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Minister gets on board Roadshow for deaf children in Glasgow

Published Date: 17 Sep 2019

Deaf young campaigners in Glasgow met with Maree Todd MSP, the Scottish Government’s Minister for Children and Young People, on Saturday 14 September.

The campaigners were taking part in workshops and activities on the National Deaf Children’s Society’s Roadshow - an eight-ton purple lorry that tours the country and turns into a high-tech classroom. The Roadshow visited the Glasgow Science Centre and passed on support, advice and information to some of Glasgow’s 300 deaf children and young people.

Maree Todd MSP met with deaf young campaigners to hear about their experiences growing up deaf in Scotland, and the barriers they face in life. The young people discussed everything from British Sign Language and the support they receive, the importance of specialist teachers for deaf children at school, and how careers advice needs to improve for deaf children. They also spoke about how difficult it is for parents of deaf children to learn British Sign Language.   

The National Deaf Children’s Society also ran workshops for deaf young people on the day. This ranged from discussing young people’s futures, to showcasing the latest technology and equipment available to deaf children, including things like flashing doorbells, vibrating alarm clocks and the latest apps that can transform how deaf children communicate. 

Alasdair O’Hara, Head of Policy and Influencing in Scotland for the National Deaf Children’s Society, said:

“It was fantastic to sit down and talk to Maree Todd MSP, and for her to listen to the experiences deaf young people in Scotland go through. These young people couldn’t be more thrilled that a Government Minister was listening to their life experiences, and thinking about what the Scottish Government can do to improve the situation.

“Scotland’s 3,000 deaf children face big barriers in life – from cuts to their specialist teachers, to falling behind at school, to not being able to access simple things like subtitled performances at the cinema. The first step towards improving these children’s lives, is for the Minister to meet with them and hear their stories. We look forward to working with the Scottish Government to act on what the young people have said and help them overcome these barriers.”

Maree Todd MSP, Children and Young People Minister, said:

“We want Scotland to be the best place in the world for children to grow up, regardless of their circumstances. The National Deaf Children’s Society plays a vital role in raising awareness of steps we can all take to help create a more inclusive society for deaf children by supporting and empowering deaf children, young people and their families to ensure they have the same opportunities as hearing children.”

After meeting the Minister, deaf young campaigner Kara Gillespie, 13, said:

“It was great meeting the Minister. I spoke about how important Teachers of the Deaf are, how they help me with languages in school. I also want to learn British Sign Language so I told the Minister that too. It was a great experience.”