University of Edinburgh

Psychosocial Issues for Deaf Teenagers

Presented on Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Clare Sheridan delivered a very interesting course on the Psychosocial Issues for deaf Teenagers. The following will give you a flavour of the contact of the day. It is one of the courses that were better experienced as involved group participation.

Clare's background and interest in this area came about through working with adults in a Cochlear Implant Programme. However the issues experienced by the adults were those that were equally relevant to deaf teenagers.

Clare outlined a programme she uses to help deaf teenagers to reflect on their deafness and how to deal with a variety of situations. Much of the 'work' with teenage groups involves them expressing their views and feelings and then using role play to elicit comments from others in the group on how they may have done things differently or improve on the outcome.

Before these sessions begin Clare sets the ground rule to help retain balance -eg; only one person speaks at a time and everyone shows respect for the views of others.

Various scenarios can be presented to the group and they can be worked through using role play. This allows members of the group to explore how each of the parties involved may be feeling and what could have been said or done to give an improved outcome.

This experience may well be uncomfortable as the teenager has to reflect on the situation and then rely on their own thoughts and feelings without having anyone 'rescue' them. It is tough and it does push beyond a cozy comfort zone.

It was a very thought provoking day and hopefully some of the participants will follow this up with deaf teenagers in their own authorities. In smaller authorities it may be possible for deaf teenagers to link up with others nearby (or even on Glow) to make a viable group.

If anyone is interested in setting up a teenage group I am interested to hear how things go.

Clare is happy to be contacted with any follow up questions at