Deaf children lag behind hearing peers, charity says

Funding for specialist education services for deaf children needs to be protected, says National Deaf Children’s Society

Deaf children lag significantly behind their hearing peers in school by the time they finish their reception year, a charity has said.

A new report from the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) reveals that by the time they reach five years old, only 35 per cent of deaf children are achieving the expected levels in writing compared to 71 per cent of all children.

Only 40 per cent reach the expected level in reading, compared to 76 per cent of all children.

And in maths, 47 per cent of deaf children reach the expected level in number, compared to 77 per cent of all children.

The NCDS highlighted the issue in its new report, Right from the Start, which marks the 10-year anniversary of newborn hearing screening in England.

It says that most babies born deaf are now identified within a few weeks – but children are still let down because of a lack of support for them and their families at a “critical” developmental stage

The report recommends that funding for specialist education services for deaf children should be protected, and teachers in mainstream schools and nurseries should receive training in how to include deaf children.

Susan Daniels, chief executive of the National Deaf Children’s Society, said: “Newborn hearing screening has been happening for ten years, thanks to the relentless efforts of parents and years of campaigning by the National Deaf Children’s Society.

“That should mean that deaf children and their families now get the support they need right from the start. But a decade on, that’s still not happening. If a child is identified early as being deaf and receives good quality support in their early years, there is no reason that deaf children shouldn’t achieve the same as hearing children.”

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