King’s Lynn mother launches petition to improve support for deaf children

Katie Raworth is campaigning for her deaf son Zavier to get more communication support at pre-school

Katie Raworth is campaigning for her deaf son Zavier to get more communication support at pre-school. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Katie Raworth from King's Lynn has launched a petition in a bid to improve the availability of communication support for all deaf children attending pre-school.

Her own three-year-old son Zavier Hunt was diagnosed with being profoundly deaf when he was five weeks old, and they can only communicate through sign language.

He attends North Wootton Pre-School for 24 hours every week but is not entitled to a communication support worker for the entire time. While help is on hand for 15 of those hours, Zavier has had no assistance for the remaining time –although Norfolk Council will now offer sign language training to staff.

Miss Raworth, 29, of Priory Road, said: 'There is a vast difference between attainment in deaf children in comparison with able children.

'I just feel Zavier, and other children in his situation, should have the support they need during these early years of their development.'

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Almost 200 people pledged their support for the petition within 12 hours of its launch.

Meanwhile, Norfolk County Council says it offers the appropriate communication support according to national guidelines. When Zavier starts school, this will be increased further.

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Michael Bateman, head of the education inclusion service, said: 'We've followed national code of practice by offering 15 hours a week support for Zavier while he is attending his nationally funded 15 hours a week of pre-school.

'The number of hours of support is set to increase to 27.5 hours a week when he starts school next September.'

He added: 'As Zavier is attending pre-school for more than the nationally funded 15 hours for which we provide support we have offered the pre-school staff 10 training sessions in sign language to enable them to support Zavier for all his sessions at nursery.'

For updates, and to sign the petition, visit the Communication for Zavier page on Facebook.

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