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A lack of consideration for deaf people in the government’s response to Coronavirus featured in an article in Artefact Magazine in an interview with SignHealth Chief Executive James Watson-O’Neill and Youtuber Kirsty Jade. The article covers clear face masks, the #WhereIsTheInterpreter campaign and SignHealth’s work supporting deaf people experiencing domestic abuse and mental health challenges during lockdown.

James says that too often deaf people are left out of the conversation:

“I think if we’re being kind, and I think we should be, that people are trying hard to think of the safest way to continue to provide access, but they’re forgetting deaf people. And so often that is the end of the sentence: ‘but they’re forgetting deaf people’.”

Deafness isn’t a disability, he explains:

“I come at it from a social model of disability. I’m deaf and I identify as a disabled person and what that means to me is that I am disabled when society can’t work with me as a deaf person. On a railway platform when a change of platform is announced over audio, that is not accessible to me and that is disabling me. So, my identity as a deaf person isn’t a disability, I’m disabled when society does things that are not accessible to me.”