Author Topic: BBC moan (plus thread-drift)  (Read 1189 times)

Sunny Clouds

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Re: BBC moan (plus thread-drift)
« Reply #15 on: 08 Sep 2021 01:56PM »
It occurs to me that whilst I find we have a lot in common, just as I've got my foibles with the way I describe people and things, I find one of your foibles/linguistic traits very difficult.  You have a style of describing people that seems to lump people together into a single grouping, which logic says you don't or you wouldn't be speaking out on things.  You probably find my inclination to split hairs, draw distinctions etc. difficult.

E.g. you speak of 'the deaf community' as a single entity, but where I am, I don't think of it that way.  There's a range of D/deaf communities round here.  Maybe it's because I live in a large urban area where we're united in a geographical sense but have lots of different communities.  To extend that, I'd see the term deaf community meaning different things in different contexts, so in one context I'd see myself as belonging to one, in another as belonging to another, and in another...well, you get he picture.

Likewise in a wider context, if you think of here, you, I and the other deaf poster (I'm not naming her because my mind's gone blank whether she uses the same posting name here as elsewhere) each have different views (albeit overlapping), move in different circles (albeit overlapping) etc.  Are we the Ouchtoo deaf community?  I'd say that logically we are.

As for the 'deaf and disabled' thing, references to disability are, as I see it, seriously messed up by a couple of things that mess up lots of other words in our language. 

One is that the terms disabled/disability have specific meanings in relation to certain legislation (which as we all know here varies from context to context - disabled in the context of, for instance, a blue badge is different from PIP and different from Equality Act), and the other big problem is that they are used differently in terms of overlapping everyday usage, in many ways affected by things like theory and philosophy.  What one person calls disability, another calls impairment, but that doesn't mean the impairment term user doesn't use the term disability, just that they use it differently. 

It doesn't help here that as with a number of other important words, some of which relate to disability, American usage is different from British usage and the influence of the internet is causing, I believe, a far greater use of American linguistic norms.

So it's very difficult, but what people have discovered over the years (over the centuries?) is that if you come up with a new term for something, it won't be long before people use that differently from how you did when you came up with it.

Thus if you think of disability in terms of something like being defective, then it can seem odd to sound strong about it, but if you see it in terms of being different, turning weakness into strength can seem positive, and if you see it in terms of social disadvantage, claiming your legal rights or social equality can seem like a reasonable defence.

All entwined, all annoying in some contexts, particularly where our approaches clash.

It's like I remember my debates with Seán about whether there should be a separate disability support service. Such a tangled mix.  I didn't want it separate from health service, because I believe that separation can mean that those whose disability/impairment relates to or arises from a health condition can be tossed back and forth and fall through the cracks, as happens to countless people with dementia.  He saw it more, I think, in terms of rights and in terms of not being seen as in some way defective needing fixing.  Where we met was a belief that maybe the government will finish privatising the NHS faster than social care.  Well, we've seen the government's recent cop-out on disability support.

Anyway, I don't have a problem with calling myself deaf and disabled in relevant contexts.  In some contexts it could be interpreted as "I'm disabled, and the sort of disabled that is is deaf" and in others it could be interpreted as "there are contexts in which my deafness is the focus of what's relevant, and contexts in which my disability is the focus of what's relevant, so I fall into both categories".

Oh dear, I suspect you didn't want a linguistic analysis.  It's just that I have a big obsession with its being a major problem with the English language, far more so than a lot of other languages, and that it makes issues like 'disability rights' and 'deaf rights' and 'deaf culture' etc., etc., etc. (aargh etc.) difficult to discuss.

All that being said, I get the distinct impression that in a range of contexts you've come up against D/deaf people who've seen being D/deaf as core of their identity and seeing D/deaf people as a homogenous blob and how dare you, OtE, not fit in that stereotype and be like they think D/deaf people should be and want what they think D/deaf people should want?

You and I will carry on disagreeing about a range of political issues, but I think (?) we are agreed that neither of us wants to be expected to fit a neat little category and to want precisely the same as everyone else in that cateogory etc.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

On the edge

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Re: BBC moan (plus thread-drift)
« Reply #16 on: 13 Sep 2021 11:05AM »
It occurs to me that whilst I find we have a lot in common, just as I've got my foibles with the way I describe people and things, I find one of your foibles/linguistic traits very difficult.  You have a style of describing people that seems to lump people together into a single grouping, which logic says you don't or you wouldn't be speaking out on things.  You probably find my inclination to split hairs, draw distinctions etc. difficult.

E.g. you speak of 'the deaf community' as a single entity, but where I am, I don't think of it that way.  There's a range of D/deaf communities round here.  Maybe it's because I live in a large urban area where we're united in a geographical sense but have lots of different communities.  To extend that, I'd see the term deaf community meaning different things in different contexts, so in one context I'd see myself as belonging to one, in another as belonging to another, and in another...well, you get he picture.

Likewise in a wider context, if you think of here, you, I and the other deaf poster (I'm not naming her because my mind's gone blank whether she uses the same posting name here as elsewhere) each have different views (albeit overlapping), move in different circles (albeit overlapping) etc.  Are we the Ouchtoo deaf community?  I'd say that logically we are.

As for the 'deaf and disabled' thing, references to disability are, as I see it, seriously messed up by a couple of things that mess up lots of other words in our language. 

One is that the terms disabled/disability have specific meanings in relation to certain legislation (which as we all know here varies from context to context - disabled in the context of, for instance, a blue badge is different from PIP and different from Equality Act), and the other big problem is that they are used differently in terms of overlapping everyday usage, in many ways affected by things like theory and philosophy.  What one person calls disability, another calls impairment, but that doesn't mean the impairment term user doesn't use the term disability, just that they use it differently. 

It doesn't help here that as with a number of other important words, some of which relate to disability, American usage is different from British usage and the influence of the internet is causing, I believe, a far greater use of American linguistic norms.

So it's very difficult, but what people have discovered over the years (over the centuries?) is that if you come up with a new term for something, it won't be long before people use that differently from how you did when you came up with it.

Thus if you think of disability in terms of something like being defective, then it can seem odd to sound strong about it, but if you see it in terms of being different, turning weakness into strength can seem positive, and if you see it in terms of social disadvantage, claiming your legal rights or social equality can seem like a reasonable defence.

All entwined, all annoying in some contexts, particularly where our approaches clash.

It's like I remember my debates with Seán about whether there should be a separate disability support service. Such a tangled mix.  I didn't want it separate from health service, because I believe that separation can mean that those whose disability/impairment relates to or arises from a health condition can be tossed back and forth and fall through the cracks, as happens to countless people with dementia.  He saw it more, I think, in terms of rights and in terms of not being seen as in some way defective needing fixing.  Where we met was a belief that maybe the government will finish privatising the NHS faster than social care.  Well, we've seen the government's recent cop-out on disability support.

Anyway, I don't have a problem with calling myself deaf and disabled in relevant contexts.  In some contexts it could be interpreted as "I'm disabled, and the sort of disabled that is is deaf" and in others it could be interpreted as "there are contexts in which my deafness is the focus of what's relevant, and contexts in which my disability is the focus of what's relevant, so I fall into both categories".

Oh dear, I suspect you didn't want a linguistic analysis.  It's just that I have a big obsession with its being a major problem with the English language, far more so than a lot of other languages, and that it makes issues like 'disability rights' and 'deaf rights' and 'deaf culture' etc., etc., etc. (aargh etc.) difficult to discuss.

All that being said, I get the distinct impression that in a range of contexts you've come up against D/deaf people who've seen being D/deaf as core of their identity and seeing D/deaf people as a homogenous blob and how dare you, OtE, not fit in that stereotype and be like they think D/deaf people should be and want what they think D/deaf people should want?

You and I will carry on disagreeing about a range of political issues, but I think (?) we are agreed that neither of us wants to be expected to fit a neat little category and to want precisely the same as everyone else in that cateogory etc.


I hate labels. I often fall foul of the d/D thing myself although I oppose the capitalisation of the term deaf, it seems they have brainwashed most of us the deaf people and Deaf people (!) are one and the same, I usually attempt to ID them via refusing to use the capitalisation mostly, but there you go, others get puzzled who you are talking about,  whether we should accept the blurring of the terminology or the people who want to be seen via that term is moot. I want the D gone.


We may be deaf as in not hearing anything or nothing of real value that's it, every person today has their own view of what deafness or hearing loss is, it was far easier years ago, you couldn't hear, you were deaf that was it.  Now the fact you can hear a bomb drop next to you or even hear most, or even a little, with a hearing aid, BAHA,  or a CI you can still be claiming a Deaf ID, I've seen hearing people claiming to be deaf.  They know allying with that area means easier access to funds and support.  That doesn't mean most actually are members of that particular community.


Deaf use the community term as a collective one for themselves, but it gets allied to hearing loss that is when issues emerge, they are mixing issues and people up.  You could be a good lip-reader, then the 'Deaf' will disown you as well.  The disability thing? well, this is a deliberate conundrum promoted by signing/cultural deaf to gain funds, welfare, support, and recognition for their way of life, since there is ambiguity if they demand funding just as 'Deaf', culture/language are the key with that your chances of funding is pretty high. 


That neither are applicable to the majority of us just gets tagged on to everything.  The 'deaf' or 'HoH' need an angle as well, are but hampered by the fact they are in denial or wearing an aid.  Loads still queue up to purchase a hearing aid nobody can see why do that? Vanity? or denial?


Are they 'deaf' or not?  Some don't want anyone to know, 3m won't even wear an aid.  Its a mess basically and the only beneficiaries are the signing deaf. If I can draw an example, in Wales whilst researching support provision via the Senedd website, those with hearing loss (!), came under 17 different definitions, deafness under 11, and it was all down to using a capitalization of the deaf term. I asked the website to differentiate which area they were describing and they said it was impossible because capitalisation of the term deaf, defeated their AND the Google search option and spell checkers.   Such is the power of changing just ONE letter.


Of course, confusion and relentless sign/cultural promotion prevent a lot of sense from being made of it all.  The idea is to keep moving goalposts to avoid me scoring a goal I think!  To a degree, I have to make an educated assumption (If that is possible), and go for it.  Whether we are deaf or disabled makes no difference to how WE perceive our own loss.  We ALL feel disabled by hearing loss, but systems go by how you manage it, not how many db you have lost, the DWP is the sole area I know that actually does that over and above the NHS clinical definition. 


HoH e.g. appear to manage very well, they make few if any demands on systems for help, next to no need for social clubs etc, whereas the signing deaf can rely totally on it.  They have national support set up and social area, necessary they say because hearing won't let them in, that is their biggest lie really, they just cannot cope with it or want to.


I think the usage of the Letter D disabled most, and just emphasised and marginalized those 'Deaf'.  They are flying in the face of reality as the much-promoted 'community' contains fewer and fewer actual deaf people.


It's rather sad they are trying to play both ends by claiming disability support and funding and then going out declaring deafness to them isn't a disability at all. Then they pile in social or medical argy-bargy, they need sorting out.  I think it suits some NOT to.
« Last Edit: 13 Sep 2021 11:10AM by On the edge »

Sunny Clouds

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Re: BBC moan (plus thread-drift)
« Reply #17 on: 13 Sep 2021 01:27PM »
The difficulty with whether it's ok to claim disability support then say you're not disabled is that people may do that with different views on it. Some may think "I'm not disabled in the way people think I am, but the label that gets used for the legislation and funding is disabled, so I'll put up with it."  Some may think "I'm disabled by society for my difference, so seeing myself as socially disabled but not medically disabled is perfectly valid."  Some may think "I'm disabled, but that means different, not defective."  Others may simply be inconsistent.

Personally, I have no hang-ups about considering myself socially disabled whilst considering myself not in some way defective.  That arises from rebellion against years of being given grief by a psychiatric system.  I was referred to it after horrible things had happened to me and had to put up with years of being told what was wrong with me.  Except that a lot of what they said was wrong with me had previously been seen as a strength in other contexts.  The army loved having someone who'd go off on a frenzy of activity getting stuff done, then crash out for a while.

(another post follows)
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

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Re: BBC moan (plus thread-drift)
« Reply #18 on: 13 Sep 2021 01:41PM »
On the hearing aid thing - I loathe the modern tiny aids, but we've been given very hard sell, like they used to do with glasses in the days when they were trying to sell contact lenses.  I don't think this is about customer demand, I think it's about what the manufacturers are selling.

Also, people are more likely to wear hearing aids when they get older, only to be bombarded with advertising that associates hearing aids with being old, so they're seen as labelling the wearers as decrepit, defective.

At least with glasses, it's not like when I was young.  They don't seem to say any more "Boys don't make passes at girls that wear glasses."   But we didn't, I think, have a similar phrase for hearing aids that can fade into disuse.

That being said, I'm seeing some youngsters playing with some sort of apps or something on their smartphones (I don't have one so am uncertain about the jargon) that turns them into hearing aids.  More to the point, I see ones doing it that are very open about it.

I also see middle aged and older people starting to use apps that let them tweak the sound balance on their wifi hearing aids, and again more and more seem very open about it.  You meet them and say something and they ask you to wait whilst they turn their hearing aids from birdsong/music/mute/wife's voice to standard speech or whatever they call it.

I also see people wearing badges, and encounter people in a range of situations such as shops, bus stops etc. openly telling people they can't hear well.  I remember one day being in a queue at a till and both the woman in front of me and the assistant had badges.

That's in addition to women I've seen who've gone private to buy sparkly ear moulds or insisted on having the 'wrong' colour hearing aid, e.g. not the dark brown one for dark brown skin and black hair.

(Ooh, memories of when I was a kid and the optician was insistent about the NHS glasses for girls - pink/pearl for pale girls, black for dark girls.  Aargh!)

So I believe that the manufacturers of hearing aids are going to have to do an about-turn soon and market aids that are big and bold, or they'll lose the market to what I conceptualise (again probably with the wrong jargon) as the music and technology creatives.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

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Re: BBC moan (plus thread-drift)
« Reply #19 on: 13 Sep 2021 01:45PM »
I want to post more because you've prompted so much thought, but I need to go out and I only crawled out of bed at well gone one.  But then I didn't get to sleep until about five, and then kept waking.

I'll be back to annoy you, erm, debate with you, again later.

Oh dear, now why did I mention people around me being open about deafness?  I shall be walking down the street mentally notching up everyone who's 'out and proud' about having hearing problems.

Oh, forgot to mention, I think maybe on a social level rather than official level 'deaf' is used differently where you are?  Round here, it implies any level of hearing loss, including quite mild.  I hadn't thought before how much that might vary regionally. 
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

On the edge

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Re: BBC moan (plus thread-drift)
« Reply #20 on: 15 Sep 2021 11:40AM »
The problem with social modeling, is it deteriorates into the blame game, it expects everyone to be aware and are annoyed when they find that isn't happening.  Hearing are not responsible for the fact we cannot hear.  As regards including us, that requires awareness that even WE cannot agree on, and skills others don't have, or see a need to acquire.  Do they learn BSL in the off-chance they may meet some deaf who use it?  they don't.  Learners tend to be family, friends, or support, few actually qualified.


The fact most deaf turn up with a 3rd party support also suggests there is nil need for others to make the effort, visibly they see support is already there.  Campaign-wise deaf demanding that.   If we are honest it requires most deaf or HoH to step away from what support reliance they have, and present at the 'coal  face.'  This would promote awareness of what is required, only 'demand' does that, not campaigns.  Naturally, there are deaf (And HoH), who cannot cope doing that, so catch 22 tends to always exist and be a 'brake' on real inclusion.  That is the minority within the minority, but the awareness is blanket and doesn't ID that fact.


Near me they promote 'Mentors' as well, it had a LOT of opposition from people who saw it as a 'recruitment drive' to promote systems and attitudes that have long gone.  Ideally, a 'Mentor' would be (A) Someone like yourself, and (B) Someone who succeeds in the mainstream and is able to function in or outside the 'community'. 


What we saw were Deaf sign users who promoted the 'Deaf' way of life and sign language and culture, with no emphasis whatever of surviving, adapting, or managing the hearing world outside it, the 'mentors' offered no encouragement to move outward, it was non-inclusion based mentoring, and promotion of the cultural mantra.  Most had little or no experience in the mainstream and had lived a life in the deaf community.


We questioned the validity of such mentoring in regards to awareness, or inclusion as they were basically promoting own versions of both, and, without valid inclusive experience to pass on, neutral and unbiased mentoring never took place. It all goes back to education which in deaf terms is a mess of rights and ignorance mostly.  To be honest, it's a harsh world out there, and the sooner all are taught mechanisms to cope with it the easier some of it gets.


Deaf or any specialist education by default, 'protects' the child from these realities, a natural response, but, they aren't in specialist schools for life, and may well not get specialist support/care they need after either.  They are blissfully unaware until formative education (And state responsibility), ceases as adults, then chips on shoulders occur, blaming others goes on, isolation then seems preferable to fighting the corner, and of course, most can't, they were not taught how.  They don't challenge aspects of specialist deaf education because they felt included, supported and safe there.


Mainstreaming has thrown a spanner in that work.  I think it needs a generation or two to work effectively, to re-write 100 years before it that was dedicated to isolating them and viewing them as retarded or something.  Little wonder some deaf hark back to the 'good old days' of deaf schools etc.  They had a shock when they left them that they were unprepared for.  It is still the thrust of deaf campaigns to revert to such systems, but this time with their own school curriculums based on a signed approach and a cultural-based curriculum. 


This guarantees a Deaf community survives.   Personally, I don't think they have any chance of that happening.  Like Martha's Vineyard, young deaf have seen a door of opportunity opening and they don't want people closing it on them.  It's 2021 now not the 19thc.


There are so many advances today, deaf are ARE in there pitching, and good on them, so we have to defend that right. 'Back to the future'  was an escapist film,  we can't live in the past.  We can't live in an elitist deaf community either, where sign is all or else, young deaf don't care for culture, they do care for having the same as hearing peers, and know what is required for getting it.   That isn't sitting in a deaf club with deaf peers blaming everyone else.


Unfortunately, the state of inclusion/Diversity/respect and awareness is crazy at present and unviable.  Only the loudest and most extreme voice is going to be heard.   It does seem the more diversity demands, the less tolerance there is as a result. Deaf or disabled cannot insulate themselves from that.
« Last Edit: 15 Sep 2021 11:45AM by On the edge »

On the edge

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Re: BBC moan (plus thread-drift)
« Reply #21 on: 15 Sep 2021 11:57AM »
You should disseminate responses and do a paper  lol

Sunny Clouds

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Re: BBC moan (plus thread-drift)
« Reply #22 on: 15 Sep 2021 12:09PM »
Gosh, we do live in very, very different worlds.

When I was on a BSL course, people were on it for lots and lots of different reasons. 

As for the social model, I don't think it's about a blame game.  More to the point, it can be win-win.

For instance, think of the purple pound.  That can seem like just a gimmick, but now think of something that's not about disability but is about difference that can be, in practical terms, a bit disabling in some contexts - left-handedness.  Well, mostly, left-handers adapt, but look how some manufacturers have worked out that there's money to be made from things like left-handed scissors.

Or the classic 'disabled by lack of ramp' illustration.  Older people are more likely to have difficulty with stairs up to buildings,  but they may also be more valuable customers to some of those buildings. 

Back in the nineties, as a 'community leader', I pointed out to councillors that in relation to some of the developments in our town centre, the focus was too much on trendy architecture and a trendy image for the shops.  I pointed out that the disability access was rubbish.  Didn't they want the custom of people with poorer vision, poorer hearing, a need to sit more often, a need to use a walking stick or a wheelchair etc?  They pooh-poohed me. 

Oh dear, now what's happening?  The young, fit, able customers are buying online.  The oldies and wobblies who are still potential customers are even going so far as to drive to other areas to do their shopping.  Meanwhile,  lack of accessibility for disabled people also makes a place less convenient for lots of other people.

Example, you're somewhere where deaf people say they want the information on displays not shouted, and please make them readable.  Visually impaired vice-versa.

Hmm, it's noisy.  You wonder why you've got so many lost and frustrated customers/public.  Oh, you didn't realise that problems with sound discrimination and hearing that's less than good affect about one person in seven, so even if it's just one in twenty or thirty that can't make out your announcements, you've got a lot of chaos in your mall/station/hospital/public buildings.  Oh, guess what, it's annoying some and driving others away.  What a pity that's costing you money and/or alienating your voters/constituents.

So if you make adaptations for some, you can end up making adaptations for others, and it can be worth doing for lots of reasons.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

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Re: BBC moan (plus thread-drift)
« Reply #23 on: 15 Sep 2021 12:18PM »
As for schools, the whole scandal of offrolling shows what's gone wrong with inclusive education for SEND pupils.  Likewise punishment cubicles, overly occupied by SEND pupils.

The curriculum in England (don't know about the rest of the UK) is hideously useless for a range of SEND pupils.  I got fed up as a child (with my glue ear not my war damage) with sitting through lessons just copying from textbooks or the board.  In theory these days pupils have teaching assistants or similar to help, but round here it's just token if you can get it at all.  When a school can't even afford enough books or stationery, then funding to produce extra resources for SEND pupils to bring their education up to the level of others in a mixed teaching environment is a struggle.

But some SEND pupils can and do thrive in environments geared up towards their specific needs.  That doesn't mean that if you have two profoundly deaf pupils they will both thrive in the same environment.  Their deafness isn't the only factor.

But we're probably never going to agree about teaching pupils through the medium of BSL because I think we have different views on the importance of multilingualism, and we have, I believe, fundamentally different interpretations of the scientific research into the value of having more than one language in learning those languages.

I get the impression that from your perspective, if a child learns language A then language B, you expect that child to be disadvantaged in language B by comparison with other children, and I'm guessing you've found research on that, whereas I prefer to believe the research that says that the child that learns language A then language B can be advantaged in language B by learning language A, if they are taught in a language B environment.   But then I grew up multilingual. 

I still think in more than one language but no one has ever suggested that my English lacks fluency or accuracy.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

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Re: BBC moan (plus thread-drift)
« Reply #24 on: 15 Sep 2021 12:26PM »
There's something I'm pondering on.  I'm paraphrasing what you've said, so shan't be offended if you tell me I've misunderstood.

One aspect of what you write appears to be an idea that where children are taught in a BSL-based environment, it brings them up to want to live in an exclusively BSL world.

To me, that doesn't 'compute', either in the usual meaning of the phrase, or in the context of a computer-driven society.  If children around the world with hundreds of different mother tongues grow up with increasing amounts of what I'll call 'computing and internet English', how does a child brought up in a BSL school environment grow up without doing that, unless they have significant learning disabilities or other issues such as psychosis?

That being said, I wonder how far I'm ignorant of how Deaf schools/units are in other parts of the country.  Here, I don't see Deaf children not going to the play facilities or places of worship or whatever with other children.  We'd still see them round about.  Or maybe there are some that we don't, it's just that the ones that we do are more obvious?

The other thing is that I'm then mapping it onto my nearest Deaf centre.  They welcome non-signers with open arms.  But now I wonder whether I'm missing something. Are there what I'll call hidden or secret Deaf communities?
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

On the edge

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Re: BBC moan (plus thread-drift)
« Reply #25 on: 17 Sep 2021 08:03PM »
Everyone's experience is different.  Education in my time at school was totally geared around us being 'factory fodder'.  Education is or was, based on teaching you skills future employers and advances/options are going to want to hire you for.  To that end there were essential 'basics' that you did not get a choice to opt-out of, these were learning the host country language of course, and the 3R's.  Deaf did not have an opt-out either, many older deaf I met had copper-plate handwriting and didn't use BSL at all, but predominantly finger-spelled everything.


Deaf were taught that way to acquire essential spelling and English skills.  Since 1970 onwards such skills have fallen as they argue over how a deaf child should be taught and included, or using English at ALL is a bad thing and a discrimination against deaf people.  They never actually define who these 'deaf people' are, they base it on old deaf school basis, that no longer exists and hasn't for 15+ years or more to my knowledge.


There used to be 100s of deaf schools UK-wide now less than 20 survive, there used to be twice as many deaf clubs and they are decimated now, some activists are flying in the face of the reality. The very first BDDA filmed meeting showed no BSL (which is a late 60s/70s thing).  In areas e.g. Cornwall, fingerspelling was the dominant form of deaf 'signing' the dictionary, much challenged but accepted, later gave sign 'BSL' even language status.  Go back pre-1970s next to no mention of BSL exists.

Today 'some' deaf feel they can choose to opt-in or out of the mainstream, make demands others must comply with, they can't, and then ignore the consequences.  As deaf people, we cannot pick and choose what we do, we don't have the skills or choices to do that, or the society to go with it. The reality as I stated before is deaf today i.e. rank and file, know and adapt anyway, it is these pointless and divisive 'inclusion' demands being made by people who basically don't represent anyone really,  but make a living selling the dream of some deaf 'utopia' ignoring the huge disadvantage deafness and communication issues present. 

We can do everything but hear, erm, no, we can't actually.  A lot originates where most ill-thought-out ideas do, in the USA. My view is my own a lot don't agree with it, When choice is not an option, then you adapt far quicker.   For the record 68% of ALL deaf do the same, ask any BSL interpreter, whose services they never use or need to.

I think 'Deaf' choice is misunderstood, without the skill alternatives and education, it does not work. It's the same with any child. So we are back to the foibles of deaf education again, you have to start day one with how you mean to go on.  That means a bilingual education that takes into account the mainstream is not going to give concessions or make allowances, and deaf have to adapt or go without.

Deaf have to compete 100s to 1 with people who can hear and speak, have much higher literacy, and present fewer issues to employers etc.  Taking the moral higher ground isn't helpful or useful, employers will take the hearing first, so not only do we have to be equivalent to hearing peers, but indeed better to stand still. It's unfair? Life is.
« Last Edit: 17 Sep 2021 08:07PM by On the edge »

Sunny Clouds

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Re: BBC moan (plus thread-drift)
« Reply #26 on: 17 Sep 2021 10:17PM »
Doesn't whether a deaf person can do a job on pretty much equal terms with a non-deaf person depend on the job?

I can think of jobs where you'd need a relatively low level of fluency in English to function, albeit needing to work in the context of others doing what I'll call the liaising, i.e. others in those roles in an organisation, or agents.

I realise that many roles aren't going to be there without lots of extra help, but doesn't that apply to people with a whole range of differences, difficulties & disabilities?

I can think of various functions involving repairing and servicing physical things where you could do it in the context of an organisation.  Or various forms of creative artwork and design.  There's a lot in the way of sewing, knitting, patchworking etc. 

I think it'll always be difficult, and certainly I'd want to  make every effort to help every child and adult to be as fluent as they are capable of in the language(s) used in their local community,  facilities and workplace, which in the UK is mostly English, I just feel that I'm concerned that over-emphasis on language can go both ways.  A person who's first language is BSL or other sign language may feel defensive if they perceive they're being seen as inadequate if their English isn't fluent.

Your reference to the number of deaf schools puzzled me so I looked it up, and yes, it appears there are 22.

But what doesn't make sense to me is that there's one very, very close to me that isn't on the list I found.  Then I thought how it's on a campus with other schools and part of a MAT, so maybe it's not technically a separate school, just a separate 'unit'.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

On the edge

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Re: BBC moan (plus thread-drift)
« Reply #27 on: 20 Sep 2021 10:33AM »
Doesn't whether a deaf person can do a job on pretty much equal terms with a non-deaf person depend on the job?

I can think of jobs where you'd need a relatively low level of fluency in English to function, albeit needing to work in the context of others doing what I'll call the liaising, i.e. others in those roles in an organisation, or agents.

I realize that many roles aren't going to be there without lots of extra help, but doesn't that apply to people with a whole range of differences, difficulties & disabilities?

I can think of various functions involving repairing and servicing physical things where you could do it in the context of an organization.  Or various forms of creative artwork and design.  There's a lot in the way of sewing, knitting, patchworking, etc. 

I think it'll always be difficult, and certainly, I'd want to make every effort to help every child and adult to be as fluent as they are capable of in the language(s) used in their local community,  facilities and workplace, which in the UK is mostly English, I just feel that I'm concerned that over-emphasis on language can go both ways.  A person who's first language is BSL or other sign language may feel defensive if they perceive they're being seen as inadequate if their English isn't fluent.

Your reference to the number of deaf schools puzzled me so I looked it up, and yes, it appears there are 22.

But what doesn't make sense to me is that there's one very, very close to me that isn't on the list I found.  Then I thought how it's on a campus with other schools and part of a MAT, so maybe it's not technically a separate school, just a separate 'unit'.


The jobs deaf qualify for a menial that's the trouble, many jobs are demanding quite high levels of academic qualifications the deaf don't have, or at least, cannot attain currently.  Yes, 20 odd deaf schools still remain when looking that up its is important to also research how MANY deaf are in them, which has plummeted by over 31%, so a number are on the line for closure unless that changes.

There are numerous mainstream 'deaf/HoH' areas besides schools, PHU's e.g. Partial Hearing Units.  This is mainstreaming basically, some are in 'annexes' which are tokenistic, many are contentional at present because they are seen by deaf activism as 'token' inclusion of deaf children, and lack adequate support.  To a degree they are right, and LA's prefer mainstreaming to paying for specialist schooling.  The last time I looked deaf assessed as requiring a deaf specialist schooling in my area, it was in single figures, Wales has no deaf schools e.g, nobody is going to fund a school for that low demand.

We need to also take into account (Which activism doesn't), parental choice.  Many want their deaf children near, and with hearing families and peers, so family support is there, they choose not to send their child to any residential or distant option, they want their child included.  Some parents claimed such a child returned home from deaf schools almost strangers and had difficulty relating again to hearing family. BSL usage was blamed for that, social aspects were impacted too.  Deaf parents were attacked online by activists, accusing them of child abuse, if they supported HA or CI's etc..

Obviously, deaf related to deaf, they all signed, and were in deaf surroundings, another issue some parents had with specialist schooling, they weren't taught to communicate with hearing people as such.  It wasn't helped with determined opposition from some quarters against hearing aids, genetics, mainstreaming, CI's, BAHA's, etc as well as English language and grammar opposition, again, parents found such 'rights' demands, as negatives, and a direct challenge to them and what they wanted for their children, after all, the law says they are legally responsible not deaf activists.

On the job front, it is said 63% of deaf never get or hold down a full-time job. (I think this reflects with other disabled stats too?).   Covid apart, nil has changed but rhetoric demanding inclusion.  The last word isn't however down to activism or inclusion law,  but the employers.  I recall after the old 1995 DDA emerged, the CBI launching seminars on how to circumvent it.  It was clarified as 'explaining legal points to employers' but it was designed to find ways of NOT employing disabled and how not getting taken to task for turning disabled applicants down.

The fact doors got widened to admit wheelchairs, didn't enhance at all getting a job after going through them.  Sadly I still feel the deaf lack the educational wherewithal to advance themselves as hearing can. University take-up was/is a fudge, they struggled to manage or read coursework, indeed one University said they should not be admitted as they lacked basic literacy to make a course viable.  Some universities ran literacy classes for 6 months for deaf people before they started a chosen course.

Uni's claimed inclusion laws advocated substandard student admissions and lowered standards all around.  While more do now attend UNI's, the drop-out rate is alarming as they struggle, despite Access to Work support/education help, it appeared to make little difference.  we can argue against discrimination till the cows return home, but I think it all goes back to school curriculums and the bottom lines specialist schools need to adopt.  Work training needs updating too, it is almost non-extant.

It IS unfair those with a disability will always struggle, but the world of work is unkind, fast-moving, and support is seen as the domain of the state.  I rather fear every demand made for more 'help' for deaf and disabled just suggests they would be more of a 'problem' to employers, who can easily hire a hearing or able-bodied person instead.  Yes, it is all wrong, how do we address it?  More laws? more demands? more claims of discrimination?

Nothing changes... people just get angrier that's all.  Where a disabled or deaf person has the qualifications then we can fight their corner more effectively, not, if they don't have them, and that is the first excuse employers will use.  Can we really insist everyone else adapts to us? I think it is unrealistic in part because a number of us simply struggle anyway.  Perhaps we need to look at the world of employment differently?  Maybe subsidized work areas again?

Access to work can (for the most disabled), mean a maximum grant near £900 per week.  Would you see that as the way ahead? or, is there another way to see deaf/disabled really employed?  education is the key.  Specialist schools are failing I think, the focus is caring mostly, not academics.  Care is an obvious priority, but is ill-equipping them for the future on its own.  Do we accept this?  If we do, we accept the employer argument too.
« Last Edit: 20 Sep 2021 10:51AM by On the edge »

Sunny Clouds

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Re: BBC moan (plus thread-drift)
« Reply #28 on: 20 Sep 2021 04:44PM »
Gosh, a lot of food for thought.

I'm afraid I think the current education system in England is ghastly unless you can afford to go to a 'good' private school.  Did I already do my 'what's wrong with education' rant?  If so, just sigh wearily and scroll down.  I just mention it because I think it impacts on deaf & disabled kids as well as others.

The national curriculum appears rigid and unhelpful, and too many of the academies, particularly the MATs, seem primarily concerned with meeting official targets and making profits for friends of board members.

(I do not say that all are like this, there are some good ones with very dedicated staff and board members.)

So part of the difficulty in my opinion overlaps with my views expressed elsethread on how people with mental issues are often seen/treated.  The mental health system is geared up to telling us and everyone else what is wrong with us.  I believe that mirrors schooling in England.

Once we had secondary moderns and grammars.  Then we had comprehensives but where I live, we still have grammars, so actually comprehensives are, in their essence, what I'll call 'inferior grammars for the thickos'.   Essentially the 11+ where I live is no longer determining whether you'll be better off focussing on academic stuff or whether you'll be better off focussing on practical stuff, it's all about saying whether you're good at academic stuff or not, and if not, spending the next five or seven years ramming home that message.

So what I'd like to see is a change to a system that looks for strengths, and more to the point, a whole range of strengths.

My favourite army illustration is the air photo reading one.  A room full of us on first day of the course, each with our own desk and stereoscope.  One eye saw a scale left to right, -10 to  +10.  The other eye saw an arrow.  "Where's the arrow?" asked the sergeant major.  Student after student answered him, then I asked him "Where do you want it, sir?"  "You won't be needing a stereoscope then?"  "No, sir."

What elsewhere was a defect, a disability, my eyes moving independently, was for that role a distinct advantage. 

Likewise, the same brain condition that causes that also affects my pituitary (which is next to the optic nerve) which in turn affects my thyroid.  Boy do I feel the cold.

But imagine how useful the army found it to have a soldier that didn't feel the heat.  A soldier that was a slow runner but ran as fast in 40 degrees as in 10 degrees, albeit a bit more comfortably in 40 degrees.

Ok, so now you have profoundly deaf people.  Loads of roles where not being disturbed by noise can be a big plus.  Loads of roles where being primarily visual and or physical/gesturing can be a big plus.  But our society sees what people can't do better than it sees what people can do.

So for me, logically, what's needed for deaf & disabled people to get a better deal is to look at our attitude in society to valuing different sorts of skills.

No different from my army days with the soldier with what appeared to be a very low IQ but who could drive a truck & trailer like nobody's business.  The army probably wouldn't value him these days, but in those days it did.  And if we had to help him get his uniform looking tidy enough, who cared?  He kept us safe and alive.

As for issues about mainstreaming etc. with schooling, I think as our conversations progress, I'm realising that has very different manifestations in different places, and I don't just mean our respective parts of the UK, but also probably from town to town adjacently and even almost down to neighbourhood.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

On the edge

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Re: BBC moan (plus thread-drift)
« Reply #29 on: 20 Sep 2021 08:44PM »
Gosh, a lot of food for thought.

I'm afraid I think the current education system in England is ghastly unless you can afford to go to a 'good' private school.  Did I already do my 'what's wrong with education' rant?  If so, just sigh wearily and scroll down.  I just mention it because I think it impacts on deaf & disabled kids as well as others.

The national curriculum appears rigid and unhelpful, and too many of the academies, particularly the MATs, seem primarily concerned with meeting official targets and making profits for friends of board members.

(I do not say that all are like this, there are some good ones with very dedicated staff and board members.)

So part of the difficulty in my opinion overlaps with my views expressed elsethread on how people with mental issues are often seen/treated.  The mental health system is geared up to telling us and everyone else what is wrong with us.  I believe that mirrors schooling in England.

Once we had secondary moderns and grammars.  Then we had comprehensives but where I live, we still have grammars, so actually comprehensives are, in their essence, what I'll call 'inferior grammars for the thickos'.   Essentially the 11+ where I live is no longer determining whether you'll be better off focussing on academic stuff or whether you'll be better off focussing on practical stuff, it's all about saying whether you're good at academic stuff or not, and if not, spending the next five or seven years ramming home that message.

So what I'd like to see is a change to a system that looks for strengths, and more to the point, a whole range of strengths.

My favourite army illustration is the air photo reading one.  A room full of us on first day of the course, each with our own desk and stereoscope.  One eye saw a scale left to right, -10 to  +10.  The other eye saw an arrow.  "Where's the arrow?" asked the sergeant major.  Student after student answered him, then I asked him "Where do you want it, sir?"  "You won't be needing a stereoscope then?"  "No, sir."

What elsewhere was a defect, a disability, my eyes moving independently, was for that role a distinct advantage. 

Likewise, the same brain condition that causes that also affects my pituitary (which is next to the optic nerve) which in turn affects my thyroid.  Boy do I feel the cold.

But imagine how useful the army found it to have a soldier that didn't feel the heat.  A soldier that was a slow runner but ran as fast in 40 degrees as in 10 degrees, albeit a bit more comfortably in 40 degrees.

Ok, so now you have profoundly deaf people.  Loads of roles where not being disturbed by noise can be a big plus.  Loads of roles where being primarily visual and or physical/gesturing can be a big plus.  But our society sees what people can't do better than it sees what people can do.

So for me, logically, what's needed for deaf & disabled people to get a better deal is to look at our attitude in society to valuing different sorts of skills.

No different from my army days with the soldier with what appeared to be a very low IQ but who could drive a truck & trailer like nobody's business.  The army probably wouldn't value him these days, but in those days it did.  And if we had to help him get his uniform looking tidy enough, who cared?  He kept us safe and alive.

As for issues about mainstreaming etc. with schooling, I think as our conversations progress, I'm realising that has very different manifestations in different places, and I don't just mean our respective parts of the UK, but also probably from town to town adjacently and even almost down to neighbourhood.


The 11 plus was an exam to id an educational and social elite basically.  To qualify for a grammar school and hence to a University after, your academic prowess alone didn't get you on the ladder to FE.  They looked into your parents' jobs and status too.  I know because I was the sole person to take the 11 plus twice in my area.


Initialy, my exam marks were good but so was another classmate who had near identical marks, they said there was only 1 place available for the grammar school, so a face-off was done for both of us to take part of the exam again.  It produced near-identical results again, there was a school board meeting and then they told my Dad I had failed.  He asked why they said there was nothing to choose between the boys, but, as one had a GP for a parent we felt he would benefit more than your son, after all you are just a factory worker.


My dad fought them for a placing for me, but 4 months after I was consigned to the secondary modern school the lowest form of 11-plus education apparently.  My dad did challenge that and I was transferred to a halfway house of education a 'technical' and boys-only  school, which was close, but no cigar as was Grammar.


Part of the issue is deaf pushing rights above qualifications, there are people with A-Levels stacking shelves.  For myself I started going deaf at 12 years of age, I did manage to do an apprenticeship in electrical engineering, but when I went profound deaf nobody after would employ me doing the same job.  Instead, I did labouring toilet cleaning, menial shovel and broom work, because I took anything and everything to get a wage.


I didn't have the 'luxury' of demanding rights or complaining. Disability work inclusion was enabled in 1944 during the war, with an act of parliament, mainly because many able-bodied were conscripted, so they had to employ disabled.  However, post-war, the disabled were then moved to Remploy and other areas when the men returned from war and wanted their jobs back.  As we know prior to 2,000 our government sold the work to industry instead, leaving many deaf and disabled out of work and back on benefits.


Talking to older deaf there seemed but two option mainly for them, women went into sewing and allied work, and the men to labouring or working with wood.  Aspiration was zero really they were just glad to work, and being deaf was no 'excuse' not to.  The old DWP was the DSS deaf didn't use the disability employment officers at the job centres.  For those who had extreme difficulty getting a job there were 're-hab' centres for them, they assessed if the deaf/disabled were just lazy or unemployable, mostly the advice was for such deaf people to accept unemployability status.


Re-hab centres were strict and oppressive.  we are talking 1960s really towards the end of them. DRO's were replaced by DEA's after huge campaigns at the discriminations and cruelty of it all, their training was changed to accept deaf job seekers.  However deaf education stayed pretty much institutional and didn't enable the deaf school leaver.  It is why there is such reluctance to replace such a system again not least because of the abuses deaf childen suffered there, two schools in England and Scotland recently (Last 2 years), were under intense pressures to close as a result changes are slow even now.


There is an area of the deaf community that does very well, but others who don't even get a foot on the ladder.  While we can debate why this happens, the employers simply state deaf aren't qualified for the work they are offering, it is a state issue to sort out.  But rows as we know continue on what sort of education (Or language), is the prime medium to help deaf adapt and prosper against hearing peers and pressures.


Quite obviously even deaf like myself have views on what needs to be done and others who have different views of what will work.  I feel a BSL education being an untried option, is a risk and one that parents perhaps don't want their children to take. It could succeed, or could fail, if it fails who gets the blame etc?  The reality is the tuition and curriculum doesn't yet exist to try it out.  There would be years of argy-bargy on what a BSL curriculum should consist of. 


The NDCS currently is not supportive of a BSL education and has reservations on a BSL Bill too.  They have to steer themselves between deaf rights and parental ones, all they can do is support the child where it is.  Everyone supports BSL but not in education.  Recognition of sign use was put to the UK government by the EU, who put up 37 other 'minority languages' up for recognition too. To be frank the UK never legalised it at the school level, despite the BDA insisting it did. 


Choice was paramount but concern from the state BSL, was a hindrance rather than a help for the deaf adult.  Mainstream is a bit of a mess because the support for deaf has fragmented with deaf school closures and children attending schools locally, which meant the residential/specialisation options shut down through lack of pupils.  Teachers had no schools to teach in.  To know deaf futures you need to understand the deaf past and not make the same mistakes again which kept the deaf out of the running.  Whether this can work with a modern 'twist' is up for debate, I think personally not..