On the 1st of October I gave the opening address to the Deaf Education Conference 2016. The education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing children in Ireland has been a cause of concern to many parents and educators over the years. We know that Deaf and Hard of Hearing children have not been achieving educational levels in school on a par with their hearing peers of similar ability. We know that only a small proportion of them go on to third level education. And we know that parents, members of the Deaf community and the IDS, Deafhear and CIDP have been battling on a daily basis often for months and years, to get their children the support and services they need in our schools – services and supports which are their right as enshrined in Irish legislation.
One of those parents, Andrew Geary, has been battling with some success to get his son the supports he needs in school. The Deaf Education Conference 2016 is the brainchild of Andrew, who recognises the need to provide a forum to move the education of our Deaf and Hard of Hearing children into the 21st century. The Conference is fully supported by the Education Partnership Group, an independent peer group made up of Deaf and Hard of Hearing interest groups. Parents Groups such as Our New Ears and Sharing the Journey have also championed the cause of many families over the years, opening doors and supporting parents in their battles.
The Conference was aimed primarily at Parents of Deaf and Hard of Hearing children, the Education Professionals working with these children, Policy Advisors in this area and anyone with an interest in this area of education.
National and International Panel
The Conference included a panel of both Irish and international experts on deaf education who will speak about:
- Best practice in the education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing children.
- What can be achieved through best practice.
- What is happening in Ireland today.
A key aim of the Conference was to identify a number of key objectives to improve the education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing children in Ireland and to signpost a clear pathway towards achieving them.