How can we make the most impact on the lives of deaf children and young people in the next five years?

Gathering your views and opinions
During the first phase of our research (2015) we asked parents/ carers the following questions and this is what you said:

We asked: Changing which of these would make the most difference to deaf children and young people?

  • social attitudes
  • teaching in schools
  • support for parents
  • technology
  • audiology
  • policy decisions

 You said: In phase 1 you picked ‘teaching in schools’ as your first choice. You also commented that you felt support for parents would have a positive impact on lots of other areas.

 

We asked: What are the top three challenges facing deaf children and young people in the 5-10 years? There were three main challenges suggested:

  1. Deaf awareness and social attitudes
  2. Funding cuts and/or changes to services and support for deaf children and young people and the long-term impact of these changes.
  3. Accessibility of services or support, particularly education

You said: Other challenges noted were: access and support for technology and communication, and emotional health and well-being / deaf identity for deaf young people.

 

We asked: What support is most important to help a deaf child or young person reach their full potential?

You said: The most popular type of support identified was peer-to-peer support for deaf children, young people and their families. Suggestions ranged from informal opportunities to meet as well as getting involved in the local Deaf Children’s Societies.

 

We asked: What can/should the National Deaf Children’s Society do to best support deaf children and young people, and their families in the next 5-10 years?

You said: You told us that the most important thing that the National Deaf Children’s Society can do is providing information for deaf children and young people, their families and professionals. Three other main things that you felt we can do were:

  1. Campaigning and advocating on behalf of deaf children and families.
  2. Providing a range of services to meet different needs for those the charity supports.
  3. Creating or helping others to create opportunities for deaf children and their families to meet and support each other.

Other suggestions included improving how we support different types of families and speaking to more deaf children and families when making plans.

 

We asked: Why should the National Deaf Children’s Society do this (rather than somebody else)?

You said: There were 4 key reasons identified by those we spoke to as to why we should provide support for deaf children, young people and their families. You said the National Deaf Children’s Society:

  • has experience, knowledge and a good reputation, so it is trusted
  • is a national/international organisation with good resources and contacts
  • is an independent, unbiased organisation
  • is focussed on deaf children and their families

 After listening to your views, and reviewing our other research, our Trustee Board decided that we can make the most impact by influencing, campaigning and providing information and support that is focussed on 3 areas:

  • Improving the availability, design and quality of national and local services
  • Developing deaf children and young people’s language and communication skills
  • Supporting the growth of deaf children’s independence and improving transitions into adulthood.


In doing this Trustees have asked us to work together with parents, professionals and others – raising deaf awareness, encouraging peer-to-peer support, and building on our resources, contacts and reputation so that we can make a real difference to the lives of deaf children and young people.

 

In the second phase (2016) of our planning we asked families, deaf children and young people, and the professionals working with them for your priorities in each of the 3 areas of focus. Over a thousand of you replied.

These are our questions and this is what you said:

We asked: How can we make sure that deaf children, young people and their families get the support they need from services? We provided a list for you to pick the two that you thought would make the most difference. 

You said:

  • A majority of parents/ carers and professionals selected ‘improving deaf awareness amongst professionals in education, health and leisure’
  • Just over half of parents/ carers and professionals chose ‘providing information and resources to families’ as their next most preferred option. 

 

We asked: How can we improve support for deaf children and young people to develop their language and communication skills? We provided a list for you to pick the two that you thought will make the most difference.

You said:

  • The importance of early years support came out as a priority for all
  • Families split their choice fairly evenly between ‘campaigning for early years’ services’, ‘resources and support for families with early years’ communication’ and ‘further development of literacy’
  • A majority of professionals identified ‘resources and support for families with early years’ communication’. ‘Campaigning for early years’ services’ was the second most popular option with professionals
  • Deaf children and young people picked ‘advice and training in deaf awareness for professionals’ followed by ‘campaigning to government to ensure support is available’. 

 

We asked: How can we support deaf young people as they become more independent? We asked you to pick the two that you thought will make the most difference.

 You said:

  • About half of parents/ carers chose ‘awareness of, and availability of technology and financial support’. ‘Providing resources and support to help young people make choices and plan post 16+’ was their next preferred option.
  • The most popular option with professionals was ‘providing resources and support to help deaf children gain independence and life skills’. Professionals had similar choices to parents/ carers as they also favoured ‘awareness of, and availability of technology and financial support’ and ‘resources and support to help young people make choices and plan post 16+’.
  • Deaf children and young people considered all the options were really important. Their top two responses were ‘help to get a job’ and ‘deaf awareness at school/ college/ university and the workplace’.

How this will inform the strategy
This feedback has been collated and analysed and will help inform the Trustee’s decisions this summer about the strategic direction and priorities for NDCS.

Thank you for your involvement to date. Our new strategy will be launching in the next few weeks.

What happerns next?