The Shepherd Centre has made significant progress in establishing local and permanent services in Tasmania over the past six months.
Thanks to generous community support from Tasmanian Community Foundation, The Shepherd Centre now offers local services in Tasmania.
In February 2022, after offering Telehealth and visiting services to Tasmanian children for over 10 years, we opened the first specialist early intervention service for all children with hearing loss in Tasmania, ensuring equitable access to life-changing support, long-term wellbeing, and community cohesion.
The team led an outreach visit to Launceston and Burnie to support children and families in and around these locations. They provided essential in-person support, including audiology services, such as listening checks and testing hearing devices to ensure every child has optimal access to sound.
“By February, I supported 17 children and families through home visits and online Telehealth sessions. In just four months, this has increased to 29 families. This amazing growth (70% increase) demonstrates the need for support and growing awareness in the community of The Shepherd Centre’s services,” says Tiffany Slater, Senior Listening and Spoken Language Therapist.
During this time, Tiffany has also been conducting school visits to support teachers whose students have hearing loss and to ensure the classroom and other learning environments are set up to be acoustically sound. Teachers are also taught strategies and techniques to ensure their student(s) can hear well, participate fully, and have the same opportunities as their hearing peers.
“I am grateful to The Shepherd Centre, particularly Tiff. After just two sessions with Tiff, we feel held and supported in our new journey. I have already learnt so much!”
- Timi, local parent receiving support
“Living in a smaller community we feel so grateful to receive support from The Shepherd Centre that otherwise would not be available to us. Madelyn eagerly looks forward to her online sessions with Tiffany and loves that she can use her own books/toys from home to incorporate in to her speech therapy. We have already noticed great improvements in Madelyn’s speech since beginning therapy in April.”
- Kirsty, local parent who joined our teleintervention program
“We are also excited to be running our first ever in-person group program ‘Off to School’ from July. It prepares children with hearing loss for school, teaching them important skills to help them transition into a noisier classroom environment and make friends. This is a milestone for the families in our care. For many, it will be the first time they will access in-person group support and meet other local families with hearing loss,” says Tiffany.