The EU Referendum Leaflet

On the back of our recent post supporting Drip Media’s survey, a petition was also engineered, despite low demands; it is only fair a visual version of the EU referendum leaflet is/was made.

Whilst we are eagerly waiting for the official government version, which we hope will be out very soon, RAD has made one of their own videos (please note, this is not the official government version) from written information available to them.


‘EU Referendum in BSL Survey’ by Drip Media

The EU (European Union) referendum leaflet is in just written English, large print and audio CD. There are no visual materials for those who rely on sign language hence why, I support this video by Drip Media in trying to gauge just how many people would like to see the same content available to them so they too, can make an informed choice however which way they would like to vote.

Their video is in BSL yet it is captioned to be inclusive of all.

Please complete their survey in order to assist them in achieving what I hope, will be a successful and fair result. This will only take a minute of your time.

Thank you for your time and patience.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

‘For Better Or For Worse’ by Robert & Helen Oxlade

World Ovarian Cancer Day (WOCD) falls annually on the 8th of May.

Back in 2014, her darling husband Robert, in a bid to raise awareness, shared Helen’s story on Facebook. We at ‘The Tree House’ wishes to help Helen and Robert, raise even more awareness regarding Ovarian Cancer by bringing their experience, to your attention.

8th of May 2014.

Today is World Ovarian Cancer day, and it is today that we are telling everyone on Facebook Helen Oxlade’s story. If you only read this far, please go and see your GP if you think you have any of the symptoms of ovarian cancer –

After Helen and I were engaged in 2011, and with Helen’s Mum and my parents’ blessing, we started to try for a baby. Sadly, we didn’t seem to have any luck, so Helen went to the GP to start to investigate why.

As part of the investigations, Helen’s various blood tests didn’t show any cancer, however there was a tennis ball sized cyst on one of her ovaries, which in turn had moved and attached itself to her womb. The ovary and cyst were removed in March this year. We were given the life changing news ten days later.

Although they think it was contained to the ovary they removed, Helen has early ovarian cancer. This was only half of the news, since part of the treatment was a hysterectomy as quickly as possible, to prevent the cancer spreading. The doctor told us that we risked Helen’s life trying to save any eggs, so that wasn’t an option.

The 14th of March 2014 was the day our hopes and dreams of having our own family were shattered, and our lives turned upside down with uncertainty for what will be happening in the future.

On the 23rd of April, Helen returned to hospital for a hysterectomy. There were quite a few complications, but she is being strong, and is slowly recovering. Thank you to all of our friends who already know, and have offered their help and thoughts.

Tomorrow (9th of May) we return to the hospital for the results of the biopsies taken during the hysterectomy. Given our situation, I believe we have been lucky, and have caught the cancer early. Ovarian cancer is one of the more aggressive cancers, and often goes undetected. All women are able to get this horrible cancer, so please, if you think you have the symptoms, go and see your GP.

This is most definitely the “for worse” bit mentioned in our wedding vows. I hope she knows how much I love her, because sometimes I’m distant and hiding in my shell with worry, but I think and hope we are going to be very lucky.

Please like and share this video so that we can help spread awareness of this terrible cancer.

By Robert and Helen Oxlade.

Exactly one year after the dreadful news of the ovary biopsy result Helen was given, she admirably made another video.

We are truly honoured, being able to share Helen & Robert’s experiences, with you. 🙂

‘What Is Deaf Geeky?’ by Natalie Jordaan & Claire Sternberg

What is ‘Deaf Geeky’?

‘Deaf Geeky’ is a worldwide portal for geeks alike from different parts of the world and this portal enables us/them to share valuable knowledge. ‘Deaf Geeky’ was established to try to benefit different people by giving them access to this information, using Sign Language and subtitles.

Why is ‘Deaf Geeky’ ideal?

  1. There are many educational sites on the internet, but most of them unfortunately, do not have or provide subtitles. This means deaf people are unable to gain access to useful information, so much so, it is considered as a limitation. There are sadly very few educational yet accessible sites online.
  1. Of course, some ‘Deaf Geeks’ already share knowledge, providing educational materials via the internet but they are separated by different portals. This also means that deaf people find it extremely difficult to access. Hence, ‘Deaf Geeky’ being one portal only that has several categories based on Technology, Economics, Politics, etc. of which can be easily found.

These are several of the reasons why ‘Deaf Geeky’ was established, in order to encourage deaf people who are geeks to join the portal and share their knowledge and provide (further) education.

Goal of Deaf Geeky

Our goal is to integrate international ‘Deaf Geeks’ into one group that can share their knowledge or provide education based on Technology, History, Science, Health, Politics, Economics, Sport, Life Hacks and much more.

To be a portal that enables deaf people worldwide to share knowledge and ideas in a language they can understand.

This portal aims to educate every deaf people in a subject matter of their interest using Sign Language and subtitles. Deaf people can learn and gain knowledge on several educations that ‘Deaf Geeks’ provide.

Benefit of Deaf Geeky

‘Deaf Geeks’ with the same interests can share and learn from each other. They can connect with each other from the many different parts of the world.

‘Deaf Geeky’ wishes to show the world that deaf people who are geeks can do anything.

Short and sweet

  • Deaf Geeky is about Knowledge, Access and Interaction.
  • Deaf people who are geeks should unleash their inner geeks to the world.

If you are interested in taking part in the ‘Deaf Geeky’ portal and sharing your geeky knowledge, please do not hesitate to sign up using the form on our ‘Deaf Geeky’ website:

Alternatively, you can also find us on Facebook or Twitter.

By Natalie Jordaan and Claire Sternberg.

Natalie and Claire

Natalie Jordaan and Claire Sternberg.

Therapy, The Deaf Way.


By SignHealth.

Over the past few weeks I have seen a campaign by SignHealth and their supporters from within the deaf community, steadily grow.

I wanted to share with you, my personal experience.

At one point last year, a deaf friend was concerned enough to put me into contact with someone offering their professional help except, how could I talk to them when their sibling was one of the bullies? The deaf world was much too small, typical and predictable for my liking. I felt extremely claustrophobic.

Eventually, my GP referred me for counselling to help lift me out of my depression and certain trains of thought. Members of the deaf community had brought all of my life altering experiences on so it was only natural for me to want to stick with a local counsellor, who was hearing and had very little (if no) experience with deaf clients.

My counsellor began the first of our many intensive sessions, asking if an interpreter should be present to help us communicate with ease. This was enough reason to make me clam up. I refused their offer politely and asked if we could continue without one, as I was confident it would work.

I did not at the time trust anyone that had any connections to the deaf community; enough to be anywhere near me. Not even an interpreter bound by confidence because they too, I could not trust.

In time, my counsellor’s deaf awareness grew with each session and once they took me by surprise by saying, “I am glad we didn’t use an interpreter because you would not have told me everything. You would have been extremely cautious. I did not think our sessions would work without one and you proved me wrong. You have taught me that not every deaf person needs an interpreter present and not every deaf person relies solely on sign language.”

Their acknowledgement and increased deaf awareness made my heart smile. I suddenly felt freer than I had ever been and that feeling of being finally understood, not just me but the deaf community too, how diverse it actually is and how our needs and abilities differ, was priceless. This was therapy, albeit my way.

Each to the their own for reasons that should be known to themselves, only.

It is vital that we fight to retain our choice to be counselled however we wish, be it the deaf way or the hearing way in order to be at our most comfortable, for our therapy to succeed. And for that, we should be grateful such a service like SignHealth exists because they do work, for those who choose them. For those who need them. For those who solely rely on sign language, for they do exist.

No one deserves to be ignored.

I wish SignHealth all the best with their latest campaign, to continue providing “a national psychological therapy service where all the therapists are fluent in British Sign Language (BSL)”.


Finally yet just as importantly, I would like to applaud SignHealth for adding captions to their videos, making it more inclusive and accessible to all. Thank you, for doing so. 🙂

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

The response to the open letter

You may remember we sent an open letter to the CEO of Sign Health, Steve Powell?  You’ll be pleased to know we had a response.  Their response is below, and I quote:

Dear Sara and the Tree House team

Steve thanks you for your letter, and for your interest in the work that we’re doing. He’s asked me, as the person responsible for the project, to reply.

SignHealth has been working for Deaf people for nearly thirty years, and the charity is proud of the improvements and services it’s produced. We’re also painfully aware of all that still needs to be done in many areas, including access to information.

In an ideal world all information would be available to all users in a form they can easily use and understand.

As part of our efforts to move closer to that ideal, SignHealth tries to lead by example. Our website is offered in English and BSL. Our leaflets have QR codes leading to BSL clips, which sign the content. Aside from our health clips, our recent videos are almost without exception signed and subtitled.

We do this so we can ask others to look at their own websites and publications, and ask themselves if they are truly accessible to all. A surprising number of sites for or about D/deaf issues are inaccessible to BSL users.

At present, the BSL health videos we make are not subtitled. That is because they are a special case, and I will explain why.

A year ago the NHS Choices website had only 10 health videos in BSL.

The Sick Of It report showed that a lack of information was one of the reasons that Deaf people are more likely to have poorer health than hearing people.

So, we decided to do something about it. We set out to give people who use BSL as their first language a source of information, which will allow them to understand health issues and to make choices about their own health.

For most of those health conditions, this is the first time that information has been available in BSL.

All of the information we provide in the videos is already freely available elsewhere. They are all covered on the NHS Choices website, where all of the topics are already covered in captioned videos.

As a charity we rely on donations to carry out our work. Before we make a video we have to raise the money to make it possible. So we are using the grants we are given to make as much information as possible available to BSL users, who until now have had no access to information. We do it in the knowledge that people with other communication needs can get that information from the NHS already.

With sufficient funds we would love to be able to provide a large BSL health library which included subtitles too. The truth is we are struggling to find funding to do the work that we are doing already.

SignHealth works to improve access and healthcare for D/deaf people, and we provide services where that is the best way to make progress. We use our limited resources to work where there is the greatest need, and often that is in the BSL using Deaf community.

The work we do is not perfect, but we do the best we can with the resources we have.

Our BSL Healthy Minds, DeafHope and InterpreterNow services are predominantly for BSL users, but they are accessible and available to oral deaf users too. InterpreterNow is working hard to broaden its services so that they are available to all D/deaf and Hard of Hearing people too.

We’ve worked closely with the NHS on the new Accessible Information Standard (1605). We’ve asked them to fix the problems that our Sick Of It study revealed when it researched the healthcare of BSL users. But, we’ve made sure that the solutions benefit all deaf people, and even hearing people with other disabilities.

You say in your letter that you would like to support SignHealth, and we are pleased to know that. We work closely with a wide range of D/deaf organisations, and co-ordinating and combining our efforts makes us all stronger.

Although our approaches and priorities vary we are all working towards a common aim. That is improving access for D/deaf people.

Let’s do that by supporting successes which move us ahead in even the smallest way.


Paul Welsh
Director of Communications.

Your thoughts?  The PDF copies of the original letter are shown below should you need to see them.  Anyway, please let us know your thoughts.  Comment away!