Each year, 840 children are born with severe deafness. Unfortunately, too many families in too many parts of the country are still be given inaccurate advice that their children are too deaf to talk.
Given that the significant majority of deaf children are born to hearing adults, it means most parents in this situation have to learn what is effectively a foreign language. The Natural Aural Approach focusses on developing listening and speaking with the effective use of hearing technology, to make the most of a child’s residual hearing. It aims to help deaf children develop their hearing and speaking ability by using listening and talking in everyday life and to help them achieve their potential independently at school, college, future work and life choices.
At the current time, possibilities for deaf children have never been better. The Newborn Hearing Screening programme results in diagnosis within days of birth for many deaf children. Modern digital hearing aids, cochlear implants, FM devices and other technologies mean that hearing has never been more accessible with the right support for deaf children – even the most profoundly deaf. However, it is vital that their families are given appropriate advice and support from the moment of diagnosis and can then make an informed choice about the best pathway for their child.
COVID has catastrophically damaged our income stream. Much of our income in recent years has come from sponsored events, large and small. The loss of the London Marathon, in which DELTA has six places, was particularly damaging. And our inability to deliver face to face contact has greatly reduced fundraising possibilities.
At the same time, the pandemic has shown us that technology can allow us to offer our services to a wider audience, and we have decided to move from future summer schools to delivery by a mixture of Zoom/Teams coupled with regular synchronous contacts through Facebook. We propose to move to a live availability to be able to talk to parents and professionals. While there is power in face-to-face meetings and events, providing our services online will reduce the potential costs for families and enable us to reach more families while reducing our own costs.
In 2021/22, we propose to offer:
- 6 x Zoom Group calls for parents (bimonthly)
- 100+ updates to the Facebook Group Community - twice a week and - monitoring on a daily basis
- 20+ Facebook Live sessions with inspiring deaf adults (young people?) who went through the natural aural approach
- 12 x Email newsletters
- Website – new articles and resources added weekly.
It is challenging for parents and families to attend summer schools (and it is challenging and very expensive for DELTA to deliver – equipment moves, accommodation bookings and travel for its members). We think that by online delivery we can greatly increase the number of children and families whom we help, and at a wider range of dates within the year.
But we need continued financial support to be able to keep going and to re-engineer our offering to a mainly online world.
Take a look at 'stories'
These young deaf adults are inspirational; they perfectly illustrate what we're trying to do.