THE world’s youngest deaf racing driver has given the thumbs up to the way Scotland’s only indoor electric go-kart arena helps people with disabilities enjoy the sport.
Caleb McDuff yesterday took a ride round the track at The Experience go-karting themed entertainment and events venue.
The seven year-old from Pontypool, in Wales, wanted to pay a visit after reading that the venue at Lothian Road, Hillington Park, Renfrewshire, caters for people with disabilities or learning difficulties, through its Karting with a Conscience programme.
Caleb and his parents were particularly impressed when they found out that several staff members have been trained in Makaton sign language that gives people who are deaf or hard of hearing the chance to enjoy go-karting.
And the specialised training goes as far as track marshals being driven round the go-kart course blindfold, so they can experience what it is like for those who are blind or have sight difficulties.
When Caleb – who races in the Motor Sports Association Bambino Kart Championship for six-to-eight year olds – spotted a story on Facebook about staff being trained in Makaton, he posted: “Just saw this article, and from the world’s youngest competitive deaf racing driver, it’s fantastic. Well done all.”
Caleb was diagnosed profoundly deaf at the age of two after suffering a series of ear infections and he lost 90 per cent of his hearing.
Four years ago, he was given a Cochlear Nucleus implant which has helped with his hearing.
However, so he can wear a crash helmet while racing, he has to remove the sound processors that go with the implant and that means he is driving in total silence.
Caleb’s dad, Ian, said: “We found out about The Experience and staff there being taught Makaton sign language from a post on Facebook.
“I think that and everything else they do in the Karting with a Conscience programme is great.
“If you are deaf, it can be very limiting to where you can go.
“The more places that accommodate deaf people, or those hard of hearing, the better. It gives people more chance of taking part in different activities.
“It can be quite intimidating for people who are deaf, or have additional needs going to new places. But if people know they are going somewhere that provides particular facilities for them, then they feel much more comfortable.”
Lynsey McLean, general manager at The Experience, said: “Our philosophy is that everyone should have the chance to enjoy the excitement of go-karting and all the other leisure attractions we have here.
“Our Karting with a Conscience programme is designed to do just that.
“It was great to meet Caleb and to see how skillful a driver he is on the track. I’m sure he’ll have a great future in motor racing.”
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