CU Leader Resources

There's a deaf student in my CU

There are many terms used to describe people with impaired hearing, including deaf, profoundly deaf, hard of hearing, deafened and deafblind. The wide range of terms represents the different degrees of hearing loss (from slight loss of particular frequencies, to totally unable to hear), and also the fact that some people are born deaf whereas others lose their hearing either suddenly or gradually through old age, illness or exposure to noise. Not all deaf people use sign language – many use hearing aids or lip-read. People born into the Deaf community who have BSL as a first language and see themselves as culturally Deaf use a capital letter – Deaf.

As a CU you may feel a little nervous about welcoming a deaf student, but be assured that the deaf person is well accustomed to being in gatherings of hearing people and probably won’t share your nervousness.  Most of what is needed to include them fully is a little sense and consideration.  Allow them to tell you what helps them in communication, and try to accommodate this in your gatherings.

Additional Resources

www.gosign.org.uk – Go! Sign

www.openears.org.uk – Christian fellowship mainly for those not using sign language

www.signsofgod.org.uk – Christian Interpreters

www.rnid.org.uk – Royal National Institute for the Deaf

www.sense.org.uk – Information on deafblindness

This resource is part of our Accessible CU series, created especially for Christian Unions by Through The Roof, a Christian Disability charity. To read this article in full, and other articles on including disabled students, download the student version of Through the Roof's publication Be a Roofbreaker for just £3.

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