Wednesday, 7 November 2018

The EAF allowance (Australia).

Work with a Deaf person?

Advice for parents of deaf children.

Should deaf declare their issue to an employer?

Image result for own up to deafness!
Just reading this recent post from CryptoDeaf and though, the hearing aid wearer may not have succeeded in getting a job in the UK had he or she deliberately hidden the fact they had hearing loss.  The fact a woman got teased with a hearing aid avoided the basic issue she failed to state how effective it was, having an aid doesn't mean people know it works for her, they just assume if you have one it does.  Unless you say differently and 80% of aid users won't say.  They are notorious for hiding the fact.


Co-workers used to cut the wires on my hearing aid regularly, so in the end, I had to remove it.  Complaining was frowned on.  ATR applied for many jobs not declaring profound deafness.  I succeeded with about 15% of applications and endured years of abuse as a result, including employers stating they had no place for deaf idiots, and you had nobody to complain to.    My local job centre said I would be fined for not declaring my deafness because it was 'attempting to gain employment by deceit'.  I was not blagging my ability to do the job but not stating my inability to hear everything.

I had no choice, there were two avenues I could adopt, one, was to carry a green card registering my 'disability', which was a sure-fire gurantee I would NOT get an interview, once they saw that on a CV, the other was to ask the system to provide me with support to follow,  which again was guaranteed to prevent any successsful application for employment.  Today they proclaim we don't have to do that, but, nothing has changed.  As it was, and not being a sign user but a  lip-reader, that was entirely random in being effective, the system had nothing in place to support me.

Unfortunately not having followed ye olde deaf route of deaf schools/social worker support, or having any access to BSL or lip-reading classes at the time, choice wasn't an option.  Unless you can lip-read or sign there is/was nothing, there is no way to obtain work relying on text support, at that time the technology simply did not exist.  I'm none too sure it is now.  If you wanted to work with hearing others it was very difficult unless you accepted ridicule and teasing was part and parcel of it. 

A major flaw is no assessment of what you use/prefer(!) to determine if it IS effective enough for you to hold down a job without support.    Deaf won't submit to a communication 'test' to ascertain how effective it is outside the deaf community where they have to seek jobs.  They just demand terp support.  Of course, once in a job and without that, difficulties very quickly mount up.  Sign is OK within your own area, but a real issue outside it.

There may be an onus on employers to help, but not co-workers who you have to get on with by putting up with the banter and not assuming its all aimed at you.  And yes teasing and ridicule is part and parcel of work, you have to stick it out and get involved where you can, the worst you can do is complain and set the rest against you.  The world is full of idiots you can only concentrate on the majority who aren't.  The dole can be populated with martyrs to the cause.  Those who get support tend not to be in the mainstream of employment but in specialist areas where other deaf or disabled 'friendly' are.  But, it's an artificial environment. Attempts to point out that deaf wanting to only work with other deaf is not a good idea, is met with cultural angst, despite obviously limiting inclusion, access, or integration, making them uncompetitive. 

You have to be in it to win it.  All employers should treat disabled and deaf the same, it should not be an onus on us to seek them out. The fact a law exists already is not proof at all it works.  In reality, most don't at all.  It's no surprise, therefore, the primary opponents to caps on welfare/communication support to work are targeting the deaf, who are the most expensive users of that welfare/work supplement.  Nor is it a surprise employers expected to pick up that tab later, prefer instead to make the deaf redundant to save that expense. 

As most is 'work experience' then there is no onus or way to ensure they keep you on anyway.  Mostly errant employers tolerate you and then replace you with another deafie claiming they are 'giving deaf a chance' but the blatant and inevitable redundancy nature of work experience, shows us its a sham and a con with next to no deaf getting a job at all.

The UK employment system is based on deaf or disabled searching for employers who at least would advertise they give them an interview, but there is no real onus to insist all employers must give disabled consideration.   It's unenforceable.   I gather turning up for a job interview with a BSL interpreter was also certain to mean an employer will not hire you, as employers would asume you cannot work without one.  As for turning up with a lip-speaker forget it! it never happens anyway or anywhere!

UK deaf and disabled are victims of the employment times too, where it is far easier to hire a migrant with hearing than a local without any.  Too many deaf are limiting own options by looking for jobs that tend to be singular or solitary in nature, self-employment etc or just catering for their own community.  The sorry state of deaf setting themselves up as 'deaf advisors' to the industry is farcical and opposed because it isn't awareness at all of hearing loss, but some seminar or lecture on deaf culture and not valid hints/tips or procedures to adopt so those with hearing loss can be accommodated in work.

Does anyone seriously believe teaching the finger-spelling ABC will give those with hearing loss an in to work?  Or arming hearing employers with a smattering of deafhood or Milan, helps at all?