According to CEO of Coronation, Anton Pillay, “If hearing-impaired children can get support and education early enough in their lives, it lays a solid foundation for them to be able to thrive as they grow up.”
Coronation supports the Carel du Toit Centre for hearing impaired children at Tygerberg. The asset management firm provides funding for pre-school children from disadvantaged families to attend Carel du Toit and receive critical interventions and therapies. The centre prepares hearing impaired children for mainstream education, and socio-economic inclusion. National Disability Awareness month is commemorated between the 3 November and 3 December and was established to focus on empowering young people who are disabled.
Cyril Ramaphosa’s Presidential Group working on disability has set down five goals for government’s attention, including the adoption of SA sign language as the 12th official language and the development of more early childhood development (ECD) facilities for disabled children.
However, the private sector also has a role to play in supporting inclusive education.
Furthermore, the Carel du Toit Centre also provides onsite audiologists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists, and has a CHAT (“children hear and talk”) centre for parents whose children are born deaf, and wish to learn to hear and talk. The centre offers a mainstream curriculum in small classes.
Dr Bell’s daughter, Jody was born with profound bilateral hearing loss and went to Carel du Toit until she was 10 years old. At the age of 27, she is now an accomplished academic. The principal of Carel du Toit, Adri Hodgson added that hearing-impaired children have the same capacity as hearing children to learn speech, but need exposure to day-long listening experiences and natural interactions to achieve linguistic competence. “Through the use of appropriate hearing technology, together with committed parental support and the intensive, holistic intervention of pre-primary and foundation-phase schooling, these children can achieve this dream,” she said