Published: 06:00, 03 May 2021
| Updated: 08:45, 04 May 2021
Today marks the beginning of Deaf Awareness Week.
The seven-day campaign allows different organisations to promote their own work.
Its chairman Louise Henley is keen to spread the message that services are easily accessible and life-changing to youngsters.
She started volunteering with the charity when her eldest son was diagnosed with moderate deafness.
The 44-year-old Tunbridge Wells' resident said: "I've been the chair of KDCS for the last 10 years and worked with them since I was 30.
"We are a very small registered charity and everyone that helps us are volunteers, parents of deaf children or professionals.
"At KDCS we welcome everyone and host activities across the county to children aged up to 18 open to all levels of deafness."
The charity does receive funding from Kent County Council and works alongside West Kent and East Kent Audiology departments.
KDCS offer free and discounted events for all ages such as mocktail making, visits to Lower Bush Farm in Cuxton, and watching Mister Maker performances at the The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury, starring its patron, Phil Gallagher – AKA Mister Maker.
Louise added: "It is surprising that quite a lot of people haven't heard of us.
"We believe in the importance and benefit of deaf children spending time with other kids with the same conditions.
"A lot of children we work with often say they thought they were the only one who was deaf as many go to mainstream schools and live in families where everyone around them is hearing.
"The children of families we work with often have other additional needs too, deafness might not be a child's only issue."
In the future the charity hopes to do more work for kiddies who are also diagnosed with autism.
Tonbridge resident Vicky Maybury has been the office administrator at the charity for the last eight months.
The 38-year-old said: "It has been very challenging during the pandemic.
"We were aware that deaf children were stuck at home, sometimes in a noisy and busy environment, when they'd normally be at school.
"This could've been an isolating period for them so we wanted to make sure we gave them projects to keep them busy."
One of the charity's ideas to keep children occupied was the Sunflower Project.
A pack of seeds were sent to all of KDCS members and children were asked to update their progress on Facebook with pictures.
They also hosted an online rock choir programme where a qualified British Sign Language teacher got members involved over Zoom.
Louise added: "When my son was diagnosed I was on a journey to raise my signing confidence.
"A lot of families have so many appointments to attend and work to do when their child has been diagnosed as deaf.
"Although joining a group may seem like the last thing you want to do it can be really beneficial.
"Deaf children benefit from being with other deaf children and speaking to other parents can also help, all of this is done while being in a fun, social environment.
"You can learn a lot through other families and the kids love it, it is wonderful, especially now we are able to do activities outside again."
Currently KDCS has 150 families signed up for its membership programme and is hoping to accept more through its online sign up.
Louise said: "We usually host something every weekend and also host award ceremonies and other activities that engage all ages.
"We are always very grateful for donations and have some amazing fundraising going on at the moment.
"I get that parents may not like the idea of socialising with others at first, feeling like everyone there already knows each other and you'll feel left out but we work really hard to make sure no one feels like that.
"Be brave and have a go, sign up as KDCS might be the answer for your family.
"Your child might be the only deaf pupil at their school and they may feel alone so we hope their families will seek us out."
If you would like to find out more about Kent Deaf Children's Society visit kdcs.org