Deaf Awareness Week – Info and Tips
This week is Deaf Awareness week and here’s Meic’s blog to learn more about the week, about those who are deaf or hearing impaired, and top tips on the best way to speak to, or in front of them.
I ddarllen yr erthygl hon yn Gymraeg, clicia yma
There are 11 million deaf or hearing impaired (DHI) people in the UK. 50,000 of them are children and young people, and 575,500 of them live in Wales. There are many different reasons as to why people are DHI such as being born deaf or having reduced hearing because of health issues.
Not a disability
The British Deaf Association (BDA) says that deafness is the third most common disability in the world. Many don’t think of their deafness as a disability or a problem that needs to be fixed. It’s a natural part of a cultural experience that they share with friends – deaf and hearing. They embrace their deafness and are proud of their history and there is a very strong sense of community and culture amongst deaf people.
A key part of this culture is the way in which they communicate in everyday life. In the UK, most DHI people use British Sign Language (BSL). This is a combination of hand gestures, facial expressions and body language. Did you know there are regional variations of BSL just like there are with the spoken language? BSL is unique and as with spoken dialects, is different to languages spoken by DHI people in other countries.
Deaf Awareness Tips
The UK Council on Deafness have some great tips when talking to, or around, a deaf or hearing impaired person:
- Face them when speaking
- Repeat yourself if necessary
- Never say “it doesn’t matter” if they don’t understand you – try again!
- Write it down or draw a picture
- Don’t talk over each other – take it in turns to talk
- Make sure they can always see your mouth
- Smile and relax
- Don’t speak too fast – or too slow
What is Deaf Awareness Week?
Deaf Awareness Week (DAW) is a chance to celebrate DHI people as part of the community, and raise awareness of the issues and barriers they face everyday. Events take place during the week and it’s a chance to promote the health and wellbeing of DHI people. It’s also a chance to introduce accessible services or new technology that aims to make society more inclusive for people who are DHI.
This year’s theme is Coming Through It Together. There are activities taking place across the UK, although things might be different than usual this year because of Covid. Check out what’s happening on the UK Council on Deafness Facebook or Twitter pages.
If you need support and want to talk to someone in confidence Meic is here for you every single day, between 8 am and midnight. If you’re deaf or hearing impaired you can text or chat to us online. We’re here to listen, can offer advice and help by putting you in touch with services and organisations. We can also advocate for you – this means we can talk to services for you, using your words, to get you the help you need.