Supporting A Deaf Undergraduate.
Updated: Jun 5
From 2013- 2016, I studied 'Childhood Studies' and finally completed the degree with an amazing 2:1!! (65%).
Although, this was not just down to me, but also the wonderful support system I had (my note taker!). I am honestly immensely proud of my achievement because it was not an easy journey, especially when you have a severe-profound hearing loss. Raising awareness and fighting for my support was so tiring, but I chose not to give up. For those of you considering taking the University path and feel a bit anxious and doubtful about the whole idea, fear not! - I will talk about my experiences in this very blog post! Hopefully it may assist you in some way to make a final decision or perhaps just help you gather some more information as part of your decision process?
University does sound and feel daunting for many of us, but for those who have a hearing loss, I can assure you, there are many ways around these barriers - if you seek the correct support. For me, I was surprised at the amount of support I was entitled to. I had never received any educational support whilst in mainstream education, so it certainly was a massive shock!
I must stress the importance of researching what you are entitled to as a Deaf student. Speak to a professional in this area of expertise or your Teacher of the Deaf (if you have one).
I was lucky to have my Teacher of the Deaf, Sheila, who has fought my corner throughout my higher education life.
Here you can find some information about Disabled Student' Allowance on Action On Hearing Loss' website.
The support I was offered was note taking support, one to one off course support (to talk over lesson content and make sure that I understood everything in my notes), transcriptions for videos as well as my own room and 25% extra time for examinations. It is important that you understand, this depends on the severity of your hearing loss.
Everyone is different.
Some of you may feel embarrassed about applying for this kind of support. I admit I was to begin with, and for the people who asked me, I simply explained the severity of my loss to them and made a joke saying I'd fail the course if I did not have my note taking support (that is actually true). Having a sense of humour is important to break the ice with other students and show them the fun person you are!
Do not let your Deafness label and define you.
You can contact Action On Hearing Loss to find out more about what support there is out there for Deaf students.
Half way through my second year, I was made aware that I would be entitled to a transcriber. I complained several times to my tutors about the 'non existent subtitles'. The process of receiving the transcriptions involved: the tutor messaging the video link to a member of the support team, this was then forwarded on to a transcriber. This would then be emailed to myself and my note taker. I highly recommend that you bring this up to the support staff if you are seeking support for University.
My University experience was not exactly how I hoped it would be... on the social side!
After many tears, I got over it. But now I realise that I wasted my tears over them people.
I walked away with a massive achievement.. a degree.
Not only that, but I walked away with a friend for life. My lovely note taker.
I honestly believe that ANYONE can gain a degree, with the correct support provisions in place!
Please feel free to message me with any questions if you are interested to find out more about my experiences as Deaf student.
To clarify, some of the support which I discovered that Deaf students were entitled to:
- Transcribed videos (if subtitles are not available and accurate).
- Note taking support.
- Off course support.
- Interpreting support (if you are reliant on Sign Language).
Below is a picture of my Dissertation... I got 69% for it! 1% off a 1st class grade!