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Winning is Taking Part – Elizabeth ‘EJ’

How EJ is courting success at her local tennis club

Would you like to include deaf of hard of hearing (DHH) young people in your programs, but worry about how to do it? Discover how one mainstream sports club served a win for inclusion in this video.

Our research shows more than 50% of clubs are concerned about involving a DHH child because of their limited experience. But by putting a few simple things in place, EJ’s local club has helped her shine on court.

EJ, who is profoundly deaf, uses a hearing aid and a cochlear implant. She is learning Auslan but prefers communicating in spoken English. EJ explains that starting out, her mum let coaches know how to speak to her so she could follow directions. As her mum says, “A great coach will change their style to get the best out of any kid.”

EJ’s coach talks about the strategies he uses to teach her, such as visual demonstrations, paying attention to her moves, and bringing her up to the net to explain things when needed.

Different isn’t bad

You’ll learn how EJ communicates with her doubles partner, and how being surrounded by people willing to support her has helped her fulfill her dream. You’ll also discover who EJ’s heroes are, and how she got to hand one of them a trophy at the Australian Open.

EJ delivers an ace when it comes to encouraging other DHH young people who’d like to get involved in sport. “Don’t be afraid to speak up,” she says. “It’s not about getting special treatment. It’s getting what you need to be on the same level as others. Different isn’t bad.”

Her coach agrees getting more people involved in sport is a winning game. “And if clubs promote that they’re inclusive, that will make a big difference.”