SELFLESS.

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.

Errrrrmm….

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 –

https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/deaf-blind-man-is-hauled-off-easyjet-flight-over-safety-fears-1-4413794/amp

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)

 

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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 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)

 

 

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)

Yes, I Can.

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I saw an advert on TV some time ago which used the words “I can” and this advert inspired me to put the question to our dwellers to see, what they CAN do….

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Here are some of their answers.

I sang in a choir (a hearing one), played clarinet to grade 8 and the obvious one that most people seem to be shocked about “Oooohhhhh my gawd! You can driiiive! Cleevverrr!”

My friends think I can do everything and even things I say I would find hard to do because of my hearing loss, they’re the ones telling me: “Why not, go for it”, so I guess I’m lucky. However, years ago, some of my family members and relatives seemed to think that it was “amazing” that I had got a university degree (as if deaf meant stupid) and my sis in law once told my mum that I was “lucky” to get a good man as a husband, due to my hearing loss!

I had a similar experience – my husband is hearing and someone in his family said he ‘must find it hard’ with a deaf girlfriend (this was very early on) We’re all people – hearing or deaf it doesn’t matter, some people have strange/misguided ideas about relationships and equality. I tend not to think in terms of ‘I can do this despite being deaf’ – in my eyes, I think being deaf has given me more determination. Life is tough for most people, I think everyone has potential and it is often what we do with it and the resources we have that make the difference between ‘I can’ and ‘I can’t’.

I’ve had hearing people say to me ‘You’re so inspiring, being deaf and doing a degree!’ and…. ‘how can you hear music?’. I am a singer and a musician because I can.

I’ve met some people who seem shocked to learn that deaf people can dance.

I had a boss who shifted my mindset from can’t do to can do, now I’m talking on phones, gibbering at Portuguese in work, smiling a lot more and having fun!

My old school told my mother that I would not be able to do music or French?! I did both in the end, at Mary Hare School.

I was told I couldn’t rock climb once… because I was deaf (said by a professional climber)

I was told at 16 that I couldn’t go to university as I was deaf but I went to four in the end.

I didn’t go to Uni – I was often asked why with sympathetic looks “Was it because you are deaf and you would find it difficult?”, “ No, I chose to travel….”

I couldn’t sign 3 years ago however now I can have a conversation in sign language. 

I can choose when I don’t want to hear. 😉

I have friends who kept relying on people to help them, I told them that they could do it themselves. They assumed that because people were there for them, they felt they couldn’t do it themselves. I decided to show them that they CAN do it.

Empower yourselves, because you CAN and you WILL.. 🙂

Positivity rules, what else CAN deaf people do?

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

(May you now realize, where the inspiration for the #ICAN posts came from.) 🙂