Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Masks/Lip-readers


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.