Expecting Parents.

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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 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)

 

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The BBC License Fee.

That same old drum is being banged upon once more.

Deaf people always seem to resent having to pay the full license fee to the BBC, just because the blind get a concession and they do not. In the old days, I might have agreed as there was evidently a real lack of captions and hardly any in-vision signers. Nowadays, the accessibility is there. And then some.

My father went through the very same motions a few years back, which my experience with, has prompted this post.

Petition

Any petition, past, present or to come, to reduce the BBC licensing fee on grounds of being deaf (regardless of how severe it is) and that programmes are inaccessible will fail. Without a doubt.

It does not matter if you do not watch the BBC even if it’s out of protest. If you watch or listen to any of the other channels or even access them online over devices, this is prescisley what the fee covers. That space. The fee is basically a tax, so you can watch or access any channels over the air space that is owned by the British Broadcasting Corporation. Better known as, the BBC.

It is extremely hard, to keep deaf people happy, especially if they love anything that’s free.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

At Whose Fecking Mercy, Exactly?

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The other day I was concerned to find quite a passionate post, ranting about being denied the opportunity to watch a captioned screening of a film they particularly and most eagerly wanted to watch. They went as far as to complain to Cineworld because they felt as though they were “at their fecking mercy”. So not my words.

Then I spot an editor adding fuel to the fire by suggesting they write a post about the dispute they were locked in, with Cineworld – for them to publish on their blog. Surely an editor is meant to fact check first? Or are they just desperate for ratings…

These days I do not wish to get involved with anything deaf related because usually, it’s the brutal truth which people know but refuse to accept. They are happy in their dream world, assuming all is against them when the fight to break down barriers are sometimes of their own doing.

This current dispute with Cineworld is unjustified. Because I myself had been following listings not just from “Your Local Cinema” but comparing them with official listings by the cinema companies themselves.

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Why would I accept a third person’s say so? I’m going to double check it and make sure it’s correct or otherwise. This is how I knew Cineworld was not wrong and so felt the need to inform the complainer, of my findings. That actually, ‘Your Local Cinema’ was in fact publishing incorrect listings on occasion and even listed non-existent cinemas. Some of which had long been demolished. I had been checking throughout the holidays as there were and are films we, that my kids and I, would like to see and saw for myself, the inconsistencies.

Double check, the information and yourselves. Try not to be so trigger happy, eh?

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

The Deaf Way.

There are particular people out there who anticipate a post from me each time an issue arises in the mainstream news or on social media concerning the deaf. This one is especially for you. Mwah.

There will always be people who will never be satisfied, regardless of who or what they happen to be yet others overjoyed with a simple balloon. There will always be people who think they are above others whilst others remain humble. There will always be people who are striving for change, some for better yet some, for attention. There will always be people who think of only themselves whilst others choose to be selfless. There will always be those who suffer from paranoia and others will not give a shit…. There will always….. There will always… There will always… There is always a balance..

Someone once upon a time caused an outrage when they decided that Justin Fletcher of CBeebies’ ‘Sometthing Special’ was signing “Fuck” when he was actually signing “Happy”. As a native BSL sign language user, the signs for “Fuck’ and ‘Happy’ are not even that close and it was clear as day, then and now, that he was and is signing “Happy”. The “Happy” sign has since sadly, evolved within Makaton as a result of someone’s bitter ‘misconceptions’. Makaton is derived from Britain Sign Language, both of which are man-made and is still a beautiful language, a form of communication (tool) for those who rely on it.

Whilst Sally Reynolds has decided to take Little Mix’s promoter to Court, many other deaf people do not and will not have the same level of access to legal services as she is able to. She is not the first to spit her dummy nor will she be the last. It is apparently, the deaf way.

One might say deaf people are in receipt of benefits to help pay for interpreters or in other words, access, where and when needed – IF any cannot be provided. There are events which will provide equality in the form of accessible inclusion as and when available, even when (politely) asked. If you consciously choose an event outside of any given dates, why would you knowingly attend, enjoy it to an extent and sue, perhaps ungratefully?

I hope people will feel encouraged in the meantime to patiently request, for their needs to be met regardless of what their needs and abilities may be. To continue having their right to choose. Just, do not take the piss by pushing your luck.

How you go about making a stand automatically reflects upon your community, for example, the deaf community as a whole. Not every deaf, deafened or hard of hearing member of the community can use or know BSL. Most do and will be able to use subtitles on TV and at the cinema so are able to make use of Captions at events where and when made available. Sign language interpreters be it in-vision or live is considered to be an added bonus, especially for the minority within the minority – who cannot get by in their everyday lives without sign language. My father is one of them and yet, he was born hearing.

While all our spots may never change, physically our bodies will. Let us all stop taking life for granted and help us, to help you, make a change. For a better and more inclusive place? God knows generations before us have tried, today’s are tying, should tomorrow’s continue our battles too? Until then, history will keep on repeating itself, deaf, (dis)abled or hearing.

This is one broken record.

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The ball is in, YOUR court.

Last but not least, I am choosing not to focus on the deaf world anymore because it is at a cost to me to keep on being passionate about deaf issues, of which keeps falling on deaf(ened) ears. Literally even. I have gone above and beyond in several instances only to be accused of seeking recognition by those whose noses were put out of joint. All because, I choose to tell things as they truthfully are. Accusing me, was and is, a sign of your/their weakness(es). I have now, much more important beings to focus on, I will however, continue to post as and when I wish to do so.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Deafness Blues

Challenges ahead

I was reminded today just how hard it can be, to be deaf.
An ATM was hungry and gobbled my bank card – not that anything was wrong with my card or account. Stupid (Link) machine played up. Arse.
Panicked a little as I had both X & X with me. I looked at Y in despair and said “My card is gone.” He also knew it was the machine and not my card cos I’m good that way 😜
Banks were closed… tried calling a number via my phone but I’d no credit. I’ve the minutes!! But not credit to call their rates… my money was in the bank. My card was in the machine.
Double arse!
Y’s luckily has dual SIM cards so he could use one of them to call the emergency line with.
Braced for hassles because he was speaking on my behalf.
“I need her to speak on the phone”
“She’s deaf, she cannot hear on the phone.”
Five mins later, I was asked to say my DOB into thin air, phone next to my lips.
How surreal.
Then my address.
Spoke to the ghost again and pushed away the phone. How uncomfortable that was yet it had to be done.
Bearing fraud in mind, card was stopped and a new card ordered.
X looked at me the n amazement, “What if you couldn’t speak clearly enough?!”
A night of despair and undue stress would have been the order of the day otherwise.
Gratitude overcame me and thanked Y for his help.
How frustrating.
For us all.

Treble arse.

~ SJ Sara Jae)

Update: There is no need to use Signvideo (which is only available with several banks) or Typetalk because downloading a mobile banking app will do the job. And then some.

Where Are Your Manners?

Utterly shocked at the snobbery of some people.

My daughter goes to the library with her friend so I drop them off and see my father for a brief chat, cappuccino for him. The table he chose to sit down at had a mother and teenage daughter neighbouring it. Cafe was pretty busy and full. Instantly I felt their dismay at us sitting there, next to them. I chose to ignore it.

I happened to catch the mother giving me funny looks so I ignored her again. Fuming inside I was though. I had to keep calm and my wits about me…. even when she put up her mega sized costa coffee cup over her mouth in our direction, not drinking out of it. She held it there for a good five minutes until her daughter made her put the mug down. I ignored the bitch. I had to.

They left and I wished I had put her in her place by asking her what her problem was. The effing cheek of her… to go to a public cafe where all the hearing people can hear sod all she says but hides from us. Not that I wanted to look at her or be nosy. Could it have been because she was trying to hide what they were saying about us?

Kettle had boiled and settled. Calm was restored.

We then went for a walk to pass a little time but one of the shop’s entrances was busy. My dad being tall and well built, slowly edged his way through a small gap. I spy this woman giving him a dirty look behind his back. I looked at her and calmly asked her, “Why did you give him a dirty look?” The dirty look reappeared.

Omfg.

I said to her, calmly – I don’t know how! “There is no need for you to give me a dirty look either.” and walked away….

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Walking back to the library… the woman from the cafe and her daughter walked past me. I thought sod it, carpe diem. Don’t laugh. Heh.

She was trying to ignore me as I approached her… I said to her “Just because I can sign and have hearing aids,  it doesn’t mean I can’t hear you. Next time don’t be so rude and hide behind a mug.” And walked, back to my father. Who was standing a short distance away, smiling with what seemed to be a sense of pride.

I cannot understand why some people can behave in such a way? How does evil come naturally to them? Mind boggling.

I wanna get off this planet…

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Newborn Signs.

Babies who happen to be deaf or hearing, regardless, tend to mimic as I’ve noticed with my own so I doubt this baby is actually signing (back) but a nice thought and an extremely cute video all the same.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)