Deafness and Autism
Deafness and Autism from Burwood Park Consultant, Joyce Sewell-Rutter:
I have had a longstanding interest in deaf children on the autistic spectrum, both diagnosed and suspected. In my current role supporting professionals of deaf children with additional needs I facilitate a special interest group in Deafness and Autism in collaboration with the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf (BATOD).
This network was established in 2012 and comprises an annual training event as well as support to individual teachers and families. Historically the presentations from each event have appeared on the BATOD website. The topics covered include diagnosis, behaviour management, reducing anxiety, audiology matters, communication, transitions, music and autism, and closer collaboration. The most recent event was open to families too.
There was very little information available when I initiated the group but the body of knowledge and expertise is growing, as well as there being a greater awareness of the indicators, and where to go for help. Collaboration with interested parties has resulted in a MESH Guide for Autism and Deafness, funded by the BATOD Foundation and written with Stephanie Dawson. Click here for MESH Guide on Deafness and Autism.
Another recent piece of work was Guidelines for families in collaboration with the NDCS.
Several families were willing to share their experiences for the benefit of others and to these I extend my thanks.
At a recent training for BATOD Scotland delegates were asked to evaluate the quality of training; responses included:
‘Excellent content and useful for rethinking how I might approach things in the classroom. Better understanding of Autism.’
‘Exceptional-relaxed atmosphere with lots of information and discussion.’
‘Lots of knowledge, research, resources and also experiences shared. Very useful.’
‘Very good lecturer both knowledgeable and experienced.’
As we gather the body of knowledge and collaborate further with other agencies it is hoped to establish a stronger network which can influence opportunities for these children and young people, and their families.
Many colleagues in deaf education have sought advice or a visit from me and there is no charge currently for these services.
If you are interested in this area of work please get in touch with me, Joyce, at