Deaf Mental Health On Social Media.

If you want to learn sign language or needed an interpreter for an appointment, would you settle for someone who knows only the basics and perhaps a little more? You would not because you would want a qualified sign language tutor or a registered interpreter – right? So that you could be fully confident of what you were being taught / told.

Then why are people (especially the deaf) sharing very personal videos about their mental health issues and sharing them to a secret group, run by an admin team and members that are NOT qualified to relatively advise?

I from personal experience appreciate that friendly support can be therapeutic and is better than nothing but it’s potentially dangerous in such a social media group. Thank you, but no thank you. I’ll stick to sites provided by qualified counsellors.

Please view a previous post of mine which also relates to mental health therapy, the deaf way. 

Vent given. ☺️

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

British Sign Language.

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Deaf & deaf

The one thing I have noticed about (British) sign language is how it is always evolving. How they signed in the 1930’s is different yet similar to today’s. Back then it was mainly fingerspelling at a very fast speed!

https://www.bslzone.co.uk/watch/deaf-world-archive-films-deaf-people-1930s/

I also observe that there is no right or wrong way to sign a word, due to regional “accents”. Much like how spoken languages is always evolving, has accents and have adopted foreign words too.

I bring this up solely because I’ve noticed people continuously trying to correct a person’s signing “No, wrong!”, I have even ‘heard’ (pardon the pun!) that someone was trying to suggest to the signing community, not to adopt any foreign signs.

There are different signs to words like “Deaf” and “Thank you” today, to what I learnt as a child.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

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)

 

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)

 

 

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)

Why The UK Needs An Approved Governing Body For Deaf Issues.

Can you sign?

I am very alarmed at the fact that there is no official register for CSW’s (Communication Support Workers) to protect both themselves and members of the deaf community. CSW’s should be regulated and abide by a code of conduct. Just like NRCPD (National Registered Communication Professionals working with Deaf/Deafblind people) interpreters have to in order to work. So please, can they (CSW’s) be regulated too?

How many people say “I can sign”? (well done! you know how to sign your name…)

Would a nurse be employed without being registered first?

Would a nurse be allowed to perform a consultant’s job? (i.e. brain surgery)

A plumber has to be registered otherwise they are considered as a rogue trader… I would not let him fix anything he wasn’t trained for – especially if I am facing a barrier in making a complaint about him if circumstances changed due to faults from their services… By not complying to a code of conduct or being registered means they can do as they like knowing they will get away with it. Their registration card would convince me they are regulated and qualified. Without one, no thanks…

The logistics have to apply in every profession…? I am sure every-one would be happier knowing there is an official system in place regulating and protecting both sides. We deserve the best don’t we? In all senses. No longer second class citizens.

Here is a response from a kind and patient Mr Ian Noon to my appeal for CSW’s to be monitored by the NDCS (National Deaf Children’s Society) due to fears deaf children’s educations is being severely hindered by lack of skills and experience. Here is an extract of it as he was happy for it to be shared. Thank you ever so, Ian.

“We would agree with you that we need a more skilled workforce able to support deaf children.

The I-Sign project at the moment is working to develop a new qualification for CSWs and have set up a CSW development fund. Have you come across this? More information on this can be found at http://www.ndcs.org.uk/family_support/how_ndcs_can_help/ndcs_projects/isign/csw_development_fun.html. By developing a specific CSW qualification, it will hopefully be easier to persuade schools in the future to employ someone who has receiving training and has the right skills.

NatSIP (National Sensory Impairment Partnership) have also produced guidance on best practice in relation to teaching assistants and communication support workers.

www.ndcs.org.uk/document.rm?id=6928

In the coming months, NDCS will be looking afresh at our position statement on CSWs but you’ll see that we already call for at least level 3 as a minimum standard http://www.ndcs.org.uk/about_us/position_statements/supporting_bsl_users.html

If parents have concerns about the support for their individual child, they can contact the NDCS Freephone Helpline for information and support. There may be things that the family can do to challenge a school or service that isn’t providing qualified CSWs.

Finally, we would definitely agree with you that there needs to be a stronger accountability framework. You may have seen that, as part of our Stolen Futures campaign, we’ve been calling on Ofsted to inspect specialist SEN support services for deaf children. A Stolen Futures briefing on this can be found at http://www.ndcs.org.uk/document.rm?id=8328 and a parliamentary briefing where we tried to get a change to the law on this can be found at: http://www.ndcs.org.uk/about_us/campaign_with_us/england/campaign_news/lordscandfbill.html Ofsted have agreed to carry out a review of the wider special educational needs inspection framework and to report by June. However, it’s going to be difficult to persuade the Government to give Ofsted more money to carry out these kinds of inspections – so we have a lot of work to do over the coming months.

Any help you or anyone else can offer would be great – for example, writing to local MPs to ask them if Ofsted will inspect support for deaf children or going to the BDA (British Deaf Association) Deaf Day – are things that will really help.”

Another response from Anthony Owen that he very kindly made (on my initial post on Facebook):

“A proposal for opening a category for CSWs in the NRCPD was formally presented to the NRCPD on the 15th of February 2012. It was a 70 page document, ACSW (Association of Communication Support Workers) took the lead in producing it, with the agreement of NATED, (National Association for Tertiary Education for Deaf people) and it was supported by the DESF (Deaf Education Support Forum) comprising representatives of ACSW, Action on Hearing Loss (http://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/, The Association of Notetaking Professionals (ANP), The Association of Sign Language Interpreters (ASLI), The British Association of Teachers of the Deaf (BATOD), The Consortium of Higher Education Support Services with Deaf Students (CHESS), Mary Hare training, NATED, and Signature. The proposal therefore represented a meeting of minds of the main stakeholder organisations involved in the education of Deaf students at all ages. Members of the DESF made several amendments before submission, so it was a document that was well thought-out and relevant.

The proposal was put to the NRCPD board at its meeting on 2nd July 2012. The NRCPD board considered the process to take the proposal forward and agreed the following stages:

1 Commission a situation analysis to provide answers to the questions that arose from the board’s first reading of the proposal and seek to identify a solid opportunity for NRCPD to act. Funds have been committed and consultants commissioned to get this stage under way.

2 Development of a proposal for regulating this area of practice.

3 Obtain stakeholder consultation on that proposal.

4 Final discussion and decision.

ACSW received a consultant’s response highlighting areas that needed work on. On Friday 21st June 2013 ACSW sent a lengthy document answering each area. There have since been brief talks on the definition of the role of the CSW, contained in the CSW Code of Practice (held on the NATED website). The CSW CoP has been in place for many years, was revised in 2008 after national consultation with stakeholders and updated in 2013 in consultation with CSW trainers, working and training CSWs, teachers of the deaf etc. The process took a while to complete but the CoP is now a more valid and current document.

We are waiting further developments.”

Unfortunately they are STILL waiting… I even tweeted NRCPD to find out why it is taking so long for them to realise the proposal and create the official register of which many agree to and want. No response as of yet.

Problem is charities and companies concerning issues for the deaf / hearing loss can do the hell what they like when there is no governing body for us to turn to or for them to be monitored by. Especially when money is involved. There needs to be one to keep them in check and keep deaf peoples best interests at heart. Why is there Ofcom, Ofsted, Fifa etc… But not one for deaf/hearing loss issues?!

I have also made some tweets to several political parties to ask “Why is there no governing body to monitor self-regulatory bodies concerning deaf issues?”…. I have not yet been “heard”…

There are other “professionals” who give “deaf awareness” training and can get away with it because there is no one at their end to question them, to protect both sides… “Hold on, is this deaf awareness training?!” (Tap on shoulder, speak clearly…Well done, pat on back and certificate awarded…a piece of paper to make them look good…) “Are you even qualified or experienced to give it?” Blah blah… Money over people. How sad. Times have to change. Surely people’s rights should be more important? While people are salaried, things will never really change as the determination and passion for it has to come from the bottom of our hearts. There is a quote that sticks in my mind “If we are bystanders to injustice, we invite injustice our way.” Are you inviting injustice?

There were even attempts to try and use past and current negative hospital experiences to try and sell more BSL (British Sign Language) courses when that alone would not solve the major social policy issues within the NHS. Whether they had good intentions or were trying to take advantage…. That is for you to decide.

People feel the need and are able to do this because society does not know any better to ask any questions. A loop hole (market) has been created from the government not legally recognising BSL and by not implementing equality and inclusion. Or any deaf awareness being instilled from long ago… It is about time there is an approved national governing body to monitor “official” registers and self regulating bodies in many areas, especially when money is being made from deafness and deaf issues. To protect ALL, on an equal basis.

“Deaf children have a right to a quality education, like all other children, in a language and environment that maximizes their potential” from Human Rights Watch. Here is another source regarding developing a GCSE for BSL. It is all part of the ripple effect and once BSL has been legalised , equality and inclusion will slowly but surely occur in everyone’s best interests.

Of course, there are many who have worked very hard to get to where they are today and they deserve to be recognised for being who they are, who are genuinely in it – for the people. Kudos to them. Thank you, for bridging the communication barriers between the deaf and hearing worlds.

Further reasons why UK needs an approved governing body for deaf issues: Making a complaint regarding NHS and/or Government services.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)