Who we are What we stand for What we stand for Equality This means that the rights of Deaf people to use sign language are enshrined in legislation. Under the present Equality Act, a Deaf person has the right to bring a hearing dog to his GP surgery but does not have the right to bring an Interpreter or access Interpreter services. This is not equality. Access Every Deaf person must have access to services from Government level down to his/her local shop in his/her preferred language. Freedom of Choice Every Deaf person should have the right to choose to sign or speak or both without sanction and without obstacles. We believe that every Deaf person has the right to communicate in his/her preferred language Why is this important? Can you imagine being forced to do simple everyday tasks in French, Germany, Russian or any other foreign language you care to think of? This is the reality for Deaf UK citizens every day. Simple things like telling your GP what your symptoms are, asking a question in a shop or post office, finding out what’s going on when something unexpected happens in a public place or checking into a hotel – all communication that is forced into a secondary language for a Deaf person. What needs to change? The UK Government needs to follow the example being set in Scotland - see BSL (Scotland) Bill. There are now so many different ways to integrate British Sign Language into everyday communication using technology and Interpreters that there is no longer any excuse not to do it. What is BDA doing about it? This is a long-running BDA campaign: in fact, this campaign has now been running for 125 years! This year, as the BDA celebrates its 125 Anniversary, several major new campaigns will be launched – watch this space for more information. We believe that every Deaf child has the right to bi-lingual education Why is this important? Alongside the medical and technological improvements of recent decades, it is important for every Deaf child to learn about the positive aspects of being Deaf. 9 out of every 10 Deaf children are now born to hearing parents. For a Deaf child to reach his/her full potential, it is vital that both the child, parents and siblings learn to sign. Being part of the Deaf Community broadens the horizons for the Deaf child and his/her family with access to the rich culture, heritage, support and role models within this thriving community. What needs to change? When a baby is diagnosed as being Deaf, alongside the medical model, a cultural model must be introduced to support the family and provide access to a broader base of information. What is BDA doing about it? By making BSL more visible to the General Public, it is hoped that parents of Deaf children will come to the BDA for information, as well as talking to other organisations. This way, parents will be fully informed and can make the best decision for their child and their family.