Emily’s Story: How different things may have been

Emily Meacher, Campaigns Support Assistant

Emily Meacher, Campaigns Support Assistant

“Go outside to the end of the playground and try and listen to what I am saying; to show everyone how it works!”

I reluctantly head outside, and turn the radio aid on, and my class teacher starts talking into the microphone.  Of course, I can’t hear her as the radio aid doesn’t do anything at all for me, let alone lip-read because the teacher is too far in the distance. The whole class peer out of the window staring at me in fascination of how the radio aid works. And this is the earliest memory I have of being at primary school.

I was only 7 years old, and of course was too young to express my embarrassment. I was the only deaf child in the school, and at the time I felt I was happy, and whenever people said ‘you were the only deaf child in school?!’ I was happy to say yes, and that it was pretty plain sailing for me.

But then as I got older, and started to make deaf friends, I realised that I just ‘put up with it.’ And that wasn’t good enough. I was too young to stand up for myself and say, ‘I want a Communication Support Worker’ or to say ‘I don’t understand.’

Often in class I was too shy to put up my hand, in case I misunderstood the teacher’s question. This had happened many times, and so it made me not want to shoot my hand up because I worried I would say the wrong thing. It wasn’t just in the classroom that I struggled at times; I often found school plays so boring, as when it came to singing, I just moved my mouth up and down to make it look like I was singing!

It wasn’t all that bad though, I met my best friend in year 5 who I am still best friends with to this day, and she helped me a lot. Thanks to her, I made lots of other friends. She helped bridge the gap between me and hearing children in school.

Emily

Emily, aged three

I went to Mary Hare School when I was 11, and that was the first time I realised I wasn’t the only deaf kid. And I felt I really belonged, as it felt so nice being able to communicate with everyone the way I knew how.  I have friends for life, and it made me the person I am today.

I worked at Roding School for two years as a Teaching Assistant (TA), which is a pretty amazing school. It is a mainstream primary school with 40 deaf children. I worked in a class with four deaf children, and they had a great Communication Support Worker in class. Their job is to empower deaf children, to give them a voice, to give them a deaf ‘identity’, to teach them to be assertive, to put their hand up and to say if they don’t understand. And I had to admit I felt a bit envious for them, as I didn’t have that.

I had a lot of support in primary school yes, thanks to the Teacher of the Deaf and TA but couldn’t help wonder how different things may have been if I had the confidence to speak up.

So if your deaf child starts in primary school, do find out what support they can receive, and tell them that they have a choice and don’t always assume they are doing ok if they don’t say anything.

I have just started working as a Campaigns Support Assistant for NDCS in the Policy and Campaigns Team, and I am really excited to get stuck in. I want to be a part of making a change in deaf children’s lives. The NDCS Campaigns Team do an amazing job for deaf children, and with your help, a small difference can go a long way.

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3 thoughts on “Emily’s Story: How different things may have been

  1. Nice story

    Peter Provins
    UK Business Development Manager
    [cid:image001.gif@01CF4E92.5BD65A80]
    Instant Speech to Text facilities delivered to your screen for teaching, presentations and training.
    p +44 203 763 6306 m +44 7968537216 e peter.provins@ai-media.tv
    Unit 113 The Chandlery, 50 Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7QY, UK
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    Free 20 minute demonstrations of Ai-Live available on request

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  2. I thought I’d let you know about my daughter, she’s not deaf, she attended linden rd primary school in Denton mcr. Deaf children attended the school and Tasha , very quickly picked up BSL. At the age of 10 she passed her level 1 BSL and then went on to pass level 2 I think she was just 12, not sure, all paid for privately I might add, however she wanted to pursue this after she left school last year, but we could not find anywhere ie college or apprentaship for her to continue to level 3. She ended up getting a job in a dry cleaners this is where she is still working. My point being is there is nowhere to continue in further education straight from secondary school to pursue a career or get a job helping the deaf. I’m sure there are more people like Tasha that could have gone a long way and gained further exams and gained experience in this field if further education would have allowed. Thanks for reading Tracey Thorley x

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  3. Pingback: 11 things parents should ask for when their child starts school | National Deaf Children's Society Campaigns blog

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