Rochdale is probably best known as the birthplace of the singer, Gracie Fields Its former Liberal MP, Sir Cyril Smith, known locally as "Big Cyril", who still lives in the town. It is also the birthplace of the Co- operative Movement.
Rochdale was part of the Salford Hundred. Ownership of the manor belonged to the Crown in 1399, and continued so until it was purchased by John Byron in 1638. It was eventually sold by the poet Lord Byron in 1823, when it passed to the Dearden family, who still hold the title.
The present Metropolitan Borough was formed out of six independent local authorities in the early 1970s Heywood, Littleborough, Middleton, Milnrow, Rochdale and Wardle - and stretches from the north-eastern side of Manchester to the Pennines and the borders of South Yorkshire. Rochdale is the main town and is the administrative and commercial centre of the borough.
Rochdale was a major weaving district, and the upper floors of cottages in towns like Wardle, Littleborough and Milnrow still bear evidence of Weaver's windows, where cotton, and earlier wool, was woven. It was this connection with the cotton industry that attracted migrants from the Indian Subcontinent in the Early 1960’s
Rochdale Population Analysis 2001 Census White (White, Irish, other white) 181891 Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, other Asian ) 20122 Other (Not included in the Above ) 3344 Total 205357 Percentage of Population from an Asian origin 9.8%
Number of School Age Children 36,246 Number of Asian School Age Children 6,166 Percentage of School Age Children 17 %
Number of Children with a statement for SEN Number of Children 1061 Number of Asian Children 192 Percentage of Asian Children with statement of SEN 18 %
Number of Hearing Impaired Children 199 Number of White Hearing Impaired Children 101 Number of Asian Hearing Impaired Children 68 Percentage of Asian Hearing Impaired Children 34%
Hearing Aid Wearers 38% Cochlear Implanted 31 % Under 4’s 48%
In Rochdale the predominant ethnic minority community is of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin. This reflects the national picture of the Asian population being the largest ethnic minority group numbering about 1.48 million people. There is a small Italian community and few families of Caribbean or Chinese origin. Evidence available proves that the incidence of deafness in the Asian community has a raised prevalence compared to the major and other minority ethnic groups in this country.
Research by Zareena Naeem for her Ph.D. thesis "Prevalence of sensori-neural Hearing Deafness in Asian Children" assessed a sample of 6,000 mainstream, majority and minority ethnic children in Rochdale. She found that Asian children were 3.5 times more likely to have a hearing loss.
Research by G. Sutton and S. Rowe revealed an enhanced risk of congenital deafness in the Asian population and an enhanced risk of acquired deafness in the Afro-Caribbean and Asian population.
Languages in Rochdale Basically Urdu, Punjabi/Mirpuri, Bangla. 25 Years ago in Rochdale, ethnic minority children whispered their first/home language at school. Families of hearing and hearing impaired (particularly) children were 'encouraged' to speak English to their children in preparation for school.
The Swann Report of 1985 put multi-culturalism on the agenda. Anti-racism developed in the wider society and in the education system Issues of ethnic identity and access to home/first language were recognised.
By this time in Rochdale, personal experience of using a multitude of means of access information, guidance & support to families was proving more & more frustrating. Observations of some families highlighted the difficulties older hearing impaired children seemed to be experiencing in term of religious and cultural integration
There is sometimes a conflict between Asian community interdependence and the majority ethnic culture of independence and relative permissiveness. Great degree of importance was attached to a positive religious and cultural identity for hearing impaired children from minority ethnic communities to ensure inclusion into the family and the community at large through a common language, culture and religion.
In addition some children, who had been to the school for the deaf, and rightly identified with deaf people had problems integrating with that community as young adults. Their families had difficulties accepting Deaf Culture as they often associated Deaf Clubs with social drinking type culture.
"Language and communication are essential vehicles for socialisation and full membership of the family and community......" "........ Home language provides a potent marker at personal and group identity and provides an essential link between generations, between migrants and their countries of origin and between members of a community." Chapter 6 - " Deafness and ethnicity"
Around 1987/8 the LEA was asked to support an application for Section 11 funding for a Teacher of Hearing Impaired Children with specific skills in Urdu/Punjabi and knowledge of Asian culture. In 1992 an appointment was made of a trained experienced teacher who was willing to undergo training as a Teacher of the Deaf.
Until this time the parents of pre-school children from minority ethnic families had been advised that, wherever possible, priority should be given to hearing impaired children acquiring English as a first language
Improving Service delivery to Asian Families In about 1993 we made a definite policy decision to advise, support and encourage parents to use their home language with their hearing impaired children. We placed greatest importance on the parent child communication.
We discussed with parents ;- Language choice and communication strategies Influencing factors –Degree of deafness –Knowledge of signing languages –Parental preference and languages used. –Available support and extended family language Siblings Education placement - parental views & expectations Importance of discussion and being clear on course of action parents decide to take.
Home Visits First home visit follows after introduction at the clinic Teacher of the Deaf is accompanied by Bilingual Support Worker who provides communication and cultural support These needs are assessed for future visits
Aurhythmic Classes Pre-school children attend weekly Auditory Rhythmic classes with parents (usually mothers) Teacher of the Deaf and Support Worker ensure transport arrangements Communication support available to parents (Urdu, Punjabi, BSL)
After the session opportunity to sit down for a cup of tea. This is time that is made available for parents to chat to each other about there children.
Hearing Aids Wearers Get Together Pre-school and primary school age pupils get together each term. Parents are always welcome to join and spend a day with us. Opportunity for everyone for parents of young HI children to see development on older HI children and speak to parents.
Rochdale Audiology Service Free access to audiologist and consultant in Paediatric Audiology - by telephone or via Teacher of the Deaf Long appointment times are set aside for initial diagnostic appointments and at least once a year subsequently. Teacher of the Deaf attends where possible. Appointments are flexible as possible to fit with family commitments.
Support in form of spare hearing aids and ample supply of batteries when children are on extended holidays abroad. Use of sign language interpreters, as required.
Liaison with other departments such as paediatrics and ophthalmology. Informal and formal communication. Links between education and health Copies of letters and reports. Referral system by T.o.D and/or schools. Liaison meetings, termly to include ;- –Health –Education –Social Services –Voluntary agencies. Children are seen by the same audiologist on each visit.
Disclosure of diagnose Teacher of the Deaf attends Key words ; sympathetic, sensitive, unhurried. Private rooms used. Questions answered
Open invitation to go up to talk to audiologist / consultant with Teacher of the Deaf if necessary Genetic counselling offered. Teacher of the Deaf visits home next day or as soon as possible Arrangements made to visit with social worker / health visitor if necessary
Recommendations Bi/tri-lingual key worker, teacher of the deaf Teacher of the Deaf role as member not specific for ethnic minority children Parental access to information in appropriate language. Positive deaf role models from own community Access to sign language with classes for parents with appropriate language support.
Liaison with other agencies to develop consistent broad policy on language and communication for ethnic minority hearing impaired children. Close interagency collaboration. Good communication system between professional and parents. Access to other hearing impaired ethnic minority children. Access to deaf club activities
Useful References Issues in Deaf Education Chapter 1.5 Gregory et al 1998 ISBN 1-85346-512-7 Deafness and ethnicity Ahmad et al 1998 ISBN 1-86134-088-5
Improving Services for Asian Deaf Children Chamba et al 1998 ISBN 1-86134-129-6 A Directory of Projects and Initiatives with Deaf People from Minority Ethnic Communities. 1997 ISBN 1-871713-22-6 Includes a useful section on 'videos' available in Punjabi, Bangla, Gujrati, Hindi, Urdu and English.