Deaf children and campaigns: review of 2008

Apologies for the delay in blogging again. I returned to work last week but was far too grumpy and cold to blog/think about anything apart from my warm duvet.

I also did a bit of reminiscing about 2008 and a year of campaigns at NDCS. My top three highlights were:

1) Getting our first campaign report Must do better on the educational underachievement of deaf children launched. 45 MPs came to the launch of the campaign report and 156 MPs (nearly one in four) signed early day motions supporting the campaign. It was the first time we had set out our campaign objectives on this subject and provides us with a strong basis to continue campaigning on this issue this year.

2) It was a horrible and technical issue but we got out teeth stuck into some work on accessible examinations and managed to get the Government to redraft some legislation in our favour. We’re now also members of a group working to make further improvements.

3) We also launched a campaign on the newborn hearing screening programme to address localised problems in the delivery of the programme, particularly in London. As a result, we’ve got a meeting with the Chief Executive of NHS London soon and we got ourselves on the telly, raising awareness of the issue.

The lowlight? An independent review on child and adolescent mental health services containing no reference to the needs of deaf children, and barely any reference to the needs of disabled children. This was despite concerted efforts by us to demonstrate that deaf children were at particular risk of developing mental health problems. We’ll be redoubling our efforts on this issue, this year.

Overall, I feel optimistic about the direction in which things are going. Although there are still times the Government will publish a report with zero or limited reference to the needs of disabled children, the needs of children with special educational needs are being referenced more and more. We now have a larger campaigns team at NDCS, freeing up some capacity. And there is a feeling that more and more people know who we are and what we want/need, with deaf children higher on the agenda.

Main priority in early 2009 though will be our planned campaign on acoustics. I’ll be blogging on our planning for this.

In the meantime, what were your highlights/lowlights for deaf children in 2008? And where should be go in 2009? Be great to hear your thoughts.


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