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Dublin: 18°C Tuesday 22 June 2021

Free seminar aims to support deaf teens and their parents who feel isolated

Irish Deaf Kids said students with hearing difficulties are now benefiting from modern technologies, which should be used more in schools.

Image: Irish Deaf Kids via Facebook

IRISH DEAF KIDS (IDK), an organisation supporting deaf children and their families, will host a seminar on Tuesday to offer support and advice to deaf teens and their parents who are feeling isolated.

Sixteen-year-old Ellen Arthur, a youth adviser to the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) who is at a mainstream school, will share strategies at a free workshop for handling potential social isolation and for building rapport with everyday contacts.

IDK said it welcomes expressions of interest from teens who are deaf and hard-of-hearing and their parents, for this free morning session.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, CEO of IDK Caroline Carswell said “deafness is quite rare in the youth population, meaning many students will be the only person with hearing issues in their school”.

“If they are shy or introverted, they can have difficulty explaining to others how specifically to include them in conversations with students and teachers, in classes, or in sports teams,” she said.

Carswell said parents of children with hearing difficulties often have low expectations for their futures.

“Quite often, we are asked “what is a good job for a deaf person to have?” – which infuriates us,” she said. “We know doctors, veterinarians, dentists, hobby pilots and software architects with hearing issues, who use technologies to level their fields of work. Deafness is different, in the digital age, and people need to know this.”

She said modern technologies such as digital hearing aids and cochlear impants restore some hearing for children and teens with profound deafness, though they are not a cure.

“For this reason, some detail in conversations and teaching can be missed,” she said. “This is where the students benefit from visual detail such as accessible multimedia in schools and in college classrooms as well as from reading news online.”

Apart from Ellen Arthur’s workshop on Tuesday, discussions will also cover:

  • Feeling isolated amidst peers at school – how to keep up with the buzz;
  • Reminding family members to include you in general conversations;
  • Finding connections with new contacts you meet via clubs, sports & work.

Real-time captioning and ISL interpretation will be available for this event. Attendee places and access to the event are strictly limited to 30 registered names. A cancellation list will assign places on a first-registered basis.

Registration is essential and it closes today so if you’re interested in attending the seminar, email info@irishdeafkids.ie to request a registration form.

Read: “It’s a shame”: Parents appeal for funding for cochlear implants>

Read: Ireland’s Deaf community feels neglected by media>

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