FEELINGS of isolation among deaf children in South Wales is to be tackled head on with a social networking event for their families.
Parents, grandparents and carers of deaf children are invited to attend Connecting Families Wales in Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, where they can meet other families who share and understand their experiences.
Deaf children are more likely than hearing children to experience depression, anxiety and other challenges affecting their mental health. They face daily challenges with communication and being understood, even by their own family. This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, with some deaf children even blaming themselves for being deaf.
Because deaf young people often do not have the same access to language as hearing young people, some struggle to express themselves and their emotions.
Sometimes a deaf child is bullied, experiences stigma or is excluded and treated differently because they are deaf. This can happen in school, in the community but also in the home. This can lead to a deaf child feeling cut off from key everyday life experiences.
Gavin Davies, Head of Connecting Families at the National Deaf Children’s Society, said: “Because a deaf child is often the only deaf person in their community and in their family, they may not know others who have gone through the same situations or experiences as them. It’s vital they meet other deaf children, to prevent feelings of isolation and to realise they’re not alone.
“It’s also crucial the families of deaf children know who to turn to for help and advice and to realise others share their concerns and experiences.”
Deaf children who attend the event at Canolfan John Burns Centre, on Saturday, 4th March (10am-12.30pm), can join in messy play and meet the Burns By Your Side charity’s reading dogs, which help children of all ages with reading and communication skills. Experts will also be on hand to provide advice on early communication, understanding hearing loss and technology, while Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service’s home safety support for the deaf will also be in attendance, along with a fire engine.
The National Deaf Children’s Society hopes to set up a new Parent and Family Network in the region after Teachers of the Deaf told the charity of the need for this service as the current Carmarthenshire & Ceredigion Deaf Children’s Service is no longer in operation.