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Members of deaf community help change name of service

a group of children play instruments
Photo: Torfaen Council

Members of the deaf community have influenced a decision to rename a local support education service.

Nationally, the British Association of Teachers of Deaf Children and Young People and professionals who work with deaf children and young people are supporting the move towards the use of more positive terminology around deafness. The Hearing Impairment Service will now be called the Support Service for d/Deaf Children and Young People.

The word ‘deaf’ is used to refer to all levels of deafness, including unilateral deafness. This decision was made following collaboration with d/Deaf and hearing parents, deaf children and young people and professionals in the Children’s Hearing Services Working group. The names of clinics in the south east Wales region will no longer use ‘hearing impaired’ and specialist resource bases in Nant Celyn Primary and Cwmbran High School will now be referred to as d/Deaf Resource Bases.

The Support Service for d/Deaf Children and Young People, currently supports 1,116 children and young people across Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen. It’s hosted by Torfaen Council and is part of the Sensory and Communications Support Service (SenCom).

The specialist teams within SenCom provide a wide range of advice and intervention strategies to support children with communication and sensory additional learning needs.

Joanne Plant, Head of Support Service for d/Deaf Children & Young People, worked with a range of key stakeholders on changing the service name, said: “Whilst some d/Deaf children may not use sign to communicate, it is important that the rights of the child are considered. There needs to be an opportunity to have or develop a deaf identity, whether as part of a linguistic and cultural minority or using spoken language. The wellbeing of d/Deaf children is fundamental to the role of Service. For some deaf children using language such as ‘impairment’ may have a detrimental impact on their identity, their confidence and sense of belonging.”

Roger Thurlbeck, Head of Sensory and Communication Support Service, said: “This piece of work to better reflect our communities wishes, truly captures the essence of SenCom, which is a desire to work in partnership with children, families, schools and our third sector colleagues.”

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Members of deaf community help change name of service