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October 28, 2002

The eyes have it when hearing fails

From: Hobart Mercury, Australia
Oct. 28, 2002


HEARING loss has been no impairment for Claremont College student Rachel Barwick.

Rachel, 15, who is moderately to profoundly deaf, is studying writer's workshop, dance and performing arts, media production and studies, English and photography.

The Year 11 student intends to go on to study for a Bachelor of Arts degree and to pursue a career in journalism and/or photography.

Rachel was born able to hear but lost her hearing through mondinis dysplasia. Since then, operations have restored part of her hearing.

With her ability to sign, talk and read lips, Rachel feels she has the best of both worlds.

"I can still enjoy myself in the hearing world, listening to music and things like that," she said.

"And I think being hearing-impaired has helped my photography because it is so visual."

Rachel's black and white photographs were on display at the Tasmania Deaf Festival at Wrest Point yesterday.

Guest speaker at the festival was Victorian College of the Deaf principal Therese Pierce, who said the lag in reading age between hearing-impaired and other children had to be addressed.

"Deaf people are visual learners and visual thinkers and we have to be able to educate them in a more visual way," Dr Pierce said.

© Davies Bros