Making deaf children matter

Musings and blogs from a deaf campaigner

Deaf children in Brighton calling for better deaf awareness

Posted by Ian Noon on November 30, 2009

Image courtesy of Guardian website

Yesterday, I was in Brighton encouraging a group of deaf children and young people to rebel and rise up against the system. At least that’s what I thought I was doing when I signed up to a NDCS Grafitti Day. Sadly, no governments were brought crashing down, but it was still an exciting day nonetheless.

This was one of a range of NDCS’s events to bring deaf young people together – many of whom go to mainstream schools and are the only deaf person they know – and have fun at the same time. The young people spent the day creating funky designs and then using some spray paint cans to graffiti it onto some blank Primark t-shirts. I am sure there will be some deaf young people strutting some funky stuff today at schools.

I was volunteering at the event to make sure everyone was having fun and also to act as a deaf role model. As a campaigns officer, it’s also always a good opportunity to ask some probing questions and develop intelligence on what deaf young people are thinking and what the word on the street is.

By the end of the afternoon, I had concluded that Joe seems to be the most favoured candidate to win X Factor by some distance.

But also, more seriously, that there are a wide range of things that deaf young people want to see change. One of the themes that came out quite strongly at this event was deaf awareness by friends and teachers. One teenager said that she was so frustrated once by a teacher who couldn’t seem to remember basic tips on deaf awareness that she left the classroom and made a formal complaint. She remarked that other teachers seemed to constantly forget how to use a microphone.

Another wanted to see more done to raise deaf awareness in hearing children, and suggested the creation of a new website specifically aimed at children, to complement the new NDCS Buzz website for deaf children and young people. Despite only being 11 years old, she had written a short but impressive article for the Newsround presspack website all about her desire for people to be more deaf aware.

All in all, it was an impressive and inspiring bunch of deaf children and young people. Something tells me that maybe they will get to change the system after all.

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