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Starting Out: Supporting Deaf Babies, Children and their Families in the Early Years 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Please be advised that we are monitoring developments with the coronavirus in the UK. We hope to run the conference as planned, but will follow government guidance nearer the time. If we have to postpone or cancel it, we will let you know and offer the option to attend at a date later in the year, or a refund.

Photo: Starting Out. Our 2020 conference aimed at professionals working with deaf children (0 - 7 years)

Are you a professional working with deaf children (0-7 years) and their families?

Join us for our upcoming conference, where we will bring together leaders and practitioners to share ideas for supporting families and carers of deaf children in the early years.

Date: 1 July 2020
Location: IET Birmingham: Austin Court, 80 Cambridge St, Birmingham, B1 2NP
Cost: £130 per ticket

Early bird offer: A limited number of tickets are available at £120 per ticket, on a first come first served basis.

Tickets sales will close at midday on 12 June 2020.

Conference overview

Five babies are born deaf every day in the UK. We know they can do anything other children can do, given the right support from the start. Families and carers have the greatest influence on a child's outcomes but they need your support to access clear, balanced information and make informed choices.

Our conference will highlight best practice and guidance and give you practical ideas for supporting deaf children and their families.

This event will be focussed around 3 main themes;

  • Language and communication development
  • Emotional and social development
  • Empowering families

Families will play a central role in the conference; you will have the opportunity to hear about personal experiences first-hand from families of deaf children.

Who is it for?

This full day conference is designed for all professionals working with deaf children (0-7 years) and their families.

Why attend?

Hear from high profile leaders and practitioners about the importance of supporting families and carers of deaf children in the early years. Gain insight into the challenges faced and best practice ideas in improving the support provided to them.

Meet the speakers

Professor Bencie Woll

Professor of Sign Language and Deaf Studies, UCL.
Bencie has been involved in research on sign language for nearly 40 years, starting with research at the University of Bristol where she was a co-founder of the Centre for Deaf Studies. Bencie moved to City University London in 2005 to take up the newly created Chair in Sign Language and Deaf Studies. From City she moved in 2005 to UCL, where she is currently Professor of Sign Language and Deaf Studies. In 2006, together with colleagues at UCL and City, Bencie founded DCAL, and served as Director until 2016.

What will Bencie be discussing?
Multi-modality and early language development in deaf children.

Evelien Dirks

Senior Researcher, NSDSK.
Evelien is a senior researcher at the NSDSK, specialist in Language and Hearing. Her research focuses on parent-child interaction, language, social-emotional and cognitive development in young deaf and hard of hearing children. She is also involved in projects focusing on early literacy and numeracy development of deaf and hard of hearing children. Next to her research she co-developed books, movies, courses, and apps for children with hearing loss, caregivers, and professionals.

What will Evelien be discussing?
Promoting social-emotional development in children with hearing loss: the importance of caregivers.

Workshops on the day

A. Supporting pragmatic development: how deaf babies learn to communicate and use language for social interaction.
This workshop is led by:

  • Dr Danielle Matthews, Reader in Cognitive Development, The University of Sheffield.
  • Dr Ciara Kelly, Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield.

B. What does best practice in early support look like and how do we know? Insights from international research and evaluation.
This workshop is led by:

  • Gwen Carr, Consultant in Early Years Hearing Detection and Intervention and Family-Centred Practice/Hon. Senior Research Associate, UCL Ear Institute.

C. Time to play: making language learning purposeful, fun and engaging.
This workshop is led by:

  • Noel Kenely, Senior Auditory Verbal Therapist, AVUK.

D. Working with priority families
This workshop is led by:

  • Carla Rose-Hardman, Family Programmes and Involvement Manager - Early Years and Family Engagement, National Deaf Children's Society.
  • Alison Skinner, Priority Families Engagement Officer - Early Years and Family Engagement, National Deaf Children's Society.

E. Active and Ready to Learn: sensory motor play for deaf babies and toddlers aimed at promoting physical development and communication
This workshop is led by:

  • Leianne Bayliss, Head of Early Years, National Deaf Children’s Society.