I shared this post regarding a deaf blind man the other day, highlighting how *SELFLESS* this young lady was. I was then made aware of a twitter thread posted by Rebecca Cokely, who is apparently an US disability activist.

And so on…. (do read the full twitter thread)

It is somehow expected that airlines (and hospitals) employ appropriately trained staff to assist, especially, those who happen to have communication issues. Otherwise, they, the customers, should not be travelling.


My sister, who has worked for an airline and is highly experienced in customer services, has this to say, in response.

Valid points but if he was happy / confident to travel alone that’s his choice? In an ideal world every flight would have flightcrew representing every spoken language and all means of communication; plus a doctor for any medical emergencies. That’s not going to happen (but technology is becoming advanced enough to help), so second to this ideal it would be nice to think that an airline would be able to include a deafblind communicator crew member on his booked flight, but this would presumably restrict his choice of when he travels (much like only being able to see captioned performances at a particular show twice a year). If this isn’t a reality, it leaves us with the situation we have today, employees and fellow travellers who do the best that they can.

If the concern is primarily consent – there is a lovely video of an interview he (Tim Cook, the man in the viral video) has done –

I also came across this which is the other extreme. Sad to see this had happened –

Why is it so hard for people to just let it be? It is, to quote my friend, “miserable shits” in society who make it so difficult, for certain people to get by these days.

A drop of kindness goes a very long way… There is no harm at all, in going above and beyond.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)


Expecting Parents.


With each pregnancy I have experienced (and there have been five of them in total) I have people watched with great interest in the waiting rooms at two different maternity hospitals that I had been referred to, in the past. There have always been a good handful of nervous expectant couples,

Living in such a diverse community, there have also been those who cannot speak English. They just happen to be of another nationality. Myself, I just happen to be deaf. I have however, never seen a translator being provided, for any of these foreign speaking families. They always seemed and seem to be happy enough.

A while ago I noticed a post on social media, by the BBC’s ‘See Hear’ about one of their upcoming programmes, concerning a couple.

The woman is hearing whilst her partner is legally deafblind. They are expecting their first baby but they are unhappy…. The NHS is repeatedly asking the mum-to-be to interpret, for her partner, at HER appointments.

The NHS say that since SHE is the patient, they do not need to accommodate / provide an interpreter for HER partner. Which I think is fair enough, having thought back on all my pregnancies and rifling through my hospital memories. The patients have always come first, regardless of who they happen to be. The dads,, mums, siblings, families and visitors come second, once again, regardless of who they happen to be.. For they are not the patient, it is not their well being, pregnancies or bodies being treated and/or monitored and if they need(ed) support, what is stopping them from arranging their own? Especially if they are otherwise, unsatisfied.

The NHS’s primary concern and priorities, are their actual patients.

Granted, there will be times when a loved one is being operated on and their anxious partners, who may happen to be deaf or a foreign speaking national, will not be able to fully understand, what is being said to them by the professionals. Then, the care system should assist in providing an interpreter or a translator to ensure their patient gets the full care and treatment by their loved ones, as this would mean a full recovery.

Fortunately, I have no complaints at all with each and every NHS experience I have encountered, despite being profoundly deaf myself.

I am more conscious of seriously ill premature babies being born abroad, to parents who are having to pay for incubators, medicine, tests out of their own pockets and on borrowed money. The same people who are having to live hand to mouth, daily. I do not see them complaining one iota for they, do not know how to take things for granted.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)



Feeling Loved.

Quite some time ago at my son’s school during assembly, they were learning about communication.

a mother and her child doing sign language for I LOVE YOU

One of the pictures they used was of this sign and no one knew what it meant. That is until my son put up his hand and said “It means I love you in American Sign Language”….

A teacher approached him afterwards and asked him how he knew, “My mum is deaf” he explained.

Go, go, go sign language!

“I Love You” in British Sign Language.

Valentine’s Day should be every day, not just for one day a year.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Sign Language in Cinema.

I recently watched a film called “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”. In the film the apes’ primary form of communication wasAmerican Sign Language and as a deaf person it was appealing to see sign language being represented, especially in Cinema. Yet someone who happens to be hearing made it known to me they felt it was rather insulting – their argument was that the apes in the film were less developed than the humans and to see them representing sign language was, degrading. Had it stayed true to their own form of gesturing naturally, it would be a different matter. I realised where this person was coming from so was I appreciating the fact that sign language was being used in the film, a result of desperation more than anything – a case of anything will do? As sign language very rarely feature in cinema or TV as a form of communication in its own merit.

Blue Eyes signing to his father, Caesar, that Koba killed Ash.
Blue Eyes signing to his father, Caesar, that Koba killed Ash.

There are films where sign language features heavily but that is only when the subject matter concerns deafness. Will it ever be possible for a deaf actor to be the lead character in mainstream cinema? It might be farfetched but it is definitely something that deaf people deserve to look forward to once in a while in terms of inclusion. Blockbusters in general are about generating as much profit as possible and having a lead character with a disability however hidden or obvious it may be, seems to be too much of a risk for the producers to take. But if the storyline was exceptional and the film was brilliantly made, I would not predict any issues in regards to the number of the potential audience turning up to watch.

Can you think of a film that uses sign language as an alternative form of language by the actors regardless of whether they may be hearing or deaf and the subject matter does not concern deafness?

Of all the films to date that have used a deaf actor or sign language in it, which film do you think has done the most justice?

Sign language is one of the most expressive languages but when is it wrong for someone to use/represent it?

I found the initial debate rather interesting and wanted to explore those questions further, I certainly feel that a lot needs to be done for sign language to be accepted in mainstream culture. You too can contribute with your thoughts and suggestions in order to help our debate come to a conclusion of sorts .

Carpe diem!

~ SJ (Sara Jae)