At Dusseldorp Forum we believe that every child deserves to thrive and in order to do so they need to belong to safe communities, have access to inclusive and effective learning and have their wellbeing, mental and physical health needs met. We’re interested in how technological innovations can be applied to support young people so that even those in the most remote locations can access the opportunities they need to live long and full lives.

The Shepherd Centre provides a family-centred, early intervention program to teach children born deaf or hearing impaired how to develop spoken language so they can unlock their complete potential and participate fully in society.

Dusseldorp Forum is supporting the Shepherd Centre to develop and implement their Listen for Literacy school-readiness program.

Listen for Literacy is being developed to address literacy issues in deaf children, targeting pre-reading and literacy skills required for school readiness in 4-5 year old children.  There is a growing body of research evidence, supported by outcomes from The Shepherd Centre finding that children with hearing loss can acquire age-appropriate speech and language by the time they commence school, but there is a significant gap in their early literacy and phonological awareness skills needed for reading.

This innovative and customised program has been designed using an evidence based literacy program developed at Macquarie University, and adapted for use with children with hearing loss and their families. It combines professional support from Child and Family Counsellors, Listening and Spoken Language Specialists and Pediatric Audiologists.

The program is delivered face to face, to 4 and 5 year old children in their year before school and provided to regional and remote families via video conferencing.

The vast majority of children graduating from the Shepherd Centre’s current programs achieve spoken language at the same level as hearing children by the time they are ready for school.

If you’d like to learn more about the Shepherd Centre you can watch Felix’s story. This follows him from when he first arrived as a baby, all the way through to his graduation last year.