I’m happy to be deaf because that’s part of me. I had a reality check at the age of 13 which made me motivate myself to help other deaf youngsters who faced the same difficulties as I did. So, I have been involved with the National Deaf Children’s Society on the Youth Advisory Board for two years now and I love it.
Last week the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) launched our campaign called My Life, My Health. Its a campaign to help deaf teenagers get the support that they need, especially from their health services. It is supported by the Royal College Paediatricians and Child Health. It is the first health campaign of it’s kind led by deaf young people.
There was a fantastic turnout at the launch. Loads of people came and the rest of the board were phenomenal, some members did presentations and others did focus group activities and some were on a discussion panel.
I’ve done lots of interesting things with the YAB, such as visited the Labour Party Conference; been to an NDCS trustees meeting; featured on Channel 4 News and met Ben Rushgrove (an inspirational Paralympic Medallist).
So what is My Life, My Health about?
Every day, somebody faces a challenge. It may be big, it may be small. Everyone faces them, deaf or hearing.
But deaf people can face even bigger challenges. Challenges so big they’re sometimes hard to overcome. I’m deaf, but even I find it incredibly difficult to explain how hard it can as a deaf individual.
Throughout their lives, deaf children will often face problems and challenges. This may be at home, school, work or clubs. Anywhere for that matter. But NDCS aims to change that.
But first we have to ask ourselves ‘what do deaf kids really need help with?’.
There many things that young deaf people know need improvement and above all, the Youth Advisory Board felt strongly that health was the main priority.
I was shocked when I looked into health services for deaf people. There are massive difficulties and huge obstacles. As part of the NDCS Campaign we spoke to hundreds of deaf people all over the UK and it was crystal clear that lots of deaf people are struggling with healthcare and desperately need our help.
I love to help fellow deaf young people. I may not have met all 45,000 but deep down they are all very important to me and they deserve so much respect.
Deaf people can do anything. I remember being told there was no chance that I would talk but I paid no attention to other people putting limits on me. Ben Rushgrove, the Paralympian I met, was told he wouldn’t walk or talk and he has achieved his dreams.
NDCS is about fulfilling dreams and My Life My Health is about not being held back, especially where health and well-being are concerned.
By Bethany Rose Eason
Bethany Eason is 16 years of age. She’s a profoundly deaf cochlear implant user. She used to hate being deaf and always blamed her mother; but as she got older, she realised that it’s not her mum’s fault. Bethany says that Being deaf is sometimes difficult and challenging but she’s glad of the bumpy ride because it has shown her that she is who she is and no one can change that.
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