“After seeing the fantastic work undertaken by all of the staff at the centre in the various programs, and seeing how rewarding their jobs could be, I decided to change my career path and become a Teacher of the Deaf – it seemed to be a very fulfilling career path to take.”
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 from Kendra Buss, a TSH Teacher of the Deaf whose son also went through our program.
Q. What year did you begin working with the organisation?
K: I began working in the TSH Outpost Program in 2015.
Q. You mentioned you were first involved with TSH as a parent. What program(s) was your child enrolled in, and for how long?
K: My son, Haydn, was enrolled in the Hearing Impaired Playgroup just after his third birthday, in 2006. He attended Playgroup and had individual sessions with a Teacher of the Deaf a couple of times a week. After a year in Playgroup, he moved into the kindy-aged Chatterbox program. He attended Chatterbox 2 days a week, as well as attending another local mainstream kindy 2 days a week. Some of the amazing team who worked with him 10 years ago are still at TSH working with Deaf and Hard of Hearing students today!
Q. How did you hear about TSH? Why did you decide to choose us to help your child?
K: Haydn lost his hearing during a battle with Pneumococcal Meningitis at the age of 13 months. It took nearly 2 years of numerous hospital appointments to get a definitive diagnosis about his hearing! When we were given the diagnosis, we were also given options of where to seek help in our daunting new journey. Whilst exploring the options, I visited TSH and met with the Principal of the Early Intervention Program and was immediately drawn to her unbelievable warmth, compassion and understanding. I knew at once that TSH was the right place for us.
Q. What motivated you to return to TSH now as a staff member?
K: After seeing the fantastic work undertaken by all of the staff at the centre in the various programs, and seeing how rewarding their jobs could be, I decided to change my career path and become a Teacher of the Deaf – it seemed to be a very fulfilling career path to take. This meant that I had to undertake a Diploma in Education followed by a Masters in Special Education – Specialising in Deaf and Hard of Hearing (which I am just over half way through and thoroughly enjoying!). I had hoped to come back to TSH in a working role due to the positive experiences we’d had in the programs there as a family and so felt very fortunate to be offered a teaching position in Outpost. I love the family-centred approach provided at TSH.
Q. How have you seen the organisation change over the years?
K: When we first enrolled in TSH, the staff were all situated in the same building. There were some structural changes beginning to take place and in his Kindy year, Haydn’s classroom was located in a demountable out the back of TSH – I remember trudging through the sand and mud to get to class that year!
Along with the structural changes there have also been staff changes – TSH has grown so much. On my first day as a staff member though, it was heartening to see many familiar faces still working at TSH after all that time since we’d left – a testament to the strength of the TSH programs.
I have also seen TSH venture into the corporate sector with venue hire – what a stunning location we are in, right next to Lake Monger!
Q. As a former parent, what is one piece of advice you could give to another family who is just beginning their journey with TSH now?
K: Get involved and be prepared to be your child’s advocate for the long haul! It will be worth it.
Q. How do you hope TSH grows into the future?
K: I hope that we can continue to offer the quality programs we currently provide for babies and children of all ages, and be able to offer support to more children in these programs.
Kendra and Haydn in 2005.
Kendra is a Teacher of the Deaf, and joined our team in 2015.
Currently supporting our Outpost students, Kendra spends a majority of her days at John Wollaston making sure each child in our program gains the maximum benefit from their education despite their hearing loss.
As a Teacher of the Deaf, Kendra helps students with language, literacy, curriculum access and social and emotional well-being.