Deaf Awareness & Communication Tips in Schools

Kathleen was invited to a Surrey school to give a Deaf Awareness session to the teaching staff. The school has several pupils who use hearing aids and wanted advice on communication and teaching techniques. These students were not British Sign Language (BSL) users.

These are some of the tips Kathleen shared, most are also beneficial to hearing students. Many also apply to a ‘grown up’ workplace.

•Classroom arrangement – Where can deaf children see the teacher for lipreading?

•Check lighting – light behind you causes shadows and makes lipreading hard.

•Do you have the child’s attention before speaking?

•Face the child when talking, not the board; and keep hands away from mouth when speaking.

•Only one person talking at a time.

•Keep unnecessary noise to a minimum e.g. children not chatting, no music while working.

•Don’t talk to the class while walking round classroom

•Round tables for group work  – to see all faces for lip reading.

•Be clear, use plain English, don’t ‘waffle.’

•Use visual props, drawings…. to explain a topic / concept.

•Videos – use videos with subtitles e.g subtitles portal 

•Improve sound acoustics e.g. thick rugs on floor

•Make use of available technology. The National Deaf Children’s Society has a Technology Test Drive loan service.

If you would like a Deaf Awareness session for your school / workplace contact us.

Schools in Surrey, Berkshire, Hampshire, and areas of London (previously Surrey) can contact the charity CSSEF to discuss how they can help support deaf children.