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Hi, I'm Helen and I've been a teaching assistant for many years. I've worked in Pre-School, Primary and now I am a Specialist English TA in a High School. I am also hard of hearing as I lost the ability to hear in my right ear when I had the mumps aged 7. Growing up I did not consider my loss of hearing a problem but I now realise that it has definately shaped the person I have become. I listen more than talk; I'm a people watcher rather than joining in and I'm not a leader but a supporter. Crowded places are my nemesis. My amazing husband of 32 years picks up, by instinct, when I am struggling and helps me out without it being obvious to others. I never tell people that I am hard off hearing unless it becomes so obvious that I feel the need to explain. When working in Primary education I had the opportunity to learn Signalong and I loved it. I started a signing choir at school which performed in the Friday assembly every week and they then taught the whole school the songs we had learnt. Amazingly uplifting times. A change of leadership at the school and the choir was no-longer a priority. As a TA was was not allowed to lead an extra curricular group and a teacher was asked to lead it. They had no interest and no experience and the choir folded. I left the school, disillusioned. I now work with teenagers who find learning a challenge and I see my role as trying to engage and encourage them. Along with this however, I have rekindled my desire to learn and BSL seems like a brilliant challenge. I only hope I can get regular opportunities to use the skills I am learning.

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