Celebrating love, trust and inclusivity with the D/deaf community

07/05/2024 by Newman Staff

This year Birmingham Newman University is joining the call to celebrate love, trust and inclusivity with the D/deaf community as part of Deaf Awareness Week. Our motto, ex umbris in veritatem, reminds us of the challenges that face people who are deaf or have hearing loss, but also the strength that can be found in speaking, or signing, our truth. This week is all about fostering understanding and compassion for all, whether they use BSL or not.

We hope to be part of the movement that allows a greater understanding of and within the D/deaf community in all its diversity. Whether you are an ally, friend, BSL user or not, Birmingham Newman wants to ensure that you know we are with you for this week and beyond. For those of us yet to connect with the D/deaf community, or unsure what to do, here are some top tips to help you:

Be visible

Make sure your face is visible when talking and that you have the persons attention, lip reading is an important part of total communication. If a person is using an interpreter, talk to the person, not the interpreter.

Speak clearly, not louder

Speak clearly. Do not shout and repeat yourself, if necessary. Ensure one person speaks at a time.

Rephrase, if needed

If a person doesn’t understand you, don’t give up and don’t say, it doesn’t matter! Rephrase it in a different way, write it down or draw a picture. Anything to provide as many points of communication as possible.

Support inclusive communication

Check in advance, if anyone needs communication support such as a BSL interpreter, so you can arrange this if needed. Look to reduce background noise and distractions.

If you are presenting, do not speak with your back to the room, for example when writing on the board. Provide handouts and course materials to all, in advance. All will be able to read these ahead of time, allowing a person to focus on understanding the presentation as well as providing context for your speech.

Further information

If you are student in need of support or a staff member who wants to learn more about creating an inclusive environment, please reach out to the Disability & Inclusion Team. studentsupport@newman.ac.uk    

Deaf Awareness Week is a chance for all staff and students to come together and celebrate the 12 million adults in the UK who are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus.

If this week has you wanting to learn more, we have some limited availability to offer an online Introduction to BSL course for staff. There are only a few places left and they are offered on a first come first serve basis.

Equally, below are also some useful resources.

Deaf Awareness Week 2024 – UK Council On Deafness (ukcod.org)

How to communicate with someone who is deaf or has hearing loss – RNID

Being Deaf Aware

British Deaf Association

Signature provides several useful free downloadable resources, including Top tips for  Deaf Awareness