The last two decades have seen rapid changes in detection, amplification and education approaches for deaf and hard of hearing children. Not only are these children detected earlier than ever before, but they can access far more sophisticated and varied interventions. What benefits have been reaped from these advances in terms of language, mental health, quality of life, education, and other outcomes? Have all children benefited equally? Should we be detecting and acting on milder hearing losses? Addressing these questions requires large-scale, population-based studies, such as those conducted at the Centre for Community Child Health and Murdoch Childrens Research Institute over the last two decades.
Dr Melissa Wake (pictured right) and Dr Zeffie Poulakis took a full house of 90 hearing loss professionals on a fascinating two hour journey at VDEI’s third Masterclass at the Monash University Conference Centre on Collins Street, Melbourne on 29 June 2011.
Dr Melissa Wake is the Director of Research and Associate Director at the Centre for Community Child Health at the Royal Children’s Hospital. The Centre for Community Child Health (CCCH) has been at the forefront of Australian research into early childhood development and behaviour for over two decades.
Dr Zeffie Poulakis is Director of the Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program (VIHSP) at the Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Community Child Health; coordinator of the Royal Children’s Hospital’s Child and Family Psychology Clinic; and Deputy Stream Leader of the Hearing Language and Literacy Stream of the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.
The event was live captioned by AI-Live and Auslan interpreted.
It was inspiring to see so many practitioners interested in the current research. Participants also had the opportunity to look back over nearly 20 years at the VIHSP program and the unfolding schema of factors influencing educational outcomes.
The research takes the perspective of the child’s journey assessed longitudinally on an individual level and transposes that information onto social/academic networks which are relevant to the child. Of particular note was the importance of creating a databank of longitudinal population-based information that is not clinically biased which will help to build the framework of factors influencing intervention and have a major impact on programs.