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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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Meg welcomes service improvements for deaf babies

Tuesday, June 11, 2002


Meg Munn, Labour and Co-operative MP for Sheffield Heeley today welcomed service improvements for deaf babies.

Every year 850 babies are born with a permanent hearing loss, and the vast majority of them to hearing parents with no history or experience of deafness. Historically children have been tested for deafness at around the age of two, which means that no support for the family has been available until the child is over two when the deafness is made official.

Two new government initiatives have now been introduced to improve the lives of deaf babies and their families.

The Health service is beginning, in certain parts of the country, to screen babies for deafness within hours of birth and plans to spread this scheme throughout the country by the end of the year so that diagnosis can be swift.

Coupled with this, last week the government announced £1 million funding for a new Early Support Pilot Programme to improve education services for disabled children aged 0 -2 which includes deafness. This will enable essential support at the most critical stage of the child’s development.

The Royal National Institute for Deaf People has also launched an online information resource at http://www.deafnessatbirth.org.uk

Meg, who signed a special motion in Parliament last year in favour of testing new-born babies for deafness, said today

"Early diagnosis and early support is vital if babies and small children are to develop at the same rate as their hearing brothers and sisters. Parents need better access to help and information so that they can make sure their child does not develop communication barriers with the world around them."

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