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The support of Hands Across Canberra has made it possible for The Shepherd Centre to initiate the ‘A Sound Start to School’ program for hearing impaired children in the ACT.
This new initiative focusses on building the listening, speech and language skills, confidence and self-esteem of deaf children through individual therapy and classroom visits as well as parent education and teacher support.
Through this program, children with hearing loss can have the best chance to integrate into their local schools, make friends and enjoy a full and enriching education.
Annabel's Sory by Clare Foote
Our daughter Annabel was just five weeks old when we were told that she has a bilateral, mainly moderate hearing loss. Annabel is our third child and the only one with hearing loss. The Shepherd Centre was a ‘soft’ place to fall after the initial shock of diagnosis.
t was very fortunate timing as Annabel was diagnosed a couple of days before The Shepherd Centre’s Loud Shirt Day fundraiser in October 2011. I saw a piece on The Shepherd Centre on breakfast TV and was so excited and reassured to see how well Shepherd Centre children were doing at a time when I had so many worries for Annabel’s future.
Annabel is a very chatty, social little girl. She loves her weekly dance class and she swims and plays soccer. She turned four, started preschool this year and is thriving - she’s at a mainstream preschool and is the only child with hearing loss. It hasn’t held her back, as her speech and language are wonderful and she’s very confident with managing her hearing loss. Annabel participates in education, extra-curricular activities and family life just as much as our other kids. I can genuinely say that I don’t feel Annabel’s hearing loss has held her back.
Annabel is starting school next year and will be the only child in her school with a hearing loss. She will soon start The Shepherd Centre’s ‘Off to School’ Program which has been supported by ‘Hands Across Canberra’. The program will be incredibly valuable in helping me and Annabel advocate for her. It feels good to know she’ll start school equipped with the skills she’ll need to succeed - the perfect complement to her great speech and language.