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Support for home learning - coronavirus info for families of deaf children

Published Date: 10 Aug 2020

Accessing online learning and education resources at home

If your child is not attending school then we expect that teachers will prepare work that is sent home or made available via the school’s homework app. Some teachers (particularly of older pupils and students) are offering or signposting to remote or online lessons whilst children are at home. If you have any concerns about how accessible this distance learning will be for your child, have a chat with their teacher or Teacher of the Deaf. This way, you can ensure that whatever method of contact is used, your child can access it and be included.

Some things to think about

  • Are online videos being subtitled? For example, BBC Bitesize are subtitling their new daily lessons, whilst many of the videos at the Oak National Academy are subtitled and BSL interpreted. For online teaching, some software (e.g. Google Hangouts) is available with automatic translation and there are some apps that do the same – however, the feedback we have from young people is that the reliability of these can vary.
  • Even if your child does not usually have communication support in class, they may require it for accessing online teaching. Remote speech-to-text support and BSL interpreting are now both well-established and easily accessible. Your Teacher of the Deaf can help with exploring options for funding this.
  • Ask your child’s school or Teacher of the Deaf about bringing their radio aid home. For many deaf children, radio aids will allow them to continue their learning and access sound on their computers, tablets or mobiles. It may also help them to keep in touch with family and friends and avoid feelings of isolation.
  • Find out how the school, support staff and your Teacher of the Deaf is planning on keeping in touch with students while the school is closed. You might like to suggest ways which your child already uses and that work well for them. Options include Facebook groups, Skype video calls or webchats, FaceTime, Zoom conference calls, Google Hangout, Microsoft Team, etc. Although aimed at deaf adults in the workplace, a blog on The Limping Chicken website helpfully summarises the different options available for video calls.

Further guidance on home learning

Take a look at our website for some top tips on home learning. You can also download our Helping your deaf child to learn resources for families. The British Association of Teachers of the Deaf website also includes a list of useful resources for home learning.

We have also produced a checklist for teachers with some tips on how they can ensure any remote learning is accessible for your child.

Guidance to support home learning can also be found on the UK Government websites: 

In Northern Ireland, the Sensory Service has published information on how they will be supporting families. The Education Authority in Northern Ireland has also published information about education for parents in British and Irish Sign Language.