University of Edinburgh

SSC Bulletin 11: October 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 ...

    Friday, 9 November, 2012

    Early Years Focus in Deaf Education

    It is during our very earliest years and even pre-birth that a large part of the pattern for our future adult life is set. The early years therefore are a crucial developmental stage for deaf children.

    Early years support for families involves empowering the family to support their deaf child. As joint members of the Early Years team with family, health, social services, audiology and the voluntary sector we strive to create a supportive environment in order to maximise positive experiences for the deaf child both at home and as they make the transition to school. In line with Government initiatives in the area of early years education the day will give an overview of the Scottish Standards for Deaf Children 0-3: Families and professionals working together to improve services and how to apply the audit tool to evaluate services to families. We will be discussing ways in which these standards can raise standards in early intervention with deaf children nationally.

    There will also be a workshop session on the newly released SSC DVD Positive Play for Every Day followed by a presentation on the NDCS project Your Child, Your Choices which includes looking at partnership working, models of support and delivery and challenges for the future.

    Target Audience: Teachers of the deaf, mainstream teachers, social workers, speech and language therapists, paediatric and educational audiologists, educational psychologists and families, supporting deaf children in the early years.

    Presenters: Brian Shannan, Educational Audiologist, Fife Sensory Support Service; Kim Davidson Kelly, Speech & Language Therapist, RHSC, Yorkhill Hospital, Glasgow; Rachel O'Neill, Lecturer in Deaf Education, SSC/University of Edinburgh; and James Bowell, NDCS.


    Friday 14 December 2012

    CVI and Common Ocular Conditions

    Dr Andrew Blaikie will begin the day with a presentation on various eye conditions from a medical perspective, followed by the implications of visual impairment for a child's development and learning. In the afternoon several case studies of children with visual impairments in mainstream schools will be discussed. Participants will have opportunities to consider their support needs and how these are addressed. The day will finish with a question and answer session.

    Target Audience: This course is suitable for mainstream teachers, specialist teachers and classroom assistants and other professionals who support visually impaired children in a variety of educational settings.

    Presenters: Dr Andrew Blaikie, Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline; Alison Attwood and colleagues from Sensory Support Service, Motherwell; Evelyn Michie and colleagues from Uddingston Grammar School; and Janis Sugden, SSC.


    SSC News

    Positive Play for Every Day: Experiences of Scottish Families with Deaf Children (0-5) DVD

    It is now possible to order your copy of this DVD. Single copies are available to be posted free of charge, but postage of multiple copies will be charged. Please contact us for more details. Of course, visitors to the SSC can collect as many copies as needed!

    Work is continuing on a 2nd DVD for the pack. This aims to tie in parents experience with the Scottish Standards guidelines we have produced. On the DVD parents discuss issues such as sharing the news, hearing aids and making a difference.


  • Christmas Card Competition
  • SSC would like to invite entries for this year's Christmas Card competition from all pupils in Scotland who are deaf or who have a visual impairment. Our favourite overall design will be used for the SSC Christmas card itself but prizes will be awarded to the winners of all the categories. All the winning designs for 2012 will be highlighted in the next newsletter. There are three categories: 3-7 years; 8-11 years; 12-18 years. Deadline for submissions will be Monday, 14th November 2012. All the entries submitted will be returned after the winning designs are chosen.

    Please clearly mark on the back of each entry:

    Name of pupil

    Age of Pupil

    Teacher's name and address (for return of designs).

    NB: one design per pupil.

    Please forward your artwork to Ruth Simpson at SSC. A poster for your noticeboard can be printed off, please check our website.

    The deadline will be 14 November 2012. Contact the SSC for further details:

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    "In Other News ..."

    Curriculum for Excellence: where are we now? - BATOD Scotland Conference and AGM

    Saturday 3rd November 2012 10 am-4 pm, Premier Inn, George Square, Glasgow

    This Conference is open to mainstream teaching colleagues, SLTs and other interested professionals. Conference fee: £65 (£55 BATOD members). For more information and to book, please contact: Eleanor Hutchinson, Windsor Park School

  • Email:
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    Research project on deaf young people moving on from school to adult life

    The Centre for Research in Education, Inclusion and Diversity at Edinburgh University is currently carrying out a research project on the post-school experiences of deaf young people in Scotland. The project was commissioned by the National Deaf Children's Society, and is a follow-up from the Deaf Achievement Scotland project.

    Between November 2012 and March 2013 a number of respondents to the Deaf Achievement Scotland questionnaire will be invited to take part in in-depth interviews about (1) what they did after leaving school; (2) what experiences they had in college, university, training for work or finding a job; and (3) their hopes for the future.

    The project team will also carry out interviews with professionals who work with deaf young people and are knowledgeable about the policy background. It is hoped that this project will shed light on factors which contribute to deaf young people's successful transitions from school to adult life in Scotland.

  • For information in BSL, go to the project page at
  • Mariela Fordyce, Tel: 0131 651 6517, Email:
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    Braille Computer Game

    Nick Adamson, a professional software engineer, has this month launched Dotris, the only computer game on the market which is designed to be played on a refreshable braille display. The purpose of the game is to build a wall of dots using the shapes provided. Dotris will run on any windows machine capable of running a screen reader. It requires the use of a braille display with at least 12 cells and 6 controls such as whiz wheels, buttons and cursor routing switches. It can be used with a braille note taker such as BrailleNote or PAC Mate but only if it is in 'terminal mode', ie connected to a computer. Dotris can be downloaded from Nick's

  • website
  • There is no charge for downloading Dotris but it is not free. Users are expected to put a value on the game and make an appropriate donation to the ClearVision children's braille library via the BT MyDonate button on his website. Nick says "ClearVision is a fantastic service which has enabled me to read to my kids. I worry about the decline in braille skills and trying to publicise and raise money for the ClearVision library is my attempt to help slow this decline."

    Marion Ripley, ClearVision


    Library News

    It’s all about iPads just now: we have two new books in the library and there are a few articles in recent issues of Insight magazine on mobile technology.

    Flo Longhorn has written iPads, apps and special learners: A-Z for beginners which provides background information on iPad use and themed selections of appropriate apps for use on iPads, iPhones or iPod Touch which can be used particularly well with children who have additional support needs.

    Craig Mill at CALL Scotland has produced iPads for communication, access, literacy and learning (iCALL). This is a guide to iPads for people using them with learners who have a range of learning and communication difficulties. It includes guidance on the basics, apps, accessibility options, preparing devices for exams, and the practicalities of maintaining and protecting devices within educational settings. Free to download from their

  • website
  • In the July/August 2012 issue of Insight there is an article introducing iPads particularly for visually impaired learners. In the September/October issue there is an article discussing apps which offer visual stimulation and demonstrate functional vision as well as standard vision tests.

    I highlighted on Facebook and Twitter that we had just received a copy of this: Storytelling as a family activity; and "The old woman who sold her soul to the devil". Stanley Robertson was a pre-eminent storyteller in the Scottish Traveller tradition. Heriot- Watt's project BSL:Uptake sourced the stories from the School of Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh. The BSL translation includes his account of his family's storytelling traditions plus a traditional story. The stories were translated at two different speeds, one a natural translation of the text by Frankie McLean at his own speed; the other reflecting the speed of the spoken original.

  • All of these items and many more are available from the SSC Library contact Sheila Mackenzie (0131 651 6069) or

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

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