It is vital for children with hearing impairment to receive help as early as possible. The earlier such children get support, the more likely they will learn to communicate verbally. However when parents in Russia realise that their child has impaired hearing they usually find it very challenging to get relevant information on how to support the needs of their child. As a result the children may miss out on help in the vital first years of life when they need to learn how to communicate and build relationships with others. Most deaf children in Russia are educated separately and find it difficult to communicate with the rest of the society.
Help Impact provided funds to the UK-based charity St Gregory’s Foundation on a project to run a club for children with impaired hearing and their families. St Gregory’s Foundation works with the Early Intervention Institute that runs the only place in St Petersburg where parents can find support for children from the age of four months until three years old.
This project is scheduled to run from January until December 2021.
The Deaf Club’s activities include:
- Organising weekly training sessions which include play and music therapy, speech therapy and consultations with audiologists. These sessions will help deaf children to distinguish sounds and to start to communicate with others
- Giving lectures and discussing problems faced by parents of deaf children
- Maintaining regular contact with the beneficiaries to provide required advice and support.
This project has the following objectives:
- At least 30 children with impaired hearing will improve their communication skills and so get a higher chance of going to mainstream rather than special needs schools, socialising and communicating with peers and reaching their best potential.
- The Deaf Club will provide essential follow-up for children receiving cochlear implants from the state. This treatment can replace the sensation of hearing. The children need to get used to the device and interpret the sounds coming through it. So the Deaf Club will assist with this process.
- As the deaf children attending sessions in the Deaf Club learn to communicate, their parents have better chances to place their children in a mainstream kindergarten. As a result parents will have the opportunity to go out to work and so are more likely to avoid poverty.
- At least 30 parents including those with normal hearing and deaf parents will learn to better support their child’s disability and learn how to lobby for treatment and education for their child.