As the parent or carer of a deaf child, there are many ways for you to get involved in the National Deaf Children's Society. By joining one (or all!) of the groups listed below, you can find out more about supporting our work, influencing decision makers in your area to help deaf children, or can simply share your story and experiences. Your experiences and insights can make a real difference.
We’ve created a series of free workshops to help you to feel more confident about taking action and getting involved in things that make a difference for deaf children.
Who the workshops are for
If you have ever:
- taken action that helped your child to get the right support
worked with other families to make a difference for deaf children in your area
- contacted your MP or another decision maker to try and change something
- or if you'd like to learn more about how you can, then these free workshops are for you!
It doesn't matter whether you have experience or not in taking action for your child or others. If you are keen to help make a difference for all deaf children in your area, we’d love to have you join our workshops.
A parent carer forum is a group who work with local authorities, education settings, health providers and other providers to make sure the services they plan and deliver meet the needs of disabled children and families. This includes deaf children.
Parent carer forums are often contacted to engage with and receive feedback from parents. This includes when there is an Ofsted and Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection of support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) or when a proposed change to a service where a consultation is being carried out.
When you join you start to receive information, and then decide if you want to get more involved. You commit as much time as you want to to the forum.
It's vital that parents and carers with deaf children get involved with the Parent Carer Forums, so that the needs of deaf children are represented in your local area. They are also a great way of finding out about local groups and activities for deaf and disabled children.
Visit the National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) for more information.
What is the Parent Panel?
The Parent Panel is a Facebook page where parents of deaf children and young people in the UK can share their views on everything we do, from our printed information booklets and Families magazine, to our web content, family e-newsletters and children's books.
We greatly value all feedback we get from parents of deaf children and use it to carefully update, inform and adapt our work to make it as useful as possible for you.
Each month, we cover a different topic, such as 'cochlear implant surgery'. We post questions and polls about once a week, and also host Zoom sessions to talk about issues in more depth. You're free to contribute as and when you wish to, giving as much or as little detail as you want to. We monitor this page and all feedback is passed on to our colleagues in the Information team.
If you know other parents of deaf children and young people in the UK who'd like to be involved then please direct them here. We're always happy to welcome new members!
If you'd rather speak to us directly please feel free to email us at [email protected] and [email protected] and we'll be more than happy to answer any questions or set up a time to speak over the phone.
How you've made a difference
Parent Panel members have made a difference by:
- Helping with vital research about children with hearing loss
- Making sure our new products and resources are right for families
- Answering surveys that give us the information we need to develop new campaigns and services
- Coming to focus groups to tell us about your experiences and views so we can help make a difference
- Sharing your valuable stories for our Families magazine to inform and inspire others
- Helping develop the National Deaf Children’s Society Strategy
- And so much more!
We really appreciate your opinions and feedback.
Do you want to use your experiences as a parent of a deaf child to have a direct impact on hearing services in your local area? If so, then joining a Children's Hearing Services Working Group (often referred to as CHSWG) is a great way to do that.
What are CHSWG's?
Children’s Hearing Services Working Groups (CHSWGs) are usually based in health authority areas, and bring together representatives from services supporting deaf children and their families to make sure that the different services are working well together and giving the best possible support.
Who will be at a meeting?
Each CHSWG usually includes representatives from health (like audiologists and paediatricians), newborn hearing screening programme staff, teachers of the deaf, speech and language therapists, social workers, local charities and representatives from the National Deaf Children’s Society.
Why should I get involved?
CHSWGs operate across England, Scotland and Wales, and usually meet three or four times a year. We are anticipating new CHSWGs starting up in Northern Ireland soon. Being a parent representative on a CHSWG means that you can use your first-hand experiences and unique overview of services to help shape the support for deaf children and their families in your area. It's really important that parents get involved so that services understand what the needs of deaf children and young people in their area are.
You can find out more about joining your local CHSWG by contacting our helpline, who can link you with our local engagement team.
The National Deaf Children's Society also runs Parents as Partners workshops which can support new and existing parent representatives to feel they are getting the most from their role, and to meet other parents. Contact our Freephone Helpline for information.
If you're already attending meetings and would like to link with other parent representatives via social media, then there is a dedicated Facebook page run by parents that you can ask to join.
There are a variety of ways you can get involved in improving services for deaf children in your local area. You can access training to help you do this through our Parents as Partners workshops.
We also offer help for parents who are keen to get involved but may need financial support with attending meetings. This may be communication support, travel or childcare. Grants of up to £300 are available depending on your individual circumstances. For more information and to see if you are eligible please contact [email protected]
If you would like to find out more about any of the groups mentioned above, contact our Freephone Helpline on 0800 800 8880* or alternatively email us at [email protected] or talk to us via Live Chat.