Dame Evelyn Glennie, CH, DBE
The Elizabeth Foundation … an organisation changing the lives of deaf children every day, in the most considered, imaginative and practical ways!
What Dame Evelyn has to say about our work
Dame Evelyn Glennie, CH, DBE is one of our patrons. This is a transcript of the following interview about our work:
“With The Elizabeth Foundation it is all about targeting babies and preschool kids if they have discovered that there’s a hearing impairment there. But bringing the families together as part of this journey, because it can be massively frightening actually for a parent to discover that their child is hearing impaired. Often the feeling is the immediate sense of categorisation, “Oh my God they’re not going to hear for the rest of their life,” and, “They’re not going to speak, and they’re not going to be able to do this,” and their shoulders are laden with negatives really.
“So The Elizabeth Foundation was formed by a mum and a dad who happened to have a profoundly deaf child, and they were so wanting her to be immersed in a world of sound and to be able to speak. And so really, literally, from their home, from their living room, they set up these little activities and then gradually more parents came in and set up these classes and workshops and discovered that “Wow, we known we might have something really special here.” And their daughter happened to be called Elizabeth, hence The Elizabeth Foundation.
“So now this whole Foundation has grown to be the largest single charity to support babies and preschool youngsters. The atmosphere, the skill, the communication, the feelgood aspect – everything is so well connected. I think it is one of the most extraordinary charities as far as using it as a model to connect things. Because that is part of the crucial point – it’s all very well treating the youngster or educating the youngster or focusing on the youngster but when that child leaves the Centre then what’s the environment? So that home environment and understanding with the parents is absolutely crucial. And the results, you see these youngsters growing up now and they are completely oral.
“The fact is that it is the individual that is focused on first and foremost. The child as a person, not as a deaf person, but as a person – just this flower that is just so eager to soak things up and to participate and explore and be curious and all of that.
“So really it is a foundation that is about listening, about communication, about talking, speech. All of these sort of things. So that person as they grow up, can have a choice. They can have a choice, but the world is far more open to them by having that choice.”