Early Intervention

Talk Together

The first package of services for all children with hearing loss and their families. It is an intervention and direct education program providing parents and carers with the fundamental skills and knowledge they need to support their child in developing listening, speech, language and social skills with their hearing loss so they can achieve their goals, vision and potential. The program runs as a group facilitated by Child and Family Counsellors, Pediatric Audiologists and Listening and Spoken Language Specialists to create important support networks and links with other families, professionals and health providers. The knowledge and skills learnt during this program form the basis of all future intervention targets and goals. 

Learn & Listen

A specialised package of services provided by a team of experienced professionals in paediatric hearing loss; Speech Pathologists (Listening & Spoken Language Therapists), Paediatric Audiologists & Child & Family Counsellors in partnership with every child’s family. It includes an annual Family Goal Setting Meeting with the family and team, an annual standardised formal communication development assessment, and diagnostic sessions based on individualised clinical goals set to support the achievement of the goals identified by the family.  This package includes attendance at our weekly non enrolled Kidscape specialised early intervention group at any of our centres.

Connect (eLearning platform for parents and families)

The Shepherd Centre Connect links parents and therapists in an innovative, interactive online community. Programs on Connect are tailored specifically for families living a long distance from our centres, or working full-time, to provide a learning experience customised to suit families.  Connect offers a new pathway into our programs, allowing access to the fundamentals of our world-renowned programs and services for children with hearing loss, in your own home, on a day and at a time that best suits your family.

Connect aims to support and upskill parents so they can in turn encourage their child’s listening and language development at home, and in their everyday environments.  It also links parents with other families who may have similar experiences, or may be a step ahead on their early intervention journey, able to offer suggestions and support.

 

Kidscape

A parent group program assisting parents of children with any degree of permanent hearing loss, who are using any hearing device, in their parenting role. Kidscape allows children to spend time in a listening landscape with parents and other children and provides opportunities for parents to seek advice and support from our team of Child and Family Counsellors.  A specialist playgroup designed as a social and educational opportunity for families of children who have a hearing loss, children in our Kidscape program are encouraged to participate in activities designed to stimulate listening and spoken language, and develop their play and social communication skills. Parents spend time with their children in this setting before withdrawing to participate in parent education workshops facilitated by Child and Family Counsellors and other transdisciplinary professionals.  Siblings are welcome to attend with their families.

Listen for Literacy

This program supports the listening skills for literacy development for children with hearing loss in the key transition year before school. This evidence-based package of services is particularly focussed on ensuring children are developing the audition skills they need for school (listening in noisy environments like classrooms and playgrounds, listening from a distance, understanding videos, listening to loudspeakers), and working with them to develop their early reading skills through listening. A recent large scale Australian-based population study of children with hearing loss, demonstrated that the majority of these children do not develop appropriate pre-reading and literacy skills by 5 years of age despite often having age appropriate speech and language. As such, the development of these skills needs to be specifically taught and monitored in a team-based approach with speech pathologists experienced in working with children with hearing loss and the literacy and advanced listening challenges they face, with paediatric audiologists and child and family counsellors. 

Confident Kids (4-5 years)

A group program for children in their final year of early intervention. It is part of the Transition to School program and aimed at helping children develop their communication skills in a social group setting.

Confident Kids will focus on developing techniques needed to improve pragmatic social skills through listening-based strategies. The development of essential social skills has been shown to be key predictors of social success as children learn how to use their language with friends. It involves a concurrent parent group led by our child and family counsellors and audiologists, with opportunities for guided observations of the children’s group. Watch the video.

 

Off to School

This small group program is designed to support children with hearing loss in their key transition stage from early intervention to school. The program focusses on developing pre-literacy and pre-numeracy concepts, phonological awareness and understanding of classroom vocabulary and classroom etiquette through listening in a group environment, similar to a classroom. Self-advocacy skills of independent hearing device management and talking to peers and teachers about their hearing loss and assistance they need in the classroom are addressed with children and in the concurrent parent education group. 

Acoustic Skills (Music)

Acoustics Skills group sessions are designed by music therapists and delivered to children with hearing loss and their families in conjunction with clinical team members. The sessions focus on positive parent-child interaction with musical activities that provide critical listening opportunities for early learning and development across the areas of communication – listening, language acquisition and speaking skills; social interaction; cognitive learning and motor skills. Leaders integrate the use of percussion instruments along with singing of known and new songs to increase positive interactions between parents and their children, enhance child development, and increase parents’ confidence to use music for language development and play at home. 

First Sounds Fundamentals (Implant evaluation and services)

This package is recommended for children going through device evaluation and not accessing a package program. The First Sounds package provides a child and their family with a core communication assessment, two family meetings with the team, four evaluation sessions, 12 post-device/implantation habilitation sessions and two consultation sessions with the team Child and Family Counsellor.  This is to support the child with hearing loss in ensuring they are using the most appropriate hearing devices that provide them with optimal levels of access to sound to develop their communication skills.  As a part of this package families are able to attend our weekly non-enrolled Kidscape specialised early intervention group at any of our centres with their child or just for the parent sessions.

Tuning Into Kids (Emotion Coaching)

This is a six-week group education and intervention program for parents at The Shepherd Centre. It teaches parents fundamental skills in how to guide and coach their children with hearing loss to develop emotional intelligence. A significant body of evidence indicates that children with hearing loss have delayed social skills and reduced community and society participation opportunities. Developing emotional intelligence enables children to use their knowledge of emotions to make decisions, calm and settle, manage anger and conflict, help with relationships, and understand social situations. It is recommended children and families participate in the Tuning into Kids Program where it is needed to help develop these social and self-management skills to assist their participation in their community and natural settings. 

Empower Me (Extended family education workshops)

This short workshop is designed for carers and extended family members of children with any degree of permanent hearing loss, to understand hearing, the impact of hearing loss, how to support the development of communication and to facilitate participation and inclusion in their local context, community and everyday life.  Developing the capacity and resilience of family members through education and knowledge on the specific needs of the child with whom they are connected, supports and empowers parents and carers in their child’s every day learning potential. Both parents can attend at no additional cost with at least one funded extended family member. 

Preschool Programs

We offer small, language-rich preschool environments to support children with and without hearing loss in an integrated environment. We have two preschool facilities based at our Liverpool and Wollongong Centres. Find out more here.

Teacher Training & Professional Development Program

The Shepherd Centre is proud to offer a range of Quality Teaching Council (QTC) Registered Professional Development workshops, accredited by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA),  ACT Teacher Quality Institute (TQI) and internationally with the Alexander Graham Bell Academy. Our aim is to equip teachers and other professionals working with young people with hearing loss with the necessary knowledge and practical skills required to assist children with hearing loss to develop clear, age-appropriate speech, language and social skills through listening, in a variety of educational settings.  For more details on how your child can be supported in the classroom environment, click here.

School Age

The Shepherd Centre now provides a range of school age services in NDIS areas. For further information on these contact us.

Sound Development: Speech Pathology

Sessions provided by a Speech Pathologist (Listening and Spoken Language Specialist) from The Shepherd Centre team customised to a child and family's individual needs. These can be focussed on the development of skills in listening, speech, language, pre/literacy or social skills. School age sessions with a speech pathologist are typically 45mins in length. These can include collaborative and consultative sessions with other health professionals and to provide specialist hearing information and intervention.

Sound Development: Child and Family Counselling

Sessions are provided by a Child and Family Counsellor from The Shepherd Centre team  and customised to a child and family's individual needs. These can be focussed on the development of social skills, behaviour management or counselling support. 

Natural Settings (School visits & Consultations)

Natural Settings visits support individuals in their everyday routine environments. For school age students, this consists of visits to a student’s school for therapeutic intervention and consultations with professionals working with the student within their educational setting. During these visits, clinicians from The Shepherd Centre will work in collaboration with the student’s educational professionals and itinerant support teachers for hearing (IST-H) to implement individualised strategies to develop the student’s skills. This approach allows for professional collaboration and comprehensive participation to support students in progressing towards positive outcomes for achieving their goals.

Listen for Literacy (Kindergarten reading and classroom listening)

Specifically designed and developed by early childhood teachers and speech pathologists at The Shepherd Centre to teach essential pre-reading skills such as identifying different sounds in words and being able to segment sounds apart as well as blend them together.

Communication Development Assessment

Provides a comprehensive evaluation of a child’s language and literacy skills. Depending on age and needs, core and additional assessment areas can include understanding and use of language, speech, literacy and writing as well as social skills. The assessment includes administration of standardised formal and/or informal assessment as required and a full written report and recommendations. 

Communication Screening Assessment

This screening assessment provides a check of a child’s communication skills. Typically in two primary areas of language, literacy or speech, but can include additional areas as required. Includes administration of standardised formal and/or informal assessment measures and a written report.

Confident Kids 6-8 years (Social skills and resilience)

This small group program is designed for children in their early primary school years to develop social communication, confidence, assertiveness and Theory of Mind skills. Classrooms are challenging learning environments for children with a hearing loss, and particular skills that require development are listening to others from a distance, in a group and in background noise, building on and responding appropriately to the conversations of peers and working with classmates to problem-solve and interpret social scenarios and emotions through social and language cues. Parents participate in a concurrent program learning the skills required to help their child manage social situations and express and cope with their  emotions as they learn to advocate for themselves and discover their own unique identity with a hearing loss. 

Confident Kids 9-12 years (Social skills & resilience)

This small group program is based on a growing evidence base that children with hearing loss are at significantly increased risk of social exclusion and emotional health concerns including anxiety and depression as they develop through their adolescent and teenage years. The program works with children to address their concerns towards their disability and define their sense of self and individual identity. It aims to tackle the common experience of children rejecting support, devices and assistive listening technology at this stage that is required to facilitate access to the curriculum and learning potential. An initial family meeting identifies current issues for each child and family to address within the group context, customising content and outcomes towards these, and an all-in group for the final session provides the opportunity to share outcomes and learnings. 

Learn & Listen (Integrated intensive packages)

A specialised package of services provided by a team of experienced professionals in paediatric hearing loss including Speech Pathologists, Paediatric Audiologists and Child & Family Counsellors working in partnership with families. Includes an annual Family Goal Setting Meeting with the family and team, an annual standardised formal communication development assessment and diagnostic sessions based on individualised clinical goals set to support the achievement of the goals identified by the family.  Sessions are held with one or a number of team members dependent on need, goals and individual requirements. The team also work in collaboration with the child’s health providers and educators for a holistic approach to their development in all education and intervention settings. 

Teacher Training & Professional Development Program

The Shepherd Centre is proud to offer a range of Quality Teaching Council (QTC) Registered Professional Development workshops, accredited by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA),  ACT Teacher Quality Institute (TQI) and internationally with the Alexander Graham Bell Academy. Our aim is to equip teachers and other professionals working with young people with hearing loss with the necessary knowledge and practical skills required to assist children with hearing loss to develop clear, age-appropriate speech, language and social skills through listening, in a variety of educational settings.  For more details on how your child can be supported in the classroom environment, click here.

First Sounds Fundamentals (Implant evaluation and services)

This package is recommended for children going through device evaluation and not accessing a package program. The First Sounds package provides a child and their family with a core communication assessment, two family meetings with the team, four evaluation sessions, 12 post-device/implantation habilitation sessions and two consultation sessions with the Child and Family Counsellor.  This is to support the child with hearing loss to ensure they are using the most appropriate hearing devices that provide them with optimal levels of access to sound to develop their communication skills.  

Beyond Sound Alumni Club

We welcome all of our families to stay in contact with us and other families that have come through our services by joining our Beyond Sound Alumni Club.  The Club offers a range of opportunities to network and learn from each other as well as access to professional development, community activities, mentoring and regular events. For more information on Beyond Sound click here.

Empower Me (Extended family education workshops)

This short workshop is designed for carers and extended family members of children with any degree of permanent hearing loss, to understand hearing, the impact of hearing loss, how to support the development of communication and to facilitate participation and inclusion in their local context, community and everyday life.  Developing the capacity and resilience of family members through education and knowledge on the specific needs of the child who they’re connected with.  The program supports and empowers parents and carers in their child’s everyday learning potential. Both parents can attend at no additional cost with at least one funded extended family member. 

Teleintervention Program

The Shepherd Centre’s Teleintervention Program offers outreach specialist services to children with hearing loss, via online video-conferencing sessions. This program is available to all families regardless of their location but is particularly important for families in rural and remote regions of Australia who are unable to access our five centres in person; or families based overseas. We can also use our videoconferencing facilities if a family member is unable to attend a session but would like to be a part of it by dialling in whilst the other family member and child is undertaking a session at one of our centres.

Click here to understand more about Teleintervention programs.

To find out more about Teleintervention contact our team today.

Service areas

Service areas

In addition to our programs, we offer a range of services all under the one roof here at The Shepherd Centre. We have highly trained professionals in audiology, speech pathology, auditory-verbal therapy and counselling. We also offer speech and language assessments for children of all ages. Get started today.