On March 4th, 2010, a new joint policy document was launched by the Catholic Institute of Deaf People, Trinity College Dublin, the Irish Deaf Society and DeafHear.
This document is historic in being the first agreed approach to education and supports from deaf-led and other organisations providing services to the signing deaf community in Ireland.
Over 300 delegates attended the conference, which included the launch of the education policy paper by Dr John Bosco Conama, a keynote address by Prof Marc Marscharck from NTID (New York), and the overview of a new centre for deaf education from Liam O’Dwyer, CEO of the CIDP.
Some excerpts from the presentations
Liam O’Dwyer, CEO of the CIDP:
” There is not one school type ideally suited to all deaf and hard of hearing children. Some children thrive in schools for the deaf, others in mainstream programmes, and some hop from one to the other. What’s important is that the placement of deaf and hard of hearing children should take place in the context of a comprehensive, cohesive and consistent education programme for each child. ”
O’Dwyer also outlined three main interventions that are needed:
- Additional supports for the education of deaf and hard of hearing children in mainstream schools
- To enhance and develop the role of the specialist deaf and hard of hearing schools
- To set up a new centre for deaf education in Cabra, Dublin
Policy Paper presented by Dr John Bosco Conama, Deaf Academic:
Two key principles
- “Early language acquisition, be it signed and / or spoken, is the key to the future for all children, especially so for deaf and hard of hearing children. If this stage of a child’s development is neglected, or managed late or inadequately, the child is left without language fluency, leading to serious learning and socio-economic consequences.”
- “Early identification of the extent of hearing loss is of critical importance for every deaf child and for his / her parents. The introduction of universal newborn hearing screening (UNHS) is essential to ensure that appropriate linguistic and other supports can be immediately accessed by parents.”
These excerpts are just a ‘taster’ of content in the documents to be posted on the websites of CIDP, DeafHear, the IDS and TCD. Questions should be directed to the CIDP, who organised the conference.