Social & Emotional Support to Deaf Children and their Families
A story by West Scotland Deaf Children's Society
West Scotland Deaf Children’s Society provides social and emotional support to deaf children and their families.
Better breaks funding enabled us to offer many opportunities for our young people to meet and mix with an age appropriate peer group at our Saturday Sign Activity Club, a youth group and in partnership with St Roch’s Secondary School an after school club.
What Social & Emotional Support to Deaf Children and their Families did
We provided 29 outings & activities for up to 30 children at our Saturday Club, 36 outings & activities for 40 young people at the Youth Group, 6 outings/activities for our younger children and 9 outings for up to 24 pupils at St Roch's after school club.
Activities and outings many of which were chosen by our young people have included Theatre trips, Go Karting, Sky Climbing, Bowling, parties, a Science workshop, trip to Edinburgh Zoo, arts and craft days, cinema trips, music workshops, to name but a few all culminating in a fantastic 'It's a Knockout' Fun Day for all!
These opportunities have been invaluable enabling our young people to build friendships and enjoy activities with a peer group who share their challenges thus relieving the isolation and loneliness they experience. We find that this builds self-esteem and confidence and everyone has benefited from this as a number of our older young people have taken a leading role within the youth group and now help to encourage and inspire the younger ones.
Our parents/carers use the break this affords them to meet up with friends or other family members, some spend quality individual time with their other children and others will shop, catch up on chores, or nothing at all - just a welcome and much needed rest! We find many spend the time together having coffee and sharing problems and experiences. They take strength and comfort from their shared challenges, helping and supporting each other. All can relax in the knowledge that their children are in a safe environment, being well cared for and where their communication needs are being met.
What West Scotland Deaf Children's Society has learned
We have learned that having the funding to plan new and exciting activities and opportunities makes a huge difference. Not only to everyone's enjoyment but also to their social skills, confidence and general well being. Being welcomed into different environments by people who have tried to embrace us, makes our young people feel valued knowing that their needs are being respected.
One challenge has been planning and organizing events where the numbers can vary from week to week as a result of things which could not be foreseen i.e illness, bereavement, marital breakdowns and so on. We learned to accept that accurate numbers could not be predicted and that we would at times have to adapt our programme/schedule to suit.
We have ensured that information goes out on our social media sites; to all families; schools;, audiology units; and social workers involved with our families. This has been a good way of engaging with families who previously had little or no involvement with the society and responding to requests from teachers and social workers who feel they have clients who would benefit from our service.