Children who are deaf deserve world-leading services regardless of their postcode.

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Hi, my name is Rosanna.

My story is something that no parent expects. 

During my pregnancy I wasn’t aware that my baby had any concerns. It was actually when he was born, when they put him on me that I noticed that his right ear looked squashed. I was upset but I thought this is something I have to deal with now. Tariq has microtia, meaning he has no ear canal. I was really shocked.

My world fell apart but then I found The Shepherd Centre. They told me that Tariq could go through their early intervention program and have the same speaking and listening abilities as any other child.

It was not an easy journey. There were various weekly appointments to get Tariq to his sessions, made harder by the fact I have four other children. Lots of time was spent in the car driving back and forth from Minto where we live to The Shepherd’s Liverpool centre. It’s a 40km round trip.

What upsets me is that this is not a viable option for other families, so kids just like Tariq are missing out on the essential services to help them listen, speak, socialise and enter mainstream schooling.

I was even more troubled to find out Tasmania had no physical centres like The Shepherd Centre! Whether you live in Western Sydney or Tasmania. Your postcode shouldn’t matter.

1 in 2 children with hearing loss are not getting access to specialised support!

The solution would be to open centres in both of these regions, looking to further areas of need in the future. The Shepherd Centre purchased land in the Macarthur region after a generous donation from Sargents Pies Charitable Foundation. Imagine if they could achieve the same for the people of Tasmania?

The Shepherd Centre need the Government to commit $5 million to fund two state-of the-art and future-proof facilities for all children with hearing loss in Macarthur and Tasmania.

Don’t all children deserve the same access to vital services?

Tariq’s ENT surgeon Dr Greenberg says that other families like ours are struggling to access services. There are not enough services in Southwestern Sydney nor a good coordination between the different providers which makes it difficult to get the best care and outcomes for children with hearing loss.

When I come to The Shepherd Centre I feel really supported. It is a ‘one stop shop’, so I can book all our appointments in at one time if I wish and don’t need to travel to different providers to get the care he needs. Each of his therapists work together, so they’re not competing for my time. If there is an issue or concern, we work on that together. It is a world-leading service.

Recently The Shepherd Centre has been providing their programs and therapy out of the local community hall in Minto. Having this local service has made all the difference in the world and now Tariq is doing amazingly!

We have seen the service boom since it opened, demonstrating that lots of families have welcomed The Shepherd Centre in the Macarthur region. Every week the staff arrive with their car and trailer and pack all their tools, resources and equipment up and down as the space has no storage – they are amazing, but it’s not a sustainable solution.

I'm pleading with you, please help me to get funding for the new centres. The combined $5 million would be split between the build for the Macarthur and establishing a centre for Tasmania.

Australia offers amazing outcomes for children with hearing loss, let’s ensure all Aussie kids have access to it.

Please help more children with hearing loss living in Tasmania and the Macarthur area to reach their full potential by sharing my petition. We need all the help we can get!