Hearing impaired pupils enjoy…

A group of Jarrow primary school children were on hand to help an aquarist from Tynemouth’s Blue Reef Aquarium carry out his first ever signed rockpool talk.

The pupils, from the Junior Resource Base within Simonside Primary School, visited the award-winning North Tyneside attraction as part of a special day out.

The children who attend the base have a range of hearing loss. All of the children are fitted with either hearing aids or cochlear implants with some relying on sign for communication.

Christopher-Harley-during-his-signed-rockpool-talkAs well as touring the displays and enjoying seal and otter feeds, the youngsters were also able to take part in a series of signed talks with the help of aquarist Christopher Harley.

“I’ve been learning sign language for three years now as I wanted to be able to communicate with a broader spectrum of people,” said Christopher.

“It’s always been something I have been interested in, however this was my first ever signed rockpool encounter and I was really nervous.

“Overall I think it went alright and it was great to be able to put all that learning into practice – the kids were great and really enthusiastic and I’m looking forward to them coming back in the near future,” he added.

Christopher is hoping more hearing impaired groups will come to the aquarium in the future and be able to join in with the full talks programme.

“Christopher was really good; particularly as this was his first time in front of a live audience and the children thoroughly enjoyed their visit.

“They were very excited when he started to sign to them and we will definitely be returning!” said teacher Sharon Payne.