Deaf children with complex needs are being let down


A new research study, the largest of its kind ever conducted, has shown that deaf children with more complex needs are not receiving adequate treatment from the health services.

The report has been researched and published by the National Deaf Children’s Society (NCDS) and the University of Manchester and it has revealed failures in diagnosis, problems in accessing medical treatment and professionals failing to share information. Some professionals are said to regard a child’s deafness as a minor condition to be treated later in life, whilst others are described as being ‘overwhelmed by the complexity of needs’.

Deaf Children

This is distressing reading for the parents and families of deaf children who also have other complex needs and require a tailored approach to make sure they receive the best health services for their individual needs.

It’s estimated that 40% of all the deaf children in the UK have an additional disability, and the report’s researchers talked to 50 families with deaf children who also have other conditions.

Because children who are born prematurely or suffer a severe illness tend to survive, the number of deaf children with complex needs is on the rise and so it’s time for drastic improvements in the way these children and their families are supported. The NCDS is calling for health professionals to work much more closely with parents to make sure that their deaf children receive the right care and support.

The parents interviewed all said what a positive difference the right supportive services can make to their child’s life, but too often these services aren’t offered quickly enough and sometimes not at all.

The report found that deaf children with additional needs are the group most often left out from research studies, yet as the numbers grow it’s clear that the health service has to wake up to delivering the special care these children need and deserve.

The report urges professionals to be more rigorous in their assessments and more pro-active in providing the right care packages.

In these days of cuts, it is all the more important to make sure that you are getting the right advice and right support, so that your child’s therapy and provision can be protected. We are able to advise you on all aspects of provision for deaf children, whether it be educational, access to health treatments or community care support.

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