Tuesday, 16 February 2021

What is the 'Street Value' of sign language?

Wall Street Sign.

#1 I've had profound hearing loss since birth and used lipreading plus my tiny bit of hearing as my main means of communication until I was well into adulthood. I then learned BSL. My preferred communication support is a lip speaker with sign support - so much less tiring than lipreading but English remains my first language so I don't get on well with a BSL interpreter. So for me personally there was every benefit to learning BSL. It might not be much use on the street but it is definitely for every situation where I might need communication support. Plus I met a whole lot of new friends learning it - and yes a lot of them had an acquired hearing loss to a profound level and they use BSL now in their lives all the time.

#2  Lip-speakers are rarer than hen's teeth I gather, there was no contact point in the NHS or systems locally for any support except BSL, also when an FOI request was sent to ask where that support was, I got a reply saying 'deaf support' includes lip-speaking/text/ and BSL as an 'inclusive area', I said I wanted a breakdown, who was asking for what? and they said they don't ask for that information because the DPA (data protection act), stops it. In essence, BSL equals lip-reading we just do not know, all I DO know is that when a request for lip-speaker or text support went in, they said they had no contact information for me, could I sign?!

#1 That's pretty poor on their behalf and worth a formal complaint under the Accessible Information Standard.??? It's not an acceptable alternative I know but I have found that if I've ended up in a similar situation a BSL interpreter can often use SSE with full lip patterns and that does the same job.

#2   I looked into that, of 49 BSL interpreters in Wales only TWO were qualified as lip-speakers also, so availability is a real issue. 2 months or more wait for one and that was before covid. If we used remote options then we would not LR either or BSL, but use speech to text. The issue is as BSL interpreters say themselves, the deaf are pretty poor lip-readers really, it is a 'part skill' some have but most rely on the sign. Like text the more of one mode you use the fewer skills you manage of the other. The clear mask thing is not wholeheartedly supported in the signing deaf area because of poor LR skills. They go more for facial patterns than lip ones so prefer the entire face clear. An example is subtitled sign language, BSL loses out every time, it is why purists make videos omitting them to preserve sign itself. There were objections to text assists learning BSL. People read a lot quicker than they take in sign so the brain subconsciously takes the easiest path. Would you follow this quicker if I signed it? and that is without us knowing at what English level others have etc... I think mine is pretty basic but when you want in-depth detail...