From day one I have been on a journey following Sam on Big Brother as a deaf housemate.
There are many similarities between Sam and I. We were both diagnosed deaf at the age of three (so assume we were born deaf), we were both brought up orally and communicate by lipreading and speech. We both struggle with groups, and get on better in one to ones or small groups of just 2 or 3 people.
There are also many differences – Sam has so much courage and confidence than I would ever have. I could never have entered the Big Brother house, putting myself deliberately into group situations that I would know I would struggle with – but that’s exactly what Sam did and for that, I admire him. From what I could observe, there was minimal help from Big Brother, mostly in the form of a laminate with the written instructions for each task for him to read whilst it was being read out loud by one of the housemates or Big Brother.
Other assistance could be found mostly in the guise of Callum and Dan. I noticed this on day one, especially with Callum, and they formed a bond. I remember halfway through the series Callum reading out a letter to Sam from his parents in which they told Sam that he was setting a good example to deaf people.
I would say that Callum was also setting a good example in how you can help deaf people without being condescending or patronising. Callum was always considerate, but discrete in making sure Sam was aware and following things within the groups which made him a great support as well as friend. Callum wasn’t always liked by the public because of the way he was portrayed, but I know that all deaf people would benefit from having at least one friend like Callum.
I was concerned at first that Sam would struggle with the huge number of housemates at the beginning as I knew that I would in his position. He did what I would do, kept in the background and made friends with individuals. From past experience I knew it would take a few weeks for him to make an impact as the number of housemates in the house dwindled down. I hoped he would survive in the meantime.
In the latter weeks, he started to be more visible and we saw his cheeky humorous side, and Big Brother even gave him a comedy stand up task in which he managed to make us all laugh despite being deliberately unfunny! Well, Sam did survive, and not only that, he won! I am highly delighted for Sam and he totally deserves this. He has done a lot to spread some awareness among fans of all ages which can only be a good thing.
Ironically this series has been the most inaccessible for a few years. Like the BBC and Sky, Channel Five have chosen to present the news on a daily basis in video format with no subtitles, thus preventing deaf big brother fans access! A shame when they introduced a deaf housemate into the mix! They also did not have the ability to vote by text and thus help making phone calls was required.
But what a fantastic result – Sam has made history and I for one am very proud of him.
We followed Sam all the way
The Limping Chicken’s Big Brother correspondent is Michelle Hedley. Michelle is a Geordie originally from Tyneside, now living just inside the border of Northumberland. She loves discovering music and also has a love of the theatre, especially musicals. She’s a fan of science-fiction, watches anything on TV that is subtitled, and is now reliving her childhood renting DVDs! She is also a geocacher, and is on Twitter as @Shelle02
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