“He looked up at me and said, ‘ride bike’. Well what a heart stopper that was for me! It was so good to hear his voice. I felt so happy and his mum couldn’t get the grin off her face.”
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 Pauline Batchelor, a Teacher Assistant at TSH.
Once upon a time or so my story starts…
A long time ago I was reading our local paper and saw an advertisement to learn a sign language called ‘cueing’. This was something I had always wanted to do so I made the call. This was when I met Karen Venard, the then Principal of Telethon Speech & Hearing. Karen explained that cued speech was how different signs around the mouth could be used to help with lip reading and listening.
From here, I started lessons once a week along with others who were interested – sometimes there would be two of us or a small group of five. We always had homework to do, often a book or a nursery rhyme to read. After a month or so I was asked if I would like to help in a playgroup once a week.
My answer was a big “YES, I would love to“.
This was all voluntary and my job was to help watch and play with the children. This gave mums a much needed break to sit and chat with other like-minded mums. While I was playing I noticed there was one little person who just loved the bikes but he wasn’t getting very far as he just didn’t have the muscle strength. So I made a point of pushing him around the bike track.
Of course when we play we must talk about what we are doing – feed the language in, so I began using phrases like ‘ride the bike‘, ‘let’s go for a bike ride‘, and ‘riding bike’. Well this went on for the rest of the year, one day a week. We had a connection, I think, but I did not hear one word from him, only his eyes lighting up told me that he was enjoying himself.
At the end of the year we left for Christmas break. I came back the following year to help and as I walked down the path, the first person I saw was my little man. He looked up at me and said, ‘ride bike‘.
Well what a heart stopper that was for me! It was so good to hear his voice. I felt so happy and his mum couldn’t get the grin off her face.
So I continued on helping in the playgroup and halfway through the year I was offered a job in Pre-Primary which I accepted with pleasure and I’m still here today as a Teacher Assistant playing and feeding in language and loving it 29 years on.
Pauline Batchelor is a Teacher Assistant and joined our team in 1988.
In her role amongst our School Support (Outpost) team, Pauline supports the work of the Teacher of the Deaf and provides support for each child in mainstream class activities.