University of Edinburgh

SSC Bulletin 4: February 2012

    Sharing information with everyone who is involved in the education of deaf children, deafblind children and visually impaired children and young people, the young people themselves and their families.


    SSC Courses

    Coming up …

    SSC Course 9: Wednesday, 29th February 2012
    Multi-Sensory Rooms (MSRs)

    This course considers how a Multi Sensory Room (MSR) can be used in the assessment process for children and young people with a single sensory loss or dual sensory impairment. Richard Hirstwood's extensive experience is based upon practical knowledge - giving him the insight into what works, and more importantly, what doesn't, in multi-sensory practice. Regular 'hands on' sessions with children and adults in a variety of multi sensory rooms enables Richard to maintain this level of excellent practice.

    Target Audience: Specialist teachers working with sensory impaired children, classroom teachers and support staff working in special schools, other professionals and parents. This course may be more suitable for people who are already familiar with MSRs although others who are considering how to make use of equipment that they have already purchased may find it useful, too.
    Presenter: Richard Hirstwood, Hirstwood Training and Florich Productions.


    SSC Course 6: Thursday 15 March 2012 (Day 2*: Thursday 29 March 2012)
    Emotional Well-being for Young Deaf People

    NDCS's Healthy Minds training resource aims to improve the emotional well-being of deaf children and young people aged 10 to 18 years. The resource gives step-by-step guidance on how to encourage young deaf people to achieve a 'healthy mind' and explores ideas on creating strategies to prevent low self-esteem and poor mental health. It offers support for professionals working with young deaf people to improve their emotional health and well-being.

    The sessions guide the participants how to create an opportunity for open discussion through fun group work, as well as written and visual exercises with young deaf people. All the exercises are created to ensure young deaf people can own and be responsible for their own positive mental health.

    The sessions explore: What is a healthy mind?; Developing good emotional well-being; Support mechanisms and looking after your body; Identity - Who am I?; Owning and managing deafness; I'm OK being deaf.

    Target Audience: The one-day course is aimed at professionals working with young deaf people, providing guidance on using the resource. There is also an opportunity for participants to gain Open College Network credits* through the Training the Trainers programme.

    * There is a follow-up day to the first training session. Participants must have undertaken the first day of the Healthy Minds course in order to be eligible for the follow-up day.

    Presenter: Martin Brown, Emotional Health & Wellbeing Officer, The National Deaf Children's Society, London.


    SSC News

    One-day conference: Reflecting on Deaf Education: Current Research and Practice
    Monday, 12 March 2012 at the Scottish Sensory Centre, Edinburgh Cost £20

    One of the events organised by the Scottish Sensory Centre to celebrate 21 years of providing continuing professional development.

    This exciting event provides an outstanding opportunity to hear about current research and practice relating to the education of deaf children from eminent national and international researchers. This conference will report on results from the Deaf Achievement Scotland (DAS) study, which has run since 2010. This Nuffield Foundation funded study tracked the achievement of young deaf people in Scotland. We will report on school achievement, employment and social integration.

    The following speakers will be joining the conference and they will report on their research as although the education systems are quite different in their countries, the issues and challenges presented are remarkably common: early support, accountability, improving access to classroom learning and setting high standards. The SSC is delighted to welcome the following speakers:

    Professor Marc Marschark, Center for Education Research Partnerships National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Rochester Institute of Technology & Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh
    Professor Terezinha Nunes, University of Oxford
    Cathy Rhoten, Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
    Rachel O'Neill, Scottish Sensory Centre and University of Edinburgh
    Julie Arendt, Deaf Achievement Scotland Study, University of Edinburgh
    The conference will include a poster session. If you or your organisation would like to contribute a poster of a current project, please include this on your booking form. At the end of the conference the poster judged to be the best will receive a prize.


    Deaf Education CPD Organiser: Margaret Miller

    I am delighted to have the opportunity of a secondment to join the skilled team at the Scottish Sensory Service as CPD Organiser of Deaf Education. I have been in the field of deaf education for the last 34 years. This period has been a time of constant change from free standing schools for the deaf through Warnock to Integration in units to the current practice of inclusion alongside the use of effective technology as well as cochlear implants. A challenging time and in the present climate the challenge of meeting deaf children's needs will continue. I would be very happy to hear from services and staff about your training needs. The centre would like to explore outreach training using Inset days in local areas. I look forward to working with you. Please contact me on: in the meantime.


    VI Scotland

    VI Scotland are currently organising a number of events for VI children and their families this year. So far the following days are on the horizon.

    Stevenson, Ayrshire on 10th March 2012
    Glasgow (Venue to be confirmed) on 21st April 2012
    Lochore Meadows Outdoor Centre, Lochgelly, Fife on 19th May 2012

    We are also planning an exciting activity residential weekend at Auchengillan Outdoor Centre, Blanefield on 21-23 September 2012. More details and a flyer will be available soon.

    Please contact us by
    email: or
    telephone: 0131 651 6078 if you wish more information.


    In Other News...

    SAVIE Forum
    The next meeting will be held 2nd March at the SSC, Edinburgh. Presentations and discussions will concentrate on the Curriculum for Excellence, followed by the AGM.
    Curriculum for Excellence and the VI learner - Janis Sugden (SSC coordinator) will explore some of the issues and strategies surrounding CFE.

    CFE in practice - Alison Attwood (Head of Sensory Service in North Lanarkshire) will outline the impact CFE is having in her service.
    You and CFE - Vicki Logan (Scottish Borders) is going to lead a group workshop on the role of the TVI within CFE.
    The new unified Braille Code - Elaine Brackenridge (Royal Blind School) will explain the changes for the future of braille.
    GLOW visual impairment wiki for the non-VI specialist - Dominic Everett (RNIB Scotland) will show members the new Education Scotland/RNIB portal for teachers/parents/CYP.
    National 4 and 5 - introduction to the new examination system delivered by representatives from SQA.


    BSL Interpreting degree
    Have you ever considered training as a BSL interpreter? Do you know someone who is thinking about university? Why not study BSL!

    Heriot-Watt University is now accepting applications for a new four-year, full-time degree in British Sign Language (BSL) interpreting. No previous knowledge of BSL is required. At the end of the course, graduates will be fully qualified and accredited BSL/English interpreters. This means they can start working anywhere in the UK straight away, without the need for further training. BSL can also be studied along with French, German or Spanish.

  • More information at
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    Research project: Deafblind children
    We are researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University and have just started a large project focusing on the joint attention and communication of deafblind children. We are really interested to learn more about the communication used by deafblind children and how they interact with the people and environment around them.

    We are asking if you would be able to help us in our recruitment for this project. As you can imagine it is difficult to recruit for a project with such a specific demographic. We are being greatly helped by local charities and schools in identifying and putting us in contact with families who may be interested to take part. We are looking for children whose main source of disability is a dual sensory impairment, who are aged between 6 months and 6 years old.

    The study would involve the parent/s and child coming to the University for a visit, which would last around 2 hours. During this visit we would ask the parent and child to play for 10-15 minutes with their child with a variety of toys and objects. This would be followed by a questionnaire and chat with the parent about their child's communication and interactions.

    If you would like more information about the project or know someone who may be interested to take part then please do get in touch or pass on our contact details below

  • Email:
  • Phone: 0141 331 3856

    Maria Nunez (Lecturer) and Jess Butcher (Researcher)


    Research project: BSL users aged 1-6
    Deafness Cognition and Language (DCAL) Research Centre, based at University College London contacted us to ask:

    Are you a parent of a Deaf or hearing child aged between 1-5 years? Do you use any sign language with them? Would you like to earn a £10 voucher for every hour of your time? If you answer yes to all three please get in touch - we need you!

  • Contact: Rachel England, Research Assistant (email
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    Library News

    The latest Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education has articles on testing for academic achievement in deaf children, looking at written language outcomes following intervention, language acquisition in deaf preschoolers, reading habits of deaf college students, academic success of college students and the development of vocal skills in cochlear implant recipients

    The latest issue of the British Journal of Visual Impairment includes two articles on self-concept and wellbeing for visually impaired people, results from a national survey in Zambia relating to the provision of teaching materials to visually impaired children and some research into the attitudes of visually impaired people about mobility and travel.

    Contact the library if you would like to read any of these articles.


    SSC is a national centre funded by the Scottish Government (Learning Directorate, Support and Wellbeing) and the University of Edinburgh.

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