Friday, 2 November 2018

Making interpreters invisible...

A moot point when the deaf rely on them! and some terps rather enjoying the limelight too much.  The overwhelming issue is the too high profile of Interpreters and the tendency then for others to relate to them, not YOU!  Their very presence acts as a barrier by default, and interpreters really need to step away from acting as 'go-between' to the extent the client is being sidelined.  Some of their outrageous antics in musical access needs addressing too, as it isn't about them.  

The empathy with interpreters needs addressing, we need greater 'distance', more formality, and less familiarity with them, as this breeds contempt and misunderstanding, as well as deaf assuming terps, will help them make decisions or advise them, (which they are not allowed to do).  There is evidence some terps are doing that to 'help' which can mean adverse legal decisions being taken against the deaf person in some situations. 

With the Interpreters refusing to validate what help they give a deaf person even in a court of law, deaf people need to be more aware of what their support entails and to make further access provision to validate what transpires within the system.  You accept or demand an Interpreter, you accept whatever result (good or bad), that results afterwards with no way to appeal. No interpreter will testify on your behalf, on the grounds the court adjudge it hearsay and the terps have to rely on memory.  Some legal areas won't even allow you to use a terp you are familiar with.

What is lacking is a real code of ethical behaviour and back up for the client.  As it stands only the Interpreter is backed to say nothing, and there is no real body monitoring interpreters approaches. Or who have the ability to remove an Interpreter who violates the client's confidence or privacy.  It's time interpreters came in out of the cold and became answerable when mistakes are made, also that textual back up is made available to all deaf and HoH clients as proof of proceedings, given the legal aspect of non-recognition of interpreters presence at the job face, deaf have no witnesses to events.  

To a major extent, terps are already invisible to the system regardless of how very visible they are to deaf people and the close relationship they have with them.  Deaf need to get wise for their own sake.

Hearing aid loops, are they actually used?

Image result for loops for hearing aids
Social/charity media discussing issues around accessing loops for the hard of hearing.

Response #1

What is really missing is not so much the facilities themselves but the means of checking up on them and getting the faulty ones working again. There are quite a number of loops around these days but in many cases, they are not working. The operators have no way of telling whether the loop is actually transmitting because you need someone with a hearing aid to listen to it. 

Loop systems do not come supplied with testing equipment to save money. What usually happens is some deaf person comes along and finds that the loop (which has probably been running for years) is not working or the sound is unintelligible. They report this to the person in charge and a typical response is "Well the red light is on..." It's not that we lack equipment, most public places have loops and other systems in place but there's no way of testing them and no way of ensuring that they are working at all times. 

Response #2 

A lot of areas have the 'loop' sign but no loop, or people aware if it is on or off. BOOTS had a poster saying they not only have loops but, BSL access too, it was challenged when a deaf sign user asked for BSL and it was revealed they didn't actually have such a service, they said they had some staff who had attended a sign 'taster' class that's all, but, had since left their employment, so that access was rather short but sweet too. 

[It would be questionable if staff with a very basic level of ABC and nothing else could act in an interpreter capacity, and other staff suggested they write it down instead, rather defeating that access point.]

The government insists we approach chemists with such access to address low-level enquiries on health (But not a diagnosis, as that is illegal for chemists to do without training), but they don't have it either. So loop access is for the few really, and a survey suggested most HoH do NOT ask for it to be switched on either! 

One 'open Day' by the RNID in Cardiff failed to get a loop working.


Welfare assessment by police threat?

An Atos sign
Unqualified staff challenged on suitability to assess welfare claimants, now using police threats. E.G. are you obliged to be assessed by a physiotherapist if you are blind? or Deaf?  have mental health issues?

Or should you be entitled to be assessed by someone who is aware of the issue you are claiming support for?  Clearly, ATOS and CAPITA say no you aren't.  Anyone deaf claiming an allowance cannot insist the assessors can sign, lip-speak or be aware in any fashion about cultural norms/language/access issues etc.  

They said using 'aware' assessors means bias.... so when interviewing deaf people ignore them and talk to an interpreter instead... 78% of ATOS staff are unqualified to assess the issues their clients have and have no background in them.


Staff working for a discredited benefit assessments contractor threatened to call the police after a claimant asked about the mental health qualifications of the nurse who was assessing his eligibility for personal independence payment (PIP). 

Atos has now launched an investigation into what happened at the assessment centre in Leeds, which saw the nurse abandon Kris Weston’s assessment after just a couple of minutes. She did not realise that Weston, a composer and trained sound engineer, had been recording the assessment. Weston began the assessment last month by telling the nurse that he had stayed up all night because of the extreme anxiety he experiences when he has to deal with institutions. 

He had spent three days putting together a 10-page description of his complex mental health problems – and what he says is the “continual failure to even listen to his problems by multiple institutions” – in the hope that the assessor would help him secure the financial and health support he needed. He explained that he had been unfairly described in the past as “violent” by the NHS after a telephone argument, although she told him that Atos had no record of this. 

She appears to have wrongly blamed the decision to refuse him a home assessment on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), when such decisions are taken by the assessment companies alone, 

The assessor can then be heard leaving the room after Weston began asking about her experience and qualifications in mental health. 

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Deaf Driver Safety.

Attackers who ripped out deaf son's hearing aid

The mother of a deaf schoolboy who had his hearing aid torn out and stamped on by a gang of bullies has said they should be ‘ashamed’. 

Speaking for the first time about the incident, Simone Carter has condemned the youths who attacked her 10-year-old son Alfie last month. 

 A group of six older boys chased him near his home in Beechdale, Walsall, beat him up and then took his hearing aid out before destroying it. The unprovoked attack took place on Lister Road between 6.15pm and 7pm on September 28 and also saw Alfie kicked and stamped on by members of the gang. The Bentley West Primary School pupil has been deaf since birth and relies on his hearing aid and sign-language to communicate.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Cultural life and Museums.

Elena Bulfone - Cultural life and museums of people with cognitive disabilities from Ranofilms on Vimeo.

What are the most useful and effective things to promote participation in the cultural life and museums of people with cognitive disabilities or learning difficulties? Compared with other disabilities, people with cognitive disabilities and learning difficulties are not sufficiently taken into consideration. 

This approach has historical reasons, since the focus has been addressed primarily on people with mobility impairments, on wheelchairs, and therefore on physical accessibility, and on people with sensory disabilities, like blind and deaf people. Today, people with cognitive disabilities are more numerous than all other types of disability and express a wide range of needs. 

It is important to take care of this reality, because, by taking care of people with cognitive disability, we actually open up accessibility to all those people who in everyday life have these kinds of cognitive difficulties and disorders, and I think for example of people with learning difficulties. I also think of all those people with an educational gap, to foreigners, to nursery and primary school children, and to the elderly, or to people with dementia. 

Therefore, it is really important to use plain language. And when I talk about plain language, I actually talk about something extremely complex. Simplifying language is not simple. It cannot be done by anyone. It is a job that needs to be done by experts. And I'll give you an example: if I want to simplify a sentence, I mustn’t use pronouns, but the proper names of the things I want to mention; and then I must use simple verbs and objects so that they can be understandable for people with cognitive disability. 

This kind of work takes a lot of time and it isn’t often accepted by people who deal with culture, because this plain language adopts sentences too simple and with “no frills”, maybe even a little redundant in its prosody, but it is fundamental to do this work if you want to be really accessible.


NHSGGC BSL act long term plan presentation from Paul Hull on Vimeo.

It's sad to see the national health service endorsing people like the British Deaf Association which has next to no grass root signing support and insists deaf people do not need captioned access as well  Not even for other deaf who sign.

Their relentless mantra of deaf don't speak, can not read or want English,  and deaf don't want text access rambles on and on, and seriously undermines access requirements of most patients with deafness and loss.  The majority who don't enjoy ANY of the access they are being given, because it isn't signed.  This is what happens when you give extreme minorities to much rope.  Awareness goes down the pan.

Oops !

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