Friday, 25 September 2020

Gissa Job (I can do that)..

In these difficult times, when deaf advisors and charities are emphasising to deaf people they can claim extensive BSL support to work and should be doing that.  It was questioned on social media...

"Is it true some deaf using BSL are claiming near £900 per week?"

"It depends on their requirements. Some need full-time support, others need note-takers, etc. It varies."

"Is that not inefficient and ineffective access and use of support? It's not really inclusion, and It is doubtful the job would pay that as a wage isn't it?"

" I should cocoa! In my time a request for support to work IN the workplace, was laughed out of the jobcentre.  'If you cannot work alone and follow, you are no use to man or beast..' was what they said to me, and one employer I applied to a job for I was struggling to follow, phoned the jobcentre mid-interview he said "What is the idea sending these deaf idiots to me for a job?  I'm a businessman not a bloody social worker..."  I returned to the jobcentre to get a telling off and they said I should try harder to listen.."

"I think many older deaf are staggered such support is even there and quite a few who would not even ask for it and be embarrassed, deaf would stick out in the workplace like a sore thumb, they would know their co-workers are talking to their help not them."

"Had I  been offered this money for a job I would rather have used it to be self-employed and set myself up, not attend the workplace with people speaking for me, I could never do that."

"Deaf pride? doesn't pay the rent.."

"True, an employer could just hire your support and cut you out altogether and less hassle or expense, couldn't he? lol."

"Using the money to teach and train deaf to communicate in more effective ways would be better. Don't they understand mainstream doesn't use sign language?"

"It's the rights gig isn't it? I understand the rights bit, but this isn't access or support to advance in any real terms is it? it just shows deaf people as needing very expensive support and dependent on people, which must be undermining 'we can do everything but hear' message."

"They cannot without considerable help which in this topic issue is out of all access proportion, it's also untrue all deaf can claim it as well.  Only a very few can and then the employer has to start contributing, they, dump you then, and take on another deafie until their financial support runs out because the allowances is temporary, most employers strapped for skilled staff etc won't even entertain someone low skilled and deaf as well, not even for £900 a week, nor for that matter will the state offer low skilled such funding or help, it wouldn't make sense." 

"Employers want people qualified for the job, that applies to deaf or hearing applicants, they aren't charities, the poor literacy of some deaf people, lack of skill sets, and unawareness of them doesn't help either, their educators need educating!"

"Nobody is going to throw money 3 or 4 times over and above what they job would pay anyway, it would be for highly skilled deaf or those arty-farty deaf via disability funding etc not a deafie stacking shelves or sweeping floors."

"That is not going to change deaf inclusion either, because the state is financing dependency, not inclusion, instead of taking steps to address abysmal education they receive and crazy opposition to acquiring the essential skills they need to avoid reliance on others.   It just primes them for isolation and more dependency."

"Now they want a BSL Act to drive their point home?"

" The state are addressing the results not the cause."

" Nice earners for non-productive deaf arts and such, who can invent their own job! or mentors and advisors who have no skills to pass on except they know sign language, and Lloyd George knew Beethoven or something,  but little use to others who need qualifications and more effective communications. "

"They also need help so probably claiming it as well!  It's a kind of madness."

"COVID is forcing everyone hearing and deaf to re-adjust, it's pointless to hark back to a deaf system that never worked anyway, run by people who also need help to do it."

"The absolute irony is those most advocating a  stand-alone BSL way of life succeed because they have alternatives to it, those options should be for all deaf, not an elite few faffing about for own egotistical reasons, it's the tail wagging the dog.

"Nothing will change, hearing are to blame  etc.."

Thursday, 24 September 2020

The BSL Act

It's refreshing reading recently someone has realised 'recognition' of BSL did not include rights as such, just 'recognised some deaf used sign language.  Most of the misunderstanding regarding deaf rights came from the British Deaf Association who stated the European Union had forced the UK government to recognise sign language and thus legal entitlement followed.

The reality is that while the UK government accepted the EU suggestions (The EU at that time recognised 37 other minority languages too),   the only 'legal' right that followed was deaf having interpreters to access state and other essential systems. Those didn't really include schools as each according to need is the rule.

There was never a commitment to enforce BSL in schools and it is doubtful that can happen now. Least of all as a sole means. A BSL act won't help much if the professionals needed to make it work don't get trained up first either.

For example, more trained teachers for the deaf, support in classrooms (which needs to be via note-taking and lip-spoken support as well), as all children are different in ability and need requirement. A viable awareness of the nation's language and written grammar is a must too.  A BSL Act would tend to push bias support towards one format only and accompanied by demands for own grammar and such which is contrary to the national curriculum.  Given fewer deaf children are around compared with years ago, the tuition base would have to be re-established and retrained too.  More so if BSL was to be the format used.

If a BSL Act meant deaf children in classrooms were divided by decibel or format that would undermine the deaf systems too and create have and have nots, it goes without stating apart from the state, parents pretty much decide what happens nobody else. Deaf activism has repeatedly attacked parents for CI's and mainstreaming as it is, so not done their cause much good as a result.

The fact remains no BSL lobby area is going to get to choose how deaf are to be educated, it's all relative given they should be demanding the training up of the people to make it happen. There are allegedly 50,000 or more deaf BSL users, regardless if there is truth or not in those claims, only 1 deaf adult sign user in 166 has access to an interpreter.  It's far from clear from those figures where the demand actually is.  If a BSL Act demands a BSL school and BSL for adults, it is blatantly obvious the support isn't going to be there to make it happen and demands are going to be rote for years with little result.

What it 'might' do is give more jobs to deaf people, but they still are not the pros needed to educate unless it is indoctrination approaches to culture etc.  For deaf to be involved IN the educational areas of deaf children requires skills a lot just don't have and aren't being taught to acquire.  They know this, and are demanding the lowering of the academic bar via cultural right, so they can get involved, but where does that leave the deaf child?  Being taught by people who cannot access mainstream themselves, have difficulty reading, and need support?  Cannot teach them what they need to know? 

Parents may well have a differing view of that. Teaching any child with a serious disability issue requires quite high care and academic and adaptability skills, not just an ability to use BSL. Technology has undermined BSL to a huge degree (Lip-reading too), and the writing on the wall was there via '888' (UK), along with subtitling/captions that have freed up the deaf in reality, and both still relegate sign language to minority status.  Those who manage bilinguality know which side their format bread is buttered on and it isn't BSL.

If deaf activism worked towards inclusion and engagement instead of separatism and going it alone, then deaf would have a future and not doomed to repeat the mistakes of an already proven failure of dedicated deaf schooling approaches.  The days parents are forced to send their kids away to some outpost in a field, to emerge as young adults still unable to manage mainstream, is not going to happen any more.   We want, indeed demand results.  Children deaf are entitled to it.  They cannot learn integration and inclusion from a point of isolation, academic or social.

It's OK to be different but pointless being irrational about it, the deaf need the skills to manage inclusion and to compete on a level playing field, activism seems to want the systems to level down to them. They need to realise the old systems that propped up the deaf way have gone, there is no real community base any more.  We don't need another generation emerging with a chip on its shoulder blaming others.  We need to move on or get left behind.

Tuesday, 22 September 2020


The first presenter not wearing a clear mask either?  What isn't made clear is that deaf have LESS need to wear a clear mask than others they are following, yet virtually the only people using them.  The consensus of advice to deaf people in the UK is to adopt technology/text approaches not lip-reading or sign language because of the social distancing rules etc.  However, issues abound at campaigns against learning English as a first language or claims the deaf aren't able or shouldn't be asked to.  Meanwhile, access is a problem.

There are also major issues with video access calls to health areas, where lip-readers cannot access them.  The UK has no lip-speaking systems to meet the need, it has never developed one, it's pretty obvious deaf don't demand this either, despite claims they all lip-read any 'test' may well prove against those claims.  There is a continued frustration about deaf demands on access being both unclear, and singular.

There are still huge issues for dependent lip-readers (Not those who rely on sign mostly and use bits of it).  For those areas text is paramount because of a complete lack of awareness or direction on the needs of lip-readers, (which is clear speaking,  a dedicated educational system of it, and time to follow, not sign language).  We can only 'demand' systems fess up, we cannot make any demands on the mainstream because they don't like coercion.  The deaf are unwilling to compromise result? inertia.

Mostly this area has adopted text alternatives already, due to a chaotic and completely random UK lip-reading tuitional system that doesn't work and has no 'curriculum' to follow or qualification to aim for.  It is reliant on random and part-time classes, now no longer viable and closed due to COVID.  Much is demanded in the name of lip-reading but the UK has no dedicated system for it to be taught or awareness for it to be effective.  By comparison, BSL has levels to attain and a job at the end of it, but sadly interpreters are still getting rarer to obtain and deaf still relying on family.  

It's no secret 10m Hard Of Hearing neither sign nor lip-read to a useful degree or want it, and to a fair extent is using text as primary access.  Speech to text is improving month on month so the stat systems of sign language and lip-reading are lesser a priority.  Almost every hearing loss and deaf charity in the UK is now supporting text for the deaf.  In the future, we may well be looking back at the sign and lip-reading systems as an archaic novelty. Notwithstanding technological advances, medical/genetic advances are progressing too.

A stop press issue: Is that deaf BSL users are on the march to London from Wales 'where are the interpreters?' to get interpreter access, but, the responsibility is NOT with London at all, but with the Welsh Senedd it being the devolved administration, all is madness and ignorance sadly and COVID has split the deaf campaigning in two as each area tries to do its own thing or sections of it still assuming central Government can do it and overrule local governments, but there is nothing to overrule.  

As we know the health and education rules cover BSL support, but it has taken these deaf almost 20 years to realise little of it is enforceable, either due to lack of demand (63% of ALL deaf do not ask for or use a BSL interpreter), or lack of professional support to make it viable, in essence, BSL interpreters are mostly part-time in the UK and freelance, COVID has confined them from direct support of deaf and many are unhappy at work availability and the wages, the BSL deaf are asking for something impossible as only demand creates supply, the stats aren't showing that demand, which feeds into the current situation whereby we are all advised to adopt text systems.