Hearing Awareness Week: 21 – 27 August 2011
Hearing Awareness Week kicks off today across the country (21 – 27 August) and parents of young hearing impaired children are being encouraged to sign up for new Australian Government early intervention services.
The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin and the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers Jan McLucas said families can receive up to $12,000 in services such as speech pathology, audiology and help to learn Auslan through the Better Start for Children with Disability initiative.
“Moderate or greater hearing impairment in infancy affects language development and comprehension, and if untreated, can affect a child’s participation at school,” Minister Macklin said.
“That’s why it’s so important that children with hearing impairment have access to these services as early as possible. We want to give all children the best possible start in life.”
Better Start for Children with Disability gives children under the age of six who have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, or moderate or greater vision or hearing impairment including deafblindness, access to up to $12,000 in flexible early intervention funding.
Senator McLucas said “We know that investing in early intervention for children with disabilities before they get to school gives them the best chance of reaching their full potential.”
“Better Start is making quality early intervention services such as speech pathologists and audiologists and therapies more accessible to families.”
Held annually, Hearing Awareness Week is an opportunity to raise community awareness of hearing impairment and ways to protect your hearing.
“Hearing Awareness Week is a chance for Australians with a hearing impairment to share their experiences and to encourage a greater understanding of their challenges and needs while also recognising their achievements,” Senator McLucas said.
Hearing Awareness Week follows the release of the Productivity Commission’s final report into disability care and support earlier this month.
The Government is starting work immediately with states and territories on measures that will build the foundations for a National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Better Start for Children With Disability gives parents choice about the early intervention services they access to support their children’s development.
The Productivity Commission identified that giving people more choice about the services they receive would be an essential feature of a National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Families can register for Better Start or obtain further information by calling Carers Australia 1800 242 636 or downloading an information brochure from www.fahcsia.gov.au/betterstart.