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November 13, 2003

Cochlear's 'teaching aide' Hear and Say Centre under threat

From: ABC Regional Online, Australia - Nov 13, 2003

Presenter: Kate Humphris

Did you wake up to the sound of your alarm going off this morning?

Or perhaps it was the more gentle sound of a few birds chirping outside.

Imagine never hearing these sounds we take for granted.

Years ago – being born deaf would mean you’d never hear the music of the day, crickets chirping in the garden, or the voices of your family.

But things are a bit different now.

Cochlear technology – along with hearing aids – have brought many profoundly deaf people into the noisy world.

But learning to speak with these aids is a difficult process – which is why the Hear and Say Centre was established eleven years ago.

Initially working with six children in Brisbane, the centre now operates in five locations, teaching 146 kids throughout Queensland how to speak.

Hear and Say also works closely with families of deaf children, showing them how to teach their kids to speak – which usually results in kids being able to live normal lives in the hearing world.

However, the centre runs almost entirely on donations – and the Cairns branch could close by the end of the year if $35,000 isn’t raised soon.

If it is closed – families from throughout North and Far North Queensland will be forced to travel to Brisbane on a monthly basis to receive the same service. The community of Cairns and the Far North is working together to ensure this doesn’t happen.

Many groups and individuals are donating their time and money in the hope they can save the centre – for another year at least.

Money needed to speak their mind
Meet some of the people involved in the Hear and Say centre, including founder and director Dimity Dornan – who was awarded the 2003 Australian of the Year for Queensland for her work.