University of Edinburgh

Deaf Pupil Education and Social Services

Frankie McLean
Information, Advice & Guidance Worker, Social Work Team, Deaf Action
Debra Dalton
Co-ordinator, Edinburgh & Lothians Deaf Health Project, Deaf Action

Formerly known as Edinburgh & East of Scotland Deaf Society, a long established voluntary organisation from 1835 onwards; Registered Charity working together for an equal and better future for all deaf people.

We will raise awareness of the needs and rights of deaf people, challenge discrimination, and provide services to promote independence and quality of life.

Where are we?

Head Office in Edinburgh, Albany Street
Other Offices
Support Services at Slateford Green, Edinburgh
St John?s Hospital, Livingston, West Lothian
Inverness, Highlands

Deaf Action services

  • Communication Support Unit
  • Social Work
  • Specialist Equipment Services
  • Training & Development
  • Youth & Community Development
  • Support Services
  • Supported Accommodation
  • Outreach Service
  • Social & Leisure Facilities

Social Work, Specialist Equipment Services and Communication Support are provided under Service Level Agreements with the Social Work Departments of the Lothians Councils, for whom we formally act as agents in service provision

Time for Transition - Social Services support for young deaf people

Debra Dalton

  1. Why is a smooth transition so crucial for young deaf people?
  2. How to achieve it
  3. Why the link with Social Services?

Why is it crucial?

  • The Beattie Committee Report
  • Young deaf people often experience problems
  • Continuum of learning opportunities
  • Progression
  • Identity
  • Human Aids to Communication (HACs)
  • Specialist Equipment
  • Knowledge and Information

How to achieve it

  • Information
  • Choices
  • Empowerment
  • Joint working

Why the link with social services?

  • ?Joined up? approach
  • Assessment Process
  • Diverse needs
  • Individual Action Plans

Social Work at Deaf Action ? Making the difference

Frankie McLean

What do Social Workers do?

  • Help people deal with emotional problems associated with deafness
  • Help deaf people who have complex social and emotional problems unrelated to their deafness but who need specialist knowledge of Sign Language and Deaf culture and community issues
  • Help deaf people who have difficulties in using English and who need support in dealing with a range of social, health & business agencies
    Eg ? Benefits, finances, housing, medical issues, concessionary travel, etc
  • Help families with deaf children and hard of hearing children.

Social Work can provide?

  • Assessments
  • Standard SW assessments
  • Future Needs Assessments (FNA)
  • Carers Assessments
  • Advice & support to parents
  • Accessing other services & funding
  • Help in communication
  • Offering advocacy & counselling
    Advice & support to other non-specialist professionals GP
    Health Visitors
    School staff ? teachers, auxiliaries, etc

Specialist Equipment

Referrals for assessments for specialist equipment for children may be made from a variety of sources; although the Social Worker for the deaf will usually be the best person to make the referral.

Dealt with by Deaf Action?s Technical Advisor and Technician, as for adults, giving priority on basis of need

Long-term loan of

  • Flashing doorbell
  • Phone indicator
  • Phone coupler
  • TV amplifier
  • TV loop
  • Flashing alarm clock
  • Baby Alarm
  • Textphone

Communication Support

Also provided for

  • GP appointments
  • Careers Advice Interviews
  • Audiology appointments
  • etc

Funded by agencies on spot-purchase basis

Issues with Social Work & Education

Social Workers for the deaf do not necessarily reach some of the families they could support. We could offer an extremely useful service to deaf children, their families, and their schools/nurseries. This is especially important once universal neonatal screening picks up deaf children.

90% of deaf children have hearing parents who are not familiar with issues for those with a hearing loss. Mainstreaming means that schools & nurseries may have one or two deaf children ? as opposed to deaf schools which offered a more specialist service.

Mainstream staff do not have the same opportunities to develop specific expertise in working with children with a hearing loss ? specialist workers for the deaf do.

Neonatal Screening

Neonatal screening offers a great opportunity to make sure that all children have access to the full range of supports & information. Universal neonatal screening will pick up all children with a hearing loss.

Children with a hearing loss will then be referred to a multi-disciplinary group of professionals and specialist workers for deaf children:

  • Specialist Social Worker for the deaf
  • Speech/Language therapist
  • Audiologist
  • Health Visitor
  • Other professionals specialising in working with deaf

Advantages of early intervention & joint working

  • Child?s needs are provided for early on
  • Proactive rather than reactive
  • Sharing of expertise ? maximisation of information & minimisation of conflicting and/or overlapping information
  • Pooling of resources

Anticipation and prevention of potential problems before they arise rather than Social Work being involved when the problem starts getting out of control; disadvantaging the child/adult. Encouragement of independence, eg; ? person has equipment/support and does not have to rely on family. Reduction in stigma.

Future Needs Assessments

Future Needs Assessments (FNAs) play a crucial role in supporting a child during the transition to adulthood. Correct and key information, support & advice is of paramount importance at FNAs ? this should be provided by someone specialised in working with deaf people - a Social Worker for the Deaf.

Advantages of Social Work involvement at FNAs

Social Work will stay with the person after leaving school; and be able to assist with transition to adult living, FE/HE, etc and beyond. As opposed to the person vanishing from the ?system?; and resurfacing with potentially extreme problems and/or presenting with associated problems eg; ? financial, housing, relationships, etc.

The future!

  • Children?s Services; Education & Social Work departments merging
  • Adult Services; Health & Social Work departments merging
  • As departments merge; joint working is necessary This will become statutory ? no choice ? sooner or later
  • Good practice to start now rather than later; when we will be told we have to do so anyway

The future ? an example: Single Shared Assessments
One assessment shared between everyone ? regardless of who does it initially. The information will be available to all agencies, eg; ? Social Worker completes a ?Carenap? assessment; and shares this with Occupational Therapist; hospital specialist; other Social Workers; etc. This is already happening.

To summarise?

Specialist Social Workers for the deaf offer a wide range of services to deaf people of all ages, their families, and carers.

Once neonatal screening becomes standard, it is imperative a specialist Social Worker is involved from the start as part of a multi-disciplinary team.

Joint working should become the norm; enabling effective working between agencies and effective sharing of information, expertise and workload. This is already happening and will have to happen where it is not.

We?re all in this together.