The Marjorie Sherman House has always been at the heart of The Ear Foundation. It's a home away from home for families who have just found out their babies are deaf, or are anxiously waiting their children while in surgery to have cochlear implants and its a place to meet other parents going through the same things.
We've always endeavoured to make this house a welcoming space for families as well as their children with hearing loss. As early as 1989, parents used this space for coffee mornings, play dates and to meet with teachers of the deaf and speech therapists, in an informal non clinical atmosphere. It's a house that's been transformed into a teenage pad for our first teenage residentials back in the late 90's, allowing deaf teenagers to get together with each other and share experiences. The house has seen many late night conversations, laughter and tears.
Returning to current day..........we're more aware than ever, the early years are critical for young deaf children to reach their full potential in life. Early language is most effectively developed out of a clinic, in a natural environment,when embedded in the routines of daily life, play activities, music and books. The aim of our project is to optimise the current space of The Marjorie Sherman House to make it better suited for providing world-class early intervention services. A service giving deaf children the listening ,spoken language and social skills necessary to thrive both academically and socially in a hearing world.
Families will meet with early interventions specialists in this environment to learn and work together to acheive the outcomes and dreams for their child. We're a multidisciplinary team of specialists including teacher of the deaf, speech language therapists, audiologi st and language support workers who specialise in early childhood.
However we need your help to make this a reality.
We're going to develop the home-like areas of the house, to be a model learning environment, for familes of young deaf children to come and participate in learning sessions and provide opportunities for families to meet each other and share their experiences.
We'll use the funds raised to develop an area for young children and their families including
- New flooring and materials to improve the listening enviroment - good acoustics are imperative for deaf children.
- Remove a fireplace for safety purposes
- Repair and paint the walls including a mural in the playroom
- Create more storage for materials and equipment allowing the house to maintain a natural home environment.
- New wall and ceiling lighing to improve visibility and increase access to communication opportunities.
- New equipment for developmental sessions including floor cushions, floor mats, baby gyms etc
- Resources for parents to use to engage with their baby such as bubbles, pop up toys, safety mirrors, sensory equipment, books and musical instruments and boxes.
- Household equipment to mimic their home environment such as baby bath, plastice crockery, a high chair.
- Video equipment to be able to record 'magic moments' to allow parents to take them home to reflect on and share with family.
- Sound equipment to allow access to music used in sessions.
- Furniture to provide a place for parents to meet and share their experiences raising children with hearing loss.