The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) is a charity which represents the interests of, and campaigns for, deaf children and young people. Formed in 1944, the charity has more than 230 employees and offices in London, Birmingham, Belfast, Cardiff and Glasgow. It also has an international development wing, Deaf Child Worldwide.
The NDCS retains its original role as a parents’ organisation dedicated to the needs of deaf children, of whom there are 45,000 living in the UK. The charity provides a multi-faceted service supporting families with deaf children from birth until the age of 25. It offers free membership to all parents and carers of deaf children.
Research suggests that more than 77% of school-aged deaf children in the UK attend mainstream schools where there is no specialist provision. Without the right support, NDCS says, deaf children and young people are vulnerable to isolation, abuse, bullying, poor self-esteem and low levels of achievement. However, deafness is not a learning disability and there is no reason why the majority of deaf children should achieve any less than hearing children.
NCDS’ services take many forms. It offers a wealth of online information and downloadable factsheets, booklets and DVDs on subjects such as financial support, education and technology. There is a helpline offering advice and support for deaf children and their families on topics ranging from benefits and social care to communication and discrimination. The Helpline also provides advice and information for professionals working with deaf children.
NDCS hosts a web forum for families and runs a programme of weekend events for when children have just been diagnosed or are about to start primary or secondary school. The charity also puts on free events for deaf children and young people aged 8 to 16 and runs a website, called The Buzz, for children and teenagers.
NDCS also enables beneficiaries to borrow technology and products, running a Technology Test Drive service for parents and children to try out products at home and school.
NDCS’s international wing, Deaf Child Worldwide, is an international development agency dedicated to enabling deaf children to overcome poverty and isolation. It operates in South Asia, East Africa and Latin America.
Employee benefits for staff working at NDCS include 25 days’ annual leave, financial support for employees taking external studies, family friendly policies and a relaxed dress code.