Success stories from our young people who are Deaf/ have a hearing loss
Amy and Lucy
Sisters Amy and Lucy were under the care of Berkshire Sensory Consortium from initial diagnosis of hearing loss until they left school. This email from mum was delightful to receive and we are happy we were able to provide much needed support.
We were absolutely thrilled with her results and they showed she put a lot of effort in (even if it didn't always look it) Amy was relieved that she passed maths and didn't need to retake it. You're right her English scores were amazing, and we commented about how far she'd come, and we remembered the story bags! Lucy's memory of Amy and books is Amy throwing the entire range of Mr Men and Little Miss Books one by one across the room at her when we moved to the bungalow and they had to share a room, can still hear her voice 'ohh Amy!' ha ha!!
Amy seems to be loving life at sixth form but we have a first review in October so I'll know more then. We really want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts, you came into our lives at a time that we didn't know what to do or how to function. Your calm nature and straight thinking saved us, I soon realised I was no help if I played the oh my poor children have a disability card. I had to pull on my big girl pants and say so what my children have a disability they will do amazing despite that, and they have and will continue to do I'm sure.
Lucy decided on the world of work as opposed to University which is fine with us, her new purchase (a mini) after saving up is called Margarita Marge for short :D
Ana has been supported by our Teachers of the Deaf for over 7 years. She has recently sent us an update of what she has been up to, her challenges and successes, which was delightful to receive:
"The past year has been quite successful for me. My football is going really well; I finally got into my dream club - Chelsea, and although it’s only the development squad, I’m still proud. I play more often now because I’m pushing myself to fulfil the potential I know I have. I hope to play for England one day to make myself and my family proud. I understand that this will be a big challenge but I know I can do it. This year I didn’t play county cricket, as I was focusing more on football, but my coaches still believe I play at that level. I play club cricket so I’m still practicing and continuing to develop new skills. The only bad thing with cricket is that I struggle to hear with the helmet on. My hearing aids begin to whistle so I can’t hear my batting partner making calls to run. But never fear, I have easily solved this by making all the calls myself (even if it does result in getting myself out, occasionally). My partner might yell “NO!” but I say “YEEEESSSSSS!”
At school, I’ve found things quite hard. None of my acquaintances understand what it’s like to be deaf so they don’t make it very easy for me to be around them. I get really frustrated because I’ve told them so many times that if I ask them to repeat something it’s not because I wasn’t listening, it’s because I didn’t hear. Some of my teachers still think it’s acceptable to wear scarves and necklaces when they’re teaching me (I use a radio-aid, so dangly things make it very hard to concentrate). Overall, school has been better.
Sometime soon, I’m getting a hearing dog and I am so excited! I know having an extra set of working ears will eradicate my fear of not hearing the fire alarm and give me more confidence. Also, I won’t be late getting up because a dog has no snooze button. The alarm clock I have at the moment will shake my bed in attempt to wake me up when actually all it does is wake everyone else in the house. I’ve yet to be defeated!"
My message is:
“Don’t let anyone or anything stand in your way. Believe in yourself.”
Barney has been playing club football since he was 6 years old for his local team Pinewood FC. He is the only deaf child in the club of 100’s of children aged between 4 and 17yrs old.
He has struggled with hearing instructions at training sessions and at times has misinterpreted words said incorrectly, but with a lot of encouragement and slight adjustments by his two amazing coaches, he is flourishing within his team. Last season his team had beaten 6 rounds of increasingly more difficult teams to reach the Plate Cup Final.
Barney got stuck in as usual, establishing his Centre Midfield presence: not letting anything passed him, beating everyone in headers, sending some great shots up front, his throw in’s hitting the right players but no-one managing to hit the target ..... 0-0 at half time! We were holding our own and looking even stronger than the opposition which was amazing.
Slight mix up in the 3rd quarter led to the opposition's first goal which was very much against the run of play, but a huge pass from our defence then set up an equaliser worthy of a cup final! We then had to endure another quarter to hold 1-1 at full time; a result we were not expecting at all. It was then on to the dreaded penalties which were agony to watch and we eventually lost in round 7. Final score 3-2. The boys were absolutely gutted, but after a few choice words from their coaches, the smiles soon re-appeared.
Barney had played so well. We are so proud of the team’s effort to get as far as they did and the way they handled themselves in defeat. At times it is all too easy to forget that Barney is deaf on the pitch because his visual awareness of where each player is and how fast they are running is incredible. He can’t rely on all the shouting going on around so uses his visual skills to the max. He is determined to keep playing for Pinewood as has made some great hearing friends amongst his teammates.
However, soon after the final he attended an England Disability Football Talent Day and was selected to go through to the Regional talent hub for deaf players. After the first training session he was then selected to join the Regional Emerging Talent programme which is the pool of players that leads into England squads when he is older!! So here’s to deaf football too and the hope that he will continue to grow and develop as a player in both the hearing and deaf “worlds”.
I am profoundly deaf. I have two implants, one Naida and Cochlear. I have played multiple sports: swimming, hockey, tennis, karate and cricket. I don’t play any of those sports anymore apart from hockey. Hockey is my life now and my best sport. I have been playing hockey since the age of 7 and hated it then but as I grew older playing more and more, I started to enjoy it passionately. I love it so much now.
As I went up the age groups to u14s, I was nominated to be put into the JDC (Junior Development Centre) and then got through to JAC (Junior Academy Centre- Berkshire). These stages are trials to get into the England hockey team. Unfortunately, that year, I didn’t make it into the Berkshire team. However, I didn’t let that hold back my desire, so I kept going. I redid the trials again this year and got through to JRPC (Junior Regional Performance Centre) and got into the team to play the competitions. Unfortunately, I didn’t get through to the next stage. Still I was not going to let that stop me from trying more and more. So I’m back training again this year and doing lots of match practices and I am committed to keep going.
I think that deafness and hockey can still go together but the only negative I find is wearing hair grips on my implants to stop them from falling off whilst I’m running or if I get pushed over. I never used to wear the hair grips, but now I do because I realise now that’s one of the things that going to help me isn’t it? I don’t let anyone use my deafness as an excuse to not play hockey including me!
My hopes for the future are to be part of the England hockey team and to play ladies 1’s for my club. So my message to everyone is don’t listen to what other people think, do what you love!
How my cochlear implants have benefitted my life and my personality
Being deaf my whole life has never disadvantaged me in terms of what I believe I can do or achieve. Having implants from such a young age has benefited me in more ways than expected, allowing me to be able to speak clearly and understand body language and facial expressions well, helping me to read situations that may arise. They have helped me overcome all sorts of barriers with increased confidence. Sport and music can be seen as something that could hold a hearing impaired person back but I have not let this define me, and participate fully in these activities with my implants, overcoming obstacles each day.
My fascination with music has always been with me - having my implants gave me my belief that I can do anything surrounding music. I learnt how to drum from the age of 8 and continued it for 6 years, learning many different songs of all genres. I also sang in a choir as part of my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh and gained self-esteem in being able to cope in noisier environments and staying concentrated on the task at hand.
Outside of my A-level studies I have completed my Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh and am working towards achieving my Gold, which would not have happened if I did not have the independence that these devices have provided me with. While completing my Gold Duke of Edinburgh, I wanted to gain greater language skills and importantly for me, learn more about the Deaf community, which I accomplished in a sign language course, learning small simple signs that now enable me to hold a conversation. As a result, I have enhanced many skills, including teamwork, leadership and commitment. I have been able to further these and increase my confidence as a Deaf athlete playing football and badminton at a good level, venturing beyond my comfort zone. At 16 years old I joined an adult hearing football team where I have made them more deaf aware and accepting of an invisible disability.
For the last 6 years, I have been volunteering with Beavers which has improved my communication skills, confidence levels and taught me to be more open about my implants - I take leadership roles without hesitation and work constructively with large groups, explaining what is needed when talking to a person with a hearing impairment. During the pandemic, I was even able to participate in virtual Beaver meetings held on Zoom, testing my listening abilities. This proved very helpful in my university applications when I had to take part in virtual interviews. Had I not had implants none of this would be at all possible.
I started at a primary mainstream school at 5 yrs old and have continued all the way through to sixth form. I have thrived and have been able to participate fully in all school activities and trips. I currently study Biology, Sport and Exercise Science and Sociology A Level and want to continue on to university and study physiotherapy. I wouldn’t have the confidence in myself to be able to do this without the access to spoken language and the hearing world that the implants have provided to me. During my time at school, I was asked to participate in interviews for the new Head of Sixth Form, deciding who was suitable for the role. I was chosen due to my self assurance and ability to communicate clearly in my questions. This is a further example of the confidence and unique perspective that the implants have given me. I want to study physiotherapy due to it being used in all aspects of the hospital; helping people regain their independence, confidence and some control over their own life, in the same way I got support after being diagnosed as profoundly deaf.
I maintain a huge variety of friends with the help of my implants. The implants have given me the support and belief in myself to be able to communicate freely with others and want to spend time with friends outside of school, football and work. I have friendships that have lasted over 10 years and still remain in good contact with them due to my implants. I go out almost twice a week meeting my friends and doing activities such as bowling and eating out which wouldn’t have been possible without implants. I can maintain concentration and not be overstimulated as easily, participating in conversations that I would not have done before.
Losing my implant was a huge wake up call at how crippling it was without it. I had to cancel many driving lessons, I couldn’t work as a lifeguard and had to make a call over the phone to someone with a voice I don't recognise on my non dominant ear. I felt I wasn’t able meet my friends and became socially withdrawn for a short period of time and couldn’t listen to music with the same enjoyment. My job as a lifeguard requires me to be able to listen and watch, which the implants help me out massively - many don’t think a deaf lifeguard is possible due to the water but having my aqua accessories has enabled this to happen, helping me to break unexpected barriers with my implants.
I am very hard working and despite there being barriers with my disability, I enjoy the process and challenge it takes to reach goals. All of these achievements show my dedication which will be mirrored in my undergraduate studies. When I am enthusiastic about a task or qualification, I go to all lengths to achieve and succeed in what I want of myself. Having implants has made me more aware of body language and has pushed me to start learning sign language. I am determined that my deafness will not hold me back in what I want to achieve in life and I will use it to my advantage helping other people who may struggle to verbally express their worries or emotions, rather than seeing my deafness as a disadvantage.
Clodagh Farrell March 2022
Fizan Basharat was supported by our Teachers of the Deaf for seven years until he was 18. Now an apprentice at British Airways, he wants to share the success he has had and how his hearing aids have helped with this.
"From a young age I have had a hearing impairment. Initially I was excited about having hearing aids to boost my hearing and help me in school. But, slowly I have been affected by anxiety around wearing them and trying to be and look normal. This meant that throughout the top-end of primary school and throughout secondary school, I would be constantly asked to wear my hearing aids and use my radio aid to help my hearing.
Now, I am currently an apprentice at British Airways and work within their head office on exciting new technology projects that change the way cargo is handled around the world. For this though, without my hearing aids and support from my employer (through hearing support and providing hearing equipment), this would not be possible.
Now I am managing ground-breaking artificial intelligence projects and communicating to different people everyday which has been supported by my hearing aids."
Fleur Devonport, a year 5 pupil, has been supported by our Teachers of the Deaf for over 6 years. In September 2019, Fleur joined The Royal Ballet and is absolutely loving being part of the school.
Mum told us that she's learning lots and has a fabulous teacher.
Fleur has also been accepted into Ballet Boost at Ballet Rambert.
Her family and friends are understandably very proud of her and so are we! We look forward to hearing more of your ballet achievements soon.
Helen has been supported by the Teachers of the Deaf of the Berkshire Sensory Consortium Service for over eight years.
Currently in Year 9, she is very keen to promote dance and performing arts for deaf children.=
She auditioned and gained a place for the Theatre Royal, Windsor production of CATS in August 2018 and sang and danced in 8 performances over the week. She asked that they wrote about her deafness in her biography in the Show program to try and help encourage more deaf children to try performing.
Helen was recently selected from dozens of hopefuls by the National Deaf Children’s Society to take part in Raising the Bar – a weekend of workshops in music, dance and drama in Birmingham. More details about this can be found here.
My name is Henri, and I recently graduated from University with a First Class (BSc (Hons)) degree in Physiotherapy.
I am currently working as a rotational physiotherapist within the Frimley Health Trust.
My journey to this role wasn't an easy one, but I had fantastic support throughout my secondary school years from my Teacher of the Deaf, which made this journey easier.
From help with written UCAS application and mock interview practice, from practicing telephone calls and learning new vocabulary, the support provided by the SCS made my transition from school to university so much easier. The support provided by my Teacher of the Deaf wasn't always in the form of vocabulary testing and teaching of specialist equipment; it also came in the form of emotional support and advice throughout my secondary school years, all the way up to accepting my first choice university to study for my dream career.
Whilst studying at Langley Grammar School, Oliver Way was supported by Berkshire Sensory Consortium as he has a moderate hearing loss. We recently received the following email from his parents and are delighted that they allowed us to share Oliver's success story. We wish him all the best at University.
"We are very proud of his achievements - he has come a long way from that shy boy you met in Year 7! Oliver got an A* in Maths and an A in both History and Physics, exceeding his target grades in all subjects. This is testimony to his hard work and commitment as exams and studying don't come easy to him.
During his 2 years in the sixth form he also achieved his Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award(now waiting to go to St James Palace for the formal presentation) and was part of the senior Prefect team at Langley.
Oliver has just started his first year at Loughborough University studying Accounts and Finance, having undertaken work experience at some of the big accounting firms last summer to see if this was the right career for him. He is a keen 1500m runner and chose the university for its amazing sports facilities.
Thank you so much for all you have done for him over the years, Sarah. You have certainly played a big part in his success and undoubtedly helped to build his confidence at crucial moments throughout his school years.
Sarah and Rooven
William has recently found a new best friend in his Hearing Dog for the Deaf - Nutmeg!
Before Nutmeg, life was difficult for William. Born with severe hearing loss, William lost his confidence and found it hard to talk to his friends. He gave up trying to join family conversations and it was heart-breaking for his parents.
But now he has Nutmeg! "He's my 'ears'" said William, "He makes me get out more, and he improves my confidence when speaking. I'm happier when he's around. He's my best friend and I couldn't imagine life without him."
We look forward to hearing all about your adventures together William!