At the core of Hear and Say – as with all First Voice centres – is the importance of connection and communication.
With the world having reached the unenviable milestone of over 18 months since the pandemic began, Hear and Say’s Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) team is now a well-oiled machine when it comes to supporting families through a lockdown.
Although in thankfully shorter-lived phases as compared with southern counterparts, this unprecedented era of physical Hear and Say centres having to temporarily close has necessitated swift action and innovation to avoid compromised clinical outcomes, and to ensure children with hearing loss aren’t forced to wait for urgent services.
Where restrictions have required, all families have been offered telepractice-based LSL appointments. This includes a number of Group Social Skills programs, including Listen Little Stars for babies up to 12 months, and LEAP for children aged one to five. Families are sent a session plan beforehand, with specific activities, clinical goals and a list of household staples to gather as resources. It’s often required creativity from clinicians to work with what’s available, but has seen families overall respond positively to the opportunity to continue connecting with others on a similar journey.
The transition has been so successful that Hear and Say has seen an exponential increase of families opting for a hybrid of both in-person and telepractice LSL therapy lessons more generally. This has also translated in a far greater level of comfort from families in considering telepractice when an appointment from their own home is better suited, rather than postponing – a win-win for all.