Margaret’s Story – a parent of a deaf child

As part of our 40th Birthday celebrations, we asked parents of deaf children, who undertook the Natural Aural Approach with their families with DELTA throughout their childhood, to give us an update about their experience.

Our young deaf children 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 Margaret Baxter who shares his story as a parent.

Margaret shares her story

Background: Tom Baxter, aged 27, became deaf at 5 1/2 months, hearing aids from 8 months, cochlear implanted sequentially at 8 and 18.  Always aural (1st TOD Margaret Glasgow).  

Tom went to a local University, aged 20, to study Strength & Conditioning Science, having struggled academically through school but succeeding at swimming, representing Team GB 7 times at international level from age 16 – 24.    

He was recommended a Disability Student Allowance assessor at Sussex University as this person had experience with deaf students: Tom received an award that paid for a note-taker, plus equipment such as a laptop and video recorder.  His TOD was the same as in his 6th form. 

When he began his course, all was positive: he received a Uni sports bursary and then an additional amount from the Mo Farah Foundation.  The first year was enjoyable, being mainly practical: learning weightlifting and flexibility modules.  Tom had also found a brilliant swimming coach just down the road from Uni, and as his swimming improved, so did his confidence. 

However, his second year was tough.  The work suddenly focussed on the scientific, with compulsory modules on anatomy and physiology, and Tom, despite having no social life (he lived at home, swam and studied), struggled to learn huge amounts of vocabulary in sufficient time to understand the next set of lectures.  We, as parents, could not intervene, as he was an adult, and he didn’t receive lecture notes in advance as he requested.  He left at the end of the second year.

The episode has a happy ending though: Tom now works as Assistant Head Coach for a large swimming club in Sussex, and is Head Coach of a small Masters Club in SW London, where he used to volunteer.  He hasn’t been put off studying as he is currently on a course to become a Senior Swimming Coach, and intends to complete his degree with the Open University.  His written and spoken language improves daily as does his confidence in himself.  We are proud he continues to thrive, and to learn from what life has thrown at him.

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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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