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Campaigning for change

Photo: Take part in our campaigns for and about young deaf people

The NDCS Young People's Advisory Board has been going seven years, they exist to directly shape and guide the services we deliver. It offers an exciting opportunity for young people to meet other deaf young people, learn new skills and make a difference. Each Board picks a campaign. Here is some information on them.

What’s the YAB?

The YAB is the National Deaf Children’s Society Young People’s Advisory Board. The Young People's Advisory Board exists to shape and guide the opportunities and services we offer deaf young people and their families.
The National Deaf Children’s Society has had a YAB for 10 years, each YAB runs for two years and each YAB picks a campaign. Being a YAB member offers an exciting opportunity for young people to meet other deaf young people, learn new skills, and make a difference.

Who are they?

The YAB is made up of 19 members, age 13-18 from across the UK. They applied to join the board because they wanted to help make things better for deaf young people. Some of them use speech, some use British Sign Language (BSL) and some use a mix of both.
“I joined the YAB because I wanted to make a difference for the Deaf community and meet others like me since I didn't have that opportunity at school” - Hol, 17
“I joined the YAB because I was new to deafness, so wanted to meet new people I could relate to and get involved in making changes and raising deaf awareness that I couldn't do on my own!” - Dinah, 17

What do the YAB do?

The YAB has been very busy. Over the last two years, they have been meeting on zoom to discuss their experiences and identify solutions. These included issues such as traveling on a train as a deaf young person, facemasks, online learning, and much more.
Some members of the YAB have also been asking politicians questions.
“It’s surprised me how much more independent I've become in advocating for my own hearing loss” - Dinah, 17
“I joined the YAB because I am passionate about the issues which deaf young people and children face… I want to make a change so that these barriers are prevented in the future” - Polly, 16
You might have even spotted two of the YAB, Toby, and Dinah, on a recent episode of Newsround (subtitles)

YAB Campaigns


Hands Up

This is the current YAB Campaign to improve deaf awareness in the classroom. England’s deaf children are falling a whole grade behind their hearing classmates at GCSE, even though deafness is not a learning disability.
Deaf young people are facing similar challenges in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Deaf young people deserve better and the YAB are committed to improving deaf awareness in the classrooms across the UK. Their report Hands Up will be published in Spring 2022.

Deaf Works Everywhere

Deaf Works Everywhere was a YAB campaign to get more deaf young people into work – and into jobs that inspire them.
The YAB created this film.
“We hope that more deaf young people get the information they need to make informed decisions around their futures, with a focus on Access to Work and their rights within the workplace. We also want to make sure that we get the right support, when we need it so that we can reach our potential in education and the workplace.” - The YAB 

Right to Sign

The Right to Sign campaign is all about giving more young people a chance to learn British Sign Language (BSL). The YAB launched a petition to make BSL a GCSE you can find out more in this video.
97% of young people we surveyed said they’d like to learn British Sign Language (BSL) in schools
This campaign was continued by a deaf young person Daniel Jillings. Although it has been delayed by COVID-19 we expect to see the BSL GCSE in England soon.
In Wales, the Education Minister confirmed the new curriculum would enable schools to choose to teach BSL. In the meantime, schools might use the BSL GCSE (developed in England) once it is ready.

My Life, My Health

My Life My Health was a campaign to improve deaf young people’s experiences of GP services. The campaign was created by the NDCS Young People’s Advisory Board (YAB) to support deaf young people’s access to healthcare services.
· Do you find booking appointments difficult?
· Want to book appointments through email and text?
· Does your GP struggle to be deaf aware?
· Not sure who books an interpreter and pays for it?
We all have to visit the doctor sometimes – it’s just part of life. At the moment you might take your parents or carers with you. You might even take a friend. As you get older and feel more confident you will probably want to go by yourself. Dan gets embarrassed he goes to the doctor with his mum.

Look Smile Chat

Ever found yourself feeling left out in a friendship group?
Our YAB created an exciting campaign, called Look, Smile, Chat. This campaign is aiming to reach out to hearing teenagers, and help break down any communication barriers that can make socializing and school life difficult for some deaf young people.
Watch Jake and Vilma’s video to find out more about the campaign and why it is so important. 

Want to get involved?

The YAB represents all deaf young people from across the UK, including YOU! Get involved and share your views!
“We’ve had some really useful sessions on deaf identity and confidence, whilst also having lots of fun through games and social discussions. I’m also amazed at how well I feel like I know the other YAB members, even though most of us have never met in person!” – Polly, 16
What do you think the National Deaf Children’s Society should be working to improve?