Help us raise funds to enable the Junior Science Academy to run communication-accessible camps for deaf and hard-of-hearing children.
Deaf and hard-of-hearing children are often the only child with hearing loss in their school. These formative years are difficult for most of us, but being singled out as being different can be challenging.
How can we help?
Our philosophy is simple—early experiences can shape the future. These science camps are a small step for providing opportunities to develop skills in science and socialise with peers in a healthy, inclusive communication space. Help us inspire the next generation of brilliant scientists!
Will it work?
In October 2018, The Junior Science Academy and the Australian Hearing Hub ran a trial camp that was generously funded by Cochlear Limited and Macquarie University that taught concepts on flight and mechanics. The response was overwhelmingly positive.
"Most of them, including my child, are mainstreamed and advocating for themselves at school. It is important to be able to do that, but it can be difficult at times. It is great for them to be able to enjoy a camp with other students and adults who “get it” about deafness."
"I thought it was great. She really appreciates having something special just for deaf and hard-of-hearing kids and I notice that she feels very comfortable and relaxed going to an activity where she knows that people will be aware of her needs."
We also collected responses from the children using a scientifically-validated emoji scale that can be summarised as this—they want to come back for more camps!
From past to present, the future is bright
The inspiration for our science camp is the Veronica James Science Challenge that ran from 1989-2016. Here are some thoughts from former attendees, David and Bec.
“It was a fun program to be involved in, having the chance to hang out with kids in a similar situation as myself while exploring science concepts. It was fun and brought a smile to my face!” David is a Business Intelligence & Data Analyst, is actively involved with Hear For You as a mentor, and as a CICADA Coordinator hosting social events for cochlear implant recipients. Drawing from his personal experience and development; David also coaches people to live their life with clarity and impact.
“Growing up, my cousins, brother and I always really looked forward to the science camps, and when a family friend’s child was diagnosed with a hearing loss, it was the first thing we told them to get involved in. We had the chance to try things we never would have known we liked. We made our own electronic dice and dissected a heart—it felt like a really special experience.” Bec is the Western Sydney Coordinator for Hear For You, and was recently featured on ABC's "You Can't Ask That" on deafness.
Where will the money go?
We want to continue offering science camps for deaf and hard-of-hearing children, but we need your support! Your contribution will go towards:
- Assistive listening devices: these are a range of technologies that can improve access to sound (such as speech understanding in a classroom) and reduce problems such as distance, reverberation, and noisy environments. This will permanently equip the Junior Science Academy with assistive listening devices (~$1,100).
- Auslan interpreters: deafness occurs on a spectrum, and many children use Australian Sign Language as their modality of communication. This will provide interpreters for up to 4 classes (~$1,300)
- Regional/Rural travel scholarships: Australia is a big country, and being a deaf child in smaller regional communities can be particularly isolating. All additional funds will be used to provide families with scholarships to assist in travel and accommodation costs. This was based on feedback from the trial camp:"We travelled 300 km one way and stayed at a hotel for three nights. The expense will be an issue for other regional families to attend as the NDIS won’t cover travel and accommodation. Please include the regional students in mind for future consideration."
- Pledge $50 or more: Join a group tour of the anechoic chamber in the Australian Hearing Hub. Latin for no echo, the chamber is a unique acoustic space that you won't find in the natural world... If you're quiet enough you might even hear your heartbeat! Dates to be confirmed, likely late 2019.
- Don't forget you can make a pledge without receiving a reward too—how amazing are you‽
Help us succeed
You don't need to give money to help us succeed—but we'd love it if you did! Please share this project with anyone you think would support us. Every little bit helps and the more people who know about it, the more likely we are to have the best outcome.
who we are
The Junior Science Academy is a school holiday program at Macquarie University that aims to support children in primary school develop their knowledge and skills as emerging scientists. Developed by experts and delivered by teachers, the program is aligned with the NSW Science and Technology Syllabus and the Early Years Learning Framework.
The Australian Hearing Hub is an initiative of Macquarie University and the Commonwealth Government’s Education Investment Fund. It brings together leading researchers and health care organisations to drive research, education and innovation to improve the lives of people with hearing, communication or mental health disorders.
Major partners in the Australian Hearing Hub include Cochlear Limited, Australian Hearing, and its research division the National Acoustic Laboratories. Other key partners included the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children and its associated cochlear-implant program, the Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre, The Shepherd Centre, and the HEARing CRC.
Thank you for your support, and don't forget to follow us to find out how we're doing