Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Deaf who live with dementia

RAD bias misleads on BSL.

A community support worker from RAD communicating with one of its clients
Many people think sign language is a universal language used by Deaf people worldwide, but it is not.

Sign language evolves wherever there are Deaf people, explains Kerry Cole, head of marketing and PR at the Royal Association of Deaf people.

Not only are there international variations but there are regional variations too, much like the regional accents and colloquialisms found in spoken languages.

British Sign Language is the signed language of the Deaf community in the UK.

* But BSL is NOT the sole sign mode used, S.E. and S.S.E. is also used. Sign usage also includes lip-reading and other communication forms, even hearing aids/text to follow the spoken word, that's because sign alone is not enough. Statistics on BSL dependency isn't available.

A rich and complex visual spatial language, it involves a combination of hand shapes, facial expressions, lip patterns and body language.  It also has its own grammar and sentence structure and is not a signed equivalent of English.

*A reason WHY SE and SSE is used as an alternative or deaf would suffer more via education.  It's grammar is still being created, it's dictionary contested by deaf over 40s.. SE is not intended to be a BSL equivalent but a bi-lingual format to enable English to be followed better.

The first description of a Deaf person using sign language in England appears in the Marriage Register of St Martin’s, Leicester in 1576.

* Even earlier, 1528,  but current BSL is a 20thc concept, post 1960s...

But in spite of being the first or preferred language of approximately 87,000 Deaf people in the UK, BSL is yet to receive the legal recognition in England and Wales that other minority languages such as Welsh and Gaelic have.

* That is correct but the Deaf campaigners refuse to accept the fact it is not used in education as a right, or why that is so, and it isn't discrimination.  

There is no basis of statistical proof there are 87,000 daily BSL-dependent deaf with that preference. The sole source of that statistic appears to emanate only from the British Deaf Association, a dedicated BSL charity, and nowhere else. England census e.g. (The first time the question was ever asked re sign use), states 15,000 only declared themselves in SUPPORT of BSL, (the question about daily usage, proficiency even IF the person was profound deaf, were not asked).  As the law stands, the Data Protection ACT prevents it so the question was wide open and anyone could state a preference.  No checks are made.

Ireland/Scotland, and Wales were in low 1,000s too.  The issue was that the question of BSL was not put in any context, so hearing were allowed to say they used BSL too.  As with  most statistics concerned with all forms of hearing loss, they are guesstimates. E.G. 10m with hearing loss, does not mean there are 10m with a need for sign language, support, or even a hearing aid.

We need to understand the RAD is itself dependent and specific to the BSL users, so is not without bias.  It has no representation outside England of any note.