Can you relate? My experience in mainstream school in 12 sentences.

I attended mainstream primary, secondary, college and now University. So I have A LOT of experience being 1 of 2/3 Deaf people out of hundreds of hearing people.

Lessons:

  1. Being in ANY, almost EVERY lesson when the teacher is doing the register to check attendance and worrying and waiting for when they will say your name.. anyone else? or is that just me

2. Every time a teacher explains a new topic and they HAVE to use fancy diagrams and pictures on the board whilst directly talking to the board…

3. Getting asked a question but not hearing what the teacher has asked, then the teacher assumes you don’t know… instead of REPEATING it

Other students:

  1. Getting asked if they can use your radio aid… ‘can you hear me’ repeated 200 times. Like YES I CAN HEAR YOU but I have no clue what you are saying

2. ‘What are those THINGS in your ears’ – One day, I really want to answer ‘Oh you didn’t know, I work for the CIA 🙂 ‘

3. When other students panic that you are Deaf and think if they open their mouth wide and talk loud and slow.. it will help. Firstly, no. Secondly, you need a chewing gum

‘I know everything about Deaf people teacher’

  1. I know sign language!!! –

Me: excited

Them: A…..p……C…..o

Me: IM OUT

2. Making it obvious that you are the only Deaf person in the room

‘ 3.Your doing so so well even though your Deaf’ … ok so Deaf people can’t achieve. Got ya 🙂

‘I can’t be bothered to attempt to understand how to include you in my classes teacher’

  1. ‘Didn’t you hear what I just said??’ – nope.. that’s kind of why I’m staring at you with a confused face??????????

2. ‘Next time, listen in class’ – yeah okay, I’ll just programme my hearing aids to ‘hearing’ next time 🙂

3. ‘Stop talking to the person next to you’ – but I’m just asking the person next to me what you SAID BECAUSE I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOUR TALKING ABOUT

Here are some interesting clips from Deaf people for you to check out this week!!



Jephtah Asamoah: “Growing up in a strong Ghanaian household taught me to embrace my Blackness, have pride in my roots and respect difference”

19 year old, Black and Deaf, Jephtah Asamoah talks about having a ‘double identity’, successful moments and hopes for the future.

What does having ‘double identity’ mean for you?

‘Having a ‘double identity’ means ‘double struggle’ – it is like having 2 bricks on your shoulder’

‘At the same time, it is wonderful and unique to have a sense of, how do you put it, ah – ‘a bit of both’

‘It also means that I face discrimination, racism, oppression in both aspects, I will experience racism because I am black – I will experience discrimination and exclusion because I am Deaf. It’s hard’

Would you describe being ‘Black and Deaf’ as being in two worlds?

‘Yes, it’s like I love my Black community and the Deaf community too, but I’ve never experienced both worlds come together, which is hard because it’s like I’m stuck in between, trying to fit into both worlds’

‘However, I have black deaf friends who I value because we both share the same ‘double identity’ – like they fully understand the ‘double struggle’

‘I also have black hearing friends who I’ve grown up with through high school, church, football, Having friends from both worlds is a unique feeling, I can’t describe. It’s humbling to know I can be a part of both worlds’

Black/Asian peoples experience of disabilities are essentially different from other people with disabilities because of language difficulties and institutional racism’ – Leeds University (Disability Studies)

Do you agree with this statement?

‘Yes, because I am Ghanaian – we have our own language called ‘Twi’

‘With my family, I can understand their Twi because that’s my family, I’ve gotten used to their tone of voice, lip patterns and the way they talk but when I meet someone who speaks Twi for the first time, the language/communication barrier is REAL’

‘Twi is also my third language after English and BSL – so I’m always jumping from one language to another and I have to remind myself that the structures, grammar and vocals are so so different’

@ a Friend’s 21st

‘But there’s nothing I wouldn’t change, I love being bilingual – I get to embrace the language, culture and express myself in different forms’ 

Do you feel like you have had to work twice as hard to get where you are?

‘Yes, I have faced racism, discrimination, oppression, exclusion and more’

‘But, despite this, I have overcome this and achieved so much in my life, and I am only 19. I want young boys who are Black, Hearing and Deaf to see me as an example that you can make it in this life, despite society trying to push us down’

Despite what Jephtah has faced, he has achieved

Acceptance Speech @ Career Ready Awards.
Georgetown – Washington D.C
  • Play for Farsley Celtic Football Club

‘I’m not finished, there’s so much more I want to do’

What are your hopes for the future, in terms of career and change that you want to see?

‘I want to finish my degree in Economics and Politics’

‘I want to work in the Finance Industry OR Government Field’

‘I want to show that you can be Black, Deaf and Successful despite facing many barriers’

‘ In the future, I hope to see more Black/Asian interpreters, Black/Asian Deaf people going to University, Black/Asian Teachers of the Deaf and why not, introduce a ‘Black and Deaf month’ 

Thank you for reading, keep an eye out for Jephtah’s next feature which will be ‘Black and Deaf at one of the most racist and oppressing Universities in the UK’

Is Sign Language Universal?

Fact: There are an estimated of 138 – 300 different types of sign language being used to communicate in the world.

BSL is not English, it is not the same structure as English Language. For example, someone who uses speech would say “What’s your name? ” but a BSL user would sign “Name, Your, What?”

BSL isn’t just about tapping fingers and jumbling your hands together. It is a language with it’s own structure, vocabulary and grammar. It is how deaf people communicate with their friends and family.

However, it is not the same all over Britain. For example, even though a BSL user from London and a BSL user from Liverpool are using ‘BSL’ the same sign language, their signs may be different, they may have different signs for words and have an ‘accent’ within their sign language.

Danny shows a perfect example of how sign language can be #confusing. #PG RATED

Above is a skit that shows an conversation between a British (blue jumper) and Canadian (white shirt) sign language user.

Who uses sign language?

It’s not just Deaf people who use sign language. These people also use sign language too

  • Interpreters = interprets sign language from a deaf person to a hearing person to provide equal access to information/interactions.
  • Parents/Guardian’s of deaf children = parents/guardians of deaf children who have learnt sign language to communicate with their child
  • Professionals = professionals who have learnt sign language to be able to communicate with their employees and customers. They may also use this outside of their work.

How can I learn sign language?

Learning sign language isn’t ‘easy’. It’s just like learning any other language, it requires concentration, focus and commitment.

YouTube videos = made by organisations who have sign language qualifications or people who use sign language as their first language

Here are some links to YouTube videos

Learn Basic Greetings in British Sign Language – Exeter Deaf Academy

12 Fun, Friendly Phrases in British Sign Language

Sign language classes = you can contact organisations such as:

I hope this blog gives you more information and helps you to communicate better with Deaf people. Look out for my next blog which will be ’10 Top Tips on How to Communicate with Deaf people’