‘D/deaf people in the UK experience health inequalities, poor educational outcomes and impoverished civil rights’ – Disability News Service
Who am I? Am I different? Wait, let me rephrase that, I am deaf and yes, I am different.
The system is failing D/deaf children
Does this mean I shouldn’t receive equal treatment as my hearing peers, no it doesn’t but yet to society, I am seen to be one of the 59% of deaf children who fail to get five good GCSE’s, compared to 36% of their non-deaf peers, why should D/deaf people just be seen as nothing more than a statistic that undermines their abilities.
Is it merely a coincidence that nearly 80% of deaf children attend mainstream schools with no specialist provision, how can D/deaf children across the UK be expected to perform like their hearing peers, if they are not given the access nor opportunity? By not having access to specialist provision, it causes D/deaf pupils to fail behind at school and fail to achieve their potential, maybe this is why “59% of D/deaf children fail to get 5 good GCSE’s”, but yeah, that’s totally not obvious.
‘We exist to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities’ – Public Health England
I have my doubts about this statement, want to know why? Our government fails to provide for D/deaf people, their laws/policies are having a negative effect on D/deaf people’s lives within education, employment, health services, participation in politics alongside ability to involve themselves in sport, recreation and cultural activities.
The Equality Act 2010 is a LAW, a LAW implemented by OUR government that “prohibits” unfair treatment of employees on the basis of disability, the aim of this LAW is to achieve equal opportunities in the workplace, meaning that D/deaf employees cannot be discriminated against in work for their disability, BUT a survey carried out by Action on Hearing Loss showed results that 35% of business employers didn’t feel confident about employing someone who was D/deaf.
Where does the funding go?
Without sounding like I’m bashing the government (which I am), how is funding allocated within institutions for D/deaf people? If D/deaf people within institutions are still being left with unequal treatment and lack of provision that this “funding” is paying for?
Another crazy fact I came across is that more than a third of councils in England are cutting educational support which totals up to £4m for deaf children in the UK, this is just proof that Deaf people aren’t failing, the system is failing them.
That’s why charities like NDCS (National Deaf Children’s Society), BDA (British Deaf Association) and RAD (Royal Association for Deaf People) exist in the UK, they all work to provide access for deaf people in mainstream society, this is what the government and systems are failing to do, we can see this through 45,000 deaf children in crisis through demands for specialist support not being met.
How did I get here?
My journey to who I am now as a deaf person hasn’t been a smooth ride, it has been full of being isolation, discriminated against, stigmatised, stereotyped and lack of specialist support. Before, I was someone who hid her hearing aids, didn’t have the confidence to ask people to repeat what they say, never talked about my deafness. Now, I wear bright pink hearing aids (I want you to see I am deaf), I deliver presentations to different audiences to show I am deaf and proud
Now, I want to advocate for change in society, for a D/deaf person to be able to walk into school, work and not feel anxious about their day because they might not be able to lip-read this person, or because their colleagues aren’t deaf aware or that there isn’t going to be any subtitles on the science film. I’m raising the standards for D/deaf people. To anyone who thinks their deafness defies them from being a somebody, I tell you to hear my story and see that you can do it.
‘Deaf people can do anything that hearing people can do except hear’ – Dr King Jordan
P.s just in case you were wondering why I used ‘D/deaf’ when I referred to D/deaf people, click here. Emily explains it a lot better than my waffling can. There is also some awesome links below where you can check out on more perspectives of other D/deaf people!!