Sunday, 3 January 2021

Half of deaf children get no support.

To be scrupulously fair hearing children are suffering too, covid isn't just affecting those who can hear. 

One in two deaf children in England are not getting necessary specialist teaching support since returning to school in September, The Independent can reveal, amid warnings that pupils with hearing loss are at risk of falling behind.

Before the pandemic, about two-thirds (67 per cent) of deaf children usually had visits from a teacher of the deaf (ToD), but only half of these pupils (51 per cent) are currently receiving the support they need during the pandemic’s second wave, according to a national poll of parents by the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS).

Since going into year 2, six-year-old Liam has been asking his mother, Brodie Kingston, when his teacher will be coming in to see him. She’s had to explain that she won’t be able to come to his school – an academy in Stoke-on-Trent where he’s the only deaf child – because of the pandemic; the school told her they were informed that social distancing rules meant she would not be able to visit.

The visits have been stopped across the country for a range of reasons, according to the NDCS, who clarified that they did not have data on how many schools versus local authorities were making the decision. The charity said that several local authorities have said the decision lies with individual schools, while some schools will only allow the teacher to come if it is the only school they’re visiting that day. Additionally, some specialist teachers have not been able to make appointments because they have been self-isolating.



Deaf education is such an issue, the trade-off in specialist support versus empowerment/inclusion for a child to access and manage mainstream has no balance and no targeted education to ensure it either. Sign language is an eternal barrier regardless if best suited to the child or not, simply because the rest of the world is hearing and doesn't work that way. 

Inclusion is tokenistic and once you insert an interpreter that is yet another barrier to overcome. That is without the various factions who are anti-sign or pro-culture vying for priority. Specialisation in itself is isolating there is no way around that, you develop in a closed-off and supported world unrelated to the mainstream etc and when you leave that set up as a late teen or adult there are few places to go then when such help vanishes as it usually does. I am not for specialisation except for those who would never manage mainstream anyway. educationalists suggest less than 9% of deaf children need that specialisation, but the rest need that support in the mainstream to develop and aren't getting it. If you keep kids apart then they adopt the position. 

Sign language wrapped up in a neat cultural package has advocates who want further isolating approaches where basic English grammar is NOT to be used, speech use is deterred and sign prominent at all times, and only parental choice actually prevents that happening at present. I suppose those issues will be eternal until some sort of mass 'cure' for deafness presents itself. 

Curiously what drives all these issues is the fact BSL is a saleable commodity, had it not been for that deaf education may have developed a lot further and inclusive in enabling the deaf child, and hearing loss identified properly and addressed accordingly, now everyone wants to 'cash in' on BSL and the gig of culture. This drives opposition to real inclusion in the long run by suggestings reliance is good/a right etc and independence not so good because it is 'hell out there for deaf people' as hearing have it in for them.  Of course, real inclusion means fewer jobs for the BSL boys and gals too and fewer charities existing to waste money on their behalf..