Teens can’t communicate with deaf peers

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Simple steps can be followed to include deaf teens, say campaigners.

Three quarters of teenagers say they do not know how to communicate with their deaf peers, according to a new survey by the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS).

The survey of 1,000 UK teenagers also revealed that 27 per cent would probably not make the effort to talk to a deaf person of the same age despite the fact that most (64 per cent) said that making new friends is important to them.

As a result, deaf teenagers are being excluded from conversations and activities and are finding themselves increasingly isolated in social situations. They are also missing out on opportunities to make new friends and enjoy normal interaction, all of which can lead to loneliness and poor self-esteem.

The NDCS is today launching the Look, Smile, Chat campaign to inform hearing teenagers about the easy steps they can follow to communicate effectively with deaf young people.

Using short online films to help teenagers understand what it might feel like to miss out on conversations or jokes, the campaign aims to provide practical tips on how to overcome common communication issues. Lesson plans and classroom materials are also available so that teachers can encourage discussion of the issue.

“We need parents, teachers and young people to help us spread the word about the really simple things teenagers can do to make sure deaf young people are never left out”, says Lucy Read, Head of Children and Youth Participation at the charity.

For more information on childhood deafness, visit:
www.ndcs.org.uk

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