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Educational services

Photo: Boy using direct input leads

The most widely used technology to help deaf young people at school is a radio aid system. Radio aids give clear communication between a teacher and a student, making the sounds you need to hear clearer in relation to unwanted background noises. Soundfield systems are another technology that can improve the listening conditions for everyone in the room regardless of where they are sitting. When using a soundfield system a teacher would usually wear a microphone - reducing the need for them to raise their voice to ensure that everyone can hear better.

Equipment your local authority can provide for you

Your local authority will normally provide equipment that you need at school. For example, radio aids and soundfield systems are usually provided by the local authority in England, Scotland and Wales, though by the education authority in Northern Ireland. In addition to this, equipment could also include computers, special software, speech and language therapy equipment and other communication aids.

More information is available for technology that can help you at school. There are also a wide range of products which you can borrow for free from the Technology Test Drive loan service.

Your rights

Under the Equality Act 2010, local authority and schools in England, Scotland and Wales must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure that disabled children are not disadvantaged in education. In addition, local authorities and schools must provide ‘auxiliary aids’ (which includes, for example, radio aids) as a reasonable adjustment.

The Equality Act 2010 and the specific duty to provide auxiliary aids doesn’t apply in Northern Ireland. However, the education authority and schools must still make reasonable adjustments more widely available generally and promote equality of opportunity for disabled people.

In addition, local authorities must identify and assess the special educational or additional support needs of children, where additional may support may be needed. This may lead to your child being issued with a statement of special educational needs (England, Northern Ireland, Wales), an Education, Health and Care plan (England) or a co-ordinated support plan (Scotland). These are legal documents which set out the support your child needs. If your child needs any specialist equipment to meet their special educational or additional support needs, this should be included in your child’s plan or statement.