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GDA urges Equal Communication for All

PRESS RELEASE - Monday 20th May 2014

Deaf Awareness Week 19th-25th May 2014

This week local charity Gloucestershire Deaf Association (GDA) received a text for help from a woman whose dog had dislocated its toe. Nothing too serious about this, you might think, only the woman concerned is a Deaf sign language user and unable to use a voice phone. She had no way of making  call to her vet to make an emergency appointment. Instead she had to contact the charity office, which as a matter of course is always on text message alert to its Deaf clients, and a member of staff made the call to the vet on her behalf.
That incident was about a dog with a dislocated toe; another time it could well be a deaf person having a heart attack and unable to contact the emergency services; or someone wishing simply to contact their bank with a query. This week, 19th-25th May 2014, is national Deaf Awareness Week and local charity Gloucestershire Deaf Association (GDA is working with other deaf organisations around the country to campaign for 'Equality in Communication for All'.
GDA's Chief Executive Jenny Hopkins said, "It should concern us all that in the 21st century, when virtually every person in the country uses a mobile phone on a daily basis, that organisation - including most crucially GP surgeries, banks, and telephone companies - continue to resist the idea of receiving communication via text, rather than voice phone. In Gloucestershire alone, this is in effect discrimination against the 45,000 hearing impaired people we have in the county, and probably many thousands more if we also include people with speech impairment, including those who might be recovering from a stroke.
"This week is an opportunity for all of us to think more positively about deafness and in particular how new technology has given us the capability to help overcome the communication barriers deaf people face every day of their lives. GDA is calling upon every organisation in the county to embrace the simple idea of having a mobile at reception so they can  respond to texts as diligently as they would an incoming voice call. There are also excellent online text services which would allow organisations to contact hearing impaired customers. The difference this would make to the lives of deaf people in Gloucestershire would be amazing."
Gloucestershire Deaf Association (GDA) offers a wide range of equipment and impartial advice on best buys to assist deaf and hard of hearing people, including amplifying telephones, TV listeners and doorbell chimes with a visual alert. Contact the office for more information on 01452 372999 or text on 07875 610860 or email admin@glosdeaf.org.uk
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