You are not your user and you do not live their life by Simon Hurst.

The lovely Simon Hurst​ shared this link with the Tree House dwellers in the hope that we could all share it, comment on it and help them to perfect PIP that bit more.

Thank you very much 🙂


Mr Simon Hurst.


Deaf people: Are they just too expensive to support ? By Mervyn James


Sara Jae’s re-blog on the issues of unmoderated deaf support is a blog well worth reading.

Although dated a year ago, little has changed, and the issue seems to be still unaddressed and deteriorating..

We suspect (And hope) priorities are still in favour of the deaf child being properly cared for and support monitored, but the adult population is wide open to abuses and still left to own devices..

Indeed in many respects contributing to own abuses by accepting unqualified support. That support can come via own family, or friends, who, acting with best intentions, in reality disempower the deaf because they shift deaf reliance on professional interpreter or trained support, onto them, so family/friends become unofficial carers without qualifications or a wage.

Where their signing knowledge is good with their deaf relative most have no qualifications when the talk gets technical/medical, then the areas become blurred, and familiarity leads to contempt and decision-making going out of the deaf person’s hands.  A number can rapidly become out of their depth and leave the deaf person to manage alone.

Maybe the support does not have enough communication as per a terp would, and certainly no neutrality, then it can become a real risk to a deaf person’s health and well-being.  Deaf seem determined to oppose any ban on family help even those with no signing qualifications… so accept that risk, this can undermine any attempt to monitor support properly, or establish an adequate care system.  Of course set bad examples for younger deaf to follow.

There is a huge rise in ‘Mentors’ (Nobody know what qualifications they are supposed to have other than they sign), and ‘carers’ (With few communication qualifications), and CSW’s and others who are under little monitoring at all, as regards to standards of care or help. How do you monitor, when no norm has been established ?

The basic CSW qualifications seem rather thin. There are examples of BSL Interpreters who go over and above their remit to help the deaf client. In effect acting as a bona-fide social worker in some respects and as a real  friend. This is wrong of course, in a professional sense, and in the sense it compromises the neutral nature of signed support.

Then, BSL Interpreters are in  breach of their professional standard, and become vulnerable to claims they are doing that to maintain steady work for themselves by allowing that reliance. It’s already well-known in deaf areas, many deaf have a ‘preference’ for a particular interpreter as a result.

The issue, is who monitors to ensure support for deaf people is maintaining integrity, or neutrality ?  ATR has covered a number of areas of deaf mentoring where abuses happened to the deaf client and no monitoring of standards was apparent. With local authorities or Social Services ‘rubber-stamping’ second-hand support, no way to complain either. These areas may well be legally obliged to provide support, but , THEY choose who that is. Some may oblige by providing who you want, others may just say they have met the letter of the law and take it or leave it. If no availability isn’t there you can’t insist. Interpreters are busy and scarce people.

Also, the Sign language bodies dither over monitoring, because they say many BSL interpreters are not members of their agencies or bodies, more in fact are completely free-lance and operate as they want to a great extent. Also the best they can do is stop an errant terp quoting them.  The BSL tuition system is a case in point, where few standards are really maintained. LEA classes are very questionable, and the ‘anything goes’ approach left to the unmonitored tutors leaves a lot to be desired. Some deaf ‘cultural centres’ were accused of such bias, and some did not belong TO the deaf community and were BSL for cash areas.

Charities also came in for considerable criticism as they tried to plug the leaking support gaps for deaf, by lowering own standards of care qualifications, and of communication. Social Services via Local Authorities are being seen to  ‘shop around’ for the cheapest care they can find with the basics of qualifications, and care is applied on a  strict time-limiting basis. 2 Local Authorities approached a class for BSL learners offering learners the job, because the approved BSL Interpreter system of trained professionals was ‘too expensive.’ This included work in legal, banking,  and medical situations, highly skilled interpreting and sensitive areas.

E.G. Today a care worker attended a client in Wales to find an 92 yr old client collapsed on the floor.  She contacted emergency services, and asked her agency if she could forgo a visit to the next client, as they can only offer care on a 15 minute visit basis, (Or someone else could attend in her place), so she could wait until medical help arrived and monitor the client till they arrive. She was told NO, she had to leave that unconscious client on the floor and go to the next allotted client or face losing her job.  So she left the client unconscious on the floor and the front door open for the emergency services.

The problem with deaf care (Let’s call it what it is, as it isn’t empowerment since empowerment suggests choice), is the fact standards are almost low or non-extant in many cases because the cost of professional support to the deaf is too high. This leaves the doors wide open to staff who really do not know what they are doing most of the time, or understand what a deaf client is saying. It’s caused deaths in Wales to older deaf people. Still none of the deaf or associated charities will demand higher standards, from themselves, or, from others on the deaf behalf.

Mostly they won’t demand these standards because they supply the staff, and if more professional qualifications are demanded, they cannot supply that need. Meanwhile deaf are being sold out and left in the hands of people who don’t have the wherewithal to help them.  IN part this tends to demoralise deaf who feel why bother to ask for help at all? The system seems to work on the basis ‘Anyone with ears can support the deaf..’

God help them.  Is deaf support just too expensive to be practical? certainly state welfare agencies now think so… and won’t fund it any more by cutting off the financial means to buy it in.  In order to address what is going on, a ban on private agencies/charities and care has to be invoked at least until a set of care norms and the means to monitor them exists.”

By Mervyn James, who can also be found ‘At the rim’

Do Deaf People Really Need Welfare Benefits and Concessionary Discounts?

There is a debate taking an online deaf community forum by storm regarding whether deaf people really need concessionary discounts whenever they visit places of interest, entertainment or services such as the cinema, amusement parks, nightclubs, museums and public transport, and this has got me thinking. Do deaf people really need concessionary discounts? And welfare benefits? And should we expect to be treated like VIPs in certain situations, such as jumping the queue just because we’re deaf? These issues always generate such lively debates among deaf people.

Many people raise good points both for and against the privilege.  Personally, I consider such things a privilege because our deafness (which is a sensory impairment or disability according to the Disability Discrimination Act (UK) offers us the opportunity to take advantage of these things if we so wish whereas hearing people cannot (unless, of course, they act as carers). However, as the poster from the forum argues, if we all continue to take advantage of these then the government will begin to view us as a minority who are in constant need of care, rendering us incapable of leading an independent life in the hearing-majority world and become too reliant on the welfare benefits. We need to show, he argues, that we are as good as the rest.

I feel compelled to agree, in part, with this point. Personally, I have a full-time job and I am not reliant on any benefits (though I used to have Disability Living Allowance but the Department of Work & Pensions cut them three years ago on account of their arbitrary decision that my condition was somehow curable despite a torrent of evidence stating otherwise). Everything I now pay for I pay with my own hard-earned cash. Ironically, in a way, this has made me feel somewhat more independent than ever before as I take sole responsibility for my own well-being and I feel a resulting sense of pride because I work for my own money. Although I do realise that this may not be the case for some deaf people because the degree of their deafness or hearing loss presents them limited capabilities. Additionally, we as a deaf community, are unique in that many of us do not consider ourselves as a disability minority because we have our own language that’s intertwined with a rich cultural history that we so embrace. We consider ourselves a linguistic minority. This, I believe, plays an important role in defining our unique identity and sets us apart from other disability minorities.

However, in a society that is based on the concern of  the hearing majority, our undeniable inability to hear is a stark reminder of the struggles we still face in everyday life. There are still far too many services that fail to cater to us – the 8.7 million of us with some form of hearing loss. The lack of these deaf-friendly services means we miss out on their benefits, which are often taken for granted by those who can hear. This is where the concessionary discounts could be considered a necessity because we are expected to pay for useless services.

Moreover, what about those who are unemployed? Consistent surveys reveal that too many deaf job-seekers are still unable to find a job after more than one year due to discrimination. In the current financial crisis, job-hunting is a far, far bleaker and often very demoralising prospect for deaf job-seekers. Their hearing counterparts are also more likely to be selected by employers over the deaf ones despite having the same qualifications in many cases, or even possessing more than their hearing counterparts. As a consequence, deaf people struggle financially.

Unfortunately, while some deaf people struggle, there is a small but annoying minority who go too far in taking advantage of the whole system by looking for loopholes in it and giving the rest a bad name. These are the types of selfish deaf people who can spend the entirety of their lives on benefits alone and can afford many long-haul holidays each year. These are often the same kind who also refuse to pay full prices when they clearly can afford them, expect to jump the queue and use their deafness as an excuse and accuse service providers of blatant discrimination whenever they feel their own needs are not satisfactorily met. So much so that the word “deaf” is often an abbreviation for “Deaf Expect All Free” as a joke. I find this absurd and embarrassing. They fail to consider the serious implications of their actions on the deaf communities as a whole and the hearing people’s perception of us. Further to this, it makes it quite difficult for genuine deaf people to feel they can openly ask for discounts for fear of being tarred with the same brush.

On the whole though, I believe that until service providers cease discriminating against deaf consumers, whether unintentionally through ignorance or lack of awareness, or otherwise, and employers cease taking part in deliberate discrimination many genuine deaf people will feel the need to continue asking for concessionary discounts. Deaf people will need to be financially stable, or have some kind of financial security, before they can start paying for such services themselves. As for those who play the system, they really need to get a reality check – it will not be long before they are caught committing frauds.

– Daniel McManus