15 November 2019
Our Workable team have been busy supporting three teachers with hearing loss in Northern Ireland, including delivering Deaf Awareness sessions to pupils. Workable supports people who are Deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus as well as their employer. The team support individuals through one to one sessions, peer support and training sessions delivered to colleagues focusing on improving communication.
The team have recently been extending their support to the classroom, delivering Deaf Awareness for Young people (DAY) sessions to pupils at the three schools where the teachers work.
The sessions, tailored to the pupils’ age groups, focused on gaining a better understanding of hearing loss as well as how best to communicate with anyone who is deaf or has hearing loss. Through delivering a number of these sessions, the team reached out to almost 400 schoolchildren from ages 5 to 12 across Northern Ireland, from Portadown to Randalstown.
Mark, a Technology Teacher at Clounagh Junior High School, Portadown, who is a participant on the Workable (NI) Programme said:
“These sessions went well and were very interactive, pupils were fully engaged and enjoyed practicing fingerspelling their names. Teaching a practical subject whilst having hearing loss and tinnitus is challenging, particularly with a noisy environment. I was apprehensive about mentioning my hearing loss to pupils but their reaction has been positive and they have been understanding, as have colleagues. I would thoroughly recommend the programme. My Employment Support Officer comes from a place of knowledge, understanding and empathy, it’s great to have someone like that to talk to.”
50 miles up the motorway, in Maine Integrated Primary School in Randalstown, another session was delivered to a full assembly hall of almost 140 children aged 4 to 11. The session covered basic hearing health information, communication tips and sign language which the children fully enjoyed.
Primary Two teacher Mrs McBride has worked in the school for the past 12 years and has been a participant on the Workable (NI) Programme since 2018. She said: “I didn’t know there were others experiencing the same challenges as me. The support from my Employment Support Officer has been life changing.”
Mrs McBride has started her British Sign Language Level 1 and has also started running an after-school basic sign language club. 12 children are now staying behind each week to learn a new language and communication tips.
Communication Tactics Training was also delivered to staff at the school, specifically designed around Mrs McBride’s hearing loss. This covered the barriers she faces on a daily basis and the small changes which can make a huge difference.
Following the training, Mrs McBride shared her hearing loss with families in the school community and has been encouraged by a number of people who have made direct contact with her to stand by her in support.
If you or anyone you know would benefit from support in the workplace, get in touch with the Workable team for further information at EmploymentTeam.NorthernIreland@hearingloss.org.uk
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Notes to editors
Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID) is the national charity helping people living with deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss to live the life they choose. Action on Hearing Loss enables them to take control of their lives and remove the barriers in their way, giving people support and care, developing technology and treatments, and campaigning for equality.