As part of our 40th Birthday celebrations, we asked all of our young deaf adults, who undertook the Natural Aural Approach with their families with DELTA throughout their childhood, to give us an update to their Now and Then Stories – originially made 10 years ago – and tell us what they are doing in 2021!
Our young deaf adults are our success stories of the Natural Aural Approach from DELTA, providing inspiration and support to families of newly diagnosed deaf children proving that deaf children can speak for themselves, naturally.
We have been delighted to hear from Luke White who shares his story.
Luke shares his story…
I have profound bi-lateral hearing loss (95 – 105db range). This was diagnosed when I was 18 months as I wasn’t developing any sounds by then. My parents had to take me to many tests for my hearing as I kept passing them. This was due to me looking at the reflective screen in front when the test was being carried out and I managed to see the audiologist press the button for the sound, to which I then put the cubes in the box to indicate that I had heard the sound. How times and technology have changed since the late 80’s! I was diagnosed by a consultant audiologist in Nottingham when my parents took me for further assessments as they still believed that something wasn’t right with me. How very, very lucky I am to have parents like mine.
My mother then gave up her work to spend all day with me at home doing activities with me to teach me to talk. She gave up her life, whilst raising my 18 month younger sister, who has no hearing loss. My dad went to work full time to support my mum and additionally he spent every waking hour and weekends going around the country to meet other deaf groups to find out more about how to support a deaf child. This is how he met Sue Lewis and Con Powell at DELTA – which was formally the National Aural Group (NAG).
My parents attended every summer school that NAG/DELTA ran in the 1990s – 2000s, my mother also volunteered to do the catering for the families during the day when teaching sessions were going on, while also spending time meeting other parents and teachers of the deaf so she and my dad could support me. To say I cannot repay my parents for the hard work and determination they had to do when I was younger, is true, I am so eternally grateful for them.
I attended a school for the deaf when I was in reception year till I was around 7 years old. Then I made the decision I didn’t want to stay there and try mainstream school. I had a full time teacher of the deaf in the classroom with me from that age until I was 16 and in secondary school. This was due to being in a aural environment at home, then going to a deaf school where I was in a very heavy signing and no-speech world, just gave me lots of behavioural issues as a child as I could not adapt to the two different ‘worlds’ I was living in. This was a hard decision for my parents to place me in mainstream school, but I strongly stand by their decision as being the best thing they ever did. I believe that if a child is given the right support and taught the skills to speak, they need to be 100% fully immersed into an environment conductive to fostering speech. This essentially is ‘free’ speech therapy 24/7/365 when learning in a mainstream school and being in a home environment where both parents are strong advocates of the aural approach.
DELTA helped massively with this. I believe so much in this charity and will always be a lifelong supporter of DELTA. The friends I have made here, are for life and to see us grow as people and how we have all grabbed opportunities with both hands, has been amazing! To give back to DELTA over the years, I attended summer school myself and volunteered as a Young Adult. We looked after the older children who could come away on trips during the day, while the parents had time with the teachers of the deaf and networking to learn about the aural approach.
Growing up through my junior and secondary school years, I had a radio-aid full time during school up till GCSE year, additionally I had a note taker for my A levels after that. This was the biggest support in my education as well as going to All Saints RC School, where they could support students with special needs. They have a great ethos of supporting all learners and range of abilities, to provide them the tools to grow and mature not just academically but also in life.
When I started my Adult Nursing course at Leeds University in 2006, I had a note taker for all lectures and seminars which was a massive support. I had extra time in my exams and clinically, they supported me in the clinical area by frequent visits from the university and by my manager/ mentor on placement. I accessed the disabled student allowance fund to provide me with technology such as an electronic stethoscope, electronic medical dictionary to help with the new and ambiguous medical terminology and to provide a laptop for my notetaking.
I completed my Advanced Nurse diploma in 2009, then I worked in York District Hospital for a year. In 2010 I moved back to Leeds Teaching Hospitals to focus on Oncology nursing which is my passion, mainly due to the impact of the care & compassion that I witnessed from the nurses, when my mother was undergoing breast cancer treatment when I was 12.
From 2010 I worked in Haematology and BMT unit, looking after patients with Leukaemia and other blood cancers. I was one of the nurses who administered chemotherapy treatments and carried out bone marrow transplants. In 2012 I returned to Leeds University to complete my top-up degree and also to study for my nurse teacher qualification, which I gained both of these in 2013. In 2014 I then commenced my part-time MSc programme in Professional Healthcare Practice and completed this in 2019, as I took a year out in 2015 to get married and buy our 1st house, which was stressful!
From 2015 I decided I had a passion for supporting nurse education and our learners/students in the clinical setting. I went for a Clinical Educator post shortly after I got married to the love of my life, Alice. This role was brilliant as I could continue to work clinically with patients and also be responsible for supporting the students and current staff in the department. I took on extra responsibilities and learnt through my experiences how to lead teams and also I had the opportunity to return to university to lecture on the Cancer Biology and Haematology modules at Bradford University.
Currently I have moved into a new role as the Senior Project Nurse for Education and International Nurse programme in the Trust. This is a great opportunity to be a part of the education development for the Trust and to increase my skills further.
I am really proud to be a nurse, even more proud to be a deaf nurse and I really hope that others can see the sky is the limit. I want every deaf person to know that they can achieve with a bit of hard work and determination, the same opportunities as anyone else. DELTA has been crucial to my successes, without the knowledge and support my parents received, they would not know where to turn next or what could be possible.
This is why it is crucial we support DELTA now more than ever.
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If you have liked reading Luke’s story, please consider giving a donation to DELTA to continue their work in supporting families of deaf children across the UK to enable their children to speak for themselves, naturally.
Read more DELTA Stories
We provide stories from more young deaf adults from across the UK and also from parents and professionals sharing their experiences of going through the Natural Aural Approach.
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By becoming a member, you will be declaring your belief in what DELTA stands for and aligning yourself with the leading charity promoting the highest standards of oral education for deaf children in the UK.