A Return to Public Speaking…

It’s been a while since I’ve flexed my public speaking muscles, as it were. Granted, I delivered a talk to members of the National Deaf Children’s Society’s Youth Advisory Board last month, but today saw me deliver a talk to a different audience at NDCS’ Right for the Future conference.

Liam delivering a talk about transitions at the Right for the Future conference in London. Photo: Rosie Eggleston.

With the audience being made up of mainly healthcare and educational professionals, the event brought people together to discuss and share ideas around deaf young people and their transitions through education. I was asked to help deliver a technology workshop, introduce the charity’s CEO (no pressure!) and sit on a panel, as well as give a short five-minute talk about my school experience.

I won’t explore my talk in too much detail, but I thought I’d explore some points raised further. In particular, it’s essential that information about a deaf young person is shared within schools as soon as possible when it comes to transitions, as nothing is worse than the young individual having to repeat their support needs when they start at a new school.

This is similar to support workers sharing documentation to make it easier for a deaf young person to apply for support in their next educational establishment. All of this should be done with enthusiasm and politeness, as any frustration with having to deal with a deaf person’s support requests will only diminish that person’s confidence.

On the topic of confidence, it’s important that both teachers and fellow classmates are deaf aware, as one is essential for the person’s education – the other for their social skills.

I’d encourage you all to have a read of the #RightForTheFuture hashtag on Twitter, which includes a lot of good points raised during the conference. Thanks to NDCS for inviting me down, I had a fantastic day.

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With thanks to TED: Public Speaking in Leeds

I’ve never had any problems when it comes to talking about myself or hobbies to other people, but for a lot of people – including me – public speaking is still a mighty beast to conquer.

A few weeks back, I was asked by the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) to speak to their Youth Advisory Board about deafness, being a deaf radio presenter and being on the YAB last year (read more about that here).

I was delighted, and conveniently, I had bought a public speaking book off Amazon a few days before. In reference to the title, this book is Chris Anderson’s Ted Talks, which certainly helped give me some tips and confidence when it came to my presentation.

Aside from feeling slightly nervous, it went really well. Thanks so much to NDCS and to the YAB for having me and asking interesting questions!

Have you done public speaking before? What are your techniques? Comment below!

Liam

The Last Huzzah | My Fourth and Final NDCS YAB Residential

It was a bit emotional on the Sunday, when I had to say goodbye to fellow members of the National Deaf Children’s Society’s (NDCS) Youth Advisory Board (YAB).

If you’re new to the blog and want to know more about my work with the YAB, read my posts about the last three residentials herehere and here

 

So this time, our last residential was in London. I arrived early on the Saturday morning and then the day’s programme begun!

We talked about our achievements with campaigning, we helped to feedback on NDCS resources and we also helped NDCS to decide which charities/organisations to work with to provide more opportunities to deaf young people (I particularly thought that vInspired and DofE would be great schemes for NDCS to work with).

 

Then after all that, we went for Pizza Expeess (which was right next to the British Library, which is nice), before having a graffiti workshop, where we made our own T-shirts!

The reason why this post is called ‘The Last Huzzah’ is because our YAB has a catchphrase, which is HUZZAH! So, naturally, when we got to spray paint the boards in the graffiti workshop, mine had to say this:

  

Then, on the Sunday, I got up early for a quick Full English breakfast before the last day of the YAB residential started.

We had a talk by our deaf role model, Lucy, who was on the last YAB. It’s always great to hear from other deaf young people and hear their stories. It was also reassuring to hear that her YAB still meet up occasionally! Hopefully ours will be the same!

Lucy also has a blog, called The Girl Who May Not Hear Your Secrets, so please do pop by and say hello!

Then we had a celebration of our time on the board. We had certificates and awards (funnily enough, I won the award for ‘most likely to become a world class journalist’ – haha!)

We then had a chance to take photos and say goodbye before our last NDCS YAB residential drew to a close. It was a tad emotional.

So to conclude, thank you so much to all of my fellow YAB members! It’s been great meeting you. Thanks to those who helped me to learn sign and you’re all friends for life!

Of course, thanks as well to all of the staff at NDCS who have helped out at the four residentials. You were all really friendly and helpful – I had a great time on the board!

But is it the end of the YAB? Of course not! We definitely hope to meet up again in the future. Also, I shall be working with NDCS in the future too – I shall be going to the Conservative Party Conference in October to talk to MPs about issues affecting deaf young people in the UK. Expect a blog post on that soon!

Liam

Making Changes | My Third NDCS YAB Residential

So, for those new to my blog, I am deaf. I have two hearing aids and am currently learning BSL (British Sign Language). 

Anyway, in March last year, I was recruited onto the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS)’s Youth Advisory Board (YAB). Since then, I have helped NDCS with their work and have attended two other residentials in the past:  Birmingham and Glasgow.

The YAB is basically a group of 18 deaf young people from across the UK, which means that I have made friends for life over the three meetings so far. Also, I said in my Birmingham post that I wanted to learn BSL. Now, I am picking it up so fast!

The Golden Post Box in Leeds, dedicated to boxer Nicola Adams.

Similarly, a BSL training session was one of the activities on the Saturday. It was great as alongside revising basic signs I already know, I learnt some new ones as well – which was brilliant! Throughout the weekend we also discussed issues concerning deaf young people, volunteering, presentation skills, the importance of information and more!

Aside from that, we also played games and had other fun activities. In particular, on the Saturday we went to Frankie and Benny’s for dinner (where I had delicious doughballs, pepperoni/American Hot pizza and a chocolate fudge cake for dessert). After that, we returned to our rather posh hotel for a movie night, where we watched Divergent.

On a separate note, I have seen Divergent before, but I struggle to hear the American accent on some occasions. So, having subtitles is a big help!

Lastly, I always try to become more independent at each residential. Whether it is getting a plane on my own for Glasgow or navigating myself around a new city. This time I had to navigate around two train stations (in other words, I had to “change” – hence the title). That’s why the post is called Making Changes – not only for that reason but making changes as part of the YAB.

So later in the year it will be our last YAB meeting – which is really sad. This will be held in London. So adding to the topic of independence, the next challenge is to navigate myself around all the tubes and trains of London on my own!

Stay tuned for the next update!

Liam

First Visit to Scotland | My Second NDCS Residential

It was a day after the referendum that I flew over to Glasgow for my second residential as a Youth Advisory Board (YAB) member for the NDCS (The National Deaf Children’s Society). You can find out about the first residential, when I visited Birmingham, by clicking here.

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On Saturday, the day comprised of learning about education and future plans for deaf people, as well as campaigning. It was really interesting, learning about things I never knew were available for me as a deaf person, as well as giving me new ideas and perspectives.

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Then, on Sunday, the primary focus was on what the YAB would be focussing on over the time we have as members. The top three were Education, Planning for the Future, and Information and Support. In the end, once all the YAB voted, Education came first. However, the YAB will still focus on the other two too!

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Overall, I had a great first time in Glasgow. It is such a beautiful, historic city! I had great fun playing Crazy Golf with everyone, and Nando’s was good too. Every bit of it was awesome! Thanks to NDCS again for the amazing weekend!

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Liam

An Amazing Weekend | My First NDCS YAB Residential

So I didn’t mention this a while back, but I heard that a charity for deaf young people in the UK, known as NDCS (National Deaf Children’s Society) was recruiting for its new YAB (Youth Advisory Board). I’ve wrote blog posts for them before and I soon found out about it!

Being on some youth groups/boards before, I knew that this would be awesome to get involved with – to meet new people, make new friends, and also, in this case, to learn some sign language! (Something I’ve always wanted to learn!)

So it was at the start of the year that I went to an interview, and they liked it! I have since been offered a place, and last weekend saw me go on the first residential of four!

I went on a train on my own to the location of the residential – this time it was Birmingham, which I’ve never been to before (ish – I went there for Cadbury’s World). Upon arrival at Birmingham, I immediately liked the city. As well as that, the Waterstones near the station was huge!! Always a good sign for a massive book-lover!

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Not to mention the station looked pretty cool too!

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Other buildings had cool architecture too!

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So we had a walk up to the venue for the residential, but along the way I couldn’t help at this rather “pointless” (pun intended) road name…

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The meetings with the board itself took place in a rather vibrant and colourful centre. It was a great place. For example, these were the clocks that were situated around the building…

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As for the meetings themselves, it was great as we learnt all about our deafness, had some interesting discussions about our deafness, and learnt about our role as YAB members.

Then, on Saturday evening, we went bowling! This saw me get a few strikes and spares – always a good feeling!

As for Sunday, we reviewed the first residential. It was this reflective mindset that made me realise how awesome the weekend was! I made some great new friends, and look forward to what the future holds for the YAB!

I’ll keep you posted!

Liam