Campaign: Read My Lips
Action on Hearing Loss update on the Read My Lips campaign
In early 2011 we met with the Skills Minister John Hayes MP about the need for better access to lipreading with lipreading learner Lisa who told the Minister of her experiences. Mr Hayes pledged to look at how he could ensure that these people are able to access lipreading through the Adult Community Learning budget.
Ian Lavery MP introduced a Ten Minute Rule Bill on lipreading provision in support of our campaign quoting the Paying Lip Service report, 2010. Ian’s introduction of the Bill gave him ten minutes to highlight the importance of lipreading and the challenges faced in its provision in the House of Commons. This, when combined with campaigning work of local groups, the meeting that we had with the Skills Minister and our research reports on the state of lipreading provision have all combined to ensure that we are seeing strong engagement from the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS). We are currently talking to them about a cross-government approach to the provision of lipreading to recognise the importance of people accessing classes for different reasons e.g. to help them adapt to the use of hearing aids or to assist them to communicate in the workplace. We are also exploring the need to work with them on ensuring that local colleges are fully aware of the funding that is available to them to provide lipreading classes and how to access that funding. We also submitted a consultation response to the Department that highlights all of the issues with lipreading being categorised wrongly as a leisure activity.
In September we began a research project looking at the impact of attending a lipreading class for people with a hearing loss. We set up a class selecting participants of varying ages and level of hearing loss none of whom had learnt to lipread before. The participants attended an interview before the start of term and were asked to rate themselves on scale of 1-6 in different life areas. These include; relationships, personal development, mental and emotional wellbeing, social skills and participation, managing hearing loss and ability to lipread. They were asked to provide real life examples to justify their rating. They were also asked questions about their experiences having hearing loss identified, diagnosed and supported. The participants underwent a short test of their current lipreading ability which is used by the Cochlear Implant Program which provided a baseline percentage for their ability to lipread. Before Christmas the participants were interviewed for a second time in which the questions and test were repeated, additional questions about the course itself were also included. They reported varying experiences and impacts in different life areas as a result of attending the class, these are now being evaluated. Further interviews will take place in April and June to contribute to the report which will be published following this. This will provide more evidence examining the most useful way lipreading and managing hearing loss can be delivered. We have updated Skills Minister on the first set of results from our lipreading class at City Lit.
Moving forward we’re going to need passionate people who have real experience of the challenges of trying to access or teach lipreading so that MPs and Ministers are being contacted directly by real people. Contact us for a campaign pack and we’ll keep you updated and provide you with some suggested campaign actions at the most appropriate time.
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