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What support can I get?

School and college should be places where you have the same chances as hearing students to learn and have fun.

If you’re having problems at school or college, there are laws which give you the right to extra support to help you to learn.

If you live in England, Scotland or Wales the law is the Equality Act 2010

If you live in Northern Ireland the laws are Disability Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 and the Special Educational Needs and Disability (Northern Ireland) Order 2005

Not keen on asking for help?

Sometimes people don’t like asking for support, but it’s really important that you ask for help so you don’t get behind with your studies, or feel left out or stressed.

Getting the right support can help you be more independent. And remember: you have a right to extra help, you’re not asking for anything you don’t have a right to.

Find out what other people did

Helping my college become deaf aware – see the video!

Check out Catherine’s experience at college and the support she got!

What support can I get?

Remember that people won’t always know the best way to help you unless you tell them.

Check out these resources to help people improve their deaf awareness:

  • Look, smile chat
    Videos and posters to help your hearing friends communicate with you.
  • Personal profiles
    You can write your own personal profile explaining how teachers can help make sure you can access everything in class.

There are different types of support you could get at school or college.

Reasonable Adjustments

The law says a school or college must make reasonable adjustments (changes) to make sure you can learn as much as everyone else at your school or college.

What does ‘reasonable’ mean?

If a reasonable adjustment would cost too much or be too difficult then a school or college could say that it wasn’t reasonable.

For example, if you wanted all of your lessons to be delivered one-to-one, this would be really expensive.

But many adjustments are easy to make and don’t cost anything – these are reasonable.

Examples of reasonable adjustments:

Adapting communication

If you need to lip-read your teachers then they must make sure you can see their face at all times. They should avoid turning their back to you, speaking too quickly or mumbling.

Providing subtitles

When a teacher shows a video, they should show it with subtitles. If they can’t do this then they should provide you with a transcript or some one-to-one time to go over what you missed.

Providing a quiet space

If you’re working in a group and need a quiet space to talk to your classmates, your teacher should be able to provide this.

Extra time in exams or tests

If you find reading and writing difficult then you might be able to get 25% extra time in your exams or an adapted paper with easier to read language. For more information visit: [exams page]

Extra support

For some deaf young people reasonable adjustments like those listed above won’t be enough, so they might need extra support that can’t be provided by the teacher.

Go to our communication support page to find out more about the help you could get.


Schools or colleges might be able to give you technology like radio aids or soundfield systems.

Radio Aids

A radio aid is a microphone and receiver that links up to your hearing aid or cochlear implant.

It helps make a teacher’s speech clearer by making their voice louder and cutting out background noise. There are different makes and models and you’ll need one that works with your hearing aid or cochlear implant.

Soundfield Systems

Systems which make a teacher’s voice louder and clearer for the whole classroom through a loudspeaker.

They can be installed in a classroom, or you can get one you can carry with you.

Support with transport

Sometimes deaf young people need to travel further than other young people to get to school or college because they have to go to a specific place that has the right support for them.

If you have to travel further because you’re deaf then you might be able to get a taxi for free or at a reduced cost.

Different areas have different arrangements so check with your local offer to find out what’s available.

If you’re 16 or over then you may be able to get free bus travel because you are deaf – contact your council to find out more information.

Related Articles

National Deaf Children's Society

Registered Charity: England and Wales (1016532) and Scotland (SC040779)

Helpline: 0808 800 8880

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