NDCS Better Breaks for Deaf Young People & their Families
A story by The National Deaf Children's Society
We provided a weekend for families with deaf children aged 2-4 years with information sessions included education & technology. We also provided a My Future weekend for deaf young people aged 16-20 years to meet, explore options for the future, & find out about support available when moving on in education/employment.
What NDCS Better Breaks for Deaf Young People & their Families did
National Deaf Children Society Scotland staff & deaf Youth Support Volunteers delivered both events. Our events calendar was emailed out to all members, available to view on our website & from the helpline. Our events are searchable on the ‘what’s on’ section of our website. Targeted emails were sent to members with deaf children & young people in the relevant age bracket, and a targeted postal mail out was done to those known to be interested in this type of event. The events were also advertised through The National Deaf Children's Society Scotland Facebook site.
Family Weekend in Stirling, the sessions for parents/carers included: an explanation of the education system, making the right choice of school, getting their child ready for school, and an introduction to deafness & communication, audiology, technology, understanding The National Deaf Children's Society and other services. A Speech & Language Therapist & Audiologist delivered specialist sessions. Deaf children & siblings were in a crèche so parents/carers could have a break and participate in the programme fully.
My Future Weekend in Aberfolye, classroom sessions covered My World of Work Website, apprenticeships, interview skills, communication support, university applications and relevant benefits. Skills Development Scotland & Action on Hearing Loss Scotland delivered specialist sessions. Outdoor team and confidence building activities included raft building and a ropes course. While information is not available from all parents/carers on what they did during their break, 1 parent told us she was attending a training course for work, 2 parents took the opportunity to have a weekend away & 1 parent was looking forward to a quieter weekend.
Travel costs were covered for My Future to ensure it wasn’t a barrier to attending. Travel buddy volunteers were available for those unable to travel independently.
I feel more confident now since coming home and have applied for more jobs as a result. I thought the information sessions were very interesting. I didn't like that I couldn't get Wifi at the centre but had enough fun to take my mind off it.
Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to come along with you and for helping me with my travel.”
What The National Deaf Children's Society has learnedA number of deaf young people aged 16+ are still in need of support in the transition from school or college onto other destinations. National Deaf Children's Society's ‘core’ youth events are able to accept young people up to age 18 only, and this fund allowed us to extend the age range of applicants up to 20 years old.
Young people of this age group, and their parents and carers, identified the benefits of an event aimed at supporting them with this transition. For example, one parent said: “Young person A is getting ready to finish college at the moment and we are at a loss as to what to do next. Young person A is not very independent yet when it comes to finding work or college placements, I'm finding that I need to do most of the work in filling out applications etc...” . The events and feedback has given us useful data to inform our policy discussions with both local and national government around the barriers to deaf young people and have informed our thinking around resources available to professionals and young people at the point of transition.
Despite offering funding to cover travel costs, and having travel buddy volunteers available, we were unsuccessful in getting any applications from young people from the north of Scotland. Further targeted advertising and outreach work would be needed to try and rectify this in the future. However, we were still successful in attracting young people from a number of local authorities, with a mixture of urban and rural geographies.
There is an interest from young people in running more of these types of events in the future, and this event was enjoyed by those who attended it. Young people said: “It has been a great event while learning about my future, jobs, interviews etc”, “Great fun and really useful if you don't know what to do” and “Create more events like this!” National Deaf Children's Society will take this into consideration when planning our events programmes.