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Poor little Deaf children


This is why deaf organisations have a lot to answer for...


The scene: My kitchen, this evening. Doorbell rings.

C (my partner):
There's someone at the door. [goes to front door, opens it]

Through the glass door, I (Jen) can see three people on the doorstep; one of whom is wearing a weird bib thing (think netball) with "NDCS" on it. I bid a hasty retreat to the back garden to throw breadcrumbs out for the birds. A minute later, C appears and persuades me to go to the door.

I go into the hall, to find NDCS Bib Man stroking our dog, who is lying across the doorway, with two very smart looking women standing behind.

Bib Man: SaysomethingbutIhavenoideawhatblahblah.

Me: [pointing to bib] Can't you sign?

Bib Man: [going red] Er, no.

Me: Can you?

Woman 1: No.

Me: Can you?

Woman 2: Er, no.

Me: [voiced over by C] You work for the NDCS and you can't sign? Shame on you!

Bib Man: [redder] Well, I've only been working for them for three weeks.

Me: [voiced over by C] Oh, plenty of time to learn then!

Bib Man:
Er, yeah. Um, have you had any services from the NDCS recently?

Me: [voiced over by C] Um, not lately. I'm 33!

Bib Man: No?!

Me: Oh yes.

C: I don't think there's much you can tell us about the NDCS that we don't know already.

Bib Man: Well. Bye then!

[they leave]

Me: And now they're going to tell our neighbours all about deaf children.

C: Well I hope they don't think it's because of you!

Comments (6)


They're just trying to raise money. Should they apologise for wanting to raise money for deaf children whilst not knowing sign? Not all deaf children sign and you were probably the only signing deaf people they met all week if they were going door to door.

I agree that it would be ideal for everyone associated with NDCS to learn sign but it's not realistic is it? Especially if they are temporary or subcontracted staff hired locally to raise money. If NDCS only used people who could to sign to go door to door - they would have a lot fewer people helping them out.

Why else do they have a lot to answer for?

Andy - even volunteers get training from an organisation. How hard would it be for them to learn a few basic signs? This does not take up much time.

It doesn't matter if they don't meet a deaf person, it's polite anyway to make some effort instead of immediately launching into some long winded speech.

I've had similar myself - long winded speech. Tell them that I've not a clue what they've said, and ask if they know some signing.

Answer is always just "no" and then they repeat long winded speech but talking like a fish (as if that made it better(!)) No awareness whatsoever of how to talk to deaf people.

It's the organisation's job to ensure anyone working for them, even if to collect money - get the deaf awareness, and teach some signing.

No-one's saying that they should become fluent in BSL.

NDCS are doing so well with fundraising at least they could do something to give back by getting these volunteers to learn at least basic BSL! The voice of National-wide Deaf Children

I don't know anything about NDCS, but I should think that people interested in raising money for deaf/Deaf programs would want to learn a little BSL. It sounds like they were embarrassed they didn't know it. At the very least, SOME training in how to talk to a Deaf person might help. You're so right.

If it can be considered wrong to make deaf adults charity cases, then it can also be considered wrong to make deaf children charity cases too. The fallacy of argumentum ad misericordiam (appeal to pity) does not refute that. All deaf people should have rights, not charity.

However, regardless of where you stand on the "correctness" of raising money for deaf children (or the hearing staff, more likely) it has got nothing to do with whether or not volunteers should know basic sign.

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