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

Seven distracting days

29 09 2010

PhotobucketA new TV program is showing on Channel 4, called Seven Days. It piqued my interest as it follows real people living and working in Notting Hill London, and it’s captioned. The website Seven Days Chatnav is unusual as it allows you to have an interactive dialogue with the characters. Dialogues have always intrigued me. Did you know that hearing people hear 80% of a dialogue but deaf people lipread 25% and worry like crazy about the other 75% they are missing?

Not being able to hear, I’ve always wondered what people say when I can’t hear them. All these mysterious conversations wafting around me. I’ve been told that actually people talk about very boring things. When I’m lipreading, I’m so curious as to the content, and can sometimes do this (it’s tricky not to look like I’m staring). But now that I’m able to hear, it’s so distracting when I am hearing the full blast of someone’s voice, seemingly very loud to me, although I can’t understand what I’m hearing.

But there are funny moments. One night I was going home on the tube and Michele was with me. She’s had her cochlear implant for over a year and can hear without lipreading. She started giggling and relaying the overheard conversation …. a group of girls next to us was advising one girl what to do about the man she liked….. we couldn’t believe they were discussing this subject frankly and loudly enough for the whole train carriage to listen to. Everyone else looked bored, but we were riveted, stunned and embarrassed for them!

This distraction was proved by a study at Cornell University New York, showing that it requires more effort for the brain to understand half a conversation. The brain has to fill in the blanks and work much harder at this, requiring more attention, making it harder to ignore and very distracting. This is why people hate overhearing other people’s phone conversations.

Source: Association of Psychological Science

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.

Freedom pass = Free to Pass?

6 09 2008

Freedom Passes can be confusing to use. Freedom Pass holders are not told when and where they can use it. We have to try and find out for ourselves. What’s worse, it seems that even Transport for London staff don’t know the regulations. We’re all told we can’t use the Freedom Pass on the trains before 9.30am. But check out the official Freedom Pass leaflet LBS07/08 produced by London Councils, who fund the Freedom Passes. Note the first box, ‘Travelling Times’. It says that for the London Overground, ‘holders of the Disabled person’s freedom pass can travel free at all times’.

The London Overground (view map here) runs on a number of lines but it doesn’t cover a very comprehensive area. My guess is it’s easier for staff to control Freedom Pass travel if it’s contained within certain train lines. Therefore national train networks aren’t covered, even though they do operate within the London boroughs. It’s bloody annoying.

I came across this post in an internet forum. Mike notes that the Freedom Pass application form says “See information leaflet LBS07/08 revised Feb 2008 for further details, which will be given to you with your pass”. He never got the leaflet and he can’t find anybody in the Post Office or tube station, who admits to having heard of it.

And no, I’d never seen one either, until Fiona showed me hers.

Fiona tried to stand up for her rights and travelled on an overground train with her Freedom Pass before 9am. The LU staff said they didn’t know anything about the train concessions. She even had a copy of LBS07/08 with her and showed this to them. They refused to believe the regulations stated in the leaflet and fined her. Fiona sent in a complaint and asked for a refund of her ticket. It was denied.

It seems to me, London councils think disabled Londoners don’t or can’t work, therefore don’t need a Freedom Pass before 9.30am. Disabled doesn’t equal old and incapable. In fact, I only know of one disabled person who doesn’t work, and she is incapable. The trains are often the safest means of transport for those with disabilities, as the tube is too crowded and stations are often inaccessible, and bus drivers drive like maniacs and tell Guide Dog owners to either go upstairs or to get off. It’s like a Monopoly game, isn’t it? Three steps forward and two steps back.

My dog came up with an alternative suggestion … hehehe.

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