Dr Andy Cornes is an international expert in the social, emotional and psychological development of deaf and hard of hearing children. His seminal work on the assessment of signing deaf children (PhD dissertation, University of Sydney) is the first examination of the types of psychological problems seen in this population in Australia.
Andy is also a practising clinician (dually qualified as a psychologist and a systemic psychotherapist) and is in frequent demand to offer a therapeutic and systemic perspective to a wide-range of professionals to help them rethink what children’s behaviour is communicating.
On 4 and 5 of August 2011, Andy held an engaging two day professional development workshop for 90 professionals at the Jasper hotel & Conference Centre in Melbourne. The workshop provided a theoretical framework in which to understand common and more complex problems observed by professionals working with deaf children and to offer practical advice on how to manage the behaviours (moving from an established view - pre-reflective thinking, to a more flexible informed view - post-reflective thinking).
Topics included the socialisation of deaf children and adolescents, case examples of systemic thinking and joined up thinking, behaviour management and emotional, behavioural and psychological problems.
Andy captured the essence of recognising the child behind the hearing loss, the importance of looking at his or her skills, and finding solutions to instead of focusing on problems. Andy inspired professionals to maintain flexibility in dealing with behavioural issues and enhance their skills. He emphasised the importance of expert collaboration, seeking professional support and supervision, and expanding the professional sector to include communication specialists.
From a professional perspective, the importance of support services sharing information is key to a quality provision of service for the child. Andy’s ability to share both his extensive breadth of experience working with deaf and hard of hearing students (oral and signing) and their families and his practical expertise combined with up to the minute research in such a meaningful way was invaluable.
The event was live captioned by AI-Live and Auslan interpreted.