“Moving Abi to the Deaf Academy has proved to be a great decision. She has found a peer group she can identify and be herself with. The staff are wonderful and I am confident she is getting the support she needs in a fantastic environment. She is a different child and is thriving, I couldn’t be happier.”
Multi-sensory Impairment (MSI)/Deafblindess
Around 18% of students have Multi-sensory Impairments (MSI) or Deafblindness. This distinct impairment has a multiplying effect on sensory loss, impacting student’s access to information, communication and orientation and mobility.
As an Academy, 25 members of staff have completed an accredited MSI intervener course, including; the principal, assistant principal, teachers, Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTA’s), residential support staff and the therapies team. This course has provided the Academy with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills to carry out the role of an MSI intervener. Our staff receive regular refreshers during inset days to ensure the knowledge and skills are withheld and the latest learning can be put into practice. Students from Devon County Council local authority are supported regularly by an MSI advisory teacher from Babcock. She works with staff to create a deeper understanding of every child’s needs to maximise their progress and student learning.
Levi first joined the Deaf Academy in September 2020, after previously attending a mainstream school, where he had the support of some great support workers, but still felt isolated and had some lessons away from the main classroom Levi learnt British sign language (BSL) through his sessions with his support worker, but always needed their help to communicate with his friends and teachers. He loved to sign, but his peers and other staff members at the school could only sign in a basic way, leaving Levi dependent on his support worker and limited with who he could socialise with. Like many deaf children with sight impairments, Levi needed an environment where he could truly flourish, with experts who understand how deafness and sight impairment interplay and impact information processing.
On Levi’s first day of school, Levi beamed with happiness, overwhelmed by all the communication in BSL at the Academy. He was amazed saying “I can understand EVERYONE!”, tears in his eyes at lunchtime, wandering around all the tables. Without any communication barriers, Levi has blossomed, enjoying full access to all the curriculum in his first language of BSL. He joins in excitedly in class discussions and debates, and at break and lunch time with his friends. He no longer needs an adult with him to help with communication, as EVERYONE can communicate with him. All teachers and Higher-Level Teaching Assistants have the opportunity to gain a Level 3 British Sign Language and all staff with Levi are trained MSI (Multi-Sensory Impairment) intervenors. They are patient and dedicated to ensuring every child is understood; teaching in English, BSL and using Sign Supported English (SSE) where needed. Students can choose their preferred method of communication and change between them whenever they wish.
Because of this, even in a classroom of mixed first languages, each child can flourish and communicate effectively with each other. Levi has grown in confidence with both Maths and English and loves being fully involved in topic work
Levi is a very emotionally intelligent young boy, who loves to help his fellow students and staff. Now surrounded by people that truly understand him, Levi’s charming nature can grow.
Would you like to find out more about the Deaf Academy as a Special Educational Needs (SEN) provider and how we can support your child? Please fill in the form with as much information as you can and I’ll contact you via email or telephone.