Positive signs

22nd November 1996 at 00:00
Abigaal Gorman-Palmer, 10, is in year 6 at Laycock Primary School in Islington, north London. She is profoundly deaf and attends the deaf unit and mainstream classes at the school

When I first came to Laycock School I was worried that the other children would be horrible to me, but on the first day I made lots of friends. Some people were a bit horrible to me at first, but now that I am in year six, if anyone tries to bully me I can stand up for myself. Bullies don't scare me.

My family is half deaf, half hearing. My parents, my brother, my half-brother and half-sister are all deaf. I have to sign to them, but I hear and talk quite a lot as well. I was deaf when I was born.

At home my mum and I use a minicom. It's a type of telephone that you can type a message into, like a typewriter, and it goes to the other person. When I watch TV I use subtitles so we can understand.

The other children treat me like I am normal. I used to go to a school where all the children there were deaf, but since I came to this school I know more people understand me.

Last year in assembly I taught some of the children how to do sign language so they could communicate without talking. If I really don't understand what is happening then my friend Jodie will use sign language. If the other children don't understand me then I repeat it again, and if they still don't understand I go really slowly or I try and talk more clearly. My friends sometimes use sign language and sometimes they don't, but I can understand them.

I don't think that my education is suffering because I am deaf. I think my education is the same as everyone else's, because I'm quite good at everything. When I am in my mainstream class my teacher treats me like a hearing child, because I can understand what she says and lip read her. If I don't understand things they try and help me to understand it.

I really like football. My best friend Sarah and I were chosen for the girls' football team. For the Christmas carol concert this year I have been chosen to play the recorder. I can do just about everything a hearing child can except I can't hear without my hearing aid.

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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