A delegation of 19 deaf teenagers with cochlear implants from five different countries took part in The First International Teens Week for young cochlear implant users, organised by The Ear Foundation.
As the young people arrived at St John’s School for the Deaf in Boston Spa, Wetherby, from Finland, Norway, Belgium, Turkey and the UK, neither they nor the adults with them knew quite what to expect. It was the first time that the teenagers had met each other, with a variety of languages and technologies to manage. Between them the teenagers had seven different types of cochlear implant processors.
But the youngsters were great communicators, spoke to each other and were happy to use signed support. Lorna Lord, Family Co-ordinator at The Ear Foundation explains: “To see the profoundly deaf implant wearing teenagers talking together and having such a great time was inspirational! The way they bonded was a credit to all the teenagers, their families and everyone involved.”
They took part in many different activities including a visit to an archaeological museum in York, a day trip to the seaside at Whitby as well as swimming and film-making, different sports and other activities available on the school site which gave great opportunities to talk to others and make new friends.
One of the teenagers from the UK, Heather, said: “I have really enjoyed meeting new people and learning their languages, I can’t describe how much fun it was this week, having a laugh with other friends from Europe without the language barrier.”