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Deaf Teaching Assistant’s Pride At Landmark Job

June 21, 2022

A deaf teaching assistant is to work with a deaf pupil for the first time in a mainstream school in Wales.

Emma Day, 21, said she felt proud to have been appointed at Ysgol Clydau in Tegryn, Pembrokeshire.

There she will work with 11-year-old Evelyn who also has lessons translated by British Sign Language interpreters.

“The most rewarding thing is seeing Evelyn’s confidence grow and how she enjoys learning through her first language, sign language,” Emma said.

Emma has previously volunteered in schools in Pembrokeshire and was awarded Student of the Year at Pembrokeshire College in 2021.

Now she believes her experiences as a deaf learner will help Evelyn and hopes it will be an example of the “next step” in education for deaf children.

“I love my job. It’s really important for deaf students, deaf children, to have education in their first language and also working with adults like myself,” she said.

“I’ve got experience of the barriers I faced at that time and I got through them. Hopefully I’ve passed on to Evelyn that you can break down those barriers and learn.”

Emma’s role is funded by Pembrokeshire council, but has extra support from a sign language interpreter in the classroom to translate lessons and access all other aspects of her role within the school.

“She helps me with my English and my maths and my sign language as well. She knows what I’m saying when I communicate,” said Evelyn.

Her father, Chris, said the support was worth the struggle to secure it.

“It’s really important, especially in a rural setting, if you are deaf. You need that exposure to deaf culture,” he said.

“There are a lot of barriers that deaf people face and Emma is well aware of what those are and she’s helping Evelyn navigate what those might be in her future as well.

“You can really see how Evelyn’s confidence has increased. She signs more at home, which is really beneficial to me as Evelyn gets older I expect to get left behind somewhat in being able to understand her level of British Sign Language.

“So it’s just lovely to see Evelyn blossom, especially with the move up to secondary school coming soon it’s just going to benefit her so much.”

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