University of Edinburgh

Supporting Deaf Pupils with Additional Learning Needs

Presented on Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Additional and complex needs

Wendy McCracken


  • To identify questions
  • NDCS project-summary of findings
  • Putting the child at the centre

NDCS qualitative study parental reports of their experience of service delivery

  • UK study
  • Of the 50 children 12 had no access to a ToD
  • Where services were accessible, sensitive and offered practical advice parents were very satisfied

NDCS study

  • Parents wanted to know what ToD were actually "doing"
  • Many thought it was simply changing hearing batteries ...

What hindered parents ...

  • Not being listened to... or being informed
  • Lack of provision
  • Bureaucracy , inflexibility and low expectations
  • Poor professional practice
  • Fighting for services

What helped parents?

  • Being listened to, respected and informed
  • Co-ordinated services
  • Continuity
  • Flexible, reflective practice
  • Support from other parents


  • Parents faced delays in the process of determining the type, degree and configuration of hearing loss
  • Delays in fitting
  • Being refused assessment for CI, or scans being delayed 2 years


  • Poor deaf awareness
  • Overshadowing


  • did not want to be falsely reassured
  • did not want to repeat the same information at each appointment
  • Major problems of poor practice

Social Services

  • 18 made no mention of SW
  • 10 were satisfied
  • 15 were dissatisfied and in many cases felt it have been stressful and unhelpful
  • 7 were neutral
  • Access did not appear to be related to degree of need

Parents require information on...

  • Pre-school services
  • Additional sources of support DLA, Direct payments etc.
  • Aids and adaptations to support learning
  • Communication approaches
  • Information about respite care
  • Behaviour management
  • School age support
  • Activity weekends for children
  • Family weekends
  • Post-school provision
  • On-going support
  • Access to counselling services

Focusing on the child

Time and detail

  • Expertise is only useful if used with observation
  • Observation is time intensive
  • Parents, LSA and teachers hold information
  • The skill is pulling this together, interpreting this using it as a basis for action


  • Great for cakes but not for children
  • Research will tell us about the big picture
  • Detective work that focuses on the child is the most sensitive way

Individual cases: Working in twos

What does a detailed audiological assessment look like?

Why is it challenging in this diverse population?