As part of our Safe Programme, we asked schools, groups and individuals around Australia to submit a creative piece that represents their understanding or interpretation of the safety issues for children who are deaf and hard of hearing. Primary and secondary schools entering the competition had to have a least one deaf or hard of hearing student enrolled in their school. DCA’s Safe Programme supports the personal safety skills training of children through a ground breaking web based resource. Entries had to relate to the subjects of Travel Safety, Bullying, Mental Health or Drugs and Alcohol.

We received numerous entries from different states around Australia and are pleased to announce the winning schools which receive licences or renewals to the Safe Programme.

The three prize winners are Lock Area School in South Australia, Swan View Senior High School in Perth and Somerset Primary in Tasmania.

Lock Area School Year 5/6 teacher Alana Adams said, “I thought the Safe Programme competition presented a really important opportunity for us to help the students become more aware of how Jacob, who has a hearing loss, experiences some things differently. Jacob came up with various scenarios where he feels at risk and they represented that through photographic collages. Through their focus on travel safety, they will be much better prepared for the bus travel on the upcoming camp. All the students were so excited about winning and we are looking forward to using the Safe Programme, particularly in our class and Jacob’s brother’s class. They both have a hearing loss so it will be particularly helpful for them but all the students will benefit.”

The students added, “As a class, we were amazed at the things that made travelling difficult for Jacob. We have enjoyed this activity.” Jacob was quoted on a poster, saying: “Traffic noise makes it hard for me to hear if a car is coming. I cannot pick out the noise of one car amongst lots of cars. I need to watch and look very carefully to cross a street as I can only see if a car is coming, not hear if a car is coming.” Jacob and his classmates’ suggestions included walking in groups to make road crossings safer. We are sure they will pick up lots more tips through the Safe Programme.

The Safe Programme utilises animations, role-play video clips and feeling cards together with Australian Sign Language (Auslan) and spoken language captioning so it’s accessible to all children, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing and those with additional needs. It teaches children how to protect themselves, helps them understand what is appropriate behaviour and empowers them to trust their feelings.

It is the first personal safety resource tailored to the specific communication needs of deaf children in Australia, and has been adapted from the UK’s Safe Programme developed by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
Click for more information on the Safe Programme.


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