NEW PLAYGROUND FOR CHILDREN WITH HEARING LOSS

Nambour Hear and Say

NEW worlds will be opened to children with hearing loss thanks to a Federal grant to build an outdoor educational playground.
Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien announced $15,000 to Nambour’s Hear and Say Centre as part of $150,000 in Stronger Communities Program grants delivered to his Fairfax electorate.
Mr O’Brien said the funding would help pay for the charity’s first outdoor playground designed specifically to stimulate children with hearing problems.
“The Nambour Hear and Say Centre’s aim is to support all children to hear, listen and speak so they can attend mainstream school and fulfil their potential,” said Mr O’Brien.
“The centre combines state-of-the-art hearing technology such as cochlear implants and digital hearing aids with specialised therapies.
“Now the children will also have their first dedicated outdoor play space featuring a wooden fort with two levels for climbing, sliding, playing. This will help develop fine and gross motor skills and social skills.”
Mr O’Brien said the Hear and Say Centre was one of 12 local groups ranging from beekeepers to scouts, sports clubs and community centre and halls to receive funding for their projects.
Hear and Say CEO Chris McCarthy said the Federal Government’s generous contribution had helped make construction of the playground a possibility.
“The playground will create a safe, engaging educational play environment for more than 50 young Sunshine Coast children with hearing loss who are learning to hear, listen and speak through our early intervention program,” said Mr McCarthy.
Since opening in 2004, Mr McCarthy said Nambour’s Hear and Say had supported 116 Sunshine Coast children and their families to learn, hear, listen and speak.
Listening and spoken language specialist Roxanne Innes said she was excited about hosting the centre’s fortnightly playgroups in the new playground.
“We have 15 children aged 12 months to four years, their parents, siblings and grandparents who will use this outdoor space during LEAP (Little Explorer Auditory-Verbal Playgroup) and will be able to thrive as they practice listening, talking and playing in a fun and supportive environment.”
Hear and Say is a Queensland-wide charity with five centres as well as outreach programs to regional areas. Since 1992 it has supported more than 900 families.
In the past five years, almost 100 per cent of children who have graduated from early intervention programs have entered mainstream schools and are speaking at a level equivalent to their hearing peers.
Other Stronger Communities Program funding recipients included: Sunshine Coast Beekeepers ($20,000), Nambour Community Centre ($19,600), Maroochydore Cricket Club ($19600), C&K Kuluin Community Kindergarten ($10,000), Men’s Shed Nambour ($2900), Buderim Scout Group ($4500), Mudjimba Surf Lifesaving Club ($4600), St Mark’s Anglican Church ($7700), Diddillibah Community Hall ($19,600), Mapleton Men’s Shed ($2500) and Steps Group Australia ($12,000).