Eshan Moossun, a driving instructor who works with deaf young people, shares his insights.
How do you prepare for teaching deaf pupils?
Each and every deaf person communicates in a different way. Their language level is a major consideration for me when I’m planning to coach them; I think about how to deliver the lesson in a way that the individual will understand. Sometimes I may break the lesson into smaller learning units. It’s also important to give instructions and directions before undertaking a task, rather than during, and to agree directional signs in advance of setting off.
What are the main adjustments you make in lessons?
I use lots of teaching and learning materials such as diagrams, drawings and real objects. I think learning aids such as images and diagrams should be provided to reinforce meaning to what’s being taught. Unlike teaching deaf young people academic subjects where they may struggle with some vocabulary, teaching driving is much easier as it’s a practical skill.
How did you come to specialise in teaching deaf and disabled people to drive?
I had an enquiry from a deaf lady, who used British Sign Language (BSL), who wanted to learn to drive. At the time I wasn’t BSL qualified so I got in touch with the City of London College to follow a BSL course. I took the exam after the course and passed. My tip for a deaf person looking for a driving instructor is to make sure the instructor is deaf aware and/or can use BSL (if that’s their primary mode of communication) but is also patient and experienced. You should go to the Disability Driving Instructors website.
What adjustments can be made to the different parts of the driving test for deaf young people?
You can get specific help online when preparing for the theory test and you can always bring an interpreter along on the day. Further information is available by contacting the DVSA. I wouldn’t recommend adjusting the practical test because deaf young people will use the road in the same way as their hearing peers. However I’d recommend doing a mock assessment to help them understand what will be required of them. The examiner will give the candidate the same instructions as their hearing peers but could write them down for the candidate to read. Their instructor should always sit in the back of the car and be ready to help with communication when necessary.
What do you find most enjoyable about coaching deaf pupils?
As a specialist driving instructor, the success of my disabled, special educational needs and deaf pupils is a personal achievement for me. Highlights of my job are always situations where I work with my pupils to allow them to achieve success and reach a safe driving standard regardless of their disability.