Ammaar Hussein: How young deaf people like me are more vulnerable to bullying

Posted on September 16, 2014



I am Ammaar Hussein, I am 16 and from Harrow. I have a Profound Sensori Neural hearing loss and wear two hearing aids.

I am currently starting A-levels and I will be studying History, Art, Government and Politics. In the future I want to become a Teacher of the Deaf and help deaf young people with their education.

I am currently a member of the National Deaf Children’s Society’s Young People’s Advisory Board (YAB).

The YAB are a group of 18 deaf young people from all over the UK. We share our experiences with the charity to help improve things for deaf young people.

Unfortunately, one of the main issues for many deaf young people, like me, is that we are more vulnerable to being bullied. Why? Is it because of the hearing aids or cochlear implant we wear? Or just because we communicate differently?

No, I don’t think this is why, but then why do hearing people bully us? In my opinion it is because they do not understand what it’s like to be deaf and many people don’t take the time to ask a deaf person about his or her deafness.

I have been a victim of bullying myself, both physically and verbally, in my school and outside school. People would come to me, speaking very slowly, stretching their mouth, and making other people laugh.

Others would then wonder why they were speaking to me like that and would do the same. It was a horrible nightmare!

One boy in my school confronted me and spoke to me in a way that every word I spoke, he would take the mickey. I felt really annoyed and ignored him.

I wonder if there are many other deaf people who would stand up to this issue. Is this fair on deaf people like me? We are deaf not dumb!

Ammaar

Ammaar

I soon realised that it wasn’t only me who got bullied in school, and that there were also other students who were being bullied.

So, I decided to become an Anti-Bullying Ambassador (ABA) so I can help students who are being bullied. I help promote respectful behaviour and good discipline amongst students.

I also raise awareness about bullying, how it affects people and the importance of tackling it. I also attend ABA (Anti-Bullying Ambassadors) meetings once a week to ensure the effects and consequences of bullying are understood by every student in the school.

Any child can experience bullying, but deaf children and young people are more vulnerable to it.

Nearly two thirds of deaf young people who answered a survey by the National Deaf Children’s Society said they had been bullied because of their deafness.

The charity found that difficulties with language, communication and social skills can all contribute to deaf children feeling left out and being bullied by their peers.

Bullying is never okay and can cause horrible things such as depression, anxiety and a lack of sleep.

The National Deaf Children’s Society has produced information booklets for deaf children and young people, their parents and teachers to help them prevent and handle bullying.

It isn’t all bad though, there are some nice people who come up to me and find out how my hearing aids work and they are curious to learn British Sign Language and find out more about my deafness.

My advice to all deaf people is that YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK. Below are some of my top tips:

  • Talk to someone you trust, for example your mum or your dad and even your teacher.  Remember, if you keep your feelings inside, who will know that you need help or will help you sort this matter out?
  • Do not fight back as it makes matter worse and you could get into trouble yourself. So ignore the bully and just walk away.
  • Don’t believe the bullies. Remember, bullying is never your fault.
  • Try and do things to give yourself a boost- for example you could try join a club such as martial arts (self-defence). Taking part in activities can help you feel more confident and stronger.

Ammaar is 16 and has been a member of the National Deaf Children’s Society’s Young People’s Advisory Board since March 2014. To download the charity’s resources to prevent, spot and handle bullying, visit ndcs.org.uk/bullying 

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