Authorities failing to hear the deaf

May 26, 1995

Deaf students entering higher education are receiving very patchy support, according to researchers at Nottingham Trent University.

They contacted 99 universities and visited nine institutions that offered a "comprehensive range of services". But even at these there was a recognised lack of staff training in the appropriate use of sign-language communications, lipspeaking and notetaking.

The report, Access and Communication Support for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Students, recommends improved training for staff who come into contact with deaf students.

Students themselves do not always anticipate their own needs. One said: "I indicated that no support was necessary. After four terrible weeks, I knew this was wrong. I could not understand many of the lecturers and was unable to cope with group work."

Delays in providing help were often compounded by delays in receiving Disabled Students Allowances. The report stresses the need for local authorities to interpret regulations consistently.

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