CHAT where Children Hear And Talk
The CHAT Centre is the starting point for all families referred to the Carel du Toit Centre. Families often arrive overwhelmed and in shock after the diagnosis of a hearing loss of any degree. They have been submerged into a world that they understand very little about, but they have arrived at the right place – a place where hope, support and the family are key aspects. A place where their emotions will be respected, where they will be informed of their choices for their child, where they will be guided and coached according to international best practice if spoken language is their choice.
At CHAT, our Social Worker, supported by an audiologist, does the initial assessment and both are available for ongoing support. The family is then allocated to an Early Interventionist (coach) if spoken language is a possible outcome and the extended family including siblings are encouraged to join weekly sessions according to the wishes of the parents.
Parent Guidance sessions are about informing and empowering parents, equipping them with skills and knowledge to give their child the opportunity to use listening to develop spoken language and social skills in everyday life – to develop to their best potential; to become naturally and fully engaged within the family, who in 90% of cases, are hearing. At CHAT we also have Deaf parents, who choose for their deaf children to learn to speak.
CHAT is the foundation for all that follows at the Carel du Toit Centre because it is all about guiding and supporting the most important members of the team, the parents.
Included in our services are therefore:
- Bi-annual team discussions with the parents;
- An annual CHATerrific meeting to meet and greet other families for an inspirational morning of sharing;
- Parent-to-Parent support;
- Telephonic and on-site home support;
- Electronic and on-site Day Care and Crèche support;
- Workshops for Day Cares and Crèches;
- Tele-intervention for families who find it difficult to attend the CHAT Centre regularly;
- CHATterboxes – a fortnightly moms and tots group;
- Access to the services of an Occupational Therapist, because we are invested in developing the whole child.
CHAT is about the parents and our commitment is to provide them with a professional service. They in turn commit to doing what it takes to teach their child with hearing loss to listen and to speak. The journey is not an easy one, but it is also not a solitary one, and it is, according to our many successful families and Carel du Toit ambassadors of all ages, worth it.