Lyn Brown, Labour MP for West Ham, paid a virtual visit to a workshop for deaf and hearing pupils at Lister Community School in Plaistow on Tuesday 23 February.
A team from the National Deaf Children’s Society ran an online workshop at the school to pass on support, advice and information to some of Newham’s 325 deaf children and young people, as well as to give advice to their hearing friends, teachers and parents about understanding deafness and how to communicate well.
After the session, Lyn chatted to the pupils about their lives, the challenges they face and their hopes and dreams for the future.
The National Deaf Children’s Society had been working with the pupils at Lister Community School over the past five weeks, giving workshops on topics including deaf identity, technology, emotional health and wellbeing, online safety and the charity’s Deaf Works Everywhere campaign, which aims to get more deaf young people into careers that inspire them.
Commenting on the work of the National Deaf Children’s Society at Lister School, Lyn said:
“It was lovely to meet Samee, Samit and Umer, who spoke to me about the difficulties they have faced as deaf students in our schools. They helped bring home to me the difficulties that will be placed upon them when our schools return and students are all expected to wear face masks. Deaf students will have great difficulty communicating with their friends as they won’t be able to lip read. I have promised that I will raise this issue with the Secretary of State for Education on their behalf.”
Steven Gardiner, who helped deliver the workshops for the National Deaf Children’s Society, said:
“We want to thank Lyn for dropping in to learn about our work at first hand. We’re giving workshops to schools up and down the UK to help empower deaf children and young people and raise awareness of deafness among their friends, family and teachers.
“Visits like this, even when they’re virtual, have such a fantastic impact on the lives of the UK’s 50,000 deaf children and young people and it’s amazing to see that. By sharing information and developing everyone’s understanding of deafness, we are working towards a world without barriers for every deaf child.”
“We want to remind every deaf child that they have incredible potential and should be aiming high. With the right support, they can do anything anyone else can do. We really hope Lyn took this important message away with her.”
Top tips for communicating with deaf children:
1. Speak clearly and naturally, it makes lip reading much easier.
2. Don’t cover your mouth. Covering your mouth with your hands, eating or chewing can make lip-reading very difficult
3. Be visual. Can you point, use gesture, write things down or type sentences on your phone?
4. Never give up and never say “I’ll tell you later”!