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Review of the Centres for Hearing Impaired (CHI)

21 July 2016

We are looking for feedback on a proposal to improve services for children who are deaf or hard of hearing and attend a Centre for Hearing Impaired.

The proposal outlines a plan to create centres where children can be supported to be their best. We will combine best practice education approaches and the specialist skills of our staff to do this. An extra $460,000 in resources over 4 years is also proposed.

The proposal is the result of a 2015 review into the current Centres for Hearing Impaired (CHI) which was guided by a steering committee with representatives from all the centres. Students, families, staff, governing councils, allied services and the deaf community were involved in the consultation. International research and extensive data analysis also helped to inform it.

What is being recommended?

We’re proposing that students attending a CHI will have greater access to the curriculum and support through:

  • lessons delivered simultaneously in English and Auslan by two teachers (one with Teacher of the Deaf qualifications) and support from a  School Support Officer
  • individual and tailored support where it is needed
  • access to dedicated speech pathology and psychological support
  • deaf and hard of hearing role models
  • classrooms with acoustic treatment and upgrades to meet learning needs
  • introduction of Educational Interpreters in secondary centres who have both Auslan and subject knowledge. 

Evidence from the review shows that centres with around 3-4 deaf and hard of hearing students per year level is ideal for students’ social and emotional development.

The approach provides an enriched learning environment where the deaf and hard of hearing students and their specialised support staff bring a different culture and skills into the classroom and experience the same variety of subjects with their hearing peers.

At schools where the centres are located there will be opportunities for all mainstream students to study Auslan as a second language. The department will also provide additional support for more teachers to gain Auslan qualifications.

Our goal is to give all students a strong start, with education tailored to their specific challenges, so children can become active citizens of the future.

Around 84 students across the state currently attend one of the CHIs. To help give these students best practice education and support we need to make changes. We are considering consolidating 6 centres to 4, providing 2 primary-level centres at Klemzig in the north and Brighton in the south and the maintaining 2 secondary level centres at Adelaide High and Windsor Gardens.

We will maintain the same level of staffing for specialist teaching and centre administration for students who are deaf and hard of hearing. The proposal includes new roles in speech pathology, psychology and interpreting.

Read the report and decd.specialeducation [at] sa.gov.au (subject: CHI%20Review%20feedback) (give feedback) by 31 August 2016

Support for families and staff

Any change to services is not taken lightly, and we have invested time in consulting with the families and staff during the preparation of the proposals. We will do further consultation with some families and schools next term.

Our approach is about supporting better education and wellbeing outcomes for all children who attend the centres.  

We (principals and the department) are working with the most affected families to make a plan that best suits their circumstances including assistance with transport and uniforms.

Any centre child with a hearing impairment will continue to receive a high level of support, regardless of their choice of school.

Some of the specialist teaching staff may move with their students to a new centre, while others may work with deaf and hard of hearing students in a mainstream school.  

More information

The centres are part of a range of options which support over 2000 children and students with impaired hearing. Other state-wide services for children and students with impaired hearing include: