Profile re my experience of hearing loss
This was written in response from a request from a colleague re my hearing loss experience and background education experience prior to teaching lipreading and creating lipreading practice. 0ctober 2014
Thank you for your email and for promoting my website. I'm glad that it is being useful to so many people not just in the UK but across the world.
I had an email yesterday from a lady who is going through exactly what I went through as a teacher who had lost her hearing. She has a moderate hearing loss not profound as mine is. Even so it is still not easy in schools!! It is easy to lose confidence and feel vulnerable in this situation.
So back to me and where to start?
Teaching qualifications and experience.
I trained at Brentwood teacher training college and am a fully qualified teacher. In the education world that I have taught in since 1965 a teacher is expected to teach everything. We were trained to teach and then taught whatever was necessary and whatever age group was required.
In addition to teacher status I have studied extensively with the Open University and have a BA(Ed), an Advanced Diploma in Special Educational Needs and an MA (Ed). All my work has focussed on meeting special needs both learning and physical, and modifying the curriculum and the environment to meet these needs. I am also a qualified teacher assessor for those with Dyslexia and Dyscalculia. When working for Essex and Suffolk, as a member of IfL I was a Fellow. I resigned when I retired.
I originally taught junior children but following having my own children, I taught nursery and infant children. As a teacher and Headteacher I worked with children who had varying disabilities ranging from physical - including muscular dystrophy, spinabifida, visual and hearing problems in addition to those with particular learning needs. I became deputy head and very soon I was appointed Headteacher of a junior school where there was a high proportion of children who had particular learning difficulties. It was quite a challenge to make learning a good experience for some of these children. I was seconded for a year as an advisory Headteacher with responsibility for newly qualified teachers. My role was to support, monitor and assess them. I presented courses for them and arranged visits to schools in Essex where they would see good practice. I also liaised with Homerton College, Cambridge and the Newfoundland Memorial University in Harlow to give visiting students the best possible teaching experience in our schools. I have written and presented courses for teachers at all stages of their career and was a Headteacher mentor. I have been a Head teacher of two junior schools and retired in 1995 when my poor hearing made it difficult to hear at meetings, which was a disadvantage with so many changes in education taking place.
After a while I returned to teaching but worked with children who needed coaching for prep school entrance exams or who had specific learning difficulties. At this time I began to teach at a private school in the learning support unit. Sadly the Head of the unit died and I ran the unit until someone suitable could be appointed. Children in the unit ranged from 6 up to the age of 18 and had many different specific learning difficulties and in some cases physical disabilities such as hearing loss.
I retired again in 2000 and resumed lipreading classes joining an advanced lipreading class. My wonderful teacher had to retire through ill health and the courses in Essex ceased as there was no one to take her place. I attended a class in Suffolk. A year later I contacted Essex to see if there was a short course on the background to lipreading that I could attend and after an interview was invited to teach lipreading from January 2006. In 2007 I agreed to teach classes in Suffolk until a new tutor could finish her training. Whilst teaching lipreading for Essex I was invited to work with the army in liaison with Essex. This involved teaching soldiers, who had promotion aspirations, English and Maths. I was also invited to take part in a pilot project for the army which was to teach English language to the wives of the Ghurkha soldiers. This was wonderful but there was no further funding so this did not continue. I retired in 2006.
I was a Trustee of the British Tinnitus Association for 3 years and am still a member of the Association.
I was the secretary of Hearing Help Uttlesford for several years and am now going to become a volunteer with Hearing Help Essex.
Currently I am a member of the Essex Hard of Hearing Planning Group working on strategies and procedures to enhance the service experience of those with hearing loss.
I run two voluntary lipreading support groups.
Currently Action on Hearing Loss is using some of my videos in a pilot project. The project aims to support those with hearing loss who are returning to work or in work.
I am a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Educators and have been invited to join a group working with the Worshipful Company of Information Technology on a project "making education accessible to all" – it is supported by Chris Holmes the blind Olympic Runner.
Currently I am going to organisations to talk about deaf awareness, lipreading and other issues. I have written articles for local associations and for an optometrist magazine and a blog for Action on Hearing Loss.
A few years ago I considered researching for a PhD. My focus would have been the role of lipreading in the lives of those with hearing loss. I spoke with a tutor from the Open University who advised me to do the research even though there was no one able to help me in the Open University. I thought about it and decided that the PhD would be good for me but probably the best way I could help those with hearing loss was to make a cd. This didn't work because of the difficulty in making it compatible with all computers so I created the website instead. It went live in March 2013 and was on page one of google by May 2013. I was surprised to find that the nadp had found it and were promoting it on their website for deaf awareness week 2013. Since then it has really taken off world-wide. I am humbled by the messages of thanks that I regularly receive.
I have had a profound hearing loss since the early 1980's so I understand the difficulties of living and working with a hearing loss and my educational studies and experience have given me a wealth of information to use when making presentations. I have learned so much from the people I have tried to help.
I may yet research for my PHd and the focus will still be lipreading.
I told you that I had been to China to speak to the University students but I don't know if I told you that I was given the honour of Visiting Professor Status in recognition of my achievements and outstanding contribution.
I hope this helps you to understand me, my experience and my passion for education and helping those with hearing loss.
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