New advice for parents of deaf children to beat bullying

NDCS-logoParents of deaf children are being offered support and advice to help beat bullying, through a new guide launched today [Monday 21 July] by the UK’s leading deaf children’s charity.

Research carried out by the National Deaf Children’s Society found that almost two thirds of deaf young people have been bullied because of their deafness. It has developed a resource to help parents tackle bullying issues that their child might be experiencing.

Supported by the Anti-Bullying Alliance, Bullying Advice for Parents of Deaf Children provides information on the signs to look out for to identify if bullying is taking place and tips on how to tackle and prevent bullying. It covers all forms of bullying including verbal, emotional, such as deliberately ignoring someone, physical and cyber-bullying.

Lucy Read, Head of Children and Young People’s Participation at the National Deaf Children’s Society said: “Any child can experience bullying but we know deaf children and young people can be more vulnerable. Difficulties with language, communication and social skills, such as simply not understanding a joke that everyone else is laughing at, can contribute to a deaf child feeling isolated and at risk of being bullied by their peers.

“Whatever the reason, bullying is unacceptable. There are 45,000 deaf children and young people in the UK and this guide aims to help their parents be prepared to spot, handle and prevent bullying from happening at all.”

Helen Hill, whose son Ashley was bullied at school, said: “Ashley was diagnosed deaf in his left ear after a severe ear infection when he was five. He gradually fell behind at school and was bullied by his classmates who called him names and ganged up on him. Gradually he became isolated and lost his confidence.

“We were lucky that Ashley talked to us about being bullied, but many children don’t want to talk to anyone, especially their parents, and the bullying can go unnoticed. That’s why this resource is essential. It offers vital support and talks about how to prevent your child from being bullied and how to handle it if it does happen.”

The National Deaf Children’s Society has also produced a guide for primary and secondary schools, and resources for deaf children and young people.  The guide for schools provides information on preventing bullying of deaf children by creating a safer school environment. The resources for deaf children show them help is available and includes postcards with individual tips such as, what counts as bullying, how to deal with cyberbullying and what to do if you’re being bullied.

Martha Evans, Acting National Coordinatorat the Anti-Bullying Alliance,hosted by leading children’s charity the National Children’s Bureau said: “All of the guides will support young people, parents and carers and schools to tackle bullying and help support deaf children and young people. It is important we all work together to prevent bullying and ensure we respond appropriately when it does occur. These guides support our theme this year for Anti-Bullying Week in November – Let’s Stop Bullying for All”.

Signs that your child might be being bullied

  • difficulties sleeping
  • becoming withdrawn
  • bed-wetting (where there has not previously been a problem)
  • reluctance to go to school, maybe faking an illness to avoid it
  • being frequently late for school
  • doing less well at school
  • being short tempered or behaving out of character

More information on how to access the resources can be found at ndcs.org.uk/bullying

About the National Deaf Children’s Society

The National Deaf Children’s Society is the leading charity dedicated to creating a world without barriers for deaf children and their families. For more information visit www.ndcs.org.uk.  For further support, parents can contact the National Deaf Children’s Society Freephone Helpline on 0808 800 8880 (voice and text), email helpline@ndcs.org.uk, or chat online at www.ndcs.org.uk/livechat

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