To mark Deaf Awareness Week (28 June - 4 July 2010), James Brokenshire MP is supporting leading charities and calling on his constituents to help remove communication barriers faced by people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
James Brokenshire MP attended a deaf awareness reception in the House of Commons organised by the UK Council on Deafness (UKCoD) and supported by RNID and the National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS). The event highlighted important ‘dos and don'ts' to help improve communication with adults and children who are deaf or hard of hearing including:
• Do learn some basic signs and fingerspelling
• Do repeat yourself or rephrase until you're understood
• Do face me when you speak
• Do think about communication support
• Don't have lots of background noise
• Don't shout
• Don't avoid conversation.
James Brokenshire MP says: "Many shops, services and residents in Old Bexley and Sidcup may not realise the barriers faced by people who are deaf or hard of hearing and how small changes, such as holding face-to-face conversations in well lit places, can significantly improve communication. I encourage others to join me in learning about the communication needs of people who are deaf or hard of hearing."
Chair of UKCoD, Susan Daniels, said: "Adults and children who are deaf or hard of hearing face communication barriers due to a lack of awareness in the community which can lead to issues such as isolation and exclusion from society. We're urging everyone in Old Bexley and Sidcup to follow James Brokenshire MP's example and improve their everyday communication with people who are deaf or hard of hearing."
UKCoD, RNID and NDCS are encouraging everyone to get involved in the discussion on ‘do's and don't's' of communication by uploading a photo of their top communication tips and sharing their thoughts at www.flickr.com/groups/daw2010
One in seven people in the UK are deaf or hard of hearing, and of those, over 45,000 are deaf children.