Deaf Awareness Day
This week we welcomed two very special four-pawed guests to Kimbolton - working 'hearing dog' Rosie and puppy-in-training Orion.
This week we welcomed two very special four-pawed guests to Kimbolton as part of our Senior School’s Deaf Awareness Day. Working ‘hearing dog’ Rosie, who lives with Third Form pupil Oscar Williamson and his family, was joined at the event by puppy-in-training Orion and volunteers from the charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.
While First to Upper Sixth Form pupils got to know Rosie and Orion, Hearing Dogs’ volunteer Mrs Deborah Maloney explained how the clever canines really can be man’s best friend. She said: “Puppies like Orion go through many months of training and assessment before they are carefully matched with a deaf person. Our hearing dogs are capable of alerting deaf people in different ways to a variety of household sounds and danger signals, such as a smoke alarm. This not only transforms lives, it has saved some, too.”
Oscar’s mother, Hilary, says she has seen a dramatic change for the better in her son’s quality of life, since two-year-old yellow Labrador Rosie joined the family in February this year. She said: “Oscar has been profoundly deaf since birth. Rosie has helped to give him independence and confidence. She wakes him up when his alarm goes off each morning, alerts him to text messages and calls on his mobile, and accompanies him when we’re out and about at shops or the cinema. People notice Rosie’s ‘Hearing Dogs’ jacket and that also helps to raise awareness and start a conversation.”
14-year-old Oscar added: "I'm very lucky to have a dog like Rosie. She has already had a big impact on my life and now I cannot see myself without her."
The Deaf Awareness Day event also included a fundraising ‘Barking Bake-Off’ cake sale, which raised £130 for Hearing Dogs, an opportunity to learn simple British Sign Language, and a lip-reading quiz on the school intranet.
Event organiser Emma-Jayne Lee said: “There was an overwhelming show of support by students and staff. The day was a real success and everyone came away having learnt something new - particularly how we can all make small changes that will make a big difference when communicating with someone who is deaf or who has a hearing loss.”