Sunday, 5 February 2012

Genies, Chizziewigs and how not to book an interpreter...

Teachers for the Deaf are like Genies... At the beginning of the year you rub the lamp, kettle, whatever and they magically appear to give you three wishes. (Mine this year were: a new radio aid - declined; deaf awareness training for my teachers - still waiting; and one note taker for all my lessons rather than three depending on the day and time - partially granted, I now have two.)

So I guess it could in fact be argued that Teachers for the Deaf aren't even particulary good Genies...

There is a point to this seemingly random analogy, I promise!

Yesterday at Worcester Deaf Childrens Society (WDCS) monthly meeting we had a visit from the Children's Hearing Services Worcester Group (CHSWG), lovingly referred to as Chizziwigs by young and old alike. Their mission was to ask us for the goods and bads of Worcestershire services.

After some discussion amongst us teenagers what struck me was that none of us know exactly when our Genie will appear. It is entirely possible that one month we will see him or her three or maybe four times and then silence for the next two months, until the magically appear again out of their kettle. 

Speaking from experience I can tell you how annoying it feels, and embaressing too actually, to be sat in class (or even one time a french mock) when a semi-bald man arrives demanding to whisk you away from everything for the next half an hour. I mean really people, come on!
Surely it wouldn't kill them - and might in fact prove easier! - if they had some sort of time table... Then at least you'd be able to think of your wishes in advance!

But no, the Genies like to keep their air of mysticism. I heard a better explanation from one angry parent yesterday: "If we don't know when to expect them we can't lie in wait to ask awkward questions." (This parent didn't realise I was noseying in somewhat...) But in all likelyhood it's true, if I was my Teacher for the Deaf I'd be aiming to do a lot of avoiding right now. 

That said, I have a lot fo respect for my Teacher for the Deaf, he's a great guy, good at reassurance and reasonably useful advice; and as head Genie of the Hearing Impaired Service I'd say he does a pretty impressive job juggling all our wishes! But frequently it feels somewhat like he's "all talk, no action" (another stolen parent quote).

So despite everything our Genies do for us I can't help wish that as we got older, matured and took control of our lives that they'd at least start to talk things through with us, rather than talking at us or over us. We may be deaf but our 'voice'  is as good (and valid!) as anyones!

Oh, and my final comment on Worcestershire services? I'm off to audiology in a couple of weeks, thought I'd take them back their letter saying: "If you wish to book an interpreter for your appointment, please ring the department number at the top of this letter."

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