Mild & Moderately Deaf Children Left Behind At School

Nearly half of all children with mild and moderate deafness are falling behind in mainstream school, new research published by The National Deaf Children’s Society during Deaf Awareness Week shows.

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Poor acoustics, lack of staff awareness and late diagnosis are contributing to a significant impact on the 20,000 UK children with mild and moderate deafness throughout the school day. The National Deaf Children’s Society is now calling on the Government to ensure that services are sufficiently resourced to provide the vital support needed to ensure these children don’t get left behind unnecessarily.

Unless properly supported, children with a mild loss (up to 40 decibels), can miss between 25% and 50% of what the teacher says in class. This can lead to them falling behind in their learning, in particular in spoken language, reading, writing and spelling. For children with a moderate loss (up to 70 decibels), the amount missed is over 50% and the challenges even greater.

The National Deaf Children’s Society is now calling for:

  • parents and young people to have access to more information about the potential impact of mild and moderate hearing loss and the support available;
  • teachers to have greater awareness of mild and moderate hearing loss and the steps they can take to minimise its impact; and
  • local authorities to ensure that services are sufficiently resourced to provide the necessary support for children with mild and moderate hearing loss.

Susan Daniels, Chief Executive of the National Deaf Children’s Society said: “Deafness is not a learning disability so there is no reason why deaf children shouldn’t achieve the same results as their hearing classmates. Over half of children with a mild or moderate hearing loss fail to achieve five good GCSEs, compared to 30% of other children. This attainment gap is simply unacceptable. Mild and moderate deafness can often be overlooked because of a perception that it is not a serious condition or that children are ‘coping’ at school. But often these children are nodding their way through life without really understanding what is being said and missing out on vital early development. No child should have to struggle at school because of misconceptions about the impact of mild or moderate deafness.”

The report Marks Deaf Awareness Week which runs from 4 – 10 May. National Deaf Children’s Society is also busting a series of deaf myths and inviting supporters to take part in a Big Cake Bake to raise vital funds for services for deaf children and their families. Find out more at www.ndcs.org.uk/mildmoderate

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