ridbc spring 2015 quarterly

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RIDBC's quarterly newsletter, featuring stories about RIDBC's services, fundraising activities and the people we support.


  • The RIDBC uarterly Spring 2015

    RIDBC community fair a success

    Emma is making significant progress

    Student wins award for achievement

  • Many exciting things are taking shape at RIDBC.

    Our new facility in Canberra is getting ready to open its doors in October. This large centre is located in the suburb of Deakin, part of Canberras technology and health precinct. We are excited to provide both vision and hearing services to people in the ACT and southern NSW, inclusive of the excellent ENT surgeons that work as part of SCIC Cochlear Implant Program.

    RIDBC welcomes the NSW State Governments early roll out of the NDIS in the Penrith and Blue Mountains regions. The NDIS is proving to be transformational for people with a disability. RIDBC already has a significant presence in the region with sites at both Glenmore Park

    and Penrith, and we are committed to ensuring our quality services are accessible to people in this growing area of Sydney.

    In June we held our annual RIDBC Book & Community Fair. The event was sponsored by Hyundai, with Charlie Kim, CEO of Hyundai Australia, opening the fair. Thank you to all those partners and supporters who made the event such a huge success!

    Hearing Awareness Week is happening in August and RIDBC will be participating in an open day at the Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University. Visit us on the day to learn about hearing loss and the services available. To find out more, go to ridbc.org.au

    I would also like to

    acknowledge Dr Hyam J Emder, who recently passed away. Dr Emder was an RIDBC Life Member and honorary consulting physician to RIDBC for over 50 years.

    I am constantly amazed by the achievements of our students. I was delighted that Year 12 graduates, Holly and Julian, joined us to present at our AGM in May about their outstanding academic accomplishments. I hope you enjoy reading about Julian's story here. Our ability to grow our services to support students like Holly and Julian is thanks to the generosity of our community. Thank you for your continued support of our work.

    Chris Rehn RIDBC Chief Executive

    Charlie Kim, CEO of Hyundai Australia, joined students and RIDBC Chief Executive, Chris Rehn, for the opening of the RIDBC Book & Community Fair

    A look at Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) this quarter.

    From the Chief Executive

  • (l-r) Charmain with Emma and one of her RIDBC Teleschool Consultants, Neryl, who has supported Emma to learn to listen and speak with her bone conduction hearing aids

    Emma is making significant progress When Emma was diagnosed with hearing loss at birth, parents Charmain and Allan reached out to RIDBC from their home in regional NSW. Nownine years old, Emma is doing well with support from RIDBC Teleschool.

    When Emma was born she failed her newborn hearing screening.

    It was a really hard time for us, we didnt know if our little girl was deaf, said Emmas mother, Charmain.

    It was confirmed that Emma had hearing loss and that she would need hearing aids.

    When we found out about the services provided by RIDBC we decided to visit them in Sydney, said Charmain. That was a turning point we went from feeling really alone and isolated to feeling like we had some direction and support.

    Emma accesses RIDBC Teleschool, which supports families in regional areas of Australia using high-

    quality videoconferencing technology.

    We started receiving weekly RIDBC Teleschool sessions and they were amazing, said Charmain. We learned how to interact with Emma during play, about the toys that would best support her, and how to monitor her hearing.

    RIDBC played a critical role in testing and asking questions so that we could get to the bottom of Emmas hearing difficulties. Emma has CHARGE syndrome which means she has complex hearing loss and additional needs. She just wasnt accessing sound as she should.

    It was suggested that Emma trial bone conduction hearingaids.

    They were amazing, providing a whole new way of hearing for Emma, said Charmain.

    Emma is now in grade three at a mainstream school.

    I cant emphasise enough the impact RIDBC has had on Emmas development, said Charmain. At RIDBC were supported by a full range of professionals, including teachers of the deaf, audiologists, speech pathologists, orthoptists, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists.

    RIDBC is committed to making sure Emma has the best access to sound possible. Now, every day is an achievement. She is happy, and thats the ultimate.

  • Julian, who has vision loss, received an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) of 99.85. He attended St Lukes Grammar and received support from RIDBC School Support Service, which places specialist RIDBC support teachers into schools to provide students with vision or hearing loss with in-class assistance and strategies for accessing the curriculum.

    I was diagnosed with Cone Dystrophy at birth, said Julian. It impacts my range of vision, peripheral vision and colour vision.

    I would say that my vision impairment has made me a quieter person and it takes longer than usual to get my bearings in new places. It meant I had to give up playing soccer and cricket after primary school, so I transitioned into other extra-curricular activities like debating and toastmasters.

    Julian was supported by RIDBC to ensure he had full access to the curriculum.

    Throughout high school I received assistance from RIDBC, said Julian. Ive always benefitted from their support. In high school the interactive white boards were linked to a monitor which sat in front of my desk so that I could see more clearly. This meant that I could read slideshows, watch videos and see what the teachers were writing on the board if they were using a calibrated smart boardpen.

    I approached the HSC in a very objective manner. I think that it was because of this mindset that I was never really stressed. I remember chatting away with friends about video games while waiting for an exam to start!

    Julian is now studying a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

    I have to sit in the front couple of rows in my lectures and sometimes I dont see my friends when they wave at me, said Julian.

    At this stage I would like to work with robotics and artificial intelligence after I graduate. I think robots are cool and that they have a lot of potential to improve theworld.

    RIDBC also recognised a second award winner for their outstanding achievement in the HSC. Holly, who has hearing loss, received an ATAR of 91.8 and is now studying a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws with a major in criminology.

    Exceptional student wins awardRIDBC School Support Student, Julian, has been awarded a medal of excellence by RIDBC for his academic achievement in the Higher School Certificate (HSC).

    RIDBC student, Julian, is now studying a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering at university

  • RIDBC Book & Community Fair The 2015 RIDBC Book & Community Fair was bigger and better than ever, with more rides, stalls and entertainment. This years fair raised an incredible $50,000 for RIDBC.

    Students from RIDBC Garfield Barwick School enjoyed an afternoon of rides donated by Hyundai Help for Kids

    Held in May, RIDBC Book & Community Fair was proudly supported by RIDBC Abstract Committee, Hyundai Help for Kids, Westfield North Rocks and St George Bank.

    This years RIDBC Book and Community Fair was a massive success, with thousands of people joining us to help raise thousands of dollars in support of RIDBC, said RIDBC Events Executive, Kaye Bailey.

    Were indebted to the local community for this support.

    A big thank you must go to our corporate partners who ensured the event was such as success. Hyundai Help for Kids supported our kids with an exclusive afternoon of fun on the rides, and the Veloster Boot Shoot. Westfield North Rocks

    provided a fun kids activity corner, and St George joined us with their coffee cart and mascot!

    A huge thank you goes out to all those from the community who joined our staff and students to have fun over this three day event. The BBQ didnt stop all day Friday and Saturday it needed to be restocked fivetimes!

    As always, this important annual fundraiser provided three days where the public could pick up some fantastic deals, with a large assortment of books, toys, DVDs, CDs, records and collectibles available.

    Particular mention must go to our five Book Fair Committee volunteers, whose outstanding efforts

    sorting items for sale over the previous 12 months made the event such a success, said Kaye.

    Saturday 30 May was the fairs biggest day, filled with lots of fun activities for all the family including; rides, musical performances, food and market stalls, a BBQ, raffles, and a kids activity corner proudly supported by Westfield North Rocks that included face painting, balloon bending, and muchmore.

    The $50,000 raised through this years fair will help RIDBC support the children and adults with vision or hearing loss accessing RIDBCs broad range of therapy, education and cochlear implant services.

  • Ros regains her hearingAt the end of 2014 Ros began to notice that something was wrong with her hearing. Then, at the age of fifty, herhearing disappeared completely.

    (l-r) Ros daughter, Megan; Ros; and RIDBC Audiologist, Rachel Attard, meet to map Ros cochlear implant for sound

    In the beginning, Ros didnt pay much notice to her hearing loss.

    I didnt notice it too much as my left ear was still fine and whenever I used my iPod I used that ear, said Ros. As a customer service officer I worked on the phone but using two ear phones meant I co