The Deafblind people who took part in the project were all BSL users (or hands on users). We would expect that Deafblind people would be able to communicate well with Deaf people.
Some deafblind people did have positive contact with Deaf people. They continue going to Deaf club. They also meet Deaf people at Pubs, weddings and rallies.
Two Deafblind people said they liked meeting with Deaf people because he said communication was easy. Other people also said meeting with Deaf people helped them to feel confident and happy.
One Deafblind people said that when he met Deaf people he sometimes had to ask them to change their signing to where he could see it. He said Deaf people were happy to do this. Another person said he was happy to teach Deaf people how to do hands-on signing.
However this positive view was not always the case. Other Deafblind people found contact with Deaf people more difficult.
One person just said he found Deaf club boring.
Another problem is that Deafblind people felt Deaf people ignored them. Sometimes Deaf person might say hello but then they would go off. Deafblind people felt they were not included.
One person said they felt the reason for this was that Deaf people panic. They don’t know how to do the manual, so they just expect someone else to talk to deafblind person.
Deafblind people also felt that Deaf people should be involving them and asking them out. But this did not happen.
Hearing-sighted family were only people who asked them out.
Deafblind people also thought Deaf people should know how to communicate with them, they should know how to do hands-on.
This means that deafblind people think it is the responsibility of Deaf people to make the first contact. Sometimes they have to do this because a deafblind person might not know who is in the room - maybe they can’t see. So they have to wait until someone comes up and talks. When this does not happen, Deafblind people find this hard.
Another problem is that Deafblind people are sometimes with guides. Usually the guide is hearing-sighted. Deaf people may think the Deafblind person is ‘ok’ because they have a guide to talk too.
Deaf people may also feel that the guide is a ‘problem’. Deaf people may feel that hearing-sighted guides are not welcome in Deaf clubs. This means that Deaf people don’t approach the guide or the deafblind person.
Deafblind people think that Deaf people don’t understand about Deafblindness. Deaf people sometimes say they understand but this is not a deep understanding. Deafblind people say they fell this because they are sometimes left out of conversations. If Deaf people really understood what it was like to be deafblind, then they would make sure Deafblind people included.
One deafblind person also said that Deaf people made a distinction between themselves and Deafblind people. Maybe this is because deafblind people are seen as ‘disabled’. This causes a problem because deafblind people don’t like being thought of in this way.
This can make relationships between Deaf and deafblind people problematic.
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