Specialist sight and hearing loss charity, Deafblind UK, is working with Anglian Ruskin University to ascertain the impact of deafblindness on academic and social success for young people.
Deafblind UK’s CEO Nikki Morris said:
“We know that lots of young people are affected by deafblindness, but we also know that with the right support, they can achieve. This research will determine the prevalence and impact that sight and hearing loss has on young lives.”
This research is led by PhD student, Claire Manford. Claire believes that there could be as many as 1 in 140 children in mainstream schools who are deafblind. The Care Act (2014) includes legal obligations for supporting deafblind adults but does not cover children and young people under the age of 25. She said: “After 20 years as a teacher and MSI teacher, the chance to do something in the field, to have a positive impact for deafblind children had a great appeal. Ultimately, we’re hoping to co-create (with deafblind children and young people) an intervention which will raise awareness of deafblindness amongst teachers and peers.”
This will be a resource to support teachers, parents and students to support academic and social success. This will complement Deafblind UK’s existing ‘lesson in a box’ which is designed to help all students understand more about the impact of sensory loss in others.
Nikki continued: “As the UK’s specialist deafblindness charity, it is vital that we lead the way in support for young people. We have already learned so much from this project and we are proud to be able to enhance our offering to children affected by deafblindness.”
The research project will inform a new pathway through which the charity will deliver support to children and young people. “One of our strategic objectives is to support children and young people in all aspects of their lives. Over the next year, we will be developing a new pathway to enable us to deliver that support. It’s a very exciting time!” Continued Nikki.
Deafblind UK launched a ‘Lesson in a Box’ last year. This is a resource for teachers to help students (and other staff) understand deafblindness. It includes assembly and lesson notes that relate to the national curriculum and has been distributed to over 1600 schools to date.
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