Teacher of the Deaf
Anne-Marie Hall, a peripatetic Teacher of the Deaf, shares her insights.
What does a peripatetic Teacher of the Deaf (ToD) do?
A ToD is a qualified teacher who has completed an additional qualification to work with deaf children and young people. We work with deaf children, their families and other professionals involved in the child’s development. ToDs work with a wide variety of deaf children and young people from 0–25 with all levels and types of deafness. Peripatetic means we work within a range of settings including families’ homes, nurseries, schools and colleges.
How and when are children referred to you?
Referrals can come through parents or carers, family members or healthcare and education professionals. Children can be referred at any age: some come after their newborn hearing screening; other children may be referred later if they have lost their hearing due to illness or if they’ve recently moved to the area, for example.
What support can deaf children expect from their ToDs?
The support from a ToD is wide ranging. It can include carrying out specialist assessments, monitoring hearing aids and cochlear implants and advising on the use of technology such as radio aids. We also focus on developing listening, spoken language or signing and communication skills and supporting children with their social skills and self-advocacy, accessing activities and preparing for adulthood. Partnership work is a key aspect of our role and in particular supporting mainstream teachers on things such as adapting the environment and curriculum to meet a deaf child’s specific needs.
What does a typical day look like for you?
There isn’t really a ‘typical day’ for a peripatetic ToD! We could be doing anything from one-to-one teaching and home visits to attending audiology appointments, delivering deaf awareness assemblies in schools, attending Education, Health and Care plan meetings, running training for other professionals or activities for families.
How often do you see the children you work with?
It depends on each individual child and their situation. We might see some children very regularly and others less so, depending on their needs. Some families like to meet face-to-face whereas others may prefer to speak on the phone or via email. The children and families are at the centre of what we do so we make sure we’re led by their preferences.
What challenges do deaf children face at school and nursery?
Schools and nurseries may be noisy, busy places which can make it harder for deaf children to access learning, but each deaf child is different, meaning the challenges they face vary. It’s important not to make assumptions. We consider each child individually and work out what assistance and support they may need.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Being part of each child’s experience is a real privilege. Seeing them grow and increase in confidence is really rewarding whether it’s small steps or key milestones.
What advice would you give parents of deaf children?
It’s less about giving advice and more about developing a good working partnership with each individual family so that their deaf child can become confident, resilient and successful.