Thursday, 3 August 2017

Dementia: Deaf Nature V Deaf Nurture...

Image result for dementia UKThose with deafness and hearing loss again being told their issue creates dementia, a whole raft of 'politics of medical blame' for an issue that isn't 'self inflicted'.  

What contributes to dementia in deaf people that suggests the deaf lifestyle enhances the possibility of getting dementia as a result ? ATR suggested isolation speeds up dementia and the deaf are a very isolated area, reliant on each other, and when that breaks down as they get older and less mobile...

Areas of deaf culture, do not want their isolation addressed if it means away from peers, or mass inclusions of hearing input. The 'deaf space' ensures it doesn't work too. Meeting that desire/perceived need,  continues the isolation, it's a sort of vicious but necessary circle for them.   But, there are no alternatives to inclusion. 

There is a mind set with many deaf they only want to be with those the same as themselves. Mostly that is driven by sheer necessity more than actual desire. Communication divides them from mainstream educationally, and socially. Unfortunately, and because inclusion is a moot point, that mind set would have to be challenged to make inclusion viable.  It does include the fact hearing/mainstream have to play their part too.  I don't see desire on either side to break the impasse at this time.   

So much hype regarding deaf culture suggests who needs hearing people except as terps ?   There is a belief  'The deaf world will provide for its own..' Mainly because of the nature of their communication and the way it functions to the exclusion of hearing.  It is based on a dated concept where the culture was based and honed in deaf schools/deaf clubs, a system that is almost non-extant in the UK.  We've gone from 100s of deaf schools to just 20 now, and up to 2009, a deaf club closed every week.   The best deaf school in the UK uses the oral tradition if we use the benchmark of educational and literacy deaf attainment.

There is no deaf university simply because the teachers do not exist, nor can sign language support a BSL curriculum. Elderly deaf when no longer able to care for themselves get placed in hearing homes, they don't last long in them, after spending a deaf lifetime with peers, their isolation is then complete.  This suggests a deaf community is a bad idea in the long run, and inclusion should take priority.  It's not good demanding access only on your own terms, as this changes nothing, least of all makes inclusion any reality.  At the end of a very long day, there is no deaf infrastructure to back you up.

Deaf need to look more outward in terms of advancing themselves, yes, it will take a lot of goodwill and effort from hearing too.  The laws are there now, but the will still isn't.  I suppose the standard deaf answer is still 'deaf-oriented' support, which will just maintain the status quo (as long as you are still able to contribute to it.).  Such things only partially work in areas of the world where there are large deaf populations.  In the UK apart from the major cities, deaf have nothing in the way of real social interaction, their peer base is too small.  Their choices limited.

I don't think arguing over social-medical modelling does anything but maintain the divide, because Deaf and HoH by their current nature maintain that.  We need to challenge the medical perception dementia is inevitable if you have deafness or loss.  With the right approaches we are no more at risk than anyone else. The way  dementia is medically established at this time should be taking into account the current deaf norms and not comparing like with like, as that isn't a true comparison.

For the future, deaf need to decide how to break out of the comfortable isolation they are creating for themselves, as age can do it anyway with devastating results.  They must take inclusion seriously.

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