Around seven million Australians – almost 30 per cent of the population – currently live in rural and remote areas (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2017).
Particularly in a state as vast as Queensland, geographic isolation can mean families risk missing access to health and wellbeing services – hence the critical importance of initiatives such as
Hear and Say’s Telepractice program.
For over a decade, the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation has worked alongside Hear and Say to empower regional Queensland children who are deaf or hard of hearing to achieve the same outcomes as their city-based peers.
Now, in a new partnership launched in January, this support will expand even further. Across the next three years, the Foundation will assist Hear and Say to enhance connectivity for regional and remote families, through increased social skills and wellbeing programs, together with specialist services which work to achieve children’s speech and language outcomes equivalent to metropolitan peers.
“Over 50 families across regional Queensland and beyond currently access Hear and Say’s services through telepractice, and our research demonstrates that our online service delivery approach has equivalent outcomes to in-centre support,” said Hear and Say CEO, Chris McCarthy.
“With the generous support of the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, Hear and Say will be better equipped to provide families with seamless access to global-standard, specialised listening, speech and language therapies, as well as assessments, hearing technology support and unique social skills programs.
“Children who are deaf or hard of hearing can progress at the same rate as their typically hearing peers. Ultimately, the aim is to ensure that all children who are deaf or hard of hearing have access to specialised support, so that they have the opportunity to reach their full potential – regardless of where they live. “