Where are they now?…..part 2
Adam was a pupil at St John’s School from the page of seven, joining the school in 2000. Now working towards his teaching qualification, and working at the same college he studied at in Sixth Form as part of his St John’s journey, he is ambitious and an established talent in his chosen field of photography. Here he tells his story;
“I’m training to be a teacher now, but I didn’t think that would be possible when I came to St John’s when I was seven. I was in a mainstream school before but it was no good for me – they sat me at the back of the classroom.
“I couldn’t hear the teacher – I wore hearing aids then, I’ve since had two cochlear implants – and I couldn’t lip read the children when they were answering the questions.
“Then when it was clear I couldn’t hear, she moved me to the front to sit beside her. But I still couldn’t see her or hear properly and I wouldn’t know the answers, so I’d be made to leave the class. I ended up being supported away from most of the children in the deaf unit there.
“When I moved to St John’s the classes were smaller and I started to interact more and understood better. However, my education stopped again when I was in Year 5 when I needed an operation on my legs and then again when I got my first cochlear implant when I was 9. I had to repeat Year 5 and I’ll be honest, I struggled for the first two years.
“We had our SATs in Year 6 and I barely passed them. I started to go to Speech and Language more to get used to the cochlear implant, and things got better. I was getting more vocabulary and more speech in my head.
“There was a massive change in Year 9 and when I did the next set of exams I got them at the highest level. I then needed another operation (I’ve had 17 in total!) and missed more school!
“I remember really fun times at St Johns – I used a scooter to get around because I have mobility issues – and a visiting policewoman gave me a pretend speeding ticket! I made friends and felt people understood me. I left with a range of GCSEs.
“I went to York College in Year 11 as part of Sixth Form at St John’s and ended up doing two courses including photography before I went to Huddersfield University to do a degree in the subject. Since then I’ve had exhibitions of my work, much of which is taken from a disabled person’s point of view – street views.
“I almost did my PhD but decided to do a teaching qualification instead and I am now back, lecturing part-time at York College in photography as part of my placement! I never thought that would happen! But I’m determined and it might take me a while, but I will get there in the end!
“The school taught me lots of things – including how to wash up properly! I l lived nearby so was a day pupil but stayed twice a week in sixth form to help me learn skills. It’s important to have a peer group and to socialise with your peer group – I knew I wasn’t the only one.
“I don’t think I would be where I am today if it wasn’t for St John’s. I felt isolated and had few peers before. I was included in everything including the football team even though I’m on crutches – I was the goalie!
“It was so inclusive and they always really tried to include me in everything possible.”