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Thursday, 25 August 2016

The Why in my What

The Why in my What….Who is this woman emailing me and what does she want?

Over the last few weeks, I have been emailing you a series of  self-development emails. On the surface these may have seemed distinctly non-interpreting related.  A few weeks back, I explained that I hold a Diploma in Life Coaching , and have a background in working with people to help them change behaviours and transform their lives.

Following on from that email, I thought it might be useful to re-cap on the emails I have sent so far and how you might apply them to your professional and personal lives, should you wish.
So, no, we haven’t been sniffing magic dust here at terptree HQ, (well no more than usual).  What we recognise is that mindset is as important to doing our jobs and achieving our goals as it is  to know how to do our job.  We can be the best technically at what we do, but if we are not motivated, self aware or we don’t adapt to our surroundings, we may not ultimately do a very good job. 

Years ago, back when I was first training to be an internal auditor, I worked with someone who was ‘technically’ one of the best Internal Auditors you could come across.  He had so much knowledge of how to do his job it was scary.  The only problem was that he had very under-developed people skills, so no-one wanted him in their offices.  He used to annoy and irritate both clients and his colleagues alike.  He was also so lacking in self-awareness, that he had no idea that this was even a problem let alone what to do to improve on these areas to further his career. 

Now I was never as good at the technical aspect of internal auditing as he was, but I have very good people skills and I am very open to self development and adapting and changing where I need to.  As a result I ended up thriving in the profession and going further in my career than he ever did.
So these emails set out to help you with the mindset ‘stuff’ so that you can develop in your profession and our hope is that you will use some of the techniques to live happier and more fulfilled lives (if you are not doing so already). 

To help further, I thought it might be helpful to draw out some ways you can apply some of the areas I have written about.


As Communication Professionals you will be very aware of the need to maintain and hold boundaries with the people you work with, as well as with yourselves.  Boundaries give us structure and ensure we keep ourselves and those around us safe.  Being aware of your boundaries makes it easier to identify how you respond and can help you adapt your response if required.  It is not about being inflexible (although clearly we all have laws, rules and codes we have to obey). 

Sometimes you may need to compromise.  Yet it is important to remember that if you are being asked to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable, then this is likely because your boundary is being pushed.  Being aware of this makes it easier to make decisions that are best suited to you.
Maintaining boundaries is also about having mutual respect and leads to supportive and caring relationships.  If you allow your boundaries to be constantly pushed (for example always saying y es, because you don’t like to say no) you may end up angry and resentful.  Yet it is important for us to be responsible for our own reactions and not to blame other people. 

As reflective practitioners it is important you recognise this so that you can deal with your responses accordingly and be in the right place for your next booking.

Since writing that email, I found this ‘Five Things’ method, which I thought would help you in establishing your boundaries, if you haven’t already done so:

-          List five things you would like people to stop doing around you
-          List five things you would like people to stop doing to you
-          List five things you would like people to stop saying to you

By identifying these areas you will have a very clear sense of where your boundaries lay and a deeper level of understanding as to why you respond to things they way you do.

Values and Beliefs

Like all of the other topics I have written about, these are huge areas and I can only touch the surface of them.  They are interlinked, but to clarify a belief is something you hold to be true and a value is something you hold dear. 

I wanted to link these two areas to the What to Charge Webinar we ran earlier in the y ear. This is because if you hold certain beliefs and if you don’t uphold your values, you may undersell your skills and not value your services in the way they should be.

If you are unclear on your values, you may make decisions that are inconsistent with achieving your goals. For example, if you have a goal to achieve a certain level of financial freedom or a certain lifestyle, then undersell your services, this leads you away from your goal, not towards it.

Similarly if you have a belief that you are something, it may stop you from doing or trying something else.  For example, if I spent my life telling myself I’m an internal auditor, I have just told myself I can’t do or try anything else.  This might have meant that I would never have become a coach or a Business Manager and would have stayed in a profession that I was okay at, but certainly didn’t love.
Also, if you label yourself as your profession, it doesn’t open your mind to other areas that you may need to develop in order to progress.  For example, saying “I’m an Interpreter”, gives your subconscious the message that you can’t do sales or marketing, therefore you don’t sell yourself or your services well or at the right price.


So you have set boundaries , you have belief in yourself and you have identified your values.  How, then, do you stay motivated?

I know, from running my own business that it can be harder to keep yourself motivated when you don’t have a team to support and encourage you and no-one managing your or setting deadlines to meet.  I went from a highly pressurised corporate job with a team of 100 staff, a boss and PA to being a one-woman band almost overnight.

I found myself doing everything from writing business plans and strategies, marketing and sales, through to cleaning my office and making the tea.  No longer did I have a PA to organise my diary or a manager or staff to give me support.

Don’t get me wrong, I had made exactly the right decision, and I loved what I was doing, but boy did I need to learn some self-motivation techniques pretty early on.  Getting in touch with my intrinsic motivation from the start really kept me going in those early days when my beliefs would get in the way (pesky thoughts like, “you can’t do this”, “you are not cut out for this” and “you will never make a go of this”.)

As I said, your motivation to do things comes and goes, and yes our beliefs do get in the way, so becoming aware of what motivates us is important in getting us towards our goals.

Time Structuring

Okay, you have your boundaries, your beliefs and your values all pinned down and you are feeling highly motivated.  So where do you find the time to get everything done that you need to?
Time is our most limited resource and the older I get the quicker it seems to go and the less hours there seems to be in the day.

Being able to structure your time effectively is the key to staying productive and ensuring you don’t overdo (or underdo) things.  Effective time management ultimately gets you to achieve your goals (how are you going to get what you want if you don’t find the time to work towards it?). 

I focused this email originally on how we can procrastinate over doing things we don’t want to do (it’s funny how I never find time to do the ironing) and how often it is the things we procrastinate over in our work that are the really important things.  I talked about prepping for jobs, but it can equally apply to studies, CPD and doing y our accounts. (I am not including the ironing here, I have just decided not to bother with it!)

Problem Solving

So now what? Boundaries in place?  Check.  Beliefs and Values sorted out? Check.  Motivated and have time to go for your goals? Check.  But you’ve hit a problem!

Unless we are really lucky in life we all face problems from time to time and that might include ethical and moral dilemmas that we face at work.

Learning problem solving techniques can help us resolve our problems quickly and effectively (which ultimately gives us more time, makes us more motivated and makes us more likely to maintain our boundaries, beliefs and values.) Clever stuff really!

So this is how what I have done so far hangs together, and there will be more to come.  These emails are not designed to imply that you are not reflective practitioners already.  In fact, it is exactly the opposite.

From my experience of working with terptree over the last 18 months, I know that Communication Professionals get this ‘stuff’ more than most and that you are self aware and engage with self-development work.

These emails are written to enhance and enrich your reflections and maybe give you ways to manage your challenges that you hadn’t thought of before.

Until next time…

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The Stigma Of Hearing Aids


A set of negative or unfair beliefs that a society or group of people have about something.

The topic I am covering today is the stigma of wearing hearing aids.

The stigma of hearing aids is closely linked to the stigma of deafness. Throughout history, those who are deaf have been seen as inferior to those who are hearing, with deaf people thought to be stupid and incapable of learning. Of course, this opinion has changed over time, but hearing aids still reinforce the label “deaf” and can make the wearer seem inferior.

The idea that a person with a hearing aid is of lower intelligence can still be seen in modern society. When placed in a large group conversation, it can be difficult for a person with a hearing aid to follow everything that’s happening. Hearing aids amplify every sound in the environment, so if a group are chatting and overlapping in speech it can be difficult to distinguish between who is speaking and what is being said. The person with hearing aids may need to ask for repetition several times, or may answer a question incorrectly.

Overall, comprehension of a conversation can be limited, making the hearing aid wearer look like they’ve not understood what’s been said. This then leads to the assumption that they are of a lower intelligence.

Of course, one of the most common belief of those who wear hearing aids, or see someone with hearing aids, is that they are old. It is true that as we grow older our hearing can diminish due to natural wear-and-tear of using our ears. For a person whose hearing has begun to diminish later in life, they may be worried about the stigma of hearing aids as they may be viewed as someone who is “past it”. Many people choose to struggle to hear rather than attain hearing aids as they worry about being labelled as old or disabled.

Recently, advertisements have thought to be perpetuating the stigmatisation of hearing aids. Companies who advertise hearing checks and hearing aid services have used advertisement to target these people to recommend hearing aids that are “invisible” or suggest that they are a secret. The main issue that has been voiced about these adverts is that they suggest that hearing aids, and deafness, should be hidden away and hushed up. For those who are proud of their deaf identity, this can be seen as discriminatory advertising.

It is important to remember that stigma towards hearing aids does not only come from hearing people.

Those who have a strong deaf identity may see someone with a hearing aid as a person who is trying to fit in with the hearing world rather than accepting their deafness as part of their identity. They can assume that the hearing aid wearer is ashamed of their deafness, and do not belong in the deaf community.

Hearing aids are beneficial to many people, and absolutely useless for others; it completely depends on the individual. So if you see a person with hearing aids, find out if you need to make any adjustments to the way you communicate and then do them.

The way to tackle stigma? Don’t make assumptions. 

Monday, 22 August 2016

Deaf Events For The Rest Of The Year

We’re deep into the British summer now, we’ve had plenty of ☀️ but we’ve also had our fair share of 🌧 but can we really complain? I mean we’re used to it by now!

So with summer in full flow and there still plenty of time to relax and enjoy yourself we thought it would be a good opportunity to highlight some of the fantastic local and regional events that the Deaf community are putting on throughout the rest of the year. Ranging from the cheap and simple to the more extravagant, everything catered with you in mind! 😄

So with that in mind, we present to you the following BSL accessible events:

Deaf Pub In Gloucester

Everyone likes to catch-up with friends and old acquaintances and what’s better than having a nice cool beverage at the same time? So if you’re in the Gloucester area and available Saturday 17th September at 19:00 and you’re up for heading to a Deaf pub, then go for it! 🍻

The address is – Chambers Pub Gloucester, 27 St Aldate Street
The event runs every 2 months

Halloween Quiz At Swindon Deaf Club

I was talking about the wonderful (or not depending on your stance) British summer not so long ago, well I’ve skipped to Autumn with this one and looking ahead to Halloween! 🎃

On Wednesday the 26th October at the West Swindon Library there will be a Halloween themed quiz and raffle to enjoy. Small donations can be made such as:
  • Confectionary
  • Non-alcoholic drinks
Money raised will go towards the Christmas buffet and afternoon tea. So keep a look out for the date.
Comedy Stage BSL John Smith

Deaf Connect London are very pleased to announce they are hosting the World Famous Deaf Comedian John Smith for a night of stand-up comedy! Tickets are available for both hearing and Deaf people and are £10.

The venue – St John’s Deaf Community Centre, 258 Green Lanes, Manor House, London, N4 2HE
And the event is on 18:00 – 22:00 on the 2nd September.

The event is free for Deaf people living in London if booked before Thursday 25th August. After it will cost £5 for your ticket online via - http://deafconnectlondon.org/form/ which also showcases other events you can go to.

Catwalk Show

Passionate about fashion, there is a great Deaf fashion competition on offer to both take part in and watch. There will be:
  • Live Music
  • Bar
  • Finger Buffet
The event is at – 258 Green Lanes, London Manor House, N4 2HE
The event is on – Saturday 10th September at 16:00
For any queries about the event e-mail - stjohnsdeafclub@hotmail.co.uk

The Film Bunch: Short Films & Networking

The Film Bunch run monthly screening and networking events in London to showcase short films made by filmmakers from all over the world. Their events are Deaf friendly, offering:
  • BSL Interpreters
  • Subtitles
  • CC
The event is at – The Book Club, City Of London
The event is on – Wednesday 7th September at 19:00

To book your free ticket click the link - bit.ly/2auqUyC
If you would like to submit a film, check out this website - thefilmbunch.com

If you need to contact the organisers, their e-mail address is as follows - thefilmbunch@gmail.com

Andrew Stibbs Memorial Cup (Deaf Football)

On behalf of Charlton Athletic Deaf FC, the Andrew Stibbs Memorial Cup will take place this Saturday 27th August at Norman Park, Bromley.

It kicks off at 12:00 but it’s best to get there about 11:00. They are hoping to be able to enjoy the weather, so bring a picnic and enjoy your day out.

So if you enjoy your football, get yourself to this event! ⚽

Well we hope you have found this information informative, interesting and we hope to see you at a number of these events and more throughout the year! If you’d like to find more Deaf friendly events then we have a couple of websites that may help, just be sure to add the likes of ‘Deaf’, ‘BSL’ etc when searching:

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Guest Blog - Deaf Zookeeper

My name is Katy Beschizza and I am profoundly deaf due to having had pneumococcal meningitis at 6 months of age. I am married, have two cats and one bearded dragon.  I rely on lip-reading and signing (SSE).

Despite this I am doing my dream job – A zookeeper for Marwell Wildlife, a charity which runs a zoo in Hampshire. I was the first deaf person to become a zookeeper in the UK and now have been at Marwell for 18 years. I made my mind up that I wanted to be a zookeeper after after a trip to Marwell Zoo when I was five-years-old. All my work experience from school (Ovingdean Hall School) involved animals, including working on a dairy farm! Determination and hard work paid off and after studying animal care at Sparsholt College and work experience (training by Shaw Trust) at Marwell, I was offered a job. If people can see past the deafness you can achieve the same as a hearing person.
I worked in the primate section for 15 years learning everything I could from handling, nutrition, daily feeding, and health care for the lemurs, tamarins, gibbons, macaques and many more. Now for the last three years I have worked in the Hoofstock section. This involves working with giraffes, three different species of zebra, white rhinos, okapi, bongo, buffalo, Somali wild ass, and different species of antelopes. I am involved in the daily care, feeding, cleaning, health checks as well as loading and unloading of animals when they are being transported. I also enjoy helping the vet team when they are carrying out procedures on the animals.
Marwell Zoo has more than one hundred species of animals including birds, carnivores and invertebrates. Many of these are part of important endangered species breeding programmes to conserve a healthy population of animals. Marwell Wildlife is a charity and as well as housing threatened species at the zoo it also carries out conservation work all over the world.
Being profoundly deaf does not stop me from doing the same tasks as hearing people. I feel very confident and safe in my role and have the necessary support from staff if I need it.

Guest Blog - What Is Glastonbury Like For A Deaf Person?

Hello, my name is Paul and I would like to talk about Glastonbury Festival .I see it as a musical annual pilgrimage.

People have asked me what is so special about Glastonbury especially that it is a primarily a music festival when I have hearing difficulties. All I can say you have to experience it yourself to realise how great Glastonbury is no matter what kind of person you are.

There is a reason why many other festivals in this day and age with the current financial climate have difficulty selling out their tickets. Glastonbury is the only exception where it is immensely popular selling out more than 125,000 tickets online in less than half hour without announcing their line ups.

The atmosphere is exceptional and incredible offering the chance to meet so many like-minded people in the space of 5 days. There are so many things to see and do and trying to achieve with so little time. Glastonbury has such a unique atmosphere that it is impossible to match anywhere else in the world.

My Best ever gig was Pulp at the year 2010 when the band was announced at one of the smaller stages during a Saturday afternoon. I found out at a bar talking to a random person. I immediately texted deafzone who are responsible for allocating BSL Interpreter at the festival. I rushed to the stage meeting up the interpreter quickly. So soon afterward the stage was full to capacity even many famous people including Kate Moss couldn’t get in. Pulp gave an amazing performance and the interpreter was spot on as luckily she was a big fan of Pulp. I was so impressed with the Interpreter including the crowd, the end of the show many people has gave positive feedback to the interpreter even that a journalist from the Guardian wanted to have an Interview with her.

An Remarkable occurrence this year 2016, I made an interpreter booking to see Låpsley as I consider myself as a fan, the show itself was great and afterwards I found out the two interpreters had bumped into the artist much later in the day and said they interpreted her performance. She was really overwhelmed that a Deaf person wanted to see her and made her day and she also commented that her auntie is Deaf as well. I consider a bit of a magical experience for everyone.

I would highly recommend to any deaf people who are considering going to a music festival. You don’t have to be a fan of music to go to Glastonbury. It is a common notion that you can go to Glastonbury for five days and go without seeing any bands; you can still have a wonderful time. There is Circus, Cabaret, Politic discussions, Poetry, Craft Making, Spa Sessions, Massages, Tea shops, Cafes, Art Installations and you can partake in salsa dance lessons .

The most important thing I would advise to a first comer is to get the correct footwear. Festival goers will spend 90% of time on foot. My motto is ‘Happy Feet – Happy Mind’ It doesn’t matter whether or not to bring wellingtons or waterproof boots as long you feel comfortable in. Personally I prefer walking boots as welligntons gives me terrible blisters.

Yes it is true that tickets are extremely hard to get and get harder to obtain every year. I would advise you to get helpful hints and tips getting Glastonbury tickets at DeafZone Facebook page or you can email me - hpaul1@hotmail.com

Hope you Enjoyed reading my blog


Paul Hull

Different types of Deafness

Last week we discussed the topic ‘deaf people can achieve the same as hearing people’. I hope you found the TedxTalk interesting and enjoyable.

This week I’d like to look at the different types of deafness; profoundly deaf, severely deaf, hard of hearing, etc. Of course there are many different types of deafness out there, caused by different things, but I want to just focus on a few.

To do so, you may want to look at this:


As you can see from the chart, profound hearing loss is highest level of hearing loss possible, and is the furthest away from “normal” hearing. (I say “normal” in inverted commas as I mean in relation to mainstream society – to the deaf community, “normal” hearing may not be considered normal!)
People with a profound hearing loss will struggle, or be unable to, hear sounds at 100 decibels or more. To put that into context for you, the noise of a jackhammer is 100 decibels.


Severe deafness is the second highest level of hearing loss. Those with a severe hearing loss may struggle to hear loud speech, but may be able to hear it with amplification, such as hearing aids. From the chart above, a severe hearing loss is not being able to hear things at 80 – 100 decibels. For context, the noise of a food blender sits at around 88 decibels.


Moderate deafness sits in the middle of the chart, with people struggling to hear between 40 – 70 decibels, which is the decibel level of a spoken conversation in a quiet suburb. People with a moderate hearing loss may use hearing aids to enable them to hear with greater clarity, but it is important to remember that these will not “fix” the hearing loss. Hearing aids will also amplify ALL sounds, not just the voices of a conversation.


Not a thing, don’t ever say it.

Whilst it is important to know the different types of deafness and how to adjust access to suit these different levels, it’s important to remember that these are labels. These labels will mostly be used within a medical environment in order to discuss appropriate technology to support each individual.

Last week I talked about how destructive it can be to label people, and I say the same again. A person with a hearing loss is much more than a person with a hearing loss, and it is important to remember this.

Each deaf person is different, with different needs and communication methods. What’s important to remember is not the label, but the identity of the individual. Having any form of hearing loss does not automatically make you identify with the deaf community.

In summary; respect each deaf person, and the identity they have. If you’re not sure of the appropriate terminology to describe their needs – ask them!
And never, ever, use the phrase “deaf and dumb”

Deaf people can achieve anything.

The topic of this blog is something that we here at terptree fully endorse. We believe in the empowerment of both deaf and hearing people to provide equal opportunity for all people, regardless of communication method.
To discuss this topic in greater depth, I want to focus on the story of Cadet Private Keith Nolan. He is a Deaf American who communicates through American Sign Language (ASL). He also dreams of joining the US Military. He shares his story in a highly interesting TedxTalk (aptly titled “Deaf in the Military”) which you can watch here:

I must say that this particular TedxTalk is one of my favourites as it discusses overcoming challenges through adversity. For the purpose of this blog, I want to discuss some of the challenges Cadet Nolan has faced, and what we can learn from them in terms of working with those who are Deaf.

Let’s start with the words that were written on a scrap of paper when he tried to join the Navy: “Bad ear. Disqual”. These three words have an incredible impact upon a person. In that moment, Keith was seen as a label, a disability, rather than a human being. It’s important to emphasise how damaging this can be to a Deaf person, as they are being labelled with the word can’t. They can’t do this, or can’tdo that because they’re Deaf which is absolutely not the case. The only thing a Deaf person can’t do is hear to the same level as you!

Now let’s look at the issue of the uniform within this story. I found it absolutely baffling that the other Cadets were immediately presented with one, but Keith had to earn it. Simply because he’s Deaf, and so he can’t be a Cadet to the same calibre as his hearing peers. The isolation within this is deeply moving. To be the first Deaf Cadet amongst a world of hearing Cadets would have been challenging enough. But to then be further isolated by being represented as a civilian, enforcing his difference and lowering his status amongst his peers, is degrading and demoralising. All because he is Deaf.

So why am I showing you this? Why am I talking about a uniform for a man in America?

I think the whole point of this blog can be summarised by a quote from the TedTalk. Cadet Nolan said this about the man who let him into the ROTC programme: “he doesn’t view me as a deaf person, he looks at my skills and capabilities instead” in short, Cadet Nolan was viewed as a human being.

Within the ROTC programme, Cadet Nolan has many achievements including earning the gold German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge, showing that he is to the standard of the soldiers in the German Armed Forced. He is also a top student in his class. Cadet Nolan’s achievements are inspiring; but not because he is Deaf. His achievements are inspiring because of his dedication to his goals, and his willingness to push for them despite other people telling him he can’t.

We can learn a lot from the way the comrades reacted to having their first Deaf Cadet in the battalion. The solution was simply that they would work together to see what would be best in terms of working and communicating. That’s it. Simply working together to ensure that both parties understand each other, and are understood, effectively.

Of course this can be easier said than done. When meeting a Deaf person for the first time, it is normal to panic and feel like a deer in headlights, because you don’t know how to handle the situation. How do you communicate? What if they don’t understand me? What if I don’t understand them? We immediately jump to the worst-case scenario when in reality, you’re just meeting another human being.

As a society, we don’t like feeling stupid or feeling like we’re failing at something, so we try our best to look like we’ve got everything under control, even if that isn’t the case. If I can offer one crucial piece of advice, it is this: be transparent. If you don’t understand what a deaf person has said or signed, then communicate this to them. Do not awkwardly nod or laugh, despite the temptation to do so. Doing this leaves the conversation awkward and stunted, with no means of progression. If you are honest and admit that you didn’t understand, then the chances are the person you are with will try to adapt what they’re communicating to make it easier. You never know, you might just get it the second time. And if you don’t, that’s okay! You’ll get there if you are both willing and able to adapt; exactly like the comrades Cadet Nolan met in the ROTC programme.

Let me be clear about the key message of this blog; Deaf people CAN do or become anything they want. Deaf people can play instruments, sing, dance, become teachers, doctors, lawyers, actors, activists, politicians, military leaders, parents; ANYTHING. Deaf people have the ability to do the same as hearing people, but they can be limited by the barriers and the labels that are placed on them by other people. To work with Deaf people, you have to be willing to drop the labels and collaboratively embrace different methods of communication.