Additional and complex needs

NDCS has a number of resources and events that are suitable for parents of deaf children with additional needs.

Watch our YouTube playlist 

Have a look at our list of videos for parents of deaf children with additional needs. Parents tell us about their experiences with deafblindness, autism and many other additional needs. 

See the full list of videos on our YouTube channel

Contact other families

You’re not alone. Getting in touch with other families via our online Parent Place discussion forum, local groups or Facebook group can be a wonderful source of ideas, inspiration and friendship.

  • Parent Place This is our online forum where we have a dedicated discussion board for parents of deaf children with additional needs..
  • Facebook We have a Page which you can join up to if you have a Facebook account. You can receive updates on what's going on, share photos and discuss issues with other users.
  • Local groups Find out about your nearest local group and how to get involved here.

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Attend an event

We run a number of events for families and young people which you can attend. They are a great way to access support and meet other people.

There are a range of family events, including some with an emphasis on additional needs and you are welcome to attend any you wish. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

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View our publications

NDCS has a number of publications that are suitable for parents of deaf children with additional needs.

The titles below are available to download or order here or can be ordered by contacting the Freephone Helpline on 0808 800 8880.

* Please note to download or order publications you will need to be a member of NDCS.

Front cover image (credit: NDCS)

Our key booklet Deaf children with additional needs includes sections on the following key areas:

  • understanding additional needs
  • professionals you may meet
  • getting a diagnosis
  • communication
  • hearing aids
  • parenting tips
  • choices for your child
  • safety
  • your child’s emotions
  • independence
  • time for yourself
  • support from others
  • useful resources
  • safety

Other publications of interest include:

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What are you feeling (for deaf children with learning difficulties)

front cover (credit: NDCS)

All children need the space and opportunity to learn how to explore and understand what is going on around them. Where there are added barriers to effective communication, the world can be a very bewildering place.

Deaf children and young people are likely to have difficulty finding a way to identify and describe their feelings or emotions. This is even more difficult for a deaf young person who also has a learning difficulty.

We hope that this booklet will help deaf children with learning difficulties find a way to manage their feelings safely. 
It is in two parts due to the size of the document.  To download it click on the links below.

What are you feeling? (learning disabilities version) Part 1 (2863 kb) [pdf] 

 What are you feeling? (learning disabilities version) Part 2 (4030 kb) [pdf] 

Let us know what you thought of this publication through our online feedback form.

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Research findings

Complex needs report image (credit: NDCS)

Did you know that in 2010 the University of Manchester completed some research, funded by NDCS, into the experiences of services for families with a deaf child with additional complex needs?

'Complex Needs, Complex Challenges' report.doc 934kb

Download a copy of the report.

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Does your deaf child have Downs Syndrome?

Recent research has been conducted  into early hearing loss and language abilities in children with Downs Syndrome. To find out more and read a summary of this research 

Law Hall Research Summary - Research into downs syndrome and childhood deafness 72kb

Law Hall Research Summary - Research into downs syndrome and childhood deafness.

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Papworth Trust – Kerry Farm

Papworth Trust are a charity who support disabled people of all ages. They have recently developed a short break/holiday scheme for disabled children and adults in the Welsh countryside which families can enjoy together.

Kerry Farm provides accessible accommodation, a wide range of activities and the support you need to enjoy a holiday together, all free of charge! Applications for 2014 will be accepted from October 2013, so  to see if you are eligible to apply, or just to find out more about Papworth Trust and Kerry Farm, please visit http://www.papworth.org.uk/kerryfarm/

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Technology Can Help!

We  provide information about products and technology that may help children with additional needs. 

We also have a range of products that you and your child can try out for free in your own home to help you decide whether or not they might be suitable . Check out our technology pages where you will also find information about the new iPad APPlicator which is a switch interface making access  to apps easier for those with hand/eye coordination difficulties.

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Transition Information Network

The transition to adulthood can be very daunting for everyone. If your child has additional needs, this can be a very anxious time for you all.

The Transition Network has some useful information and resources and is worth checking out. For further information visit the website:
http://www.transitioninfonetwork.org.uk/

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Key Working

Do you want to find out more about what key working is all about? The National Children’s Bureau has written a guide to help parents and professionals know more. For further information, please visit the website here.

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Does your child have autism as well as deafness?

We have been working with the National Autistic Society to improve information for parents on both conditions. Read the article written by us for the National Autistic Society’s  members magazine reproduced here with the permission of the National Autistic Society. The Spring 2014 edition of our Families magazine also has an ‘Ask the Expert’ column with information on Autism and hearing difficulties. 

Autism and hearing difficulties 107kb

Autism and hearing difficulties

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Joint web chat with Downs Syndrome Association

On Thursday 24 July we hosted our first ever joint live web chat with the Downs Syndrome Association. A panel of experts including staff from both organisations and Bristol University answered questions posed by parents of deaf children with Downs Syndrome and the professionals who support them. Topics included encouraging young children to wear their hearing aids, cochlea implants and bone anchored hearing aids. If you missed it but would like to see the questions and responses posted, please visit our Facebook Page..

Disabled Access

Euan’s guide provides information about accessibility to a range of venues across the UK. Reviews are written by disabled people and their families and new reviewers are always welcome! To get involved or to just read what others have written check out Euan's website.


The Max Card provides children with complex needs and their families discounted entry to attractions throughout the United Kingdom. More information..

Reforms to the Special Educational Needs and Disability code of practice.

The Council for Disabled Children have put together a range of resources to help people, including parents and carers and young people prepare for the SEND reforms. Visit their Countdown to Change pages.

                                                                                                                                                                                           Communicating with your child

The children’s communication charity I CAN together with the Communication Trust have re-launched the Talking Point website which provides information on children’s communication. More information..

Information on alternative methods of communication for children with no speech is available at Other Ways of Speaking which also provides links and useful information on other resources and organisations.

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