Friday, 28 February 2020

Better late than never?

Image result for who cares for the deaf with mental health?It would appear only now have some deaf realised their care options are dwindling and under the cosh with one deaf blog complaining the AOHL is dumping the deaf care.  Although ATR published the CEO view some weeks ago.

It was on the cards last year, deaf care was/is costing them too much, and basically, the deaf are not even members of AOHL it's a puzzle they are only now complaining.  End of January this year the AOHL was in debt/deficit mode, unless it got rid of its loss-making operations, deaf care is just one of them, more areas are to follow, and given the pro-Brexit vote, the AOHL has had to drop a scheme where it wanted to go European-wide as well.  Along with that deaf care/cut statement was a change in remit, they are moving away from all care and support and investing in the deaf cure and research.   They put money into Australian CI research too. 

Frankly increased demands for more specialisation with deaf care areas and the fact there is no program of specialisation for the Deaf, meant the sell-off was inevitable, the AOHL could not fund the specialisation that just isn't there.  It could not fund deaf interns to challenge the glass ceiling at the AOHL itself. Going private could be a plus for deaf care, the deaf could never hold the AOHL to account or any charities connected with deaf care as they were immune from FOI's or deaf demands.  There was a banket assumption they knew best.

This potential closure follows the recent closures of deaf care by the BDA charity also who were inept financially and left 100s needing care in Limbo, and staff with no wages too.  The whole area of deaf care was/is badly managed by charity whose role if any now, is to campaign and leave care to people able to do that.  It means going back to lobby the state to put up and to admit they cannot do this themselves.

The CQC (Care Quality Commission), also had few powers to insist deaf care can only be provided by those experienced in deafness and its issues, as no training schemes exist to act as a baseline.  As ATR posted prior, none of the major BSL organisations could name who was experienced in mental health care, undertook training, or, how many psychiatrist/psychologists even understood BSL.    

Much was made of one clinic in Bury boasting minimum level 4 BSL support but that BSL level was NOT a health or care qualification. A lot of secondary care is undertaken by people with little or no signing experience at all, transient, with very basic 'care' skills which at root are just cleaning jobs.

At least if the private area takes over we can monitor them and take them to task if issues arise.  Primarily the charitable approach to deaf care was amateur and rarely monitored, carers did not need a signing ability, BSL is/was all but not enough.  

Clinical diagnosis areas are primarily hearing, so relied on interpreters, there were/are major issues there too because a qualification in BSL is NOT a care qualification in deaf mental health and given learning and other communication issues deaf face diagnosis was suspect as well.  BSL interpreter continuity did not exist either.  There was a conflict on deaf care approaches from the AOHL (who follow the clinical approaches), and, from the BDA (who preferred a cultural approach).    The disagreements and differences also meant no training could even be started on specialisation until some norm could be agreed, it's still up in the air.

Deaf care will suffer obviously but as the Deaf have demanded the specialisations based on BSL, then only if a training set-up is agreed can it work.  The problem is that UK BSL interpreting itself is in flux and fewer are taking that up.  Local authorities are taking carers off the street even trying to attract learners from BSL classes and none of it works.   In the ATR area there are deaf  'mentors' offered work caring for autistics who are hearing, with no basic experiences whatever.  Apparently the fact some autistics signed a bit was the excuse.  And others with no experience offered work to care for dementia patients.

The UK care areas have collapsed for all types of people requiring care from the born deaf/disabled to the elderly.  Those needing specialist care usually are removed from their locale again because specialisation simply does no exist, but as we read with the AOHL and BDA not there either.  Chemical care seems to be on the increase too.

Deaf and disabled were sold a pup when care in the community and the deaf Social Services folded, as rights activists and systems suggested let those areas be served by own charities who understood them, and, these charities were simply unable to do that as the system systematically cut their funding making that impossible, you cannot run specialist care via the begging bowl and now we are seeing charities admitting it.  expect more deaf care closures and charities folding too.

One sobering statistic is 25% of the UK population has an MH issue, but, 40% of deaf children do.  There is no cultural cure for that you need experts.

Life as a deaf and hearing couple.

First Deaf Seanad nominee (Ireland).


Dr. John Bosco Conama, a lifelong Deaf rights activist, Academic and leading light in the Deaf community, made history last week after he was nominated to the Seanad by both the Irish Deaf Society (the National Association of the Deaf) and Chime (the National Charity for Deafness and Hearing Loss). 

He has Cavan links too, with Dr. John Bosco's sister Eileen Gormley having lived in the county for the past 30-years. Both are Roscommon-natives, and in 2019 Dr John Bosco was appointed to serve on the first statutory advisory committee in Ireland to support monitoring of Ireland’s implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). He played an integral role in helping campaign for the Irish Sign Language Act which was passed in 2017, recognising ISL as the third official language of Ireland. 

Lianne Quigley, Chairperson of the Irish Deaf Society said that since the signing of the Act, the organisation has seen Deaf candidates come forward to stand in the local elections and now in 2020, Dr. John Bosco Conama is standing for election on the National stage. “This is a clear sign that our community wants to participate in political life,” she said, adding that the nomination marked an “historic day” for the deaf community in Ireland. 

She believed too that Dr John Bosco will prove to be an “inspiration” for Deaf communities throughout the world. “If elected John Bosco will champion the rights of minorities in Ireland and will be an advocate for accessibility and Irish Sign Language.”

World Hearing Day

World Hearing Day: A smarter way towards more inclusive education
March 3 is World Hearing Day, an initiative by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to raise awareness to prevent deafness and hearing loss and promote ear and hearing care across the world. The motto this year is “Don’t let hearing loss limit you”, focusing on how people with hearing impairments can achieve their full potential.



This is a vital message: According to the WHO, 466m people – 6.1 of the world’s population – are estimated to be living with hearing loss [1]. Too often, hearing impairment can result in being excluded from full participation in society – with education being a key area where this exclusion can begin. In the wider context of disability, UNICEF notes that “nearly 50 per cent of children with disabilities are not in school, compared to just 13 per cent of their peers without disabilities" [2]. This situation continues into higher education, where many deaf and hearing-impaired students struggle to fully achieve their potential due to the lack of support.

However, there are also opportunities to close the gaps through inclusive education that teaches people with diverse abilities side by side. This is a complex challenge, requiring solutions that combine advocacy, policy and training, but surprisingly it is also an area where smartphone technology is helping to play a role.

The accessibility of smartphones has become an increasingly hot topic over recent years, with recent iterations of iOS and Android making it easier for users with limited visual, hearing or mobility to operate devices themselves. Yet, as personal devices that are always on, always available, smartphones are increasingly also offering a way for users to take more control of how they interact with the outside world. At the simplest level, the transition of more services online, is making it easier for those with hearing impairments to navigate the world: from engaging with companies through online chat to shopping online, smart devices are making digital access ever more convenient.

Additionally, dedicated solutions and apps are increasingly available to make the information available in the audio world more accessible. For example, apps are now available that can transcribe speech in real time or detect important sounds and flash visible on screen alerts, and even translate speech into sign language. What unites such mobile solutions is the unprecedented combination of user-friendliness, connectivity and computing power that smartphones place in the hands of users. And these very same qualities are also proving transformational in education.