Indigenous Pathways Project – Web-based resource to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Families, to navigate through the Clinical & Educational Pathways for Children diagnosed with Permanent Hearing Loss

Ms Selma Kum Sing1

1Queensland Hearing Loss Family Support Service, Hermit Park Townsville, QLD, Australia

The Indigenous Pathways Project is a product of the work that has been undertaken in the remote Aboriginal Community of Lockhart River over a period of three years.   This unique opportunity provided a gateway to work across agency lines with all stakeholders using a community development model, rather than a model associated with a particular discipline, such as social work or psychology.  The outcomes achieved were the development of a comprehensive network of families, community members and services, collaborative practices between all partners in addressing hearing health issues across all age groups.   This project created an environment that encouraged regular engagement opportunities and sharing of important information about hearing issues across the spectrum that result in clinical and educational impacts.   Most importantly, the need to provide information about the hearing loss journey that is user friendly, clear, relevant and easily accessible.  QHLFSS undertook a data analysis of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to establish a baseline of engagement rates with our service and other early intervention services.  The data identified that QHLFSS maintained a 100% engagement rate on the first point of contact, however after this contact over 50% of families disengaged from the service.  Many families were not engaging or attending medical appointments at various points along their service pathways.  Other barriers, outdated mobile numbers, transient families and cultural and family responsibilities.  QHLFSS identified improving access to information, working collaboratively with health professionals already involved with indigenous mothers and babies and build relationships with sector partners to improve their knowledge and understanding of QHLFSS and its role in this sector. This work lead to the development of the Indigenous Pathways Resource, a web-based resource that provides information to families about medical and educational pathways in order to build capacity in families and support our sector partners.


Selma Kum Sing – Torres Strait Islander from North Queensland. Over 20 years of experience working in the community services, employment & training and health. Qualifications:  Post Graduate Diploma in Health Promotion. Diploma in Community Development and currently studying Masters in Public Health at Deakin University.  I’m very passionate about working with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and continue to do this work in my own community in a voluntary capacity.   I work within communities and further develop networks and partnerships  to support our Indigenous families and children with hearing loss and other stakeholders to achieve these goals.