The Shepherd Centre, a not-for-profit charitable organisation, has provided early intervention programs and services to children who are deaf and hearing impaired, and their families, for 50 years.

The Shepherd Centre was founded in 1970 by Dr Bruce Shepherd AM and his late wife Annette after the couple could not find a suitable program in Australia to teach their hearing impaired children how to listen and speak.

The Shepherds believed that, given the opportunity and with training, children born deaf or hearing impaired should be able to fully integrate with the community and reach their full potential.

After a long and intensive search, Bruce and Annette attended the summer program at The John Tracy Clinic in Los Angeles and believed that the clinic’s methods best encompassed the educational and family ethos The Shepherds wanted to emulate in Australia.

Initially called ‘The Council for Integrated Deaf Education’, the Shepherd’s first centre was built within the grounds of Sydney University and was the first early intervention agency to teach ‘Auditory-Oral Therapy’ to hearing impaired children in Australia.

Starting with just five families, today The Shepherd Centre helps over 700 children and families each year through seven centres in NSW and ACT, as well as families in Tasmania, rural and remote areas of Australia via outreach visits and online telehealth (assistance via videoconferencing).

Recent outcomes from The Shepherd Centre show that the vast majority of graduates from The Shepherd Centre go on to mainstream school majority with speech and language skills on par with their typically hearing classmates.

For further historical information about Bruce & Annette Shepherd and The Shepherd Centre:

  • Shepherd AM, Dr Bruce. 2010, Shepherd: Memories of an Interfering Man, Bowral. ISBN: 978-0-646-52786-4
  • Epstein, June. 1995, Giving Voice: The Story of The Shepherd Centre, Impact Printing, Melbourne. ISBN: 978-0-646-24050-3


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