Geoff's Story - Telethon Speech and Hearing

Geoff’s Story

“The common theme is working together to bring about the best possible outcomes for students and their families. It has always been a collaboration.”


To celebrate our 50th year anniversary, Telethon Speech & Hearing (TSH) will be showcasing 50 stories of people who have been a part of our organisation’s history since 1967.

Today’s highlighted story is a Q&A with Deputy Principal, Geoff Reader.

 

Q: What year did you begin working with the organisation?

G: I think 1981 – I worked for a year, then went to Sydney to study. TSH gave me a scholarship and I had to agree to work here for two years!

 

Q: How did you first get involved with TSH and what role did you have at the time?

G: I came here looking to do some voluntary work after I’d graduated as a high school music teacher (did not want to do that!). My first task as a volunteer was to set up some play with a 4 year old. They couldn’t work out if he was profoundly deaf, autistic or both. I knew nothing about either condition. I set the room up with climbing frames tunnels… we had a ball and at the end of the session, Karen Venard (the then Principal) and Dr Steve Zubrick, who were observing, concluded that because of the interactions, they were sure he had a hearing loss only. I was completely hooked from this point on.

 

“I came here looking to do some voluntary work after I’d graduated as a high school music teacher. My first task as a volunteer was to set up some play with a 4 year old. They couldn’t work out if he was profoundly deaf, autistic or both. I knew nothing about either condition.”

 

Q: How have you seen TSH change over the years?

G: The organisation was quite small when I started. Our school program was run at the Centre with very little integration. The students were generally diagnosed much later, there were no cochlear implants, the aids were all analog and quite basic. We still had very innovative programs, very dedicated staff and achieved comparatively good results. We used Cued Speech as an aid to listening and lipreading. The TOD (Teacher of the Deaf) was responsible for just about everything. We had one audiologist and no speech pathology or psychology. There were no babies in the program.

Q: What has been your proudest personal achievement you’ve made during your time here?

G: Working here for over 30 years.

 

Q: What has motivated you to stay with TSH for so long?

G: The quality of our programs, the results we’ve achieved, being a part of something as innovative and unique is a big motivator. There are no other programs in Australia like our school support program, where the students are fully integrated but receive support from highly skilled professionals. I also love working with students and their families to maximise potential. Being a part of a team of fantastic people is also quite motivating.

 

“The quality of our programs, the results we’ve achieved, being a part of something as innovative and unique is a big motivator. There are no other programs in Australia like our school support program, where the students are fully integrated but receive support from highly skilled professionals.”

 

Q: Has there been a common theme(s) among all families?

G: The common theme is working together to bring about the best possible outcomes for students and their families. It has always been a collaboration.

Q: How do you hope TSH grows into the future?

G: I would love to see us financially secure. Just about every year since I’ve been here, there has been an underlying concern about raising enough funds to deliver state of the art programs. I hope we continue to attract the best possible people for all jobs here, as this will keep us at the cutting edge of our fields. Innovation comes from people wanting to do things better. I would like to see us working more with remote schools to share our expertise. I would like to see us doing deep assessment of children with speech/language issues and helping to set up programs that support schools to meet the needs of these students.

 

“I would love to see us financially secure. Just about every year since I’ve been here, there has been an underlying concern about raising enough funds to deliver state of the art programs. I hope we continue to attract the best possible people for all jobs here, as this will keep us at the cutting edge of our fields.”

 


About Geoff

Geoff Reader is Deputy Principal of our School Support (Outpost) program and has been working with Telethon Speech & Hearing since 1981.

A very accomplished member of our team, Geoff first came to TSH looking for voluntary work after graduating as a high school music teacher. Since then, he’s become the central person for Outpost, a champion promoter of our “Power of Speech” events, and keen advocate of our Youth Leadership Group – a program which helps students enhance their communication, leadership and social skills.