DELTA SUMMER SCHOOL 2016 – Report

“We first attended DELTA Summer School in July 2013 when Freddie was two. It was great. Our children had a brilliant time on outings and in the crèche. Knowing they were safe and happy meant we could really concentrate on the talks / workshops / meetings. What we learnt has stayed with us. We discovered that we as a family could raise Freddie to listen and talk and thrive. Along with the other families attending the Summer School we came together over our shared hopes, and new expectations for our HI/deaf children. The DELTA delegates gave us so much confidence and knowledge that our family life could support Freddie and let him grow up listening and talking for himself.

 We returned this year in July 2016 as Freddie had finished his Foundation Year in primary school. It was great yet again. We gained even more knowledge and confidence on how to help Freddie maximise his technology and thrive in a mainstream school. Freddie is 5 and had done brilliantly in Foundation but the added confirmation and knowledge that he could continue to do brilliantly as he progresses through mainstream school was essential to us. As parents, you always worry about your kids and even more so for your HI/deaf child and DELTA shows you that you and your family can support your child in your own family. We felt re-energised and inspired once again by the amazing young deaf adults that help run the Summer School and the dedication of the professionals.

 Thank-you DELTA for showing us the way.” 

Summer school 2016 was held in Worcester.  20 families attended and stayed in University self catering flats.  A school nearby was set up for the crèche and to run the workshops and talks.  

Over the 4 days we ran workshops and talks for families so that parents, grandparents and carers could find out about the Natural Aural approach and focus on questioning and gaining information.  Meanwhile their children were well cared for.  The 5 year olds and older group joined in sports activities, music workshops, activities and outings.  The under 5s joined  creches and had age appropriate activities to keep them stimulated and happy whilst maximising opportunities to listen and talk.

The Pre-school and Primary Summer schools ran simultaneously allowing families to take advantage of the skilled speakers and diverse workshops and to gain information at the age and stage of their babies and children.

The ‘Natural Aural Approach’ puts families and children at the centre and is a CAN DO approach.   The Natural Aural approach helps families to recognise their natural communication skills that enable their children to fulfil their potential to listen and talk in the same way as their hearing siblings and hearing peers do.  It is about recognising the value of daily interactions and communication opportunities all around us every day, at home, school and in the community   It is all possible and accessible because of the technology that we have today.  By the end of DELTA Summer School families with babies and toddlers understood about language development, interaction and play and how to monitor and encourage them in the home and out and about.   Families with Primary age children understood about schools, literacy and maths development and along with play and interaction, how to support the school and the learning that is going on there.  All families were able to understand how the audiology worked and could monitor, check and support their child’s needs.  They came away all enjoying the practical information and guidance they had received and buzzing with how they now had the questions to ask professionals and schools.  They felt they had the means to enjoy their children’s milestones and that they felt empowered that they could do it for themselves.

It is a privilege to be involved in DELTA Summer schools to promote the Natural Aural Approach and see families listening to and talking and interacting with their children.

This year we invited Professionals from the FM, SFS, implant and hearing aid manufacturers to talk and run stands for information and support.

“We families never get the opportunity to talk directly to the manufacturers of our child’s hearing aids.  We could also question and become informed about equipment used in schools and its potential for home use.”

 What about the Children?

With their parents “in school” the deaf children and their hearing siblings were looked after and entertained by our DELTA volunteers – young hearing impaired and hearing adults who take time out of work or from their university holidays to work with Teachers of the Deaf in the crèche or with the older children. For many deaf children who are the only ones in their families with a hearing loss, this is a great opportunity for them to meet talking deaf adults and to learn about the variety of jobs they do and the hobbies and interests they follow. The parents were inspired by the young adults (deaf and hearing) who were able to talk through their journeys through school, college, university and into their careers.

“Thanks to young adults I saw how the Natural Aural approach works! Fantastic.”

The youngest children and babies stayed on the same site as the parents’ workshops and had a variety of stimulating toys to play with and activities including a Teddy Bears’ Picnic. The older children spent the first afternoon on site taking part in fun activities which helped them to get to know each other and the helpers. For the next two days they went on trips to the West Midlands Safari Park and the Black Country Living Museum which both proved to be very popular with the children.

“They really enjoyed it and always came out smiling”.

“After the first day, he was heading to his group with excitement”.

“Amazing”.

We had music as well!

Jenny Mead (Teacher of the Deaf) ran a workshop for parents and their pre-school children on rhymes and songs and helped everyone to enjoy their interactions and play.

Chris Rocca and Cathy (Both Teachers of the deaf and Music therapists working with hearing impaired children) ran two sessions for us.  One with the very young with parents and ‘Baby Beats’  and one with the older aged children who ended the Summer school sharing their music and percussion with us all joining in to Bob Marley’s ‘Everything will be alright’.

And it was . . . what a wonderful positive climax to the Summer School with cries from the pre-school children for “More!”

DELTA Summer School 2017 has more to offer . . .

This year DELTA is holding the Baby/pre-school and Primary Summer Schools in Cardiff.   An opportunity for South west and Southern England families to easily access the experience.  It will continue over 4 days.

We have had many requests for families who want to keep in touch and meet the friends they had made on previous Summer Schools.  Professionals also have wanted to find out more about DELTA and the Natural Aural Approach, especially when families have returned with so much enthusiasm.

So in 2017  we have decided to make the most of the day when  the manufacturers come and run further workshops that will enlighten professionals and remind families of the Natural Aural approach.

The Audiology day will run again and this year families from previous Summer schools will be invited to join workshops for the day.  Professionals also will be invited to join workshops and find out more about the Natural Aural approach.  The manufacturers will be there to share their expertise, which will make it a worthwhile day for all.

Spread the word:

  • to Families with new hearing impaired babies, pre-school children and primary aged   children
  • To families who have previously attended DELTA Summer school to come for the day
  • To interested Teachers of the deaf; Audiologist, Hearing Therapists, Speech & language therapists, Teaching Assistants who work with families and hearing impaired children.

Make a date for DELTA Summer School July 2017