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Sharing The News (Gwen Carr)

Communicating Effectively with Families Around the Time of Early Identification of Deafness and Ongoing Paediatric Care

Tuesday 27 August 2024 - Wednesday 28 August 2024
Booking deadline: Tuesday 23 July 2024
Course fee:

Novotel Manchester Centre Hotel
Dickinson Street
M1 4LX


Non-residential course

Delegates are responsible for booking their own accommodation for this course. The Novotel Manchester Centre Hotel offers a discounted bed and breakfast rate for course attendees; please contact us for details.


This unique, family centred, and highly regarded course is led by Gwen Carr, working with experienced professional actors. The course, in its 19th year, is the only course specifically tailored to childhood deafness. It is informed by research in the field and by the lived experience of parents of deaf children in the UK and internationally.

How news of deafness is communicated and information is shared can have a significant and enduring impact on families in terms of their adjustment to their baby’s diagnosis, their engagement and involvement with services, and child and family wellbeing.

The course is designed for professionals who are involved with families at the time of early identification of deafness and follow-up. The course is highly interactive, and includes face-to-face experiential practice with professional actors as well as opportunity to hear and discuss real family experiences.

The course focuses on the importance of establishing partnership and engagement with families.

“The single most effective predictor of a newly identified child’s success is the meaningful and effective involvement of his or her parents and family.” (Yoshinaga-Itano, 2000)

Course faculty
Gwen Carr

Consultant in Early Hearing Detection and Intervention
and Family Centred Practice
Honorary Senior Research Associate,
The University College London Ear Institute

Gwen was for many years Head of Sensory Services in a metropolitan authority, working closely with the Health Authority and in particular Audiology, and then spent four years as Director of UK Services and Deputy CEO of the National Deaf Children’s Society, before joining the England Newborn Hearing Screening Programme as Deputy Director to Professor Adrian Davis.

Since her retirement from the role of National Programmes Lead for Antenatal and Newborn Screening for Public Health England in summer 2014, she has worked as an independent research and development consultant primarily in the field of Early Hearing Detection and Intervention and Family Support.

Gwen’s current work focuses on research, service development and training which actively promotes evidence-based family centred approaches to service provision both in the UK and overseas. She also serves as a member of the executive group for the International conferences on Family Centred Early Intervention; a member of the Quality and Clinical Governance Group of the Wales Newborn Hearing Screening Programme and a member of the Global Research on Developmental Disabilities Collaborative Group.

Gwen developed the Sharing The News course originally as an NHSP / NDCS collaboration and has evolved and delivered it over many years in a variety of international contexts. The course is run with a team of professional actors / coaches who have extensive expertise in this field.

Course programme
Tuesday 27th August 2024
8.45 Arrival, Registration and Refreshments
9.15 Impact of communication on parents
Gwen Carr
10.00 Parental perceptions and reflections on their screening and diagnostic experiences
Gwen Carr
11.15 Break
11.30 Effective Communication: Skills and Techniques Part 1
12.30 Lunch
1.30 ‘Forum Theatre’ session
Actor-coaches & Gwen Carr
2.45 Break
3.00 Effective Communication: Skills and Techniques Part 2
4.10 Plenary and preparation for Day Two activities
4.30 End of Day
Wednesday 28th August 2024
8.45 Arrival and Refreshments
9.15 Personal Construing
Gwen Carr
9.45 Active Practice preparation
10.15 Active Practice group work
11.15 Break
11.30 Active Practice group work
12.30 Lunch
1.30 Active Practice group work
2.30 Break
2.45 What do parents say they want?
Gwen Carr
4.00 Closing Plenary Session
4.30 Close of Course
Course content

Impact of communication on parents
An overview of the underpinning research and evidence base.

Parental perceptions and reflections on their screening and diagnostic experiences
This interactive session uses video footage of parents of young deaf children who have received their services within the screening to early intervention pathway in the UK context.

Effective Communication: Skills and Techniques Part 1
This session involves working with the acting team in large and small groups to explore and practise a number of different techniques which can affect how communication and information sharing is both expressed and received, looking at active listening, body language, congruence and appreciative disagreement.

‘Forum Theatre’ Session
Forum theatre is a facilitated group activity whereby the actor-coaches present / role play a scenario and invite discussion. The scenario is shown twice, with the ‘replay’ being open to the active input of the group to make comment and give direction to affect the situation and enable a different outcome.

Effective Communication: Skills and Techniques Part 2
Building on the earlier activities, this session focuses on how to establish genuine rapport with families and to ask ‘good’ questions which elicit information to help the relationship and positive understanding and management of child and family needs moving forward.

Personal Construing
This session explores the issue of personal construct – how we make sense of and interpret events as they confront us. It examines how the personal beliefs and experiences of people in any encounter can affect their understanding of it and affect how it progresses – both positively and negatively. The technique is applied specifically to the context of audiological and family support practice.

Active Practice group work
Active Practice involves using the skills and techniques focused on in the first day of the course to work with the actor-coaches in small groups to explore different clinical scenarios from real life practice. The sessions allow the participants to take forward the learning from Forum theatre, put it into practice in small group settings and receive feedback and coaching from the actors in their roles as parents and family members. Active practice is always undertaken in a confidential, safe, positive and mutually supportive context.

What do parents say they want?
Outcomes from research with parents and parent-led policy initiatives.

Closing Plenary Session
Looking back and looking forward: implementing effective communication skills in your clinical practice.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the programme, delegates will have:

An understanding of the importance of effective communication with parents / families of early identified deaf children, from an evidence-based perspective.

An understanding of the key elements of effective listening and information sharing in clinical encounters.

An appreciation of how different emotional states affect how people receive and process information and the varied ways in which parents adjust to their baby’s diagnosis.

Developed and practised strategies and skills for effective and responsive communication in challenging situations, working in group settings with experienced professional actors.

Heard and discussed parents’ experiences of their screening and diagnostic journeys.

Accommodation and travel

This is a non-residential course; delegates are responsible for booking their own accommodation. Accommodation costs are not included in the course fee.

The course venue is Novotel Manchester Centre Hotel, Dickinson Street, Manchester, M1 4LX. This is in central Manchester, within walking distance from all city centre train stations. The Novotel Hotel offers a discounted bed and breakfast rate for course attendees; please contact us for details.

A 25% discount is available on a first come first served basis for car parking at the Q-Park Piazza car park, St James Street, M1 4LX (adjacent to the hotel) and at Q-Park First Street, M1 4FN (10 mins walk from the hotel). Please contact us for the discount code to book this.

The course fee includes lunch and refreshments. Evening meals are not included.

Leaving the course early on the final afternoon is not advised. Train travel should be booked for no earlier than 5.00pm.

Methods of payment

Purchase order number and invoice address (supplier: Anne Davies Audiology Courses).
Cheque (payable to Anne Davies Audiology Courses).
Credit / debit card. Pay online at time of booking.
Monthly instalments by direct debit (UK customers). Two payments of 50% over two months, or three payments of 33.3% over three months, interest free.

If you are travelling from overseas and require a visa: once you register and pay, we can provide a letter confirming your place on the course. Please contact us to discuss.

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