The mother of two deaf children has issued a rallying cry to the people of Wales to back her campaign, calling for more support for every deaf child across the country.
Ros Hannam has launched a parent-led petition, supported by the National Deaf Children’s Society, calling on the Senedd to urge the Welsh Government to invest in specialist qualified Teachers of the Deaf.
Teachers of the Deaf play a vital role in supporting the language and communication development of deaf children. They provide advice to families of newly identified deaf children, visit deaf children at school or college – to give them any extra help they need – and provide guidance to mainstream teachers and schools on deaf awareness and inclusion.
Ros is the mother of five-year-old Lola, who is profoundly deaf and two-year-old Rudi, who is severely deaf. Both children failed their new-born hearing screening tests and have since received cochlear implants, which allow some deaf people to process sounds and speech.
“Deaf children living in a hearing world need ongoing support,” said Ros, a secondary school teacher from Monmouthshire, pictured above with husband Josh and children Lola and Rudi.
“But Lola and Rudi currently receive just one hour of support a week from a Teacher of the Deaf. Calculated over a year, during school time, that’s 37 hours, which does not even equate to my working week.
“More than nine-in-ten deaf children are born to hearing parents, with no experience of deafness. When I discovered Lola was deaf, I was shell-shocked. I was oblivious to my complete lack of deaf knowledge – I was clueless, as most of society is.”
Ros hopes her campaigning will ensure that deaf children have more opportunities to develop vital communication skills from an early age and receive more support at school to prevent them from falling behind their classmates.
“We fully support Ros’s campaign and urge everyone to sign her petition,” said Hazel Badjie, Head of Policy and Influence, Wales, with the National Deaf Children's Society.
“Every deaf child in Wales should, as a fundamental right, be able to get the support they need from a qualified Teacher of the Deaf to help them reach their full potential. We are deeply concerned that the latest figures show a 20% fall in the numbers of qualified Teachers of the Deaf in Wales.”
For further information and to sign the petition go to https://petitions.senedd.wales/petitions/245870