On Tuesday 22nd October, six inspirational children (aged 7-8) with hearing loss took centre-stage at Parliament House in Canberra at the annual First Voice Power of Speech event supported by Cochlear Limited.
The breakfast event kicked off early with many of our nation’s leaders present to witness these incredible children address the topic of “My Hearing Future”.
The participants and their families flew in from across Australia and New Zealand and confidently addressed politicians and other dignitaries demonstrating how early intervention, coupled with the right devices, have helped them reach their full potential.
With federal politicians on both sides present at the event and enthusiastically engaging with the children, bipartisan support for early intervention for children with hearing loss was evident.
The Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Hon Stuart Robert MP, was very impressed by the young speakers and commented that the early pathway for these children with hearing loss was ‘excellent’.
CEO of The Shepherd Centre, Dr Jim Hungerford highlighted how it is essential for all stakeholders to continue to work towards improving the future for children with hearing loss in Australia.
Parents and politicians alike were moved to tears by the children’s speeches and many of the busy parliamentarians took time out of their busy day to talk to the children and their families about their personal experience with hearing loss and what they felt was important for the future.
Janet Menzies, General Manager Australia and New Zealand of Cochlear Limited was impressed by the fact that, consistent across all of the speeches, hearing loss was never perceived by the children as a limitation.
Representing the Prime Minister’s office, Dr Katie Allen MP commented on the importance of early intervention and that the children speaking at Power of Speech were part of the advocacy for the future.
The Power of Speech event celebrates the remarkable outcomes possible for cochlear implant recipients and is part of First Voice’s world-leading early intervention programs for children with hearing loss. The six speakers from across Australia and New Zealand clearly challenged common perceptions about hearing loss and what people with hearing loss can achieve.
Watch highlights from the event: