Petition ~ cochlear implants

11 02 2009

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to commission a research project to investigate the costs and benefits associated with the cochlear implant surgical procedure. More details here.

Submitted by Chris Nykiel of Disabled Members Group of Unison Leeds Branch
Deadline to sign up by: 10 November 2009

More details from petition creator

Cochlear implants are a surgically implanted electronic aid that provides a sense of sound to a person who has a significant hearing impairment.

We have a number of concerns about the use of cochlear implants which need investigating:

1. What are the success rates for the procedure?

2. What happens if the procedure fails and the deaf person is left with a defunct piece of machinery inside their head?

3. How many people with the implant complain of facial problems caused by strong magnetic fields and MRI scans?

4. At what age is the procedure routinely carried out on children? And what is known of the long-term safety of the procedure?

5. What are the risks to people with an implant who want to take part in contact sports like rugby, or scuba diving?

6. What are the psychological consequences of the procedure, such as negative self-image?

7. Do we know whether deaf children are bullied or teased after having the implant?

We expect accountable representatives from the disabled and deaf community to be recruited onto the Peer Panel to manage the research project.

The final report will be produced in a range of accessible formats, including a British Sign Language DVD.

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Government response to lipreading petition

22 11 2008

The UK government received a petition asking:

“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to recognise that lip-reading is an essential life-skill for the deaf and hard of hearing and therefore that adult education lip-reading courses should be funded in the same way as other life skills.”

Details of Petition:

“As you become deaf, you become isolated in a world of silence where you are ignored by the hearing majority and unable to communicate with them. Without alternative life skills including lip-reading, you eventually withdraw from society. A thirty week lip-reading course in Essex now costs £186. This has caused most courses to close, remaining courses to be under-subscribed and a large number of deaf people to be cast out into an uncaring world without the ability to communicate with others.”

The government’s response –

The Government recognises that lip reading is an important skill for some people with hearing impairment and recognises that many people wanting to take up lip reading courses face barriers, both physical and financial in accessing learning. Full fee remission is provided to learners on Learning and Skills Council (LSC) funded Further Education (FE) courses where they are in receipt of income based benefits. In addition to this some FE colleges and providers can use their discretion to waive fees. They may choose to do so where a learner is undertaking a lip-reading course and has declared themselves as having a learning difficulty and / or disabilities; for example where a learner is hearing impaired.

In 2004/05 (the latest date for which figures are available), 81% of FE funded lip reading learners paid no fee due either to national policy or by having their fees waived at the discretion of the college or other provider.

Some very basic, introductory level lip reading courses may be offered informally outside of the LSC FE funding structure as part of family learning courses or personal and community development learning. In these cases the cost of learning will be a local decision.

Skills for Life (the Government’s adult basic skills strategy) covers literacy, numeracy and language (ESOL) learning up to Level 2 (equivalent to GCSE A – C grades). Literacy and numeracy learning is free of charge to all adults (people aged 16+) with literacy/numeracy skills below Level 2.

The Government has considered whether lip reading should be classified as a “Basic Skill” and therefore part of the Skills for Life strategy, but concluded that lip reading should not be classified as basic skills due to a number of points:

· Substantial numbers of people who do not themselves have hearing impairments undertake lip reading and especially signing courses for a variety of reasons (for example, carers seeking employment), or for general interest;

· The Government has defined “Basic Skills” in terms of national standards of literacy and numeracy, and lip reading/signing courses are not linked to these standards;

. “Basic Skills” can reasonably be regarded as those that virtually the whole population should possess. While lip reading may be valuable, and even essential for some learners, it is not a skill that all people might be expected to possess; and

It has not been considered reasonable to reclassify lip reading courses without including other communication skills, which form a significant volume of provision.

My response

I’m most annoyed. They have misunderstood the petition and don’t seem to realise that lipreading is a NECESSITY for most deaf and hard of hearing people, ergo it is a basic life skill for this large group of people, almost 1 in 7 of the UK population. If hearing people want to learn lipreading as well, well that’s up to them (I have never come across any hearing students when teaching my lipreading classses), but does not take away from the fact that for most deaf people, lipreading is a basic life skill. By this government’s reasoning, I agree that lipreading does not fit into their Skills for Life strategy. I do however, think that their Skills for Life strategy needs a rethink.





Lipreading classes petition

30 09 2008

Yesterday at the LINK Convention, during a presentation about lipspeaking, we were told about a petition to be presented to 10 Downing Street urging the Government to provide more funding for lipreading classes. One of the basic needs of older people is to be able to communicate to find out about their needs, with a view to staying independently in their own homes. People with a hearing disability are now having to pay to learn lipreading which is their main means of communication and 60% of those over the age of 60 have a significant hearing loss.

See the online petition for details. Please help by signing this petition. The more signatures it has, the greater its chance of being noticed.





Petitions update : deaf alerters

29 04 2008

The petition for fire alert systems was handed in and this is the result.





Fire alert systems

21 03 2008

There is a petition to try and make sure businesses and public places fit the right fire alarm systems for deaf and hard of hearing people. The petition is to create legislation by statute to include deaf people in the general regulations concerning the fire and emergency alarm systems in all public, commercial and industrial buildings in Britain.

Nine million deaf and hearing impaired people are unable to hear the sounding of the emergency alarm systems whilst sleeping at night in a hotel. Similarly this group may be unable to recognise the fire alarm even in ordinary circumstances due to hearing difficulties.

Technology has allowed development of auxiliary radio-alerter systems that work in conjunction with primary alarms; activating a pager that alerts the user. Such equipment may use a specific wavelength so the single radio frequency can be reserved for the sole purpose of deaf people.

Legislation is an essential prerequisite to ensure the same wavelength is used throughout Britain; the same radio-pager will activate to a commercial alarm in any public corporate building, factory, office or hotel.

Without access to general sounds, this group is vulnerable and in continual danger within places of work. This danger amplifies itself in magnitude during sleep in a hotel. Altogether deaf people will be continually at risk unless legislation is made available under regulation to ensure all such buildings are equipped with a working auxiliary radio transmitter that will activate users to the emergency.

Petition deadline : 03 April 2008

You can sign the petition here.

You can also write to Mr Bruce Calderwood, Director to the Office for Disability Issues, to express your reasons for supporting the petition at The Adelphi, 1-11 John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6HT





Interpreters

1 03 2008

Unqualified interpreters are being employed at police stations and at Court, to provide a service that must be accurate and professionally undertaken.

Only interpreters from the ‘National Register of Public Service Interpreters’ should be used for judicial purposes (including the initial stages of an investigation). Members have proved themselves to be proficient, having passed stringent exams, and are monitored regularly.

Most agencies employ unqualified interpreters, many of whom cannot speak English; they are generally unqualified and do not meet the standard required, thus, foreign offenders ‘get off’, due to poor interpretation services from the outset.

The police, CPS, and courts MUST use accredited interpreters.

With so many foreign migrant workers in the UK, the NRPSI network of accredited interpreters MUST be used, in order that foreign offenders can be treated in the same way as indigenous Britons.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to ensure that accredited and professional interpreters are used in legal proceedings, from time of arrest throughout the judicial system, and that ‘language agencies’ who provide unqualified so-called interpreters should be strictly monitored and disqualified from providing interpreting services.

Deadline to sign the petition: 7th March 2008

Sign the petition here





Subtitling on digital TV channels

13 02 2008

Subtitling on all digital TV channels

People who are deaf and hard of hearing do not have a wide range of choice what to watch on digital TV as only a selected few programmes are subtitled. All we are asking for is to make digital TV companies subtitle 100% of programmes to give us the choice to watch what we want, hearing people take this for granted.

The deadline is 20 February 2008. Sign the petition here.