Friday, 26 July 2019

Mistress Marvellous...



I don’t want Marvel to make a big deal of Makkari’s deafness or to highlight one mode or another as being 'right' or 'wrong'.  I just think current obsessions in how minority areas are represented just marginalises them more or projects a stereotype nobody will agree with anyway.  Mainstream is damned if it does, damned if it doesn't.   All this hand-wringing (No pun intended), and hair-pulling (No offence meant to baldies),  about who or how we are portrayed.  

It's buying into the whole hype thing anyway by vested interest to plug their particular version.  A signer won't be representative of the deaf and a lip-reader opposed by sign dependents.  You can only hope she speaks in caption bubbles instead...  I think inclusion is going to be a bugger...


It’s not only the amount of deaf representation in the media which can be an issue but also how the condition is portrayed  Marvel’s Cinematic Universe of superheroes just got a lot more human. 

In a series of announcements at this year’s San Diego Comic Con, the movie studio unveiled its first Asian-led film, LGBTQ+ heroine and deaf superhero – the latter played by The Walking Dead star Lauren Ridloff. Ridloff’s upcoming portrayal of Makkari in The Eternals – scheduled for release in November 2020 – offers up a brand new backstory for the character. 

The decision, albeit long overdue, places a talented deaf actress in the spotlight when all eyes are on Marvel after its record-breaking epic, Avengers: Endgame. Much like young girls are now looking up to Captain Marvel, deaf children and young people now have Makkari, at a time when deaf role models in film and television continue to be few and far between. 

Like with many other disabilities, hearing loss or deafness – with a few exceptions such as Ridloff’s aforementioned appearance in The Walking Dead and the Oscar-winning short film The Silent Child – is either painted as an incredibly negative burden or a source of wonder and amazement. ‘Inspiration porn’, as the disability advocate Stella Young described in a TEDx talk in 2014. Superhero movies give human beings extraordinary abilities, and so I did, at first, fear that Makkari’s deafness could well be grouped with her superpowers – namely super strength and speed. 

Something incredibly ordinary could be seen as unnecessarily superhuman. All of this could sound endearing and as a charming celebration of disability, but aspects of deaf culture have already been met with over-the-top fascination. Lipreading and British Sign Language are still seen as gimmicks and party tricks by some people, and some members of the community still have to deal with the occasional backhanded compliment – ‘you speak well for a deaf person’ being one of them. We need the mainstream media to display deafness with honesty and humanity, and as weird as it sounds, a Marvel superhero film may be the answer. 

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Interpreters form a co-operative..

What seems interesting here is no deaf people are actually involved.  

Basically, its an attempt at terp unity because systems/agencies are trying to establish a fee norm and do what BSL Interpreters are refusing to do, set up an accountable and visibly monitored system of Interpreter work practices and make them accountable.  The random nature of BSL support is because of the 'freelance' nature of it,, this is not adequate to establish a proper deaf support system or identifiable sign support area, systems and the deaf can easily access or control. It has meant rural deaf etc left with no help at all as terps gravitate to 'where the money is..' It is essential to note BSL Interpreters are still refusing to be accountable to anyone, least of all their clients.  

This is all about money and the systems demanding a more identifiable support network that they can access when a deaf client requests help.  It would appear the systems and agencies are trying to establish a wage norm too, which terps claim will make their job unviable.  Via these shenanigans and rows over wages and booking, BSL users are being held to ransom, is it not time the deaf had some input?  

By having control over who they book, this will establish real demand too.  A BSL terp said 'I would oppose clients holding the wage cards... my job in their hands would be unacceptable..  I would stop interpreting.'  The system is saying 'We need to establish a visible and reliable area to book from, at present, WE are being held to ransom by the nature of BSL support..'  This appears to be backed up via areas like the DWP too, who say that the recent changes to welfare allowances and assessments meant as many as 46% of clients were unable to be assessed because the 'BSL System' could not meet the demand.'  BSL terps are the sole support deaf use but deaf are being used as pawns in some power game that allows Interpreters to fix own wages, please themselves who they help, or when they turn up...  Quite rightly, 'this is no way to run an essential support system.'

All this is taking place as deaf activism is demanding more and more BSL usage, education, and access, they are going to find there is nobody to enable that to happen.  Ergo, the BDA currently claim 150,000 BSL users, the UK has just about 300 or so BSL terps, if nobody can see the problem here...

The Item.

A new platform co-op, SignCo, is being formed for BSL English interpreters and translators, in a hid to halt a “race to the bottom” in the profession.

The team behind the Merseyside venture says agencies have been dictating fees, terms and conditions in recent years, and wants to “change contract culture in favour of end suppliers (translators), end-users and health professionals”.

As a result, said SignCo, “health services have struggled to make their services accessible due to the poor provision created by the current procurement model”.

The co-op will be run democratically by its members, who will include service users as well as interpreters and translators. It will consult with all users to co-create a service that works for health staff, users and workers.

Members will co-design an online booking platform and hold discussions over how it should work. Once the platform is up and running, SignCo says it will “use it to get NHS contracts and provide a better service for all”.

SignCo’s founders – Jen Smith, Wes Mehaffy, Kate Boddy and Nicky Evans – have already surveyed NHS staff and service users in Merseyside and are being helped by Co-operatives UK and co-op support programme the Hive.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

BREXIT UK... Why we must leave.

A new Prime Minister and a new hope?



Why a new referendum or 'people's vote' is pointless, they are both viewed as trying to overturn an already made majority and democratic decision. For those of us around when the decision to join was made, we were not given real background or details on that, but there was no move made then to challenge, even when the decision to join was based on us just joining SIX other countries. 

Since then 22 others have joined the bandwagon despite no consultations to the UK agreeing to it, because the idea was for the 6 'richest' countries to hand them freebies to join. The USA was, and still IS, forking out billions of $$$s because they cannot be bothered to even defend themselves.  The UK sends them £14B a year so they can continue ripping us off and render our own government pointless too, in case we said enough was enough, now, we ARE saying that's it.

Of those 22 federal 'states' of the EU, 21 are still standing there with hands out or have been bankrupted and held to ransom by Germany and France, Ask Greece, the eastern bloc who joined, or Spain etc... how much they have 'gained' from it all?  

Even as we went for a new PM the EU negotiation team were ignored in favour of Merkle and Mini-me, and a blatant brown-envelope was being passed around to ensure the new EU boss does what Germany/France tells them to do, despite 5 member states trying to block it happening, clear proof if any was needed, who calls the real shots in Europe. 

In essence, the UK CANNOT afford to now remain and still be Britain, it would be a satellite of the EU and milked to bankruptcy the same as Greece was. The 4 major 'tenets' and red lines of the EU are stacked against the UK, against democracy, and a danger to us all, we have no other option but to ditch those to protect our borders and security. 

The USA also stated the UN was dead, the Human Rights set up corrupt, and Europe was too close to Russia for anyone's well-being, being as it is, reliant to a huge 40% on Russian oil and gas.  The EU also allowed China to flood Europe with cheap steel imports designed to decimate European and British competition, by selling it well below the cost of its manufacture.

The EU has lost control over its own security and put us at risk as a result, by not erecting or protecting IT'S own borders. Then allowed dubious and well-meaning people to ferry in illegal immigrants actively aiding and abetting illegal immigration and assisting people smugglers, and then hand them free visas as 'Europeans' enabling them to go where they wanted.  The result? IS, AL Queda, and every other loony, racist and murdering terror group gets a EU welcome mat... worse genuine asylum seekers dumped in their favour...

Brexit isn't about racism or abuse it is about common sense and reality of this European 'free for all' that puts the UK and the western world at huge risk.  We MUST leave Europe on October 31st or face the demise of Britain.

Mary Hare: Boardroom Final.




Why a deaf oral education is superior to any sign-based one. (So why wasn't this presented to parliament when the BSL people lobbied parliament for deaf education access?).  Here, is visible proof our deaf children CAN speak and manage without sign language.  And its the top deaf school in the UK too.  There are alternatives, the activists just don't want your deaf children to have them.

Our future via technology...

HoH Clubs (UK)



But no captions... Oooops! (You SURE it is a HoH club?)

Why ELDS failed...


The former offices of East Lancashire Deaf Society Ltd, in Heaton Street, Blackburn
Lancashire Telegraph Demise of deaf charity and 76 jobs 'sparked by funding withdrawal'


A charity which looked after the needs of hundreds of people with hearing difficulties went under after a fall-out with benefit bosses, it has emerged. East Lancashire Deaf Society (ELDS), in Heaton Street, Blackburn, was placed into administration last month, forcing 76 staff out of work. 

But the Telegraph can now reveal the beginning of the end for the 142-year-old charity came when the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) is said to have withheld payments due to one of their offshoots, Signs Communication NW, under their Access to Work scheme last November. 

Administrators have put the outstanding figure at £286,521 after examining ELDS’ own accounting systems. But directors, who include former Royal National Institute for the Deaf chairman Doug Alker, say the accounts were not up-to-date and the total is closer to £400,000. Loans of £975,000 plus are owed to the Charity Bank Ltd and £567,488 is held as a fixed charge over their Kings Court offices by Christopher Holgate, a former Barnfield director. If the building is eventually sold then one or both of the parties may benefit. 

Their offices in Heaton Street, and Burnley’s Keirby Walk and Cannon Street, in Preston, were leasehold. But staff have been informed any outstanding wages, holiday pay or pension contributions, said to total £71,563 between them, are not expected to be recovered. Joint administrator Megan Singleton, in a report just filed with Companies House, said the company fell into arrears when the DWP withheld funds last November. “As such, the company was unable to pay expenses such as staff salaries,” she added. ELDS directors sought advice from the Charity Bank (CBL) and an initial approach was made to administrators Leonard Curtis. In the interim, a £100,000 loan was secured from CBL but arrears built up and the administrators were called in again. 

An unsuccessful effort was made to market ELDS and related services, like interpreting firm Sign Communications NW, Sound Solutions, Kings Nursery and the Parthenon Greek restaurant before the insolvency was finalised. The administrators have stressed Kings Court, which has 16 tenants, has continued to trade during the insolvency process. 

A DWP spokesman confirmed their Access to Work contract was with Sign Communications NW. She added: “The support for ELDS staff was delivered by Signs Communications North West and we are currently reviewing that relationship.”

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

All Our Yesterdays...

A look at the last 'War' between oralists and Signers.  When a UK hearing Loss charity sent the police around to deaf activists, a Deaf CEO was ousted by Hard Of Hearing, and then gagged for 2 years....  

Image result for Doug Alker

Britain's leading deaf charity riven by warring factions

Wed 5 Jul 2000:  Several thousand deaf people are expected to march in London on Saturday to promote awareness of British sign language (BSL) and call for its official recognition as the equivalent of a spoken tongue. The Federation of Deaf People, which is organising the march, says BSL is in more common use than Welsh, Cornish and Scottish Gaelic combined.

The federation has been set up by Doug Alker, former chief executive of the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID), who this week also publishes a book setting out his version of the momentous events surrounding his departure from the charity in 1997.

At the time, the charity said he "wanted the freedom and time to tackle issues close to his heart". But Alker, whose severance deal included a two-year vow of silence on events, now says this was far from the truth. In a bitter and outspoken attack on the RNID leadership - in particular, chair David Livermore - he claims he was victim of a palace coup for moving too far and too fast towards a deaf people's agenda. The significance of this is that Alker was the first deaf chief executive of the RNID. 

His appointment in 1994 was hailed as a watershed in the world of disability charities. But, according to his account, he soon became mired in the long-running feud between "oralists" (those who believe deaf children should be exposed to the conversation and discouraged from signing) and advocates, like himself, of BSL.

In the book, Really Not Interested in the Deaf? Livermore is portrayed as sympathetic to the oralists. He is accused of manoeuvring to oust Alker and replace him with James Strachan, the current chief executive, who is also deaf but comes from a very different background to Alker.

Alker's departure in 1997 triggered outrage on the part of some deaf activists, who forced an extraordinary general meeting of the charity but failed to defeat the leadership. Many activists are said then to have drifted away from the organisation.

One of the saddest episodes in the saga, as the book recalls, was the involvement of police at the apparent instigation of the leadership. Officers visited a house being used as a mailing address by a self-styled "RNID action group", collecting support for the emergency meeting, and seized correspondence that was allegedly then handed over to the charity. Alker writes: "The RNID's involvement of the police against its own deaf members had a chilling effect."

Alker, 59, is now based in Lancashire, where he is working to attract young deaf people to the federation's rights agenda. The RNID says it is unable to comment on his book without seeing it, but points out that he worked for the charity for 10 years in all and that it shares his goal of official recognition of BSL.

SOURCE

We don't want to 'fit in'....

deaf babies from Eliza Crossley on Vimeo.

Complete rubbish basically, as she described the medical people suggested things a deaf child can USE to advance her access in life, there was no suggestion they told parents not to sign etc.... her tirade was rather silly, uninformative, and biased.  As for 'fitting into society' doesn't every one of us want to be included?  frankly, I think she blew any options she might have had... 

BSL in Education? NDCS says No.

Image result for educationThere is a fair amount of publicity recently re education and sign, with demands for BSL on the curriculum for all deaf and Hearing.  The Government response seems to be standing back and leaving it to schools themselves, on the understanding no other lesson on the curriculum suffers as a result, and more importantly for schools, the government are NOT going to provide funding for it, read below a recent transcript of a debate in parliament.  With the NDCS stating BSL ISN'T a primary requirement.  

"I, therefore, need to ask the Minister what discussions he has had with his ministerial colleagues at the DWP about the prospects for a British Sign Language GCSE. As he knows, the DFE has already piloted a GCSE and has it ready to go, but the Government will not give it the green light. One has to ask why not. Perhaps the Minister will explain in the wind-ups whether that is a DWP decision or a DFE one.

Scotland has led the way with the passing of the British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015. In 2016 Northern Ireland launched its consultation, and now the Welsh Government are consulting on introducing BSL into their curriculum. England seems to be lagging behind. In 2003, in UK terms, BSL was officially recognised as a language in its own right by the Department for Work and Pensions. In 2009 the UK Government ratified the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, which states, among other things, that we should uphold such rights by:

“Recognizing and promoting the use of sign languages.”

Having said that, however, I think there is a small conflict between the title of the petition and what people were being asked to sign. The title states, “Make British Sign Language part of the National Curriculum”, but the wording asks why BSL is not taught in schools. The National Deaf Children’s Society has reiterated its position on a BSL GCSE: the society does not believe that it needs to be a mandatory part of the national curriculum, but that it might be easier for the DFE simply to approve the GCSE in British Sign Language that has already been piloted. That would make it an option for schools, should they deem it appropriate, but the DFE appears to be refusing to give the go-ahead due to a blanket policy on no new GCSEs.​"

UK Special Needs system in meltdown.


Deaf boy and teacher.
Indeed!   But the TYPE of educational format is still undecided, they are still highly reluctant to adopt BSL as any primary means of language access for the deaf child and given oral tuition is proving more successful in academic terms.  Here, a deaf charity uses the  topical issue of a new PM in the UK to urge more investment, given the last 10 years I doubt it will happen, my own local educational areas is trying to  cease supporting SEND e.g.  The UK has no money it seems to invest in the disabled or the poor or elderly any more, and the welfare arm of the DWP is removing daily, care/support and financial assistance.

The issue with the Deaf is they are not promoting/support/access on the right grounds if they did, there 'might' be more funding going towards them.  E.G. mi££ions are going towards sign promotion and cultural art awareness and little or none into basic education of the deaf child,  all that is happening there are hard-line deaf activists demanding BSL for everything.  What will happen is an impoverished community, at a huge disadvantage, not a vital or thriving one... and the state won't OK a signing educational approach.  Not least because it affects parental choice, but essentially,  there is no infrastructure, deaf schools, or trained people to make it happen.  From what we read the deaf charity hasn't understood that yet...

"A new PM must help children with special educational needs They’ll have to find a way of reversing cuts to staff and repairing the damage caused by years of underinvestment, says Steve Haines of a children's deaf charity.


It’s heartbreaking to see that children with special educational needs are being left without the support they so desperately need (Special needs education is breaking our budgets, say councils, 19 July). Every child in this country has been promised a world-class education. Instead, they’re being constantly held back because of a chronic lack of funding. The responsibility to fix it now falls to the incoming prime minister. 

They’ll inherit a broken system that is failing disabled children. They’ll have to find a way of reversing cuts to staff and repairing the damage caused by years of underinvestment. But they’ll also get the chance to have a lasting impact on the lives of over a million children. Whether they choose to take it, and how quickly they act, will show exactly what kind of leader they want to be."

Monday, 22 July 2019

BSL and Autism (UK)

Rachel Shenton tying the first ribbon to mark the launch of a campaign to get sign language added to the national curriculumAs a parent OF an autistic child, I have to respond to the claim BSL is beneficial to them.  My child's autistic education and communication support only ever used Makaton, sparingly, with only those with Autism who are felt capable of learning it.    Most was supplemented with PECS cards.. both approaches appear to have failed.

I  recently attended one of the UK's largest colleges providing Autism educational support and saw no sign language, captioning, or subtitling used.  Where do BSL people get their 'facts' from?

The prevalence of the view, and considered opinion, is, that sign 'enhances silence' and means BSL is pretty much a no-no in language support terms for Autistics who struggle with communication quite differently to someone with hearing loss.  Maybe these promoters of BSL need to read recent posts where BSL hasn't the basic dictionary or signs to teach science in a classroom let alone address communication issues with Autistics.    I Just think the BSL/culture claims are off in a world of fantasising really, they haven't got own house in order yet.  The UK government has expressed no real desire to introduce sign to deaf children, let alone hearing.  It's all random approaches.

For the record, my child was brought up IN a home signing environment and was still unable to master anything but the most basics of 'toilet', and 'food'.   Even attempts to get him included IN BSL classes failed because those classes lack any tutor with experiences of autism, and teach predominantly adult hearing people.  Perhaps promoters of  BSL can explain their way around that?  Basically, you don't teach hearing children sign, it affects speech learning in them. (As it does in deafened adults), do we really want to add another disability to the one the autistic already has? We don't.

As regards to a BSL curriculum or class, the Government has resisted even talking about it, its been 'on the table' for years, we doubt it will happen with hearing children on any level at all.  Parents also expressed concern there are too many areas trying to get their cause into their child's school curriculum already to the determined of learning what they need to know the 3 R's.  Given BSL has no norm has not enough signs to teach children with, and concerns over indoctrination' via culture too, we doubt it will happen...

Would parents of Autistics feel the deaf community can accept or support them, we don't.  Hard of Hearing won't even go there.

ITEM:

Campaigners calling for sign language to be added to the national curriculum are creating a ‘silent shout’ out of thousands of ribbons. The colourful art installation – featuring personal messages from the deaf community – is taking shape outside dDeaflinks Staffordshire’s Ellis Centre in Shelton. 

Oscar-winner Rachel Shenton helped launch the campaign on Saturday by attaching the first ribbon to a fence. The art ‘wall’ will act as a visual representation of supporters’ voices. The Caverswall-born actress and screenwriter explored the isolation felt by some deaf pupils in her film, The Silent Child. It showed how the main character’s world was opened up after being taught sign language. 

Honorary degree recipients revealed Rachel, who is a patron of dDeaflinks Staffordshire, said: “We started what felt like a national conversation about sign language. Now so many people want to learn it. “Children already learn different languages in school. If they were taught British sign language (BSL), it wouldn’t just be beneficial for deaf children. There are also children who are non-verbal or autistic.”  

Sunday, 21 July 2019

The Impossible dream

Image result for to dream the impossible dream lyricsTo dream the impossible dream

To fight the unbeatable foe

To bear with unbearable sorrow

To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong

To love pure and chaste from afar

To try when your arms are too weary

To reach the unreachable star
Not all happy on the disability social site front it appears..  One poster insisting making ourselves invisible is why 'Invisible disabilities' stay that way after another responded suggesting some disabled contribute to, and actually enjoy being a 'victim', then all hades broke loose.

"I'm sorry if I gave the impression simply gritting your teeth and facing people down was the way I went, and the way everyone else can succeed.  I tend to assume disabled/deaf whatever, know the background to things and so less requirement to explain, we are supposed to be self-aware.  Ironically we are the least... so much for awareness...

It took me 11 years in the wilderness first, mainly to realise I was the architect of my own isolation.    I  went deaf sat at home, for days, weeks, and months on my own, and yes, I blamed everyone else for that too.   You have to analyse yourself, face your limitations, and not front it out, suggesting you have none... or your issue is not going to be recognised at all... Be quite brutal really, e.g. IS this my fault for not dealing with my own issue? accept it's also quite logical to blame others. 

You need to ID your strengths, dump the guilt, decide what you want/need and go for it.  I don't think you can win on the 'invisible' thing unless you MAKE yourself visible, none of us, least of all me, is going to walk around with it tattooed on my forehead.   People cannot make adjustments unless you make it clear what those adjustments are, and perhaps explain what will suit you, but it may well NOT suit the next person who 'appears' to be like me.    First impressions count? Erm  NOT!  You have to actually engage too, not expect others to do it for you.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, meme and textDisabled and others are pretty obsessed with the terminology, it takes their mind off dealing with what goes on mostly, YAY! its 'THEIR' fault not mine... they can turn on you for saying the term 'we', which cannot ever under pain of death be used.  Then they post statistics to bolster the cause celeb quoting everyone else!  Disability campaigning isn't based on logic.  Better if 1,000s are the same as us, as one or two won't cut it, they don't see the conundrum at all.

The problem is a challenge to the status disability quo, we aren't all the same and the powers to be can struggle if there is no 'uniform approach' or one size that fits all, it makes planning difficult, and supply and demand don't gel.  I know similar areas to my own with hearing loss, there are so many different alternative demands going in, only THE most visible are going to get the access they need.  The rest are squabbling to get their particular need in,  it's chaos at present.  

In essence, the idea of a unified disability movement is an impossible dream. To be frank I don't WANT the support offered now, primarily because it is (A)  not what I want, and (B) because of the dependency reliance factor, and (C) I would have to justify it every time...  Ask ourselves the question do we WANT to rely on someone else to care/help/translate us, wipe our bum? We all approach inclusion/support or non-inclusion/access our own way.  

I posted on a recent hearing loss blog, 'The next person that includes either a pair of hands or an ear,  will get short shrift from me..'  I am not my issue, I am me.  Of course, access is a postcode lottery,  e.g. unless you live in a large town or city where numbers can be seen and campaigns supported, you simply don't get it.  The 'trend' such as it is these days is to drop support, charities and most campaigns from what I see, and go online hoping some random system rep actually reads about it or acts on it.  They won't.    Their employers decide what they can afford, not what you need.

We have to face up to things ourselves, is it hard? of course, it is...  I don't think we have any choice.  Anger and being 'prickly' is the first reaction to any disability, but the trick I think is not to make a 'career' of it and blame everyone else for NOT seeing an invisible issue, or perhaps not highlighting it yourself.  Making yourself a victim or martyr isn't attractive...

There will be some saying 'Why is this poster saying WE? he doesn't speak for me...' etc.    It is why disability unity is a myth, they are a crazy mixed-up bunch really, who recently thought it fun to endorse 43 emojis labelling them all... and opposing every other term applied to them by themselves or by others.  'Labels are for JARS' but adopting emojis or inventing your own is different apparently... The hearing loss area went  6 or7  times better by capitalising individual words and inventing a dozen other terms for not hearing well or at all...  and attacking the rest... Of course, the system (And US), have stopped giving a S.H.*.T.  basically..."

USA: Deaf Mentor Training

DEAF MENTOR TRAINING VIDEO (FINAL) from Summit Studios on Vimeo.

3 days, how to be a deafie... doesn't look any more organised than the chaotic 'whatever' approach the UK uses!  (I thought brain-washing/indoctrination was illegal...)  3 days is ridiculous as a basis for being a mentor.  It isn't about seeing another deaf person signing, its about the role of Mentoring and client privacy and other issues also.  Are they checked out by police first etc?  As social workers for the deaf here have to be as do carers...  It would appear a dangerous loophole exists via 'cultural support'.  The set up 'looks' professional but...

BSL not good enough for Science.


Image result for Liam Mcmulkin
What's deoxyribonucleotide in sign language?  (Or, how the BSL dictionary faked it?). Explains 'Why Paddy Ladd decided sign was not the medium for his opus either.'...  



Why won't the 'Deaf'  use Signed English?  To keep deaf in the dark?  As he explains there AREN'T any BSL equivalents and he has to make them up himself...  Will that help if they still aren't in the dictionary? Finger-spelling 'DNA' won't cut it, when detail is important.  How can they train deaf to be scientists via BSL?

Liam was so frustrated by the lack of signs for scientific words, he created his own Frustrated at the lack of complex scientific terms in British Sign Language, a Dundee student has created more than 100 new signs to help deaf people express themselves when talking about science. For any new student, coming into a lecture theatre or a laboratory can be nerve-wracking - especially if you can't hear. 

That was the reality Liam Mcmulkin faced when he began studying life sciences at the University of Dundee in 2015. Born deaf, Liam was the first person in his family to go to university, after receiving an undergraduate scholarship from The Robertson Trust. He admitted having fears about what life as a student would be like, particularly when it came to lectures: "When I applied to university, I was worried about two things,"

"Firstly, I was at school with 10 other deaf people but now at university, I was the only deaf person. How could I communicate? "Secondly, English at university is at a higher level, would I be able to cope? "I thought I would just apply anyway."  Liam previously had to spell out scientific terms using fingerspelling Frustrated at the lack of complex scientific terms in British Sign Language (BSL) during classes, Liam decided to take matters into his own hands. "Watching the interpreters for a one hour lecture is very tiring," he said. "There are a lot of new words and scientific words are often very long, like 'deoxyribonucleotide' and 'deoxyribonucleoside'. 

"Sometimes the interpreter would be fingerspelling for ages and I was having to watch it. "We would make up new signs which meant it was easier next time, but it also meant I had to learn new signs which was very tiring."

Trustees leaving BDA over concerns about its direction.

Image result for ashley Kendall deaf
Tale of the tape....


February David Buxton leaves the BDA, 

May, Robert Adam, and Alex Dury leave.  

July, Ashley Kendall has.   


View Ashley's reasons here.    Just what IS going on at the British Deaf Association? (Apart from them still rooted in the 19th and 20thc!).  Has dogmatic cultural pursuit done if for the BDA?  Bad financial management? or oppressive and bullying leadership?  If they cannot hold their dynamic youth its all over for them isn't it?

Feedback (More on the site):

#1  "Thanks Ashley there is a law that allows people to speak out ‘whistle blowing’ this protects people who have to speak out. I’m afraid I personally lost faith in the BDA a long time ago over other issues but that was then ., now is now. If the charity is failing it it’s charitable object .. if it is not performing its duties. If trustees have no faith in the trustees the chair to function then it has a duty to report it .. well done for speaking out ... let’s hope something happens to save it , to unite deaf people and to become fit for today’s and the future needs times are a-changing."

#2  "What a dreadful state of affairs. Thank you Ashley for your honesty and integrity. You did the right thing in stepping down - there is no need to apologise because it’s clear from your vlog that the situation was beyond your control. I am a new-ish Member, and I don’t feel duly informed from the current Chair or the remaining Board about what’s happened. I’m not happy about that because it shows a lack of transparency and accountability. That is very serious. So I truly appreciate, so far, you and Abi giving your reasons as best you could. Thank you for that, and for all your hard work and commitment over the years. I’m incredibly sad too - things were looking so bright for the BDA and its new Board only a few years ago. But if we members have no confidence in the existing governance, then a vote of no confidence it shall be. 😢"