Walks and talks for lipreaders

27 02 2009

Have you ever tried using a lipspeaker? They can be booked for tours and make these accessible to deafened and heard of hearing people. You can find out more about lipspeakers on their association’s website.

Monthly walks for lipreaders (with 2 lipspeakers/SSE booked to provide communication support) have been arranged in London – if you would like to join a walk, leave a message here and I will get back to you with contact details. Your email address won’t be in public view but I’ll be able to view it.

Here are our next walks –

Walk 4: Walk with Diane Burstein, London Blue Badge Guide. “Brothels, Bishops and the Bard – Historic Southwark and Bankside” Sunday, 26th April 2009 11.30-1.30pm
*Meet outside Monument Underground Station, Fish Street Exit*

Listen to the notorious Bankside stories, view Southwark Cathedral with its Shakespearean connections, see reconstructions of Francis Drake’s Golden Hinde and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Literature, religion and prostitution all feature. Ticket price £6.00 per person, payable in advance.

Walk 5: “Anyone for Tennis?” – Sunday 23rd August 2009, 2.00pm – 4.30pm

We have investigated the possibility of an exclusive guided walk around the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Ground for our late summer walk.
We can indeed have such a tour as long as we have a party of at least 15 people, prepaid. The tour would also include time at the end to browse around the Museum. The Guides are all Blue Badge Guides.
We can reserve tables in the cafe beforehand, for people wanting to buy a sandwich or light lunch and a drink, before we start the walk. That would mean meeting in time to be at the cafe for 1.00pm.
You will see that the cost of the tickets for this guided walk are much higher than for the walks we have done so far. Each ticket is £14.00. We will use our usual limit of 2 tickets per lipreader so that we can all see and hear everything the guide has to offer us. We need to book this group visit ASAP as they get filled up very quickly and bookings for August have just opened. I am sure there will be large numbers of visitors there all over the summer but that should not deter us from making the visit.

Do let me know if you are interested, we will send you a booking form and we will send out the tickets as soon as we receive them from Wimbledon. On the booking form, remember to circle the YES or NO for the reserved seat in the cafe. If some do want a seat and others do not it does not matter. We will arrange a meeting place, and time, for the start of the tour.

You might want to check out the Wimbledon website.

Jeanette talks about her experience on one of these walks…..

My name is Jeanette Wright and I was born hearing and became deafened 22 years ago very quickly and very traumatically. After seven years of isolation I decided to learn sign language to teach my children because they were so very hard to lip-read. I then became a qualified trainer and now work as a freelance trainer and teach Deaf/Deafblind Awareness and Communication Tactics with Deaf/Deafblind.

It was a lovely spring morning and I was going to visit Windsor Castle with a group of deaf people – the sun was shining and I was really looking forward to my day out. I got dressed and left home full of the joys of springs.

My friend had kindly offered to give me a lift from Shenfield station in Essex near to where I live so I waited outside the station for her to collect me. Imagine my horror when she arrived in a SKODA!!! Bright red in colour as well so it certainly caught the eye of many people passing by. I sheepishly ducked as I got in the car and just hoped no one recognised me.

Then to my dismay I discovered that the tour was outside – not inside – I had no outdoor wear, just a thin jacket and high heel shoes!!! I began to wonder then if my day was not going to be as exciting as I had anticipated. Although the sun was shining it was very windy and extremely cold outside.

My friend fortunately had a spare coat in the boot of the car so I was lucky enough to borrow it but my poor feet at the end of the day were suffering. The streets of Windsor and the castle grounds are all cobbles and stiletto heels are not practical as I found out.

On arrival at the castle there were a number of people queuing to purchase tickets but I had my ticket so I went to the front of the entrance gates and walked in. The staff were lovely and very friendly – greeting us and making everyone feel special – not just the group of deaf people.

The security staff were another story though – they were very abrupt and although I appreciate their work is serious business I don’t think a smile would go amiss – but maybe that is not included in their job description!!!

This was a special tour arranged for Deaf/deaf people so we were provided with an interpreter BUT also a lip-speaker which is something more organisations should think of providing. Organisers sometimes think to book interpreters for Deaf but never lip-speakers for deafened/hard of hearing people – they think ‘loops’ are adequate – which is certainly not always the case.

The tour guide Monica was lovely – very patient and allowed ample time for us to take in what was being said. Monica kept the tour very interesting and I was fascinated by the amount of history I learnt from her. History was not my favourite subject at school but I could have ‘listened’ to Monica for hours.

I was given a brief written out-line before the tour giving me a rough idea of what would be said so when Monica delivered her talk I could remember what I had read earlier so it made it so much more enjoyable for me and also less tiring. Maybe this is something which could be provided in future for all Deaf/deaf people attending the tours.

The interpreter Tracey Tyer was obviously full BSL (British Sign Language) which I can understand most of the time but for today I was watching the lip-speaker Linda Croton (Luscious lips). I asked if Linda would add signs when lip-speaking and she was happy to do this so I had total communication.

I would definitely recommend people to attend these tours, you will find out about the 20 castles built all around London to protect the City, you will find out about the difference between the Union Flag and Union Jack etc. I am not going to tell you about these as you should go on the tours yourself – they are well worth attending but please remember to wear flat shoes and take a coat!!!

When the tour had finished we had ample time to explore on our own and I think my favourite part of the Castle though was the Queen’s Dolls house – it is so lovely and I could stand and look at it all day and still find things to see. Also the view from the North Wall is absolutely amazing – makes you appreciate how beautiful England is.

Fortunately the rain held off until the end of the tour – then the heavens opened up and we got soaked running back to the car park – I was only too happy then to get in the SKODA out of the rain and also to take off the high heel shoes.

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