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 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)

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)

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!

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“I Love You” in British Sign Language.

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

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Outdated Attitudes.

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“The disability is not the problem. The accessibility is the problem.” – Mohamed Jemni.

Not always accessibility but rather, attitudes.

A friend shared this earlier which helped me to appreciate yet correct it a bit further… since the out-dated term “Deaf-mute” was used in my presence earlier this week, this left me feeling speechless. If an elderly person had said it, I would not have minded so much but she was thirty ish.

~ 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.) 🙂