I was invited along to National Association for Deafened people (NADP)’s annual conference in London today… what a fantastic experience! It was accessible for all through live captioning and lipspeakers!
Lilian Greenwood MP
The conference kickstarted with an update from Lilian Greenwood and the issues that the All Party Parlimentary Group are pursuing, such as the push for TV subtitles on demand which is slowly becoming legislation, to the BSL GCSE campaign, as well as addressing the NHS hearing aid cuts in regional areas. It’s reassuring to hear that they will keep pushing for accessibility to be addressed.
Here are the best points they mentioned:
- Get yourself a Deaf ID badge pack from Hearing Link – there are awesome wristbands and cards that say ‘I have a hearing loss’, perfect to pack in your hand luggage!
- Take backup hearing technologies with you when travelling abroad just in case they break down
- Download travel apps: each airline/train company has their own app, for live updates, Uber and Lyft are great taxi apps for deaf people
- Google Translate: You can download this so it works offline, perfect for understanding people in foreign countries
- Buy Ear Gear fabric hearing aid covers to protect hearing aids from hot humid weather – I need some for Nepal!
- Cochlear Implant users and airport scanners: Important for CI users to know that they cannot go through airport scanners due to the magnet. Simply explain to the airport staff that you have a CI, and you’re happy to be hand scanned or manually pat down by a member of staff!
Accessibility within services
What struck me was how keen and proactive British Airways, Edinburgh Fringe, V&A museum and National Theatre were about making their services as accessible as possible. They had an inspiring ‘can-do’ attitude, willing to listen to their customers and improve, rather than some organisations who create barriers by refusing to cooperate with service users.
Edinburgh Fringe have worked with disabled groups to gather feedback on how to make the Fringe as accessible as possible, and are dedicated to increasing the number of captioned, BSL interpreted and accessible performances.
British Airways are striving to increase deaf awareness with their Beyond Accessibility Project. They ensure deafness is covered in staff training, with their ethos to ask if passengers need assistance, to listen and learn what you have to say. They also encourage deaf travellers to book special assistance in advance so they can cater to your needs on the day. Also, they hope to make more inflight entertainment films and TV programmes subtitled! I hope other airlines take note!
BA explained about the Sunflower Lanyard – Airports in London and Scotland have brought in this in to recognise hidden disabilities. You can order a lanyard, or ask for one on arrival at specific airports. Staff are trained to recognise the lanyard and ask if you need assistance, brilliant!
V&A in London was presented by Barry Ginley, their Equality and Access Advisor, who has a visual impairment himself. He gave an eye-opening talk about how the V&A are committed to making their museum more accessible from subtitling their videos, ensuring presentations and talks are subtitled or BSL interpreted, ensuring their website is easy to navigate, it’s definitely one to follow!
StageText heard from Melanie Sharpe, CEO about the captioning StageText offers in various environments.
They have a key message of ‘one size doesn’t fit all, the future is about choice’ – being whether you use a hearing loop, open or closed captions, it’s about having a choice of what’s best for you – I loved this message!
Melanie and I had a lovely chat during the lunch break and I look forward to working more closely with StageText to raise awareness of the brilliant, inclusive subtitling services they offer.
#SubtitledCinema Campaign Presentation
I spoke about my experiences with travel, leisure and the arts, mainly focusing on my #SubtitledCinema Campaign and where I’m up to.
It was incredible to hear a positive response from all the NADP members and attendees and they’ve certainly motivated me to keep fighting and not give up!
I asked for their feedback on the next steps for the campaign, it’s certainly given me food for thought.
A fantastic conference, thank you to the NADP for inviting me!
[Photo with Deaf travel bloggers Nick Tedd and Ed Rex – they’re awesome!]
The next few weeks are super busy, working, packing for Nepal… so you may not hear from me! I aim to write blogs about my Nepal trip, so keep an eye out!
Love E x