Abbie Donati, 17, from Hardgate told an audience of more than 150 guests at Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s flagship Ladies Lunch fundraising event in Glasgow that she stopped speaking during her time at secondary school, as she was self-conscious about how she sounded as a deaf person.
Abbie explained to the audience through British Sign Language (BSL) that, during a college preparation course run by the charity’s Moving On service, she built her confidence to use her voice again and make new friends. Following the course, Abbie is now studying towards a National Certificate in Social Science at West College Scotland.
Abbie Donati said: “I thank Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s Moving On team for giving me the confidence to use my voice again. If I hadn’t gone on the college prep course, I wouldn’t be able to approach people and make new friends to enjoy my college life.
“As well as studying, I am now volunteering in my spare time with West of Scotland Deaf Children’s Society. I was nervous telling my story in front of so many people but I wanted everyone to know how thing have changed for me and that the charity’s support can be accessed by other young deaf people.”
Claire Donati, Abbie’s mother, said: “If someone had told me six months ago that Abbie would be telling a room full of people about herself, I wouldn’t have believed you! I am really grateful to the Moving On team for supporting Abbie so effectively.
“As a parent, all you want for your child is for them to be given a chance to fulfil their ambitions. Abbie has really blossomed and I’m very proud that she could share her experiences in front of so many people.”
Delia Henry, Director of Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, said: “It is stories like Abbie’s development in to a confident young woman which highlight the genuinely inspirational work of our Employment Advisors.
“It is not easy to stand up and present in front of 150 people so we greatly appreciate Abbie’s bravery describing how she is progressing towards achieving her aspirations.”
Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s Moving On service supports young Deaf and hard of hearing people into education, training and employment including running events designed to build confidence and improve life skills.
For more information about Moving On, call 0141 341 5330 (telephone), 0141 341 5350 (textphone) or email: email@example.com