Please find below details of supports and programs offered for deaf and hard of hearing children and families in Queensland. Deaf Children Australia appreciates the funding provided by Queensland Health, enabling us to provide intensive post-diagnosis support programs. View the Queensland Services brochure here.
After learning that your child is deaf or hard of hearing, you may have many questions. Deaf Children Australia (DCA) can help though our free Parent Support Program, Life Stories Program, National Helpline and Information Services.
In the beginning you may have a lot of new information, appointments and other practical things to take care of. During this time, you could also want someone to talk to – someone who understands because they’ve had similar experience in their own lives.
You may not have been expecting that your child may be deaf or hard of hearing. It can be reassuring to speak with someone who themselves has travelled a similar path, or meet an adult who has grown up deaf or hard of hearing, who can provide unbiased information and support at this time.
Parent Support Program
The Parent to Parent Program is a state wide program which works alongside Queensland Health’s Healthy Hearing Program and Queensland Hearing Loss Family Support Service, Early Intervention Programs and schools. The program provides support to families raising a child between 0-6 years who is deaf or hard of hearing. Support and unbiased information is provided from the perspective of a fellow parent who has travelled a similar path and can relate via their own experiences.
Trained Support Parents are available to meet with families through one on one home visits or phone contact, at Childhood Hearing Clinics, hospital visits, Early Intervention Centre playgroups or at parent group events such as POD picnics. They can provide group or one on one support.
“I try to provide unbiased guidance to empower families to make their own choices and I encourage parents to understand the importance of early intervention, and developing language and communication skills. We also discuss all the support they will receive and the opportunities they have to meet other parents through Early Intervention, playgroups and the Parents of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children (POD) Group.”Phillipa Fuamatu has been involved in our Queensland Parent to Parent Program for almost two years. She explains: “I have four children and Jalawlin (10), Jeyvina (4) and Macgyver (17 months) were all diagnosed with a profound hearing loss through the Newborn Hearing Screening. I am there to provide that listening ear, to comfort parents that their children can do anything others kids can do like going to school, playing sports, having friends… and they can do all that without limitations.
“It was just so important to talk with Phillipa to put it all into perspective, to help us feel more positive about Archer’s future and to feel hope.”
After Anissa Cavanagh’s second son Archer was diagnosed at the Newborn Hearing Screening with a profound bi-lateral hearing loss, Anissa said she felt “blessed with Archer” but she explained, “The diagnosis was such a confronting experience and we felt devastated at first. We spent hours in the hospital struggling to comprehend all the information being relayed by a string of specialists. Then we met our mentor Phillipa at our last appointment and for the first time since the diagnosis, I broke down. I had been trying to take all the information in and then when Phillipa said straight up, ‘I understand exactly what you’re going through,’ I thought this is someone who really understands our heartbreak, and who knows how overwhelmed you can feel’.
“We needed all that information and we appreciated how fortunate we are to have so much support and technology available now for children who are deaf. But it was just so important to talk with Phillipa to put it all into perspective, to help us feel more positive about Archer’s future and to feel hope. Now, he is doing so well. He received cochlear implants last September and at 20 months of age, he is comprehending us well and saying around 30 words.”
Life Stories Program
DCA’s Life Stories Program offers Queensland families the opportunity to meet adults who are deaf or hard of hearing. The positive role models share their life experiences and help families feel more confident about what the future may hold for their child. They offer encouragement and support, and increase awareness of some of the challenges and possibilities of living with deafness.
“With new parents of deaf children, I help fill the future with positive possibilities.” – Julian Scharf
Julian Scharf explains he supports families because, “I want to show parents and teenagers how good life can be with a hearing loss. With new parents of deaf children, I help fill the future with positive possibilities. Every parent has a dream of the future for their child. When they discover their child has a hearing loss, that future dream is disrupted and uncertain. Often parents are grieving the loss of the future dreams that they had for their child. There is something very reassuring about meeting someone who is happy, confident and comfortable with their deafness. It takes some anxiety away about what the future might hold for their child and allows them to fill in the future picture of what being a deaf person is like.” Deaf and hard of hearing adults from the Life Stories Program are available to meet with families who have a child aged 0-12 years. They can meet with families at early intervention playgroups, or through one on one visits at home or a venue of your choice.
Feedback from parents
Parents have shared with us how much DCA’s Life Stories Program has assisted and empowered their families:
- “Exceptional. Inspiring. Just wonderful.”
- “It has helped us feel confident that our child will be okay and to stop worrying so much.”
- “It’s hard to meet deaf adults and it’s difficult to ask burning questions you want to know about. This way we could cut to the chase and ask away.”
- “Beautiful role models for our children. They were open, honest, genuine and positive.”
- “I feel so much more reassured about my child’s future.”
- “They gave us insight into what our child might be experiencing.”
POD groups enable children who are deaf or hard of hearing, their parents and their siblings to get together to make vital connections and share knowledge. Friendships with other families can provide emotional support and be a source of resilience. POD groups can help strengthen families to be empowered, informed and effective advocates for their children.
POD groups are run by families for families. Deaf Children Australia provides support to these groups and can link you and your family to a group if you would like to connect up with others.
With the right supports, young people who are deaf or hard of hearing can pursue their goals and do anything others can
Anyone can access our services without the need for a referral. If you would like to chat to a Support Parent or deaf or hard of hearing adult, or find out more about these programs, please contact us:
271A Staﬀord Road, Staﬀord Queensland 4053
Phone: (07) 3607 0075 or 0424 782 027
Phone: 1800 645 916