Imagine being deaf, or hearing impaired, and spending your school days in a hearing community, where no other children understand what it is like to not be able to hear properly. Then a group of committed teachers decide to get all the deaf and hearing-impaired kids in Tasmania together for a weekend of fun and friendship. Suddenly the world changes and it might never be the same again!
Thirty-five children, from all over Tasmania, participated in the three-day camp in Hagley in November, with support from the John Wallis Foundation. Teacher Suzanne Bullock swears she has never seen so many happy students in all her years of teaching.
“These kids were surrounded by other kids who truly understand what they are experiencing. There is no dedicated school for the deaf in Tasmania so many of the kids are isolated. Great relationships were formed and the kids are asking when the next camp will be held,” Suzanne said.
Savannah, 9, agreed, “It was good to meet more deaf people. There were lots of people signing, it was great.”
Over the weekend, with $2000 John Wallis Foundation funding an artist worked with the students, aged from Year 2 to Year 12, to make kites and bandanas. Photos were put on a disc and given to each participant and information about the latest technology was also distributed. The camp also gave hearing-impaired children the opportunity to pick up some sign language from new friends. They also exchanged addresses to continue communication in whatever way works for them. Suzanne hopes the next camp will be in 2018.