November 2008

Just a quick note to follow on from our conference at the end of October. The day was a great success, with overwhelmingly positive feedback. There is always room for improvement too, but all are very happy with it. A lot of information came out from the day – the presentations are here. We also launched Good Practice Guidelines – For the Providers of Supports and Services for Students with Disabilities in Higher Education. If you’re interested in this, let me know.

Two pieces of news, both connected, one good, one very bad:

In today’s Irish Times a report on a case that was settled.

In short, “the terms of settlement provided that the Minister now recognises ISL as a language in the education of the two children. The Minister has also agreed to support the continuing professional development of teachers at the children’s schools in relation to ISL” I’m not sure how binding this is, but it is sure to have some impact on the recognition of ISL as a language to be used in education. The family involved are said to be very happy and here’s hoping it is a positive development not just for them but for the wider deaf community.

ISL is the first language of many Deaf people, but the shortage of ISL interpreters is a huge issue. the Sign Language Interpreting Service (which is the National Agency for sign lanugage interpretatoin services in Ireland) there were approximately 44 interpreters on their books in mid 2007. Demand far outweighs supply and this is a huge barrier to the inclusion and participation of deaf people in education and work.

Which is why this is such bad news. If CDS loses its funding, the numbers of interpreters will drop and the chances of those children in the aforementioned case getting what they need, or the chances of deaf people in work getting the interpretation services they need, will be greatly reduced.


The Centre for Deaf Studies has had its funding secured. This is a huge relief and very good news.

so those plans went out the window

  • internet access problems
  • I kept writing about the budget and it kept changing
  • I got sick with a nasty cold.

Normal service resuming.

That word will always be synonymous for me with Barack Obama from here on in.

This isn’t a blog about politics, but I can’t let this go without comment. Not after this day. I listened to his speech while away and nearly cried. I could quote the entire thing but you can read it all here, or here, or here.

“…tonight is your answer…because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference…It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled…”

Barack Obama, November 5th, 2008, Chicago.

That he spoke of so many different groups, that he acknowledged those groups. That he spoke of unifying and respecting difference. That someone who is seen as of a different group was elected. That so many people turned out and used their vote. That so many people campaigned, were involved in the campaign, that they wanted change and tried to bring it about. People stopped talking and started working. Admittedly I’m glad that what they wanted, what they worked for, was the Democrat campaign but still – the whole thing was so impressive. All these things moved me. It gives me hope. It inspires me. As someone who works trying to change things, to see this happening, is incredible.

I don’t think this election will fix everything, but simply just to see the process of it, just the actual election itself, the victory, in itself is something very special.

Change is possible. People spoke for what they wanted. Change. It’s happening.

“And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.”