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Practical tips for leaders

Practical tips for leaders

The first step is to talk to the individual and/or their parents and carers to find out the extent to which help is needed. They may be able to share any practical tips they have to offer. You can use the parent and carer framework to support the conversation, too.

Parents and carers may be able to arrange for you to have a chat with the young person's teacher or other support worker from school if it's felt to be helpful.

You can find out what forms of communication are used and if the person uses Makaton or British Sign Language (BSL), you may want to learn some key basic signs.

Here are some tips that may be useful are:

  • Consider a range of ways of explaining activities or giving instructions, such as using visual resources, so that misunderstandings are avoided.
  • Make sure the individual can clearly see the person speaking, as they may find it helpful to read lips or body language.
  • Some people may become inattentive when others are speaking, owing to a difficulty in following speech. They may have difficulty in noisy conditions, such as when a lot of people are talking at the same time, or when playing a noisy game.
  • To take part in a noisy activity, the young person with a hearing impairment might find it more comfortable to turn their hearing aid off. If this is their regular practice, you'll need to make sure that it's turned on again afterwards.
  • During some activities, visual clues may be necessary. You'll need to make sure that these are clear and when changing from one speaker to another, that the listener is directed to face whoever is talking.
  • Some young people may need to use other aids, such as signing, to help support their communication. For example, they may use British Sign Language (BSL) or Makaton. You'll need to check with the individual and, where applicable, their parent/carer, as to what they use, if any. They may well have developed their own range of signs, too.
  • Depending on the type of hearing loss, the person's speech may be difficult for you to understand. This will become easier as you get to know the young person concerned. Remember that to the individual concerned what they're saying will likely make perfect sense 
  • Particular attention needs to be paid to safety wherever you are. Warnings that rely on hearing, such as fire alarms, shouted instructions or car horns, may be ineffective. You may find it useful to pair the young person up with a hearing 'buddy' or find another solution and include this in your risk assessment, which is then shared with your team.