Did you catch sisters Annabel, Year 8, and Maia, Year 10, on Newsround last week? We thought they were brilliant. The girls appeared on CBBC Newsround as part of several media activities organised for Deaf Awareness Week 2021.
Maia is a member of the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) Youth Advisory Board and both she and Annabel have previously appeared in an article for the charity’s ‘Families’ magazine. So, the charity contacted them last month to see if they would be happy to be interviewed for CBBC’s Newsround.
You can watch the YouTube film below or visit the Newsround website to watch the full version.
The aim of Deaf Awareness Week is to educate hearing people about how they can help a deaf person. It supports people who have parents or siblings who are deaf as well as encouraging deaf people themselves to feel proud of who they are and share their stories to inspire others. In Maia and Annabel’s film they specifically talk about how you can be an ally to a deaf person and help them when you are interacting. Top tips include talking face to face, not covering your mouth so lip reading is possible and speaking naturally and clearly, you do not need to shout or over exaggerate words. When you are in a group, it helps to be somewhere with limited background noise, and try to speak one at a time, not over each other. Finally, their most important tip was to just relax and be yourself.
Maia and Annabel were apprehensive at first but glad they got involved:
“The pandemic has left many deaf people isolated so we thought it was especially important to do our bit for Deaf Awareness Week this year by agreeing to be interviewed.”
Head Liz Laybourn is impressed to see the girls take on such a responsibility at a young age:
“I was absolutely bursting with pride when I watched Maia and Annabel presenting on how to be an ally to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community on CBBC Newsround during Deaf Awareness Week. Their mature and informative presentation will have certainly touched the hearts and minds of so many people across the country. Maia and Annabel should see no glass ceiling to their capabilities – at Burgess Hill Girls we encourage all students to challenge themselves and take on opportunities and this is a fantastic example.”
Sign language is a regular part of life at Burgess Hill Girls Pre-Prep & Prep School, we often use sign language in assemblies and children learn it in Year 1. We also run a sign language club in the Senior School.