Laura Hignett is deaf and pregnant. She is sharing her diary entries with us as she prepares for the birth of her first child. This week, Laura discusses the focus of charities working for deaf people
8 Weeks to go
Earlier this week I was reading an article on The Limping Chicken about the urgent appeal that Action on Hearing Loss have put out. Apparently, they need to make up a £2.5 million short fall in funds by the end of the month!
It got me thinking about the charity. I have personal reservations about their campaigns into researching a cure for deafness. Yes, I would love for my hearing loss to be cured; it would make my life so much easier. I would be able to hear on the telephone, it would be easier to book an appointment, call my parents whenever I needed them, be able to hear announcements at train stations and go to the cinema and actually be able to understand a film!
However, I get increasingly frustrated at the aims of the charity. In my opinion, they don’t always seem to listen (pun intended!) to what deaf people actually want. I have noticed they focus, in my opinion, too much on older people and not enough on younger or working age people.
What is needed is more local resources and easier ways to contact organisations. It seems that deaf people are forgotten in terms of equal opportunities; like in cinemas for example, because they only showcase subtitled viewings every so often at completely random times.
Even things like getting a job is harder. Sometimes deaf people are asked to do telephone interviews and when its mentioned that you are deaf then you just don’t get seen – I have experienced this a lot! I think that these are the areas that the charity is not focusing enough on.
Since finding out I am expecting a baby, I have come across so many more barriers. Deaf parents-to-be do not really have easy access to antenatal information. I can’t even book antenatal classes myself. I have to get my fiancé to do it. Also, I can’t even call up to find out about things that I am entitled to like Child Benefit. Again, I have to rely on my fiancé.
Next week I have my first antenatal class which I am apprehensive about. My fiancé told the class organisers that I am deaf and to make sure that they look at me when talking so I can lip read. Hopefully, it will all go smoothly and that they have taken into account my needs. There’s nothing scarier than being thrown into the deep end not knowing what the hell is going on!
Laura is profoundly deaf, has worked as a press officer for the government and is freelance journalist. She is sharing with us her experiences of becoming a deaf parent for the first time and is campaigning for better accessibility for deaf people.
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