Friday, 29 September 2017

Open Letter to Stephen Lloyd MP...

Image result for open letterSir

Having recently read on an AOHL (deaf/HoH charity), site. Your campaign re disabled people, I would like some clarification on the corner-stone of your campaign which appears to me, to be behind the 'Social Modelling' of disability.

As your campaign link appeared on a site dedicated to deafness/hearing loss, you must be well aware there are two very distinct areas there who attain to both social and clinical models and some to one only, or even neither.  Very obviously the EFFECTS of a disability are in debate here.  removing the 'clinical element' can seriously undermine any qualifications for any hearing loss sector to claim welfare or support.

It cannot be argued social  modelling, that in the 'Deaf' sense, is based on 'blaming mainstream for discrimination and poor equalities', and then suggesting meeting that need would somehow 'cure' the disability itself, its wide open to misinterpretations.  There are serious questions to be answered on inclusion too.  It would appear access and inclusion are not the same things to deaf or disabled.

We know 100% isn't possible.    If we draw an example between current beliefs in the hearing loss worlds, then, those born with no viable hearing and claim a cultural/language status, demand their hearing loss is only an issue in as much as society is not engaging them or accepting their communications.  Once everyone acquires sign language they are then 'equal'.  Of course there are numerous debates that is un-achievable or even if it happened, that those deaf people would take advantage of the access and inclusion it presented.  

We have a universal (UK), 'Deaf & HoH' remit which is based on inclusion, the reality is sectors are going different ways regardless, and this has affected access, and welfare support, which is now an entirely grey area.. 10 million with deafness and loss, present 10m different issues now. In order to highlight inclusive and access aspects, they have to identify groups who can be seen.  This is difficult when deafness and hearing loss is invisible.

The majority with hearing loss, insist they are disabled clinically via that loss, and, it can destroy their well being, communication, families, education, jobs and makes them vulnerable to mental health issues, clearly a clinical model, they also insist that while the other cultural deaf HAVE a nation-wide support system, they, do not. The true clinical definition of a disability is LOSS.   It also cannot  be remedied by equal access.  The argument it can is far too naive and simplistic.

If you loss a limb or your sight, or you are incapacitated or not mobile, access is still not going to replace the primary issue, It encourages better coping strategies.. but still won't apply to all. E.G. Autism may well make the social model approach pointless.

If we look at support currently, they are polarised charity-wise between these two sectors.  Too many issues are down to politicians endorsing one hearing loss approach against the other, and failing to include all equally.  Politicians are cherry picking what cause celeb they support.  It is very obvious such political campaigners need something visual to identify the areas they are lobbying about, and sign language is the prime means politicians and others are using.    As this image is to a MINORITY with hearing loss, the overall majority are not seeing their needs recognised, supported, or even seeing them re-defined as something else entirely.

E.G.  "All deaf people use sign language".  Which is an inaccurate statement.   I can draw your attention to the fact the NHS offers sign language support to those who need that, but does NOT offer other means that are used, including lip-speakers, note-takers, speech to text back up etc.

We also saw other politicians attended Westminster demanding sign language access, and not even mentioning the means the rest of the 10m in the UK use.  Social modelling is being utilised to promote cultural aspects of a very small minority with hearing loss, at the expense of the rest who suffer clinical traumas as a result of losing hearing.  Social modelling also suggests they are entitled to be separatists, which is anti-inclusion.

What I ask is any promotion of the social model makes it clear it is NOT applicable to everyone, and is not a 'cure all' for disability or its subsequent issues.  Not all support the social model.  40% of deaf children suffer mental health issues. Adult deaf who rely on sign language take up the majority access to work welfare support.  Support the others do NOT qualify for.  It would appear despite having identical levels of hearing loss or profound deafness and related issues, the system is discriminating by language used.

E.G. PIP, as we are all aware has decimated the ability of non-signing deaf people to qualify at all for many welfare allowances. 346,000 Hard of Hearing lost any right to it after DLA folded.  They were penalised in that despite also being deaf they had some speech, or a hearing aid/CI, so the DWP classed them as not deaf but hearing people.   This actually created further traumas. 

The social model as viewed by cultural deaf and the system, offers wholesale and systematic discrimination towards the majority by default.  It is an issue not faced by other disabled people.  It can be argued as offering unfair advantage too.

As there are obviously two very diverse and distinct areas of hearing loss that is echoed by its national support set ups, then politicians need to agree that status quo exists and, makes that distinction when lobbying 'on our behalf' when in reality they are seen taking 'sides'.  There are already other politicians who lobby for A or B hearing loss areas, none argue for cultural/hearing loss equality, or for dedicated support.  Hardly any example of a social model.

Thank you

ATR

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