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Hear for You, an organisation supporting deaf kids navigate the tricky teenage years

Female student sitting amongst classmates and smiling in lecture room. University students in classroom after lecture.

This week is National Week of Deaf People, a weeklong national celebration of Deaf individuals and the Deaf Australian community. To celebrate, we’re shining a light on Hear for You, a unique organisation that provides mentoring for deaf teenagers from adults who have shared the same experiences.

The teenage years are arguably some of the most challenging of our lives. Raging hormones, peer pressure, school stress and the added complexity of social media can create a period that’s equal parts exciting and terrifying. The team at Hear for You know that for kids who are deaf or hard of hearing, the teenage years can be even trickier.
The Sydney-based organisation was established in 2008 by Olivia Anderson who, having been diagnosed profoundly deaf at eight months, wanted to use her personal experiences to support young people going through challenges she faced as a teen. Today, it’s a registered NDIS provider powered by a full time staff and over 90 volunteers.

The programs are designed to help participants develop communication and life skills, confidence and teamwork in creative and fun environments. As reported here by the NDIA, workshops can include topics like conflict resolution and dealing with bullying to filmmaking and treetop adventures. The organisation even runs its own film festival, open exclusively to deaf or hard of hearing teenagers around Australia. The organisers say that the focus is also about ensuring young people believe they can reach their goals – whether they be short term goals like making friends or long-term career aspirations.

Community based support providing important social connections

As well as an opportunity to learn from mentors who have already traversed the teenage path, the workshops are designed to be a meeting place for like-minded young people. In this way it’s building a community for kids, many of whom may not have met hearing-impaired or deaf people from outside their own families. As participant Jared told the NDIA;

“As much as my parents support me, they don’t understand what it’s really like. That’s why the mentors and friends I’ve made through Hear For You are so important to me.”

Here at Mable, we understand how important it is for clients to be able to connect with like-minded support from within their own community. As an online platform that allows clients to use their NDIS funding to engage their support team directly, our clients – particularly younger ones – are often searching for support workers with similar interests, rather than a set of qualifications.

Our community of independent support workers are made up of experienced disability support workers, nurses and allied health workers, as well as ordinary people offering social support and sharing their passions with clients they work with. Interested in finding out who’s offering support in your area? Sign up for free today and start a conversation with someone you click with.

There are events happening around the country in celebration of National Week of Deaf People, from Yoga in Auslan to invitations for people of the hearing community to ‘come and try Auslan.’ A full list can be found on the Deaf Australia website.

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