Safe & Sound- Emotional and educational support for parents of deaf children in Liverpool
Chime Time- Music Therapy for deaf children
CASH DONATION – $26,118
‘Safe & Sound’ is a parent education program for the families of deaf or hearing impaired children living in the Liverpool area. Operating out of our Liverpool Centre on Graham Avenue in Casula, Safe & Sound consists of a number of workshops and group activities for the parents/carers and extended families of deaf children. The aim is to encourage closeness, understanding and the involvement of extended family to support hearing impaired children. Both our own outcomes and those from overseas have shown that greater parent and family involvement in a child’s therapy leads to better results for the child. More than 90% of children with hearing loss are born to two hearing parents. The diagnoses of deafness or substantial hearing impairment can be a shattering and bewildering experience and families can often feel that they have been blindsided. Educating the families of these children in Liverpool about the realities of deafness or hearing loss and the technologies and treatments available is vital. These programs are aimed at giving parents/carers and extended family the knowledge and skills they need to help their children. Families will learn about Auditory Verbal Therapy and gain the skills and knowledge they need to support their child’s therapy. They will also be emotionally supported in environments where they can meet other parents and engage in group discussions and activities. Programs will also aim to develop emotional awareness in children and parents and build closeness. These programs are designed to work in tandem with the Shepherd Centre’s core purpose of teaching deaf children to speak. 90% of the children who graduate from the Shepherd Centre possess spoken language that is on par with their normal hearing peers and go on to attend mainstream education. The benefits to the Liverpool community are manifold as these children, who might otherwise need expensive special schooling and possibly ongoing disability support grow into self-sufficient adults. By empowering these children to achieve their full potential the whole community benefits from their increased employability, productivity and engagement in community LIFE.
Chime Time is a program of musical therapy workshops for deaf children in the Liverpool area and their families. The workshops are aimed at helping children aged 3 to 5 years.
The key aims are:
• To develop normal sounding speech free of the nasality of typical ‘deaf speech’.
• To teach hearing impaired kids to listen (with hearing aids or cochlear implants).
• To give parents the confidence and knowledge to use music therapies.
• To foster positive parent-child interactions in a fun environment.
Parents will have hands-on experience on how to use music to help alleviate the challenges of their child’s disability. The Shepherd Centre currently has 29 deaf or hearing impaired children from the Liverpool region enrolled in our early intervention programs.
The Chime Time music therapy program is aimed at pre-school children and helps them to learn to speak and communicate while enjoying quality play time and being exposed to the world of music. Deaf children enrolled in early intervention programs can go on to learn to speak and listen as well as their normal hearing peers and attend mainstream schools. This impacts the areas of disability, education, early childhood health and family services.
Music Therapy augments the core Shepherd Centre programs based around Auditory Verbal Therapy by helping children to listen and to develop more normal sounding and less nasal speech. A large part of the reasoning behind Music Therapy is to help parents to engage with their child and their child’s therapy in a fun and relaxed environment.
The Shepherd Centre’s research has shown that parental engagement has a huge positive impact on the outcomes achieved by their deaf children. Parents who have attended sessions in our centres in the past are more confident, resilient and engaged with their child’s therapy. They more clearly understand hearing impairment and hearing aid technology and are more informed of their responsibilities and the possibilities of their role as a teacher for their deaf child.