The third in the Top Tips series is about working with individuals that may have additional special requirements that you will need to bear in mind whilst running a public engagement project. This could vary from working with young offenders or prisoners to working with deaf groups to school groups requiring additional learning support.
Working with deaf groups
It’s crucial to have deaf people involved in the event in order to make the event accessible. They may also have key contacts to help with recruitment of translators and to promote the event.
Hire enough British Sign Language translators (they can’t work for longer than an hour without changing over) and consider their comfort by supplying chairs, water, audio equipment etc.
Keep it fun and informal, people who generally have not responded well to formal education usually like doing practical things and will learn in an informal way especially if the learning is not overt. Choose a subject that personally affects individuals in the target group so that it has relevance.
Work closely with people with experience of working with the young people you are targeting (school teachers, youth offending teams, youth centre workers). Carry out research with the target group to get preliminary data about issues that are relevant to the group.
Be prepared to change your project if it isn’t working as planned, but work closely with your advisory group and funders to take into account the views of all stakeholders
Remember that in projects like this you are interacting with individuals, each with their own different and very special requirements. Remembering to treat each participant as an individual and being prepared to be flexible is crucial.
You might find the following memories useful:
Science activity visits in hospitals
Science Museum Outreach
Chemistry shows in British Sign Language