The responsibility of the Audiology Department is to ensure that the children attending the programme obtain maximum benefit from their hearing technology. The audiologists have regular consultations with learners to check their hearing and their hearing apparatus. One of the highlights of the year was the new electrophysiology equipment and training, enabling us to do objective testing on the smallest babies.
At the school, all children over four years of age receive weekly speech therapy sessions, to which parents are encouraged to attend so that they can follow through on guidelines at home. Speech and language evaluations are carried out every six months. With regard to the personnel, one speech therapist is allocated by the Western Cape Government: Health, another is employed by the School Governing Body of the Centre, and the third speech therapist is undertaking community service.
The medical social worker works with the deaf child and his or her family to assist the family unit to adjust to having a deaf child, to accept the reality of the situation and make the best thereof. Parents in the Early Information programme are followed up every six months by the medical social worker. In these interviews, the focus is on the parents’ adaptation and progress in working through their feelings about the child’s disability. Another aspect is to consider and incorporate the feedback from other therapists working with the child.
The Centre’s physiotherapy professional specialises in the identification and treatment of children with motor delay, cerebral motor disturbances, and the handling and treatment of premature babies. As most of the children require speech therapy, the physiotherapist incorporates tongue and lip movement in her sessions. The physiotherapist visits the classrooms, changes learners’ sitting positions and postures where necessary, and gives the appropriate exercises and activities that can be performed in classrooms. Her visits with the learners are weekly at the Centre.
Occupational therapy at the Centre assists in the detection and treatment of conditions that frequently occur in children with hearing and speech impairment, which are detrimental to their development and daily function. These conditions are related to motor, sensory and visual perceptual functions and their participation in activities of daily living.