The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) has today launched a new campaign aiming to give hearing teenagers advice to help them communicate with young deaf people.
The charity recently found that deaf teenagers are left isolated and lonely because a high proportion of other teenagers don’t know how to talk to them.
Their survey of over 1000 UK teenagers found that more than three quarters (77%) of young people have no idea how to communicate with someone who’s deaf and more than a quarter (27%) would probably not make the effort to talk to a deaf person of the same age.
As a result, the charity say, deaf teenagers are missing out on conversations, activities and opportunities to make new friends, which can undermine their self-esteem, impacting on all areas of their lives.
The Look, Smile, Chat campaign features short online films that help teenagers to understand what it might be like to miss out on conversations or jokes, and gives practical tips to help overcome communication issues.
Look, Smile, Chat top tips:
1. Face me when you talk
2. Talk normally (don’t speak too slowly or shout)
3. Make sure I know what you are talking about
4. There are lots of ways to chat
As part of the campaign, teachers across the UK will be equipped with lesson plans, posters and top tips to engage teenagers and encourage discussions about the issue.
Parents and teenagers can get involved by visiting www.buzz.org.uk/looksmilechat and by asking their local school to take part.
By Charlie Swinbourne, Editor
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