Getting down with da kidz in Kidderminster

I was in Kidderminster over the weekend at a NDCS event for deaf young people. It was great fun. I even got to bounce about a bit on a bouncy castle, getting down with da kidz, innit.

Anyhow, I took the opportunity to ask the young people there what they wanted the Government to do to help deaf children and young people. Some of the answers that came our way were…

* More subtitles at the cinema. One girl said that she often went to see films without subtitles, just so that she could go with her hearing friends. She’d miss a lot of it, but it was better than waiting ages for a subtitled show, weeks after her friends had all seen it.

* Loop systems that don’t work properly or are not turned on. Loop systems amplify the sound in the enclosed area for deaf children that have a particular ‘T’ switch on their hearing aid. I asked if they challenged shops or places that didn’t have them turned on – but the reply was that this was often a waste of time since the staff didn’t know to use the equipment.

* Deaf aware audiologists. A few mentioned their good experiences but others talked of audiologists who carried on talking even the deaf young person was not wearing their hearing aid. Others talked of audiologists talking to the parent, and not to the deaf child directly.

It was all pretty interesting. Talking directly to deaf young person in this way throws up issues that we hadn’t thought of or hadn’t ranked as a priority. As NDCS moves to becoming a more child-centred organisations, we may begin to campaign on different things than we have in the past…


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