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.