AFTER donating to the WA Deaf Society, a Perth politician hopes his colleagues will soon follow suit.
North Metropolitan Region MLC Martin Pritchard’s donation allowed the East Perth not-for-profit organisation to purchase new equipment for its Language Early Access Program (LEAP), a bilingual, bicultural playgroup for deaf and hard of hearing children, or hearing children with deaf parents or family members.
LEAP co-ordinator Suzie Scott said the program relied on donations to help further the children’s development.
“We have secured a bit of funding to keep going for a bit longer but we are currently working at making it a bit more sustainable,” she said.
“We were able to get signing books, which mixes English and Auslan and assists hearing parents of deaf children to be able to see something like a nursery rhyme they are familiar with in English with some Auslan signs so they are able to build on their interaction with their children.
“We also got a balance beam which is something we found lacking in our resources – anything to do with gross motor development.
“Research tells us that children who are deaf or hard of hearing can struggle with the development of balance within the ear so we really needed something to give us the opportunity to encourage that development with the children; the more practice they get the more they are able to develop.”
Mr Pritchard said he had been involved in the deaf community for a couple of years.
“My daughter has worked at a school for the deaf at Shenton College for about three years; she’s progressively got me involved in the deaf community,” he said.
“I had a tour of this site about six months ago and was made aware of this particular program and I was very keen to try and make some contribution.”
He said a small donation went a long way.
“There’s still a long list to go and I have only made small dent in the list so I am hoping that as new parliament sits, my colleagues may start helping purchasing some of the other items they need.
“Just a small amount of money makes a big difference to their lives.”