Our campaigns usually involve the families of deaf children who make them a success by contacting MPs, creating petitions and talking to the media about their experiences. These are just a handful of our successful campaigns.
New safeguards for deaf students in England
In 2014 the Government announced plans to cut Disabled Student Allowance (DSA) funding for some forms of support for higher education students from England. We were particularly concerned with loss of funding for manual notetakers and lack of safeguards for students if universities declined to provide support previously funded through DSAs.
Following a two-year targeted campaign, the Government agreed to continue to provide DSA funding for specialist manual notetakers (those with training in supporting deaf students) and implemented an exceptional case process where a student can access temporary funding if there is a dispute with a university over what support they will provide.
Newborn hearing screening introduced across the UK
Before newborn hearing screening was introduced,children were often not diagnosed as deaf until they were aged three years or older. This affected their development significantly - an undiagnosed deaf child will only know 25 words by the time they are three compared to hearing children of the same age who will know 700.
After pressure from parents and the National Deaf Children's Society, newborn hearing screening was introduced across the UK by 2006. This meant that all children were tested for hearing problems in their first few weeks of life, ensuring that deaf children were much more likely to get the help and support they needed as early as possible.
Cuts to Teachers of the Deaf reversed
of the Deaf (ToDs) provide vital support to deaf children and their
and they are one of the services that we work locally to protect from
cuts. So when we heard that the organisation providing ToDs across Buckinghamshire
was planning a restructure that might reduce them by a third, we
galvanised parents to challenge the decision.
After 48 parents emailed their councillors, a petition was supported by over 400 people and the local radio interviewed a parent whose child is supported by a ToD, we were told that numbers of ToDs were actually going to be increased!
Early years recommendations supported by Scottish Government
Last year we launched our early years report, Getting It Right From the Start: improving early years support for deaf children in Scotland .
This included a week long programme of events at the Scottish Parliament to lobby MSPs. Young people spoke to MSPs directly and a Parliamentary reception was held with a keynote speech from the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney MSP.
This significantly contributed towards our success in taking forward our recommendations to roll out our Local Record for Deaf Children pilot nationally and update early years support standards for deaf children in Scotland.
SEN thresholds that exclude deaf children in Northern Ireland removed
The Special Educational Needs (SEN) review started in 2009 and we were concerned about proposals to raise the threshold for SEN provision to include only multiple and complex needs. This would have excluded many deaf children.
We focused our campaign on the Assembly Education Committee, the Education Minister and senior civil servants. The SEN Bill is now in the Assembly and they haven’t included the multiple and complex needs threshold.
Accoustic standards introduced in Welsh schools
Following calls from the National Deaf Children's Society, the Welsh Government took action to ensure school buildings funded through its 21st Century Schools programme would meet acoustic standards. Funding contracts now require buildings to be tested for compliance with acoustic standards and clamp down on flimsy alternative standards.
Since this campaign victory, the Welsh Government has new powers over building regulations. We're now campaigning to make sure that these standards are legally binding and apply to all schools, however they are funded. More than half of Assembly Members have signed up in support of good acoustics and the Assembly's Petitions Committee is looking into the issue.