Monday, 1 May 2017

Getting Rid of Sign and Lip-reading clases ?


More online 'how will lip-reading help me ?  I am going deaf.'


Lip-reading is still portrayed as an access communication mode well beyond the reality of its effectiveness.  So many factors have to fall into place before it can work. Tuition doesn't really take place on the street, leaving learners to it when they leave a class.  'Face me, talk normally, light on your face, I can read lips..' NOT going to happen is it?

I think unfairly, lip-reading is promoted as being able to make you look like a hearing person again, it plays to our insecurities, it defies fact too, 68% of students never get past the first 6 weeks and leave, and they are the ones WITH useful hearing still, it never made sense to me, that those with useful hearing felt that if the worse happened and they went deaf they would then, not notice any issue, they don't realise how much useful hearing contributes to the effectiveness of lip-reading, it's a whole new ball game when you go deaf, no spoken clues.

Image result for face me I read lipsThe only real answer is a new communication inclusive tuition set up, that uses everything that might work, and, pupils are clinically, academically, and psychologically assessed first, as to which program of tuition would best suit them, an assessment based on the ability of the person, not, the preference of that person,.

Look at it in terms of a hearing aid assessment or even an eyesight test, any hearing aid, and any old pair of glasses won't do. Communication choices which are based on fear or illusions as to what would work, are not really addressed as to what happens when you really go deaf.

Acquired/deafened people are always ill-equipped to deal with those issues because they struggle with classes not designed for them, or to help them. Some people as stated with APD etc will not make the best use of lip-reading, and there are people who cannot effectively learn sign language because of VPD, which is an issue of not always making sense of what you can see.   You attend either a LR class or a BSL one, no-one checks the possibility of either... 

NOT all people can learn sign, it is a medical fact.  few master lip-reading that is another hard fact.  You can see why an assessment is a right way to go about things, and not just turn up at an LEA class hoping to 'pick it up', there can be many reasons why you cannot.  Not least because by the time you pluck up the nerve to go, you are still in trauma mode and any difficulties arising at the start, can deter you from staying the course, or going back.

At day one when you are aware of hearing loss, is the time to plan ahead, I suggest that we never do that, we wait until the issue has made real problems for us first, of course, by then the mind set is shaken, and our confidence at an all-time low, many opt for lip-reading in the belief it will make them as per hearing again, as averse to using a signed languge which makes you highly visible.

Being looked or stared at is the last thing you want when your confidence is rock bottom. It won't bother a born sign user its their norm, it can undermine you severely.  Even the signing user prefers own 'kind', to function really effectively, and, you aren't them, not even if you sign too

Sadly a combination of a hearing aid (Which you are desperate to hide anyway so hearing won't see them!), and lip-reading (Which is really a lot of guesswork let's face it), as back up, can leave you vulnerable to accusations and misunderstandings when you tell people these are dual means you have to follow them, when both can fail you, with disastrous result because it is assumed you have heard everything then.  The bluff fails you, hearing think you are messing them about or worse....

It would perhaps if those struggling to follow speech were more honest.  We find that when you are, you tend to get the support you really need.  Hence the logo change in the picture, yes I lip-read, NO! it doesn't mean I will still follow it all, you need a plan B.  Or at least a  dual plan A !