Deaf club create books for visually-impaired children

Members of Lurgan Deaf Club have created specially designed tactile books for local children who are visually impaired. Front row Blathnaid and Eibhleann Girvan, their mum Eleanor with Nessa. Ann Sterritt with her son Ben, Connal and Meadbh Bustard with Cara. Second row Alison Rooney Sensory Disability Team Manager, Adele Magill social worker, Jill McKeown Artist, Eilish Kilgallon Community Access Worker for Deaf people, Una McConville Social Worker, Back row Pat McAteer Specialist Services Manager, Southern Trust Beverley Lappin Social Worker, Kath Byrne Lurgan Deaf Club.
Members of Lurgan Deaf Club have created specially designed tactile books for local children who are visually impaired. Front row Blathnaid and Eibhleann Girvan, their mum Eleanor with Nessa. Ann Sterritt with her son Ben, Connal and Meadbh Bustard with Cara. Second row Alison Rooney Sensory Disability Team Manager, Adele Magill social worker, Jill McKeown Artist, Eilish Kilgallon Community Access Worker for Deaf people, Una McConville Social Worker, Back row Pat McAteer Specialist Services Manager, Southern Trust Beverley Lappin Social Worker, Kath Byrne Lurgan Deaf Club.

Creative and tactile books made especially for local visually impaired children have proved a huge success.

Members of Lurgan Deaf Club created the specially designed tactile books for the children who have described them as ‘amazing’.

The group wanted to use their time to produce something that would be of value to others.

The Southern Trust’s Sensory Disability Team identified three children who would benefit from the books and worked with their families to understand the children’s interests.

Artist Jill McKeown then worked with the Deaf Club members to produce three bespoke books, one for each child.

Jill said: “I found this a very interesting project to work on as we had to consider all aspects of communication. As we were working specifically to meet the needs of three individual children we really wanted their experience to be special and are delighted with the feedback we received. It was lovely to hear the books have given the children such a positive experience.”

Eleanor Girvan mum of Nessa said: “The different textures and colours and shine really stimulated Nessa and she really enjoyed the book.”

Ben Sterritt’s mum Ann added: “The book is amazing and a lot of work has gone into it. Ben loves it – he loves feeling the shapes and texture and enjoys when I read it to him.”

And Meadbh Bustard, mother of Cara commented: “Cara loved the sensory aspect of the book touching and feeling it. She loves balloons and numbers and as the book was designed especially with her in mind she really enjoyed it.”

Pat McAteer, Specialist Services Manager at the Southern Trust, says: “We have a very active Deaf Club who work together to raise awareness of the needs of and reduce isolation amongst the deaf community. Because of their own communication challenges, our deaf club members have great empathy for this group of visually impaired children and we sincerely thank them for their thoughtfulness in creating such beautiful interactive books which are bringing great enjoyment.”

The project was funded by the ‘The Northern Ireland Executive Social Investment Fund (SIF) Southern Zone ‘Work It’ training and employment programme.’