Statewide Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) supports the needs of students, families, caregivers and school and regional staff through statewide, cross-sector advisory and direct services.
DHHS builds the capability and confidence of school teams, parents and caregivers to support students who have been identified through the Education Adjustment Program (EAP) in the category of hearing impairment to access, participate and engage in the curriculum and all aspects of school life developing into life-long learners. Priorities include:
- improving language and literacy
- providing access to appropriate quality pedagogy
- supporting effective transitions
- increasing engagement and wellbeing of students, families and communities.
DHHS provides a range of supports to ensure that deaf and hard of hearing students are accessing, participating and succeeding at school.
What is hearing loss?
People also may use the words deaf, deafness, or hard of hearing when they're talking about hearing loss.
Hearing loss happens when there is an issue with one or more parts of the ear or ears, the nerves coming from the ears, or the part of the brain that controls hearing.
A child who has hearing loss might be able to hear some parts of words, muffled sounds or nothing at all. A child's hearing loss can be a sensorineural hearing loss, a conductive hearing loss or a mixed hearing loss. The hearing loss can also be a bilateral hearing loss or the child can have single-sided deafness
About 3 in 1,000 babies are born with hearing loss. Babies in Australia are routinely screened in the Newborn Hearing Screening. However, a hearing loss can also develop later in life and be caused by genetic issues, illness or trauma.
Impact of hearing loss
Any degree of hearing loss is educationally significant.
Because hearing loss is invisible, it is difficult understand just how much it can affect a child's day-to-day life and lifelong potential. However, it is accepted that children who have a hearing loss are at educational risk. Parents, teachers, audiologists and other professionals work together with the child and the family, to understand the hearing loss and to advocate for their individual needs. Hearing loss can impact a child's access to language. It can impact listening, learning, exposure to incidental language as well as impacting social skills and identity. Children who are deaf or hard of hearing may experience considerable fatigue when in busy classroom environments.
For some deaf and hard of hearing children, early access to consistent visual language is imperative. Children need access to language that is abundant, interactive and consistent. A rich language model will then facilitate accurate, appropriate and complete language development. In Australia, this language is called Auslan, it is the language of the Deaf Community in Australia.
How can Statewide Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services help?
Statewide Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services provides support for families, children and schools. Teachers experienced in working with children or students with hearing loss are available to answer questions and to provide resources and services.
Statewide Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services can put you in touch with your local Advisory Visiting Teacher—Hearing Impairment, your Regional Auslan Coach or your local Department of Education Office in your Region to find out how you can get help in your local area. Statewide Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services also provides Auslan Support Funding, including Teacher aid—Educational Interpreters and Teacher aide—Auslan Language Models.
Advisory Visiting Teacher: Hearing Impairment
Advisory Visiting Teacher (AVT) support is available for all verified students with a hearing loss. AVTs are experienced teachers of the deaf who have experience in hearing devices, classroom adaptations and curriculum differentiation for deaf and hard of hearing students. They provide advice to classroom teachers and school teams around adjustments for deaf and hard of hearing students.
Regional Auslan Coach
Regional Auslan Coaches (RAC) are available in each region where a student is using Auslan to access the curriculum. RAC coordinate classroom support for students using Auslan to access the curriculum. They recruit and train Educational Interpreters and Auslan language Models. They assess students as well as providing professional development for all school teams.
Teacher aide: Educational Interpreter
A Teacher aid—Educational Interpreter, interprets what is said in and outside the classroom environment, and assists with the communicative needs of deaf/hard of hearing students using Australian Sign Language (Auslan).
Teacher aide: Auslan Language Model
A Teacher aide—Auslan Language Model, provides a language model for students learning Australian Sign Language (Auslan), their parents and teachers, and assist with the communicative needs of these students within the school environment
Early intervention support
Early Childhood Development Programs (ECDP)
External services and programs
Deaf Children Australia
Hear for You
Hear and Say Centre
Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children
Victorian Deaf Education Centre
Enquiries to the Statewide Deaf and Hard of Hearing Service can be made via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning (07) 3028 8102.