A charity which helps children with hearing loss learn to listen and speak has called on the Coalition to provide urgent support to deaf kids in Tasmania.
Only one in 10 children with hearing loss in Tasmania have access to the specialist services they need, the Shepherd Centre said.
The Shepherd Centre have called on the Coalition to commit $5 million to fund the building of two new facilities for children with hearing loss in Tasmania and South-West Sydney.
This appeal follows the announcement of a pledge by the Labor party of $2.5 million for a facility in Sydney's South-West.
Stu Warren, of Hobart, began using the Shepherd Centre's online-based resources when his now 20-month-old son Ted failed the newborn hearing test and was diagnosed with profound bilateral hearing loss.
Mr Warren said, although he has been stoked with the way things have progressed, it cannot replace the opportunity to develop a relationship with Ted's therapist.
"The real benefit of a centre locally would be the opportunity to meet face-to-face and interact on that personal basis during the early intervention listening and spoken language therapy Ted is working through," Mr Warren said.
"That would be the number one bonus over and above the excellent service we have already received."
Mr Warren currently accesses the service primarily through fortnightly video-conference sessions as Ted, who received bilateral cochlea implants a year ago, is learning how to listen and speak.
"The outcomes we have seen so far prove the outstanding work they already do," he said.
Shepherd Centre chief executive Dr Jim Hungerford said, while support from the Labor party was an exciting step forward, a commitment from both parties was required to minimise the risk of children with hearing loss being left behind if they do not have access to the services they need.
"Despite excellent state health facilities for children with hearing loss, Tasmania is the only state without a specialist therapy service provider," Dr Hungerford said.
One in 300 Australian children are diagnosed with hearing loss by the time they reach school age.
Research shows these children are at risk of significant delays with speech and language development, as well as social and emotional isolation, the Shepherd Centre said.
"We know that for every child with hearing loss there is another child out there who is not currently receiving the specialist support they need to develop essential speech, language and social skills that will give them the best possible start in life," Dr Hungerford said.
"All children deserve to have the best chance to maximise their education and reach their full potential, regardless of disability and where they live."