The Carel du Toit Centre’s Audiology team offers comprehensive diagnostic audiological evaluations; hearing aid fittings and –management, as well as verification for all infants and children enrolled in our programme.
This ensures that our infants and children have immediate access to quality and comprehensive audiological services on site.
The audiologists have regular consultations with families and children, teachers, therapists and other professional people involved, following evidence-based procedures and protocols.
Because hearing all day, every day, is vital to the success of our children, our services are available throughout the year and not dependent on the school term.
Evaluations include establishing case history and concerns, otoscopy, pure-tone and speech testing using air and bone conduction (Visual Response Audiometry; Conditioned Play Audiometry; Standard Audiometry), tympanometry and acoustic reflex testing, oto-acoustic emissions testing, electrophysiological testing (Auditory Brainstem Response; Auditory Steady State Responses) and other specialised tests when needed.
Speech therapy at the Carel du Toit Centre plays a central role to the ongoing progress of the learners. The Centre is unique in that every learner at the school requires and receives weekly speech therapy input from the age of 4 years right up until Grade 3. The learners are assessed bi-annually and individual intervention plans are created to develop their speech, language and listening skills. Parents are encouraged to attend the weekly sessions to enable easier carryover of the therapy targets at home. Parents are equipped and guided to facilitate their child’s listening and spoken language development.
The speech therapists also support the educators and learners through classroom intervention for the Grade R to Grade 3 classes. These classroom sessions focus on building early literacy and auditory skills and assisting the educators with classroom goals.
As a resource centre we also offer support to mainstream schools and are currently running an outreach programme at Parow East Primary School. This programme involves weekly classroom intervention and guidance for the teachers.
The speech therapy department continues to grow and now consists of 2 full-time speech therapists, a community service speech therapist and two part-time speech therapists.
The Social Worker works with our deaf children as well as their families. The purpose is to ensure that the family unit is supported, guiding them through the emotional process and assist them with adjusting to the new reality of raising a deaf child. Follow up interviews are conducted every six months with the objective to assess whether the parents are coping and if any additional support is needed. Parents also are invited to attend monthly support group sessions.
The Social Worker works closely with the child’s interventionist (therapist) to ensure that all aspects of the family and child’s development and progress are monitored.
In cooperation with the Audiology Departments of Tygerberg Hospital and the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, the Carel du Toit Centre’s Social Work office has taken care of most of the Care Dependency Grants. It is important to note that if you do apply for a grant, you will need to do so via the referring hospital.
The Social Worker facilitates monthly Parent Group gatherings, with the aim to provide an opportunity to meet with parents on the same journey. Parents report that by sharing their own story and hearing other parents’ life stories they feel more positive and less isolated. There are on average 10 parents at each gathering. The group has been split into two: one group with parents of babies under the age of two; and the other with parents of school going children.
There are many parents struggling financially and the social work office has launched a database of details of parents who are seeking employment. If you are able to assist in this regard, please contact the Centre.
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:
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.