Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Deaf, Disabled, and the Employers

Business Committee Chair Meg Hillier MP has commented on today’s National Audit Office report, Supporting disabled people to work. 

"It's not good enough that people with disabilities and health problems are still being disadvantaged in the workplace. Work is the route out of poverty which is denied to too many disabled people. "

Despite a long line of government policies and programmes in this area and an impressive-sounding target, the NAO's most recent report has found that DWP does not know what to do and its target for getting one million more disabled people into work is not worth the paper it is written on. "DWP needs to get its act together, set out a plan for what it is going to do, and establish a proper target.” 

More grim and uninformed whines that ignore the real reason disabled/Deaf cannot get work/training/experience or an education fit for purpose.  But basically ignoring the people she represents, the business community and the disabled,  by employers who have resisted access and equality laws, and discriminated against the disabled with impunity, even held seminars on 'How to get around the disability work laws..'

While the DWP and state are dead set on hounding the disabled and sick (Some to an early grave), in the drive to get disabled and deaf into work,  it's basically just been a drive to remove welfare and support from them.  They won't address employer attitudes to refusing the disabled work they just blame deaf and disabled for not making effort, being too unqualified to justify employing them,  illiterate, or costing too much.  

Employers refuse to offer disabled people work experience, and when pushed abused the demand by rotating every few months different areas of disabled who were not funded by employers but the state, so as soon as the employers became financially liable for access provision, they dumped them in favour of other disabled to keep the vicious cycle going.

Employers don't understand deaf people demanding a job they cannot do alone (Their views) and expect everyone else to foot the bill for a third party so an employee can function.   Even the disability areas did not make these rigid demands.   Time is money and costs need to be justified. The state recognised this was going on and upped Access to work funding, but deaf refused to use the funding to gain further skills in the hearing world, demanding instead they get funded to promote culture and sign language and charity instead, employers felt they were not really interested in gaining work experience at all if it meant they were the only deaf there.  Why even undertake awareness if that is the case?  It suggested to them they aren't 'group or team' people who can work effectively with others either.  A liability.

Employers under pressure hit back and stated 'The deaf don't have even basic literacy skills to follow instructions.. unable to read properly, to write, and needing considerable help to communicate..  is it OUR job to do what the state is supposed to be doing? they should have these basic skills before they leave school, why don't they?' They leave their own form of education that is geared to a deaf system not a hearing one and then cannot function outside it, do they expect employers to sort it?    'University deaf..' were said to be barely literate and universities stated they are forced by equality laws to let them in despite the fact they need considerable support in a class to follow, and could not read the textbooks adequately, what, they said, were these deaf even doing in further education?  Or doing in education before that?

Charities like AOHL the UK's largest hearing loss charity, refused deaf work experiences there, and when deaf complained they said they had to treat hearing and deaf applicants the same by the same access and equality laws, and deaf then simply could not compete, they also declared deaf interns had little qualifications to work at an executive level, ignoring the fact this charity and many other corporate areas had failed to give them that experience so they could learn.

The DWP only has a single aim and it isn't putting deaf or disabled in a job it is finding ways to remove any costs the state incurs helping them.  E.G. 63% of deaf and 70 of e.g. autistics never had a full-time job ever, and 40% simply never worked AT ALL, not even the promise of £1100 a week for support has helped.  Deaf and disabled education over-focuses on the disability without focusing on how they can manage that when they leave supported areas and expected to match able-bodied and hearing peers and compete.  The stats speak for themselves, they FAIL.  They are primed to fail.

The half-hearted approach to enabling failure has to be addressed too since no employer is a charity and no employer is willing to pick up support tabs either.  Why would they when even able-bodied hearing applicants can be sidelined for migrants etc?  Deaf and disabled aren't even in the running, are they?   They are doomed at school start not gaining basic skills to learn what they need toThe deaf and disabled response? let us NOT address that, let's go at them for discrimination... and demand they give us a job, our right in law, anyone see the flaw in those demands?

ATR extends thanks to employers and educationalists who responded to ATR regarding the issue,  while not endorsing them,  which was not possible without assuring them they would not be named.  ATR wanted a candid response to ascertaining what the issues are, had we approached them publicly we would have had no answers, so are employers right or wrong? Unreasonable? discriminatory?   Or just reflecting the deaf and disabled view we aren't wanted and they were making excuses?  Whatever the reasons stated what we need is an answer.  One issue stood out, while disability awareness was a success, deaf awareness was a very real failure.

Deaf extremism and the attacks on the 'Cure'

Image result for NO cures!More social media concerns from the hard of hearing area regarding constant attacks by 'Deaf' extremists on alleviations, operations and research into cures.  Including a recent outrageous attack by a USA blogger who did not even read an item properly regarding a ground-breaking operation for a HEARING man, which the blogger turned into a 'Hearing attack on deaf culture.'' issue.

Social media posters responded immediately many were frankly abusive and hostile towards the deaf signer, BSL, and their culture ideal, although it was pointed out the pro-ASL/BSL extremists are a minority and unsupported within that community, it suggested the extremists were deliberately encouraging attacks on their own area to gather more support in defending culture  Some responses reprinted below seemed the most coherent.

"Yes I agree, these extremists need to be taken to task, it hasn't stopped one leading UK deaf blogger publishing opposition to a drug that may help people hear better being mooted as yet another assault on them, these people are worshipping deafness as a 'right' or something."

"The majority of those with hearing loss have adopted the live and let live attitude unaware of the very real opposition these people are mounting against alleviation, they are getting huge amounts of funding for cultural purposes and spreading the BSL news far and wide,  but the HoH here in the UK has NO viable or identifiable support set up at all, and the BSL own national support areas ignoring our inclusions altogether, who needs our support when the state is pouring money in to enhancing theirs? 

E.G. New Access to work help means the signer can now claim up to £1100 per WEEK ($1400), in support costs. A staggering amount of money that isn't actually empowering the deaf to integrate into the mainstream or work outside own areas.  Raising any concern lays HoH/Hearing wide open to claims they discriminate when they identify they are using the 'Deaf & HI' remit to own ends, it's causing resentment. We need to be more strident in getting what we need, if you don't ask, you go without it is as simple as that.  If we have to challenge cultural perceptions, so be it."

When is an 'Event' an accessible one?

ATR responds to a primary/national charity who published regular 'updates' on events that we can all attend and are accessible, except, that 73% simply aren't unless you can sign, as the HoH don't put on events. 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?   

ATR  noted many BSL assisted events did not include access for hard of hearing or non-signing areas, either by captioning or indeed, content.  BSL is also assumed to be a 'Deaf' assist, not an HoH one, but events aren't aimed at them inclusively but are cultural items.  We need more details on access to identify if, it actually is there for us all.  

When posting event updates let us have more detail on access please and if it is viable for us to even attend them, more comprehensive coverage of access is needed, and not just cut and paste event plugs without any clarification on content or access we can use.  If it isn't captioned I would not bother to go and see.  If it was about deaf culture ditto.