• Early Intervention

    Early intervention is critical for children who have hearing loss to reach their full potential in life and every child is unique as are their needs.

    When should Early Intervention start?

    Early intervention should start soon after your baby or child has been diagnosed with hearing loss.

    Our early intervention program is family-centred and evidence-based using best practice strategies in the field of deaf education.  Our team will work with you to develop a program that will suit your child’s needs.

    A typical program might include:

    • An introductory appointment (before enrolment)
    • Preparation and regular review of Family Support Service Plans
    • Regular intervention sessions with a specialist Early Intervention Coordinator
    • Regular speech and language assessments by a Speech Pathologist to monitor progress, to give you feedback on your child’s communication development and to plan your child’s next goals
    • Individualised speech pathology sessions and therapy programs (as needed)
    • Support and advice regarding your child’s overall development, including behaviour
    • Regular involvement in one or more of our small group programs
    • Visits to local community programs (e.g. day care, kinder) to support educators to understand your child’s needs in these settings
    • Support with the transition to school e.g. liaison with Teachers of the Deaf, written reports to support funding applications and attendance at meetings between parents and the school
    • Family support and counselling if required
    • Support and information sessions for parents and families, such as Life After Taralye
    • Liaison with the National Disability Insurance Agency, Australian Hearing, Cochlear Implant Clinic, Royal Children’s Hospital and other early intervention agencies.

    Programs are funded by state and federal governments, benevolent grants and donations

    Overview

    Click Here for a summary of Early Intervention programs and funding

     Information brochure

    Read our Early Intervention information brochure here.

    FAQ

    View the frequently asked questions

    Contact details

    For further information regarding early intervention please contact:

    Helen Harrington-Johnson – Manager, Early Intervention on:

    T: 9875-6646
    M: 0439-333-103
    E: helen@taralye.org.au

  • Introductory program

    This program comprises an individual appointment with Taralye’s early intervention manager or enrolment and support coordinator, who will introduce you to our other programs and answer your questions.

    Annual speech and language assessment

    Taralye conducts annual speech and language assessments to monitor each child’s progress, to provide families with feedback, and to develop individualised goals for each child.

    Psychological development assessment

    Hearing loss can accompany other developmental challenges. You will want to know if your child is achieving particular skills within the expected time frame. Our early intervention staff are knowledgeable in assessing infant and child development and will discuss with you any developmental concerns that may arise. If your child is not making the expected progress in a particular area, we can help identify the issue and suggest additional forms of support that will be helpful. We can refer you to our psychologist who offers a full developmental assessment for your child.

    Family support

    From the time that a family enters Taralye, support services are available.  We understand that the diagnosis of hearing loss in a child may precipitate significant changes in the life of a family. Whatever your feelings are, it is important to share them and remember that there is support to help you. Our services are available to families throughout their involvement at Taralye.

    Parent education and support

    Taralye runs support and information sessions for parents and families, including a pamper night for mums and an annual Life after Taralye information night where past students return to share their experiences and successes with current families.

    Childcare centre and kindergarten visits

    Our staff can visit your child’s day care centre or kindergarten to assist staff and teachers how to support the specific intervention needs of your child, including the management of hearing aids, cochlear implants and other assistive technologies.

    Speech pathology

    A Taralye speech pathologist will tailor a speech and language program to suit your child’s needs. A typical speech pathology program might include one-on-one sessions with a speech pathologist, visits to your child’s day-care centre, kindergarten or school, and consultation with other professionals and teachers.

     

    Other programs

    Audiology and Otology Clinic

    Our Audiology and Otology Clinic is available for children from birth up to 18 years of age.

    Early Learning Program (at Blackburn)

    Our Early Learning program offers play-based groups for children aged between 18 months and four years and their families. The program builds children’s confidence in group settings, social skills and readiness for kindergarten.

    Kindergarten (at Blackburn)

    Taralye Kindergarten offers kindergarten programs for 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds that include both children with normal hearing and those with hearing loss. The Kindergarten program stimulates children’s development and builds self-confidence and social skills to prepare children for school.

    Our teachers and support staff are highly experienced in meeting the needs of children with hearing loss. The environment is also optimally adapted to the needs of children with a hearing loss through the use of assistive technology and acoustically optimal environments.

    Inclusion workshops

    Our Inclusion workshops offer community childcare and kindergarten staff intensive support in understanding the implications of hearing loss and strategies to support Taralye children who attend these programs in their local community.

  • Q: What funding is available for children with hearing loss?

    A: This depends upon the type and severity of your child’s hearing loss. Some children will qualify to receive funding from the Federal Government under the Better Start for Children with a Disability program. In addition, you can speak to your family doctor about Medicare rebates that may be available for individual therapy. At the present time, the National Disability Insurance Scheme is being rolled out in specific areas of Victoria and this may change the way in which funding is distributed.

    Q. What is the NDIS?

    A. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a new way of providing support to Australians with disability. It represents a fundamental reform to the way services for disability are funded and delivered across Australia.

    NDIS is intended to improve disability services and to provide greater control and decision making to people with disability in Australia, or the people who care for them. Thus for families of children who have hearing loss, NDIS will allow families greater choice and direct control of their child’s funding. This means that instead of Taralye receiving funding, eligible children will be funded in order for their families to purchase early intervention programs and services.

    More information about the NDIS here.

    Q.  This sounds like the ‘Better Start’ program. What is the difference between Better Start and NDIS?

    A. Better Start is also a national program which puts funding directly under the control of families to purchase appropriate services for their children. Better Start however is only available for children with limited diagnoses (including hearing loss) up to seven years of age. The NDIS is a much larger program, funding all eligible Australian citizens (children as well as adults) who have a disability which impacts on key areas of their lives. At any one time, once the NDIS is fully rolled out, it is anticipated that there will be more than 400,000 Australians receiving funding through the NDIS. As the NDIS is rolled out, the Better Start program will cease.

    Q. What will happen to families who are currently accessing Taralye’s services?

    A. Taralye’s focus will always be on the continuation of high quality early intervention services across Victoria.  Taralye is a registered NDIS service provider and we have several families enrolled in our programs in the trial area of Barwon. These families are receiving funding from the NDIS and are purchasing their early intervention support from us. Thus we are already developing experience in working with the NDIS funding model.

    On a  national level, Taralye is collaborating closely with our affiliated First Voice Australian centres, to lobby the government for the best level of funding to families whose children have hearing loss, as well as building an increasing understanding of how the scheme will operate.

    Q. Will Taralye be able to support families of children who may be ineligible for the NDIS? What about families who are not Australian citizens?

    A. Taralye is committed to providing access to early intervention for children with hearing loss who may be ineligible for NDIS funding.  Currently some of our enrolled children are ineligible for Better Start funding, and we are able to offer a range of programs to them and their families through our fundraising endeavours and the generosity of our benefactors.

    Q. How can I become more familiar with the NDIS?

    Taralye will continue to update you during the trial period. If you have any questions that are not answered in this list, please contact us. We also encourage families to register on the NDIS website for regular updates.

    Q: My child has been diagnosed with a hearing loss, what services do you provide?

    A: At Taralye our focus is on developing children’s oral communication in the presence of a hearing impairment. We offer a family-centred, play-based program which is founded on a partnership with the family so that sessions can take place in the natural environment of the home where children learn best. We also offer centre- and community-based services, where we offer group programs to further develop children’s language and social skills and to allow parents to meet.  Each child is allocated an Early Intervention Coordinator and has access to speech pathology, a developmental psychologist, a social worker, an audiology and an Ear Nose and Throat clinic. Early Intervention Coordinators can also promote inclusion support through visiting childcare centres and kindergartens to liaise with staff on behalf of children. Taralye also offers information evenings and social functions for families.

    Q: When will my child learn to talk?

    A: The development of early language skills varies for each individual. With early diagnosis through newborn hearing screening in hospitals, and through early intervention, use of appropriate assistive technology and parents’ rich language input to the child, children with hearing loss can reach their full potential to communicate using spoken language.

    Q: My baby will not be getting cochlear implants for a number of months. What can I do in the meantime to support his/her language growth?

    A: Your child will be wearing hearing aids while waiting for cochlear implants. During this time, continue to engage with your baby using eye contact, smiling and other facial expressions. Imitate your baby’s sounds and vocalisations (such as cooing) and use a singsong voice with lots of intonation. Sing to your baby, look at books with them and talk about things around them. Remember that talking is only one way to communicate, and that what’s important is nurturing a loving bond with your baby from which language will later grow.

    Q: The hearing aids don’t seem to make any difference so what’s the point of talking if they can’t hear me anyway?

    A: Even though your baby may not obviously react to sound with the hearing aids in, some sound will still reach the auditory nerve. This may not be the full range of sounds in speech, but they may pick up on e.g. lower-pitched sounds or the melodic patterns and intonation contours of speech. Whatever input they do receive will provide beneficial stimulation to the auditory nerve while you are waiting for cochlear implants.

    Q: My child keeps pulling off/chewing his/her hearing aids or coils. What can I do?

    A: This is a trying stage that all young children with devices go through. There are some products that can help keep them on such as huggie clips, double-sided tape, mesh bonnets and headbands. Talk to your audiologist at Australian Hearing about what products they have or recommend. In addition, you can try to keep your child occupied with a toy or activity in their hands to distract them from pulling off their device. Actively engaging with family members in daily interactions and routines will also provide them with healthy distraction. For children with cochlear implants, a fabric headband has been developed by Taralye mum, Hollie. Information and a contact form for queries are available on her blog Harry’s Ears.

    Q: My child won’t wear his/her hearing aids/coils in the car. What will I do?

    A: Try and establish the reason for your child not wanting to wear them in the car. You may find it helps to use an FM unit to help reduce the background noise level in the car coming from the engine, fans, open windows etc. An FM unit can help provide a clearer signal from the speaker and encourage device wear.

    Q: We don’t speak English at home. Is it OK to speak to our hearing-impaired child in our own language?

    A: Your child is part of a community and a culture as well as being a member of your family. These links are vitally important, and hearing and speaking your home language will help your child to participate fully in these aspects of his/her life. Your own language can be incorporated into your daily routines and experiences in place of English. Exposure to the home language won’t negatively affect your child’s ability to acquire spoken language.

    Q: Will my child sound like they have a hearing impairment when they speak?

    A: With early diagnosis and appropriate use of assistive technology children can hear the sounds of speech better than ever before and have the potential to develop clear speech and very effective communication skills.

    Q: How do I know if the hearing aids are working?

    A: All parents are given a HEARING AID KIT from Australian Hearing with spare batteries and a STETHOCLIP. Take the hearing aid off the child. Cup the hearing aid in your hand while it is switched on. You will hear a whistle. If you don’t hear a whistle it usually means the battery is flat. Listen to the aid with a STETHOCLIP –ask the E.I.C. to show you how. You will be able to hear if the hearing aid is working properly. If the hearing aid is not working, try a new battery. Make sure the hearing aid is turned on. Check the earmould is not blocked with wax or water. If you have checked all these things and the hearing aid is still not working, inform your Early Intervention Coordinator or your audiologist at Australian Hearing. The hearing aid should not whistle. Whistling most likely occurs if the earmould has dislodged- try pushing it in gently. It might also occur if the the child wears a hat or is lying down – adjust the hat or the lying down position. If the whistling continues, it may mean the child needs a new earmould.

    Q: How can I meet other families of children with a hearing loss?

    A: Families can meet at the Taralye Playgroups which are held at Blackburn, Geelong and Gowanbrae fortnightly during school term. The Mother Goose program is weekly and held at Blackburn and at Gowanbrae in the northwest of Melbourne. We also have small-group language programs for children such as the Lunch Bunch, Once Upon a Time and Itty Bitty Book Club. These groups provide valuable opportunities for families of hearing-impaired children to meet and share their experiences. As well, Taralye hosts special evenings for families to get together throughout the year, including Mum’s Pamper Night and Information evenings.

    Q: What is an Early Intervention Coordinator and what role will they have in supporting my child and family?

    A: All children enrolled in the Taralye Early Intervention program will be allocated an Early Intervention Coordinator (E.I.C.) based upon where they live. The Early Intervention Coordinator works with the family to coordinate all the services that your child is receiving through Taralye as well as other professional, agencies and educational services (e.g. kindergartens, childcare and schools) as well as what funding they can access. The Early Intervention Coordinator will meet with the family once a month in the family home. Early Intervention Coordinators work as part of a team which includes speech pathologists, teachers of the deaf, developmental psychologists, family and support workers and a librarian. Early Intervention Coordinators are sensitive and responsive to the cultural, ethnic and socio-economic areas related to each family. They are committed to working in partnership with families and to providing information about early communication and speech and language development and how to support it.

    Q: What does oral language mean?

    A: Oral language means using spoken language as the primary means to communicate. Oral language is also the foundation on which literacy is built as children progress to school.

    Q: I live in a rural/regional area. What does Taralye provide to rural and regional families?

    A: Taralye is able to regularly visit most families in rural and regional areas. In some cases it may be more convenient for families to access our services remotely via a service called VidKids, which provides a webcam video link between you and a member of our Early Intervention team via your home computer.

    Q: What sounds should my four-month-old be making?

    A: At this stage your child will be experimenting with his/her voice and making sounds by cooing and other experimental vocalisations. Sitting face to face with your baby and responding to their vocalisations will encourage them and develop the bond between parent and child.

    Q: What can you do if I’m finding it hard to adjust to the fact that my child has a hearing impairment?

    A: Taralye has family support workers who meet with all families. They can listen to your concerns and suggest other support services that may be helpful if you are experiencing emotional, financial or other difficulties.

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