A DEAF schoolboy has written to the Prime Minister to advocate for clear masks to help people who read lips.
Austin Goodard, of Lancing, wrote a letter to Boris Johnson saying it made him “sad and lonely” not to be able to communicate with others when wearing a face mask.
The 12-year-old has relied on lip reading as a means of communication since the age of three, when he was recognized as being profoundly deaf.
In his letter to the Prime Minister, Austin wrote that he would like to see more people use clear face masks or visors to help people who read lips.
Austin received a response from Downing Street in which a spokesperson said the government would consider any adjustments that could be made.
Appearing on This Morning, Austin’s mother, Justine, said her son’s campaign played an important role in raising awareness about deafness.
She said: “He wrote to Boris and the response was amazing, he did an online petition and the number of people who signed it.
“Everyone is really proud. Very proud. On the first lockdown he did no homework but wrote this amazing letter to Boris Johnson so we are very proud of it.
“The response we have had from deaf or hearing people is amazing because it is something we take for granted every day.
“You see someone with hearing aids and you think that’s a solution and absolutely not, there are still many ways to communicate.”
Justine says the campaign has given Austin the confidence to ask people to take off their masks if they try to talk to him so he can lip read.
She told This Morning that the ability to hear is something people “take for granted every day” and that the importance of clear masks and visors is often overlooked by people outside of the Deaf community.
Justine added that home schooling has been particularly difficult for Austin and other parents of children with hearing problems.
She told This Morning: “Online learning has been extremely difficult for deaf children.
“Some parents contacted us to tell us that some schools did not do captioning because it was too distracting for other children, which is not really very acceptable at all.”
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This notice was published: 2021-05-05 11:00:00