Turning up the volume on deaf awareness

Posted: 29-04-2019 - 75 view(s)

Lessons in deaf awareness are proving an eye opener for Health and Social Care students at Stockton Riverside College.

Gillian McGee

The team of young learners are getting to grips with the best way to communicate with those with any form of hearing loss.

Sharing top tips along with the very basics of sign language, the College’s Lead Communication Support Worker, Gillian McGee said: “Having just a grasp of a few words can make all the difference.”

And, she said, learn the alphabet and it opens a whole world of communication.

For the students, the short sessions are offering a way to help better understand how to work and study alongside someone who is deaf.

Health and Social Care student Alexandra, 19, said: “It is helpful to be aware of other people’s needs.”


Having carried out work experience in a hospital environment, she knows how important communication is, particularly in an emergency setting.

Plus, she said: “Knowing more than one language or knowing how to sign basic greetings makes you more aware of the people surrounding you and it makes you a better person.”

The sessions are part of an awareness initiative across the College, introducing the basics of sign language to students and staff but also focusing on understanding the day-to-day issues encountered by those with hearing loss.

Having spent many years working with people who are deaf, Lead Communication Support Worker, Gillian said: “It can mean a lot to someone to see those around them making an effort to better understand and communicate with them.”

She said even a simple greeting can make all the difference.

David Gardner, the College’s Programme Area Leader for Health and Social Care, said: “This is a great opportunity for our second year students to not only develop new skills but to also improve their communication skills. As our students want a career in care this provides the students with additional skills which may set them apart from the rest when moving on to higher education and employment.”

To find out more about the Health and Social Care courses at Stockton Riverside College visit www.stockton.ac.uk/courses/health-social-care/ or call 01642 865566.