How Deaf Awareness Week is breaking down barriers
It is Deaf Awareness Week in the UK, May 15 to 21, and in the theme of celebrating collaborative work, I want to share with you some of my favourite 2017 awareness initiatives. There were many to choose from, but the ones mentioned below touched my heart.
The purpose of this week is to share knowledge around the fact that 1 in 6 people in the UK is deaf or hard of hearing. It’s important to know how you can communicate with us and include us in everyday life. This week is dedicated to highlighting how you can communicate with deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Spreading awareness aims to improve peoples’ understanding of deafness, hopefully leading to better support and accessibility.
Even though there is no ‘typical’ deaf or hard of hearing person, you should be aware of the possibility that a deaf person might join your seminar, workshop or eat lunch at your restaurant. Are you aware of our needs? Have you made it easy for us to communicate with you and join the conversation? If not, I hope this year’s awareness week inspires you to make changes.
What is deaf awareness?
Being aware of deaf and hard of hearing peoples’ communication needs and making an effort to understand them is what deaf awareness is all about. Reducing discrimination and improving access to work, education and entertainment will decrease the barriers between deaf and hearing people.
Usually, hearing people only notice when someone’s deaf when we start to use sign language. However, most hard of hearing people prefer to use alternative forms of communication, like lip reading.
It’s not reasonable to expect everyone, hearing and non-hearing, to learn an entirely new language, but everyone should at least attempt communicating on a basic level. This is why there is a special week dedicated to improving peoples’ awareness of the deaf community and what you can do to ensure we receive the same opportunities you do.
7 of my favourite deaf awareness initiatives for 2017
Many organisations, companies and groups endeavour to do their part for this week, from training dogs to be hard of hearing companions to helping children understand their deaf classmates. It’s a great week for knowledge sharing and collaboration. Here are my 7 favourite awareness initiatives for 2017.
We can all do our part to spread deaf awareness, not only in the UK but worldwide. Creating awareness will contribute to the inclusion and integration of deaf and hard of hearing people.
There are 365 days of opportunity. Together we can spread awareness and improve communication. 121 Captions offers deaf awareness training courses and consultancy for organisations, helping you break down barriers to communication and increase your understanding of the different levels of hearing loss.
How are you encouraging change and spreading awareness?