Our history

Townsend House

As South Australia’s only children’s specialists in both vision and hearing Can:Do 4Kids offers services to children and young adults including Speech Pathology, Early Intervention, Occupational Therapy, Family Support, Assistive Technology, Youth Programs, Recreation, Auditory Processing Disorder intervention, Auditory Verbal Therapy, Mentor Programs and Psychology. Can:Do 4Kids, Townsend House, is South Australia’s oldest charitable service provider, offering vital therapy and support to children and young people who are blind, vision impaired, deaf or hearing impaired. Established as a school and accommodation for deaf and blind children, Townsend House has provided family-centred support for over 140 years. It is estimated that up to 10,000 South Australian kids face every day with a vision or hearing impairment.

Can:Do 4Kids, Townsend House was formed in 1874 by William Townsend as school and accommodation for deaf and blind children. Ever since, they’ve provided support and assistance to children and young adults who are blind, deaf, have low vision, are hard of hearing or have sensory needs – and their families.

Cora Barclay Centre

In January 2019 the Cora Barclay Centre merged with Can:Do 4Kids, Townsend House with services continuing as a specialist program under Can:Do 4Kids called the ‘Cora Barclay Listening and Spoken Language Program’. The Melbourne Street site continues to operate providing excellent services to families and children. Founded in 1945, the Cora Barclay Listening and Spoken Language Program, previously known as the Cora Barclay Centre, is Australia’s oldest listening and spoken language service for children who are deaf or hearing impaired. The service is unique, working with children from all over SA, from birth to adulthood and providing holistic support.  Families can access Listening and Spoken Language Early Intervention, Student Services and Peer Support Programs, as well as Audiology, Speech Pathology and a range of other services. Most children who attend the Cora Barclay Listening and Spoken Language Program attend mainstream schools, achieve academic results on par with the general population and successfully gain employment. We are proud of the outcomes of the program, which are published annually ensuring we remain transparent and accountable to our families and supporters. For more information about the changes please email us on info@www.cando4kids.com.au

Cora Barclay was a pioneer, a trailblazer and an inspiration.  In 1952, Mrs Cora Barclay, a trained school teacher, commenced as Principal of the SA Oral School for children who were deaf or hard of hearing. Cora had been involved with the school as a parent since 1946 and undertook significant overseas training to become Principal. This was an extremely progressive move by a mother in that era; she left 2 young children with her husband, in Adelaide, to travel and study. This was a testament to her dedication and commitment to the School and its purpose. Cora remained at the Centre for 40 years, 37 years as Principal. The SA Oral School weathered many changes, however the guiding philosophies of excellence in delivering the best outcomes for children who were deaf, remained, driven by the untiring efforts of Mrs Cora Barclay. She laid the foundation of principles which are still relevant today. Her efforts were rewarded with an OBE in 1969 as well as being made a Life Member of the Australian Association for Teachers of the Deaf in 1986 In February 1990, to honour Mrs Barclay’s work, the SA Oral School was renamed the Cora Barclay Centre for Children with Hearing Impairment Inc., it was then known as the Cora Barclay Centre.