SAPEMA supports hearing-impaired school children

Eduplex is a unique school that is internationally recognised, in which pupils with hearing loss learn and acquire normal spoken language alongside their friends with normal hearing. Through this interaction, deaf children see themselves as part of normal society.

The facilities at the school are custom designed for the specific needs of deaf children.

There are currently 778 learners of which 75 are deaf. More than half of the deaf learners are from economically poor homes and dependent on bursaries. When Nelson Mandela opened the Eduplex Pre-School, in March 2002, he said, “What you are doing here is changing tragedy into triumph”. This is indeed the heart of the Eduplex vision. Clyde Beattie, Chairman of Sapema, was recently invited to visit the school where he was given the opportunity to see how the school operates. He was so impressed with the way in which deaf children are integrated into main stream schooling, that he realised this was a good cause for Sapema to support.

He knew that getting member support would not be difficult, due to many of the Sapema members selling hearing protection.

“Being able to function as a deaf or hearing impaired person in industry has huge challenges and, I found it refreshing and heart warming that Eduplex was doing this for school children from a young age.

“By integrating hearing impaired children with normal hearing children, they soon become fully integrated and learn to function in society in a valued and meaningful way”, said Beattie.

Hearing protection is a major challenge in the workplace because many people are not always aware of the risks they face with over-exposure to high noise levels. More frightening is the fact that many of the workplace environments have not identified areas of high noise levels, and thus place their workforce at risk of noise induced hearing loss.

“With the incredible story behind Eduplex, their ongoing efforts to grow the school and offer children who have a hearing impairment an opportunity to be educated in a “normal” hearing school environment, makes further support from Sapema a real possibility” concluded Beattie. The emphasis on spoken language ensures that all children reach a level of linguistic maturity that lays a firm foundation for literacy, numeracy and academic success, facilitating deaf children to be able to enter courses of higher education, opening more opportunities for job mobility.

The audiological support at the Eduplex is provided by audiologists from the Ear Institute nearby. They follow evidence-based practice in the evaluation of the child’s hearing, the fitting of amplification devices and the verification of the fittings.

The establishment of EDUPLEX has been made possible by generous donations.