What is my PhD thesis about?

Rob

Deaf, hubby to Rachel, dad to Corey, Libby and Emily, Solicitor, Lecturer in Legal Practice at University of South Wales, PhD student at University of Leicester.

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34 Responses

  1. Are you for real? I think you’re joking. I really do. You honestly believe deafness isn’t a disability? I don’t know whether to laugh or not. You think because you use BSL you’re a whole new species of human, and therefore deserve warped rights regarding a BSL act??? Talk about blowing your ego up, while so full of stupid, selfish self-importance! Deafness is a terrible, isolating and painful disability more disabling than all the other disabilities put together. Why? I’ll tell you…

    We’re among the most isolated group of people on this planet – simply because we’re unable to communicate easily, freely and openly with the vast majority of people. The blind, wheelchair users, and so on, they’re included socially because they’ve no problems at all with communicating with able-bodied people therefore they’re not excluded from the bigger picture within the social and working world. My own doctor has openly confided in me that he’d rather be blind or in a wheelchair than become deaf, for this reason alone!

    You’re beyond a joke, lad, you really are. Just because a select few deaf people like yourself prefer to use BSL as their sole means of communication, doesn’t mean you can hijack deafness and claim it as your own – culture wise and all. It’s wrong. Deafness is a disability which has held back millions of people, and their families, from ever living life to their full potential – through discrimination, isolation and more. And nothing you, or any of your militant, obsessive kind can say or do will ever change this fact, with BSL acts, and silly hopes of taking deafness off the disability list – along with all the rights that the deaf people deserve – ALL deaf people – and rightly so. Whether a deaf person uses BSL or speech/lip reading, it doesn’t matter, we’re all equally disabled and isolated.

  2. Natalya D says:

    This looks really interesting. I wish you all the best with your PhD and look forward to your updates with interest.

    I think in many ways deaf people whatever the capitalisation of the D have experiences which are uniquely different to that of people with other impairments. As ever, models of “disability” are fairly blunt tools, so exploration and discussion around the models and beyond them is always interesting I feel.

  3. Rob says:

    @Robin In that (sometimes unjustified or unsubstantiated) tirade, you make some pertinent points about why a BSL Act may not work. The difficulty is that current legislation is clearly not working. The isolation and frustration you obviously feel is testament to that. A BSL Act may not be the entire solution, but I believe it would be a step in the right direction. No option should be dismissed out of hand based on a personal feeling. We need cold, hard facts and evidence so that the Deaf BSL Community can make an informed choice about what they want, and that’s what my thesis will hopefully achieve.

  4. TheDoc says:

    Really interesting topic, looking forward to read this, its a great analysis on the various definitions people are placed under, with the conflict of where people feel they fit. Its a complex subject which I have always found fascinating. Just FYI there are some excellent exchange programmes with the US Embassy that maybe of interest for you research and subject exploration. They are often keen to link academics across the pond. Any questions feel free to ask will pass your details along.

  5. Rob says:

    @TheDoc thanks very much! Will definitely be in touch to utilise your contacts in the American embassy. I’m planning to visit Gallaudet at some point in the next year or so.

  6. I was being subjective, Rob. My own personal life hasn’t anything to do with what I spoke about in my reply. You’ve also missed the point too re what I was talking about. You’re still stuck on the one side, namely the BSL side; once again forgetting about the large number of deaf people who do not use BSL as their first ‘language’. Therein lies the problem with your thesis and hopes. You want a selfish BSL Act, for BSL users alone, and no one else. I want a Deaf Act, for all deaf people.

    You want support and rights for the capital D crowd. I want equality, rights and support for all.

    Do you see where I’m coming from? I hope so.

    Deafness is indeed a disability; in the sense it’s a social disability. This is a cold, hard fact. One you’ve conveniently choose to ignore in your crusade to achieve a selfish BSL Act – as well as the fact you want to remove deafness from the list of registered disabilities simply because you, and many others, have chosen to remain in a small, closed off world; one you want to control. This is elitism. Deaf people who do not use BSL are isolated by default thanks to those deaf militants who insist everyone, and I mean everyone, must conform to their way – or it’s the highway. This is wrong. It’s time to put our energies into seeking a proper Deaf Act for every single deaf person, not just the BSL users.

  7. MM says:

    Hi robin you are wasting your time with these people, they lost track of reality years ago, they are BSL-bound and don’t know anything else, there is probably some secret handshakes they use as well, but I’d count your fingers first. As for choice of PHd why be surprised ? they don’t know anything else let alone awareness of deafness or hearing loss, they just regurgitate the same old, and ad infinitum. My eyes glazed over at the mention of BSL/BDA, two of the biggest negatives in the deaf/HI world, they think democracy is a souffle probably,and wouldn’t know about equality unless you spell it ‘Politically Correct’. Best way to to annoy them is to ignore them, as they love being martyrs to lost causes, its 6 people talking to themselves. My only concern would be they get accredited for plugging the only thing they know about, and it gets aired as ‘meaningful insight’ into deaf affairs and issues, or worse they gain financially from it. In fact they lost the plot day one. …[edited due to personal attack on an individual]…, but I think I’ll pass…. I’m overqualified.

  8. Natalya D says:

    I’m sorry some non signing deaf people feel the need to attack you here – they don’t represent all non or not fluent signing deaf people or speak for me. I’m no great BSLer but I would have liked better access to BSL growing up and more affordable and varied access to BSL classes now I’m an adult…

    I’m intrigued by the legal aspects of the cultural-linguistic model of laws because I know how much of an abysmal failure the Equality Act is when counting deafness or impairments as disabilities. I have taken an Equality Act case for deafness and disability discrimination against a government agency (HMRC) which I hated having to do, but I had absolutely exhausted every other option and they used my minor language impairment from my deafness as a weapon against me by stonewalling me repeatedly and sodding phones. My lawyers were impressed by my letters and layman legal referencing but it really was only once I had a proper lawyer from Unity Law with a reputation of knowing disability and willingness and knowledge to say “Answer the case, or see you in county court” that HMRC stopped playing games and I got a settlement and payout in my favour (and no confidentiality agreement!).

    I wonder how legal stuff for Deaf people is enforceable. The biggest failing of the EA2010 in my view is that ONLY a person who has themselves been discriminated against for the most part can take a case. Supportive bodies are useless, EHRC patronised me and refused to help. Disability Law Service never replied to emails etc etc etc. These days I wouldn’t be able to afford the insurance in case of losing the case I took which cost more than the total lawyer and barrister fees!

    I’m told that in Ontario Canada they have http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontarians_with_Disabilities_Act which is supposed to be more centrally enforceable like health and safety legislation kind of is in the UK. A disabled person can report a type of discrimination e.g. indirect, and the central body will take the case against the organisation or advise them to fix the issue OR be subject to legal action.

    Also, will you be looking at Scandinavian systems for deafness access? I have seen some interesting stuff about all Finnish deaf people being entitled to 180 hours a year sign language support with more available for students or if someone has genuine need. They don’t have AtW though…

    Anyway, shall stop rambling and hope you blog occasionally about how you are getting on!

  9. MM says:

    If it quacks its a duck basically. It just the BSL version of the emperors ‘new clothes’, like Paddy Ladd they try to blind you with cultural hoo ha and obscure terminology to suggest sign is actually more than just means of communication and everyone deaf uses it, in fact out of 10m deaf and HI only 15K actually do, not a single one of them is totally BSL dependent, let alone Mr Wilks himself. To be BSL dependent is to isolate yourself completely, and of everyone of Mr Wilks supporters, none, ARE. There is money and kudos and ‘cultural’ funding and their dubious ‘arts’, or they wouldn’t bother. Mr Wilks would still be with the RAD but the free legal was withdrawn. Just look at their ‘cultural’ output, it is all funded by ‘disability’ ask Mr Wilks if he actual sees himself this way. He likes to suggest people HATE culture and BSL, we don’t, but we do despise hypocrites. We haven’t seen a single deaf lawyer take on a legal case to challenge the DWP to set any precedent. If they supported their peers they would be doing it every day. I’ve done more to advertise and support deaf rights than any of these lawyers who are deaf. Unlike Mr WIlks I do it for free, he charges people.

  10. Rob says:

    What really gets to me about Robin and Mervyn’s comments are:-

    • I am simply announcing to the world what I’m doing to study for my PhD, which I’m going to be committed to doing for the next 4-6 years simply because I WANT to and which I’m paying for out of my own pocket. I want to study my proposed topic simply because I think it’s interesting and may have some benefit for D/deaf people in the UK;
    • They have made huge assumptions about my thoughts and opinions on some of the issues I’ve raised in this post.
    • I’ve made it clear that I don’t have a view either way. I’m simply highlighting what I’m doing to research and reserving judgment on the findings until I’ve DONE the research. I’ve not actually said “THERE NEEDS TO BE A BSL ACT, PERIOD”. I’m actually going to examine whether it’s possible, what benefits it would bring, what would happen to the disability label that we all take advantage of, and above all, find out whether Deaf BSL users want it.

    By the way Mervyn, I’ve advised an estimated 2,000 Deaf people during my 10 year career at RAD; most of who did not have to pay for it. I’ve achieved results for the majority of them. You say that you’ve “done more to advertise and support deaf rights than any of these lawyers who are deaf”. I would argue that you’re an oppressor rather than a supporter. If you’ve cast judgment like you have on me with all those you’ve supported to date, then I’m deeply concerned.

    It’s a good job I’m made of thick skin. You have made this extremely personal, attempting to attack, undermine and demean me and my motives for doing this. Are you human? Are you the open-minded, fair, considerate individuals you profess to be?

    Above all, I think it’s a shame when someone does something positive, which I think my PhD is – on both a personal and professional level – and which has the support of family, friends, acquaintances and general well-wishers – you can find nothing better to do than to disparage me. If you don’t like it or disagree with what I’m doing, just turn a blind eye. Let me get on with my life, and you get on with yours. We don’t have to communicate with each other.

  11. Rachel says:

    Wow! Such angry comments towards someone simply presenting their PhD topic! That’s got to be a first! And towards a post that has been made accessible to BOTH BSL and non BSL users!

    Lots of assumptions here about someone you know nothing about! Do you know his personal background, etc? Of course not!

    Re charging Deaf clients – is he supposed to do everything for free and live on water?! There’s bills to pay and a family to feed! Surely paying a solicitor that d/Deaf people can access is better than no access to an accessible solicitor at all?!

    Such narrow minded responses from people who simply have personal issues they need to sort out. Robin and MM, I actually feel sorry for you!

  12. MM says:

    Sour grapes. As thick skins go, I’d need it more than you would. I think you playing the hard done-by card the best laugh I have had for ages There is NO benefit to deaf people via an BSL act, it would only service you and a few hundred others. Even WITH an act you couldn’t maintain it because the staff do not exist nor are being trained. There is no logic to BSL campaigns. Since you branded my blog the satanic verses equivalent for the deaf, and never read it, then you would find 510,000 viewers disagree with you. The content is 85% regarding sign and culture. I report facts and news. I don’t do the martyr bit and leave to social media for those who have time to waste on it. No I don’t have to communicate to you either, we differ I am about inclusion you aren’t.

    If you did a PHd on the relationships between deaf and the ‘Deaf’ and its relevance to equality and access issues, I’d buy in. Frankly I doubt you have the wherewithal. BSL isn’t an inclusive language, but an EXclusive language, I’m sure you prefer it that way.

  13. kirsty says:

    Looking forward to your findings and wishing you all the best with your Phd.

    Furthermore, I think I would be happy to give up the deaf related benefits if I was 110 percent confident that the job sector is a fair playing field. When I began applying for jobs after I left university I failed to gain any interviews. I revised my C.V and it was obvious that I was deaf, so I removed parts that strongly suggested that I am a deaf person (not a proud move but, desperate measures!). The very next job I applied for I got an interview. I called them and said I am bringing an interpreter, I am deaf. They were pretty great, the interview was great! I could see that they were unsure about whether to employ a deaf person, they said ‘We’d like to offer you the job, you’re more than qualified but we have to check with Occupational Health whether there is a health and safety risk, with you being deaf”. I replied with a big smile “From looking around the lab I doubt they can deny your offering me the job based solely on Health and Safety”. They laughed and I got the job 🙂 But now I’d like more, more challenge but feel apprehensive. I would love for one day to be treated as an equal in society – equal to someone of the same qualifications/skills and so forth, not equal to strange Billy at the local chippy who’s only achievement is trumping Jingle Bells! Who was it that said It is not I that is disabled, society makes me disabled – or something like that.

  14. Rob says:

    MM – blah blah. All hot air and no substance. I have thicker skin than you; how do you think I cope with the likes of you otherwise? At least I don’t attack you and your very existence.

    I’ve told you before: I am BILINGUAL. I am oral AND a BSL user. My first language is English, same as yours. There’s not much difference between you and I, except for one thing – I’m a nicer human being as I would never talk to anyone the way you have to me and other Deaf people.

  15. Deirdre says:

    I don’t get the fuss about Rob picking his own topic for his PhD, it is his money and his time. I do think it is rather interesting and would like to know more about the literacy aspect.

    If MM and Robin feel it is an irrelevant area to look into, may I suggest they develop their own research, I would be interested to see what this would yield and compared to BSL users. There might be something in common!

    BSL is not just a mean of communication, that is like saying the spoken English language is a mean of communication. Both are a rich and beautiful languages.

    All the best!

  16. MM says:

    We’ve done research actually REMARK aired it. I could suggest REMARK IS your cultural media 🙂 If People don’t accept the realities there is little I can do about that. I DON’T speak to your people like that, I have as little to do with them as possible as you are well aware. Hence why I avoid your social medias. Anyway I have better things to do than waste my time here. Just stick to converting the already converted.

  17. Rob says:

    Who is “we”? Would like to have a look at it if you could provide a link?

  18. Claire Williams says:

    Hi

    I find this topic really interesting, and wish you luck.

    I am hearing but do use Bsl as my daughter is deaf.

    She was not born deaf, so had speech. I however, wanted her to learn to sign and become part of the amazing deaf community, which we have both embraced.

    We have faced challenges along the way, but I have found that this is due to others lack of knowledge,awareness and a lack of BSL users.

    All the best

    Claire

  19. Rob says:

    Hi Claire, thanks for commenting. I am glad that you and your daughter have embraced BSL and the Deaf community. It’s definitely worth it, in my view! We have a deaf daughter as well, who we are bringing up bilingually. All the very best to you both, and keep in touch! 🙂

  20. Look at Deirdre and Rachel miss the point entirely. Whoosh! Where did I say BSL is ‘irrelevant’? I said no such thing. What I said is clear for all to read, if they can shake off that biased and defensive stance.

    I don’t even want to repeat myself – if they can’t get it the first time around, then there’s really no point in trying to highlight it again. But I will say this:

    I want equal rights for all deaf people – both oral and BSL users. Instead, what I see, is a small group of selfish people trying too hard to get themselves rights for a tiny minority of deaf people who use BSL; and to hell with everyone else. The very fact these same people are trying to claim deafness is not a disability is the dirty icing on the shit cake.

    MM is right. You’d be better putting your effort into writing a thesis about both oral and BSL users, and their need for support, rights and equality in the hearing world – as well as their right to self-determination when it comes to careers, and so much more.

    But it seems this is impossible with a small minority. They only want such things for themselves. They also think they speak for everyone too. We need to assimilate both ‘camps’ into one big push for a true Deaf People’s Act; not some silly act for BSL alone.

    It will only hold the vast majority of deaf people back by keeping them in the same status quo. This is wrong – and you know it.

  21. Deirdre says:

    Robin, I didn’t write that you think BSL is irrelevant, I said the topic which refer to the thesis.

    MM, as a Deaf person from a Deaf family who are oral and use sign language (not BSL), I don’t watch ALL of Remark’s productions. I rarely have time to watch programmes and when I do, I watch a wide variety of programmes such as See Hear, Glee, Sherlock etc.
    If a programme is recommended and a link provided, I am always interested to watch with an open mind.

    Point here is that it is Rob’s choice and if you both feel it is wrong, that is fine as you both have said your pieces. If it is felt that Deaf non signers are excluded.. DO something about it instead of attacking someone who is doing a PhD, a worthy achievement for either Deaf or Hearing people.

  22. mm says:

    His thesis is irrelevant sadly and just duplicating at least 11 others I saw online. He needs to get out more and see how the other 90% with loss and deafness actually live. We need a proper thesis (As Mr Wilks has pointed out already) as to why there is a growing divide between HoH people and the BSL-using deaf. The whole campaigns on deaf awareness are a complete shambles and biased sham and in many cases fraudulent as they are not run on an equality basis, Why has culture or BSL an opt out on equality ? I haven’t.

    Mr Wilks own BSL vids are not captioned, few BSL videos are, no doubt the credo there is “BSL people have a right to BSL and to ignore access for others.” so what is good for the goose is OK for us too ? I can promote campaigns and ignore the BSL user totally if I so choose ? Apparently no I cannot as this is weirdly ‘discrimination’ as they see it. I feel most BSL campaigns completely dishonest sadly, the socia media ones absolutely biased and dishonest. They use equality as a single-edged, and very biased sword to promote own ends and there is not equality for all. Deaf signers aren’t excluded, you want facts, I will give them to you, or to him.

  23. Rob says:

    MM, the reason the BSL video isn’t captioned is because the English translation is underneath it in all it’s full glory!

  24. Rachel says:

    My point is….someone is being attacked for their choice of PhD topic. Rob’s personal views haven’t come into his post at all – he has just highlighted what he’s going to be looking at and noted what the general view is of the Deaf community at the moment. All this has just been blown out of proportion because you guys got personal, probably due to something you’re angry/unhappy about in your lives. This topic is clearly sensitive for you and you have your own views – views like that will be researched by Rob at some point during his research and taken into consideration anyway. All your comments just prove this topic is much in need of research.

  25. mm says:

    I don’t do translations underneath, ALL BSL videos MUST be captioned, because there are too many instances of sign users, and the system NOT providing access to what they say, I don’t buy the excuse the explanation is elsewhere. The image is all, and I want those images captioned every time. your narrative ignores your own sectors failings with reading text and grammar. My BSL is sketchy but your sign didn’t match the text so I wonder how much your signers actually got.

  26. mm says:

    Anyone want MY PHD it is all HERE @ http://attherimmm.blogspot.co.uk/ don’t expect acknowledgments to a deaf culture.

  27. Rachel says:

    MM – you’re getting boring now. Change the record! It’s actually quite sad that you don’t realise how very few people actually give a damn about your views!

  28. kirsty says:

    Sorry to pop on… MM, that looks interesting. I didn’t see what the app was called. I’ll look again.

  29. Tony Evans says:

    Incredible. You could probably do a PhD just by studying the responses to this post! Rob, I hope the study goes well.

    The topic you have chosen is something that is personal to you & interests you. I guess that would be true for most people choosing a PhD topic. The attacks that have followed prove that it is an area that needs researching!

    I wanted to talk about ‘BSL dependency’. MM throws the term in and suggests that you, Rob, are not BSL dependent as if this is some kind of shameful state! I live and work surrounded by 3 languages, (English, BSL & Welsh) and through my travels have often met people who do not share any of my languages. Communication was definitely possible, suggesting that being totally dependent on any single language would indeed by a socially debilitating achievement! Indeed, it would seem that some of the more negative comments under this post come from people who are certainly debilitated in that way.

    Good luck Rob.

    Tony

  30. mm says:

    Rachel, you are assuming I even CATER for UK deaf, I don’t. I’m not on any UK aggregate or listing. I wouldn’t bother with that. I leave that stuff for the limping chickens and their various charities, as I don’t support charity especially deaf ones. Incidentally limping Chicken never thanked me for giving them the idea. The terp with a chicken issue was first aired on my blog. For those that say no-one comments at my blog, that is because I removed the option for 3 years, mostly to put a stop to UK spammers funny enough, as it is mostly news, no comments are really required of them. Like most bloggers you have to vet the anons and abusers out. No-one these days allows open comment un censored. I was surprised Wilks did, usually the policy is ban anything I say.

  31. SallyG says:

    How about this as a worthy research topic (though no more or less worthy than Rob’s thesis choice), finding and disabling the self destruct button within the Deaf/deaf/HI population? I hasten not to use the term ‘community’ for fear of being branded a culture lover.

    Is it naive to expect no researcher would be working with malicious intent? Perhaps, but it’s also a hell of a lot more conducive to creating a supportive environment where research questions can be asked freely without fear of personal attack.

    My own PhD research focuses on deaf sign language users. Does that mean I think all deaf/HI people should sign? No- don’t be daft. It means my project has a focus. I can’t answer every question under the sun so I’ll start with what I’m passionate about. If Rob’s thesis question has been fully answered in a ream of google hits, rest assured, he won’t pass. If on the other hand, he’s identified a knowledge gap and addresses it by offering a unique insight gained through dedicated research in his own specialism, then in a few years you can call him Doc. I know which one I’d put money on.

    All the best with your research Rob. It’s great to have someone with your experience contributing to academia and admirable that you’re self funding. Your research sounds very interesting and I’ll watch this space with anticipation.

    (my website also facilitates comments in an attempt to encourage meaningful dialogue between researcher and stakeholders)

  32. mm says:

    Well Tony, anything I can do to help the BSL dependent I will try. I don’t say its shameful, I do say its is extremely isolating and I would not support any sort of BSL immersion approach for children, culture is a luxury only better-able deaf can afford….. it would amount to cruelty and ill-equip them for a life working in a hearing world, deaf schools failed, wales has none, what do they suggest ? same old ? back tot he future with schools for deaf etc ? just not viable any more. A year or so ago a deaf child unable to function in Wales commuted to Bristol for an education, but one of a few 100, is hardly a sign (!) of disadvantage.

    Deaf kids totally dependent on ‘support’ (OK you call it empowerment but most wouldn’t) and accepting this as a norm in adulthood too, in my view is shameful. It re-enforces the view within mainstream, BSL is the negative that offers them no access anywhere else. Ok all happy deaf together in a deaf school, and nowhere to go when they leave it but a few dwindling deaf clubs and bars. This promotes culture via its isolation, it does nothing at all for the deaf in regards to equality or access. It’s a pipe dream that never worked in the past and institutionalized the deaf. I can still recall deaf with birth to death social workers, who brought them into the world, married them off, and buried them and took their hearing kids to school, back to THAT?

    No amount of re-branding is going to change that image. It’s like going to live in China and speaking Swahili all the time, one suspects you are going to have serious communication issues doing that. If you want to help deaf adults or children they are going to need a lot more than BSL to get by with. The Oral-Deaf thing is a red herring too, because extremists hijacked the point by applying the term oral to deaf people that spoke in a derogatory manner, that rejection proved the catalyst for the divisions Rob is on about, there you go Rob plagiarize that if you want. I haven’t spent 8 years in the deaf wilderness without gaining some insight into its obscure workings.

    I think it would help the BSL using person to cease the poor me approach, and get with learning alternatives that work in mainstream. I doubt there are enough handouts or deaf charities to employ them for life. Throwing anger at hearing people for not signing is a total waste of time, throwing MORE anger at those deaf who suggest the time for BSL-only approaches went about 15 years ago. It requires effort deaf are not willing to put in, it requires staff that doesn’t exist, it needs to overrule parental wishes,none of which are going to happen. Realism has to kick in and you have to Learn how to deal with it. As you say Tony forget the online cut and paste and PC talk, get to grips with hearing/HI and other deaf AWAY from the culture vultures and then perhaps produce a real PHD that shows insight and not just ‘Look,this is how deaf are disadvantaged’ we know what does that, what we don’t know is how to convince the BSL deaf the part they play in that, they seem convinced it is everyone else’s fault, I disagree, they are both the problem and the solution. Just to suggest as Rob has had critics us deaf need to stick together against the negatives, is simply avoiding the issue.

  33. MaryK says:

    I have read with interest this complete discussion/blog/whatever just now. As a Mother of a profoundly deaf child, teenager, and now adult, that has progressed through mainstream education and had/has the usual social struggles associated with deafness. She is currently undertaking her Masters in Law. We have tried to optimise her communication skills and as a family unit we completed BSL Level 1. This was in recognition as a hearing family, with no deaf history or culture; we wanted to do the best for her and hopefully maximise her communication skills.

    “Can the official recognition of sign language offer a solution to the apparent conflict between disability law and Deaf identity, and if so, how?”

    The whole point of interest in this issue that many have failed to see or understand is the smallest words which is “Can” which is an exploratory term to question, to investigate, and to report findings.

    I look forward to the results.

  34. mm says:

    Official recognition won’t change education much, we know BSL activism is attempting to do that because they believe all deaf children should access sign at day one. There is a conflict of ‘rights’, those the deaf ‘community’ want, and those choices the parents want,and all this is via a chaotic educational approach anyway because no two people can agree the best way forward. Things can cancel out the other as the parental right has priority, and as it should be, it would be a dangerous precedent to allow ‘spokespeople’ from the community, with more than an occasional axe to grind, who do not know you or your child, then telling you how you should be educating your child to fit in with them. In reality many medical advances/CI’s etc are taking the decisions away from the community, and, undermining the sign they use too. We read 60% are getting CI’s now so born deaf with sign are pretty much a minority these days.

    Any ‘Deaf’ education couldn’t so-exist along mainstreamed inclusive education, it could mean chaos and a tiered system of deaf education, that I suggest would be extremely negative for those who currently sign and know nothing else. We read that those who did have better communications by using other than sign and had those skills found themselves unwelcome in deaf clubs. This killed 30% of deaf clubs who closed, at one point in 2003 a deaf club shut every week for good. The BSL versus Oral argument is all on the BSL side, probably because they struggle to lip-read, another issue signers have problems with (As do I to be honest, it’s a bugger to master, but, no pain no gain). There is no easy way out if you are deaf , ad I do not believe the deaf community can self-sustain, and I’d want a choice anyway..

    There is also the issue of setting up a viable ‘deaf educational’ approach, there are few schools left, teachers have gone, and the only effective course would be to re-establish deaf schools. I believe personally deaf schools failed our children, it set them up for a deaf life, it gave them few skills they needed to co-exist with mainstream, where, after education they had to survive and work. I was glad Wales now has none, and our deaf children can attend the same schools as their siblings, play and form friendships with the same people they live in,, and not stuck in the middle of some field isolated from that aspect, there is a way to go, but the direction is right. We had horrendous situations where they left a deaf school then had to be sent to annex’s to learn basic literacy, what on EARTH were they doing the first 16 years ? it is I suggest, madness to continue to use that sort of educational set up devoted to sign use only, and the best ‘Deaf’ school in the UK is oral, not sign-based. Niggles apart from the signing community,orals worked for these children. Sign clearly didn’t equip them to co-exist at all, hence we read online the disaffected deaf, those who struggled, and continue so to do. The answer is on a better way of teaching the deaf child, that doesn’t rely on a medium only they can follow.

    And I don’t think the deaf community is qualified to suggest the way forward.

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