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Hearing Assistance Gets A Funding Boost


Hearing loss can affect a child's social and academic development, seriously undermining their self-confidence and ability to develop to their full potential. With this in mind, providing funding for amplification systems in classrooms is just one of the initiatives being considered by the Hearing Association in Nelson, using funds available from the O'Brien Charitable Trust.

The association is currently gathering feedback and suggestions from relevant organisations and individuals on the best ways to use these funds. Education Coordinator of Hearing Association Nelson, Ana Parkes, says it's a great opportunity for the parents or caregivers of children with hearing loss to highlight any areas where current funding is low or non-existent. "We are wide open to their suggestions.

After all, they are the ones on the frontline and they know best what would benefit their children and their families," says Ana. "For example, amplified telephones in the home can make a big difference. We may also consider organising empowerment classes for children of various ages, to help raise their self-esteem and confidence." Because support can be limited once a child leaves school, Ms Parkes says it was decided to make the funds available for people up to age 21. She says there is no limit on the amount of each grant, so the funds can be used for either many smaller projects or for one big one.

The O'Brien Charitable Trust was set up in late 2007 from the estate of Phyllis and Sean O'Brien to provide funding for ongoing medical or educational support for Deaf and hearing impaired children in the Nelson/Tasman region. Phyllis had a severe hearing loss and was a member of Hearing Association Nelson for many years.

The Nelson Association membership of younger people has increased considerably in recent years as more people realise hearing loss is not just something that happens to the elderly. Anyone who would like a copy of a questionnaire or would like to discuss the available funding should contact Ana at the Hearing Association at 354 Trafalgar Square, Nelson, phone/fax on 548 3270 or before the end of February.


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