Proud and working at RAD
Lisa’s start in life was perhaps familiar to many deaf people. She was born Deaf, but grew up in a hearing environment where no-one signed, and was one of only two deaf people at secondary school.
With no support with sign language at school, Lisa found communication difficult and often felt she should be signing rather than trying to use speech. However, she made the most of the situation, and barriers to communication did not prevent her from getting 6 GCSEs. Lisa then found herself in 6th Form, where she worked hard and showed her intelligence and determination by gaining 3 A-Levels.
As well as being overjoyed with her achievements, she was also much more comfortable in her identity. “I became proud to be Deaf!” she says. “It’s who I am.”
Out of school, she was keen to get into employment, but it was hard to find work on her own. After a stint of volunteering, she was desperate for any job and became a part-time Business Admin Apprentice before eventually finding a meaningful role as a Family Support Worker at RAD.
Lisa’s work with RAD played a hugely significant part in her life, and with support from the Deaf Achieve Project, she continued to learn and grow personally. RAD was able to really bring Lisa on in life, helping her to become independent, manage finances, and travel on public transport. The friendship and support from all RAD staff has helped her to move out of her old comfort zone – she’s even done some public speaking!
RAD’s support has helped Lisa on a personal level as well practical. “I have so much more confidence now in my ability to communicate and achieve my ambitions,” she says. “The future is in my hands, and not with others’.”
Lisa loves to help other people and pass on what she has learned, especially about the Access To Work programme and options for deaf people to get help to gain employment. Her increased confidence means she easily develops a great rapport with clients, and will adjust her signing register to meet their needs, especially those from abroad who use their native sign language to communicate.
Her team leader at RAD was impressed with Lisa’s transformation: “Lisa is a strong team member at RAD and an excellent role model for other deaf people.”