Raising Awareness in Mainstream Schools

Guided by the questions that we are often asked, the blank looks, and the concerns from families and teachers, we decided to do things differently in September. Deaf Awareness Month.

Together we decided to open up our knowledge, experience and skill to the mainstream education sector, and hosted a first of its kind workshop for educators, parents and professionals.

“Mapping the Listening and Speaking Brain for Learning” – three professionals across the spectrum of auditory development, speech and language development and the integration of sensory processing within the context of the developing child. The child sitting in a mainstream classroom, or any classroom for that matter.

We recognised, through our own experience, that often the workshops and presentations that we attend focus on the special needs sector, forgetting that many children with special needs are being included in various school environments. Schools where teaching staff are often over whelmed and ill-equipped, not due to lack of trying, but lack of information, to assist not only the child, but also the family.

Our workshop hosted by Fish Hoek Primary School, reached 64 participants ranging from parents, to educators to representatives from various organisations and institutions. Our presenters explained the auditory pathways and how the development of the auditory systems impacts on the development of language and speech. Attention was also given to the child’s sensory integration within the classroom and how best to accommodate and support the child within the classroom.

Some of the participants had the following to say:

“Just to say a VERY big thank you for your workshop last week.  I found each of the speakers to be highly engaging, relevant and informative. If you hold an identical workshop, I will certainly be encouraging a host of my colleagues to attend! I look forward to future workshops too.” Jacqui – The Learning Lab.

“Thank you so much for the email we were really so impressed by the workshop” – Seamount Primary Teachers.

“Thank you so much for this talk: the speakers were brilliant. Well done. My husband took half day today to attend the talk and he was very impressed: thank you.” – Shiree Goldstein – Parent

We thank our presenters for the wealth of information shared and their commitment to supporting this bi-annual workshop.

Herewith some practical tips to help guide you (click Mapping the Listening and Speaking Brain for Learning for the pdf). Remember to test the child’s hearing if any concerns are picked up in the classroom (or at home), and it is never too early for intervention services.


Mapping the Listening & Speaking Brain for Learning Workshop | 7 September 2016

We are looking forward to hosting a first of its kind workshop for professionals, parents and teachers working with children age 3 – 9 years. An empowering workshop where we will share our knowledge and insight into the development of the child within the classroom environment in terms of auditory skills, speech and language and sensory integration.

Our presenters, Natalie Buttress, Carol Mestern and Romy Kruger are experts in their respective fields and we thank them for offering their voluntary services to empower others.

Date: 7 September 2016
Time: 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Venue: Fish Hoek Primary School, Upper Recreation Road, Fish Hoek

RSVP is essential.


Families Connect | Parenting A Deaf & Gifted Child | 20 August 2016

We are very excited to have Mom and Blogger, Juliet Martinez, from States sharing her parenting journey with us.

Date: 20 August 2016
Time: 10:00 – 12:00
Venue: Fish Hoek Pre-Primary School, 1 Abington Circle, Fish Hoek

This is an interactive get together for parents raising children with hearing loss (and other auditory/language challenges). Allowing us all an opportunity to engage with Juliet, who blogs over at Parenting A Deaf and Gifted Child. She is also looking forward to meeting parents from South Africa and hear our stories and share experiences.

Do join us and please confirm your participation by clicking “going” on this Facebook Event, or send us an email at info@decibelsoflove.com or sms us on 079 817 6583.

As always, children are welcome 🙂

FCEI Fundraising Target Reached – Thank You!

The Decibels of Love Board would like to thank all those who have made it possible for Chevone Petersen, the Founder and Chairperson of the organization, to attend the 3rd International Family Centred Early Intervention (FCEI) Congress  in Austria from the 15th to 17th June this year.

It is through these generous donations that Chevone will be able to network and represent South African families,  learn from other countries and engage in discussions around evidence based practice on early intervention around the world, whilst developing crucial relationships that will complement our family centered outreach, awareness and advocacy work in South Africa.

We raised R21 000.00, and in addition, Chevone was granted a Parent Scholarship of 800Euros, altogether ensuring that we could cover the flights, registration, accommodation, Visa application, shuttle service and meals.

We wish Chevone safe travels and look forward to her return and all the excitement she will share of her experiences and growth.

Thank you to all!!!

Families Connect 9 April 2016 | Special Needs in the Classroom – Parent / Teacher Partnerships

“Education is all a matter of building bridges” – Ralph Ellison.

We invite you to join us for an informal discussion on building inclusive partnerships between parents and teachers when accommodating special needs in the classroom.

When:  9th April 2016
Time:  10:00 – 11:30
Where:  Fish Hoek Pre-Primary School, 1 Abington Circle, Fish Hoek

This talk will be presented by Paula Wickham, Principal of Fish Hoek Pre-Primary school. She has a special interest in inclusive education and supporting special needs in the classroom environment whilst guiding parents through developing effective relationships with their child’s teacher.

Paula’s experience includes that of supporting and guiding families, as an educator, from diagnoses, to support, to intervention, to researching alternative school placement opportunities that are “in the best interest of the child”.

“How do I address my child’s COMMUNICATION and ENVIRONMENTAL needs with the teacher?” this is one of the questions that parents often struggle with.

Join us for a morning of innovative, practical and solutions driven discussion.

Children are welcome!

For more information and to RSVP email info@decibelsoflove.com. Also view our Events Page here.

Family Camp Out

On Saturday, 5th December, we hosted our final event for the year. A family camp out!

The afternoon started with a buzz of activity, with moms trying to erect their tents, while the children excitedly tried to add some direction – pushing and pulling poles as they analyzed the instructions on the A5 piece of paper.

Two tents prooved more difficult that the others. . . The one’s instructions made NO sense and the other had NO poles! Fortunately for us, we had our resident “Tent Warrior”, Paula, who figured the one tent’s structure out after a two hour struggle, and managed to find some extra poles in one of the sheds and cellotape to link some broken poles together. This ensured lots of laughter from adult and child alike.

Paula, our tent warrior!

The evening came and the children melted some marshmallows on the fire and enjoyed the sticky sweetness, fuelling them as they ran around the camp grounds with glow sticks in hand until 10 pm!

Glow Sticks, Yay!

We woke up to the wetlands melody of insects, chirping birds and the ribbit of the frogs. While some of the children may not have heard these blissful sounds of nature, we know in our hearts that they could feel the tranquility of their surroundings as they slowly awoke to a new day after 5 am.

Later, we went to the beach and some of the children experienced the shark alarm for the first time as we watched the Shark Spotters speed along the exclusion net barrier to help some Nippers exit the water when a Shark were spotted in the distance. We explained the warning system to the children and they weren’t phased at all and continued playing in the shallow waters while we all looked on and enjoyed our ice-cream.

The Shark Flag Warning system. The White flag signals that a shark has been spotted in the bay.


We are grateful to Fish Hoek Pre-Primary, our venue partner, for allowing us the use of their grounds for the Camp Out. We also thank Pick n Pay Fish Hoek for their generous donation of wood, charcoal, cooldrink and marshmallows. For some of the children this was their first camping experience and we look forward to more families joining us next year – all children should experience the wonders of the outdoors.

We Are Representing South African Families at FCEI 2016 in Austria!

Decibels of Love Founder and Parent, Chevone Petersen, has been awarded a parent scholarship to attend the 3rd International Family Centred Early Intervention (FCEI) Congress  in 2016 from the 15th to 17th June.

The FCEI theme for 2016 is “For Every Child and Family“, regonising the diversity and unique needs of families raising children who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing and the variety of services that is required to ensure an individual approach that meets with the support needs of the child and the family within the context of their daily challenges that will enable a tailored approach to family centred intervention.

Attending this congress and representing South African families will allow us to learn from other countries and engage in discussions around evidence based practice around the world, whilst developing crucial relationships that will complement our family centered outreach work.

We are humbled by this partial scholarship award, and thank Med-El and FCEI for allowing us the opportunity to network and participate beyond the boundaries of South Africa.

In addition to the scholarship, we still need to raise approximately R20 000 to cover all expenses. Chevone’s attendance and acceptance of the scholarship must be confirmed by latest 10 January 2016, but we would like to confirm by the end of 2015.

We ask YOU to PLEASE consider making a donation towards this amazing opportunity. Do also feel free to share our exciting news and raise awareness. Thank you.

Bank: Capitec Bank
Account Name: Decibels of Love
Account Number: 1385368991
Branch Code: 470010
Account Type: Savings
Ref: FCEI2016 & Email Address
International Donations SWIFT code: CABLZAJJ

Please email info@decibelsoflove.com should you need more information for international donations. Thank you!

You may view the invitation letter here and the scholarship award letter here.