Exhibition helps to raise awareness of deafness in Lowestoft

Pictures: Joe Randlesome

Pictures: Joe Randlesome - Credit: Archant

A new exhibition has allowed four deaf teenagers to express themselves through art, along with providing the public with tips and guidance on how best to communicate with them.

Melissa Twaits at the exhibition. Pictures: Joe Randlesome

Melissa Twaits at the exhibition. Pictures: Joe Randlesome - Credit: Archant

The Our Speech Bubbles deaf studies exhibition was recently held at The Deaf Centre, on Blackheath Road.

It was run by Melissa Kay Twaits, a specialist teacher for hearing impaired children.

Three children from the Ashley School Academy Trust and another from Pakefield High School took part in the project, which looked at the history of deafness, some famous deaf people, how to express feelings through poetry and looking at communication techniques.

The exhibition also included visual artwork, screen printing, a thought bubble board where people could write about what deafness means to them, all with the aim of raising awareness of what it is like to be deaf.

Ms Twaits, who is deaf herself, recently completed an art degree and now wants to help children to express themselves and share their feelings with one another.

She has been working with the four pupils since last September.

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'We have been expressing ourselves; we go through some difficult situations which can lead to frustration, anger and upset,' she said.

'No matter what, it is really important to express ourselves and talk about it, it makes us feel included.

'Some people just don't understand how to talk to deaf people and this was a good way to give communication tips to people.

'The artwork is very visual, and they can express themselves and it is a way to start discussions.

'I am trying to get across that is it important everyone should be deaf aware and quite simply going to the shop or getting a bus is difficult for deaf people. We should be positive about deafness and have a proper outlook about it.'

Trustees Linda and Peter Parker were also on hand to view the exhibition.

Mr Parker, who is also deaf, described how deafness 'is the most unrecognised disability'.

'It is a fantastic exhibition. I lost my job through my hearing and up until that point when they said I couldn't work anymore, it didn't really hit me to say I had a disability.

'It is important to see everyone's faces because we lip read.'

His wife added: 'I have always said that signing should be done in all schools and the work in the exhibition is great.'

The exhibition spoke about some famous deaf people including Ludwig Van Beethoven and Halle Berry.

Jo Hind from Carlton Colville brought her daughter Rebecca, nine, who is deaf, and son Gabriel, five, to the exhibition.

'I found it very interesting, my daughter is deaf and we came for her benefit really and see what other people thought.'

Are you hosting an exhibition in Lowestoft? Email: joe.randlesome@archant.co.uk

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