On Tuesday 6th March, Simon Hesselberg and myself were invited to give a short presentation to the CAPITA PIP assessors in Birmingham.
Well over 52 people attended and the room was literally standing room only. We were asked to cover a number of things, as it was felt these would go a long way to ensure a better understanding of the diversity of the deaf community and their needs and support
- Methods of communication (as we have often pointed out, BSL is not the only method)
- Language diversity
- Daily challenges and frustrations
- How Capita Assessors deal with interpreters (preparations, briefings, etc.)
- Example of good and effective communication with someone who has hearing and some bad examples that the HCP use at the assessments.
To reinforce the assessors/staff to be fully aware that Deaf people cannot use voice (and should not be asked to do so) if they are using via interpreters or sign video etc.
The Question and Answer session that followed was thoughtful and questioning and we are sure that the message was conveyed. Importantly, the feedback has been very positive, and other sessions and role play will be an integral part of the ongoing awareness sessions
We do not expect an overnight change and it’s important to note this was the first of many sessions and we are sure the benefits will filter down to the actually assessment, and that a deaf awareness will be a crucial and integral part of good and fair assessments.
It will take some time for these points to get through to everyone, we are both pleased the seeds have been planted, and we aim to ensure the PIP assessments are fair and correct.
Dr Terry Riley OBE