06 May 2021
Island schools have learned more about inclusive communication during Deaf Awareness Week this week (3 – 9 May).
Deaf Awareness Week is managed by the UK Council on Deafness and aims to promote social inclusion and raise awareness of the support available for the 1 in 6 people in the UK who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The theme of this year's Deaf Awareness Week is 'Coming Through it Together,' and the week focuses on how communities and individuals can support deaf and hard of hearing people.
This week, children and young people have taken part in:
- A fingerspelling marathon at Le Rocquier Secondary School
- Signed stories at St Clement's Primary School
- Online interactive workshops hosted by the National Deaf Children's Society for deaf and hard of hearing secondary school students
In Jersey, an estimated 13,000 adults have 'accepted' hearing loss, and 75 children and young people are deaf or hard of hearing. Support for children and young people is provided by the Hearing and Deaf Support Team, who provide specialist assessment and teaching and keyworker support, as well as access to a Deaf Instructor.
Esther Tremeer, Team Lead for the Hearing and Deaf Support Team, said: "Deaf Awareness Week is always important, but I think it's especially important this year given the challenges that people who are deaf or hard of hearing have faced particularly in social interactions.
"For students, the introduction of home schooling provided additional accessibility challenges, and we worked closely with schools to manage that. For deaf and hard of hearing people (including students) who rely on lip reading to communicate and learn, the introduction of mask-wearing has also created additional challenges."
"We want to use this week to raise awareness of the challenges faced by people who are deaf or hard of hearing, but also of the small ways we can all support them. Even something as simple as making sure you speak clearly, facing someone when you speak to them, and being happy to repeat yourself: all of it can help a deaf person feel included."