Today marks the start of Deaf Awareness Week – a week aimed at promoting the positive aspects of deafness and the benefits of social inclusion. Organised by the UK Council on Deafness, this annual campaign brings together all organisations that work in the field and highlights the wide range of support available for deaf people and their families and friends.
This year’s theme is ‘celebrating role models’ across all sectors – with a different focus each day. Today is the turn of ‘Education and Employment’, so it seemed apt that I take the opportunity to recognise those that have, and continue to, inspire and educate me.
As many of you will know my work often sees me advocating for the rights of children with additional support needs, including those who are deaf. Deaf children have the right to additional support to enable them to benefit from school education. They are also entitled to reasonable adjustments which minimize or remove disadvantages arising from their disability while at school. But these rights mean little without individuals committed to making them a reality.
I have recently had an opportunity to work alongside the staff and management at Donaldson’s School – and have heard from parents about the excellent work they do with Deaf pupils who have autism or other additional support needs as well.
I also continue to work with the tireless family support workers at NDCS Scotland, who provide a national support service to families of deaf children throughout the country. Their commitment, knowledge and dedication is much appreciated by the families I know who have benefited from their input.
And, of course, there are teachers in classrooms across Scotland, implementing small (and not so small) changes which positively impact the lives of deaf children, and those with other additional support needs.
Who are your education role models?