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New Kent Family Communications Service to Help Parents of Deaf Children
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This free service helps families with a deaf child by offering support at home from trained deaf adults. They offer advice on communication techniques, information and deaf awareness.
The Family Communications Service aims to:
- Encourage and promote communication, language development and basic sign language within the family
- Promote informed choice through access to local and national advice and support
- Provide regular contact with a positive deaf role model
- Give families insight into deafness and deaf awareness
- Enable the deaf child to develop confidence and good self esteem
90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents with little or no experience of deafness. With this, many parents face enormous challenges in establishing good communications with their deaf child, which can lead to difficulties in day-to-day family life.
The Maher family from Hadlow in Kent have a two year old deaf son Leon and have experienced struggles communicating with him. As a result of this, they were chosen to take part in the Kent Family Communication Service pilot scheme. Leon's mum commented:
"I would recommend the Kent Family Communication Service to any parents of children with a hearing loss. This service is important because we are hearing parents, and this is our first experience of having a deaf adult visiting our home on a regular basis. We are so surprised how in three months Leon's behaviour has improved and how much we have grown in confidence in our sign language skills.”
"At meal times my son now joins in with the rest of the family in our conversations; in the past he had difficulties with his eating patterns. Before, I was apprehensive to take Leon out anywhere in public, he was difficult to manage. I have learnt not to treat Leon any differently. I really wish we could have had this service sooner and hope that parents in the Kent County area can benefit in the same way that we have.”
- Further information on the National Deaf Children's Society at: www.ndcs.org.uk