Friday, 20 December 2019

Deaf Difference and Space.

Deaf MP refused sign support.

David Buxton head and shoulders
David Buxton head and shoulders Deaf election candidate plans legal action over the government’s access costs refusal.

A Deaf candidate in last week’s general election is planning to take legal action against the government after he had to raise thousands of pounds to cover the cost of sign language interpreters during the campaign. Liberal Democrat David Buxton, who came second to Tory Damian Hinds in East Hampshire, believes he faced discrimination because of the government’s refusal to meet the impairment-related costs of disabled election candidates. 

He also believes that this failure was a breach of his rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Buxton (pictured) calculated that he would have needed about £20,000 to pay for all the British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters he needed for a full election campaign, and to challenge his Tory opponent on a level playing-field. 

But he was only able to raise about £5,000 and so had to cut back on his campaign plans, restricting his ability to meet and communicate with local voters. Because of the government’s refusal to ensure this level playing-field, disabled parliamentary candidates like Buxton were forced to pay for costs such as BSL interpreters, personal assistants, assistive technology and taxi fares. Although the Liberal Democrats were able to provide some financial support for Buxton, he had to meet most of the costs himself and through contributions from family and friends. 

He told Disability News Service this week that he now planned to take legal action against the government. He has contacted the same legal team that represented him and two other disabled politicians in their successful case against the government’s decision to close the Access to Election Office Fund (AEOF) in 2015.

ATR:  The 'right' of deaf people to be funded for 'social reasons' has always been a no from the system.  UK Deaf and disabled are only able to claim support funds to access systems, (E.G. Health emergency etc welfare areas), but not stand for parliament.  ATR recalls a complaint from a deaf parent with a child in residential care who was refused signed support because the parental request to visit her child was made by the parent and was not an arranged visit, by the social care worker who would have 'legitimised' the visit on welfare grounds but only on the child's behalf, not the deaf parents.  

Systems claim to support deaf people outside welfare systems and emergencies, would open up demands for 'social' visits to cinemas, hearing clubs and every area hearing attend.  Albeit real demand for that has never been proven, deaf preferring own social bubble.  I suspect this attempt to sue is more to raise BSL awareness than any realistic prospect support to follow would have got him elected anyway.  It would appear the deaf area isn't targeted specifically for lack of funding to stand politically,  other disabled are too.

Is there any voter in the constituency he stood for prepared to comment?  Was he viewed aware of local and national issues e.g?.  Is Mr Buxton deaf OR disabled?  The area he represents (The deaf one) insists he isn't disabled but he is suing on that basis as the systems do not see deafness as anything other than a disablement and his demands for expensive support bears it out £20,000? blimmin eck!

Didn't blind MP David Blunket stand for parliament and win his seat, with just a dog and a notetaker?  And Jack Ashley a deafened MP do the same?  I am assuming Mr Buxton can read... or even use the current technology to assist?  Rights ONLY apply IF, the person applying has an access problem that such singular provision can ONLY be used to follow, but the deaf have other and alternatives to sign to follow and use them every day.  

Choice has to be respected in regards to the fact alternatives exist and the person if claiming can utilise those, preference is being used as a blunt tool by some deaf and does nobody any favours, given BSL support is horrendously expensive provision and they are refusing cheaper and equally viable options they can use.  Cost is the driver and if deaf want such access they have to use the options they already use daily anyway.  All the HoH have is an aid and a loop!

Footnote:  Mr Buxton has stood before and been elected ergo:  David has run for Parliament twice, the last time in Lewisham East where he achieved a swing against Labour and the Conservatives

In 1997, fighting Labour in Lewisham East, he maintained the LibDem's share of the vote despite a Labour landslide victory
In 2001, fighting Labour, again in Lewisham East, he increased the parties vote by 5.2% with gains from Labour and the Tories
From 1997, David and his team fought hard to increase the number of councillors in Lewisham from 3 to 17 by 2006.

In 2010, Liberal Democrats came second at the General Election from a poor third place in 1997.

David's policy in 1997 of keeping to an agreed strategy led to more votes, more support, more helpers and more new members.  So how did he win those without sign?

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Deaf and the challenge of mental Health Support.

Image result for Mental health challenges for the deaf
What social media BSL areas are saying themselves.. (taken at random from Facebook and twitter sites)

"Is really sad government don’t care abt deaf people because of conservatives people shouldn’t vote conservatives cos conservatives plan cut disabled benefit and old people they won’t help deaf people special need also cuts nhs everything fuck up will more cuts getting worse for 5 years..."

"it's not cuts or Tories, the professionalism demanded doesn't exist nationally.'  You have to be moved to areas where that is, catch 22."

"I've sympathy with the dependent BSL user, the reality is that compromise has been opposed by people like the BDA, charities of the BSL ilk, and others who constantly demanded specialisations via BSL from professionals (even demanding THEY are deaf too). 

"Obviously, this is not going to happen is it? and I don't see why supportive 'Deaf' areas don't utilise localised support provisions via interpreters and such, so e.g. that older deaf or those with mental health issues can remain supported within own areas of health and community.  Those insisting they cannot use such areas aren't trying really to access them."

"My own area a deaf woman was offered support via the local mental health unit and consultants and was offered a BSL terp, instead, she complained to the BDA who said she had a right to choose a dedicated BSL service with her own 'people' who 'understand deaf issues', is the BDA blaming the deaf community for their own mental health problems?  Of course, no such service of specialisation existed within 96 miles of where she lived so she ended up in a home miles away and with no peers to socialise with either." 

"True, a leading psychiatrist based in London who also signed, was also turned down by a deaf client because 'he signs different to me.. English and Welsh sign is different', she ended up sitting there mute whilst the consultant talked to a signing social worker instead. Diagnosed in her absence really, human rights straight out of the window and endorsed by social services."

"What can you do when nobody within the locality has the same diagnostic or signing qualifications to help? The question we should be asking is why the community is reluctant to utilise what is already there?" 

"We must take help where we can get it, its stupid to make a point when the only person suffering is yourself."

"Specialisation demands just encourage more issues because the demand for it is isolated as well, and training has to include sign, which it isn't, it is a personal choice that's all, and only a few centres where they specialise.   For the deaf with mental health problems, there is Manchester, Bristol/Bath and London for treatment that's it.  Being diagnosed is a complete lottery in many areas so it gets put down to 'Being Deaf and Isolated and unable to communicate effectively' the treatment then is to continue that isolation, but somewhere else.  " 

"This suggests deaf education is at fault, doesn't it? and they are demanding more BSL which will only add to their problems."

"Residential homes cannot find sufficient trained staff to go BSL exclusive for just 1 or 2 BSL people, so they get sent miles away too. It is down to the deaf themselves to get what they need or, find an alternative to sign language."

"This means a sea change to deaf education and dropping the BSL centric approaches! the rights area will rip that to pieces.  That isn't going to happen is it?" 

ATR:  So what is the answer?  On the strength of response none really evident sadly, remote help by video? not really viable is it?  It's a piecemeal approach with very few pieces. The Deaf community is shrinking too so little peer on peer support is around.  In essence, the Deaf are insisting on a type of support that isn't there even within own areas.

The only real suggestion was to use BSL as a second option not a first, but that depends on those who determine the content and approach toward deaf education, and a real change of emphasis from activists.  We cannot help those older its too late,  their paths are too set to change, we can approach deaf children and youth differently so they have more communication options to offset reliance on just one approach.  They need all the strings to their bow they can master, but Deaf activism will block that.  

Note: BSL won't help the deaf who don't sign, so who looks after their interests?  Has anyone ever met a GP or specialist who can speak properly?

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

The best and the worst 2019.

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The best (And worst of UK deaf and HoH online sites 2019).  So many were complete rubbish I have included just the ones worth a mention.

Deafland -  Full of the deaf having fun, who have a real-life and not obsessed with sign language or culture and wouldn't know who Epee was except it now costs 50p to have one.  People getting on with it.

Deaf European (Politics) - May not be the worst deaf site in the UK ever, but we were not able to find anyone else as stupid, biased,   or uninformed, thank goodness few deaf look at it.  They probably still think the earth is flat too.  Full of egotistical deaf obsessed with own navel and my dog has more political awareness than they do, and he gets out more.  Off-shoot of the olde email deaf-UK area that never went outside a deaf club, experts on introspection.  Albeit have still no sign for that. Still think it is 1950 and they matter.  

UK Hard of Hearing.  A decent site discussing real awareness of hearing loss, albeit still a bit obsessed with the pros and cons of hearing aids and clinical stuff,  if they can drop the ear wax obsessions too, win-win,  but to be fair are getting better all the time, now taking the fight to the signing community after 15 years giving them a free run, battle joined.  Fully able to display neither a need for sign language or lip-reading and probably lead the way in use of technology that assists.

Charities.  A really difficult area to assess as all are total bollox and would not know awareness if it had 3 heads and bit them in the leg.  Patronisation taken to a new and very subversive level.

Image result for rights not charity
AOHL - Who use us all as a meal ticket, speak in our name and have no mandate (Who needs ACTUAL people with hearing loss, we don't!).  Kicked out their BSL members and never looked back.  Arch-experts at manufacturing statistics to meet their funding demands, and a corporate and charitable juggernaut no other deaf or hearing loss charities can match.    Is more interested in Royalty and holding awareness meets in posh hotels with hearing people.  Not comfortable with people who have hearing loss at all hence why all their executive are hearing and sign use support is a limited option.

The BDA - Hopeless losers with hardly any deaf membership and worship at the shrine of Paddy Ladd, absolutely convinced Milan was actually a watershed deaf moment and not just had a passable football team.  Can beat AOHL any day on manufacturing bare-faced lies and statistics, think of any number can double, triple or quadruple it, last count more BSL people lived in the UK than Brits did.

Has an executive Hitler would be proud of and why you never hear any complaints from their members.  Has more trustees than most, but they do tend to suddenly vanish without a trace quite a lot.  Lost 8 of them last year.  Has online sewn up, only supporters who keep their mouths shut and pass the BSL entrance exam and know the funny hand-shakes can join or stay.  A prime example of WHY deaf signers are still alienated.  Let's hope BDA members stay that way.

The NADP - probably the only online site alleged to represent people deafened but is still unable to actually show any members fitting that criteria.  Has been buried 4 times but still online for some reason nobody is able to fathom.  Loss Zombies. Some say it's for the funding to stay online but we don't really know, they offer no viable services and have no identifiable support system or awareness either.  Leftovers from retired social services mostly who love wandering about stately homes.

Deafinitely Theatre.   The show must go on (Deaf need all the dosh they can get). Composed of the most expensive, opinionated and London-based deaf theatrical luvvies in the entire UK, but who produce no output anyone watches outside their own fan club in London.  Reputed to be mostly composed of members who have claimed the highest amount of welfare payments of any disabled sector in the entire UK but who insist despite claiming disability funding they aren't.  Nice work if you can get it, and they have.  The output is obscure mostly, (the emperor's new clothes but with hands).

Deaf Umbrella.  They don't even need rain.  Sees itself as an 'aggregator' of some kind that operates as a 'think tank' with major charity players as members.  It's more the tail wagging the dog as without major players turning up they would fold, mostly criticised for failing to include smaller dedicated charities, and only interested in the big players, priced out the smaller ones.   Major players use this charity primarily to headhunt the more active and kill off the opposition who attend. Looking at profitable charity ventures and then moving in on them to asset strip. A prime example of what is all wrong about deaf and hearing loss support since we all became a commodity to be sold off to the highest bidder.

Most of the other 553+  not worth a mention really, with 78% duplicating themselves, most with no financial acumen whatever and bleeding support funding dry to no use to us, many with less than 5 members and unable to offer any type of support.    4 major ones folded this year costing over 300 deaf a living from sheer incompetence.  Offering blind dogmatic support for culture as opposed to supporting basic need.  Has cost fund givers £m's in handouts this year and no visible improvements in support or awareness have been seen.  They sit behind a computer and hardly have any contact with real deaf or Hard of Hearing people.  Have taken re-inventing the wheel to mind-boggling level.

The NDCS.  Probably amidst the better charities but still not really willing to counter the BSL area or address the interference they offer to the education of deaf children, often deliberately misquoted as supporting many aspects of the culture they don't, including immersive BSL education, anti-CI's, anti-hearing aids, claim genetics is cultural genocide etc,  and opposes parental choice.  There isn't much these people do want but obscurity but nobody seems to give them that. The last area offering some sanity towards helping the deaf or their children being ham-strung by rabid cultists.

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We couldn't finish here without naming the complete Turkey of the year, the SEE HEAR BSL program, still online and on TV via sheer sufferance/annoyance of everyone else, and who utilise cultural blackmail, without using that cultural card would have been gone years ago.  SEE HEAR along with the BBC first closed out the hard of hearing, then, closed out own deaf online feedback sites to the program after people complained they were not an inclusive area and actually discriminated against people with hearing loss.  Now has own 'Deaf luvvie' area sanitised and offering no criticism or realistic feedback at all now.   Deaf who sold out the rest of us. 

Deaf moving to the BBC Disability area were also removed from there too. Seems nobody wants the SEE HEAR images of deaf people but the BBC itself.  We want it gone.  It's a dated concept that never was inclusive.  'All Deaf sign' and can walk on the water too.