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Monkhouse Deaf Support Centre Closes

MonkhousePrimarySchool.jpgGOD was quoted in The News Guardian last week, around the closure of Monkhouse Deaf Support Centre, Tyneside. The decline is down to:

More and more parents of deaf children are choosing normal schools causing a drop in the number of people using the centre, the council claims.

The use of labelling such as "normal schools", is derogatory and can be standard terminology in education. In fact, much of education terminology is littered with terms that really need to be thrown in the bin yesterday, but that's a post for another day.

For instance, I attended a mainstream school for my entire schooling, but it doesn't give me or anyone else the green light to label this as normal. Take a parallel, Welsh language schools in Wales are not called "special schools" and their English counterparts "normal". It starts to place a value judgment on modes of education, and with it stigamises certain classes of people. When you apply such standards, and a lack of acceptance for difference then it can creep in and influence choices. Perhaps these might be correct choices, but ultimately the welfare of the deaf child always has to be paramount.

The article quoted from this post:

Authors of the Grumpy Old Deafies blog, Alison Bryan and Jen Dodds said: "It ultimately could lead to damage for some deaf children's education.

"With the closure of such resources we enter a spectrum of a lack of choice and this ultimately has implications on children.

"Inclusion is a policy that has been driven by disabled people and ultimately led to a be all and end all approach within education policy.

"What disabled people have failed to understand is that deaf people do not share the same history education wise."

Ask the Readers:
What do you think of this decision?

See also:
North Tyneside Council are delighted at closure of deaf support centre

Comments (5)

Good post. Only thing I would have added in the sentence "What disabled people have failed to understand is that deaf people do not share the same history education wise." is recognition that Deaf people have different communicative and social/identity needs as well as history.

--Don G.

Don you're right, and trying to get disability organisations to see this is near impossible. The Equality and Human Rights Commission in the UK does not have a single deaf representative on it (seems to consist of physical / mobility disabilities) who think they can speak on behalf of deaf people. Their failure to address this issue, underlines how little is understood out there.

(I'm not saying parallels don't exist, but did anyone actually ask deaf people?)

Hi Allison --

You don't have to post this -- you can reply to my email. I can't find a way to contact you personally through email or facebook.

I wanted to ask you about your perspective on Deafhood in the U.K. MM has been saying for a while on my vlog and elsewhere that British Deaf "see through" Paddy and don't buy his arguments. I realize his perspective is ideologically colored from what I know about him and how he writes his comments.

I wanted to ask you, as a British Deaf person and as a 'Grumpy Old Deafie" (why did you pick that name? You two don't look THAT old in the pictures, and was it intentional for the "G.O.D." acronym?) about why you think Deafhood did not seem to catch on in the UK the way it seems to be starting to here on this side of the Pond.

--Don G.

Donald,

Quite simply - put it this way - MM will have a go at anything just for the sake of it - deaf culture, sign language etc etc and often make up statistics on the spot to "back" up his..erm...arguements etc. Frankly life is much easier when you just ignore him. Old saying is still true - don't feed the trolls :)

A good example is what you put - MM saying that British Deaf don't buy into the concept of "Deafhood" as put by Paddy Ladd - it's based on MM's own personal view that HE doesn't buy it, and you can ask him if anyone else is the same. You'll not find anyone apart from MM's own friends.

Deafhood from Paddy Ladd's book - it's just a book here. No-one here read it. Nothing to do with "not buying it". Just not interested in reading it. UK is a small country and British deaf culture is probably much more closer than it is in USA...ie events in Scotland, you'll more than likely meet the same people there as in events in London and elsewhere in UK along with some local folks :) Thus Paddy Ladd is "just one of us" basically.

It does not mean that people here dismiss Paddy Ladd's book as pure rubbish - just that it's not read and there's no workshop on it etc like in USA...to be honest it seem more of a American culture to be interested in workshops and that sort of thing. Not a British thing to do that - that's how I see it and is just a personal opinion.

I think British people in general - Deaf and hearing both - are more apathetic politically than Americans tend to be. That's probably the main reason that the book/Deafhood hasn't taken off here (we also have some literacy issues). Sadly, most people I know are way more interested in themselves and having a good time than politics. I assure you that Paddy is well respected in the UK though. Don't listen to MM's crap!

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