This Deaf Awareness Week Chris Evans MP is raising awareness of the communication needs of deaf and hard of hearing people.
According to Action on Hearing Loss, there are around 575,500 deaf and hard of hearing people, including over 2000 children, in Wales. The aim of this year’s Deaf Awareness Week is to promote greater understanding of the challenges people in the deaf community have accessing communication and fully participating in society.
Barriers to communication can include lack of access to sign language interpreters, limited captioning and subtitling in videos and online content, and a general lack of awareness of the communication needs of deaf individuals.
This week, Chris Evans MP is sharing the National Deaf Children’s Society’s Top 10 Tips for communicating with deaf people:
- Find out how the deaf person communicates, find out if they use speech, British Sign Language (BSL) or a mixture of both.
- Get the person’s attention by waving, knock on a table, or tapping their shoulder lightly.
- Face the person when you’re talking.
- Speak clearly and naturally.
- Watch your mouth, make sure you do not cover your mouth.
- Use visual cues where possible, don’t be shy about using gestures to support your communication.
- Make it clear what the topic of conversation is.
- Stand with your face to the light.
- Speak one at a time.
- Reduce background noise.
In September 2022 during the Labour Party Conference, the Islwyn MP met with the National Deaf Children’s Society and heard about the importance of including British Sign Language (BSL) on school curriculums, in particular creating a separate GCSE. Following his meeting with the NDCS, Mr Evans wrote to the Welsh Minister for Education, Jeremy Miles MS, urging the Welsh Government to ensure the infrastructure of teachers with the appropriate BSL skillset is in place prior to this date so Wales can implement a BSL GCSE at the same time it is rolled out in England.
Chris Evans MP said:
‘It can be extremely isolating for people in the deaf community when the people around them do not know how to communicate with them.
This Deaf Awareness Week is vital to raise awareness of the communication needs of deaf and hard of hearing people. I want to encourage everyone to learn the best ways to communicate with deaf people and share these tips with family, friends and people at work.’