Facilitated online via Zoom, the group sessions introduced babies to Keyword Sign. For parents, the Baby Group Program was the opportunity to share experiences with each other and create a network of support.
RIDBC’s Best Practice Lead for Early Intervention (Hearing), Inge Kaltenbrunn said the program was developed to ensure there was no delay in providing children with access to language.
“It is vital that babies have early access to language as a foundation for their later communication development. It also helps parents to effectively communicate with their baby and establish a strong connection,” said Inge.
It also offered families choice.
Inge continued, “RIDBC supports families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing with which ever language they choose for their children, be that a spoken language or Auslan.” For bilingual families who spoke a language other than English, an interpreter also joined the group.
The group sessions were facilitated by Alison Hawkins-Bond, RIDBC Professional Experience Coordinator, and former early learning program coordinator for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Alison was also involved with the program’s creation and development.
“What made the Baby Group Program special was that it brought together a myriad of families at different stages of their journey who were unified by their experience,” said Alison.