Alys Young, Professor of Social Work and Director of the Social Research with Deaf People programme at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, presented a seminar entitled, ‘Understanding and responding to family complexity’ at the Victorian Deaf Education Institute on Wednesday 26 June and Monday 1 July, via video conference with Sydney program partners RIDBC-Renwick Centre.
The workshop covered three inter-related issues associated with modern professional practice in partnerships with families with deaf children.
The first was the changing context of discovering a child is deaf: do we still know what we thought we knew about families? It reviewed the evidence for the impact of early identification and early intervention on how parents and families understood their child’s deafness.
The second part of the presentation was all about understanding being deaf: is it just language choices, role models and experience? It explored the impact of the changing social context on being deaf in society/societies today and the significance of that for our activities as professionals in supporting families with deaf children. Alys covered issues as diverse as information and communication technology, ontology, poverty, rights and ethics.
The third part concerned families and intervention: how do we know we are making a difference? It focussed on how professionals and parents could work together to ensure that intervention and support was effective. It addressed the work underpinning the creation and use of the MVOS (My Views on Sevices) survey instrument. It also addressed safeguarding, assessment with regard to child protection and the promotion of wellbeing.
The workshop was particularly invaluable to educators, early intervention staff, educational psychologists, counsellors and support staff working with students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Lois Grant from The University of Melbourne said: “I enjoyed the variety of presentation, discussion, case study, role play. Very effective! The content was very helpful and inspired new ideas.”
Leonie Fewster, Audiologist, from the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital said: “Excellent topic, presentation and discussion from the audience. I appreciated how strong the evidence base for discussion was. Thank you for a thought-provoking, reflective day. A good professional battery recharge!”
Alys Young has an international reputation for her research work with families with deaf children, multi-professional early intervention services and the provision of health and social care services in signed languages. Her book (with B. Temple) on Social Science Research and d/Deaf people is published by Oxford University Press in 2013.
In addition to delivering workshops with the Institute, Alys spent two days contributing actively to program discussions with the Institute team as well as with several key stakeholder groups. Some of these included universities, government departments, early intervention settings, the Victorian Newborn Hearing Screening Program, private practice and community organisations who were invited to spend time discussing their work and seeking advice with Alys. These discussions were highly beneficial building on the evidence to practice approach of the Institute, as was sharing the unique opportunity with for the benefit of our stakeholders.
Both events were accredited for 6 CEUs by the AG Bell Academy.