Friday, 12 February 2021

EU and clear masks.


Firstly the UK is no longer part of the EU.   Statistics regarding clear mask demands or take up, are virtual nil, only hearsay and coming from charitable campaign areas in the UK.  The UK NHS has so far recorded little or no demand for clear masks as such from deaf themselves.  

Current DIY clear masks are useless as any sort of covid protection and won't get you admittance to a hospital or such because they don't meet safety criteria.  Deaf demanding mask removals are not going to get that it is currently illegal.  During 2020 there was no supplier in the UK who manufactured covid compliant clear face masks.  We are told one UK manufacturer is now considering it, they will, of course, be very expensive for deaf people to be acceptable in any health area.

The video we were unable to show you, it is currently unavailable to show here due to the fact we are no longer 'Europeans' the whole point seems to be lost regarding as to why a BSL signed video for Europe is not even accessible TO the people it is talking about.  Given BSL interpreters are not wearing clear masks and indeed showing huge reluctance to support deaf in a medical environment clear mask requirements are down to personal choice, and non-admissions to hospitals. Deaf support has to wear PPE compliant masking as well.  So far what we see is sign use at 'distance' social distancing.

The World Deaf set up in Europe hasn't much of a following anywhere else.   Their claim and listing the UK as accepting sign language as a law is also incorrect, only 2 areas of the UK have a 'BSL Act' (N.Ireland, and Scotland), the other 2 largest areas (England and Wales), are unlikely to do the same, given e.g. Wales has no deaf schools at all.   

Recognition isn't legal empowerment, but a basis for one, the UK accepted BSL via an EU Diktat 15 years ago it is still not legally enforceable in education or many other essential areas, because choice is paramount and, numerical demand has to be seen.  The EU has made many mistakes recently including penalising Irish people for the UK leaving raising fears of conflict, this is yet another one.

The burning issue is why various areas demanding clear masks are not themselves wearing them?  Whilst UK restrictions continue to apply there is little or no 'face to face' meetings of deaf people, and the use of video does not require them to wear one.  So far no NHS area is recording demands from deaf people for clear masks, as stated PPE compliant ones were/are simply not available.

Initial views are that those wanting a clear PPE mask (The deaf), are unable to get them anyway because any priority would go to the NHS first.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

BSL levels wot?

The fact most are following this video with TEXT not sign language rather defeats the point doesn't it?  How many deaf HAVE a sign language qualification?  Just because they sign does not mean they are showing proof of any level pass in it.  Many are not aware of the latest signs of the last 5-10years, they stick with what they knew beforehand.

Hearing interpreters are probably the only bi-lingual area, and most fluent at signing, they have to be to be understood by most, we know you will never be understood by all regardless of how many levels you attain.

The issue with levels 1 and 2 BSL is it enables you little in any real-time conversation or ability to follow e.g. current covid updates that contain masses of statistics, and charts, tier explanations and interpretations of what they mean etc, a lot of hearing struggle with them.

Having lobbied campaigned and demanded hearing learn BSL to help deaf people, learners get priced out of taking it any further, or face reluctance by deaf people to encourage them at the 'rock face' i.e. their social locations and areas, where deaf still demand hearing 'butt out' and stop invading their 'space'.  Hearing have to be IN the clubs etc to get real communication happening and skills updated and is worth a lot more than 3 BSL level attainments.

Until deaf continue to improve own sign language skills hearing won't know what level is applicable.  The deaf area has issues of learning disabilities,  and no academic written or visual record regarding sign language either.  Local authorities and care systems lowered the bar by accepting very low levels of sign qualification simply because higher levels demand higher wages and fees, but basically, care needs level 4 and above to be valid, but is level 2.

Nobody below level 4 will be able to follow sign effectively.  The interpreter trend to adopt more and more aspects of Signed English is also limiting the effectiveness of BSL.  But they know this enables reading text much easier.  The online 'classes' of BSL (Mostly the ABC and numbers etc), probably cause issues because it is learners trying to teach other learners who are hearing like them so it doesn't come from the deaf base itself or recognised course work and tuition.  The only pro aspect is that hearing are attempting to raise awareness with other hearing, as averse to the deaf who are reluctant to get involved and talking to themselves.

Regional deafies complicate it with criticisms this isn't how I use BSL etc... It is trivialising sign but the thing is sign acquisition now means a wage and a job, plays into the amateurisation of it all online.  Deaf lost that leadership on sign years ago as a result.  They cannot use hearing to make a job of it.

A G BELL hated by the deaf ?

Not true obviously, A G Bell offered choice, which is the central tenet of the American constitution.  A G Bell allegedly 'hated' by sign users, used sign language at age 12.  His drive to assist speech was down to the trauma of seeing his mother go deaf and his want to help others not suffer the same fate.  He started at a time where most deaf were considered unteachable and approaches were random, often cruel, and uncoordinated.

The only niggle we would offer up is his claim about the telephone, most believe an Italian did it first, he bought up the copyright and improved on it.

Most deaf advances happened this way, including the development of sign language itself.  There is plenty of room for options for and against sign language use, most is reliant on ability and what senses can still be maximised.  Today politics seems to define.  If a child/adult can be trained to speak then there is no case to rebel against.  Many deaf today both sign and speak.  E.G. Many at early age learn to speak before their hearing has deteoriorated.  ATR's hearing started rapid deterioration at 11, and in 9 years was deaf or near as to make no difference.

ATR's voice was his access to the wider world, given sign was pretty much an exclusive and random format for deaf institutionalised and isolated in own schools, whilst rarely interacting meaningfully with the hearing mainstream.  It is a sadness such schools are still extant.  ATR was front of the house, not able to access sign or lip-reading support or tuition, even if that was preferred.  We picked up lip-reading by trial and error, and although difficult spent a working life with no sign use at all, so a living example alternatives are there and effective, if the determination is there.

That A G Bell decided to promote oral approaches to those who would benefit by them I think was/is brilliant on empowering deaf to see further than their hands as a sole means of communication.  The UK's premier 'deaf' school is oral and provides 60% of all leaders in the signing deaf world.  They succeed because they are oral.  Do we hate A G Bell? no, but we despise hypocrisy, where promoting sign alternatives are used as a blunt tool to divide people and instil hatred in others.  How many 'Trump's' run the ASL and BSL campaigns?  

Does hating a man who died in 1922 have ANY point at all? Discuss.....

Monday, 8 February 2021

The Ear Logo: Dated and invalid now?


#1 The sticker is a great idea except that it may confuse hearing people into thinking they need to speak louder to you. Plus not everyone wears hearing aids.

#2  Not everyone lip-reads or signs! the 'ear' logo is no longer valid really.  There is no one size/image fits all so no one image to suggest what your issue is, it is meaningless in identifying what format you need to follow.  

#3 Most hearing people assume it means you are DEAF and this was not the point of the logo which as memory recalls was designed FOR hearing aid users.  

#4  If you add a hearing aid, then others will want a sign language indicator or a lip-reading icon as well, we are in all sorts of misunderstanding of areas then because we may just use one format or, a combination of all of them.  Hearing/mainstream will simply be unaware of what the labels mean or what support you need.

#5 I  am tempted to follow the 'Disabled' view who tend to complain the wheelchair is not a valid representation any more of them either, icons have become 'labels' and we don't agree with those now, only Americans worship and keep creating terms and labelling.

#6  Masks are a contentious issue, not everyone agrees with deaf demands to remove them or even to provide clear masks because lip-reading is so poor amidst the deaf and HoH community anyway.

#7  True, the amount of benefit to be gained from the clear mask is pretty limited, statistically, less than 5% would benefit, and none of these clear masks are clinical protection from covid without social distancing too.

#8  Abroad they are now wearing TWO masks, the mind boggles...

Sunday, 7 February 2021

Deaf Britons may get extra £356 each month

The State pension: Britons may get extra £356 each month for hearing loss or other conditions.

STATE pension payments are important to millions of Britons who have departed the workforce, but there could be additional amounts available for those with hearing loss or alternative conditions.

State Pension payments are made available to Britons of an eligible age who have built up significant National Insurance contributions throughout their lifetime. While the state pension sum is usually dependent on National Insurance contributions, the Government warned it is important to note some may receive less than the full sum if contracted out before April 6, 2016. Although the full state pension stands at £175.20 per week, some will wish to gain further levels of support.

Rishi Sunak may target your pension allowance this year - key deadline. This will be possible for those who have certain conditions, including people who are living with hearing loss. These kind of payments are available to those of state pension age through a scheme known as Attendance Allowance.

Attendance Allowance is intended to help people with extra costs if they have certain health conditions, to the extent they might need some additional help. However, a person does not actually have to have someone caring for them in order to claim.


ATR Says: The article is a bit misleading.  No deaf get allowances for just being deaf, but for having additional medical issues.  A few years ago they did via mobility issues and the DLA welfare payment, but that was scrapped in favour of PIP which next to no deaf got after.  E.G. if you are eligible for a PIP welfare allowance then whoever cares for you is ineligible to claim carers allowance.  Also, NI contributions can be an issue with people who had difficulties gaining regular employment or females etc who stopped to bring up children who already were prevented pensions for years as a result.  

Attendance allowances rarely if ever get given for basic hearing loss at all.  As is usual, hardly ANY deaf people at all will get this extra money, without giving up some allowances they now get, the numbers game ensures actually you can suffer the loss of monthly income and be more vulnerable to allowance withdrawal.  The UK government is dedicated to the removal of the welfare state systems, 68% e.g. recently with deafness and hearing loss, failed to re-qualify for allowances they had before.  

The deaf view of it being a non-disabling factor and huge advances in alleviating technologies means welfare payments may no longer apply.  Most welfare payments to UK deaf are based on mobility.  I.E. issues with travel, communications etc, now hardly applicable at all to most since communication support is a state provision.  

Other issues about enabling mainstream participation and inclusion are still moot, as deaf areas are less interested in pursuing that option, preferring access options they can choose as per.  Deaf also object to the premise deafness means they have to have carers.