Feb 012016

With thanks to Esther Green, Tricker PR.


Offering support to families when they need it the most. National Deaf Children’s Society is running a families weekend in Edinburgh this month.

Families of young deaf children from across Scotland who gather in Edinburgh later this month to learn that deafness is no barrier to preventing a child achieving their dreams. Peer support, expert advice and professional information will be available for families getting to grips with a baby or toddler’s diagnosis during a weekend course organised by the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) and funded by Aberdeen Asset Management.

The gathering, on 27 and 28 February, will be attended by families from Angus, East Lothian, Orkney, Argyll and Bute, Midlothian, Glasgow and other parts of Scotland.

Over 90% of the 3,850 plus deaf children in Scotland are from hearing families with no previous history or experience of deafness, so for  many parents the diagnosis comes as a devastating and overwhelming shock.

The NDCS supports deaf children and young people, but in the early years of a child’s development, it is parents who need the charity the most.  With the low incidence of deafness in Scotland, families often find themselves to be unique within their immediate communities, leading to feelings of isolation and uncertainty.

Heather Gray, NDCS director for Scotland and Northern Ireland explains:

“The NDCS Early Years weekends empower and inform parents at a crucial stage in their child’s development, and offer vital support and advice at a time when parents are still getting to grips with their child’s diagnosis.

“Families receive clear, unbiased information from audiology, education and from local sources of support over the course of the weekend, giving parents the opportunity to explore the options that are available to their child and ask the questions they have been unable to ask in busy everyday situations.

“Through receiving this information in a safe and relaxed environment, parents are able to gain an understanding of childhood deafness and develop a network of support which can assist them now and in the future.”

By bringing families together, parents have the opportunity to share their experiences and access vital peer support that can often exist far beyond the weekend itself. In addition, families also find reassurance in the shared experiences of parent volunteers, and inspiration and encouragement through speaking to young deaf role models.

The impact of NDCS Early Years weekends is clear – parents have indicated they felt more confident in working with professionals to ensure the right support for their child as a result of becoming informed and connected.

One parent said:

“I have learned more about my child’s hearing loss in the past two days than I have in the past two months. It was eye opening to hear other people with similar or even more difficult circumstances. Great to share stories about struggles.”

Karin Hyland, of Aberdeen Asset Management’s Charitable Foundation said:

“The weekend will help 12 families; enabling parents to become part of a positive community network of mutual self-support. Families will also be informed about access to services which encourage improved community relations, reduce isolation and improve peer support through this valuable outreach work by the NCDS.”

The Aberdeen Asset Charitable Foundation was established in 2012 to formalise and develop the Group’s charitable giving globally. The Foundation seeks partnerships with smaller charities around the world, where funds can be seen to have a meaningful and measurable impact and the firm encourages its employees to use their time and skills to support its charitable projects.

For more information visit http://www.aberdeen-asset.co.uk/aam.nsf/foundation/home

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