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Thursday, 28 July 2016

My Comfy Chair – Have You Done Something New Lately?

At home I have a favourite chair. It’s in the right spot to see the telly, it isn’t in a draft, the sun doesn’t get in my eyes when I sit there and it is now nicely moulded into my body so I feel comfortable. Sometimes when we have visitors, they will sit in my chair and I need to sit in a different chair. This feels very uncomfortable for me, I can’t see the telly, I have sun in my eyes, there is a draft on my neck. I don’t like it! I feel anxious! I am quite literally out of my comfort zone.

Yet, often I find that after a while, I see things I haven’t seen for a while, like noticing a picture on my wall I really like, but don’t see from my normal comfy chair. Or an ornament that I had forgotten I had because I can’t see it from my normal spot. It might even be that I see some dust under the television and it makes me get the duster out.

I start to see the benefit of sitting in a different chair from time to time, I get to experience things I haven’t for a while, I get a different perspective on things and I am spurred into action to do something I have been putting off!

This is to demonstrate how it is good to get out of your comfort zone sometimes. Now, I know it is nice to be in a comfortable place, your anxiety levels don’t rise and you don’t have to take any action. In addition, your brain knows that you are safe. 

Have you ever walked into a new setting and felt anxiety because you don’t know anyone? You find a chair and sit there. Nothing bad happens, you don’t get eaten by a lion or anything and your brain anchors to that chair. The next time you go there you are likely to sit in the same chair, because your brain sees it as safe.

It also takes time and energy to get out of your comfort zone, so on days when we are tired, busy or otherwise distracted it is harder to do anything different or out of our routine. We don’t have the capacity to cope with the anxiety that moving from the familiar requires.

However, scientific research suggests that getting out of your comfort zone is a good thing. There is an ‘optimal anxiety level’ that can be beneficial to you for various reasons (which I will go into in a moment). In this optimal anxiety level, you are in your learning zone. The trick is to get into this zone without tipping over into the panic zone (which isn’t a good place to be, as it can make the learning or performance stop!)

It is believed that moving out of comfort zone in to the learning zone leads to personal growth and development, which in turn can lead to feelings of accomplishment and confidence.

In addition, the more you move out of your comfort zones, the more your comfort zone grows. This means that you get to try more and more new things without feeling so anxious about it.

Moving out of your comfort zone helps us learn because novelty increases dopamine levels. Your memory will improve and you will become more open to learning. Because you get inspired and you are learning, creativity is also expanded.

So when you have successfully acclimatised to your new level of anxiety, this means your comfort zone has expanded. Congratulations, with each expansion, you will have an easier time of dealing with new and unexpected changes, you will be able to more easily prepare for life changes and you will find it easier to push your boundaries in the future!

The problem with sticking in your comfort zone, while it feels safe, is that it kills productivity. It is also not very exciting or adventurous. When we are comfortable, we do what we need to get done, we lose drive and ambition. It’s like pretending to be busy so that you can stay in that safe place without having to do anything new.

The answer is to push your personal boundaries and find a level of optimal anxiety.

Ideally you will want to find a balance between security and comfort, alongside a little bit of novelty and excitement. You need to find your optimal level of anxiety. This will be different for everyone, so the trick is to find yours. This means you can experience anxiety in a controlled way and the anxiety brings out your best.

Here are a four ways you can move out of your comfort zone.

1. Change things up when making decisions

If you normally make snap decisions, start taking time over them. Think, don’t react and be more measured. So I might ask myself whether I want or need the pair of shoes or new handbag before buying it!

Conversely if you tend to think things through before making a decision, start to make more snap decisions (maybe a nice impulse buy will be good for you!)

2. Do Something Different Everyday

This can be as simple as taking a new route to work, making your cup of tea before your shower (or vice versa) or even try sitting a different chair (although, if you are like me, you might need to work your way up to that one!)

3. Run on Different Terrain

I don’t necessarily mean literally, although if you are a runner you can try this! But this could mean just trying something new like learning a new skill, volunteering, going to a new place or working in an area you haven’t worked in before. Get in touch with those butterflies you get in your tummy at the thought of doing something new – interpret them as excitement not anxiety and enjoy!!

By doing some, or all of these things, you will start to make stretching your boundaries a habit of its own. You don’t need to do everything at once either, you can do it in small steps. Don’t be afraid to start slow – you will get the same benefits as when you do it all in one go. Start by identifying your fears and facing them one at a time and step by step.

4. Don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself

I really care what people think and I hate feeling embarrassed, either by my own actions or on behalf of someone else. This really takes me out of my comfort zone. Yet one of the most exciting, invigorating things I ever did was sing in public. Now I’m not much of a singer at all, and I’m sure there were numbers of people laughing at me, but I had a great time and for once forgot to worry about what people thought of me.

5. Ask yourself “what is the worst thing that can happen?”

For me, the worst things that can happen when I try something new are that I make a fool of myself or I fail. Yet neither of these things are as scary as not trying the new thing. At least failing provides me with a platform for learning and if I make a fool of myself, then maybe I just brightened someone’s day a bit.

Don’t Forget to Come Back to your Comfort Zone

Make sure you come back to your comfort zone before you reach your panic zone. This way you can reflect upon, and process, your learning from your venturing and this will leave you free to prepare for the next time you push those boundaries.

Hopefully you now have some real tools to bring excitement, productivity and learning into your life through really pushing your boundaries.

Go on – try something different today, I would love to hear how you got on….

Until next time….. 

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Can Deaf People Drive?

Driving, some people are good at it some make you fear for your life as they cruise around oblivious to the rest of the world……

Driving is both a blessing and a curse…..

You have the freedom to come and go as you please, getting to places with greater ease and independency but you have to be alert at all times as not everyone quite follows the highway code to the T…..

It opens up more of the world to you and increases your job prospects. It is more crucial today than ever before! But you can be stuck in traffic or behind someone who just poodles along like they’ve all the time in the world…..

As mentioned above, driving is crucial to modern life and the likelihood is you the reader are already driving or will one day be on your way on the road. All walks of life need to go about their day:

- Youngsters at university
- People going to work
- Going out on a day off

And so on! But have you ever considered how a deaf person utilises a car? Perhaps you are wondering what happens if an emergency vehicle approaches?

Well firstly you don’t need to tell the DVLA if you’re deaf if you own a car/motorcycle licence, however you do if you own a bus/coach/lorry licence.

Deaf people pay greater attention to visual cues, such as seeing other drivers moving over to the side of the road or notice the flashing lights of an emergency vehicle.

In the majority of countries deaf people drive, although in some countries they have to show a sticker indicating they’re deaf.

Deaf drivers in Japan must display this sticker on the back of their vehicles

What About Equipment For Deaf People?

A Loop System

They allow for sound to be heard more clearly and work with hearing aids that have a ‘T’ setting or loop listener. The system helps to reduce background noise and can be fitted inside a car. The system can be setup with a microphone and convert the sounds it picks up into magnetic inductive signals, which one these reach the hearing aid/loop system are converted back into sound the user can hear.

Radio Aids

Radio aids are designed with the objective of making conversation between a speaker and a deaf person clear, one of the ways it does this is to help reduce background noise.

The driver or passenger will speak into the radio aid transmitter and this will allow the deaf person the ability to hear it in clearer detail. The radio aid transmitter also allows for the option of being plugged directly into:

- Music Players
- DVD Players
- Smartphones/Tablets

The radio aids can also be hooked up to any portable speaker as not every deaf person wears hearing aids.

To connect to a speaker, the radio aid would need body-worn radio aid receivers or a neck-loop receiver. The speakers then simply are plugged into the body-worn or neck-loop receiver and the sound from the transmitter comes out of the speakers. As simple as that!

Some Food For Thought To End On, Deaf People Are Better Drivers…..

Research shows this to be fact! Deaf people are not distracted by:

- Screaming kids
- The radio/music player
- Or tempted to use their mobile phone at any point

Deaf people naturally have a better peripheral vision
and their focus is purely on driving with little to nothing to distract them, making them much safer drivers than hearing people!

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Victoria Is Shortlisted For The Emering SME 2016 Award By Forward Ladies

With a new female prime minister, eight women cabinet ministers, and a new female chair of Institute of Directors, British politics and businesses are trailblazing for women in leadership.

This is how Forward Ladies opened their press release announcing the shortlist for their 2016 #WIBA National Women in Business Awards.

Forward Ladies was established in 1999, to unblock potential in professional women, creating an environment and community where women could feel heard, seen and able to upskill and develop themselves.

We have been celebrating here at terptree HQ – as our very own Victoria has been shortlisted as a Finalist for the Emerging SME category in London and the South of England.

Forward Ladies National Women In Business Awards 2016

Griselda Togobo, MD of Forward Ladies said: “This has been a fantastic year for women; we continue to start, grow and run high profile successful companies.”

Victoria said “It was a complete delight to hear that I have been shortlisted, considering that this year has attracted the highest number of entries ever received. This is not just a win for terptree – but a win for the deaf community and the ability to further reach our mission of Changing the World for Deaf People. We are now able to use this as a springboard to educate and empower deaf and hearing people to make a real impact on the everyday.”

As a result of being shortlisted, Victoria and terptree will receive tailored business support from HSBC and a full ICT review from Microsoft.

This is the second time Victoria has been recognised this month – being awarded with the Entrepreneur of the Month Award July 2016 from the Entrepreneurs Circle. It looks like Victoria is on a roll!

Debra White Regional Director of Small Businesses for HSBC said “There was an impressive number of high-calibre entries this year, highlighting the quality of talented businesswomen we have here in the UK. These entrants are the future entrepreneurs of our country.”

The regional final is on 16th September in London, and we will certainly be keeping our fingers crossed for Victoria!

Monday, 18 July 2016

People To Follow On Twitter – Deaf People

There is no doubt that since the dawn of the internet and the World Wide Web that it has become increasingly easier for us to connect with one another and obtain vital information. We all know that if you’re looking for something there’s no doubt you’ll find it online!

Access to information has become one of the social media channels that has experienced massive growth and usage over the past decade is Twitter, offering the ability to keep up with individual’s activities that previously we had no access to. increasingly easier to obtain and we wanted to make it even easier for you by making some suggestions on who to follow.

Now you may not have a Twitter account or you may not quite be sure how to fully utilise your account, but don’t worry you can still access the information. We will be providing you with the best accounts to follow!

So Who Should You Follow On Twitter And Why?


The Royal Association for Deaf People promote equality through the provision of accessible services, working together with Deaf people to help create a better future.

They respect Deaf culture and Sign Language, promoting diversity within the community and helping to develop services and partnerships that will improve the lives of Deaf people. They also help support deaf people to get a job, understanding the possible barriers and how to communicate with both the deaf person and employer.

With content also accessible in BSL, there is plenty of content including:

- Events
- Services provided
- Various helpful information packs

A very helpful account to follow!


Their vision – For Deaf people to fully participate and contribute as equal and valued citizens in wider society.

Now that sounds like a pretty good thing to envision if you ask us!

The British Deaf Association are a great organisation, campaigning for better lives for deaf people and are not someone you want to miss out on following!


A leading charity that is dedicated to creating a world without barriers for deaf children and young people. With plenty of information packs combined into the likes of:

- DVDs
- Booklets
- Online Information
- Fundraising Events

Offering advice and support for deaf children and families on a range of issues, also providing information for professionals who are working with deaf children. They also offer and promote a wide range of deaf friendly events. The ability to test a wide range of products is also accessible.


Another charity that focuses on enabling deaf people the power to control their own lives and remove barriers in the way. Action On Hearing Loss campaigns to make changes to public policy on range of issues.

Action On Hearing Loss are constantly fundraising to help deaf people including events such as:

- Skydiving
- Runs
- Sporting Events

They are always looking for volunteers, both hearing and deaf, to help make a positive difference. Providing information in British Sign Language (BSL) and writing to numerous organisations to help ensure they do the same!


Where do you go to find all of the up-to-date news in the deaf community? Well Limping Chicken is the place to be.

Deaf issues and experiences are at the forefront of their mind, publishing blogs by deaf people for deaf people. They have amounted over 3.5 million views and are the most popular deaf blog in the world! 
The site is edited by deaf journalist Charlie Swinbourne, who has written for the likes of Guardian, Mirror and BBC Online. He has also created a number of shorts and documentaries. He is also an avid campaigner for deaf people’s rights.

Limping Chicken were the ones to break the Mandela ‘fake interpreter’ story and are at the forefront for everything deaf related.


How can you resist these gorgeous puppies?!

Well Hearing Dogs for Deaf People have many. If you love dogs you’ll want to follow them on Twitter for that fact alone!

They train specific breeds of dogs to assist deaf people in their everyday lives. Alerting their owner to the doorbell, the fire alarm going off and the likes off the telephone ringing. They help bring independence, companionship and confidence to the lives of their deaf owner.

They are tried and tested, matching thousands of joyful dogs with deaf recipients. They currently have over 850 working partnerships across the UK. A hearing dog is for life, with many recipients keeping their retired hearing dog as a pet once they retire and bringing in a new working dog.

If you love dogs and want to follow an account that does their utmost for the Deaf community, then Hearing Dogs is for you!

And A Couple Of Forward Thinking Deaf People To Boot!


Aspiring to join the acting profession?
Look no further than Sophie Stone! She is the first deaf person to study at RADA.

Since then her career has skyrocketed, performing at the National Theatre and has made several TV appearances in hit shows such as:

- Midsummer Murders
- Casualty

But her most notable role came as she played the character Cass a deaf crew leader in Doctor Who. She has broken down all the barriers that may be perceived in allowing deaf people to enter the world of acting.

She is a role model for any aspiring actor and is constantly working towards improving the lives of young deaf people! To find out more about her, read our blog on 5 inspirational deaf actors by clicking here >> http://bit.ly/1PQ2f5N


Do you want a passionate, straight to the point, inspirational Deaf person to follow? Oh you do…..

Then Alison Bryan is the person for you. Amounting over 4,700 followers, residing from Wales, Alison is certainly someone to follow a true thought leader for the Deaf community. Giving out advice, news about events and challenging organisations to offer better accessibility, Alison is one to watch!

Well we hope you have found this information useful and if you know of any other useful Twitter accounts to follow, let us know in the comments.

Oh and we nearly forgot……

Don’t forget this account:


We think they’re pretty inspiring too ;)

Thursday, 14 July 2016

BDA 125th Anniversary

From Wednesday 20th July – Sunday 24th July BDA will be celebrating their 125-year congress. The event will be held:

Riviera International Centre, Chestnut Avenue, Torquay, South Devon, TQ2 5LZ

Which as you can see from the picture above, looks amazing!

With an onsite:

- Aqua Lounge
- Swimming Pool

You certainly won’t be bored!

If you need any help getting there by any transportation means check out the link here >> https://www.bda.org.uk/congress-2016-get-there

The congress will mark the end of The British Deaf Association’s year-long celebration programme and what a year it has been! The congress will begin in style, with a grand opening ceremony on the opening night with a wonderful drinks reception to make a toast to a great 5 days!

The congress will focus on two different strands:

- Empowerment Workshops
- Lifestyle Activities

The empowerment workshops will take place in the mornings, so that the participants are able to gain more in-depth information about current issues that affect Deaf individuals and wider issues that affect the whole Deaf community throughout the UK.

The afternoon lifestyle strand provides an opportunity for participants to explore a wide range of activities such as:

- Sport
- Art
- Health

The activities are set to be fun and allow the participants to learn new skills. With a keynote speaker being present Thursday – Saturday before each of the empowerment workshops. If you want to know the programme in full and to keep up with any changes visit the section here >> https://www.bda.org.uk/congress-2016-programme


1 Day = £60
The Full 5-Day Registration = £115

Will you be attending the event?
Do you need any more information or help?

Let BDA know – bda@bda.org.uk

If you’re heading to the event we hope you have a great time! :D

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Must Like Pages On Facebook

So you’ve decided to make the great decision to learn BSL (British Sign Language) and you want to enhance your learning and passion even more!

You don’t have to aspire to be a BSL/English Interpreter to further enhance your skills or knowledge of the beautiful language that is British Sign Language. It is our mission here at terptree to improve the world for deaf people and hearing people alike and to do that we are determined to improve the use of BSL in as many people as we can. Now we know not every deaf person uses BSL but the more people that know a language the more that community and language will grow!

So if you’ve just taken up BSL as a hobby or you’re on the road to becoming a Sign Language Interpreter, whatever your style or approach we think you’re going to love our post all about the pages you should follow on Facebook! So without further ado let’s crack on with these fabulous Facebook pages:


Just like our ‘People To Follow On Twitter For BSL Learners’ post click here to access that >> bit.ly/1WutUMn British Sign offer great content for any BSL learner just starting up. Focusing mainly on BSL Level 1, they also offer a sign of the day. Offering content in bitesize chunks making it easy to digest. 

For anyone just starting to learn BSL or even for someone that is curious about the Language then British Sign is definitely the place to start!


BSL Zone make an appearance on our list for one sole reason, their content is pure quality, truly putting the work of everyone who utilises BSL on the map!

They produce gripping and educational video content. What better way to learn a language than to immerse yourself in the cultural BSL Zone feature content primarily in British Sign language with the use of subtitles. Therefore you can track how well you are grasping the signs.


Not necessarily a page where you’ll learn BSL but you will definitely learn all about the deaf community, the current issues and prejudice they face. Whilst also being made aware of the inspirational members and all the incredible news stories relating to deaf people and BSL.    

There really is no other place to look before The Limping Chicken when it comes to deaf news. This page is more applicable should you use to really deluge yourself in the deaf community and work within the community but if that’s you, you’ll definitely want to give them a like!


Now School Of Sign Language is definitely a page to like if you’re interested in learning BSL. Even more so if you have children who want to learn BSL!

They are primarily aged at teaching children BSL using fun interactive games through positive reinforcement and it definitely works, I enjoyed and picked up on a few signs myself. A good way to introduce anyone into the language and could be a good basis for teaching BSL in the lower years at schools! 


If you’re looking to go as far as to become a fully qualified Sign Language Interpreter, then ASLI are definitely someone you will want to keep tabs on! 

They have a list of useful information as well as events and webinars that will improve your skills as a budding Sign Language Interpreter. Even as a RSLI (Registered Sign Language Interpreter) they will constantly help you to improve, after all every day’s a school day!

Well We Hope You Have Found This Information Helpful
You have reached the end of our list, we hope these Facebook pages will be of use to you. Stay tuned for more helpful posts, let us know if there’s anyone we missed that could be of benefit to anyone looking to learn or improve their BSL. As well as keeping up-to-date with all the exciting materials coming from us over here at terptree HQ!

Oh and we almost forgot these guys…..

We’ve got plenty of really exciting content on the way, so like us on Facebook and we’ll be sure to provide you with some valuable information for anyone looking to learn Sign Language at any level!

Friday, 8 July 2016

DCAL – What Do They Do?

DCAL stands for the Deafness Cognition and Language. They have a research centre based at University College London and is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). DCAL seeks to bring together leading Deaf and hearing researchers in the fields of sign linguistics, psychology, and neuroscience. DCAL started its research in 2006 and was funded by the ESRC until December 2015. It is the largest research centre in this field in Europe with nearly 40 staff and research students, about 1/3 of whom are Deaf.

DCAL's research provides a unique perspective on language and thought based on Deaf people's communication. DCAL places Sign Languages and Deaf people in the centre of the general understanding of how language and communication work within linguistics, psychology and child development. Deafness is an important model for exploring questions in linguistics, cognitive sciences and in neuroscience, and this is now much more widely recognised (thanks in large part to DCAL's research efforts over the last five years). Clinical developments in relation to hearing intervention, especially cochlear implantation, are also changing the experience of deafness and consequently their research programme.

The two overarching themes that drive their research are:

- How is communication shaped by deafness and the use of Sign Language?

- How does deafness and early language experience impact on cognitive functions beyond language?

For both themes their strategy is:

- To consider the effects of deafness, delayed language development and Sign Language use across the life span by studying children, adolescents and adults including those with impaired signing;

- To investigate similarities and differences between groups of individuals
(e.g., native signers and late learners) at both behavioural and neural levels. In their research the views of professional groups who work with d/Deaf individuals as well as organisations of and for d/Deaf people have been taken into account to ensure that this practical impact will continue.

DCAL received an award back in February for the most significant research contribution to Deaf studies at Royal Association of the Deaf (RAD)’s 175th Birthday Honours Awards Ceremony.

The event paid great tribute to the foresight, determination and hard work of the many past, present and future Deaf pioneers. 
Continuous Professional Development (CPD)

DCAL have a number of CPD programmes for people learning British Sign Language (BSL) & for Deaf people alike:

- BSL Linguistics
- Deafhood
- Language and cognitive development of deaf children
- Deaf Awareness
- Introduction to multimedia training using ELAN
- The Deaf Brain
- CPD for BSL Teachers
- Introduction to Notetaking
- Electronic Notetaking OCN Accredited

A summary of some of these events are as followed:


The programme will have the following structure:

1. Introduction to Deafhood

2. Deaf History and Colonisation

3. Deaf Cultures as Minority Cultures

4. Effects of Colonisation on Deaf Cultures

5. How Deaf Cultures can be strengthened by Deafhood.

This course will be taught in BSL.

The Deaf Brain

This is an introductory course aimed at those with no previous knowledge of neuroscience. Concepts with be introduced from basic levels, and the student will be progressively guided from simple to more complex ideas.

You will be introduced to basic concepts about brain function, and how these are influenced by deafness, and the acquisition of a language through vision (i.e. Sign Language and lip-reading).

They will present state of the art results from original research from DCAL and other international research groups with particular emphasis on:

- Early deafness
- Sign language processing in deaf and hearing signers
- The effects of bimodal bilingualism
- Age of language acquisition
- Long-term consequences of delayed language exposure
- Cognitive skills
- Implications for cochlear implants

They will also provide an overview of state of the art research methods and neuroimaging techniques used to investigate cognitive functions in the deaf population.

New dates for a number of these courses are yet to be confirmed, if you are interested in these courses please contact dcalcourse@ucl.ac.uk

To check out our post all about Deafhood – click here >> http://bit.ly/1OedvmD

If you have found this information interesting and are eager to learn more about DCAL, visit their website here >> http://www.ucl.ac.uk/dcal

Follow them on Twitter - @DCAL_UCL

Like them on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/DCAL-Deafness-Cognition-and-Language-Research-Centre-136511306447860/