When Deaf person comes to request a service, return goods, ask for clarification they will feel at a disadvantage. They consider it highly unlikely that the receptionist or member of staff will be able to sign directly to them. As a result they will usually prepare what they want to say. Sometimes they will speak (and that speech may sometimes be understandable – and sometimes not – this is not an indicator of how intelligent they are – it is just very hard to speak if you cannot hear your own voice). Sometimes they will gesture. Often they will ask for a paper to write down what they want.
You should make eye contact and continue with it as far as possible during the interaction. Looking away (as hearing people often do) is seen as rude and an indication that something else is more important than the Deaf customer. Be friendly. Smile. In fact, do what you would usually do if you are pleased and supportive. Remember that Deaf people judge you by what they see – unhappy or aggressive or impatient facial expression will be picked up immediately and is likely to lose you that custom in future.
Find a notepad or pen and use it.
The Deaf person can write down and you can write down the replies. Write clearly and use simple direct language.
If you are able to explain a few things in sign that would be a great advantage. You can see in the video how this interaction might work out.
Having asked the Deaf person to wait, it is important to realise that you will have to give a visual signal in order to proceed to the next stage of the process. DO NOT SHOUT the deaf person’s name or even “excuse me” in a loud voice or exaggerated lip-pattern. Go up to the Deaf person (they do not bite) and gain his or her attention by waving or by tapping on the shoulder.
In this scenario, the receptionist had to arrange a meeting with a supervisor or more senior person and so asked the Deaf person to wait. Now the senior person is available.
She tells the Deaf person that the Boss is ready now and is waiting in the room (over there). She asks him to come with her.
Most of the interaction is very simple, as long as you maintain eye contact.
Deaf people dislike having a conversation in an open office or reception area – for the simple reason that they have no idea if the receptionist can be heard by other people or whether other people are listening or watching what is going on. They much prefer the use of a separate room to try to explain any business at all. Be sensitive to this.
The same rules apply as for the first scenario – maintain eye contact, be pleased to see the person, be interested and respectful. Often you will be on your own – as the receptionist was. Make sure there is paper and pen available to write things down. Make sure there is a visual note of the conclusion/outcome of the interaction.
This scenario shows a better than usual situation where there is an interpreter available. In some offices, there may be someone who signs at a high level and who may be able to act in this role. However, be aware that where any serious matter is at stake or where there could be major impact on the Deaf person, then it is essential that you engage a qualified interpreter.
The opening of the scenario shows the Deaf person re-positioning the interpreter in order that he can see both people at the same time. This may happen even when the Deaf person brings his/her own interpreter. Don’t be alarmed if the interpreter comes to your side of the desk in order to meet this requirement.
Be aware also that you may have to move if the lighting is bad or your back is to the window.
In the exchange which takes place the hearing supervisor makes a note and writes down what the conclusion is. Notice also that the hearing person speaks directly to the Deaf person – NOT TO THE INTERPRETER. This is very important.
Having made an appointment to go a Deaf person’s house, it is now important that the engineer, salesman, officer …. is informed that he/she is going to an address where there is a Deaf customer. As before the same rules about initial presentation apply – be please, be respectful, be visual.
When a Deaf person agrees an appointment time, they expect the other person to come at that time. When this does not happen, Deaf people engage in “active waiting” – that is they cannot just get on with things (do housework etc) and wait for you to arrive. Because the Deaf person cannot hear someone banging on the door, they will be anxious not to miss the call and so will continuously check the window for your arrival. Someone turning up half an hour late is a problem.
Deaf people do have flashing light door bells but they are not always to be relied upon.
Also remember that you cannot telephone at the last minute (as you might to a hearing person) to explain the delay. Ideally, when at the office the Deaf person’s mobile phone number should be requested and then A TEXT MESSAGE CAN BE SENT.
On meeting the Deaf person on the doorstep – have your ID ready – this is very important. Remember, be visual. Show the ID clearly. Give a simple sign to explain who you are and where you are from. Since you are expected, this interaction is likely to go smoothly.
Make sure you keep eye contact.
Having someone enter your home for most people has an element of risk. This is more the case with older people. But it is also an issue for Deaf people. Imagine what it would be like to allow entry to people who cannot use your language and who are likely to ask for things or to work on your appliances. Not surprisingly, Deaf people prefer to watch what you are doing. Do not be alarmed. While hearing people seem to be happy to talk briefly to explain the problem and then let you get on with it, Deaf people have no easy way to “hear” what you are doing nor to answer questions about it nor even to be able to understand your explanation. Many Deaf people then have to monitor what is going on.
Once the work is complete, do explain – either through simple gestures or in sign or write it down clearly. Keep eye contact.
The video shows a simple and effective way to end the work. Remember to give a name (your name) and the contact FAX NUMBER so that the Deaf person is able to follow up.
scenario2-1-counter|At the counter|1|512|374|1|1|0|f4v|At the counter - Download the video directly
scenario2-2-attention|Gaining attention|2|512|374|1|1|0|f4v|Gaining attention - Download the video directly
scenario2-3-complaint|Making a complaint|3|512|374|1|1|0|f4v|Making a complaint - Download the video directly
scenario2-4-home-entry|Gaining entry to a Deaf home|4|512|374|1|1|0|f4v|Gaining entry to a Deaf home - Download the video directly
scenario2-5-complete-repair|Completing the repair|5|512|374|1|1|0|f4v|Completing the repair - Download the video directly
- Created on Tuesday, 19 July 2011 13:03
- Published on Tuesday, 19 July 2011 13:03
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