….but we are all fabulous.

Deaf/deaf awareness

I am doing an online British Sign Language course at the moment ( It’s VERY early days – I have learnt the alphabet, numbers 1 to 100 and some basic colours. I enjoy doing the online fingerspelling game and can currently identify 21 signed words in 3 minutes! You can try it here: I also enjoy getting the sign of the day on my Facebook feed. A recent one was for kangaroo:


Anyway, my most recent assignment involved researching 5 organisations working to support D/deaf people and to write a little about each including an interesting or surprising fact. I thought I would post my assignment here as I found it quite interesting to do.

Assignment Brief:

Your assignment is to browse the websites of a few different deaf organisations in the UK. For each of the five organisations that you have chosen you must write a short sentence or two about what the organisation does, as well as writing an interesting fact that you discovered from browsing the website.

Here are my answers:

Hearing Dogs for Deaf People (

This charity has been providing assistance dogs for deaf people for 35 years. The dogs alert their owners to sounds they would not otherwise be aware of such as doorbells, fire alarms and so on. Probably just as importantly they provide companionship and help to reduce the isolation that deaf people can experience.

I was surprised at the breeds that are involved: Cocker Spaniels, Miniature Poodles, Labradors and Cockapoos. I have signed up for their newsletter!

Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID:

This charity works to support people with hearing loss and tinnitus. They have a variety of roles; in particular I was interested in their campaigning role. Some recent campaigns include preventing cuts to NHS hearing aid services, supporting hearing screening for people aged 65 and reducing background noise in public places such as restaurants.

I was rather shocked by the statistics on their site with 1 in 6 people in the UK currently experiencing some degree of hearing loss and this figure set to rise to 1 in 5 by 2035. In addition 1 in 10 has tinnitus. I took their hearing test and also had a look at their video which signed the page – I need to learn more signs!!

deafblind (

This charity works to support those who have dual sensory impairments. Amongst other things they facilitate peer and social support groups, support for carers and respite breaks.

It was quite sobering clicking on this site and trying to imagine how isolating and challenging being deafblind must be. Even more so when I read that there are nearly 400000 deafblind people in the UK. A population I had previously given little if any thought to.

deafPLUS (

This charity is focussed on improving quality of life for people who are deaf. Their mission statement indicates this is by focussing on the individual rather than the disability. A recent news item on the website is about a befriender service in Birmingham. I thought that one day if my signing gets good enough, this might be something I could explore.

I found it helpful to see the word D/deaf used in writing – I have been surprised even thought I am only on lesson 2 how little I knew about D/deaf issues.

Royal Association for Deaf People (

This charity works with Deaf people to understand what is important to them and to promote Deaf language, identity and culture. They provide services for Deaf people in their first language but also work to make mainstream services more Deaf-accessible. To this end they have a series of Quality Marks that they award covering legal services, the hotel and leisure industry, prisons and care providers for older Deaf people.

I was surprised to discover that a Deaf Church organisation exists – actually there are several. The site also says that they work with Deaf clubs around London and the South East and I wondered why they don’t operate nationally.

Anyway, that was my assignment and I shall wait to see if it passes. In the meantime, I learnt some things I was not previously aware of – the goal of all good assignments!


2 comments on “Deaf/deaf awareness

  1. James Hartley
    January 31, 2017


    Lin Norton ( ex PhD student of mine and now retired professor at Liverpool Hope) is also learning sign language. I don’t know of you would like to get in touch but I could send her a copy of your post if that’s ok?


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