‘Dear Hearing People’ by Sarah Snow & Jules Dameron

Here is an impressive video made by Sarah Snow of Glide and Jules Dameron.

“The Deaf community tells all hearing people what’s truly on their minds— and it’s a big deal.”

You can also read about why, Sarah made this video.

http://www.glide.me/dear-hearing-people

Therapy, The Deaf Way.

therapythedeafway

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)”.

#TherapyTheDeafWay

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)

A Pleasure To Meet You.

I was encouraged by my best friend to share a video, that my daughter managed to sneak off me. (The little minx!)

I had previously been too fearful to share it because in it I speak. (I say “Is it recording?”) The last time I spoke in a video which was for the BBC, the fall out was unfortunately, predictable.

Too many people presume (albeit dangerously) and try to dictate our choices rather than respecting them.

By the way, I have signed ever since I could, because I have deaf parents – I believe in total communication.

So, come on over to The Tree House and meet me / us, cyber wise. Do feel free to share your videos too.

Positivity rules! 🙂

~ 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.

Yours,

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!

Sign_Health_1_of_2Sign_Health_2_of_2

An Open Letter To Steve Powell, The CEO Of SignHealth

Dear Mr Powell, 

We are writing to you as an open letter from The Tree House group on Facebook and blog (https://viewsfromthetreehouse.com/), we are disappointed to find that there is lack of subtitles on videos that SignHealth have produced.

We would like to remind you that The Tree House Group represents some of the 10 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK and we promote diversity, which means we welcome people of all backgrounds including all communication techniques they use. No one is inferior or superior to one another as we are all in the same situation.

We want to make a few points regarding your lack of subtitles on your videos

• There are approximately 10 million deaf and hard of hearing people – 1 in 6 people in the United Kingdom whereas there are approximately 17000 BSL dependent users.

• We believe that subtitling the videos will enable SignHealth to reach out more people who may be deaf oral, use signed supported English, hands on signing for deafblind. Reaching out to the deaf/deafened/hard of hearing people will make your cause stronger than ever because you have more people supporting the cause.

• We know for a fact that deaf people with various communication mechanisms do have problems with healthcare,

o Not enough time to familiarise with a doctor

o Inability to lipread doctors with accent

o Wrong assumptions about lipreading and mistaking that we actually understood everything.

o Inability to book communication support in urgent appointments

o Lipspeakers in short supply

o Having to use family, friends for communication support and many more to list.

• We want to be part of and support SignHealth, because of the problems we all have encountered in the NHS, but not having the subtitles in BSL videos makes it exclusive. It makes us feel that we are being discriminated for using other forms of communication not BSL.

• We would like to ask what are SignHealth’s aims? Are you focusing on the deaf people as whole or deaf people who rely on BSL?

We hope SignHealth would consider our request for subtitles on your videos to be taken into consideration, because we strongly believe that you will reach out to more deaf people who require your help. There are softwares that subtitles can be created on videos, as most of us have managed to do it when we make videos for The Treehouse group. If you wish to know more, please contact the admins of Treehouse Group.

We look forward to hearing your response on this issue within 7 days.

Yours Faithfully

The Tree House team;

Sara Jae,

Sebastiaan Eldritch-Böersen,

Andrew Arthur,

Daniel McManus,

Paul Leonard,

Michelle Hedley,

Kimberley Lucas,

Claire Leiper,

Jamie Danjoux

In addition, members of the public.

 

Jamie Danjoux Is Petitioning Sky – To Enable Subtitles

Here is a very important post that was shared to our Facebook group by Stephanie McDermid of Love Subtitles, to try and rally, raising more awareness on the lack of subtitles across media platforms;

“Over the last three months Amazon has gone from offering zero access to people with hearing loss to subtitling 40% of their content, focusing on subtitling their most popular titles. They say that they still aim to subtitle 100% of content and will continue to make progress over the coming months.

Sky subtitles: we believe in better.

Amazon is a fantastic success story, but deaf people are still facing discrimination from many providers.

Despite having over ten million paying subscribers in UK, over 96% of Sky’s on-demand content has absolutely no subtitles (e.g. on catch up TV and box sets). Sky has set no timeframe for improving this.

Deaf teenager Jamie Danjoux has set up a petition asking Sky to offer subtitles for their on-demand service. As a Sky subscriber he feels ripped off – and completely excluded from catching up on his favourite TV shows.”

As quoted from Jamie’s petition;

“My name is Jamie, I’m 16 years old, and I have severe hearing loss in both ears. 

Like you, I enjoy watching the latest must-see TV show. Whether it’s Game of Thrones or this week’s episodes of Eastenders, I want to be part of the conversations that all of my friends are having. However, as a Sky customer, I’m always missing out.

Like most people with hearing loss, I rely on subtitles that show us what’s being said on screen and what other viewers can hear. Without them, it’s just moving pictures to me. There are more than 10million of us in the UK yet, despite being the UK’s biggest television subscription provider, Sky’s On Demand and Sky Go services, as well as their box sets, are completely inaccessible to us, because they have no subtitles.

People with hearing loss want to be able to watch what they want, when they want, how they want – just like everyone else.

I feel angry and upset that my disability doesn’t matter to Sky. It’s unacceptable that they are denying people who have a hearing loss access to the same level of entertainment as hearing people. That’s called discrimination under the Equality Act, which states that people with hearing loss shouldn’t get a poorer service due to their disability.

Worse still, we’re paying more than £250 a year for a service that we can’t fully use. This isn’t fair.

Sky have replied to this petition in the past saying that they are ‘exploring how to address this gap’. This simply isn’t good enough. Customers have been raising this issue since 2011, but it’s still not a priority for Sky. They won’t even state a timeframe for getting this sorted out.

Sky have even told some customers with hearing loss that, because Catch up TV is given ‘free’ to customers, it doesn’t matter that it’s not accessible! I find this insulting to people with hearing loss.

It’s the 21st century and the technology is available to ensure content on Sky’s On Demand services can have subtitles, just like on their ‘traditional’ channels such as Sky News and Sky One.

I simply want the same service as everyone else. Please help me to get Sky to improve their service for people with hearing loss.”

Sign and share Jamie’s petition now, pretty please?

https://www.change.org/p/sky-enable-subtitles-for-ondemand

Thank you, for your support.

Wishing Jamie Danjoux, all the best 🙂