Monday, 15 April 2019

Open letter to AOHL (UK).

Image result for access all areasATR did raise an issue regarding the AOHL forum posting events nation-wide that did not fully cover what access was available or in what formats, or even if the events were entirely relevant to various hearing loss areas the charity covered. 

Comment sent 2 months ago and never replied to is below:

While sign users will welcome updates on events there does seem very few events that are text, loop, iPad, or lip-spoken assisted etc, can we see a more balanced event posting approach that is a bit more inclusive?   

At ATR we continue to note many BSL assisted events do not include access for hard of hearing or non-signing areas, BSL, is also assumed to be a 'Deaf' assist and events aimed at them exclusively by many HoH areas, we need more details on access to identify if, it actually is there for us.  

Initially (and as a legal aside), many events get public funding/grants for access provision and we are seeing access is being selective, not inclusive.

Obviously, BSL assisted events won't mean HoH relative mostly. When posting event updates let us have more detail on access please. A BSL accessible video/event may NOT include textural/loop etc access or even content other hearing loss areas would be relevant to.    Horses for courses is fine, but please make this clear. If only so we can ask for that inclusion.

No one is objecting to BSL coverage but the fact such events (AND Hard of Hearing ones), do not always contain the appropriate access or content to suggest a site/venue visit is worthwhile.  You could turn up and find no access or content of relevance there.  Charities and support are still non-integral areas of real note and operate exclusively often, it is 'each to their own..' approaches and apparently covered as a 'right', yet charity advertising is leaving out details about access provisions, we are wondering if the reluctance to point these things out is so that areas that do these things, are not legally challenged for advertising inaccessible venues?  So far the law is unclear if particular cultural/minority areas can continue to enjoy a right to not include others. 

While we can understand the AOHL doesn't want to be seen as highlighting the fact HoH or BSL events AREN'T mutually accessible or inclusive, I think it is fair for AOHL (Or the BDA e.g. who will make no bones about the fact it is for BSL users only), to point out this reality.  I'm sure Hard of Hearing areas would be happy to do their own thing too, which currently they aren't able to.  

There is some 'assumption' we all 'know' to point out fact anyway, as to my mind, not doing this, suggests some areas are endorsing a form of exclusion, certainly practicing non-inclusive access by default, and that is a concern that throws doubt on the access/inclusion legal requirement.  All campaigns are directed at ensuring the mainstream includes us all, but that inclusion seems to be relative within the hearing loss area itself.  Areas that apply for funding FOR access provision.  Basically, if an area chooses not to include someone else publicly, this is discrimination, isn't it?  

Just because it is 'generally accepted' BSL and HoH areas are totally different does not mean you should be misleading readers about content that is not accessible to them or not relevant to their areas.   It's time to bury the mutual  'Deaf and Hard of Hearing' remit which stopped working as a concept some years ago.  It's ignored online and charity adverts re events etc.  Time to move on.  Either include the fact some events are for sign users only, and others are for hard of hearing only, is respecting what is the status quo anyway.  It's depressing to run up at an event for deaf or hard of hearing only to find the access formats are too rigid to include you.

Hearing cannot adopt the same exclusion concept so how can we?  Given, alternatives and mutual inclusion formats are there to be used?

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