I recently visited the newly opened Shepherd Centre in Hobart. The Shepherd Centre is a not-for-profit providing specialised programs for children with hearing loss and their families. Their programs help children of all ages; from their world-leading early intervention system for babies and toddlers, through to a mentoring program which supports school-aged children and teenagers, even young adults.
The Shepherd Centre’s goal is to identify and help hearing loss as early as possible with early intervention programs to make positive impacts on the lives of Australians with hearing loss, and produce short and long-term returns to our economy and society.
Many children with hearing loss don’t receive the help they need, which can lead to significant challenges in language and social skills, leading to ongoing difficulties. That makes the work of the Shepard Centre particularly important for our state. They’ve been operating on the mainland for 50 years, but only now through federal funding of $3 million from the Albanese government have they been able to expand to Tasmania and establish the centre in Hobart.
All evidence shows that early intervention and proper support can be lifechanging for children’s development. The outcome of early intervention through the Shepard Centre can be that children enter mainstream schooling with spoken language and social skills matching those of children without hearing loss. This of course leads to one day young adults entering the workforce or higher education at the same rate as the general population and becoming active economic contributors to society.
I was so pleased to spend time speaking with representatives from the Shepherd Centre and see the amazing work they do.
Luke Edmunds with Rebecca White and a family at the Shepherd Centre in Hobart.