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Teachers of the Deaf: a lifeline to families during lockdown

Published Date: 16 Mar 2021
Photo: Teachers of the deaf are incredibly important to children like Zak

Celebrating a special Teacher of the Deaf who went above and beyond to support Zak and his family.

It’s been a difficult time for everyone over the past year, but for deaf children who are not in school and not getting their usual support, there are lots more challenges. Teachers of the Deaf have been a lifeline for many families, meeting with them in parks, picking up and dropping off of resources and continuing to provide teaching and advice online.

Many deaf children struggle to access remote and online learning, so the Teacher of the Deaf provides a vital link between the deaf pupil and school. One of our families got in touch to tell us all about her son and how their Teacher of the Deaf had helped them.

Zak’s story

Zak is five years old and profoundly deaf. He was diagnosed at six weeks old and received bilateral cochlear implants at 12 months old. Mum, Laura, got in touch with us to tell us about how Zak’s Teacher of the Deaf, Ruth, has gone above and beyond to support him and his family during lockdown.

Ruth has been there for Zak and his family from the start. Six weeks after diagnosis, Zak started going to a playgroup for deaf children where Ruth visited fortnightly, as well as visiting him in nursery and at home.

When the time came for Zak to start mainstream school, their application for an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan was unfortunately rejected. With support from Ruth and the National Deaf Children’s Society, they successfully fought the decision and Zak now has an EHC plan in place. Before lockdown, the support he was receiving in school included one-to-one extra tuition, visits from Ruth and the use of a radio aid in class.

Lockdown learning with Ruth

When lockdown began, the school had a place for Zak to attend but for health reasons and Laura caring for her elderly grandmother, the family made the decision to do home learning instead.

We know remote learning can be hard work for families, so it was wonderful to hear from Laura about how Ruth really went the extra mile to support Zak with his schoolwork.

Ruth has been a constant support throughout the home learning, she contacts us twice a week, marks his work and provides feedback. Ruth has sent many packages through the post (which Zak loves) including worksheets, stickers, certificates and books.

“The feedback Zak receives from Ruth has really kept him motivated and he has been thriving with his home learning and actually asking to do extra work than has been set.”

Photo: Zak showing his excellent work

Ruth’s support has been invaluable to Zak and his family

As a result of Ruth’s amazing support and encouragement, Zak is absolutely thriving.

“Zak has become so proud of himself and he actually beams with pride when he opens his parcels, he often comments "Ruth thinks I'm so clever because I am actually clever".

I have been at home with Zak throughout and have been amazed at how well he has done and how much he has achieved but mostly the motivation he has to do well and watching his confidence grow.

I cannot thank Ruth enough for going above and beyond and helping us out so much through this unsettling time and I have been able to really enjoy our time together and watch my son flourish.”

Find out more

If you want to find out more about Teachers of the Deaf or what support there is for your child, in your area, then our campaign and information page: Improving Futures: education for deaf children in your area, is a great place to start.