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Janice Manfield, chairperson of Bexley Deaf Children's Society (BDCS)

PUBLISHED: 13:19 27 November 2008 | UPDATED: 15:44 25 August 2010

Deaf children face many challenges throughout their everyday lives. I could fill pages with examples.

Janice Manfield, chairperson of Bexley Deaf Children's Society (BDCS)

Deaf children face many challenges throughout their everyday lives. I could fill pages with examples. Some are simple things that others take for granted, like talking on a telephone, hearing a doorbell ring or watching television.

Visual clues such as expressions and gestures are important to a deaf child. As deaf children often rely on lip-reading to confirm what is being said, they can find it difficult to understand cartoons as animated characters do not move their lips in the same way as people.

Deafness should not be a barrier for children in achieving their true potential. Help with communication is vital.

Speech therapists and teachers of the deaf play essential roles in a deaf child's life. This is why it is important that councils make sufficient provision and maintain adequate staffing levels for the number of deaf children in their boroughs.

Bexley Deaf Children's Society (BDCS) is run by parents and family members of deaf children in the Bexley area.

Our aim is to give deaf children and their families a chance to get together for mutual support, to share information and experiences.

We offer advice and support on all aspects of hearing impairment, from diagnosis, education, including the 'statementing' (special educational needs assessment) process, and benefits such as the disability living allowance and invalid care allowance.

We organise events, such as summer and Christmas parties and outings. These are paid for by fundraising events. For example, we recently raised more than £600 by entering the Adidas 5K Women's Challenge in Hyde Park.

We are only a small charity and such amounts make a big difference. I would like to thank those who have supported us throughout the year.

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