University of Edinburgh

Supporting Deaf Pupils in the Early Stages: Learning from Good Practice

Presented on Wednesday 4 February 2009

Early Support

Brian Shannan

Main Issues

  • There is no centrally determined screening method
  • There is a wide range of diagnostic assessments that can be utilised in a 'test battery'
  • There is no national programme to coordinate services for families with deaf children


  • There is a need for services to be 'family friendly' – that is to focus on the support and care that each individual family need
  • That there should be coordination/collaboration between services
  • Parental choice
  • Raised Expectations
  • Improved professional knowledge and skills

Informed Choice

- that families can make knowledgeable decisions which reflect their own culture, values and views. It is based on access to comprehensive, unbiased and evidence-based information about the full range of options.

From a professional perspective

An approach to Informed Choice is one in which

  • Service providers adopt open and flexible policies that effectively endorse a range of possibilities
  • Services and professionals make no value judgements about one option over another and this stance is reflected in their strategic decision-making and resourcing
  • Informed Choice is not seen as a one off decision but as an ongoing process

Partnership Working

  • Clarifying the roles of the professional
  • Awareness of quality standards for each profession
  • Danger of stereotyping
  • Communication


  • To know the screening and diagnostic procedures in your area
  • When are behavioural assessments undertaken
  • Strength and limitation of the assessments
  • Aetiology