Support group set up to help deaf children

National Deaf Children's Society outreach co-ordinator Kerry Ross with deaf pupils on the Listening Bus  SR1601311
National Deaf Children's Society outreach co-ordinator Kerry Ross with deaf pupils on the Listening Bus SR1601311

CHILDREN with hearing difficulties have been brought together in a new sensory group.

Schools in Worthing, Lancing, Shoreham and Steyning are working together to help pupils who have problems with hearing.

The aim is to introduce deaf children to others in the area in a similar situation, as well as raise awareness among their hearing peers.

Globe Primary Academy, in Irene Avenue, Lancing, hosted a visit from the Listening Bus, run by the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS), on Wednesday.

Deaf pupils from across the area were given a special session to show them various pieces of equipment available on loan from the charity, and separate sessions for hearing pupils followed.

Organiser Dorothy Reed, a support worker at Globe, said: “It is important for the hearing children to learn about what it is like for the deaf and how they can help their friends.

“It is also nice for the deaf children to get together with their deaf peers.”

The Globe has two pupils with significant hearing difficulties, Ruby Davidson, eight, who has cochlear implants, and Charlie Davies, seven, who has hearing aids.

Mrs Reed explained: “The children use radio aids which link directly to the teacher and cut out the background noise. The teachers have been incredibly supportive.”

Joining them for the workshop were other pupils aged seven to ten who have hearing aids or cochlear implants and attend schools in Shoreham, Steyning and Worthing.

Jamie Chivers, NCDS outreach officer, said: “There are 48,000 deaf children in the UK. The radio aids have a transmitter and receiver providing a direct connection from teacher to pupil. It makes it easier for them to hear and to concentrate.

“We have various pieces of equipment which people can borrow from our Technology Test Drive service as they are very expensive to buy.”

The children took part in a demonstration of vibrating alarm clocks, doorbells with light and sound, pen transmitters and Bluetooth neck loops for listening to music.

They were also told about the loop system operated in shops, banks and cinemas and can be set up with the help of audiologists.

The visit continued the work of the new sensory group, which will now be meeting about once a month.

Mrs Reed explained: “The local area got together and a group was set up through the sensory support team and hosted at Globe. We decided to do some cooking with them and some of the parents helped, which helped them understand more.

“It needs to be ongoing because there are a lot of children out their with hearing problems.

“There is a national Deaf Awareness week every year. Last year, we had people come in and do an assembly for the whole school and we are hoping to do the same this year.”

NDCS is the leading charity dedicated to creating a world without barriers for deaf children and young people.

The term ‘deaf’ is used to refer to all types of hearing loss or impairment, from mild to profound, including deafness in one ear or temporary deafness such as glue ear.

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