – Con­tin­uum of hear­ing health & ed­u­ca­tion.

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