This year, I am celebrating a decade as a deaf person. I say ‘celebrating’ very specifically…
10 years ago, when I lost my hearing, I had a very different view and because of my own ignorance about deafness, and indeed communication access, I resigned myself to believing that I was unable to take a job that meant talking to customers, talking on the phone, being involved in meetings or generally interacting with hearing people – never mind any ambitious to continue in contract management or aspire to be a leader.
I now lead iDID Adventure and its trading subsidiary, Corby Climbing Centre, with a large team of staff and volunteers. I am also a public speaker who is passionate about promoting resilience and inclusion.
In the same time, I have gained a Higher Ed. Cert. in Theatre & Education, a degree in Psychology & Entrepreneurship and am completing my MSc in Child & Adolescent Mental Health.
The purpose of telling you this is not to inflate my ego but rather to broaden your perspective of what deaf people can achieve given the right access. I see messages time and time again that we need to ‘raise deaf people’s aspirations’ – I find this unhelpful. We are here, ready and waiting with an abundance of skills and knowledge. For most of us, we just need the access to communication to unlock it.
I was fortunate to have had someone mention Lipspeakers to me when at Reading University and an amazing mentor to guide me through working with communication support. It seemed, for me, the answer to all my questions.
Fast forward 10 years and my method of communication has evolved vastly. No longer am I able to use Lipspeakers alone but I’m not fluent in BSL either. Don’t get me wrong, I can hold my own in a BSL conversation but why should I be using a communication methods that I find as tiring as pure lipreading?
I’m so grateful to see that the Lipspeaking industry is evolving at the same pace.