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May 2024

Deaf Awareness Week Role Models

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SignHealth celebrates their role model today, Marlene Wilson.

The Marlene Wilson Story

Marlene Wilson Photo

My name is Marlene and I grew up in a hearing family. I only remember meeting deaf peers and engaging with the community from when I was 19 years old and at college. I didn’t know any sign language then so had to learn from my new friends. I started as a bank support worker at a 24-hour care home in Tooting where I was supporting clients with the home. I’ve been in my new role for almost four years, working for the outreach support service, supporting clients in Huron Road.  A typical day will start with me coming into the office to check if I have any new emails or if there are any reports to be completed. I’ll then head to see the clients at Huron Road. Here I will check they have taken their medication, support them with any letters they’ve received or appointments they have coming up and I take time to chat to them before they go out.

I would describe my core role to be to support the client’s wellbeing. This involves several activities including assisting them to attend the GP, holding housing meetings, encouraging them to take part in activities as well as attending Springfield hospital for regular meetings with their CPN.

When I first started working as a support worker, one client who’s lived in supported living for 25 years has always been reluctant to socialise with peers but with our support and understanding, she finally started attending deaf club for the bingo which has been a real success for her well-being.

There have been many clients who I have supported and seen a real change in their circumstances. For example, one client I supported now goes to volunteer gardening and this made them much more motivated and was rewarding to see. Another client I worked with was quite low and anxious but after many emails to the housing association, we managed to get her the pet she wanted to brighten her day. She’s much happier now as her new cat became a sort of therapy to help her mental health.

I’m proud of my deaf identity and it’s nice to see the community get a bigger profile during Deaf Awareness Week. It’s wonderful to see children able to look up to deaf role models and learning more about sign language.

I think SignHealth has changed for the better over the years and it’s great to see the new head office bringing people together and encouraging team working.

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