Saturday, 24 August 2019
Seems deaf in Africa were caught out with their deaf census just as the UK was. The primary issue is asking the right questions regarding the deaf/disabled/hard of hearing etc. Actually, NO question was asked regarding hearing loss and nobody defined deafness.
The UK approach was obviously, an utter and biased shambles with BSL campaigners insisting on just one basic question which was 'do you use BSL?'. Apart from anything else the question ignored 10m Hard of Hearing and 1,000s of 'deaf', when you add in, that daily usage, reliance, primary use of sign language, and 7 other essential questions needed to get any sort of reliable statistic, the end result was a culture shock to the BSL using people in the UK.
It would appear even with the biased, loaded, and the obscure question being asked, actual census responses cut charitable statistics by 60% overnight. People who responded to the simplistic question of sign use did not ask even if the respondee was deaf or hearing, or even if BSL was their primary means of communication. Filling in a census form was pointless, there is no validation system. Like the above response, Deaf responded by attacking the census instead when the result appeared to show their claims unsubstantiated. An own goal for cultural deaf campaigns.
The 'fight back' by charities of the deaf resulted in an ever-increasing and rising claim of BSL usage beyond the realm of fantasy and none of them validated. E.G. The English assumption of BSL deaf was 30,000 at that time the census who did not identify use or degree cut that in half. Today the claim is 150,000, or as in one case on the BDA site 10m! The reality is nobody really knows or ever will.
What we do know is deaf schools on their way out, clubs closing down, and fewer people taking up sign language or interpreting. Interpreter demand seems to be paper or internet-based rather than need-based as approximately only 300 exist to 'serve' these 150,000 alleged users. ATR contacted primary areas in the UK to ascertain if real statistics existed to quote, by asking Interpreter bodies and welfare support systems, what ATR got in response, was zero.
'We are sorry we do not keep any records of BSL usage via individuals, there may be some records kept by auditors of local authorities. welfare agencies or those claiming interpreter support via payment records. However, and as you are probably aware we cannot give you the information you ask for via freedom of information laws, because the Data Protection Act makes it illegal for us to provide you with the details you ask.
So one law is 'trumped' by another preventing you from knowing?
You could approach the RNID, or the British Deaf Association, obviously, we cannot confirm if their statistics are correct or not as you asked, they appear to gather stats from NHS areas of hearing loss and disabilities, you would have to ask them how they differentiate to gather sign language information. I would further add we noticed your area (Wales), is a devolved health area of the United Kingdom, so again, you would need to approach the Welsh Assembly for the information you need. As we are aware there are no specific national records kept for what you are asking."
The state arm of welfare, (the DWP), initially refused to offer up any information at all, claiming the FOI law did not apply to them. When pushed then demanded a £600 'search fee' area by area, (which would have cost ATR many £1,000s, even then stated it would not provide me with what I want to know because 'We don't keep records of that.' Of course, they do, because in order to assess deaf claimants, BSL provision would have to be provided, ergo a record of those costs and provision has to exist. There may be some truth in deaf claims they are simply refusing to provide that access in many cases, or simply deaf aren't asking for it.
On the grounds of responses so far, it would appear (A) Nobody has any idea how many people use sign language, (B) The sole 'sources' come from charities who themselves cannot validate or (C) There is no real data gathering done on BSL. Nobody really knows BSL areas can state any number they want, how would you challenge when you cannot prove anything either?
Logic suggests, that those seeking active support for sign language are the true figures to quote, although gathering that statistic is difficult too, the indication is a very much lower demand for BSL than any of the current claims to the contrary. Probably TWO THIRDS lower than activism and charity is claiming.