University of Edinburgh

The Challenges of Working with Deaf Children: mental health, autism, challenging behaviour & language deprivation

Presented on Monday, 13th November 2017


Dr Sally Austen discussed the challenges faced by deaf pupils who have autism, challenging behaviour and mental health difficulties. Links with language deprivation or communication difficulty were explored. The key focus identified the skills that professionals already have, that can be used in different ways or at different times to meet the needs of this complex group.

Acknowledging the paucity of research in this field of work, Sally Austen explored the balance between evidence based information and practical experience. Participants were encouraged to consider these areas of difficulty from cognitive, social, educational and psychological viewpoints - and the necessity for multi-professional collaboration.

Executive Functioning and parental trauma reactions are relatively new areas of research - evolving clinical and educational work in these areas may prove useful.

Participants said:

"The course has enhanced my understanding of my pupil's perspective and how this may help to improve his learning."

"Speaker's passion comes across - she is also a great communicator."

"Very well organised, well presented and good to have a mix of teaching backgrounds in the audience bringing different perspectives to the discussion."


Target Audience

Teachers of the deaf, mainstream teachers, educational psychologists, speech and language therapists, support staff and parents/carers.


Dr Sally Austen, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Birmingham, BA (HONS), MSC, C.PSYCHOL, AfBPsS


10.10 am Mental Health and Deafness: History, issues, services

11.15 am Language Deprivation, Autism, Executive functioning

1.15 pm Challenging Behaviour

2.15 pm Questions and further discussion.

3.30 pm Course Summary and Evaluation