A talking point for Plymouth parents
One of the most valuable things to be able to do as a parent of a deaf child is to meet with other parents in the same situation. Knowing that you are not alone and that there are other families that can offer advice and shed some light on the confusing array of communication choices, hearing aid technologies and educational methods available, can make all the difference. Talking to professionals is a vital part of ensuring you get the best support, but it is just as important to be able meet and talk with parents who know exactly how it feels to raise a deaf child.
At Eggbuckland Vale Primary School in Plymouth, they know how important it is to enable parents to get together and they have set up a monthly parent’s group which meets in the school’s own hearing support centre, where it is providing inclusive education for eighteen deaf children from nursery age to Year 6. Teacher of the deaf, Sarah Bradley was inspired to set up the group because, as well as understanding the importance of parents talking to each other, she also understands how important early years education is for deaf children and she wants to allow parents to see models of good communication. Sarah hopes to inspire parents to learn to use visual language at home with their families and to support their deaf children’s language for learning; language that will enable their families to thrive and support their deaf children to become literate.
Sarah ensures that while parents and deaf children chat in the group, they can also see how language is made visible, and she does this brilliantly – and bilingually. Sarah invites a deaf inclusion worker Sharon Saunders to the group who, as a deaf adult and role model, can demonstrate and teach British Sign Language (BSL); the language of the deaf community. Sarah also invites Kathy Kenny, who is a parent of a deaf child herself and in her role as Cued Speech UK family support practitioner, she is able to present spoken English visually to the group by using and teaching Cued Speech; the key to literacy. Everyone is able to see how BSL and Cued Speech, used together, create a truly bilingual and visual learning environment for the group as they discover together through story-telling and creative activities for the children; and discussions and learning opportunities for the adults.
Eggbuckland Vale deaf parent’s group is making sure that families in Plymouth become the experts about their own deaf children. These families are being given to tools to become fully informed and to be able to make the very best choices about their deaf children’s futures.
If you want to find out more about the Eggbuckland Vale deaf parent’s group, you can contact Sarah by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have a deaf child or want to learn more about Cued Speech, you can contact Cued Speech UK by phone (01803 712853) or by email (email@example.com). Cued Speech UK would love to see what you have to say!