DEAF children and their hearing friends in Medstead spent last Wednesday seeing how vibrating alarm clocks help deaf children get to school on time and learning top tips to consider in the playground.

The National Deaf Children’s Society roadshow, an eight-ton purple lorry that turns into a hi-tech classroom, visited Medstead Primary School delivering support, advice and information to some of the 5,600 deaf children in the South East.

Medstead Primary School has a purpose-built specialist provision for the deaf unit within the school comprising one main classroom with an adjoining specialist speech and language therapy room. This provides a stimulating environment for up to six children with widely varying levels of hearing, staffed by two teachers and a team of British Sign Language and Signed Supported English-trained communication support workers.

The roadshow team spent the day giving workshops to deaf children, hearing friends, teachers and parents about the difficulties that deaf children often face, including practical tips on how best to communicate with a deaf child.

They include getting their attention with a wave or a tap on the shoulder, speaking one at a time, facing them when speaking, not covering your mouth when speaking, using gestures or actions, and never giving up.

As well as teaching key skills, the National Deaf Children’s Society also showcased the latest technology and equipment available to deaf children.

This ranged from flashing doorbells and vibrating alarm clocks to Bluetooth neck loops that can make it easier to listen to an iPod or a mobile phone.

Jamie Chivers, outreach officer for the National Deaf Children’s Society who is deaf himself and drives the roadshow bus, said: “Deaf children can do anything other children can do, given the right support.

“A visit from the roadshow can make a real difference for a deaf child struggling with confidence, independence or communication and the more we can do to spread deaf awareness and information the better.”