Saturday, 30 November 2019

Accessing healthcare is challenging for Deaf people

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Completely inadequate explanations regarding deaf people and access.

"For many of us, a visit to the doctor's office can be wrought with anxiety. A persistent cough that won't go away or an ailment we hope is nothing serious can make GP visits emotionally difficult. Now imagine that you can't phone the doctor to make an appointment, you don't understand what your doctor just said, or you don't know what the medication you've been prescribed is for. These are all situations that many Deaf people face when accessing healthcare services.

We use Deaf (with a capital "D") here to talk about culturally Deaf people, who were typically born deaf, and use a signed language, such as British Sign Language (BSL), as their first or preferred language. In contrast, deaf (lowercase "d") refers to the audiological condition of deafness.

[Herein lies the issues, e.g. well-meaning people complaining sign users are excluded and ignoring 5 times as many deaf people who are completely ignored too, and, by sign using lobbies]

For our study, we talked to Deaf patients in Wales who communicate using BSL to learn about their experiences with healthcare services. Their experiences illustrated the challenges they face and show us that patients have unique needs. For example, a patient born profoundly deaf would have different needs from a person who became deaf later in life.

[This is untrue, no surveys have been done in Wales, indeed none in the entire UK to identify them.  Various UK privacy/Data laws prevent identification, we may know who has hearing loss and who is deaf via health stats but again, we don't know how many are sign dependent.  The welsh assembly cross-party committee on deafness, responsible for supporting the deaf e.g,  says it could only get signed survey feedback from just TWO deaf clubs in Wales, one of which in the capital city (Cardiff), had less than 10 deaf people responding.  It's ridiculous to say this is in any way representative of a reputed 300,000 in wales with hearing loss and deafness issues, or what formats they are using.]

Health inequalities

Many Deaf communities around the world face inequalities when it comes to accessing health information and healthcare services, as health information and services are often not available in an accessible format. As a result, Deaf individuals often have low health literacy and are at greater risk of being misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all.

Problems with healthcare access often begin when making an appointment. Because many GPs only allow appointments to be made over the phone, many of those we interviewed had to physically go to health centres to ask for an appointment. Not only is this inconvenient, but booking without an interpreter could also be difficult and confusing.

[Again not correct, Wales has over 47 BSL interprets, most in south wales, by comparison, there is NO system of health support for (A) The Hard of Hearing, or (B) deaf who use non-signing forms of access. Only TWO professionals for 300,000 with hearing loss exist in Wales for those requiring text, there are no text-based systems and no lip-spoken ones, just WHO is being neglected?].

Interpreters are essential for patients to receive the best care. However, we heard recurring stories of interpreters not being booked for appointments, arriving late, and—in some cases—not coming at all. Before interpreters were available, one woman described going to the doctor's office as intimidating "because the communication wasn't there". One participant said they always make sure an interpreter has been booked, saying: "Don't let me down… I don't want to be going through this again."

[To be explanatory, many issues are because of a lack of understanding of medical issues and poor education/learning issues within the deaf community, where even the best BSL terps can struggle to convey issues effectively.  The UK BSL System is random, free-lance, and piecemeal as well as a lacking in interpreters for the deaf being aware of medical issues and the signs that go with them, because they are freelance, specialisation in medical or legal matters doesn't really exist within the UK BSL systems.  There is an assumption within the community the terp is aware of professional jargon and medical issues, and most aren't.  In legal terms also, if the terp doesn't convey effectively there is no legal recourse after either, terps operate on the basis if the deaf person agrees to their help it also takes own responsibilities for any other issue that comes from them not really following because afterwards everything is 'hearsay' and legally inadmissible (Unless the deaf film the event, we don't know if this has been done or, if the interpreters are prepared to be filmed).]

These issues are worsened in emergency situations. One woman recalled an incident where despite texting 999, she didn't get help until her daughter phoned 999 for her, acting as her interpreter throughout her entire interaction with emergency services.

[There IS a lack of access to BSL support in emergencies, by their nature, they may be unavailable at night time, and again this can be down to the freelance nature of BSL terp availability, attempts to establish a 24/7 BSL access system have failed because they aren't available, or because the nature of any emergency means time does not really allow for lengthy delays whilst a terp is found, it is up to deaf people, not their families to establish day one their own viable access contact, not least because family legally-speaking, cannot make decisions for relatives, we can also show that a deaf man who fell over breaking his neck in Wales refused to go to hospital unless his daughter was with him, he did not ask for a terp, it took hours to contact that daughter during which time issues had advanced and he later died, is the system at fault there? It isn't it is the deaf insisting on a right to use untrained help (family), who contain bias also)]

Another person who texted 999 said: "There are all these questions that they are asking you. And all that we want is to be able to say, 'We need an ambulance' … Because what's happening is we're panicking, we don't understand the English, there are all these questions being texted to us, it's hard enough for us to understand it anyways without panicking at the same time."

[Issues regarding the lack of literacy with deaf people cannot be addressed by the health services, it is an educational issue.  There are valid concerns with BSL support the deaf client's own sign is not up to the level of awareness they need to follow effectively.  Such issues and the decisions on deaf education have to be made elsewhere, and deaf activism is insisting the deaf should not be 'forced to read' so why are they demanding captions?  Systems cannot be held responsible for the chaos and such that is hyped as awareness, each to his own etc.]

Interviewees also recalled emergency situations where interpreters weren't available at short notice. One Deaf woman recalled when her husband—who is also Deaf—was rushed to hospital. They received no support from staff, and no interpreter was provided to help them.

[We refer you back to the previous response, re availability and the nature of BSL support itself.  Lack of education, lack of literacy attainment, reliance on the untrained family etc, combined with random excuses via rights are at the root of the whole thing.  It should be noted their current support (the BSL interpreter), is opposing ANY standardisation on their availability too.  This in itself means a lot won't make themselves available 24/7, so demand the Health provision provides it, is acaemic.]

Google: Live Transcribe demo

Friday, 29 November 2019

Genetics and the Deaf

NZSL under threat.

Deaf Action AGM.

An area the British Deaf Association has blocked since day one. 'We don't want everyone knowing our business.' is the mantra, not even those who fund us!  

Footnote:   ATR does NOT endorse charities simply by the fact it covers certain areas involving them.  ATR is still anti-charity, and outs rights first.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Seeking sign language recognition.

One issue unaddressed (In the UK), is if the recognition was on the statute, it would create have, and have nots in support terms, for all deaf children in education, with sign advocates getting their deaf children more support by default than non-signing ones, creating a 'tiered' support area which increases divisions of deaf people.  Choice may well kill the concept anyway.

Some distortion is also evident in regards to interpreting provision, while it may be a major issue in Northern Ireland the rest of the UK suffers very little deprivation of BSL support that way, Wales does well, England does too, and Scotland claims to be ahead of both.

With regards to education, the same issues constantly repeat themselves, ergo,  deaf signing schools cannot happen, for two reasons,  

One, There isn't the staff trained to run such schools, most dissipated when 80% of UK deaf schools closed down 10/15 years ago.  It would take years to train new ones up again and stats suggest few are looking at the deaf area in regards to teaching the deaf, and, what sort of demand is there?

Two, Part of the BSL at is to get more terps, but the reality there too is few are coming through and taking up the training, and those that do only want to work in city urban areas where regular work is guaranteed.  Lack of support is because of interpreters following the money, and as most are free-lance neither the deaf or the state can lay down how they operate without issues coming from interpreters themselves because initial attempts to do that failed, the state/systems wouldn't pay them enough.

Sadly what empowerment the deaf signer does have is badly run by their peers, and their charities are appalling at accounting and biased in support provision too.. Psychologically seeing a peer who understands sign language is a big positive for signing deaf, but they lack the expertise needed to really educate and empower the deaf to manage without them.  Most can sign, but they need help too.

Deaf areas need to look at what the deaf really need. (It isn't endless pre-amble about Milan 200 years ago), and then decide how to train people up who can empower that deaf person, and not just set up deaf-run organisations with no desire to include anyway because they never have been and don't know how to manage that, so how can they teach anyone else?  Until those who wish to forward the deaf towards equal access and inclusion with independence, the need to start looking at the skills they will need to acquire to do that, or its more of the same. Endless demands for cart before horse.

You need deaf with real skills and real experience of managing being deaf in the hearing world, any one of us can cope in a deaf club, but it doesn't count there when you need a job, training, education etc...  Anyone who believes an Act will solve that is naive to the nth degree, as it includes 100% participation of deaf WITH the hearing, and currently, there is no desire to do that.  

You cannot legislate inclusion you have to be inclusive ourselves first.  The UK approach is to demand all hearing sign or they won't bother mostly. You don't demand inclusion on your terms, it doesn't work that way.  The Americans are ahead of the UK, we always play catch up but find what works there doesn't pan out here.  The mind-set is different as is the way the laws work etc, and overall the yanks seem far more inclusively inclined than the Brits are.  We are hell-bent on highlighting difference not crossing divides.

CART services

Communication Access Realtime Translation CART Services for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing People from Kathryn Weber on Vimeo.

We are still not individually enabled to converse without such services which is the real aim for us all.  These are good stop gaps 'though.

The 12 million

It should be noted that ATR is NOT endorsing the AOHL as a default by re-publishing this video. ATR's policy is still rights, not charity.  

It's interesting he was accepted as a writer to the AOHL's magazine, an acceptance ATR never got, you don't get to be accepted by AOHL if you challenge them, even with facts.

If ATR stopped supporting the BSL using fraternity perhaps we would be more inclined to see its relevance and not its duplicity in fence-sitting for profit when the reality is the deaf deserted this charity many years ago.  The BDA has NO such issue about who they support!  I suspect also the writer above is rather naive and uninformed.  Until the AOHL gets away from the clinical aspect and ear wax dogmas we don't see it recruiting anyone with real drive and awareness.

The perks of having hearing loss

'Selective Listening'? aka 'hear when you want to..' a concept hard of hearing fight every day. The reality is you never really know what you can and cannot hear so it isn't selective at all.  It's rather sad you believe you have a choice, it is not within your control.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Breaking the Silence

Why I choose not to speak.

Why would anyone choose not to speak when they can? Why are we not convinced by this man?

Service provision in Mainstream

As opposed to UK areas using 'mentors' with next to no qualifications except BSL.  Encouraging to see alternatives to sign are shown to be a norm and viable too.  To be scrupulously fair how many are actual and profound deaf.  Deaf school it isn't.

Why 'relay' services for the deaf?

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A recent wels advert for a relay system, not everyone is for it.

"Over the last few weeks, I’ve been trialling a new app called RelayUK, provided by BT - which helps Deaf people to make phone calls! It has been brilliant and I’m excited to say it launches today!"

"For most, the issue is about being able to make calls on our own to hearing and other deaf people, and a relay system is the 'digital' version of having an interpreter isn't it? Areas like Facetime and Skype need to be lobbied to include effective and real-time speech to text, we are still away from a viable version of doing that. 

The Deaf, Lobbying for more systems like relays, is taking a step backwards in my view, that goes for signhealth too, we should not be relying on third parties. S Wales got rid of the deaf social services who did all that, now deaf are lobbying again and again for more terps and more relay systems.  

The argument seems to suggest deaf are incapable of reading English or 'prefer' to rely on sign help and someone else's voice instead, but that is no argument for not lobbying to enable the rest of us. So its a thumbs down from me for relay services."

Monday, 25 November 2019

Hearing Loss News.

SKY offers 100 BSLBT programs.

Sky has produced 100 episodes of content with deaf production charity, the British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust. 

It’s the first time the Trust has worked with a broadcaster to produce an on-demand collection, which has been made by the Deaf community for the Deaf community. Content including comedy, drama and factual will be included as part of the Entertainment package. 

Now in its 10th year, the BSLBT was set up as a mechanism for Ofcom to regulate broadcasters to provide access provision. Sky says it wanted to go further to support the BLSBT and have partnered to bring our customers this collection on a pro-bono basis. The collection is available in a dedicated BSL Zone on Sky Q and Sky+. It’s not yet available on Now TV or Sky.

The Talking hearing aid.

How long before they start doing adverts lol. The UK had one of these in Wales some years ago that spoke in Welsh too.

What the BDA didn't want you to read.

Despite very effective blanking of response to concerns at the British Deaf Association, concerns are still emerging on social media about this charity, an area they cannot control (except THEIR online social media where responses are removed as fast as they get sent in), and their charity primary site won't include.  No accessible record of the EGM debacle, no response to 7 trustees resigning (Or of the 7/8 new ones), and No comment or inclusion in the BDN news itself, however, they can not keep us ALL in the dark.

#1 Strange the BDA going on about voting when they operate their own charity in secrecy and ban members telling other people what they do.  As a lead-in to joining this charity, a death wish. The emergency EGM simply called so the person who called it could get the top job! presumably on the basis to toe the line and carry on speaking for everyone and silencing the dissent.  'Ignore it until it all goes away'. The 7 trustees leaving over allegations of bullying and the BDA living in the 1950s, never happened(!), do the new trustees represent deaf people? or just chosen for their dedication to maintaining a closed shop approach?  The damning silence seems to suggest nothing has actually changed, they have found more trustees who know when to keep their mouths closed.  Of course, as soon as they take the public stage they are going to have to respond then.  Sign use and culture won't be an excuse they can use.

#2 The charity commission needs to investigate how the BDA operates to the deaf detriment, it's neither an open or inclusive charity, which surely violates the condition of its existence?  If you log in to the BDA site no mention whatever of what the executive members of the committee get up to, grass root members are warned never to publish whatever info the charity gives to them, the only hearing loss site in the UK that operates with this level of secrecy or removes without reason any comment that asks why.

#3 (regarding Prince Andrew leaving as patron too): I think the BDA has far more pressing issues concerning its own viability than a dead-beat Royal with dubious middle-eastern contacts.  The deaf can not support charities that make beggars of them and trading on their disablements, their culture and deaf children.  It's an approach based on patheticism of 'these poor people who need our help'.  We are all entitled to rights and support by law it shouldn't be left to biased charity to decide WHO they will support, WHO is actually deaf, WHO is part of the Community, and HOW such areas should be supported, decided by what format they use to communicate (Or should be using!).  

Far from promoting sign and culture, they are creating a sect of it and promoting the isolation it brings as a virtue  and 'all hearing are against us' campaigns, combined with attacks on the deaf who use alleviation, or assists to hear. Some deaf sign, some don't, some use a mix etc, some have no effective means without help, so failing to include everyone deaf, is a form of discrimination.  This hard-core are determined to oppose real inclusion because it means the big fish running the signing area have to put up and justify themselves.

#4 Engaging royal support is a form of snobbery, (as the RNID found that out when they wanted to rebrand themselves), they found removing the 'royal' from the charity title meant funds plummeted,  They have two titles online now to cover themselves.  RNID and AOHL, and because corporate fund givers only give to the BDA (Or any other charity),  IF there is a chance of them getting a royal award with an 'E' at the end of it after, they don't really care for deaf people.   The whole concept is an exercise in being cynical, and deaf charities are as mercenary as those who prop it up.

#5 On Princess Diana:  What use was Diana to the deaf? she managed to sign her name, that must have taken all of 5 minutes.  Some deaf seem easily pleased, not so much with Phillip who told them to stop listening to loud noises.  Prince Phillip's family also kept pretty quiet about his aunt being deaf. Prince Charle's uncle changed his german name 'Battenburgh' after Hitler waged war on us, but the Queen's uncle abdicated and had parties with him in France but not before teaching Queen Liz 2 how to do the Nazi salute.  Prince Andrew prefers Pizza Palace to sign language and his involvement with the deaf was near zero, what is to lose for the deaf?    

#6 The Deaf are manipulated, they know it, but they want the money, so I doubt much conscience or any moral high ground exists with charity or its benefactors.   Rights, nor Charity should be what we all support. The deaf leaders have no qualms about ignoring others with hearing loss, the area needs a spring clean to get rid of the deadwood and the very obvious bias and polarisation of people via db and mode.  

Charity needs to stop speaking for the deaf and hard of hearing too, nobody has given them the right to speak in their name.

Sunday, 24 November 2019

We were there...

We Were There ... We Are Here from Telling Stories Through Cinema on Vimeo.

Seven Countries, Many Stories.

A Documentary by Sign Hub: preserving, researching and fostering the linguistic, historical and cultural heritage of European Deaf signing communities

All the films were shot by deaf film crews and the interviews conducted by deaf interviewers.

A documentary with the collaboration between seven Countries: France. Germany, Israel, Italy, Turkey, Spain (Catalonia),

New speech training Unit.

Youngsters from Thomasson Memorial School, Bolton, show their delight at receiving a £600 Speech Training Unit plus a selection of new library books from the Bolton branch of the National Deaf Children Society. Pictured testing the unit is six-year-

Youngsters from Thomasson Memorial School, Bolton, show their delight at receiving a £600 Speech Training Unit plus a selection of new library books from the Bolton branch of the National Deaf Children Society. Pictured testing the unit is six-year-old Michelle Aspden with fellow pupils and members of the society in 199.

DSN gets good ratings.

Deaf aid
[Now can we get the CQC to sort out the BDA?]

A NORTHWICH charity service that supports people with hearing loss has been given a glowing report from the national health watchdog. The Deafness Support Network, which is run by Cheshire Deaf Society on London Road, received an overall grade of ‘good’ following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). 

The service was rated ‘good’ for safety, effectiveness, caring and leadership and was found to be ‘outstanding’ in terms of responsiveness. In their report the inspector said service users experienced exceptional individualised care, tailored to their needs. Care was also described as safe, with systems in place to ensure people were well prepared for new experiences to reduce anxiety. Staff were described as competent and well trained and treated people with kindness and respect. 

The report added: “The registered manager and staff were clear about the responsibilities of their roles. There was an open and transparent culture with emphasis on capturing learning and partnership working, in order to continuously improve the service wherever possible.”

Thursday, 21 November 2019

My Son's Deafness Changed the Way I See My Own.

Priscila Soares painting her self-portrait.
When my second son was born, he didn’t pass his hearing and screening test. The doctors told me it could be just fluids in his ears. I thought for sure that had to be the case because I’m the only one in my huge family who has a history of hearing loss. But my hearing loss isn’t congenital. 

It began when I was a teenager and I believe it was due to all the recurrent ear infections I had as a child. Even though Jason did have fluids in his ears, after further testing he was diagnosed as profoundly deaf. We did some genetic testing and nothing came up that could relate his hearing loss to mine. One of the major differences between his diagnosis and mine was that his hearing loss came before he learned how to communicate, but mine didn’t. Another was that his hearing loss was a lot more profound than mine. 

Aside from that, I believed that due to my own experiences, I could be a parent he could truly relate to, helping him through the struggles that can come with having hearing loss. Related:​ How I Found an Audiologist Who Could Hear Me Little did I know then that putting all of my energies towards helping him out would unleash a whole new path of discoveries in my life. Having teachers, professionals and advocates dedicated to him from the moment he was born was a grand teaching lesson to me. 

It made me see how little if any of that I received when I was first diagnosed and how many years I had navigated trying to work around my hearing loss instead of working with it. I noticed how many choices I had made in my life out of fear of being made fun of, laughed at or ridiculed. I chose a career in isolation, where I worked as a designer from home and only dealt with clients on a one-on-one situation. Every choice I made was subconsciously guided by how comfortable or not I was with my hearing loss. Jason didn’t know the difference. He was born deaf and that’s the only world he knows. He always had professionals teaching him sign language, speech, how to self-advocate, become more empowered and independent. He is so much more comfortable with being himself that he became my guide and my example just as much as I have been to him. 

As I got more involved with the community, meeting other families, adults and children with hearing loss, caring professionals and teachers, a desire to do a deeper inner investigation of my true calling began to grow. I realized that everyone’s stories and paths were at the same time relatable and unique. We could all learn from each other. All the things I have gone through had the power to help others who were finding their way along similar paths. 

After years of investigating and at the same time making sure my children were old enough to be more independent, I finally took the courage to combine the two things I have become most passionate about: doing art and advocating for people with hearing loss. Art has always been the best way I’ve found to process what’s in my mind. The difference this time is that I was going to allow myself to share it with the world, even though that was one of the scariest things for me to do.

Welsh TV Channel discriminates against deaf.

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S4C discriminates against the deaf.  It was a good Wales v Hungary football match on Tuesday night. It was highly enjoyable for the viewers on S4C.

However, if this match was broadcast on BBC or ITV the commentary on the match would have been subtitled for the benefit of deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers. But this is Wales, and S4C routinely discriminates against deaf viewers by not providing subtitles. I made a complaint to S4C about the lack of subtitles, in either English or Welsh, for the commentary on the Wales v Hungary match. S4C came back with the routine excuse that this was “due to the English language rights being held by another broadcaster.” S4C has consistently raised “copyright” reasons over the years for not subtitling some items, including songs from Welsh to English. That the “copyright” issue applies to football commentaries beggars belief.

This was an important football match for Wales. The refusal to provide subtitles for the commentary on “copyright” grounds is absolute nonsense from a deaf viewer’s point of view. The issue of “copyright” has been unresolved for decades and S4C has done nothing to resolve it. Deaf viewers in Wales face greater discrimination than those of the UK home countries. It is time S4C was investigated by the Equal Rights authorities and brought to court for blatant discrimination.

Cedric Moon MBE

Ex-Wales Deaf Broadcasting Council Secretary

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Educating deaf kids about online.

AI for Accessibility

A challenge to Dr Byrne and the BSL act.

Image result for challenge arm wrestleA lengthy response but...ATR cannot allow this academic to continue confusing the public on issues of inclusion and awareness.  ATR addresses each issue as raised:

Why We Need a Sign Language Act in Northern Ireland

The collapse of the power-sharing Executive in January 2017 means that progress towards the legal recognition of BSL and ISL has stalled says Dr Bronagh Byrne.

The debate surrounding an Irish Language Act in Northern Ireland has been well documented and publicised. Less well known is the ongoing battle for a Sign Language Act for Northern Ireland’s Deaf community. Contrary to popular belief, sign language is not a universal language. Each country has its own sign language along with regional variations or dialects. In Northern Ireland, it is estimated that there are 3,500 users of British Sign Language (BSL) and 1500 users of Irish Sign Language (ISL). Both BSL and ISL were officially recognised as minority languages in Northern Ireland in March 2004 by the then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Paul Murphy MP. However, this was not accompanied by any statutory protection, legal status or formal Executive strategy.

ATR:  Indeed, but there is little 'BSL' in NI, it is ISL (which includes regional variations).  Northern Irish do seem unable to declare what 'language' exactly they are using and has sectarian areas opposing the 'British' aspect of it.  Because Northern Ireland is unable to govern itself at present, they are being overseen by Westminster who don't rate sign language as a pressing issue.  In reality, the UK mainland doesn't either and is not supporting the immersive status of BSL use, the NDCS in England won't. E.G.  HERE. Deaf people within the UK entirety would be better off focusing on a BSL norm to enable support provision to be more effective, culture doesn't pay your bills just enables the isolation to be more comfortable.

Importance of language rights

Language rights are not only symbolic, but have strong practical implications. They send out strong messages about whose voices are considered legitimate. Without legal status, users of a minority language are unable to access facilities and services on the same basis as users of the dominant language. This is exacerbated when the battle for legitimacy takes the form, not of different spoken languages, but of spoken versus signed languages. Research has shown, for example, that: Deaf people’s health is poorer than that of the general population, with some Deaf people at risk of reduced life expectancy. Causes include a lack of sign language interpreters at consultations including a lack of awareness on how to book interpreters, and a dearth of public health information in sign language.

ATR:  Northern Irish support areas obviously differ from UK mainland provision.   I can state that e.g. Wales has excellent sign language provision, and few are deprived here of support, (there may be rural and postcode issues of course).   Deaf in urban areas of the UK also has good support access.  The issue is far from as clear cut as made out, there are e.g. mental health issues (a reputed 40% of UK deaf children), and learning issues, many are far from fluent in sign, which adds to the problem, more recognition and more BSL, will not mean these deaf issues of inclusion and access will resolve themselves.  It hasn't where BSL support does exist.

This can mean that Deaf people are unable to make informed decisions about their health. The lack of a strong legal framework for support can also lead to young hearing children interpreting for their parents in a wide range of situations, including hospital consultations relating to serious health conditions or discussion of significant legal issues with solicitors. Such situations would be deemed completely unacceptable and inappropriate in exchanges conducted in the dominant spoken language.

ATR:  Informed decisions rely on a complete understanding of the issue involved, deaf education is still poor, and the cultural angle wants to re-isolate it again along the old formats of deaf schools etc a system mainland UK is not really supporting any more as while it strengthened cultural/communal links with deaf people, it failed to educate them properly.  Deaf were/are primed to fail in adulthood.  Whilst deaf have issues at medical and in legal areas, there are some deaf support areas existing to help them, the problem seems to be their support is deaf too and needs help as well with areas like the English RAD unable to fund its own deaf lawyer support system and legal wrangles over 3rd party support.  

NHS access, BSL users rarely if ever get dedicated medical Interpretation it is 'off the shelf' BSL support, but Hard of hearing have no support at all and deaf support areas refusing to help.  Ditto legal areas, this disadvantages the deaf signer, horses for courses.  You don't send support out untrained in the issue that needs addressing.  A level 6 BSL interpreter attempting to empower a level 2 signer is going to provide issues that might not get addressed at all.  Is that a 'NHS system' fault?

Deaf people also have poorer educational outcomes compared to the hearing population with Deaf young people currently unable, for example, to complete a GCSE in their first language. This has led to a campaign by a Deaf schoolboy, supported by Deaf organisations, calling for the introduction of a GCSE in BSL. For the majority of Deaf people, sign language is a language of need, not of choice; a critical avenue to inclusion. While speakers of other languages may have the opportunity to learn another spoken language, this is not the case for many members of the Deaf community. This can compound the effects of crime, with research suggesting that Deaf women are twice as likely as hearing women to experience domestic violence, language barriers meaning they are unable to report such crime, and support organisations lacking the funding needed to provide specialist support to Deaf victims of crime where it is reported.

ATR: Domestic violence IS an issue but not particularly confined to deaf areas, the issue seems to be the close communal/cultural approach where everything is kept 'in-house'.  The fear of deaf women (And men of course), is predominant being isolated and the nature of its social set-ups mean they have a higher tolerance to abuse going on if it means losing friends or it is creating community and social issues for them.  

Community is all for many deaf, far higher a priority than family or education in some part.  One example was in Derby University when funding as a windfall to supporting deaf students, they were faced with a choice, did they want the funds invested in more class support to follow?  Or, did they want a room paid for to socialise in? not one deaf student voted for more class support.  Their priority was quite clear, their education took second place.

Supporting deaf victims suffers interference from 'Deaf' charities and cultural areas.  In demanding 'specialisation' for deaf sign users they fail to recognise other issues of sign skills and the fact such support  disables them from accessing services in their immediate surroundings because of those demands, many deaf refuse to use access to a hearing support area etc claiming 'they don't understand us', of course, they never will if we don't educate them and demanding stand-alone 'deaf specialist' services that ultimately mean treatment is not available to them, they get sent away somewhere cut off from the very community and family they need to survive.  They must learn to adapt to their surroundings.

Legal recognition of sign language

Article 30 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) clearly states that ‘persons with disabilities shall be entitled, on an equal basis with others, to recognition and support of their specific cultural and linguistic identity, including sign languages and deaf culture.’  The legal recognition of sign languages is gaining attention worldwide and laws recognising sign languages taking varying forms, ranging from constitutional recognition, recognition in language legislation and Sign Language Acts as highlighted by De Meulder, Murray and McKee 2019. In Ireland for example, the Irish Sign Language Act (ISL Act) was adopted in December 2017. This aims to, inter alia, provide for the recognition of ISL, its use in legal proceedings and the provision of sign language classes for parents, siblings and grandparents. In the UK, Scotland is the only region to have given legal recognition to sign language so far. The BSL (Scotland) Act came into force in October 2015 requiring Scottish Ministers to promote, and facilitate the promotion of, the use and understanding of BSL.

ATR:  Correct, but the British Deaf Association stated something quite different, in essence, insisted the European Directive gave BSL legal rights in 2005, of course, it did not.   The EU directive on BSL was one of 27 OTHER minority languages (spoken and signed), and more a well-meaning guide to inclusion than a suggestion every EU country had to legally set up a deaf community to run as they want independently of the state set up as some sort of parallel entity.  Ultimately it was left to the host country government to legislate on that.  

The UK consulted areas and found that a blanket recognition of BSL in deaf education, posed issues of choice, and support/teaching availability to parents of deaf children.  Hence the NDCS declaring it was not supportive of BSL that way because parents wanted to choose for or against BSL usage and had that right.   Not enough pro-BSL parents of the deaf could validate an alternative set up again.  Of course, deaf schools par se are going year on year, Wales e.g. now has none at all and only FOUR deaf children in S Wales were deemed unsupportive there, who commuted to Bristol for specialist education.  So not a ringing endorsement deaf schools with BSL would be 'better' for all the deaf, or the only option. Obviously not viable to set up a school for 4 deaf children.

Work to enhance the status of sign language has been underway in Northern Ireland for some time. In 2010, the then Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) commissioned the ‘Consultation Report on the Sign Language Partnership Group (SLPG) Strategic Direction’ Report. This report included a 10 year ‘Roadmap’ which outlined the steps necessary to build the infrastructure of support for BSL and ISL users and their families.  In 2016, DCAL launched a consultation on a Framework promoting Sign Language to ensure that BSL and ISL users have the ‘same rights, responsibilities, opportunities and quality of life as those in the hearing community by enshrining equality and social inclusion in legislation for the current and future generations of Deaf Sign language users and their families’. Central to this Framework are the proposals for draft legislation to safeguard ISL/BSL users’ rights as a cultural and linguistic minority to be able to access services in their own language.  Significantly, for the first time, the consultation process allowed the Deaf community to provide evidence in their first language via BSL/ISL videos on Facebook.

ATR:  For deaf to be included, they have a need to adapt, the current approach seems to be, that everyone else has to or else it is a discrimination of some sort.    I refute the suggestion it is possible to legislate inclusion, it has to be a two-way thing and the deaf are not equipped currently to enable that.  

BSL Education is focused on biased communication approaches to the point they neglect inclusion skills the deaf child needs, so they leave school unprepared to be included, most do NOT hone their sign skills or go to further education either.  In some areas, no signs exists for them to learn at higher levels.  We had one scientist deaf making up his own.

It goes without much statement, deaf groups are opposing English etc that debar them from getting work and of course to obstruct access by default, bilingualism has to be real, and to be seen.  Signed English won't cut it alone either.  The deaf world is not enough and there is no way isolating them with more and more specialisations and concentrating on culture is going to get them a single job more, or enable them to advance themselves.  Mainstreaming has to be supported I agree, but specialisation monitored to prevent deaf backing themselves into a corner again.

The collapse of the power-sharing Executive in January 2017 means that progress towards the legal recognition of BSL and ISL has stalled. This means that, at present, Deaf people must rely on the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act (NI) (1995) to secure ‘reasonable adjustment’ via sign language provision. In order to do so, Deaf people are required to identify as ‘disabled’; a sharp contrast to their right to recognition as a cultural and linguistic minority under the CRPD, and a position that would be deemed inappropriate for other linguistic minorities. Until this is resolved, the ability of Northern Ireland’s Deaf community to avail of society’s opportunities in their first language will continue to be silenced.

ATR:  As the sole deaf person who attended the DDA launch at Manchester University circa 1995 I can tell you the deaf failed to turn up for that, they preferred a soap opera tour instead.  I was asked to use two sign language interpreters disability groups had paid for to follow proceedings and, I didn't sign.   I had the dubious Kudos of flying the mainland UK BSL flagship at that launch.  Deaf were taken to task and explained they were anti-disability, 'we aren't disabled', they did, however, utilise aspects of the law after it went on the statute.  Which they are still advocating 15 years later.

[The use of capital ‘D’ in Deaf is used to refer to those who define themselves as culturally Deaf with sign language as a first or preferred language unless otherwise stated.

ATR:  The D/d thing is far from supporting amidst grass-root deaf as far more don't sign than do, and few are within any cultural area.  Basically, we find the D just represents Difference and Division, and neither being helpful to empowerment, inclusion, or access, even if it does keeps the deaf online busy arguing amongst themselves.

The BSL area may have sold that concept to the system under equality laws, but it hasn't sold it to rank and file with deafness and hearing loss.  They've just adopted an apathetic 'cest la vie' attitude towards it, and that isn't 'acceptance' is it?  The issue found with this paper was the atypical and highly predictable blanket statements used, where indeed, D/d terms are thrown in all over the place confusing the issue entirely.  

One suspects this is for BSL cultural area activism, a means to suggest a lot higher support for its stance than it actually does have.  They tend to play on the fact joe hearing public has no idea what d or D stand for anyway.  We don't accept why would they bother? it's for systems and lobbyists to argue about and to justify what passes for awareness these days.  Lots of deaf cannot hear, not many are sign using.  There are 10m in the UK with hearing loss (Assuming NI defines itself that way), how many deaf BSL users ARE there?  

Nobody really knows! many have tried to find out and were unsuccessful because the sole reference areas were their own charities, otherwise, data Protection Laws prevented it.  As a result, we get all sorts of figures bandied about from 15,000 in the UK (Last census result), to 100,000+ from the British deaf association, it  might be half a million by now!  

I doubt the paper writer here can ID  a real number either.  Charities that quote these numbers do not have ANY significant memberships either. We don't think such academic throw-ways and easy pickings that deaf people provide for them to debate, provide any real insight to issues or, offers a solution to them either.  

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Using the Pharmacy.

Boots (UK), used to advertise signed access to its pharmacy, I tested it and it wasn't there. The reality is Boots and other areas encourage staff to attend 'awareness' areas to learn basic sign (They don't work!), and then if or when a deaf patient asks for support they ask said staff to help out, they forgot that staff turnover is a huge issue and the only member of staff who could finger-spell a bit had left their employ.  

It goes without saying an amateur hearing person barely able to fingerspell the ABC would NOT be able to translate effectively.  Charities like the BDA/AOHL etc who run these things need to stop the con of sign-awareness that clearly is no use to the deaf or for anyone who lip-reads.

Approaching the SS system to help was met with a NO. Apparently, this type of support is 'social' and thus the system does not have to support social aspects of deaf people.  Or does it?  Deaf older people who need help with shopping etc DO get support from charities and paid for BY the systems, its time support wasn't split into social and system-based have and have-nots.

E.G.  a deaf person wanting to visit a relative in residential care was turned down under the same rules, visiting a  relative was a 'social function' so the deaf not entitled to support for that.  Turning to Direct Payment (A welfare allowance designed for crossing the social/system divide), we found it was run by Local authorities who turned deaf people down unless they were blind as well.

The idea is to ensure deaf never have the real ability to move outside their own community basically because it cannot be funded.

Unus Annus

And the prize for the weirdest deaf post this week goes to....

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Deaf Awareness?

Deaf Awarness from Element51 on Vimeo.

Yet another puzzling 'awareness' video from a 'communication awareness' area.  No captions, no subtitles, no narrative, just who is it directed at? [shouldn't awareness start at source?], BSL users are already aware of BSL aren't they?  If it is for raising awareness with the hearing mainstream or for HoH or non-signing deaf, it is a non-starter isn't it? and stuff like this is what they spend YOUR donations on.  Stop the waste.  Such a shame none of the Deaf viewers are able to read isn't it?

Thursday, 14 November 2019

The NDCS responds to ATR.

Image result for NDCSReaders will recall BDA members stating that the NDCS as a 'Deaf' children only charity and attacked ATR for stating differently, the NDCS agrees with ATR.  ATR extends many thanks to the NDCS for clarifying the confusion about deaf child support, mainly contributed to by BSL groups like the BDA distorting inclusion policies by hearing loss charities.  

I can advise the NDCS to take care of how they spell deaf, basically, and to STOP using the capitalisation of the term, areas are abusing that term for political ends and social media is distracting deaf children's need.  We would like to see MORE emphasis on alternatives to sign being used too, to reflect reality.  Projecting BSL on NDCS vids for areas that DON'T use it also needs more careful thought about its inclusion which suggest again it is a 'cultural' thing when this isn't applicable and in defiance to the NDCS remit of including and respecting ALL.

The NDCS in respecting some have a cultural choice, using BSL suggests all deaf children are cultural.  This is how things get distorted, and parents unsure who to approach for help, e.g. the BDA has no child support system that is inclusive or national.


Thank you for your email.

As you have mentioned, we work to support all deaf children and their families. By deaf, we mean any child with any level of hearing loss and regardless of the communication approach they use. We may sometimes use the term Deaf if we are talking specifically about people who identify culturally as being Deaf. But, as a charity, we are here for all deaf children.

As a charity, we believe in informed choice. This means that we believe that parents of deaf children should be given full, impartial and balanced information about the choices available to them and their child. We believe that families are best-placed to make decisions on the right approach for their child and we work to support all families with deaf children.

For parents to be able to make informed choices, it is important that local authorities and health bodies ensure there is a wide range of provision available to meet all the different options that families might need. This means that, for example, we might campaign for local authorities to ensure that families have access to free sign language in the early years or that they can access speech and language therapy support for their child in a timely way. So on social media we may talk about a wide range of different issues relating to deaf children.

Kind regards,
Cheryllous Norris
Helpline Officer


Wednesday, 13 November 2019

BDA: We don't want deaf who can't sign.

"How come if ‘Oral or hearie Deafies’ have been seen speaking to others at BDA events or meetings & even in front of frustrated staff without signing so please can you watch out! Thanks"

ATR:  Perhaps the BDA has never heard of Palantype? 

Image result for palantype


Image result for lip-reading


Image result for note taking for deaf


BSL Interpreters?  

Image result for BSL interpreters

Maybe the BDA does not feel there are any other forms of communication we can and do use? e.g....

Related image

Image result for face time

It must be a revelation (But it's not discrimination), to find many deaf use other things than sign language. 

Incidentally, have you not read the BDA's own remit?  the BDA remit is to empower and include them so why aren't they? Not all deaf sign but we are just as deaf as you are. If the BDA is ONLY for BSL then its membership is never going to advance at all. 

I'd rather ALL deaf are included and no barriers or criticism or demands to sign as a pre-condion. Deafened people and HoH can help deaf signers a lot more than the BDA ever could, we have the alternative approaches to discrimination that don't rely on blaming everyone else, and can assist with real advice on how to manage with NO support, NO interpreters, and NO charity backing us up, we hadn't those choices. 

We had to adapt to survive, the BDA has no ability to adapt and doesn't want to. It's a throwback to the 1950s and out of touch with modern deaf view and needs. We aren't in the perpetual victim mode the BDA thrives on.  

If they want us to sign we want you to offer us access too, it's a two-way thing. It's called inclusion (not that the BDA understand the concept). Last time we tried signing at these people they made fun of my errors and ignored me, they believe themselves some 'elite', but it is THEY who are more isolated as a result.   The best signers are still hearing people, with a low level of BSL skills many rank and file deaf actually display themselves, and making worse by opposing English e.g. 

The adage still rings true, when at the bottom of the hole its best not digging deeper to get out of it.

The BDA let their members defend them because the executive cannot defend themselves.  You are the 'foot soldiers' for their bias and collateral damage.  The BDA exist in a vacuum and living in a vacuum is very bad for your health.  You can sign or you can not sign it doesn't make you an 'enemy' of some kind, get out more, mix with other deaf, the hard of hearing with hearing people, if only to raise your own awareness, if you demand unrealistic rules first, awareness won't work as it doesn't work now.

You have turned your culture into a dead-end and made yourself a martyr for someone else's cause.  If you want inclusion the BDA cannot provide it.  It demands you make as much effort as others have to.