Having access to a network of experts is important for children and adults with hearing loss and at NextSense we take time to understand your unique needs and journey so we can answer to your hearing and vision questions.
We reached out across our national network to ask a speech pathologist, audiologist, and Teacher of the Deaf what they love about supporting children and adults who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Marisa—Teacher of the Deaf
‘I'm inspired by every family's unique journey,' says Marisa Skok
Marisa learns from the families she works with every day in her role as a Teacher of the Deaf at the NextSense centre in Brighton, Victoria.
‘It really is such an incredibly rewarding experience,’ she says.
Part of a multidisciplinary early intervention team, Marisa supports deaf and hard of hearing children and their families, from the moment they join our program as small infants, through to getting ready for school.
‘We're partners in the journey. We work in partnership with the families on their chosen goals, which in my case, is with families who have chosen the listening and spoken language approach.’
Marisa works together with families to develop listening and spoken language strategies and supports families to carry out those strategies at home and in everyday life.
She builds partnerships with families and between families, to help them understand how best to develop their child’s confidence, language and communication.
Just seeing that growth of the children and the families over time and being reminded that I have had the opportunity to play a small part in their journeys—that is really inspiring.
It's a privilege to be their guide and partner along their journey. I share the joy of being part of their milestones like saying their first words, or when they've had their cochlear implants switched on.
With over 25 years’ experience working with families, Marisa brings her experience as a certified auditory-verbal therapist and audiologist to her role.
‘When you meet families down the track, and see what amazing, amazing kids and adults they've become—now that’s inspiring.’
‘Hearing when you've got hearing loss is really hard work,' says Canberra-based audiologist Rachel Middleton.
Rachel says adults often can’t believe the improvement in their hearing after having a cochlear implant and what a difference it’s made.
‘So many adults tell me “I can't believe I didn't do this sooner".'
Rachel works with adults and, in the main, children, at the NextSense Cochlear Implant Service, conducting hearing assessments and cochlear implant mapping.
The most rewarding part of my job is seeing my clients achieve their goals, whether it’s in leaps and bounds, or tiny steps.
I love getting to know what works for different clients and different families—and what they need from me. Everybody needs something different and my work is very client-centered.
‘I love getting to know people, I love getting to know families—I’m now at the point where I'm seeing kids in high school who I first saw with their first hearing aids at 10 weeks old,’ she says.
Rachel’s team includes educators, speech pathologists and surgeons. ‘It's really lovely to be a part of that team that supports people with this aspect of their life—their hearing.
‘Your hearing is so important, and it makes such enormous difference to every aspect of your life.’
For Allison Gangell, it’s things like seeing three-year-old toddlers with hearing loss and minimal communication skills grow into professional working adults that inspire her.
‘It really is amazing to see—in the time I’ve been a speechie at NextSense (which is close to 30 years), I’ve worked closely with families who have a child with hearing loss. I’ve helped them achieve their specific goals,’ Allison says.
It’s just so rewarding to support families with their wishes. I work with many different types of NSW families all with individual goals for their child who has hearing loss. Sometimes they are short-term goals, sometimes they are long-term. Sometimes I am part of a therapy team and other times I lead the team as a key worker.
‘My role is to provide assessment and therapy to children and adults for their speech, expressive language, understanding and social communication skills.’
NextSense speech pathologists are part of a broader allied health team that works with children and adults with hearing or vision loss.