Saturday, 3 August 2019
So why didn't this dedicated deaf charity support them itself?
A deaf couple who struggled to fit in while growing up have launched a website to break down barriers and provide the support they lacked. Kerry and Ishtiaq Hussain, from Stourbridge, said they often felt lonely and isolated in their youth.
"I felt like I was the only deaf person in the whole world," Kerry said. They now run Deafscope - a site shaped by their early personal experience that shares inclusive activities and opportunities. Hoping to combat feelings of exclusion that can remain in adult years, they say their website acts as a search engine for deaf people; connecting them with deaf-friendly businesses, places, services and events - assistance they have found lacking, despite social media's ability to be a connecting force. Kerry was born deaf after her mother contracted German measles during pregnancy and was sent to mainstream school "to help me with my speech".
As the only deaf pupil, she said there was "not much information or guidance" in the classroom. "My world felt very lonely and isolated. I didn't like big crowds and always stayed away from them just in case they started to speak to me and I wouldn't know what they were saying." Ishtiaq and Kerry Hussain were the only deaf children in their schools A british deaf charity says feelings of social isolation mean deaf people are almost twice as likely than hearing people to experience mental health issues.
Difficulties at school are also common, with an estimation deaf pupils are 42% less likely to achieve five or more GCSEs at grade C or above compared to hearing classmates. It was not until Kerry went to Derby College for the Deaf that she finally felt she fitted in. "I was then proud to be deaf," she said. She met Ishtiaq - with whom she has been in a partnership for 21 years - and bonded over shared experiences. Her husband - deaf since the age of three - was also the only deaf pupil in his school. "I was never involved, I didn't understand any conversation and was taught nothing," he said.