IM this article to a friend!

December 10, 2004

DIPLOMA: Staff expertise is recognised

From: Peterborough Evening Telegraph, UK - Dec 10, 2004

EXPERTS working in the field of deafblindness have received a professional seal of approval. The experts have all completed a diploma course in deafblind studies, which they studied for in their spare time over a two-year period.

The students from across the UK received their certificates at a special ceremony held at the National Centre for Deafblindness in Cygnet Road, Hampton, Peterborough.

One of the successful students was Liz Cook, who works at the headquarters of the UK deafblind charity Sense in London.

She said: "The diploma course has provided me with an opportunity to consolidate my own practical experience, and to explore the experiences of deafblind people in much greater depth.

"The course has been challenging, stimulating and fun. It has questioned many of my preconceptions about deafblindness and deafblind people."

The students were the first to testpilot the new qualification, and were able to give feedback to develop and improve the course.

Students use case studies from their own work during the course, which is validated by the University of Birmingham, and combines formal taught modules with independent study.

Virginia Malachowski, chairwoman of the board of partners of the diploma's examination board, said: "The award ceremony celebrated the end of the tremendously successful pilot phase of the course.

"It marks the achievement of a vision conceived almost 10 years ago, and is an accomplishment which demonstrates the commitment of the collaborative partnership to deafblind people.

"The deafblind diploma now sits alongside other equivalent qualifications within the national frame- work.

"The partner organisations would like to thank all the students, tutors and contributors who gave their time and energy to shape this unique qualification."

FACTFILE – deafblindness

*There are about 23,000 people in the UK who have a serious impairment of vision and hearing. Some are completely deaf and blind, but others have some remaining use of one or both senses.

*Causes of deafblindness include premature birth, birth trauma and exposure to rubella during pregnancy.

*Other causes can include genetic conditions, such as Usher syndrome, accidents or even old age.

*One of the most prominent deafblind people in history was Helen Keller, who became a distinguished writer, lecturer and advocate for deafblind people, despite being deafblind since the age of two.

10 December 2004

All rights reserved © 2004 Johnston Press New Media.