September is Deaf Awareness Month and the Carel du Toit Centre is working to teach deaf toddlers to speak, giving them a brighter future in the hearing world.
The Carel du Toit Centre in East London assists pre-school deaf children in the Eastern Cape to naturally adopt language and speech. They do this through a number of processes including the use of hearing aids, speech therapy and involving the parents wherever possible.
“Our Vision is to see that children diagnosed with deafness in this region receive the help they need to grow and flourish as individuals, eventually reaching their full potential as adults.”
The centre focuses on a method which involves listening and speaking. It was a method created in 1964 by Theodore Blumberg and supported by Professor Carel du Toit. The men teamed up to perfect the method and in 1998, their organisation was born. The reason the centre focuses on pre-school children is that the method must be taught from a very young age to be successful.
“For the Audio-Verbal method to be successful, early intervention is crucial. The ability to master the complexity of language through one’s hearing system decreases rapidly after the age of three.”
The centre has acquired two specialised machines that can accurately test the hearing of a baby after it is born and determine if there are any problems. Should the infant show hearing difficulties, the family is able to start the therapy almost immediately.
The centre has multiple programmes that allow the public to help sponsor a childs treatment or their cochlear implants as some parents cannot afford the cost alone. You can find out how to get involved here.
“At the start of deaf awareness month, we would like to invite you to take a glimpse into the lives of our children who have hearing loss. At the Carel du Toit Centre, we want to see that all our children take their place in a hearing world.”