IM this article to a friend!

June 11, 2003

Simeon has to be the 'ears' for his family

From: South London Press, UK - Jun 11, 2003

AS THE only hearing member of the Campbell household, 16-year-old Simeon has far more responsibilities than other young men his age.

His nine-year-old sister Amee, 11-year-old brother Zeon and mum Sandra, 35, are all deaf.

Strange as it may seem, Simeon used to stay on at school after hours to get peace and quiet to do his homework.

He explained: "Because of their deafness, my brother and sister might not be able to understand you need time alone.

"Sometimes they will need me to come and interpret when they are out playing with friends."

And even though his mum has a text phone, Simeon is often required to make phone calls for her.

He said: "I started making calls for my mum when I was about 12. Before that my [extended] family had to get involved. A lot of the family have got children now and have their own lives."

When the Campbells go out together, the Abbey Wood Secondary pupil keeps a close eye on his brother and sister.

He said: "When they are signing and looking at each other, they are not looking around at what's going on, but they might be near a road."

Simeon, who is currently sitting his GCSEs, is a "young carer", and for this reason receives support from Greenwich Carers. Through the organisation, he has been on a week-long holiday to Devon for the past four years with other young carers.

He said: "It's a nice break, everything is paid for, and you make so many new friends."

Simeon's unusual home life has not tamed his passion for drama and his ambition to dance, act and get involved in stage work.

Already he has featured in an advert, worked with Lewisham Theatre and done a number of school productions. And his mum also has her own successes to be proud of.

Mrs Campbell is due to compete in the long jump competition at the European deaf athletics championships in Estonia next month.

Simeon's brother, Zeon, has been accepted at a boarding school for deaf children near Brighton, but Greenwich council has ceased to fund placements outside the borough, a situation Mrs Campbell is currently battling against.

Zeon and Amee are both in mainstream education, but Simeon and his mum believe their education and social lives would benefit from mixing more with other deaf children.

Simeon hopes to go to Lewisham College in September, but is sure to continue in his supporting role at home.

© owned by or licensed to Trinity Mirror Plc 2003