Can I Hear You?

On Saturday The Orkney News popped along to the National Deaf Children’s Society Roadshow in conjunction with the Orkney Deaf Children’s Society at The Lifestyle Centre.

Deaf 3

This event was part of a UK tour by the massively popular National Deaf Children’s Society Roadshow which has been in existence since 1996; bringing much needed help and information right to the doorsteps of families living with deafness. As well as offering collaborative workshops they also have on hand a variety of useful aids and latest equipment on offer, enabling children to have confidence and independence to live their lives. You were able to try out a range of materials that were on offer at the roadshow including; Vibrating alarm clocks, flashing doorbells and blue tooth neck loops to use in conjunction with iphones, pads etc.

We caught up with Steven and Mark who told us in the following interview:


You can find a list of the roadshow dates for Scotland here

Inside The Lifestyle Centre we met Pat Robison, Mum to  three year old Eloise, who along with husband Gareth were the founders of  Orkney Deaf Children’s Society. Eloise who was born fifteen weeks premature was not diagnosed as being profoundly deaf until she was 5 months old, by means of a newborn hearing test. Initially they tried hearing aids but they were of no real benefit to Eloise, but after tests they discovered Eloise was eligible for cochlear implants. Cochlear implants are electronic, surgically implanted devices, which do the work of the damaged inner ear thus allowing the brain to interpret the sound signals which the implant sends to it.

Eloise’s parents said: “She has turned into a completely different girl since being “switched on” a year ago in March and her self confidence has grown and she is much less frustrated at communicating.”

Whilst there we learned how to sign our names which broke down the barrier for me of how difficult learning to sign would be. As Pat suggested we all sign to a certain extent anyway with our hand gestures so we really should not be scared to try signing out.

sign language


The purpose of the Orkney Deaf Children’s Society is to:

  • to provide a support network for families when a child has been identified as having an ongoing hearing difficulty.
  •  to bring friendship, emotional and social support,
  • to raise awareness in order to reduce vulnerability and feelings of isolation and
  • to link in with other local groups to create a wider network for children, their families and carers.

For Gareth and Pat Robinson the Orkney Deaf Children’s Society is about achieving awareness in a local context so as their daughter and all the other children with hearing loss have less barriers to overcome which is essential in a rural community. If we can ensure they have the appropriate tools then this can empower all of the children to having less feelings of isolation.

Within the Lifestlye Centre itself there is a Sensory Room which is a great experience for all children; encouraging children and young adults to engage within a calm and relaxing atmosphere.


After Saturday’s event Pat told The Orkney News: “We were delighted that so many people came to see the equipment and see what we are about.  Steven and Mark from the NDCS technology Roadshow were fantastic and let people try the equipment that they had which included vibrating alarms, doorbells and bone conducting headphones.”

“As hearing people we take so many things for granted and we have learnt that you do not have to be brilliant at signing but having other ways of communications like facial expressions and gestures so as there is understanding which reduces frustration and feelings of being left out. We are so lucky to have such great support in Orkney and about ensuring the children and young people can each their full potential whatever they wish to pursue”.

Gareth, Pat, Leila and Eloise

Why not pop along to a roadshow near you; to discover more about living with, and coping in the world of being deaf.

For more information follow the links below:

National Deaf Children’s Society

Orkney Deaf Children’s Society Facebook Page


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