A Dundee student has spoken out about growing up deaf after winning an award for his volunteering work supporting children with hearing impairments.
Liam McMulkin was born profoundly deaf in a hearing family and faced challenges when trying to take part in social activities outside school.
However, the 21-year-old did not let his condition hold him back and is now in his final year of a Biological Sciences degree at Dundee University.
Recently he won an award for his work with the National Deaf Children’s Society, where he has been a group supporter, additional need supporter and deaf presenter for the past two years.
Liam, a former pupil at Powrie Primary School and Craigie High School, said: “I attended mainstream schools and both schools had deaf base – both were strong believers in using British Sign Language.
“The challenges I encountered were mainly to do with communication barriers, which lead to less opportunities for the deaf, for example social clubs at school or outside school.
“However, I’m lucky to have a great bunch of deaf friends who use BSL, therefore I’m not isolated like some deaf people who found difficult to participate in the hearing community.”
Liam decided to volunteer with the National Deaf Children’s Society because they supported him during his childhood and he wanted to give something back.
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He is considering becoming a teacher for the deaf after finishing university.
Liam added: “More deaf teachers are required, especially with fluent BSL skills.
“I want deaf young people to know that they can become anything – scientist, teacher, pilot, personal trainer – anything.
“The communication barriers should be the last thing they worry about. There are solutions, especially when technology is fast advancing.”
As part of his volunteering role, Liam attends residential events for deaf children across the UK, to support them and ensure they are safe and having fun.
Paul Needham, head of volunteering at the National Deaf Children’s Society, said: “Liam has played such an important role as a volunteer and we really can’t thank him enough for all of his support.
“Volunteers like Liam help us tear down the barriers that stop deaf children from reaching their full potential by donating so much of their own time.”