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Hear to Listen Aboriginal Student Services Program - Cora Barclay Centre

The statistics around the incidence and prevalence of indigenous hearing issues are confronting. Up to 67% of school-age Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are affected by Otitis Media. The impact of this is that educational outcomes are difficult to obtain when students cannot hear their teacher.


Taking into the account the results of a feasability study undertaken by the Cora Barclay Centre in 2014 the Hear to Listen program has been developed. 


The Hear to Listen program works with students of an Aboriginal background to help them overcome the issues they face in managing their hearing loss and teaching them to use their residual hearing to learn to listen and to speak. It does this by teaming each student with a local Aboriginal Education Worker(s) provided by the school. A Cora Barclay Centre Teacher of the Deaf then trains the Aboriginal Education Worker to provide them with the tools necessary to conduct face-to-face therapy sessions with their student. After an initial intensive induction session, ongoing coaching sessions will be conducted by the Cora Barclay Centre Teacher of the Deaf using video conferencing technology to guide and support the worker for each student therapy session.


Whilst following the traditional methodology used for metropolitan students, the program is designed to overcome three major difficulties experienced when using a standard therapy approach:

  • Irregular school attendance: As the program is designed to upskill and be delivered by local Aboriginal Education Workers, individual therapy sessions can be scheduled at a time that suits the student and the worker and is not reliant on the attendance of the child on a particular day
  • Difficulty in building rapport via Video Conferencing: Face to face therapy sessions are conducted between the Aboriginal Education Worker and the student who already have an established relationship. Video Conferencing will be used between the Aboriginal Education Worker and the Cora Barclay Centre Teacher of the Deaf who will have the ability and knowledge to deal with the technology
  • Language and cultural barriers: As the sessions will be delivered by the Aboriginal Education Worker, sessions can be tailored to meet the cultural requirements of the students, in the language most appropriate to the student and following the school curriculum if necessary


A key benefit of the program is that it upskills local workers on the ground so that more than just one child will benefit. 



Jack Neale

Growing up in a remote community and being around family members who have symptoms of deafness, I know how hard it is for kids with a hearing loss to finish school. Being involved with
the Cora Barclay Centre I look forward to giving back to the community by spreading the word about the Hear to Listen program, and also letting kids know that having a hearing loss doesn’t
mean you can’t finish school and get a further education. Every child can be the best they can be in life, no matter what struggles they face.

- Jake Neade,
Port Adelaide Football Player