5th – 11th May 2008 is Deaf Awareness Week so we are delighted that Jeff McWhinney, a leading figure in the deaf community and a recognised digital innovator, has agreed to be Connecting Bristol’s Guest Blogger.
Significan’t uses real-time video conferencing to virtually link deaf staff and customers with British Sign language interpreters.
As Jeff explained in 2006, “There are about 275 registered BSL interpreters in the UK and around 70,000 BSL users. You just have to look at the numbers to realise that if a local authority or health trust sees a deaf person who is in urgent need and needs to communicate with them, they can’t do it straight away. There is usually a six-week wait to get a BSL interpreter to help sort out an urgent issue. What usually happens is that a deaf person will take their hearing child out of school to interpret for them if they have a crisis with their GP, for example. You can have the situation where a deaf person is being told they have a terminal illness and their child is interpreting for them.”
During Deaf Awareness Week, organisations working with deaf people across the country are inviting everyone to ‘Look At Me’. The theme aims to improve understanding of the different types of deafness by highlighting the many different methods of communication used by deaf, deafened, deafblind and hard of hearing people, such as sign language and lipreading.
Jeff will be adding a BSL version of his posts to the blog. We look forward to Jeff’s thoughts on how video streaming and other digital channels can help make the world a more inclusive, efficient and fun place for everyone.