- Current DCAL Newsletter available in BSL
- Special Focus: What is it like to be a postgraduate at DCAL?
- Are you interested in postgraduate study at DCAL?
- Talking about Bilingualism
- BSL Corpus Project goes online
- DCAL's Tales from the Road
- Update on Deaf with Dementia Project
- DCAL working with the Cognitive Disorders Clinic
- Sharing Research - Iconicity and Embodiment on Tour
- Get involved in DCAL's research!
- DCAL research features in Lancet editorial
- BSL Corpus Project featured on The Hub
- BSL Grammaticality Judgement Task Paper accepted for publication in journal Cognition
- Frances Elton gets BDA award in recognition of her contribution to BSL and Sign Linguistics teaching
- New DCAL Briefing Sheet available on Dementia
- Early sign language exposure benefits deaf children
- See Hear Feature Deaf with Dementia Project October 17th
- Outreach activity at Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children
- DCAL's Response to Guardian article "Signs of the times: Deaf community minds its language"
- See Hear item on Deaf with dementia
- New DCAL-associated research project - Describing sociolinguistic variation in verb directionality in British Sign Language: A corpus-based study, funded by ESRC Secondary Data Analysis Initiative
- DCAL responds to Harry Knoors weblog
- New leaflet about research targeted at the older deaf community
- The Association for Physiological Sciences publishes DCAL research in Psychological Science
- Society Now features an article by researcher Dr Joanna Atkinson 'Voices inside my head'
- The Guardian publishes correction about BSL Corpus Project story
- Robert Adam is the first person in the UK to be both a registered Interpreter and a registered Translator on the NRCPD
- New MSc in Language Sciences with specialisation in Sign Language Studies: NOW RECRUITING for 2013/2014
- Researchers in Language and Cognition present their work at a conference in Lisbon
- NDCS offering free two-day training courses to utilise Family Sign Language Toolkit
- Programme for TISLR 2013 available on the webpage NOW!
- Neuroscience: How the brain adapts to deafness
- Professor Adam Kendon to become Honorary Emeritus Professor and DCAL Associate
- New MSc in Language Sciences with specialisation in Sign Language Studies NOW RECRUITING for2013/2014
- BSL Grammaticality Judgement paper ranked in Top 25 Hottest Articles
- DCAL and AoHL call for the National Dementia Strategy for England to be reviewed to ensure that funding is provided to meet the needs of people who are deaf or have hearing loss and also have dementia
- DCAL Nominated for the Signature Organisation of the Year Award
- British Deaf Association honours DCAL researcher
- DCAL director receives prestigious award
- ESRC Future Leader Fellowships for DCAL researchers
- DCAL's advocacy work with UK politicians
- DCAL research on voice hallucinations features in the Lancet
- Deaf Children and Development
- Early sign language exposure benefits deaf children
- Read my lips - Advances in speechreading research with deaf children
- 'What do you think the girl wants from Father Christmas?' Theory of Mind research with deaf infants
- DCAL briefing on the need for specialist national neurology services for deaf people
- DCAL features on See Hear with clip of BSL from 1920s
- New Dates for Sign Linguistics Course for Deaf Professionals
- Frances Elton's Retirement Seminar
- History of BSL Online
- Media Release
- Media Release
- Media Release
- Cochlear Implants and Sign Language:
- Digging into Signs
- Language isn't what it used to be (British Sign Language - that is)
- Discover UCL summer school for D/deaf and hard of hearing students
- New living dictionary for British Sign Language
- Specialist neurological clinic for deaf people cost benefit model
- Media Release: Dementia payments for GPs will do nothing to improve diagnosis rates of deaf patients
Update on Deaf with Dementia Project
26 February 2012
A unique project working to improve life for Deaf people with dementia
Regular DCAL newsletter readers will be familiar to some extent with the Deaf with Dementia (DwD) research project that we reported on in the Spring and Autumn 2010 newsletters. This unique joint project which started in April 2010 (and will finish in December 2012) aims to improve early diagnosis and management among Deaf people who use British Sign Language (BSL). It is funded by the Alzheimer’s Society, and is a partnership between the University of Manchester, University College London (UCL), City University London and RAD (Royal Association for Deaf People). DCAL researchers are involved from UCL, as well as DCAL associates based at City University London. The project is led by the University of Manchester.
This research study is the first of its kind anywhere in the world. The team that is carrying it out encompass both Deaf and hearing researchers, and a wide range of professional backgrounds (including social work, speech and language therapy and clinical psychology) as well as multi-disciplinary academic excellence in dementia, Deaf studies, linguistics and neuroscience. The team also includes a key specialist service provider.
Good progress for DCAL’s study area
the DwD project there are three studies being carried out. DCAL/UCL is
primarily responsible for Study1 which focuses on the Older Healthy
Deaf Brain. This study includes developing a profile of normal ageing
within the Deaf Community from a cognitive perspective. This will be
used to develop a screening instrument for dementia in BSL that is
culturally appropriate and that is normed for the Deaf population.
DCAL is glad to let readers know that the data collection for the cognitive screening instrument has now finished so that we have norms for healthy Deaf people. A test is now being used clinically to check the scores of people referred for cognitive difficulties against the normal range for their age. This means that in conjunction with
DCAL, the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (a UCL Partner) in Queens Square, London can offer appointments in their Cognitive Disorders Clinic for Deaf referrals. Appointments are for patient care rather than data collection. For more information about this clinic please see page xxx of this newsletter.
DCAL revisits the England Deaf Derby and Joan club
we reported on the DCAL research team’s trip to the October 2010
England Deaf Darby and Joan (EDDJ) club annual get-together at Pontins,
Lowestoft, Suffolk. It was with EDDJ members in Lowestoft that the team
was able to collect a considerable amount of the data needed to
establish the normal profile for healthy older Deaf signers.
Thanks to an award from the University College London (UCL) Beacon Public Engagement programme, four members of DCAL staff attended the October 2011 EDDJ annual holiday get-together, this time held in Prestatyn, Wales, to feed back our results from the previous year and to engage older deaf people with research at UCL using information stalls, posters and fun activities. A bonus of the visit was that the team was also able to complete data collection. Thanks to their willingness to take part in the research the team recruited 13 participants from the EDDJ member aged between 80-89 years. In all, the DwD project has been able to collect data from 226 Deaf people, with ages ranging between 50 and 89. This is an impressive achievement.
Engaging with research participants
EDDJ event was a useful experience for the DCAL team in seeing how they
can best work in engaging with the public so that research experiences
can be rewarding for all involved. Based on feedback from EDDJ
attendees from 2010 and a suggestion to be more interactive, the DCAL
team did a “poll” with two tin cans and counters and asked people if
they wanted the team to come back the following year and do more of the
same. Happily 95 said yes and only 3 said no!
The DCAL staff took some posters and information materials with them to Prestatyn. They used the opportunity to present some early DwD findings to the attendees, who were keen to find out how the project has been progressing after meeting the team at Lowestoft the year before. The team also filmed a few people and asked what they thought of DCAL’s presence at the EDDJ and did a famous faces quiz which was very popular, with about 200 people taking part and with raffle tickets given for participation. At the end of the week DCAL held the raffle with shopping vouchers as prizes, and this event was also filmed. Finally the team provided the holiday-makers with general DCAL information such as newsletters and information about other studies, as well as giving out free UCL and DCAL pens, rubbers and chocolates.
The DCAL team also had some general leaflets about what to do if people are worried about their own memory, which include some useful contacts. They were also able to tell EDDJ about the Cognitive Disorders Clinic at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London.
The DCAL team received a very positive response from people at the EDDJ and would like to thank both the EDDJ committee and attendees for their support. The team will look forward to providing full results in the near future.
Find out more, get involved!
To find out more about the Deaf with Dementia research project and to keep up to date with progress, please go to the project web site for information in both BSL and English.
addition the project is presently seeking people from the general Deaf
community who have been diagnosed with dementia (and their carers) to
take part in an interview about their experiences of living with
dementia day to day. This is part of Study 2. See the website for
The Deaf with Dementia project
The research project is:
- Developing a screening instrument for dementia in BSL that is culturally appropriate and normed for the Deaf population
- Investigating the experience of dementia directly with Deaf people and their carers in order to provide an evidence base for culturally sensitive service provision
- Working with the wider Deaf community and service providers (such as the Alzheimer’s Society) to better understand key features of acceptable and targeted information and support for Deaf people
The Government has released a policy document: Living well with dementia: A National Dementia strategy (published February 2009). The three broad objectives which underpin the Deaf with Dementia specific research studies were designed to dovetail with the National Dementia’s Strategy’s emphasis on: early identification; broad based community awareness; improved information provision; outcome driven service provision, where outcome also encompasses cultural sensitivity/acceptability.
Public understanding of why we are concentrating on Deaf people with dementia.
The National Dementia Strategy in England has reached an implementation phase and questions are being raised about the needs of specific populations who have dementia. The Deaf with Dementia project has been asked several times to explain what we mean by Deaf people and whether the work applies to everyone who might have a ‘hearing loss’.
Principal Investigator of the Deaf with Dementia project Professor Alys Young, from the University of Manchester, has supplied this briefing on behalf of the whole team, which policy makers and ministers have found helpful:
Definitions and populations
Although it’s true to say that around 1 in 6 people have a hearing a loss of some kind and the prevalence of this increases dramatically with age, deaf people and Deaf people (with a capital D) are very different populations. Generally speaking deaf (with lower case d) is used to refer to people who use spoken language, some of whom may have done this from childhood, and others who have lost their hearing gradually or indeed as a result of ageing. Colloquially people use terms like ‘hard of hearing’ and’ hearing impaired’ to refer to these groups. Deaf with upper case D refers to people who in audiological terms have a hearing loss but whose defining feature is the language they use and their cultural affiliation i.e. British Sign Language (BSL) users who regard themselves to be part of the Deaf community. Around the world, they are therefore often referred to as Sign Language Peoples, rather than Deaf people. This group is best considered to be a cultural/linguistic minority group in the UK whose issues of access and equality will encompass language rights and cultural equality (in the same way Welsh people’s do). Population estimates for the UK range between 50 and 70,000 Deaf BSL users.
Language and literacy
For a variety of reasons early childhood deafness interferes with the usual processes of achieving literacy for many d/Deaf people (whether sign language users or spoken language users). New advances in early identification of deafness, better early intervention, improvements in technological support (digital hearing aids and cochlear implants) and the recognition of BSL as a valid full language through which English might be acquired as a second language, are all promising much better literacy for d/Deaf people in the future. However the current generation of older Deaf people (and many of those who use spoken language but have been deaf from early childhood,) are likely to have low levels of literacy. The average reading age is around 9 years old.
cultural claims of Deaf people are founded on strong evidence of
traditions, norms of behaviour, shared histories, and more generally
ways of thinking/attitudes that are clearly associated with life
experience as a Deaf signing person within Deaf communities. This point
is quite straightforward to grasp if one considers that any language
will have an associated cultural group or indeed groups (e.g. French
people and French Canadians). The many centuries of non-recognition of
the cultural and linguistic status of Deaf people has meant that these
features have not been valued and understood.
In the Deaf with Dementia research project, the culture of Deaf people is being investigated as the starting point in the identification of markers of acceptable and preferred outcomes in dementia care.