Pauline Batchelor | Telethon Speech & Hearing
International Women's Day 2020

International Women’s Day Feature: Pauline Batchelor’s Contributions to the Disability Community

March 8 marks International Women’s Day, a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women, who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

The world has made unprecedented advances, but no country has achieved gender equality.

The IWD 2020 campaign theme is drawn from a notion of ‘Collective Individualism’:

We are all parts of a whole. Our individual actions, conversations, behaviours and mindsets can have an impact on our larger society. Collectively, we can make change happen. Collectively, we can each help to create a gender equal world. We can all choose to be #EachforEqual.

With a majority of our staff being female, Telethon Speech & Hearing is proud to help bring light on this important occasion and draw attention to a number of International Women’s Day MISSIONS including celebrating women’s achievements, and working to forge more positive action towards #EachforEqual and #EachforEquity.

This week Telethon Speech & Hearing will highlight a number of incredible women in our organisation who bring compassion, wisdom and strength to their roles and make our centre such a delightful place for our families and children.


Pauline Batchelor International Women's Day

Today’s highlighted staff member is our dedicated Education Assistant, Pauline Batchelor:

  • About my role at TSH
    Pauline: I have been working at TSH since 1987 (I think!). In my role as an Education Assistant, I try really hard to take the pressure away from the mainstream teacher – this means helping them set up the classroom for the day’s activities and supporting children to get ready to learn, amongst other duties. I have written more about how I got started below.


  • The most common question I get asked by parents is…
    P: Has my child found a friend? Or, who are they talking to/playing with at school? Parents are keen to see that their child is fitting in at school and getting along with their peers.


  • Something I’m working on right now is…
    P: Having more ME time!


  • What aspect of your role at TSH are you most passionate about?
    P: I’m most passionate about teaching independence in children and helping parents feel comfortable and confident in helping their child with their hearing loss.


  • My favourite sound is…
    P: The sound of water falling. How relaxing it is to be surrounded in greenery and listening to a waterfall and the sound of waves!


  • What person/organisation do you find inspiring, and think is doing their part for gender equality?
    P: I think Emmeline Pankhurst was a great role model for independence and inspired a whole generation to be proactive with their right to vote, regardless of gender.


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 an Education Assistant playing and feeding in language and loving it 33 years on.


Continue to visit our website from March 8-13 for more amazing stories and insights from women at Telethon Speech & Hearing. Visit the International Women’s Day website for more information about how you can help forge a gender equal world. #IWD2020 #EachforEqual #EachforEquity