NDCS does Disability History Month – Part 1

Brian

Brian Gale, Director of Policy and Campaigns

It’s UK Disability History Month so I thought I’d take the opportunity to outline key events in the history of the National Deaf Children’s Society. Over the past 75 years, tremendous progress has been made in attitudes towards deafness. However, in writing this blog I couldn’t help but think there is still a remarkable similarity between the issues faced by deaf children of the 20th Century and today.

On the 15th December 1944 a group of parents of deaf children met in London because they were concerned over the impact of the Education Act 1944 on their children’s education. They formed the Society of St John of Beverley (who became the patron saint of the “deaf and dumb” in the eleventh century)  whose aim was to “to further provision of full modern education for all deaf children in England as originally accorded to hearing children”.   After a short while it changed its name to the Deaf Children’s Society (DCS).

From these small beginnings developed the National Deaf Children’s Society, serving the UK as well as supporting deaf children in Asia, Africa and South America.  Below I have highlighted some key events in our history between 1944 and 1964.

1944

David Jackson identified as deaf at the age of 6 months. David said his mother tried to cure it by placing brown paper soaked in vinegar on his ears and serving him a diet of fish and carrots. David said “people would try anything in those days”.

1945

DCS establishes a Teacher of the Deaf training bursary scheme and starts a campaign for the training of as many teachers as possible.

1946

DCS proposes that public health services should conduct hearing tests on children at an early age to ensure early identification and support. This campaign was finally won in 2006 when new born hearing screening was fully rolled out across the UK.

DCS publishes its first information leaflet for parents “If your child is deaf” and sets up courses for parents

1947

DCS lobbies the Department for Education to ensure teachers receive a salary while training to be Teachers of the Deaf.

child-and-teacher

1948

DCS links with groups in Glasgow and the Midlands  and then one in the NW of England. Over the next 10 years more and more parent groups are established throughout the UK and establish links with the DCS.

DCS produces a circular on research suggesting a link between German measles in pregnant women and deafness in babies.

1949

The Minster for Education agrees to fund the training of Teachers of the Deaf. The Society’s first campaign win!

At this time around 450 deaf children in London were out of school and in need of a school place.

1950

DCS takes up the case of a young deaf girl who spent years in a mental health institution before she was found to be deaf and not “disturbed”. DCS challenged the way the Ministry of Health identified children with a “mental deficiency”. 

1951

DCS suggests the shortage of school places for deaf children could be alleviated by attaching a class for deaf children to a grammar school. The Friends School in Saffron Walden agreed to be a pilot making the concept of hearing impairment units (specialist classrooms for deaf children attached to mainstream schools) a reality.

Two children learning to use hearing aid equipment

1953

The DCS commences evening courses for parents lasting 6 weeks on topics including supporting deaf children to read and develop speech and language.

The first quarterly newsletter for parents was produced. It continues over 50 years later in the form of NDCS’s Families Magazine.

DCS make access to technical training a priority as a step to work. A pilot is established with Regent Street Polytechnic for 4 deaf students.

DCS presses the Ministry of Labour to give disability resettlement officers and youth employment officers full information on the employment of deaf young people.

1954

DCS offers holiday weeks for families in caravans which were very popular.

DCS is concerned about the absence of books for deaf children. It offered £50 to authors to write books and guaranteed the publisher £500 to ensure publication.

1955

Ann William’s daughter was diagnosed as being deaf. Ann said she was told by the consultant that her daughter would never amount to anything and would need to be sent away to a special school which Ann refused to do. She was not given any information on any communication method apart from speech so the family had no choice.

First debate on the Education of Deaf Children in the House of Commons opened by Michael Stewart, Labour MP for Fulham. 

1956

The quarterly newsletter transformed into a magazine for members called “Talk”. 12,000 copies are distributed to families.

The society offers £25 grants to parents to help them pay for their children’s hearing aids.

Deaf Children's Society Talk magazine

1958

Parent groups from all over the country meet and form the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS). They challenge the rigid approach to teaching methods for deaf children and reject the prevailing notion that a child who doesn’t speak is a failure: “A deaf child with no means of communication at all reflects a lack of flexibility of our education provision. Any method of teaching deaf children must ensure that each deaf child is given a means of communication” 

1959

NDCS establishes the Commonwealth Society to look into the welfare of deaf children outside the UK. Its first task was to raise funds.

1960

NDCS establishes the Deaf Children’s League of Service, proving volunteering opportunities for deaf children, encouraging them to be self-reliant and help others such as old people.

1963

NDCS responds to equipment requests and loans 38 Auditory Training Units to teachers to help children use their residual hearing. NDCS hoped the loans would convince local authorities to provide the equipment.

NDCS also provides 8 buses for use by local parent groups for deaf children’s excursions. By 1967 there were 17 buses on long term loan. It included one for the Manchester University Survey Team which was conducting research into the social adjustment of deaf teenagers.

250,000 copies of ‘What do you know about deafness’ were circulated as part of a deaf awareness campaign featured in newspapers, radio and TV.

NDCS bus

1964

NDCS’s campaign against the use of the term “deaf and dumb” meets with a measure of success when the Ministry of Health stops using the term “dumb”.

The Queen and Queen mother attend NDCS’s 20th birthday party (a reception at the Mansion House) joined by members of all 29 regional parent groups across the UK.

What happens next?

For what happened next read my blog on 1964 to 1984 to be published next week.

5 articles the Campaigns Team has been reading this week

NDCS - Liz Partridge, Campaigns Manager, Freedom of Information

Liz Partridge, Campaigns Manager

Every week we’ll be compiling a short list of articles that we’ve noticed in the news and want to share with you. Some of them will be about campaigning and others will be about changes to policy, or relevant policy areas, which may be of interest.

1)    Teachers in England work longer hours than the rest of the world – but not in the classroomRichard Garner, Independent

A major international study by the OECD has revealed that teachers in England work on average 46 hours a week, but only 20 of those are spent in the classroom.

2)    Think-tank highlights ‘staggering’ failings in support for vulnerable children, Derren Hayes, CYP Now

The Centre for Social Justice has claimed that local authorities are carrying out “unscrupulous and illegal” practices to restrict the support they provide to vulnerable children in need of social care and mental health services.

3)    Scottish independence: Plans announced for Scotland’s ‘biggest ever debate’, BBC Scotland

BBC Scotland is to host the biggest televised debate the country has ever seen in the week before the independence referendum. Up to 12,000 first time voters from across Scotland are expected to be in attendance.

4)   Good grammar: r ur children txt mad?, Tom Payne, Telegraph

Fear not! Researchers have discovered that the shorthand that children use on their mobile phones, along with those mistakes that may or may not be deliberate, isn’t harming the way they write.

5)    Cameron apologises over Andy Coulson appointment, BBC News

Following Tuesday’s verdict, Prime Minister David Cameron has apologised for employing Andy Coulson as his director of communications.

Have you seen any articles this week that you liked? Post the link to them in the comments section below and we’ll check them out!

BBC Subtitle Fail

Jonathan Barnes - NDCS, articles we’ve been reading this week

Jonathan Barnes, Campaigns Assistant

Buzzfeed and Metro have printed about the latest in a long line of subtitle errors, after the BBC mistakenly used the word ‘rape’ instead of rain during its weather forecast earlier this week. This wasn’t some sick joke, but a technological error.

The articles cover a number of similar past mistakes. Whilst sometimes these typos can be amusing, there is a serious issue too: deaf people rely on subtitling technology to receive information.

Weather

With live programmes, such as the weather forecast, we know it is difficult and errors occur. Nobody really thought that the weatherman was talking about rape at Glastonbury, after all. But more can and should be done when it comes to programmes that are filmed well in advance. Ian Noon, Head of Policy and Research at NDCS, has blogged more about this on Limping Chicken.

This is a frequent problem and one that creates yet another barrier for deaf people. Ofcom has started to look into this, but broadcasters must take responsibility for ensuring their work accessible to all.

5 articles the Campaigns Team has been reading this week

Alex Chitty, Campaigns Assistant at NDCS - Stolen Futures

Alex Chitty, Campaigns Assistant

Every week we’ll be compiling a short list of articles that we’ve noticed in the news and want to share with you. Some of them will be about campaigning and others will be about changes to policy, or relevant policy areas, which may be of interest.

1)    A day in the life of … a deaf children’s family officer, Emma Williams-Daly, Guardian
Emma Williams-Daly, Family Officer at NDCS offers impartial information, advocacy and support to families of deaf children and young people.

2)    Truss: Pupils in poor mental health ‘not troublemakers’, Judith Burns, BBC News
Too many young people with unmet mental health needs are unfairly labelled as troublemakers, says the Education Minister, Elizabeth Truss. The Department for Education has launched guidance to help schools in England spot mental health issues.

3)    The Perfect Storm, Brian Lamb, Campaign Central
Drawing on Oxfam’s recent ‘The Perfect Storm’ campaign, Brian discusses the importance of distinguishing between what is political and what is party political in campaigning. He maintains that the third sector must not allow their contribution to debates concerning the impact of government policies on the groups charities represent to be framed as being an unacceptable activity.

4)    Deprivation Britain: Poverty is getting worse – even among working families, Chris Green, Independent
A recent study shows that the number of impoverished households has more than doubled in the 30 years since Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister.

5)    10 things we’d like to say to teachers, Anonymous, Guardian
Following on from an article we featured last week, parents add their two cents.

Have you spotted any good articles around this week? Leave a comment below to share them with us!

5 articles the Campaigns Team has been reading this week

Jonathan Barnes - NDCS, articles we’ve been reading this week

Jonathan Barnes, Campaigns Assistant

Every week we’ll be compiling a short list of articles that we’ve noticed in the news and want to share with you. Some of them will be about campaigning and others will be about changes to policy, or relevant policy areas, which may be of interest.

1)   The Beckhams learn sign language, Orange News

Victoria Beckham and her husband David are learning sign language with their children so they can communicate with a deaf friend. The stars and their three boys, Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz, have all been receiving tuition – but Victoria admits their youngest son has been using the regular sessions to learn a number of cheeky expressions.

2)  Shock over plan to cut free NHS hearing aids: Thousands could be denied device under cost-cutting plans, Victoria Fletcher, Daily Mail

Thousands of people who struggle to hear properly could be denied NHS hearing aids under ‘shocking’ cost-cutting plans being considered by health bosses. Under the new proposals, those classed as ‘hard-of-hearing’ would have to wait until they had ‘severe’ hearing loss to qualify for the devices.

3)   ‘Disconnect’ in parents’ careers advice and jobs market, Pippa Stevens, BBC News

There is a “disturbing disconnect” between parents’ traditional careers advice to their children and the needs of the jobs market, research says. One in 10 of 2,000 parents said they would “actively discourage” their kids from digital jobs such as coding.

4)   How my son benefited from accessing his education with skilled sign language support, Limping Chicken

Anonymous post from a parent talking about the importance of the correct support for deaf children in the classroom. It does, however, mention the NDCS Stolen Futures campaign, so definitely worth a read!

5)   10 things teachers want to say to parents, but can’t, The Guardian

An anonymous teacher writes about what he/she would say to parents if he/she could. Fairly self-explanatory.

Have you seen any articles this week that you liked? Post the link to them in the comments section below and we’ll check them out!

5 articles the Campaigns Team has been reading this week

NDCS - Liz Partridge, Campaigns Manager, Freedom of Information

Liz Partridge, Campaigns Manager

Every week we’ll be compiling a short list of articles that we’ve noticed in the news and want to share with you. Some of them will be about campaigning and others will be about changes to policy, or relevant policy areas, which may be of interest.

1)    Maya Angelou’s majesty, according to you: ‘how can you love someone if you don’t love yourself?’, Lilah Raptopoulos, The Guardian

NDCS Vice President Maya Angelou has passed away this week. The Guardian has collected some of the tributes to her from around the world.

2)    NSPCC launches survey with Limping Chicken to find out if deaf adults know where to ask for help if they’re concerned about a child, The Limping Chicken

NSPCC became concerned about the lack of deaf adults contacting the charity about children and so have launched this survey to find out how aware deaf adults are about the different avenues they can explore to get advice.

3)    The world through a deaf person’s ears: Video reveals what it’s like to listen to sound using a cochlear implant, Sarah Griffiths, Daily Mail

Scientists have released a video showing what some deaf people can hear through the use of cochlear implants.

4)    See Hear: When deaf videos go viral, William Mager, BBC Online
The tools to film, edit and upload video are cheaper and more accessible than ever before. A smartphone and a laptop with basic editing software are all you need to create something which can be seen and shared round the world by millions.

5)    Campaign group challenges BBC Scotland claims of lack of indyref material for deaf, Newsnet Scotland

A report by BBC Scotland that highlighted an apparent lack of referendum related material for deaf people has been challenged by one of Scotland’s leading sign language groups.

Have you seen any articles this week that you liked? Post the link to them in the comments section below and we’ll check them out!

5 articles the Campaigns Team has been reading this week

Alex Chitty, Campaigns Assistant at NDCS - Stolen Futures

Alex Chitty, Campaigns Assistant

Every week we’ll be compiling a short list of articles that we’ve noticed in the news and want to share with you. Some of them will be about campaigning and others will be about changes to policy, or relevant policy areas, which may be of interest.

1)    Disabled students could be ‘shut out’ by government cuts, Harriet Swain, Guardian
Planned cuts to the Disabled Students Allowance could have a disastrous effect on individuals, say campaigners, and prevent some from going to university. From September 2015 it will only pay for support for students with specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, if their needs are “complex”, although the definition of this, and who decides it, remains unclear.

2)    Senior doctors condemn proposal to charge patients to see GP, Rebecca Smith, Telegraph
Doctors are to debate the introduction of charging patients up to £25 to see GPs as senior medics say they are opposed to the idea.

3)    The Social Media Frequency Guide: How Often to Post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and More, Kevan Lee, Buffer,
Kevan discusses the fine line between being informative versus annoying when using social media. We all want to provide value, but we don’t want to go overboard. What’s the optimal number of Tweets and Facebook posts we should be sending out daily/weekly to achieve this fine balance?

4)    Scottish independence: Deaf voters critical of referendum campaigners, Marc Ellison, BBC Scotland
John Denerley, of Deaf Connections, claims Scottish independence referendum campaigners have failed to inform and engage deaf voters in the run-up to the imminent vote.

5)    Nine Reasons Why Being Deaf Isn’t That Bad, Honest, Clodagh Corbett, Huffington Post
“Every cloud has a silver lining”, or nine to be precise! Deaf writer and blogger Clodagh Corbett shares her thoughts on being deaf.

Have you spotted any good articles around this week? Leave a comment below to share them with us!