Tuesday, 22 October 2019

BSL in London.

talk more about hearing loss, Centre for Deaf Education
We are encouraging debate around understanding and knowledge of hearing loss and acknowledgement of how it can unnecessarily exclude people from activities which many would consider a fundamental right. 

[Hearing loss and profound deafness are not viewed the same thing by cultural and signing DEAF.]

Activities such as accessing healthcare at a time and place which is convenient for them or carrying out their civic duty by serving on a Jury in a crown court. Research conducted by the NHS (2) has shown that almost three-quarters of deaf people (74%) felt that their employment opportunities were limited because of their deafness and over two thirds (68%) have felt isolated at work. 

[Limitations can also be down to poor literacy and sign language reliance, unfortunately, the mainstream of employment does not utilise sign language as a primary or even secondary medium of basic communication, its empowerment needs third parties which also affects deaf opportunity via access.]

A lack of education and access to training is helping to keep barriers to communication in place. Our research has revealed that: 

• 94% of people surveyed don’t know more than two signs in BSL. 

[really? 94% of hearing, or deaf?]

• 60% of people would like to learn to communicate better with deaf people and those with hearing loss, which is positive news we need to build upon. 

[We don't see that borne out via applications to sign classes.  No surveys are validated.]

• 61% of people feel that those who are deaf, or who have some level of hearing loss, are marginalised in society because not enough people know how to communicate with them effectively.

[Or deaf people taught how to communicate to hearing effectively either! If they are waiting for hearing people to sign at them they are in for a lengthy wait.   Deaf education is a waste of time if that's happening, in that the deaf are never taught ways of communicating to others.  Do they expect they can do their own thing instead?    The lack of clarity on what hearing loss and deafness entails, formats used and support available to make them effective, combined with the bias of awareness, only adds to the issue, mainstream don't know what we need unless we inform them personally, and campaigns are for A and B defined hearing loss areas, lip-reading for HoH, and sign for deaf, that misleads, in short, 'deaf awareness' only ever highlights sign awareness, NOT hearing loss awareness, charities have been polarised this way for 25 years, deaf campaigns have never lobbied on any other basis.]

We can change this. Generally speaking, BSL, lipreading and managing hearing loss courses provide students with an incredible range of tools, indeed they can use in both their professional and personal lives. Further, deaf awareness training for friends and family members and organisations is important in improving communication with deaf and hard of hearing people. We strive to influence the UK Government and policymakers about the importance of BSL education and we welcomed the then Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds MP’s, announcement in November 2018 that the Department for Education and Ofqual were in the process of reviewing proposals for a BSL GCSE. 

[This isn't explained properly, although demands for a BSL based education system have been highlighted, nothing happened about it, and the NDCS has voiced against, and despite BSL recognition pre 2005 by Europe the British educational system has not introduced sign as a primary educational medium for the deaf child, there is a multi-layered, holistic approach to give the deaf child the widest options.]

Equally, we have welcomed the London Mayor’s commitment to fully fund BSL Level 1 and 2 for deaf adults.

[I wonder how many deaf adults would even attend/need such a class?  BSL classes only encourage hearing people so far. Lip-reading classes attracting NO deaf adults who sign already.   Level 1 and 2 would barely gain them entrance to a deaf club.  It looks like the article writer is pro-BSL and that's fine, but a deaf adult would not be in difficulty if he or she managed to get to adulthood without sign, they would have already acquired alternatives.  Such low levels are not approved by Deaf charities as valid enough to support a qualification, when we take into account BSL Interpreters need level 6 and above.  Its beginner stuff colours and numbers.  As stated level 1/2 would not enable them to support each other.]

I'm staggered at the low level of the awareness displayed by the article writer.


No room at the top.

Image result for elitismThat is room for inclusive policies and transparency of running what is mooted to be the UK's number one signing and cultural charity, the BDA.  Social media is now openly expressing concern at the British Deaf Association, asking why 7 trustees felt they could not work alongside the signing executive and concerns there were suggestions they could go into liquidation, they are already running at a loss. Further concerns a 'hearing' interpreter was being opportunistic and displaying unease a hearing person was going to disrupt this ancient charity.  The news for those people is that hearing are empowering them via interpreters, biting the hand that feeds seems negative.  Anti-hearing politics have to stop, we are looking paranoid and insular to others.

Many concerns and various demands for the BDA to cease using sign language and culture, as a blunt tool to proceed in a direction the majority of deaf people don't support and followed that through by resigning as members.  The scandal of 'What really goes on in secret with the upper hierarchy at the BDA?'  is developing conspiracy theories.  The strange view online of deaf very very reluctant to question what goes on is the community supporting its own despite very unhappy at what is emerging with few members willing to go public and ask there.  Laudable but ensuring nothing changes for the better.  The comment below was a posted answer in response to a BDA member who expressed concern he could not openly put his view online because of pressures from the BDA.  It is left to ex BDA members and others to ask the real questions.

"BDA Members aren't running scared of the executive, are they? I thought that was what caused 7 trustees to resign? and Ms Richards seeing a vacuum to fill, another opportunist. The BDA is no longer fit for deaf purposes, it relies totally on BSL and culture and is not addressing the realities of either in regards to advancing the opportunities or support for deaf people, it's turning into some sort of sect at the top, anyone that expresses a concern is labelled and attacked as 'attacking deaf people' well ATR IS deaf! and it is a bad image for deaf people to support, the politics of fear. 

Deaf children need access and support to the outside world, the BDA is determined to keep them all in some 'closed shop', signing away and getting nowhere. Few if any of their campaigns are about integrating deaf people or inclusion. It started out demanding inclusion but now thrives on EX-cluding people who don't fit whatever their 'image' is supposed to be. It is great more people are looking to help the deaf but the conditions the BDA sets is counterproductive and the loss of so many members is ample proof it isn't working. I left the BDA because they told me they only wanted deaf who supported culture and used sign language, I said 'Where have you been the last 40 years? and how does that help deaf people?' 

Inclusion, usually means a fair amount of determination to be included, the BDA has never supported that, only paid 'lip-service' to it, the sham has been exposed, and I doubt the BDA will succeed by maintaining this ridiculous dogma at the same times using the culture and sign, to discriminate against what is, the MAJORITY of deaf people and others with hearing loss.  No one is fooled by the blatant practice of 'going it alone' and failing to help others who don't 'fit in'. What next for the BDA? rolled-up trouser legs and funny handshakes! Join the 21stc, please. Who knows I might even re-apply to join then."