Why does DEX exist?

Why does DEX do what it does? One of the many reasons are to do with individual experiences (called anecdotal experience) that we have seen throughout our professional careers as Social Workers with Deaf people, Deaf Instructors, Deaf Youth Workers and Deaf Teachers of deaf children, working in the National Deaf Children’s Society, etc. DEX has also supported individual cases of deaf adults and deaf children. Here are just three of them:

Case Study A

A’s mother moved from Sri Lanka England recently. A is learning BSL and English and her mother uses English as a second language.

A’s mother contacted DEX as she is worried that her daughter, who is in Year 7, is not learning English quickly enough. A attends a specialist mainstream resource school. DEX asked the Local Authority to advocate for A’s mother at the Annual Review of the Statement of Educational Need meeting, but the council refused to pay for this service.

At the Annual Review meeting A’s mother was able to ask detailed questions about the quality of support that A receives via BSL, and what extra help she has with English.

Case Study B

B walked out of his local mainstream school (which is not resourced) in Year 11 because he was unable to follow the national curriculum even with a note-taker, and felt socially excluded. He had never had a friend throughout childhood.  Fortunately he has a close and loving family, but they know this is insufficient, and asked DEX for help.

DEX counselled B and his family and supported him through a difficult year as B came to terms with the fact that he needed to continue his education. B later signed up for a class for unemployed young people whilst waiting to enrol for college the following academic year. Support was given to him to use public transport and to find his way to and from college as he had no experience of making the short trip into town.

B is said to have Asperger Syndrome in addition to being deaf. He reluctantly attended a group of deaf young people who made up DEX’s Deaf Youth Council, and enjoyed the social activity. However, the Council was a short term project, so he has had no other opportunity for supported assistance in making friends with deaf peers.

B is now at college and doing very well in his studies. He still continues to be socially isolated, and still never goes out of his home apart from to college or out with his family members.

Case Study C

C has Deaf parents and is part of an extensive Deaf family. She was having problems with bullying in her resourced mainstream school , mainly from the other deaf children.

DEX supported her at her Annual Review meeting and it was agreed as part of her Statement that it provided a range of services:

  1. Training for deaf children on what bullying is, the consequences of being bullied and how to deal with bullying
  2. Training for hearing children who were being bullied or were the perpetrators of bullying
  3. Training of teachers (mainstream and specialist) on dealing with bullying and harassment
  4. Support in writing a new school Bullying policy.

DEX received excellent testimonials for all aspects of the general bullying strategy.

In addition to supporting C’s family with  bullying, DEX addressed the family’s concern about the low level of support she receives via BSL in school. The Communication Support Worker (CSW) had an NVQ Level 2 in BSL which is roughly equivalent to a GCSE. All professionals working in schools are expected to have at least one degree but this is not a national standard for CSWs.

It was agreed that CSW support would be provided at NVQ Level 3 in BSL, with progression to Level 4 (degree level). The CSW who was supporting C was initially sent on a Level 3 course which meant that C would not benefit from improved support for at least one academic year, impacting on her educational achievement. Subsequently the school stated that it would not be paying for the CSW to go on to Level 4 because it is considered that the CSW could leave due to better job prospects.

This is symptomatic of the national situation, which DEX wants to address by the introduction of a new post in education: that of BSL/English Educational Interpreters, with a minimum standard of NVQ Level 3 on entrance to the profession, and progression to a professional qualification of Member of the Registered Sign language Interpreter (MRSLI) through schools’ Continuing Professional Development (CPD).