How we support social and emotional well-being in young people

11 April 2017

Being able to listen and speak is only part of the focus for children who are deaf or hearing impaired that join the Cora Barclay Centre family. Social and emotional well-being are also a strong part of what we aim to help young people achieve and one of the main vehicles for this is our peer support program.

Two primary school boys with hearing loss, hugging

The development of a child’s social and emotional well-being depends on several aspects of development such as language and social communication, relationships, self-concept and self-identity, self-esteem and resilience. To assist in the development of these areas, the Cora Barclay Centre runs two peer support programs.

The programs provide young people with the opportunity to meet other children who have a hearing impairment and also provides a safe environment to learn social pragmatics (social communication and behaviour) that can help with the development of a healthy self-concept and self-esteem in a child who is deaf or hearing impaired.

During the peer support programs children engage in a range of educational and social activities. Our peer support programs aim to develop:

  • friendship and peer relationships with other children who are deaf or hearing impaired
  • self-identity and an understanding of one’s own attributes and uniqueness
  • resilience and strategies for managing issues related to having a hearing loss
  • self-advocacy skills
  • life-skills required once adulthood is reached
  • explicit teaching of pragmatics and the appropriateness of social language used in daily interactions with others
  • explicit teaching of emotional regulation, conflict resolution, negotiation skills, social behaviour, empathy and personal empowerment
  • mentoring from older children on the possible challenges faced at school for a child with a hearing loss

In order to meet the needs of children as they mature the peer support program is split into two areas; CHAMPS and WHISPA.


CHAMPS LogoCHAMPS stands for Children with Hearing impairment, Activities, Mentoring and Peer Support. CHAMPS supports children who are deaf or hearing impaired and currently attend primary school. The program targets the promotion of self-concept, self-esteem, positive behaviours, empathy and resilience whilst children are forming strong peer relationships with each other. It also provides an opportunity for parents to stay connected and discuss concerns and experiences with other parents who have children who are deaf or hearing impaired.

The program runs sessions during school term as well as during each school holiday break. The session and events are all based on fun interactive games and activities which include cooking, crafts, sports and excursions.


WHISPA LogoWHISPA stands for Web of Hearing Impaired Students Peer Alliance and is a peer support program for older children who are deaf or hearing impaired in high school. It was originally developed by a group of young adults who are deaf or hearing impaired that had identified from their own experiences that the transition from primary school to high school is one of the most difficult for children with a hearing loss. The program has been designed to empower young people who are deaf or hearing impaired by helping them develop their social and communication skills, team building, conflict management and problem solving skills, that in-turn builds their self-esteem, self-concept and confidence. It also facilitates the development of a strong peer support network and friendships.

The program runs sessions during each school term and a holiday activity during each school break plus an annual camp. The events include recreational activities, practical activities to manage everyday living as wells as workshops that focus on specific social and life skill development.


Until recently when students graduated from high school their direct relationship with the Centre was limited. However, the Centre recognised that WHISPA alumni were keen to continue their relationship with each other and so as part of our service to past students we recently introduced WHISPA Crew; online community that provides an easy way for past WHISPA and Cora Barclay Centre students to interact and link together. 


Karin Bell

11 July 2018 - 02:53 pm

My son has recently been diagnosed with severe bilateral hearing loss and commenced wearing hearing aides in March 2018. Our biggest concern for him is his speech development and associated poor peer relationships and self confidence. He is accessing speech through SASHC and a private OT. We are about to have his NDIS planning meeting and want to broarden his skills around social and peer interactions without myself or husband being present. Are activities run through CHAMPS claimable through NDIS ???

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