Friday, 14 September 2018

A lesson indeed!

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Losing hearing and Inclusion issues...

17 more institutions to be checked for child abuses...

Child abuse inquiry announces 17 more institutions to be investigated. The new establishments will bring the total under scrutiny to 86. 

Seventeen further institutions are to be investigated by a far-reaching inquiry into historical allegations of the abuse of children in care. The 17 are in addition to the 69 establishments already identified by the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI), taking the total number under scrutiny to 86. The list includes religious and non-religious institutions, boarding schools and council and healthcare establishments around Scotland. 

The newly-announced schools to be looked at are St Andrew’s School, in Shandon, Dunbartonshire; Queen Victoria boarding school in Dunblane; Balnacraig School in Perth; Edinburgh’s Royal Blind School and Harmeny School; Donaldson’s School for Deaf Children; Oakbank School in Aberdeen; Ovenstone Residential School in Fife; and Balrossie School in Inverclyde. Cardross Park Assessment Centre and Dunclutha Children’s Home in Argyll will also be examined, as will Park Lodge in Glasgow. 

Lagarie House Children’s Home in Rhu, Argyll; Redheugh Adolescent Unit in Kilbirnie, North Ayrshire, and Humbie Care Home in East Lothian are also to be investigated, inquiry chiefs announced. Lennox Castle Hospital in Lennoxtown, East Dunbartonshire, and the Royal Scottish National Hospital in Larbert in the Falkirk area complete the list. 

Inquiry chair Lady Smith said: “Please would anyone who has any relevant information about any of these institutions contact the inquiry. Advertising “It does not matter whether you have already made a report to the police or to anyone else, and it does not matter whether or not you have been involved in any other investigation. You can still talk to us and we want to hear from you.” 

She continued: “I am well aware that it can be difficult and very emotional to talk about experiences in care and I want to take this opportunity to give an assurance that we have a dedicated witness support team here who will help and support anyone providing evidence to us. They will do so throughout the process.” The inquiry is tasked with examining historical allegations of the abuse of children in care. 

Deafness never defined me....

Maybe we don't need sign language or lip-reading, here is someone who managed without either.  

Despite profound deafness, the acclaimed British novelist David R Ewens never learned to lip read or to use sign language. Instead, his family taught him to ‘ignore the deafness and carry on’ – a mantra he relies upon to this day. 

In this candid, exclusive interview, he reveals how his mother’s tough love helped him to cope with social isolation and how he turned an impairment to his advantage. By David R Ewens I am stone deaf, but I have written five novels, and the ability to do that comes from the same source enabling me to do almost everything else that a hearing person can do: my mother’s determination that I (and my deaf brothers) would be treated in the same way as any non-deaf child. We did not get statements of special educational needs (and probably wouldn’t have even if the mechanism had existed when we were children). We did not learn to sign or formally lip-read. 

We were brought up unequivocally in the hearing world. Our family’s unspoken mantra was an adaptation of ‘Keep calm and carry on’: ‘Ignore the deafness and carry on’, and the result is a decent life with decent milestones and achievements.

Why isn't there a sign language norm?

A teacher uses sign language to communicate with hearing-impaired pupils at a school in France. Picture: AFP
September 23 is the International Day of Sign Languages, but most of us know little about the means of non-verbal communi­cation that has proven invaluable for the deaf and hard of hearing around the world. 

Perhaps surprisingly, there is not just one sign language, and different countries have different systems, often with regional variants. Like spoken languages, they developed among groups of people interacting with each other. Many of the world’s major sign languages (exceptions include Chinese, Japanese, Indo-Pakistani and Levantine Arabic) can be traced to two origins. British Sign Language (BSL) spread to the Commonwealth with 19th-century British settlers; a sign language within England’s deaf communities was noted from 1570. BSL, New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) and Australian Sign Language (Auslan) share many similarities and comprise the BANZSL language family. 

What Buddhist monks and discreet dealings have in common: hand signals French Sign Language, meanwhile, established in the late 1700s, is usually identified as the root of American Sign Language (ASL), which developed in the 19th century, and of Quebec and many European sign languages. 

In the 1970s, with contact between deaf users of different sign languages, a pidgin – International Sign – was developed. Sign languages evolve within deaf communities and neither mirror nor are dependent on the surrounding spoken lang­uages; they are fully fledged natural languages with an intricate grammatical organisation of their own. Auslan word order is different from English; and ASL and BSL differ significantly, more so than American and British English.