Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Adopting the Holistic approach.

Archived webinar from October 09, 2019 with Dr. Nicola Grove.

As professionals planning and delivering interventions with children with disabilities, we all surely subscribe to the philosophy of Total Communication - the value of all modalities and resources harnessed to support communication development. But what does this mean in practice? Are all modalities regarded as important? Do we really take account of children’s skills and preferences when we allocate resources? 

What do we know about the affordances of particular modalities for functional communication purposes? Manual signing is used worldwide by millions of Deaf people for whom it is a first or preferred language and with hundreds of thousands of individuals who have communication disabilities. The last half of the 20th century saw numerous research papers and practical resources dedicated to issues of how to teach, use and develop signing within the framework of Augmentative and Alternative Communication, but currently, these have been superseded by an almost exclusive focus on aided systems and devices. 

There are still remarkably few studies of signing development over time, or of everyday use. As a result, speech /pathologists and educators have limited resources on which they can draw to support the evidence-based practice to which they are committed. A second critical issue is that there is increasing evidence of deaf children who have additional needs and disabilities, whose signing is delayed or disordered. 

For these children, even with the support of cochlear implants, sign remains the primary communication system. There are also many hearing children with disabilities born to native signing Deaf parents. Teachers and therapists are in need of information about how best to plan intervention for these children. The webinar will be based on the research and practice drawn together in the first-ever text dedicated to this topic - Manual Sign Acquisition in Children with Developmental Disabilities, edited by Nicola Grove and Kaisa Launonen (Nova, 2019). 

This book integrates findings from both sign language and Key Word Sign; considers practical issues of intelligibility, vocabulary and semantics, grammar and pragmatics; and provides evidence of sign development in different clinical populations. You are invited to participate in this webinar by bringing your own experiences and questions for discussion. Here are a few reoccurring questions that will be addressed in this webinar. 

-What is the role of manual sign and gesture in AAC?

 - Is there really any evidence that the effort involved in teaching signs to children with disabilities is worth it? 

- Are aided systems or signs the best way to promote communication for children with various disabilities (eg. autism, cerebral palsy)? 

- Are there prerequisite skills that should be taught before introducing children to manual sign? 

- How can we encourage children to generalize their use of taught signs? 
- Do signs increase stigma for children with disabilities by making them more conspicuous? 

- Should we be promoting sign language or keyword sign systems with deaf children who have additional disabilities? 

-Do children have a human right to use signs?

Deaf Roots (Scotland).

The problem with the BDA (Apart from the danger of a total meltdown at their next EGM where executive bullying is alleged to have forced 7 trustees to quit one after another, and the charity was issuing gagging orders to members, and operating in secrecy), is the over-focus on the culture at the expense of support. A charity that is not free and offers open scrutiny to all and apparently not adhering to charitable rules either.  A charity that uses paranoia and fear of discrimination to ensure the vulnerable Deaf don't think or act for themselves.  They use sign language to exclude others too.

No doubt the deaf club fraternity welcome the continuing indoctrination of the cultural gig but the type of support our young deaf need, is more effective and practical approaches to communication, so they aren't catered for exclusively as a hearing-dependent minority group on the fringe of everything blaming nasty hearing people for everything.  The very people enabling them.

The constant desire to create martyrs to the cultural cause is ridiculous and holding back deaf people.   In reality, the BDA is out of touch WITH the deaf, it has few members and continues to exist virtually in name only riding on its past successes, currently, it runs at a loss too.

The BDA is a dated charity, created when deaf had nothing else, today that is no longer true and the BSL-deaf amid the best-served hearing loss area in the UK, (in direct contrast to the hard of hearing majority, yet to have a national support set up). Another issue is what happens to the BDA if Scotland decides on independence?  near all their BDA  support is funded from central government in London. This area would be unlikely to continue funding for free if that or Brexit happens, and there is an issue of the BDA itself unwilling to fund an independent state in the UK.  Scotland would have to develop own charity and get funding from own government. 

Like the AOHL, BDA deaf and hearing loss charities have refused so far to recognise regional developments, even the Scottish one, keeping all moneys and influence and HQ's concentrated in or around London. 78% of all HQ's of charities are there.  Wales annex's of the BDA and AOHL refused point-blank to give any autonomy to its offices, ensuring English dominance, so locals cannot decide when and where support is given, or to whom, in fact, regional deaf and HoH have little or no say at all. Mainly because no charity is able to consult us. 

This current advert is yet another attempt to prevent young deaf going away from culture and BSL to integrate, spoon-feeding young deaf to suggest only by all deaf staying together will they ever be treated as equals, and the gullible deaf buying into that conundrum, but, you cannot be in it and out of it. It is of concern funding is not being used exclusively for integrational purposes but promoting parallel approaches instead.  

This suggests to deaf they are NEVER going to be accepted, and the BDA and others stating it is because they sign, and hearing won't, it beggars belief deaf would buy that argument while at the same time demanding inclusion and equality, either they want it, or they don't, and if they do then they have to get rid of dinosaurs like the BDA, hanging desperately onto the past. 

Integration and acceptance mean deaf have to be out there, not confined 'In there' where only deaf people congregate and they all sign in defiance of what the rest of the country does elsewhere.  Young deaf don't want that isolation and singular approach.  It suggests BDA inclusive policies are a sham in Deaf terms and they really have no will to integrate but prefer to utilise funding to reinforce their own separatist aims.  They don't call the separation as isolation but a right of culture, deaf, are the masters of not saying what they really mean.  Let's call their bluff.

Young deaf having nothing to lose and most are doing their own thing anyway.

International Deaf Week

Just how many do the deaf need to raise awareness? Given that each deaf individual has own defined need, how does the collective approach function?  How does an international approach work in just one country?  Incidentally, the Hard Of Hearing the majority with deafness and loss have never felt the need for one... It rather suggests the signing deaf are far more disabled than the hype they put out... which says they aren't.