Drive to help deaf children in schools
SCHOOL counsellors across Wales will be given new guidance to ensure services are accessible to deaf pupils.
Funded by the Welsh Assembly Government, the action is a response to recent research suggesting deaf young people are 60% more likely to experience mental health problems than those who can hear.
The resource, written by the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) and RNID Cymru, highlights the view that growing up deaf can be challenging and that promoting positive emotional well-being in deaf pupils is essential.
It also offers school counsellors practical pointers on how to meet varying communication needs and ensure that services are accessible to deaf pupils. The guidance will form part of the Welsh Assembly Government and British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) School-based Counselling Operating Toolkit, distributed last year.
Jayne Dulson, director of NDCS Cymru, said: “We are delighted to have worked with the Welsh Assembly Government, BACP and RNID Cymru to produce this invaluable guidance. Living in a hearing-orientated society can present particular emotional challenges for deaf children and young people, and a general lack of deaf awareness can leave young deaf people feeling isolated.
“With the appropriate support, deaf children can grow up to be confident and independent individuals. And this guidance, which seeks to ensure that school-based counselling services are accessible to deaf pupils, will help them to do so.”
Education Minister Leighton Andrews said: “By 2011, we want every secondary school in Wales to have high standard counselling services available so pupils can have someone to turn to if they need help or support. This new guidance written by NDCS and RNID Cymru will help ensure that independent, safe, confidential counselling will be available.”