Dr Helen Robinshaw
As an independent practitioner, researcher and consultant, my aim is to improve the quality of the services we offer families with babies, toddlers and preschoolers who are deaf.
I work with families at my home. I also work with families and colleagues within local education authorities. In addition, I work as a researcher and consultant in pre-school deaf education in a variety of sectors including Health and Education Services, Voluntary and Commercial Sectors.
I have been working with, and learning about, deaf babies and their parents for over twenty years. When I started, there was no clear career path mapped out for professionals wishing to support families with very young deaf children, so I have created an unusual if not unique set of experience and skills to offer to you now:
My job is to guide, coach and support families with pre-school deaf children through those early years of discovery and success.
In the last two decades significant advances have been made in screening newborn infants for hearing impairment and in the development of digital hearing aids and cochlear implants. The third component we now have to make accessible to all families is the provision of excellent support and guidance.
First and foremost is the development of a communication system that links parent and child; that celebrates the wonders of infancy and that begins to meet the challenges of parenthood. This may be through gestures and signs or through audition and speech.
However, infancy is also the best time to develop new neural connections; to build on the most effective technology and to stimulate auditory brain development. This is therefore also the most effective time to develop listening and speech skills. We can do this largely through the use of auditory verbal techniques that enable us to use everyday situations and play to foster the development of listening and speech as your child's primary means of communication. The goal being to achieve age appropriate spoken language ability, and full social participation throughout childhood and beyond.
With early identification, the best technology possible and excellent support and guidance thereafter, "age appropriate spoken language ability" is a realistic goal for most deaf children without additional handicaps, and for many with.
© 2006 Dr Helen Robinshaw | design by dee-gee.co.uk