Bloody morons

8 12 2009

I’ve booked a place on an arts course at the City Lit. I chose this adult education college as it’s famous for being accessible to deaf people. I enquired about communication support for my course;

Dear Visual Arts Department,

I am interested in joining this particular course next spring. I am profoundly deaf and lipread. and I have a query regarding communication support. Which would be more appropriate for this course’s teaching style, a palantypist, lip speaker or notetaker? I have a palantypist already available to me and will be able to bring her.

I look forward to hearing from you. My palantypist tried to phone you but she just keeps getting voice mail.

Regards, Prospective Student

They replied;

Hello Prospective Student,

Thank you for your email. This course will include classroom lectures, discussions, group work and possible outdoor practical work. From my understanding of the available support you have described, a lip speaker may be the most suitable. I would suggest that you contact our Access to Learning team to discuss any support City Lit may be able to offer. Their contact details are on our website.

Kind regards, Visual Arts Dept.

Fair dinkums. I emailed the Access to Learning Team;

Dear Access to Learning Team,

Please see emails below. I have a palantypist already booked so the easiest thing would be to bring her along, and then I wouldn’t incur cancellation fees. She will need a power socket and table or desk to put her laptop on.

I would not be happy using a lip speaker full time (as suggested by Visual Arts Dept) as this is too tiring for me – you would also need to book 2 lip speakers as they would alternate every 15 minutes to give each other a break (however I get no break!).

For outdoor work (and possibly group work) I can use a lip speaker for short periods of time – which also means only needing to book one lip speaker plus it’s cheaper. I usually use Mrs X (a level 3 lip speaker) however she needs to be booked ASAP as she gets booked up very quickly and lip speakers are extremely hard to get hold of. A palantypist can cope with group work depending on how it is set up – she needs to be able to hear others so a breakout room is better than a corner of a room with other groups in it, and if we are sitting in a group rather than moving around, then that is easier for her too.

Regards, Prospective Student

No reply. I emailed them again. Six days after my first email, they replied;

Hi Prospective Student,

Thanks for your e-mail. We use our own in house support service to provide support for learners and wouldn’t normally be happy with students bringing in their own support. All students need to have an assessment of their support needs which takes into account the most appropriate support for that course.

Please contact our Deaf and Disabled support service (DDS) to arrange an assessment.

Kind regards, Learning Support Team

*bangs head on desk*

Bloody morons!

What happened to a deaf person’s choice of communication support? Especially when I’m not asking them to pay anyway! I wonder what level or qualification the in-house support workers hold? There isn’t a level higher then Level 3 for lip speakers, and my palantypist is registered and qualified. There are only 25 palantypists in the UK so I know I am extremely lucky to have one at all, and they want me to cancel her and try to get another one?!!

I wrote back, copying in DDS;

Dear Learning Support,

As I already know exactly what I need and I already have support booked, I don’t see how canceling it (and incurring extra costs) and booking other (possibly inappropriate) support would enhance my learning experience.

Please note I cannot sign and therefore do not require a sign language interpreter. I require a lip speaker and palantypist which is already in place. I am more than happy to come down to the City Lit and speak to you morons someone about this. Arranging an assessment would take too long and cost me extra in cancellation fees if I am asked to cancel and re-book the same support that I already have in the first place.

Regards, Angry Student

*bangs head on desk again*





Would you like to be a communicator?

16 05 2008

Open Day for people who want to work as communicators

The City Lit in London are having an Open Day for people who want to find out more about working as a communicator. They are offering a limited number of interview slots on the day but more will be made available on other dates in the summer.

If you have BSL Level 2 or higher, if you want to work with D/deaf people, and want to improve your signing skills and gain experience, come along.

Saturday 7th June 2008, 10:30am – 4:30pm
City Lit, Keeley Street, London WC2B 4BA

They offer
• Free Post-Level 2 and NVQ 3 courses – subject to minimum number of hours worked
• Professional training and support
• Flexible work and study
• Competitive rates of pay

The City Lit’s FHE Support Service provides sign language communicators, interpreters and notetakers for D/deaf and disabled Further and Higher Education students in and around London.
This is usually part-time work in a “pool” of support workers. The amount of work varies depending on student demand. Most of the support they provide is on weekdays, though there is occasional evening and weekend work.

If you’re interested, contact them to express an interest or book an interview time:
Voice – 020 7492 2722
Email – fhe@citylit. ac.uk
Fax – 020 7492 2743
Minicom – 020 7492 2746