Deaf Child Centre Annual Report - 1999
The Deaf Child Centre was established in 1996 in response to the need for aural rehabilitation for hearing impaired children in the Western Cape. The centre was established under the auspices of the Departments of Logopaedics, Otolaryngology and the Child Health Unit, University of Cape Town. It is housed at the Developmental Clinic of the Child Health Unit, University of Cape Town in Rondebosch. Since its inception, the Deaf Child Centre has continued to offer a comprehensive service to hearing impaired children and their families in the Western Cape, training to Logopaedics students from the University of Cape Town and a suitable setting for research to be undertaken in the field of deafness.
In the past year much development has occurred at the Deaf Child Centre in terms of the number of hearing impaired children receiving a service, the nature and scope of the service provided and the growth and sustainability of the pre-school. In response to the need for the services offered at the Deaf Child Centre to be made more accessible to the disadvantaged communities, an outreach community based service, referred to as the HARK Project was established. Following the formation of a partnership between the University of Cape Town and the Commonwealth Society for the Deaf (London), the HARK Project directed by the Deaf Child Centre was implemented in March 1999. This service is provided at primary and secondary health care levels in the Cape Metropole and the Boland/Overberg regions. The Deaf Child Centre Pre-School, which previously consisted of one pre-school class of eighteen hearing impaired children, will as from January 2000 have a total enrolment of 41 hearing impaired children including a grade 1 class. Furthermore the Deaf Child Centre Pre-School and Junior School is from January 2000 being subsidised by the Western Cape Education Department.
The Audiology Department at Red Cross Hospital continued to undertake the majority of hearing assessments and provision of referrals for aural rehabilitation at the Deaf Child Centre. Hearing assessments are administered at the Deaf Child Centre on a weekly basis in support of the neuro-developmental assessment clinic of the Developmental Clinic of the Child Health Unit.
An outpatient clinic conducted by three speech pathologists/audiologists and supported by IV year speech pathology/audiology students (Dept of Logopaedics, UCT) and a deaf adult signer is held on a weekly basis. In the outpatient clinic initial interviews with the families of hearing impaired children, hearing aid assessments, speech and language assessments and counselling are provided. Referrals for additional medical or paramedical assessments are made and undertaken by staff at the Developmental Clinic. Educational placements and support for the children in mainstream education is provided.
Hearing aid evaluations and fittings are
carried out three days per week. Qualified audiologists undertake the evaluations and
fittings. To date, Red Cross Hospital does not have a formal budget for the purchase of
hearing aids. Hence, the Deaf Child Centre has had to rely on the donation of second hand
hearing aids from the USA and the UK. Although these donated hearing aids have allowed for
many children to have the opportunity of receiving amplification, there are some children
who are not fitted with the most appropriate hearing aid and therefore are not deriving
maximum benefit from amplification. Continued appeals will be made to the Department of
Health for the provision of hearing aids for hearing impaired children. All hearing aid
fittings are carefully monitored and follow up rehabilitation sessions are provided.
In acknowledgement of family training programmes being currently hailed as the best service delivery model for hearing impaired children, the Deaf Child Centre has focused its aural rehabilitation on the family rather than on the individual child. Family training programmes are offered on a weekly basis and are very well attended. This programme is co-ordinated by a qualified speech pathologist/audiologist who is specialising in the field of parent training and a deaf signing adult. In addition students from the Department of Logopaedics and an interpreter from Red Cross Hospital provide input into the programme. The parent training programme has proved to be highly successful and its component parts include information giving, counselling, development of communicative strategies, the learning of sign language and educational advocacy. Research measuring the efficacy of the programme was undertaken and reported on in 1998.
Individual speech and language (spoken/sign) assessments are undertaken during the outpatient clinic. Although some of the assessments include the use of formal standardised assessment tools, more informal methods of assessments, which are culturally and linguistically sensitive, are undertaken. The need for further development of culturally appropriate assessment tools is well recognised and research in this area will be undertaken at the Deaf Child Centre in 2000.
Individual and group therapy is provided on a weekly basis to hearing impaired children who present with delayed speech and language skills. In addition children presenting with central auditory processing difficulties receive therapy. Therapy is provided by qualified speech pathologists/audiologists and by IV year speech pathology/audiology students.
The Deaf Child Centre Pre-School has shown much growth and development in this past year. In January 1999, as a result of an increased number of children attending the school, the need arose for the school to be moved from its base at the Child Health Unit to an educational setting. The principal, staff and governing body of Mary Kihn School for the Hearing Impaired supported the needs of the Deaf Child Centre Pre-School and agreed to it being housed on their property. Accommodation for these children was made possible by the very generous donation of a container converted into a classroom by Rotary Le Cap De Tempetes. Further donations made by Le Cap De Tempetes allowed for the fitting of air conditioners and heating.
During 1999 the pre-school consisted of one pre-school class of eighteen, severe-profoundly deaf children ranging in the age from three six years. Although there was a waiting list of an additional eighteen children for the pre-school in 1999, they were unable to be accommodated due to a lack of funds and physical space.
In the beginning of 1999, a very generous donation was made by D.G. Murray Trust to the Deaf Child Centre, which funded the employment of a qualified pre-school teacher and a deaf signing teacher assistant. The dedication, commitment and enthusiasm displayed by the pre-school teacher and the assistant resulted in a very successful year, with six of the children showing sufficient linguistic and cognitive development to be able to commence with formal primary schooling in January 2000. Throughout the year much emphasis was placed on linguistic stimulation and development and all children were taught using sign language as the primary mode of communication.
The children attending the school are from financially disadvantaged families and hence the Deaf Child Centre provided transport to and from the school on a daily basis. The majority of the funding for the transport was donated by a matching grant from a Rotary Organisation Essen Ost in collaboration with Rotary Le Cap De Tempetes .
For the past three year a primary objective of the Deaf Child Centre has been to move towards sustainability of the pre-school. Hence repeated discussions have been held with the Western Cape Education Department concerning their role in sustaining the school. During 1999, the Deaf Child Centre was very much involved in the Strategic Planning of the Hearing Impairment Interest Group which was concerned with the re-structuring of the schools for hearing impaired children in the Western Cape. In November 1999 the Western Cape Education Department agreed to fund the salaries of three teachers (nursery, pre-primary and grade 1), a deaf signing assistant and a significant portion of the transport costs. As a result, in the year 2000, the Deaf Child Centre Junior school will be able to accommodate 41 hearing impaired children, including eighteen children who have been attending the school and twenty three children who are currently on the waiting list. At present the school will function as a satellite school of Mary Kihn School for the Hearing Impaired. The Deaf Child Centre will continue to provide therapeutic services to the children.
Although the Western Cape Education Department has agreed to subsidise the Deaf Child Centre Junior School, there is no available accommodation for the children and the Deaf Child Centre together with the Western Cape Education Department are actively seeking a solution.
In February 1999, the University of Cape Town and the Commonwealth Society for the Deaf (London) entered into a three year partnership with the aim of providing a community based audiology service in the Western Cape. The project referred to as HARK is directed and co-ordinated by the Deaf Child Centre.
The Commonwealth Society for the Deaf provided funding for a vehicle fully equipped with audiological equipment and salaries for two audiologists/speech pathologists for a three year period.
Deaf child Centre has implemented the project within the Primary Health Care Approach and
has adopted a phased in approach, establishing the project in two regions of the Western
Cape, namely the Cape Metropole and the Boland/Overberg regions. Core principles of the
Primary Health Care Approach have been adopted in the establishment of the project.
An advisory committee comprising of members from various sectors has been established and has been instrumental in determining the vision and objectives of the projects and monitoring of the progress of the project.
Working group committees within the Cape Metropole and the Boland/Overberg regions assisted in determining the sites and nature of the service to be provided at the sites. The project is established at eleven sites in the two regions. The sites are as follows:
audiology service provided at the sites includes:
In the past eight months, much progress has been made concerning the establishment of the project. Collection, storage and analysis of data have been undertaken using the software package of Statistica. This has allowed for quantitative analysis of results to be undertaken in an effective and rapid manner. Qualitative evaluations of the sites and the nature of the service provided at the sites are carried out at regular intervals.
Detailed biannual progress reports on the HARK Project are available from the Deaf Child Centre.
training of IV year Logopaedics students from the University of Cape Town
As from January 2000, students from the University of Stellenbosch studying in the field of Speech Pathology/Audiology will receive clinical training from the HARK project and will be based at Eben Donges Hospital- Worcester. In addition they will receive clinical training in the parent training programme. This will allow for additional children and their families to receive a service.
research has emanated from the Deaf Child Centre this year, including studies in the
to be undertaken in the following year includes:
Much effort was placed
on fund raising during the year. This was primarily motivated by the staff at the Deaf
Child Centre. The Development Office at University of Cape Town have forwarded two appeals
for funds on behalf of the HARK Project. Larger donations made to the Deaf Child Centre in
1999 were as follows:
DCC Contact Details
Address: Child Health Unit, 46 Sawkins Rd., Rondebosch 7700
Tel: (021) 685 4103 x 254; Cell: 083 708 2607; Fax (021) 689 5403
Director: Dr. Dale Ogilvy
Audiologists: Shannon Brewis, Lori Michelson, Natashia van Wyk
DCC School: (021) 686 9323
Speech therapist: Ann Commerford
Teachers: Colleen Foster, Emma Coop
Signing assistants: Lindy Hilario, Tessa Kibler, Agnes Nyakaza
For more information about CHU activities contact: Professor Marian Jacobs