Resources For Parents
Parent to Parent Program
After learning your child is deaf or hard of hearing, you may have many questions.
It can be reassuring to speak with another parent who has travelled a similar path, and can provide unbiased information and support during this time.
Deaf Children Australia (DCA) can help through our free services – Parent to Parent Program, National Helpline and Information Services.
Members of our Parent Network are available to meet with other families over the phone or through home visits, at Early Intervention Centre playgroups, family POD group picnics and other activities, or in your community. Anyone can access our services without the need for a referral.
Queensland: please go to our Queensland Services page for more information.
Has your baby just been diagnosed with a bilateral, sensori-neural hearing loss?
Would you like to share this with a parent who has been in a similar situation?
Parent mentoring is available to families who have a child diagnosed with a bilateral sensorineural hearing loss.
The aim is to bring together parents of babies who have a newly diagnosed hearing loss, with ‘experienced parents’ for the purpose of support, practical information, and linkages to support networks and early intervention service providers.
Deaf Children Australia has trained a number of parent mentors who have a child with a hearing loss to be one of your supports. The mentors have been in a similar situation to you, and asked themselves similar questions and many more. We can offer you a number of visits with one of our mentors to help you through the initial phase after diagnosis.
Contact us for more information about the availability of parent mentoring in your area.
DCA PODs & Parent Support Groups
Parents raising a child with a hearing loss understand that there are many challenges and rewards involved. The benefits of peer to peer support for parents include:
• Provision of emotional support by someone who has traveled a similar path.
• Empowerment by sharing experiences, ideas and knowledge.
• Knowledge enhancement through discussion about strategies and tactics
• Instilling hope and confidence in what the future holds
• Social interaction with other parents as well as deaf and HOH children
• Access to information through workshops and discussion
• Support to effectively advocate for your child
• Opportunity to lobby for improved services
Parent support groups are located throughout Australia. In some states, a support group may be referred to as a POD (Parents of Deaf). Groups are supportive and welcoming networks of families who have a child or children who are deaf or hard of hearing. All children are welcome regardless of preferred communication methods or hearing devices and equipment they use. Please note that these groups operate independently of Deaf Children Australia, so any enquiry you have specific to an existing group and their activities should be addressed to them directly.
Parent support groups, can be established by one family who wishes to meet other parents who have deaf children, established by a small group of families or established by professionals who work with families of deaf children.
How can Deaf Children Australia help?
Deaf Children Australia can assist you to establish a support group in your local area or offer support for an existing group. Every group will have different goals. Some are predominantly established for social purposes, whilst others focus on lobbying.
Some things to explore before establishing a group include:
• What do you want your group to achieve for its members?
• When and where will you meet and how often?
• How will you promote your group and get other parents involved?
• Do you have enough time to commit to being an active and contributing member of the group?
• Is there a person who is willing to take on the leadership/ coordination role for the group?
• What resources will you need (eg newsletter writer, financial support, event organisers etc) and how will you secure these?
We work with the group’s leaders, providing support as requested and can:
• put you in contact with other successful parent groups for ideas and information.
• provide financial support to assist with initial administrative costs.
• work with you to ensure your group has access to public liability insurance
• help you develop ideas for activities and promote your activities
• offer you skills development training and information sessions on topics of interest to your members
• provide secretariat support, including access to our existing resources
Stories from the Parent Support Groups
Read Sandi Walters’ story of her experiences with her daughter Kaitlyn and why she started the Hear Together Mornington Peninsula Parent Support Group.
Sandra Rosenberger started the New Connections Parent Support Group in 2012 with the support of Deaf Children Australia because, as she says, “I noticed a big lack of connections for families…” Read more…
We have many years of experience in working with parents of deaf and hard of hearing children and understand the unique rewards and challenges involved.
These interactive workshops offer parents an opportunity to raise any parenting questions in a safe and supportive environment. These draw on the experience and strengths of the parents who participate.
Discussions may involve:
• Parenting challenges
• Sibling rivalry
• Self care and nurturing
• To provide a safe place for parents to consider their particular challenges in parenting children with hearing loss
To explore parenting roles and family values
To encourage participants to develop and enhance their parenting strategies
To affirm participants’ strengths in parenting
To develop positive strategies in dealing with unwanted behaviours
To provide opportunities for mutual support, exchange of stories and ideas
To promote the value of effective communication between parents and children
Who do I contact to ask for this service? Contact us
Participants have said:
“Great forum for parents to meet each other and to discuss issues openly and honestly. Thank you so much for this opportunity.”
“Lovely to talk to other parents, vent concerns and feel affirmed.”
“I have gained courage and strength from the other parents. I feel like I have a fan club behind me saying, ‘Yep, that’s it!’”
“It is good to realise you are not alone.”
“You realise other parents with kids the same age are going through the same things, so it’s not just me!”
“Fantastic! Would have liked more time. Great seminar.”
“Learning new strategies was helpful.”
“The best workshop I have attended. Please have more of these. It was fantastic.”
Using Sign Language in Early Childhood Education Article
The Victorian Deaf Education Institute recently posted an article by Dr. Breda Carty on the benefits of using sign in early childhood for both deaf and hearing babies. According to research cited in the article, signing with deaf babies stimulates the development of language neural pathways within the brain which will help with speaking later on. Tools such as DCA’s CommuniCate allow families to get involved and tackle the challenge of a new language together.
Phone: 1800 645 916
DCA POD & Parent Support Group Contacts
Bendigo Parent Support Group
c/o Kennington Primary School
Contact: Suzanne Pizzo
Goulburn Valley Parent Group
c/o 5 Sutcliffe St Waaia Victoria (covering Shepparton and district)
Contact: Nikki Tuddenham
New Connections – Inner South East Region Parent Support Group
Contact: Sandra Rosenberger
P: 0425 718 527
Hear Together Mornington Peninsula Parent Group
Contact: Sandi Walters
P: 0402 678 558 E: HearTogether@hotmail.com
Facebook: Hear Together Mornington Peninsula
New South Wales
Contact Parents of Deaf Children in NSW to get in touch with local Parent Support Groups:
POD Northern Sydney
Meets fourth Monday of the month at 7pm
Ku-ring-gai Library Meeting Room, 799 Pacific Highway, Gordon
Meets third Wednesday of the month
Wattle Grove Community Centre, Village Way Wattlegrove
POD Mid North Coast
Meets regularly in the Taree area
Contact: Robyn Herps via SMS 0428 688 612 to register your interest
POD North West
Meets second Monday of every month at 7pm
Glenwood Neighbourhood Centre, 72 Glenwood Park Drive, Glenwood
POD Central Coast
Meets on a regular basis
Please contact Linda Brady on 4332 1803 or 0413298653 to register your interest
Contact: Stacey Johnson
P: 07 3548 8917
For more information contact Deaf Children Australia on (freecall) 1800 645 916 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
DeafNT Parent Support Group
P: (08) 8945 2016 or 0429 452 016
Tasmanian Families of Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children
Contact: Shannon Fox
P: 0418 109 429 Email: email@example.com