Qatar Tourism – The importance of accessibility

15 05 2017

Qatar tourism

Improving Qatar tourism with the Accessible Qatar Conference 2017

Have you ever dreamt of travelling the world but were too afraid of the communication difficulties you’ll inevitably experience? As a deaf person, the sheer effort of day-to-day interactions can be enough to discourage a visit to the grocery store, let alone an exotic travel destination like Qatar.

The small Arab nation jutting out from Saudi Arabia into the Persian Gulf is the world’s richest country, with the highest GDP per capita ($140,649) as of 2016. By taking advantage of their natural gas and oil resources, they have made wise investments into the Qatar tourism industry. People from all around the world are eager to explore Qatar’s exciting desert life, have fun at the Aqua Park and relax on one of their many beaches.

Travelling when deaf or hard of hearing can be challenging, especially because our needs have been largely ignored in the disability movement. Staying abroad in a hotel is a huge safety concern, due to the lack of properly adapted alerting systems. Also, we can’t use the telephone services to call the reception desk when we need something. This is very inconvenient, and that’s before even leaving the “comfort” of your hotel.



3 Unusual Deaf Job Opportunities You Should Consider

17 02 2017

deaf job opportunities

3 Unconventional and lucrative deaf job opportunities

Can you turn your job into a deaf job? Being deaf or hard of hearing forces us to think and look outside the box when contemplating career options.

Many potential employers are reluctant to hire deaf workers because they assume our communication needs will impose a financial strain.

Because we do not perform jobs like a hearing employee would, few deaf people ever advance in their career.

Are you frustrated with your seemingly dead-end job? Then why not try something different.

Let’s remove ourselves from the traditional ‘jobs for deaf people’ and start considering the unique opportunities available to us in a deaf job.


Pardon? We asked for access in English not BSL – where are our captions?

5 07 2013


The National Disabilities Conference on 4 July in London was organised by Government Knowledge. This is an important event at this moment in time as benefits are being cut, wages are frozen, jobs are cut, and people with disabilities are increasingly marginalised.

In the UK, less than 70,000 deaf people use sign language however there are approximately 10 million deaf and hard of hearing people who do NOT use sign language – they might lipread and/or use their residual hearing, and therefore rely on captions and lipspeakers. We would expect, therefore, that a national conference of this nature about access, inclusion and disability would be accessible to its OWN customers. We would also expect such an event to be accessible without having to fight for such access – which is our right, not a privilege, under the 2010 Equality Act.

NADP (National Association of Deafened People) asked Lidia Best to attend on their behalf. They requested communication support (speech to text) as Lidia is deaf, she does not use sign language. Speech to text support provision at the event was confirmed by the organisers. Delegates were asked to pay almost £300 each to attend and NADP paid a reduced fee.

After NADP’s request for speech to text support, 121 Captions were contacted by Government Knowledge for information on providing captioning for this conference. They did not book any speech to text services.

Lidia turned up to the National Disabilities conference to find only British Sign Language interpreters were available, and there was no speech to text. There was an induction loop but it did not work. A loop can work for some deaf people, but not all deaf people have enough residual hearing to be able to use one. A lipspeaker can work for those deaf people who can lipread, but not all deaf people can read lips. Therefore speech to text is a necessary service.

Mrs Lidia Best, NADP trustee

Mrs Lidia Best, NADP trustee

What is shocking is that such access had been requested by NADP and confirmed by the organisers Government Knowledge. This conference is expensive to attend, but for a disabled person to attend and to find it inaccessible, when it had been confirmed that it would be, is unacceptable. The conference organisers should be making this kind of event affordable and accessible for disabled people on benefits who would be best placed to explain the relevant issues. Government Knowledge say they have provided access for all delegates and have followed all requests – which we know not to be true. Government Knowledge checked their system and they had no special requests for communication support. They asked Lidia if she had organised the speech to text reporters herself. They even blamed Lidia for not telling them.

We have asked the deaf community if any British Sign Language users attended this conference. There has been a deafening silence.

This is a common occurrence for deaf and hard of hearing people who do not sign, to request speech to text at events and find it is not provided, or to turn up and find there are only sign language interpreters. We have had enough. This has got to STOP.

Deafness can happen to anyone. It could happen tomorrow to your friend, your parent, or even YOU.

There are 1 in 6 people in the UK with a hearing loss who don’t sign. Could you be next?

– With thanks to Mrs Lidia Best, NADP Trustee

Support ALL deaf people on Facebook: Pardon? I’m deaf. When will you listen? We need access for All!

Further comments about this event are on Facebook : Disability Rights UK

…. and to add a little more irony, check THIS out – another shining example of our government’s inclusive attitude towards the disadvantaged, where Government Knowledge hosted a conference about financial inclusion… a shame the tickets are £320!

You can join the Deaf People Against Welfare Cuts campaign on Facebook – look out for connected talks and events happening across London.

A bar for deaf people opens in London!

29 05 2013

A bar for deaf people has opened in London!

The bar staff are deaf and can sign, there is a deaf security guard, a hard of hearing DJ, there are bright lights at the bar with pens & paper, the fire alarm has a flashing light, the signs are in BSL & English.

Salsa, zumba, and DJ workshops are planned where deaf people can be taught to read beats and play instruments.

What’s the bet they’ll even have subtitles on their TV and allow entry to Hearing Dogs?

The Deaf Lounge, Seven Sisters, London UK. Let’s start an international trend here. Who’s coming for a drink? :)

News source: New bar for the deaf where you order drinks in sign language


23 11 2011

Jenny talks about her very special dog, Oscar…..

Oscar is not trained as a hearing dog, as I am hearing. Oscar and I trained with Dog AID (Dog Assistance In Disability.) Most Dog AID dogs are trained to help people who use wheelchairs and/or have walking difficulties. Many also have medical alert roles and act on instinct to put their owner in the recovery position in an emergency, bring the mobile phone and a blanket, and go and get help. Oscar did that without having had that training, it was just natural – when I was stuck in the bath! If the client has a hearing impairment then the dog is also trained to help as a hearing dog too. All breeds are accepted for training, it’s all down to the dogs temperament and bonding. It’s best to carefully choose a puppy and bring it on, than take on a rescue dog, as you can’t be sure of its past.

Oscar is an apricot miniature poodle, he was my best friend’s dog so I have known Oscar a long time, since 2006, my friend (his mummy) died after an operation so it was a bit sudden and unexpected. Oscar had been a child carer – or should I say a puppy carer – for his mummy, so he was a natural. Oscar came to live with me after she died. Oscar reminds me of her so much with his expressions, his zest and enthusiasm filling every moment.

I knew Oscar had the ability to qualify as an Assistance Dog and I needed his skills, so I contacted Dog AID. We were assessed; there was lots of paperwork, vet checks, a medical, OT reports etc and we were then put in touch with a local volunteer Dog AID trainer, who trained me to train Oscar. Oscar and I practised tasks between lessons with the trainer. It took just one year to pass all three exams but a lot of that time was waiting for the next assessment exam and a date for the final full certificate exam. So we both qualified as a team. The hardest part during training was that Oscar wasn’t allowed inside places so we had to eat outside in the weather, but we found 3 doggy-friendly pub restaurants that had wheelchair access. I was still waiting for an accessible kitchen at home so eating out was the solution, albeit expensive, it meant I saw a bit of life too.

Oscar has transformed my life. I don’t ever have to be alone. He smiles as I wake, he brings my clothes and pulls off my PJs, helps in the bathroom, brings anything I need and picks up dropped items, he uses the washing machine, on command he opens a cupboard and gives me a tea towel or anything else I ask for, and closes the door after, he brings the phone when it rings, or when I ask for it, the remotes, my keys, purse, and hands me his bowl when he has finished. When out and about he helps with my wheelchair footplates, he shops in the supermarkets from the lower shelves handing me what I ask for, he hands me dropped items, credit cards, receipts and he even found me a £10 note once and handed it to me. That was the brilliant – we had a good breakfast that day! I then bought Oscar a new toy with it, as how could I use Oscar’s money like that!

Oscar is good at guiding when my eyes are bad, and has a GPS mode – he can find places and gets me to the door safely and at speed even when I don’t want to go there sometimes! When my keys fell under my car, Oscar went under the car and fetched them and handed them to me. Another life saving moment! He undresses me at night, tugging off my socks, shoes, jumper and trousers. He tugs lights on and off, and opens and closes doors. He woke me up once, I noticed I had a blocked nose and there was Oscar with the decongestant spray, just what I needed! So he could do the Medical alert role if I needed it.

Oscar is everything to me, always there for me. He has given me my life back, and I can go out again now. In that way, similar to most people with an assistance dog, people see Oscar and smile, so I do see so many smiles reflected back to me, I love that. People stop and talk to me now. Oscar loves his work so much, particularly new places, new experiences, but its hard to find new wheelchair-accessible ones.

Dog AID currently has 29 qualified dogs working and 70 clients with dogs in training. There is a long waiting list and Dog AID’s volunteer trainers are working to capacity at the moment. Some areas of the UK have no trainers, so to grow they are in need of volunteer trainers to join Dog AID. Dog AID is always looking for more trainers. Everyone at Dog AID is a volunteer but they are fundraising to cover a post in the busy office. Dog AID will have a stand at Crufts again next year as it was such a success this year, growing the number of volunteer dog trainers and raising funds for more training workshops.

We have a lot of foreigners locally, working in the restaurants and smaller shops. It can be hard work to gain access and there seems to be a mysterious ramp stealer about, if I believe what is said….

“No, you can’t come in as someone stole our ramp!”

Every week another crowd of language students and tourists, with no skills in equal access, block the pavements – it’s hard for Oscar too. They dive in for a stroke, using flash to take photos. Poor Oscar is trying to concentrate and we are blocked and surrounded, he is blinded by flash and I am distressed … I have to be assertive or avoid those pavements as I can’t get off them to get around people. So you, like me, are educating the world, there are new challenges everyday.


Deaf Development Day at Sussex Yacht Club

21 11 2011

The workshop is open to everybody who would be interested to take part in the sailing programme on 26 November 2011. This means that for example, if you want to train yourself as a new assistant dinghy intsructor at the club, the workshop would be for you to learn how you could get involved.

Likewise, if you want to take part simply in the taster session at Cowes Week 2012, you can find out more from the workshop. At the same time, you can meet the coaching team to discuss something such as your needs with them. It is rather like Open Day at City Lit.

This survey is for those interested in helping in a voluntary capacity to develop sailing opportunities for the deaf community? Do not worry if you do not have sufficient sailing skills as opportunities will be available to improve personal skills and achieve RYA qualifications.

Deaf Sailing Development Day

Facebook: Deaf Sailing UK

Telephone relay services in UK & OFCOM

20 10 2011

DAART’s response to OFCOM’s consultation document on Relay Services is on DAART’s website.

The deadline for this is 5pm today.

Do look at Hearing Link’s website where they have submitted a response to OFCOM.

Also look at TAG’s website where TAG has sent in a consolidated view from the member organisations.