Discussion | Working with Deaf Children


Approximately 9 million people in the UK have a hearing loss. This is approximately 19% of the total population or 1 in every 7 persons. Approximately 1 in every 1000 children is born with a severe or profound hearing loss. 90% of all deaf children are born to hearing parents. At present there are roughly 45,000 deaf children (0-15 years) in the UK. So it is quite likely that at some point in your career of working with children that you will either work with a deaf child directly or one of their friends will be deaf.
We were recently emailed by one of the committee members from It’s A Deaf Thing (an organisation in Florida, see more below), which got us thinking about how we could best prepare to work with and support deaf children in our care.

The National Deaf Children’s Society  have a website that is full of wonderful and practical advice and information. We found the articles ‘Communicating with a deaf child’ and ‘Deaf-friendly birthday parties and party games’ extremely helpful as nannies.

The National Deaf Children’s Society  hold events for parents, carers and families. Events range from ‘Newly Diagnosed Information Days’  to ‘Family Sign Language’  courses. These courses and all the information on their website will be suitable and important for both parents and nannies, as as a nanny we need to be as informed as we possibly can be to give the children in our care the best support.

A few of our favourite tips we have read are:

-Make sure you get down to the child’s level and that they can see your mouth clearly so they can lip read. Don’t move around as you talk and use hand gestures to help.

-Try to never tell a deaf child that you’ll ‘tell them later’ they have the right to know now what other people have heard. So take the extra second and tell them clearly or if that doesn’t work, try writing it down on paper or even on your phone.

From above “It’s a Deaf Thing” is the only known event of its kind across the state of Florida and is expected to feature more than 60 Deaf-owned and Deaf-focused businesses, and to celebrate the culture and increase awareness of Deaf issues. “I am anxious to continue presenting this opportunity which enables the Deaf Community across Florida to have a place to gather and connect with each other and showcase their skills,” says Terry Hunt, President, ProjectDEAF. The 3rd annual event, scheduled for Saturday, October 5 at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, FL features products, and services by and for the Deaf Community. Additionally, an art and craft show showcasing various Deaf-made products runs the full day. A talent show at 4:00 PM is the grand finale to a full day celebrating what it means to be Deaf. The event runs from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, October 5. Admission at the door is free for all.  For more information visit www.itsadeafthing.com.

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