Wednesday, 24 August 2016

National Lip-reading week

A pupil's viewpoint.

It's interesting regarding how pupils can 'bond' in classes, but is that the primary focus of classes ?  I saw the classes as a way out of being restricted who I 'bonded' with, you are hoping attainment of the skill of lip-reading is your passport out of isolation.

As a 'tool' to enable me to move outside the isolation I was in. There seems a point of using the social aspect to put 'like with like', but my driving aim was to be enabled outside that restrictive focus. I thought that is the aim of learning to lip-read, a 'way back' to mainstream, not a sideways move to only socialise with people who also have poor hearing.

I can understand the lesser stress value of it, I wonder how the motivations work in classes ? especially e.g. young people who want to be 'out there' not forever 'in there' with people who cannot hear well either. This is meant as no disrespect to other class mates, but what aims you have, after all we have to survive in a hearing world, not a hearing loss one. 

Are classes outward looking or just focused on some sort of mini social club set up ? And with people you may only see 2hrs a week for about 6 months. Also young people didn't want to attend classes where older people were, like most young people anyone over 18 is one foot in the grave ! BSL classes are completely different, NO-ONE with hearing loss in them, just relatives of them, or others wanting to work in the field. I'd like to see all present class taken on the street as an integral part of learning.

There can be age-related issues.  It happens still, because the difficulty in accommodating an older person with a severe loss, can halt the class progress, it's not by design but default, and one tutor could not manage the issue, so they refer them on. 

The referral elsewhere effectively removes the communication support they need. Ideally those with effective hearing should make way for the worse off in need.  The focus being addressing the issues before they arise, but not accepting the pupil are there pretty much as a last resort, not first. Obviously if you can teach someone to lip-read BEFORE their hearing gets too bad all the better, but the issue as we all know is people don't seek help until it is more difficult to teach them. 

There is e.g. no system designed to assist a newly deafened person. It is postcode lottery as well, there is no further area to refer these people to, when a class cannot help them. Teachers need to watch the class dynamics, because the students/pupils form clique's by decibel, this deters those in difficulty who feel left out. If they feel not part of the class they will leave. 

I'm on record anyway as not wanting and/or classes, be they BSL or lip-reading, I think it is a divisive and pointless situation that doesn't include a holistic approach to need via abilities. A pupil may well ask for an lip-reading or a sign class, but hardly suited to either, so inclusive approaches, clinical assessments, should replace both, and the teacher attaining higher qualifications in psychology..

I'd like to see extensive tuition too, at least an intensive year, and far more than 2 hours a week. A communication qualification too, without a bottom line you have nothing to 'achieve' have you ? This why sign language succeeds where lip-reading doesn't.  Even if the sign qualifications do not always regard access to hearing culture as a priority.

I get pretty hostile responses from BSL people for that, and, opposition from HoH who say I am opposing their preference. My point is simple, preference isn't the issue, it is NEED. Far too many at the end of their tether being deafened at later age, are simply being abandoned, if the classes are a 'way in' they need to up their game somewhat.

Teachers who 'refer' them to social service etc are literally casting these people straight back into isolation, because the system of support isn't there.  Once a deafened person feels there is no help even at a class, then they won't try again.  They will live online forever texting and never meeting anyone face to face, which is what socialising is all about.

A new way is needed.

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