For children with a hearing loss, access to the same education options as their mainstream peers is invaluable. At Telethon Speech & Hearing, we’ve provided this opportunity through our in-school Outpost support program since 1979.
The only program of its kind in Australia, the Outpost support program is spread over a network of primary and secondary schools across Perth. The program allows students with a hearing loss, from Kindergarten to Year 12, to attend mainstream classes while at the same time receiving individual support and assistance to ensure they do not fall behind. In our unique model, a teacher of the deaf and education assistants from Telethon Speech & Hearing are based in each school so that students can have the same experiences as their hearing peers.
Every Outpost student has access to:
- Education assistants and notetakers available for in-class support.
- Individual sessions with a teacher of the deaf, covering language, speech, listening, cognition and educational support.
- On-site, specialist staff to support class teachers.
- Access to a speech pathologist for testing and individual therapy.
- Access to a psychologist for educational and social/emotional assessment plus some individual counselling.
- Access to occupational therapy assessment and program set up.
- Audiological management of hearing loss and equipment.
- Full cochlear implant support.
- Parent education sessions.
- Parent peer support.
- Individual parent/child and teacher of the deaf sessions.
- Individualised programs designed by a team of professionals plus the family.
While the benefit to the student with a hearing loss is apparent, there are also many positive outcomes for the school and its students. Students and teachers can discover new and effective ways of communicating, while innovative teaching methods can be introduced. There will also be opportunities to meet a wide range of professionals and other people not normally associated with the school. This improves the school’s ability to meet the needs of all students and promotes inclusion in the school environment.
It is important that the attitudes and expectations towards the learning and behaviour of students with hearing loss should be the same as those held for any student in the school. When students with hearing loss are given the right support and provided with positive learning experiences, their potential is unlimited.