As Hear and Say celebrates its 30th year, Executive Director and Founder, Dr Dimity Dornan AO, reflects on all that Hear and Say and First Voice have achieved.
“The listening and speaking outcomes for children who are deaf or hard of hearing is what has driven my passion all these years,” said Dimity.
“The changes that I’ve seen are huge. When I started in 1992 if you were born with severe or profound hearing loss, you usually needed sign language to communicate. Today, thanks to the advances in hearing technology and listening and spoken language therapy, we know that communicating through spoken language is a very real option for most babies born deaf.”
Dimity knew that Hear and Say could not maximise these ground-breaking outcomes working in isolation, so turned to like-minded organisations for support.
“Forming First Voice was extremely important for children in Australia who were born with hearing loss. As the numbers of families choosing listening and speaking outcomes grew, it was really important for us to gather research and funding so that these children could receive an intensive education in their earliest years,” said Dimity.
“I believe that First Voice has spearheaded the gathering of pertinent evidence that will prove that by starting early with children who are born with, or acquire a hearing loss then you can achieve wonderful outcomes. The sky is the limit not their hearing loss.”