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Mixed bag

As the title suggests, this blog post is a bit of a mixed bag, mostly because I haven’t blogged here for a while and things tend to pile up. So, here we go…

Firstly, what is this about captioned radio ‘for deaf people’?! (You can read more about it here and here and here.) While this has been a long time coming, Tony was right in pointing out that deaf people cannot interact with captioned radio by calling in and making comments like hearing people do. I really can’t think why any Deafie would like to use one, apart from maybe to gain access to song words (if music can be captioned? I’m unsure?), or to see what their hearing families/partners/friends/housemates are listening to from time to time. Aside from that, imagine a Deafie buying one and just sitting watching these scrolling words over and over and over again, with no visual simulation, intonation or anything!? How very boring. I’m sure the inventors meant well..!

More importantly, we’ve been wondering what would happen after Malcolm Bruce MP brought up BSL recognition at the Prime Minister's Questions on 12th December, and Gordon Brown agreed to meet a “delegation of sign language users”. Surprise, surprise, the UKCoD appear to have taken over again… or maybe they were behind the whole thing, as Malcolm Bruce is the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness, and UKCoD seems to be attached to it in some way (please correct me if I’m wrong)?

Anyway, the latest UKCoD Bulletin, which found its way into GOD’s inbox (*we are NOT members(!)), says that Gordon Brown’s meeting with sign language users is “being arranged and the details will be announced shortly.” It continues…

“To prepare for the meeting the All Party Group are holding a series of pre-meetings to debate the issues that should be raised with the Prime Minster.

The first meeting is being held on Tuesday 22 January at Westminster. Places at the meeting are limited, anyone wishing to attend should please book their place with Jonathan Isaac, Clerk to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness at j.isaac@deafcouncil.org.uk”

What I want to know is:

1) Who is going to this meeting?! Just UKCoD members?
2) Are they Deaf BSL users?
3) If not, what the hell are they doing there?
4) If so, what do they really know about BSL recognition?

We all know that UKCoD is an ‘umbrella organisation’ which has loads of hearing-led member organisations which are AGAINST BSL and PRO oral, and aim to cure the-awful-thing-that-is-deafness and whatever else. So what does BSL recognition have to do with them?! And what does Joe Deaf have to do to get his view to Gordon Brown? He has to go via an organisation that has to go through UKCoD, and when it's gone through X number of people, is 'his' view still his? I doubt it.

Let’s just hope that the BDA’s renewed UKCoD membership helps somewhat, if they can get a word in amongst all the non-BSL users and audiologists. And yes, I am cynical. I have reason to be.

On the same subject, the NDCS has suddenly become interested in BSL recognition too – correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t recall much happening there before? But anyway, they seem to be going along to this meeting with Gordon. The questions above apply again.

The NDCS is also calling on Gordon Brown to “ensure the parents of every deaf child who uses sign language are offered free, high quality and local child-focused sign language classes to enable the whole family to communicate effectively together and ensure that the child is included in the family unit at all times.”

Great idea… I would have thought that the NDCS would have done this already, as they are an organisation for parents of deaf children?? Isn’t that the kind of thing that they’re meant to do anyway, as well as promoting CIs and the other stuff that they do? Maybe not. I’m also concerned that they seem to think that this is what BSL recognition is about, as well as having Level 3 CSWs in schools. Sigh.

Whatever happens, it is clear that we need someone who knows what BSL recognition is about to go along to that meeting. Not just random deafies who can sign a bit and wear a suit, or people who think they know what’s what because they work for organisations with “deaf” or “hearing” (ha!) in their names. Life is never simple, is it? And no, I’m not biting the hand that feeds me. Hell, if I relied on that hand to feed me, I’d starve to death.


Comments (4)

UKCoD :::not going to waste my time on them:::

To be fair Deaf radio can be useful like my wife listen to local radio and often they announce which school is closed during bad wether , roadworks and the likes. I cant get any of this on tv !
also more than likly to be reading deaf radio if they are having a discussion about Deafness which has happned a few times.

I am actually representing RAD at this meeting on 22 January 2008. Will see if its a waste of time or whether it's the start of something big for BSL in the UK.

Rob ,
Cool should be interesting ...
Will you be doing a big write up on this via your blog or will we have to wait six months before you get round to do it :-P

@ Rob - can I ask if RAD's involvement came via UKCoD or what? i.e. if you aren't in UKCoD are you allowed to go?

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