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Stamford teenager Beatrice Cadman highly commended at Shine a Light Awards for work to raise awareness of challenges deaf children face

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Fifteen-year old, Beatrice Cadman from Stamford has been highly commended in the Young Person of the Year category at the UK-wide 2019 Shine a Light Awards.

Organised by learning company Pearson, in partnership with The Communication Trust, Beatrice was honoured not only for her sheer dedication in developing her own communication skills, but also for raising awareness of the needs of young deaf children.

The Shine a Light Awards, which took place at Pearson’s headquarters in London, celebrate innovative work and excellent practice in supporting children and young people’s speech, language and communication development.

The awards were hosted by British comic actress and writer, Sally Phillips.

Judge Peter Sutcliffe, Editor of SEN Magazine with Beatrice Cadman and host Sally Phillips at the Shine a Light Awards. (8084416)
Judge Peter Sutcliffe, Editor of SEN Magazine with Beatrice Cadman and host Sally Phillips at the Shine a Light Awards. (8084416)

When she was born, Beatrice’s parents were told she would not be able to hear speech or a dog barking but she started school with age-appropriate language.

Each week her family took her on a 180-mile round trip to charity, Auditory Verbal UK, to attend sessions. Beatrice came along in leaps and bounds, progressing every week with listening and talking. The speech and language therapists worked closely with Beatrice and her family but it was her own determination and perseverance to achieve like her friends that meant Beatrice was achieving things no one could have imagined.

Since then, Beatrice has spoken about her experiences in front of MPs, organisations and families of deaf children and last year, she hosted the biannual Power of Speech event at the Houses of Parliament.

Beatrice now helps Auditory UK support families of younger deaf children whilst studying for her GCSEs and volunteering in her local charity shop.

Beatrice said: “I am so pleased to have been highly commended for a Shine A Light award. The ceremony has been a great opportunity for me to show others that, whilst I am profoundly deaf, my life aspirations are sky high. Many people still don’t realise that with the benefits of new technology and the right support, deaf children can achieve anything they want to in life.”

Beatrice Cadman wins highly commended award in the Child Young Person of the Year Award at the Shine a Light Awards (8082789)
Beatrice Cadman wins highly commended award in the Child Young Person of the Year Award at the Shine a Light Awards (8082789)

Sally Phillips, Host of the 2019 Shine a Light Awards, said: “Beatrice is such an inspirational young lady. As a nation, it is vital that we ensure that all children have the opportunity to express themselves, particularly when this ability has a profound impact on our future life chances. It is fantastic to know that there are young people like Beatrice who dedicate their own time to supporting and championing others.

“The amazing winners and highly commended finalists of the Shine a Light Awards prove what a difference we can make if we become informed, impassioned and engaged in the speech language and communication needs of those around us. Beatrice isn’t just changing the lives of those in her community but also across the UK. I have seen for myself the huge difference expert intervention and support provides for children, like my son, Olly, particularly at a time where we face a nationwide shortage of speech and language therapists.”

Sally was joined by Britain’s Got Talent Winner, Lee Ridley - known as Lost Voice Guy - who performed at the ceremony. Lee has cerebral palsy and uses AAC, via voice software on his iPad, to communicate and express himself.

Lee Ridley (known as Lost Voice Guy), who performed at the 2019 Shine a Light Awards, said: “I may not be able to speak but I most certainly have a voice. I know first-hand that with support, determination and a sense of humour you can achieve what others may think is impossible.

“I was thrilled to perform at the 2019 Shine a Light Awards and to meet inspirational children and young people like Beatrice who like me don’t let their disability or challenges rule their life and define them. We take for granted in this country our ability to talk and express ourselves but for many it’s not easy. With different strategies, technology and support available, children and young people can realise their dreams. It is heart-warming to know there are so many teams and individuals across the country that are dedicated to ensuring children and young people’s voices are heard. I am thrilled Beatrice was recognised at the awards.”

Robert Reilly-Craig, Head of Clinical Assessment at Pearson, said: “Congratulations to Beatrice for her well-deserved award. We are proud that the Shine a Light Awards have become a key event in the speech, language and communication communities’ calendar. Pearson has supported these Awards for seven years to ensure that recognition and accolade is given to a sector that does not enjoy the same public recognition as other issues, such as literacy or numeracy.

“It is critical that we understand the challenges faced by those who have speech, language and communication needs, as well as the solutions that can help them. These Awards enable us to showcase best practice and inspire others to improve their practice.”

Maxine Burns, Speech and Language Advisor at The Communication Trust, a coalition of over 50 organisations dedicated to supporting children and young people's speech, language and communication, said: “Well done to Beatrice for all her hard work and dedication to improving other children and young people’s communication skills and for her incredible campaigning work. We partner with Pearson annually on these awards to ensure there is a powerful platform available that can showcase best practice and innovative work in the field of speech, language and communication.

“This fundamentally matters as the Bercow Ten Years On review on the state of provision for children’s SLCN in England showed that we still need to tackle poor understanding of SLCN and insufficient resourcing impacting children and young people’s educational outcomes.”

One in 10 children and young people in the UK have a long-term speech, language and communication need (SLCN). This can impact on their academic progress, social skills and future job prospects however with the correct support, children and young people can flourish.

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