A blog response to Mr Ian Noon of the NDCS.
HI, many thanks for your reply, sadly Mr Buxton (Some sort of politician), has so far refused to reply either in person on his blog or his social media, so referring to him appears a waste of time. The NDCS said they won't 'suggest' to the parent what they should be doing. I must express some doubt the advice to parents re BSL is to encourage 'informed' choice, the BSL campaigns are hugely emotive and considerably biased, and many of its grass root supporters have attacked parents online for using a choice not to encourage sign for their children.
Informed choice? or 'sign or else expect to be attacked?' Indeed some openly attacked a soap opera star e.g. for giving her child a Cochlear Implant, calling her a child abuser, even contacting social services, what steps did the NDCS take in response? erm... none.
It appears others have to do this alone and risk then being accused of deaf abuse. The problem is these people are running the promotion of a BSL Bill as well. The BSL Bill includes education which on the face of it by-passes informed choice to make it a law or something, what they will do if given their head is to drive wedges into deaf education approaches and disrupt a system trying desperately to counter the abysmal record of ye olde deaf schools and cause all but 19 to close down. As you are aware Wales has NONE. We don't need a deaf school because less than 4 deaf children had such issues they could not get taught anywhere else. This in essence endorsed mainstreaming as a superior education for the deaf child there.
The deaf mentor systems mooted, contain very very few deaf using BSL who are able to compete on a level playing field with hearing, and the huge costs of supporting what is a literacy issue as well must raise the issue of what are they mentoring?
BSL campaigners OPPOSE acquisition of English or its grammar, it is discriminating against BSL and culture they claim, these are your 'informed' areas to advise parents? Or that anyone suggesting they do acquire the necessary English to cope, are abusers and discriminators too?
The NDCS would never endorse any sort of immersive BSL approach, they didn't in parliament because that would kill choice, informed or otherwise, it would 'positively discriminate' children into have, and have nots, some sort of tiered education e.g. ATR's last blog provided the political evidence of their refusal to endorse a BSL GCSE by the legislature. Does the NDCS even keep a record of what they are saying luckily ATR does and it suggests the NDCS is trying and failing to remain neutral itself and bowing to minority pressures based on a blame culture and hostility to hearing instead.
There is no validity that once acquiring BSL a deaf child then uses it to access the mainstream, indeed they are encouraged that any suggestion they should is discrimination. Hence why their desperate requests for interpreters and support, deaf clubs, deaf peers, deaf socials, deaf everything really, which suggests they are not really into any sort of inclusion and/or, feel it is impossible. The more 'Deaf' stuff they acquire the less of anything else as we know. There is little priority to use access or demand real inclusion, it all comes with a caveat 'hearing have to do this or that first, or else we won't want to know.. we are deaf you have to change.' Older deaf can remember when there was no chance at all of 'choosing' anything.
You say young deaf are in support, I would not agree. One 'statistic' quoted less than 100 deaf hardly representative of 1,000s of deaf children. (Actually, we don't have a reliable statistic of how many they are or how they are being taught). Youth want what everyone else does and they also know without those essential linguistic tools, they are not going to get it. I doubt they are demanding the dependency you advocate.
We can read today of claims inclusion means the end of deaf culture and their language. It appears inclusion is a relative not an actual 'Deaf' aim. Which appears a direct challenge to deaf can do everything but hear etc. Deafness is an issue, but again the BSL promotion ignores that fact as they ignore other deaf and hard of hearing. I think the NDCS is afraid.
Who is giving impartial BSL information out? BSL groups, that don't support other deaf? I do believe the BSL Bill and campaigns are neither balanced or genuinely informative, it's a blame culture that omits facts, over the years myself and many others have produced these facts and get slapped down as anti-deaf, they then kill any discussion and leave you with a bad name, if that is the basis of BSL informed choice, parents are well-advised to stay out of it.
I don't see grass-root support for a BSL immersive education, every argument they use is a cultural or social one, not an educational failing thing or a suggestion to address it. The only campaign is to endorse BSL to keep what they say is their culture extant. It's an impoverished cultural on that basis. No campaign based on fear of hearing is helping. The message is simplistic but highly effective I agree, deaf peers and social aspect overrides access to mainstream and the acquisition of the means to do it, it is a mindset that needs addressing as false in the first instance, and undermining deaf equality and futures secondly.
5 years ago I did a blog on a Derby college where deaf students were offered two choices to use some additional funding, (1) more support/equipment in the classes or, (2) A room for a micro deaf club, no prizes for knowing they chose LESS support in a college to learn. In short, the suggestion is that deaf culture, language and social community, cannot survive real inclusion, so let's all run a parallel world instead, but keep insisting the hearing are keeping us out. Sadly they have no confidence in what they are advocating or they would move outward and prove it.
My experience is deaf are very able, very determined, but lions led by rabid hyenas really. All you need to do is suggest integration or inclusion means no more deaf clubs or something they will gather like frightened sheep and look vulnerable. The messages undermine deaf confidences in themselves.
As regards for access in BSL, again campaigners have 4 or 5 equality laws to call on and a human rights law for that so a BSL Bill is unnecessary. The best deaf school in the UK is Mary Hare, an oral not BSL school with a proven success rate. By far the biggest concern of the BSL Bill is its NON-inclusivity of all deaf children or indeed others with hearing loss, or what works for them, this stark fact is what pits opposition against the BSL campaigns. Politicians have to bear in mind they would be supporting division, not equal access campaigns. Only, the 'Deaf' community stands to benefit, and only those using BSL, would it not be far better to unite for the common good and show the BSL users inclusion matters?
A lifetime of interpreter dependency? not doing anything for access, is it? They can call it 'empowerment' they can even call it a 'right', but they aren't fooling anyone but themselves really. The entire campaigns are a distorted message they don't need anything they have no disability. That continues to feed into the 'let us all blame hearing..' for it. These issues are what I am reading FROM parents of deaf children they are worried that the obsessions with culture and language are affecting education and what essentials their children need to manage in a hearing world, where they will live and work.
The cultural message is 'who needs that? we have our own world, and you are undermining it.' Parents are wanting advice on their own child's future based on inclusion, the cultural message is advocating something quite different, and, inevitably, non-inclusive. The disaffected deaf adults' gripes and demands (Most with no deaf children at all), continue because their education failed them, they gained no skills to manage mainstream. 16 years wasted deaf education followed by a lifetime confined in a deaf club with deaf peers in the same position, there has to be more to deaf lives than that. There are plenty of adult learning classes they can attend to try to fill the gaps they have, yet take-up is virtually non-extant. They have given up and 'adopted the position'.
It would appear even financial support near £900 per week for some BSL deaf is being quoted so they can 'work' that appears a negative to me, not positive, they could be re-educating deaf to communicate better as obviously, the deaf education has failed them. The only people 'working' are their carers and support. They are blaming deaf schools/mainstream for not using BSL all the time, it's what they use now as adults and it hasn't empowered them has it? They get what they get because they are viewed as seriously disabled people, and I would not argue with that.
The reality for 'choice' to be valid, the systems have to be there to make it work, and they are not there. For many, the BSL Bill is seen as a 'trojan horse' to make deaf education a BSL one. Until the NDCS offers its own concerns and clarity TO parents re the BSL campaigns, it is going to be a one-way street, isn't it? If you came out stating the NDCS was against the negatives n the BSL world and not played Pontious pilate and let them get away with it, we could respect the NDCS view more.
The BSL Bill is POLITICAL why is the NDCS even there? There seems sufficient evidence deaf activism are abusing the rights message for own ends too. They don't even HAVE deaf children themselves. Would you listen if I interfered in your child's education or challenged your right as a parent? Unfortunately, apart from having a BSL Bill in NI and Scotland, they are being humoured more than empowered, and the welsh Bill campaign is non-extant online more English BSL users were bolstering it to suggest Welsh deaf support.