Message from the CEO

I am always alarmed at how quickly the months roll by and it is time to write another message for the newsletter! I am kept fairly busy each month through involvement in a number of working groups and committees but the one dearest to my heart is GPODHH – the Global Coalition of Parents of Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (

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Aussie Deaf Kids is a founding member of GPODHH and over the past couple of years has auspiced two parent leaders from low-resourced countries to go to the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva to participate in the World Hearing Forum (WHF). Dr Bianca Birdsey from South Africa and Ms Snigdha Sarkar have been fantastic advocates for parents and children who are deaf or hard of hearing at the WHF. I was lucky enough to join them in Geneva last December where we met up with Dr Shelly Chadha to discuss the World Hearing Report and the inclusion of some of the stories from GPODHH members in the Report. Dr Chadha is responsible for the WHO program for prevention of deafness and hearing loss and incredibly supportive of parental involvement where programs and policies are being developed. Being part of GPODHH has been such a valuable experience for me. Despite our cultural differences, there is always such a strong connection with parents around the world with similar lived experiences. The World Hearing Report will be launched for World Hearing Day 2021.

And a big congratulations to all the parents in Melbourne who have survived months of lockdown, working from home and home-schooling. I hope the rest of the year is plain sailing for you all!

Ann Porter

Paediatric Competency Standards Working Group

The Federal Department of Health has funded a project to develop Paediatric Audiology Competency Standards. The audiology competency standards are intended to benefit children and their families who need audiology services and will act as a quality assurance mechanism in regard to the qualifications and background of the audiologist providing them with hearing health care services. Audiology Australia is the lead organisation in the project.

Ms Margaret Dewberry has been appointed as the independent Chair for the newly formed Paediatric Competency Standards Working Group. The lack of suitable standards for paediatric audiology has been a concern for consumer and parent groups for some time and Aussie Deaf Kids welcomes the opportunity to participate in the working group.

For more information:

Shining a light on....

Margaret Meade was an American cultural anthropologist who famously said:  "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

In the spirit of Margaret Meade, we want to shine the light on people who work to change the world for children with hearing loss and their families across the country. Their names may not be familiar, but they have played a significant role in advocating for children who are deaf and hard of hearing over many years.

This month we meet Ms Margaret Dewberry

Margaret has been an audiologist for over 40 years. Most of her career was with Hearing Australia as a clinician, manager, Executive Manager of the Community Service Obligations Program (which is the Program that delivers services to children, eligible adults with complex hearing rehabilitation needs and eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people), and finally Executive Manager Indigenous and Multicultural Services, Government Relations and Corporate Governance.

Margaret is always willing to volunteer her time and wealth of expertise to parent and consumer groups and has assisted Aussie Deaf Kids, Deafness Forum of Australia and others with various submissions to Government particularly in relation to the NDIS. She has found time for humanitarian work in Samoa and developed a proposal for a National Hearing Services Plan to deliver hearing services to children and adults in Samoa.

Her latest project is to Chair the Paediatric Competency Standards Working Group.  

We sent her a few questions... 

  1. In a nutshell, my job is to write documents, submissions, letters and plans that help improve the hearing services available to more vulnerable groups and those who have the greatest need for hearing services. As a consultant audiologist, I can decide where to focus my attention and these days I choose to do that mostly with the consumer organisations to help them present their views and needs to government.
  2. The reason I do what I do is I have a strong sense of social justice and I want to use my skills to make a contribution to ensure that those with the greatest need have equal access to high quality hearing services.
  3. A person who inspires me is not one person but all of my colleagues who went before me and who currently work to improve the lives of children and adults with hearing loss.
  4. This year I want to travel again.
  5. The scariest thing I’ve ever done is – I’m a wimp, I don’t do scary.
  6. My guilty pleasure is watching re-runs of The West Wing.
  7. I’m scared of public speaking. I avoid it at all costs.
  8. The most important thing I have learnt in the last five years is to go with the flow and be adaptable. You never know what life is going to throw at you.
  9. I’m happiest when enjoying the company of good friends.
  10. If I could be somewhere else today, you would find me in Italy. I love the people of Italy, the culture, the scenery and the food and wine.

Parent Guide on Unilateral Hearing Loss

Hands & Voices have developed a helpful guide for families to understand their options for managing their child’s UHL and some of the issues they might consider when making decisions.

In 2018, a consensus paper on the audiological assessment and management of unilateral hearing loss in children was published in the International Journal of Audiology. This guide is for parents to help them understand this consensus paper has been developed by Janet DesGeorges, Executive Director of Hands & Voices in the US.

Hands & Voices is a parent driven, non-profit organisation dedicated to providing unbiased support to families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

This project was funded by Phonak.

For more information:

Thinking about goals for your child

A common posts to our online groups is about developing goals for a child's NDIS plan. 

The first module in our online course on Making Informed Decisions is about goal setting. Download this short video to whet your appetite. Please note: This video is captioned but the captions are not working in this format. 

For more information:

Thank you to our auditors

A big thank you to our auditors at StewartBrown Chartered Accountants who have completed our 2019-2020 audit. They do the work pro bono and their time, expertise and guiding hand is much appreciated by the Board of Aussie Deaf Kids.

Aussie Deaf Kids

Our website is full of information for parents
about childhood hearing loss.
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or join one of our online parent support groups.

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Aussie Deaf Kids Plus
Supporting families whose children have a bilateral hearing loss

Aussie Deaf Kids Unilateral Hearing Loss
Supporting families whose child has a unilateral hearing loss

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Please note that material contained in Sounds & Signs does not necessarily reflect the policy of Aussie Deaf Kids or the views of any board members. The information contained on this newsletter does not comprise advice and readers should seek independent professional advice where appropriate.