Positive signs

22nd November 1996 at 00:00
Tyrone Givans, 11, is in year 6 at Laycock Primary School in Islington, north London. He is profoundly deaf and attends the deaf unit and mainstream classes at the school. I have been deaf all my life. I am the only deaf person in my family, so sometimes it's hard for me to understand. The best thing about my school is that I have quite a lot of friends, and that helps me a lot. I teach them how to do sign language because if I don't understand something and then someone repeats it in sign language, it makes sense.

When I first started my mainstream class it was quite difficult. When I was in year four, some people used to bully me. Now the other children treat me like a normal hearing person.

I like my teachers because they help me a lot. When I am in my unit class my teachers help me and I can do a lot of work. When I go to my mainstream class with all the hearing children the teacher wears a microphone so I can hear her. If I don't understand the work I can ask my unit teacher to explain it. If my unit teacher is away and the other children are talking, I have to keep on going up to ask what the teacher has been saying. I find learning easy, but sometimes it can be confusing.

My teacher and I also use a radio aid, which means that I can hear her talking in the staff room when she is having her cup of coffee at break and I am in the playground.

My mum has got lots of hearing friends, so when I am at home I speak to them like a hearing child, but when I go back to school I go back to being a deaf child. Sometimes I like being deaf and sometimes I wish I was hearing. I like being deaf because when I go to bed I take my hearing aid out and I can't hear my mum playing music.

I visited a school for deaf children in St Lucia when I went on holiday. In St Lucia the children aren't allowed to take their hearing aids home because their parents can't afford to pay Pounds 30. When they go home without their hearing aids they can't understand their parents or anything people say. In England we are lucky because we don't have to pay. We can just take our hearing aids home free.

My favourite hobby is playing music. I play the guitar quite well. Sometimes I watch my mum cooking and sometimes I cook for my brother. When I am older and in college I would like to learn how to be a chef.

Children's Express is a programme of learning through journalism for children aged eight to 18. A charity, it provide a news service that promotes the views and investigations of young people. Inquiries to: Children's Express, Exmouth House, Pine Street, London EC1 0JH.

Editor Daniel Blackwood, 15 and reporters Michelle Ijoyah, 9, and Kim Ijoyah, 10, interviewed Tyrone and Abigaal. They were helped by reporter Gillian Antwi-Bosrako, 10

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