The other day, I realised that I’ve now written over 300 posts for this blog. Clearly, my ability to waffle knows no limit. So in a fit of nostalgia, I decided to have a look back and rummage through the back end of wordpress to see which of my posts have had the most views.
10) What an ill chicken tells us about access to university. This is a relatively new one and clocked up 1,000 hits. The ill chicken is now infamous. For those that have been on Mars, a deaf student in a documentary on deaf teens found herself without communication support because her notetaker’s chicken was “ill”. The blog looked at why the incident touched a nerve. Incidentally, the ill chicken has now also inspired a brilliant brand new blog called The Limping Chicken.
9) BBC online video content: where are the subtitles? The BBC were the first to have 100% subtitles on all its main programmes. Their online news videos are still largely inaccessible though. And nothing infuriates me more than when one of the online videos features a deaf person. This problem still keeps happening and is as unacceptable now as it was then.
8) Government to discourage teaching of sign language in primary schools? The previous Government effectively told NDCS that sign language had a lower status than other languages and put in place a policy that would discourage primary schools from teaching it if they wanted to. Happily, the policy never came into effect. Encouragingly, work is now in train to allow students to study a GCSE in sign language and government officials have indicated that students would be allowed to study this as a language on par with other languages.
7) Shameless: new deaf character on the telly. Ahh, Shameless! Louis Kissaun, a deaf young actor, popped up on Shameless for a few episodes a few years back. I went round telling everyone that his character was a great deaf role model before discovering that his character ends up bludgeoning his Dad to death. Nice. Louis went on to lend his support to NDCS at party conferences and was fantastic at lobbying as he was at acting.
6) David Cameron challenged on special educational needs and inclusion. A parent of a disabled child briefly lit up the general election campaign in 2010 by having a go at David. It made for entertaining viewing but also highlighted the Conservative party’s policies on inclusion in education and whether there is, as the Conservative party says, a bias towards inclusion.
5) Am I deaf or what? A brief and personal blog thinking aloud about how deaf people refer to themselves. Judging by the number of views, it resonated with a lot of people.
4) Bling but dodgy new Naida hearing aids. I love my Naida hearing aids. Unfortunately, I had a few teething problems. And I wasn’t alone. Happily, now all largely sorted for me and hopefully for everyone else.
3) Government turns back on deaf children. As soon as I published this blog – around 2 months ago – my hits went through the roof. I was pretty angry (and still am) about the current Government’s Welfare Reform Bill which will reduce benefits in the future for deaf and other disabled children. The Bill is now law. A related blog encouraged people to hold their MP to account if they voted to cut the benefit. I was really gratified to get emails from parents who had done just that.
2) No equality for disabled people in exams. This was a pretty technical issue. But in a nutshell, the previous Government passed legislation that would make it harder for deaf young people to have reasonable adjustments provided for them in exams and effectively loaded the system against them.
1) Deaf young people reach for the stars. One of the major perks of my job at NDCS is the opportunity to meet deaf young people and see what they have to say. A long long time ago, NDCS brought together a group of deaf young people to learn about media and campaigning. It was called “Reach for the Stars”. The young people were an inspiring bunch of guys keen to change the world. And a certain BBC Newsround presenter, with hearing loss himself, Ricky Boleto came along to offer some tips. Ricky is now running the London Marathon for NDCS and the young people are, I hope, changing the world, in their own little ways.
So what have we learnt from the past few years of blogging, apart from the fact that I can’t spot a typo staring me in the face? Well, a lot of you are angry about the various injustices faced by deaf children and keen to do something about it. You’re also keen to see positive deaf role models and examples of deaf people getting on with life and showing what they can achieve.
When I started doing the blog, there were hardly any other blogs around looking at issues facing deaf children. So it’s great to see lots of new blogs in this area since then; such as from Ni Gallant and Kids Audiologist.
As for me, I’ve now moved to a different role in NDCS, working on policy and research so my ability to waffle endlessly is more constrained than it used to be and, sadly, there won’t be as many blogs from me as they used to be. But my blogging days are far from over and I also contribute from time to the great new The Limping Chicken super blog. I also do a fair bit of tweeting where I can get away with it.
Nostalgia-fest over! I hope you’ve enjoyed all the blogs. Thanks for reading and for all your comments over the years.