Saturday, 30 January 2021

Is Sign language realistic for the Hard Of Hearing?


Mostly, no it isn't. The fact such classwork has levels and built-in 'deaf awareness' is a fudge really because everyone's idea of awareness is different or non-applicable.  ATR is of the view mostly they are money-making schemes etc where vested interests of various ilk, set themselves up as 'advisors' or teachers of sign language or culture etc but mostly with bias and have undertaken no training or course to do teach that, they are 'Deaf' also so they are 'trained' by 'experience', but it is their experience, not anyone else's.  The fact sign promotion and use/support mean a JOB or a WAGE changed the point of it years ago.  Had lip-reading enjoyed the same success that would be vogue.   What support you need is based on what is the most profitable for those who provide it.  There is no money in lip-reading.

Deaf and HoH people need a proper course of loss awareness, we tend to get sucked in with courses/levels/etc and the overall hype of sign communication approaches, but we can get bogged down in own perceptions and own experience and assume others are the same which isn't true of course, everyone is different, in loss degree, ability, lifestyle, age acquired, communication approaches used, etc.  When that is understood then the directions of awareness and support tend to shrink and become singular and that divides people.  

Currently, awareness which is a bit of an 'in-joke' with most of us, because it is singular and polarised so awareness is entirely relative to who is promoting it.  We tend to feel sorry for hearing people wanting to be aware, who then don't get it when faced with those who they weren't told about, or were misled on what others need, or, who they are, they get defined/labelled by how they communicate not how much loss they have, or how needs differ.  Loss and its real effect then become a secondary issue.  They don't understand the D/d or HoH thing or the 100s of others in-between because the course and classwork were singular or specialised.

The first thing all need is clinical assessment, then a course on restoring confidence based on understanding hearing loss reality.  Basically, sign language it is not as simple as acquiring the skill, it was designed for people that had no hearing background, and if you did there are issues adapting.  Sign demands an alternative lifestyle approach, and this is where HoH fall down, there is always the reluctance to go in that direction, or they can struggle to find an area to use it in, few are told the use of sign exclusively means your reliance on others in a class because they know many would not proceed with learning it.  HoH have a real 'thing' about having to rely on others, this is never really addressed.

We need to really understand what sign communication is and IF we are prepared to adapt to maximise its use.  It's a 'novelty' in some classes, but a way of life to others.  Most classes consist of hearing people wanting to work 'in the field' or relatives, you won't find any deaf there much as with lip-reading you won't find any there either.  We think the whole BSL/LR thing fails to empower actual deaf or HoH and simply not designed for that, which begs the question where is the actual communication help? and preferably one without the insane politics and cash-driven basis of it all?  

Awareness relies on who promotes it, or polarised charities whose primary function is to maintain our reliance on their 'support', all based on culture or politics, not need.  Disability has been dumped in favour of blaming others for your situation, and we are all social animals not patients with a sensory loss, so who needs support?  We need everyone to adapt to us because we cannot adapt to them etc. Maintaining specialisation has simply empowered minority areas, not empowered the major one, who had their issues relegated to minor status as a result, creating a sort of hierarchy and elite amidst those with deafness.  The reality is deaf haven't moved at all and no longer feel they should anyway.

Sensory loss is a huge disability, it's not only a sensory/communication issue but one of mental health too, and we should be treating those who are disabled by it with the higher level of seriousness it needs.  At present we are simply empowering others at the cost of sacrificing our own empowerment.  That isn't the way to address things.  Technology has given an opt-out in part from addressing these issues, so everything is becoming realtive.  Who knows what the future actually is in assisting those with hearing loss?