March 1-7 marks Hearing Awareness Week, a time to raise community awareness of hearing loss and ways to protect your hearing.
Marked by the theme ‘Hearing care for ALL‘, Hearing Awareness Week calls upon governments to integrate ear and hearing care into national health plans.
In the spirit of this global campaign, Telethon Speech & Hearing is highlighting a number of individuals in our organisation who bring excellence, inclusivity and a wealth of knowledge to their roles and make our centre such a delightful place for our families and children.
By raising awareness of these important educational and healthcare roles, we aim to take stock of the current status (or lack thereof) of hearing care support available in our community and be a source of inspiration towards improving the lives of those impacted by or at risk of hearing loss and ear diseases.
Today’s highlighted staff member is our Auditory-Verbal Therapist & Teacher of the Deaf, Zita Ferreira:
- About my role at Telethon Speech & Hearing
Zita: I work in the Chatterbox Early Intervention Program as a Certified Auditory-Verbal Therapist as well as in the Outpost School Support Program supporting students with hearing loss at Newman College. I also do some mentoring of new teachers in the Outpost program.
I started at Telethon Speech & Hearing in 2002 and have been here ever since, happily I must add. Prior to this, I worked with children with hearing loss in an early intervention setting in Cape Town for 10 years which had a very similar philosophy to Telethon Speech & Hearing (ie. working with parents to support listening development using hearing technology and developing spoken language skills). In the ’90s Auditory-Verbal Therapy (AVT) was beginning to develop in the US. I was very excited about learning more about this philosophy and approach and in 1995 attended an AVT conference in Fremantle. At the time I had no idea that my family and I would move to Perth seven years later.
- Something I’m looking forward to in 2021…
Z: I am working with a little baby who has very little hearing and is about to receive bilateral cochlear implants (CIs). I can anticipate that she will do well with her CI’s and feel excited about working with the family. I have this idea of videoing the baby every two weeks to demonstrate her hearing, communication, interaction and speech progress over a period of 24 months …..it’s a thought but could turn out to be very exciting!
- The most common question I get asked is…
Z: Probably which role I enjoy the most, a question I have tend to have difficulty answering. I enjoy both roles – however, I love the early intervention stage as this is the foremost principle of AVT – early diagnosis of babies and children with hearing loss and early fitting of appropriate technology. Working in the Chatterbox program is a very dynamic interplay of working in tandem with wonderful parents, carers and families and a multi-disciplinary specialised team of speech pathologists, audiologists, occupational therapists and psychologists. So it’s a stimulating and steep learning curve, with never-ending learning opportunities, sharing knowledge and learning about new hearing technology, and all-round professional development.
- In my role, I am most passionate about…
Z: I am fortunate to be in a position of working with families to be able to support their transition from our early intervention program into a school-supported service. I feel most passionate about working closely with parents and empowering them in their knowledge of understanding of hearing loss and needs and working towards understanding their unique dreams and wishes for their child. Every child is unique and our role is to empower parents in fulfilling their dreams for their child’s potential.
- About my favourite sound
Z: I love the sounds of birds…any birds, waking with pigeons, crows to kookaburras. They each have their own rhythm, pattern, pitch intonation but most of all their sound is grounding and so connecting with nature.
- My thoughts on having a career involved around “Hearing Care for All”
Z: At Telethon Speech & Hearing, we are so fortunate to be immersed in an organisational culture that is caring and nurturing. Caring is what changes the world. Whether we care about improving hearing technology that leads to amazing outcomes regarding hearing access, or how we support a child to walk or talk and what is happening globally in terms of supporting intervention.
Learn more about Telethon Speech & Hearing’s Outpost program and our school locations around Western Australia, click here.
Continue to visit our website from March 1-7 for more amazing stories and insights from our dedicated team at Telethon Speech & Hearing. Visit the World Health Organisation website for more information about how you can support the global call for action against hearing loss and promoting ear/hearing care across the world. #HearingAwarenessWeek #Hearathon2021 #WorldHearingDay #HearingCare #SafeListening