Mother criticises 'fragmented' services for deaf children

A mother has told how cuts to deaf children services have left her son without specialist support.

Emma Bishop said her family has been left to seek advice and guidance for themselves for Thomas, 11, after his teacher of the deaf was cut around two years ago.

The specialist worker would visit Thomas, who has hearing loss, once a term to assess his needs and then give advice and information to his school, family and doctors.

Ms Bishop, who lives near Walsall in the West Midlands, told the Press Association: "The teacher of the deaf was amazing, and it gave you a level of confidence because she would go and assess Thomas then she would ring me up, give me lots of feedback.

"You would feel confident when you went to see the consultant, it was a multi-agency approach to Thomas's support. It was coming from the teacher, to the teacher of the deaf, to the consultant to the audiologist.

"But that's all gone, it's very fragmented."

She said the family now have to track down information and guidance to help them deal with issues like choosing a secondary school, as they do not have one specific person to turn to for help.

"It almost feels to me, because it is a hidden disability, that they are almost brushing it under the carpet," she said.

"Especially with people like Thomas that do have a level of hearing, it's almost as if they're ignoring his needs."

A Walsall Council spokesman said: "The council is not able to discuss individual cases.

"Funding has remained consistent for the past 18 months and has been used to support children who are deaf or hard of hearing at school.

"When assessing cases we adhere to the National Sensory Impairment Partnership (NatSIP) monitoring criteria and will amend provision of support appropriately."