Spring News 2019
Deaf Awareness Week
Following a successful fundraising event last year, Milbrook Primary have chosen to hold an annual cake sale as part of Deaf Awareness week. Once again Eisa and Emily helped organise the fundraising event and thoroughly enjoyed selling the cakes on behalf of the charity. This year they raised just over £250! Thank you to all the staff and pupils at Milbrook Primary.
Primary Art and Craft Day
During the first week of the summer Holidays of 2019, a group of 17 excited hearing impaired students boarded a coach bound for 5 days of residential outdoor activities run by a charity called Climbing Out, set amid the beautiful countryside of the Peak District in the Chatsworth Estate. Climbing Out runs 5 day outdoor activity programmes aimed at rebuilding confidence and self-esteem in young people who’ve been through a life-changing injury, illness or trauma, with a focus on, ‘It’s not about saying I can’t, it’s about saying How can I?’ Our group was joined by a young girl who had been a victim of the Ariana Grande bombing in Manchester, plus one or two other young people facing mental health challenges.
For SIS this was a first residential outing for any group of hearing impaired children. The students varied across age group (12-18) and degree of hearing impairment (mild to profound). For many of our young people this was to be a challenging week both in terms of being away from home and taking part in activities that tested their mettle; climbing, abseiling, canoeing, hiking and team work activities that encourage cooperation and active engagement amongst groups. All rose to the challenge and each and every one came away at the end of the week tired but with a heightened sense of achievement and self-confidence.
All the students loved the whole experience from being residential and sharing rooms and facilities with others, to being responsible for their own kit and organisation. Strong bonds of friendship were forged and everyone realised the value of teamwork and mutual support.
There were many highlights of the trip, one of which was impromptu solo singing to by two of our cochlea implanted students with a guitar as the sun set on a warm evening. Abseiling from a 100ft drop off a bridge was the extreme physical challenge of the week and I can say that all succeeded in this. Water activities from gorge walking to canoeing on the Chatsworth Lake were also very popular - a challenge as no hearing devices were able to be worn.
In the balmy evenings, and amongst the grassy fields of the camp, the young people engaged in wide social groups and were responsible for their own leisure. It was striking how well all the students interacted and how inclusive they were. As one of the adults in charge of the trip, I came away with a greater sense of how our young people are at meeting new challenges and their willingness to ‘have a go’, though some need more persuasion than others! It was a privilege to watch the change of attitude and increased confidence grow as the week went on.
Book signing with Julia Donaldson
Effie met Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo at a book signing at Button and Bear bookshop in Shrewsbury. She was there to celebrate independent book shops. Julia’s husband was there and he was playing the guitar and singing songs whilst Julia signed books. Effie was a little shy but she showed Julia her implants and Julia showed Effie her hearing aids. Effie said she really liked Freddy and the Fairy because it rhymed and the fairy had hearing aids. They looked at the fairy in the book together to see her hearing aids. Julia also told Effie about other books such as ‘What the Jackdaw Saw’ which uses sign. Julia sang a song about the Gruffalo with her husband and Effie stood at the front and did the actions with her. Julia kindly signed a copy of Freddy and the Fairy for Effie too. A very special day.
Bowling Night a Hit with Families
Among the most important activities funded by the SDCS are the family orientated social gatherings, such as our occasional visits to AMF Bowling in Shrewsbury. It has been a while since our last outing to this venue, so our visit in April was most welcome.
Bowling is a great leveller, accessible to people of all ages and abilities, and often the least expected person will come out on top at the end of the game. It was great to see so many families meeting and mixing while having fun at the same time. It is so important for the deaf youngsters to interact with each other, as well as with their hearing siblings and friends.
Events such as this provide opportunities to build new friendships and rekindle old ones. It is equally important for parents to get the opportunity to share experiences and provide support to each other. As a family, all of this was all true for us on the night. My son had the opportunity to meet up with a friend he had first encountered on an SDCS funded outdoor pursuits course, to find out that they were now both passionate mountain bikers.
During the evening they had ample opportunity to exchange biking stories, while the adults also had a chance to catch up and share experiences since we last met.
The game was fun and despite all of us being competitive we had one runaway winner. In the end though the game was incidental to the social interaction and the overall enjoyment of the event. Looking around at the other lanes this appeared to be the experience of all the other families who attended.
The next opportunity for families to get together again will be the Family Fun Day on Sunday 22nd September, and I hope that many of you will be able to come along to this.