North East Sensory Services

19 September 2016

Summer of fun for blind and deaf youngsters

With the end of the summer holidays, the kids have now returned to the classroom and swapped summer holiday stories. Thanks to a local charity, blind and deaf youngsters across the North-east have been able to join in by sharing their summer adventures with the rest of their classmates.

Based in Aberdeen, Dundee and Elgin, North East Sensory Services (NESS) helps and supports sensory impaired people across the North-east of Scotland. The charity’s Young Person’s Sensory Service (YPSS) organised a number of different events for blind and deaf youngsters, which took place across Aberdeen city and shire during the six-week summer break.

The programme catered to all types of different skill sets and allowed the children to step out of their comfort zones. Some of the exciting activities included tubing in Alford, making a birdfeeder at Duthie Park, kayaking in Seaton Park, swimming at Stonehaven Open Air Swimming Pool, as well as horse riding and tandem bike riding sessions.

Over 40 youngsters, ranging from the ages of 0-16, took part in the activities over the course of the summer.

Vicky Maclachlan, whose seven-year-old son Callum is deaf and uses NESS services, is extremely thankful of the summer activities organised. She said: “Callum has been going to NESS for around four years now and he looks forward to all the activities that are organised in the school holidays. It’s great for him, as he gets to see all his friends who also attend Aberdeen School for the Deaf, as well as those who don’t attend the school.

“I also really enjoy taking Callum along to the events, as the kids can play together at ease, whilst the parents get together to share hints and tips with each other. The activities organised by NESS make such a big difference to all the kids, as there’s always something going on. I believe that all the parents would be lost without NESS and the services it provides.”

NESS young person’s coordinator, Diana Daneels, who helped organise the activities, said: “Our range of adventure and outdoor events are extremely popular with the blind and deaf youngsters who use the NESS services. The kids really enjoy planning the activities with us and they get more adventurous every year.

“It’s very important that we teach the children that they’re just as capable of taking part in activities, the same way that fully sighted and hearing children are. The range of activities that NESS provides the youngsters helps to build confidence, forge friendships, improve skills and allows them to push their boundaries. The parents are always extremely thankful, as the activities gives the children something to look forward to. It’s always really rewarding to see the youngsters enjoying themselves and bonding with one another.”