NEWS & INFORMATION
Scroll down for:
Audiology Covid - 19
Scarlett Joins NDCS YAB
Family Sign Group
GDPR Information - Please read!!
Merlin's Magic Wand
BH Coastal Lottery
Do you shop at Amazon?
DDCS picture website
NDCS contact details
Amazing runners for DDCS
'Sign for Change' Junior Sign Choir
Personal CD/MP3 leads
DDCS Facebook groups
Pre-school parent support group
DDCS donations - Virgin Moneygiving
Sign Language Resource Information
Visit to AFC Bournemouth
Cherries hearing aids!
NDCS Inclusion grant details
Lyme Bay BSL course
NDCS Children's & Families Support Offier
RAD advocacy service
25 year anniversary of the first CI
Inspired by Owen - by Katie Bray
DDCS membership details
On the Radio
The Buzz - NDCS youth websites
DDCS SALT campaign success
Julia Donaldson's - Freddie and the Fairy
Message From Audiology Regarding COVID-19
The key message for Audiology Services in Dorset is following Government guidelines regarding COVID-19, for the safety of patients and staff all face to face audiology appointments have been cancelled at this time.
They will continue to support their patients as much as possible during this difficult time.
East Dorset: Please see the advice attached.
Batteries - If you require hearing aid batteries or tubing, please contact the department by using the information on the East Dorset Audiology Service attached guide, they will then either advise from where these can be obtained or post them out to you.
Contact telephone number telephone 01305 255563.
Email address during COVID-19 is
Batteries – If you require hearing aid batteries or tubing, please contact the department by using the above number, they will then post them out to you.
BATTERIES It is important they reduce the numbers of patients attending batteries centres and some batteries centres are not accepting patients into their buildings therefore please follow the advice above!
We have made the decision to postpone our events in accordance with the Government guidance and the fact that the venues are all closed!
Our Spring newsletter will be sent out ] but there will be no March flyer advertising events etc.
Hopefully it will not be too long until we are able to resume normality but in the meantime please all of you stay safe!
See our newsletters for more information and details on how to book!
SCARLETT JOINS NDCS YAB
My name is Scarlett Henry and I recently got a place on the Youth Advisory Board for the NDCS. I had to go for an interview in London which I was super nervous about, considering that there was a whopping 80 applicants across the UK!
When I arrived on the day, we talked about how we wanted to improve/change something for deaf young people in our local area or in the country as a whole. Then we spoke about politics to become familiar with the fact that we were going to send postcards to our local MPs, to shine a light on ways to help the deaf community.
Consequently I am very pleased with the opportunity I now have to represent young deaf people in my area and I am looking forward to being a YAB ambassador for the next 2 years!
The Hearing Support Service was delighted to have two qualified Teachers of the Deaf join the team at the start of January: Tracey Henry and Dawn Wrench.
Tracey, as well as being a qualified Teacher of the Deaf, has a background in mainstream teaching that makes her a valuable addition to the team. Similarly, Dawn’s lengthy experience working as a Teacher of the Deaf in a variety of settings in London Boroughs and in Hampshire, makes her a great asset to the service, too.
The HSS team are very much looking forward to working alongside Tracey and Dawn and Dorset DCS would like to say welcome too!
Bournemouth Marathon Event
On the Saturday 5th of October, six of our hearing impaired young members and six siblings/friends bravely joined in with hundreds of other runners taking part in the Bournemouth marathon event. Our youngsters showed great courage and determination as they ran along the beachfront and pier towards Bournemouth Gardens. Cheered on by hundreds of supporters, family and friends they each overcame nerves and fear to cross the finish line and collect their medals. We are immensely proud of their achievements and for the awareness and funds they have raised for our Charity.
Well done to Phoebe, Alex, Jacob and Emilia who ran in the 1km race.
Ava, Evie, Poppy, Sid and Olivia who ran in the 1.5km race. Isla and
Arthur who ran the 2km and Felix who bravely competed as the
youngest runner in the Junior 5km.
Later that day Martin Rose (dad of Ava and Isla) took part in the 10km along with
two teachers of the Deaf from Dorset HSS plus friend Ruth Kirby who all wore
their DDCS t-shirts with pride. Finally after a long day cheering on the other
runners it was Hannah’s (mum to Ava and Isla) turn to take on the 5km
Supernova night race.
The events continued into Sunday 6th October when Adam Foley, Nicola Foley,
Lisa Forbes, Rob Horton, Jo Mason and Liz Davies all took part in the Half Marathon. It was a chilly, but sunny early start to the morning with runners congregating in Kings Park for an 8am start. The beautiful route took them along the beachfront in Southbourne towards Henghistbury Head then back into Bournemouth where the runners battled the dreaded steep hill at Boscombe gardens. Thankfully our lovely supporters were handing out Jelly Babies to give the runners a sugar boost to make it up the hill!!! The runners then had to endure substantial winds as they battled with fatigue and pain to reach the finish line just beyond Bournemouth Pier. All runners finished in great time with many beating previous PBs.
This event how proven to be very popular with our families, it has provided wonderful awareness for our charity and all our runners wore their DDCS t-shirts with pride. We would like to express our thanks all those who took part and especially to those family and friends who supported and sponsored us, we raised over £2,000 in total!!
Do you shop at Amazon?
You can help raise funds for Dorset DCS. If you and your friends shop on Amazon all you have to do is log into Smile Amazon select your charity (only have to do this once) and shop as normal and Amazon will donate to Dorset Deaf Children’s Society!
Please see the instructions on the right, it is really easy and the key is to make sure you are logged into Smile Amazon every time you shop. Just look for the Smile Amazon logo at the top left hand corner of your screen to double check.
Please share this with everyone you know and ask them to share it with their friends. This could be really great for DDCS!
Pre-school Parent Support Group
The Hearing Support Service hosts a monthly support group for parents, babies and toddlers. This group has been running for many years and is held on alternate months at Longfleet Baptist Church, 138 Wimborne Road, Poole, BH15 2E and Blandford Children’s Centre, Black Lane, Blandford Forum, DT11 8SW. Dates below. There is parking available at the church and the bus station is 10 minutes walk away. From
It is a great opportunity for parents to meet other parents with babies and toddlers, share experiences and talk to someone who is in the same or similar position as themselves. The group has provided invaluable support for families over the years and Shirley Sorbie, DDCS Trustee, remembers bringing her son to the group, the friends she made and how it helped to talk to other parents. Her son, Tom, is now 27 years old and is still very good friends with Lloyd whom he met and played with at the group all those years ago!
Parents from across Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset attend and there are activities, toys and refreshments for the toddlers. Advisory Teachers are on hand to entertain the children and give parents the opportunity to relax and chat over a cup of tea. Brothers and sisters are welcome.
In previous years they have also run a similar group in the west of the county, in Weymouth. They would be happy to look into doing so again so if any families in the area are interested please let your Advisory Teacher know.
6th November, 8th January, 4th March, 3rd June
9.30am to 11.30am
Longfleet Baptist Church Hall, 138 Wimborne Road, Poole, BH15 2EX
1st October, 3rd December, 4th February, 5th May 7th July
9.30am to 11.30am
Blandford Children’s Centre, Black Lane, Blandford Forum, DT11 8SW
Please contact Sarah Stobbart on 07824 529461 or Sarah Poole on 07393 147291 for more information
AMAZING RUNNERS FOR DDCS
On 14th October 2018 six amazing DDCS supporters woke up in London at 6:30 am to promises of cold weather and downpours from their phone weather apps, sighed out loud but still jumped out of bed, pulled on the lycra and trainers and headed off to the start line of the Royal Parks Half Marathon. There our team of Lisa & Jodie Forbes, Adam & Nicola Foley, Kelly Hennessy and Nicky Findley joined the other 16,000 entrants (all of whom seemed to be queueing for the loos!) as we nervously tried to work out where we were supposed to go. Just before we made our way to the start the heavens opened (for the first of many times during day) and we all got a proper soaking! At this point I was wondering to myself how much trouble I might be in for cajoling them all into this and from all the hours of training I had seen them all putting in, I knew I wouldn’t be able to outrun any of them if they turned into a baying mob armed with pitchforks and torches and came after me. But, I was glad to see, the Team remained in great spirits. “Think about how much money you are raising for the kids” was my repetitive mantra every time I sensed one of them gritting their teeth as more rain ran down their backs…
But, in spite of the rain and an injury to Jodie’s foot on a discarded cup at a drinks station, everyone did magnificently. I watched as a proud Chairman, friend, husband and father on my tracker app. The course was magnificent, taking in four of London’s eight Royal Parks, Hyde Park, Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens,10 Downing Street, passing Buckingham Palace to wave at the Queen, thundering through Admiralty Arch and Trafalgar Square and many other famous landmarks. The whole way round the route was filled with tens of thousands of supporters cheering everyone on, steel bands, cheerleaders and DJs were blasting out motivational music and terrific tunes, the atmosphere was incredible, in spite of the conditions.
Post run and after warm showers, I asked some of our team for their thoughts on the day, this is what they had to say.
“Perhaps it was the weather (it was a wee bit wet!) but the camaraderie between the runners was particularly outstanding. Everyone was keen to encourage one another in a way I’ve not noticed at other events, and the support from the crowds along the route was exceptional too - you could have been forgiven for thinking you were taking part in the London marathon!”
“On another level, there’s something about running for a worthy cause with thousands of like-minded people that brings out the best in us - and Madeline is such a little star, it’s not hard to be inspired to get up early on a dark Sunday morning and run 13.1 miles in the rain!”
“Loved every single minute- the support was phenomenal all around the course and imagining the vast sums of money being raised by so many for such worthy causes was very humbling. A wonderful experience”
“I’ve wanted to run this half marathon for a few years now and the day was beyond any expectations. Thousands of runners who has committed to the training and fund raising come together to raise money for charities close to their hearts. I ran for a while next to a man named Ed who was raising money for a Parkinson’s disease Charity. Ed has Parkinson’s himself and shuffled a little but he was strong and determined 10 miles in. I don’t know Ed but I was inspired by him for making this huge effort, which must have been 100 times more than any of our efforts. What a great man. This is my biggest memory of the day and I know will stay with me. …. We’ve all got the running bug now and it won’t be too long before we are all running again together. “
I would like to thank all the runners and their supporters again for attending and raising so much money for our charity, as at the last count the figure was at just over £3000 including gift aid and that money will benefit so many children and their families.
If anyone else has any ideas for fundraising, please let us know, every bit helps!
DDCS has funds available for grants and will consider contributing towards our member’s costs or partial costs for deaf related equipment, activities or learning.
We have in the past contributed towards signing classes and provided literature to support signing. We have also provided specialist alarm clocks for children to become more independent at getting up in the morning!
We may also be able to offer grants in certain circumstances for financial support with a deaf related project. Please contact us in writing or by emailing email@example.com
Each case is considered on its individual merits.
National Deaf Children's Society
The NDCS can provide advice and support for deaf children and families on a range of issues including benefits, education, technology, health, social care, discrimination and communication.
Their contact details are:
Telephone: 0808 800 8880
GDPR INFORMATION - PLEASE READ!
Due to the new General Data Protection Regulations Dorset DCS must have written consent to contact our members. For clarity all data is kept securely by Dorset DCS and is not shared with any other organisations. Therefore the permission you are giving us is only for Dorset DCS to contact you and send you information by post, phone or email and to send you information about deafness (classed as marketing). Members please see link for a permission slip to be completed.
DDCS FACEBOOK GROUPS
DDCS has two Facebook groups one is for general information which anyone on Facebook can access and one is a closed group, only for members. The second group is closed so that parents can keep in touch with each other, ask for advice or get information.
If you would like to join the groups they are easy to find just type “Dorset Deaf Children’s Society” into your search bar.
YOUR DONATIONS ARE WORTH MORE WITH VIRGIN MONEYGIVING!
Dorset DCS is now registered with Virgin Money Giving, which means that it is quick and easy for anyone to donate to DDCS and they also claim Gift Aid for us as well!
Anyone can donate by visiting the Dorset Deaf Children’s Society page on where you can make a single donation or if you are thinking of doing a sponsored event you can create your own event page for your sponsors to donate. It’s easy - go to virginmoneygiving.com click ‘create your own page’, enter details of your fundraising activity and select DDCS as your charity. You can then personalise your page with your own story and photos.
Virgin Money Giving is 100% non-profit making which means that all of your donation will come to us with no deductions! We could not survive without donations or fund raising so if you can help at all by raising funds for us we would be very grateful!
DDCS Picture Website
Dorset DCS has a website for members to access the many photographs taken at DDCS events.
If you would like to see, download and print pictures of your family please email Nicola Foley on and you will be sent instructions and the link for you to access the pictures.
PERSONAL CD/MP3 LEADS
The DDCS will provide appropriate leads for any deaf or hearing-impaired child in Dorset.
The leads enable sound to go straight to the hearing aids via the special shoe attached to the hearing aids
If you would like your child to have one please ask your Teacher of the Deaf or contact any of the DDCS trustees.
FREDDIE AND THE FAIRY
For families with younger children this book has a charming story. Freddie found a fairy, tangled in a tree…..
Freddie is desperate for a pet, so when he rescues Bessie-Belle and she offers to grant his wishes he knows just what to ask for. The only problem is that Bessie-Belle can’t hear very well, and Freddie tends to mumble. Whatever can they do? Luckily the Fairy Queen is on hand to explain…..
A delightful tale full of Julia Donaldson’s’ (author of The Gruffalo) trademark rhyme and wit, with a subtle message about hearing impairments.
You can find this book on Amazon for a very good price!
What a fantastic afternoon our children had at the Vitality Stadium at AFC Bournemouth!
The children and parents were first of all taken on a tour of the stadium including the changing rooms, treatment room, press rooms and then a walk up the tunnel and on to the pitch. They then got and amazing surprise…… a chance to meet AFC Bournemouth player Nathan Ake. They were able to ask questions and take pictures and he signed individual photos for each of them all including one for Shirley!
Then the children had some coaching on the training pitches followed by a game. The children also bumped into Callum Wilson as he was entering the stadium and he very kindly signed autographs and had pictures taken with the children. All in all it was a very exciting day and was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. To view all the pictures from our visit, please visit our events page here.
VISIT TO AFC BOURNEMOUTH
YOUNG FAN BECOMES FIRST WITH CHERRIES HEARING AIDS
Cherries fan Alfie Gibbs recently became the first person to be fitted with hearing aids branded with his club’s crest and colours.
The ten-year-old’s new kit came after a novel idea from the audiology team at Dorset HealthCare, with support from the club and London-based hearing aid manufacturer Starkey.
Alfie also plays for the Ability Counts football team which forms part of the wider AFC Bournemouth Community Sports Trusts, Premier League and BT Disability Programme.
The young fan was also one of the first Cherries to wear the new Umbro home kit over the summer, when he represented the club at the Festival of Sport.
Alfie lives in Wallisdown with his mum Charlene, who said: "Since the age of four, we have really struggled to get Alfie to wear his hearing aids as he often got embarrassed - to the point where we both turned to learning British sign language to help him communicate better.
"But we have seen a real transformation in Alfie since he got these branded hearing aids and it is such a simple idea. He is more confident, and his communication is improving significantly by the day. He never takes them out and is always showing friends and family."
Alfie was even more thrilled after the club invited him to meet some of his heroes as the Cherries fan got to show off the unique hearing aids to Cherries players Callum Wilson and Dan Gosling at Vitality Stadium.
To read the full article, please visit the AFC Bournemouth website here.
NDCS CHILDREN'S & FAMILIES SUPPORT OFFICER
If you need any help or advice especially with DLA claims you can talk to our NDCS Children's and Families Support Officer Debbie Ravensdale.
Her contact details are:
Direct line: 01489 892046
NDCS Helpline : 0808 800 8880
Please click on the links below to view the Local Offer for your area. Here you will find information on the the support available to children and young people 0-25 years with SEN and disabilities.
BOURNEMOUTH, CHRISTCHURCH AND POOLE COUNCIL:
SIGN LANGUAGE ON LINE RESOURCE
Dorset DCS has put together a booklet of on-line resources to support sign language development. It contains a list of websites which feature sign language, video clips and information and contains five sections from beginners to intermediate and advanced.
If you would like to access this information please click on the link below:
Thank you to Ursula Murley who spent many hours collecting and producing the information for DDCS!
25 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST COCHLEAR IMPLANT
In December 2015 it was 25 years since the very first individual received a cochlear implant at the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research. Since then the service has grown and developed, first as the South of England Cochlear Implant Centre then later as the University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service, reflecting the provision of new types of auditory implant devices and hearing services in addition to cochlear implantation.
During the last 25 years, they have continued to innovate and develop, providing a range of clinical services to support the needs of hearing impaired adults and children and working with colleagues to undertake research, education and development in new technologies and rehabilitative methods to enable those with hearing impairment to flourish and participate fully in all areas of daily life.
As well as being their 25th anniversary, 2015 was also the year that the 1000th patient received a cochlear implant from their service.
Just before Christmas 2015 DDCS was approached by Steve Harris of BBC Radio Solent to ask if a parent would be prepared to be interviewed about their experience with cochlear implants. This resulted in Shirley Sorbie, Trustee of DDCS and Michael Calverley, father of Olivia and Jacob, being interviewed on Friday 18th December by Steve on Breakfast in Dorset on Radio Solent. To listen to the interview log on to the DDCS website and you will find it on the News & Information page
Bournemouth Evening Echo
April 20th 1993
THE FIRST CHILD TO RECEIVE AN IMPLANT WAS FROM DORSET
In 1993 Katie Ballard was the first British child born deaf to receive a Cochlear Implant. At the time the operation made front page news and the family also appeared on national television. Katie grew up in Wimborne and has since been travelling the world. Read about Katie on the Stories and Experiences page.
Inspired by Owen
By Katie Bray
I feel you wriggle inside of me
I sing to you, as you hear me.
You are here in our world, curled up in my arms,
I sing to you.....do you hear me?
You are tiny, 5 weeks, and the diagnosis final,
I sing to you, but you don't hear me!
My world falls apart for an hour or two
I sing to you, and you see me.
You are growing fast into your own
I sing to you, and you smile at me.
You are going for surgery at 1 year old
I sing to you, but you don't hear me.
You have bionic ears and a cheeky face
I sing to you, and you turn to me.
You are a toddler with an infectious smile
I sing to you, and you clap at me.
You are determined, inspirational, a wonderful boy,
I sing to you, and you sing with me.
DDCS NEEDS TO KEEP MEMBERSHIPS UP TO DATE
If you are a member please let us know if there are any changes to your circumstances. If you change your name, telephone number, email address or you have moved and not told us we will still be sending a newsletter to your old address and this costs us money. Also please let us know if you now wish to be removed from our membership or if you have a child who had a conductive hearing loss and it has improved and they no longer wear hearing aids. If you still wish to remain a member as a supporter please let us know.
We cannot change your membership details without
you telling us!
If you would like to receive your ‘Let’s Hear It Briefly’ newsletters by email, email us at
On the Radio
In December 2015 it was 25 years since the first Cochlear Implant operation.
Steve Harris from Radio Solent asked father of Olivia and Jacob, Michael Calverley, and Shirley Sorbie from Dorset DCS on to his radio show. Have a listen below:
Did you know that your deaf child is entitled to some useful discount cards that give the child, or the carer, or both discounts on - cinema admissions - rail travel - bus travel.
CINEMA DISCOUNT CARD
The card entitles a carer to free entry when they accompany the deaf child. The carer can be family or friend and the card is issued to the deaf child so a different person could accompany your child on each occasion.
If you have more than one deaf child they can each get a card and each can have a free carer accompany them.
To apply for the card, which costs £5.50 per person and is valid for 12 months, go to the following website or click on this link -www.ceacard.co.uk. The website also has a useful Q & A page to answer your queries.
To qualify for the card you will need to send a passport size photo of your deaf child and a photocopy of their entitlement letter for disability living or attendance allowance. Send this with your £5.50 cheque and the application form which you can print from their website and you should receive your card within 3 weeks.
The card is accepted by all the major cinema chains including these local cinemas -
Empire - Tower Park, Poole.
Odeon - Westover Road, Bournemouth and New Canal, Salisbury.
Cineworld - New Bond St, Weymouth and Old Station Way, Yeovil.
Please note it is not valid in some of the smaller independant local cinemas but the website has a very useful postcode search facility which tells you which of your local cinemas will accept the card (Bridport and Dorchester cinemas will accept it and so will Wells cinema).
The Dorset Deaf Childrens Society is happy to recommend this card to its members - several of our members have the cards and find them a good cost effective way to enjoy a family day out at the pictures.
The DDCS is currently involved in lobbying the major cinema chains in an attempt to get more subtitled films shown at times that suit our members - this is an ongoing process and we will keep you updated with our progress as we achieve any.
Don't forget that loop systems are available at the major cinemas for deaf and hard of hearing people wearing hearing aids or cochlear implant processors. These are of great benefit to the deaf - ask at the cinema reception or ticket booth for a loop and ask them to make sure the loop is switched on and working. For more information on what a loop system is and how it works click on this link - www.rnid.org.uk and enter LOOP SYSTEMS as a search in the top right hand corner search box.
RAIL TRAVEL DISCOUNT CARD
This card is available to all deaf children. It offers a discount off the adult rail fare for rail travel within the UK. Although it is probably cheaper to buy a child ticket anyway, the advantage comes in the fact that an accompanying carer travelling with the child gets a third of the price off as well. The card costs £14 and is valid for one year so you need to be making regular use of it or doing a longish journey to make this worthwhile. To read more or apply go to - www.disabledpersons-railcard.co.uk
DORSET BUS TRAVEL FOR FREE
Profoundly or severely deaf children can TRAVEL FOR FREE on buses within Dorset (and on journeys that finish outside Dorset but start from within Dorset).
East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck and West Dorset Councils are all grouping together for this. You will need to apply for a travel card from either the West Dorset or East Dorset Council and send proof of disability and a passport style photo with their application form.
More details are available on the councils Dorset For You website and you can download the form and print it out in PDF format or get one from your council offices or click this link to go to their website - https://www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/travel-dorset/bus/national-bus-pass-concessionary-travel
We realise that many of our members would like to enjoy family days out and we have several local cinemas that can offer a range of subtitled films.
Click on the following link to access the Your Local Cinema website:
First click on the "subtitled cinema" icon, then click the "The cinemas" icon and search by your town to find the nearest subtitled films to you.If you scroll down to the bottom of the page you have the option to enter your email address and town to get regular emails with local screenings.
Please make sure you double check with your local cinema before travelling as schedules are subject to change.
Some cinemas have a good range of films and times, some have a more limited range. There is an option on the page to leave positive or negative feedback with your local cinema. Please use this option as we need to tell the cinemas what we want.
The Buzz is NDCS’s exciting new website especially for deaf children and young people aged between 8 and 18 years old. There are two cool web sites where they can find events in their area, play games and get information on all sorts of subjects.
They just have to choose the right website for their age.
There are two sites – one for children (8 to 11 years old) and one for teenagers (12 to 18 years old). It gives deaf young people the opportunity to make new friends and to chat and discuss issues that matter to them. The site is closely monitored and NDCS have a clear safety policy to help deaf children and young people keep themselves safe when using the website. Get involved and be part of the buzz!
DDCS CAMPAIGN SUCCESS TO IMPROVE SPEECH AND LANGUAGE THERAPY
In May 2010 Dorset DCS sent out a questionnaire to gather information from parents and carers about their experience of the speech and language therapy support their children were receiving. This arose because for a long time parents had expressed concerns about the level of support so Dorset DCS felt that the only way to measure this was to gather parent’s views. When we had received the replies we put together a report summarising the results and sent them to the Speech and Language Therapy Service in July 2010. Click on the link below to read the report.
Initially there was no reply but we continued to raise the issue at the Children Hearing Services Working Group meetings. Subsequent letters with copies of the questionnaire results were sent to NHS Commissioners and again there was no response.
At the time the service had one specialist SALT who had 7 hours a week for all the hearing impaired children in the whole of Dorset and this included all her admin and travel time. This was clearly not enough.
In August 2011 after still receiving no response Dorset DCS stepped up the campaign and wrote to all eight of the Dorset MP’s, Councils, NHS Commissioners and Services for Children. Seven of the eight Dorset MP’s were very supportive of the campaign and wrote to commissioners. There has been a considerable amount of change within the NHS and in September 2011 we finally had a response which informed us that there was a review of the service taking place and a commitment to meet with parents.
On 31st October 2011, Dorset DCS organised a meeting in Wimborne and Fiona Haughey, Deputy Chief Operating Officer for Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust, came along with Eunice Gibson and Lesley Grey, SALT Managers, to meet parents. The meeting was well attended and it is fair to say that it was a full and frank meeting in which parents were able to have their say about their worries and concerns, so much so that they didn’t finish their presentation as the discussions took priority. The parent’s concerns were listened to with compassion and a promise was made to review the current service and they would return to report back to parents in April/May 2012. Parents were also able to have one to one talks with Fiona and her colleagues to discuss their worries.
After this meeting a decision was made to increase the specialist SALT hours from one day a week to three and this commenced on 28th November 2011. This was fantastic news but it was only a short term increase until 31st March 2012.
Dorset DCS continued raising awareness of this issue with letters and meetings with Councillors and MP’s. What was wonderful is that by January 2012 parents were seeing an improvement and children were at last getting the support they need, but we were concerned that the extra hours may not be maintained long term.
On May 3rd 2012 Dorset DCS organised another meeting in Wimborne for Fiona Haughey and her colleagues to meet with parents. She reported that the review clearly showed that there was insufficient capacity to manage referrals and there are now two more therapists trained to specialise with hearing impaired children. They have one day each (one in the East and one in the West) and the current specialist SALT hours are now 15 hours a week. This means that there are now 30 hours of support a week for our children and it was confirmed that this would not change. The Service had funded these improvements by internal changes but still had a business case submitted for more funding and Fiona agreed to let us know the outcome.
The SALT service will now also have a section in the parent’s questionnaire that is sent out bi-annually from the Hearing Support Service which means that parents and carers are now able to raise any concerns and the service will get the feedback. The pathway for referrals has also been updated and they are producing a new information leaflet. The specialist therapist will also now give all the families she is working with her mobile phone number so that she can be contacted direct.
We are pleased to tell you that we have now been informed of the outcome of the business case and it is brilliant news! The case was successful and has been fully supported by commissioners and the service has received an additional investment of £244,000!! This will be invested in areas related to children with special needs including hearing impaired children.
At a time when the NHS is being drastically cut and there are major changes happening, to have been successful with this campaign is amazing! We must thank Fiona Haughey and her team for being so understanding and taking on board all the concerns raised and thank them and the commissioners for the improvements that have been made.
The most important thing in all of this is the children and we are incredibly proud that we have been
able to make a difference!
Just shows what you can do with a bit of determination, hard work and perseverance!
Family Sign Language Group
In the Spring Term 2020 the DDCS and Hearing Support Service worked in partnership to provide a 10-week Family Sign Language Group for babies and toddlers using sign language to support communication. This project was funded by the Dorset Community Impact Fund which enabled us to buy books and toys for the group.
Each week we had a different theme such as bedtime, pets, food and shopping with a focus on sign vocabulary to support language development. For each theme we also had a story book and every family had a copy of the book to take home and put into practice the sign language they had learnt.
The sessions were relaxed and fun with lots of sensory toys and activities for the children to enjoy. It was a great opportunity for families to share their experiences and give support and advice to each other. We saw several examples of new signs being used by the children and parents!
Sign language can enable deaf babies and toddlers to communicate with their families before speech has developed and support the understanding of language and early concepts. For parents this means learning lots of signs so they can support play and everyday activities with language learning opportunities, so we also gave every family a sign language dictionary to help them.
It’s very tricky to hold a book and sign at the same time, so we gave each family a book cushion; this props up the book so that parents can be hands-free to sign.