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New study casts light on synaesthesia among signed language users

Many synaesthetes experience colours when viewing letters or digits but a new research study involving academics from UCL, has for the first time, documented a similar phenomenon among users of signed languages. More...

Published: Aug 12, 2016 10:35:23 AM

New online resource provides ‘huge leap’ forward in deaf assessments

For the first time, teachers, clinicians and researchers will soon have access to a range of online tests that can be used to assess abilities in deaf children and adults, such as speech reading, sign language vocabulary and understanding. More...

Published: Jul 11, 2016 3:05:57 PM

DCAL-RAD-175 Awards

DCAL receive prestigious award from RAD (Royal Association of Deaf People)

DCAL received an award for the most significant research contribution to Deaf studies at RAD’s 175th Birthday Honours Awards Ceremony. More...

Published: Feb 12, 2016 2:27:29 PM

London research centre celebrates 10 years of ‘ground-breaking’ work

Amongst the many research centres in University College London’s eleven faculties, there is one that has become an award-winning beacon for Deaf research. As the Deafness, Cognition and Language Research Centre prepares to celebrate its tenth anniversary, its director looks backs over a decade of achievement which she believes has placed the Centre as a global leader in its field. More...

Published: Nov 16, 2015 10:37:40 AM

purple 1 belfast

Media Release: BSL Signbank includes new information about regional variation

As the first ever British Sign Language (BSL) usage-based dictionary celebrates its first birthday, detailed information about the regional variation in a subset of BSL signs is now available. More...

Published: Sep 24, 2015 6:06:28 PM

DCAL to collaborate with Durham University on phase-two Wellcome Trust project

A leading academic at UCL will be working with Prof. Charles Fernyhough and his team at Durham, as they secure Wellcome funding for another 5 years of research for the ‘Hearing the Voice’ project. More...

Published: Aug 21, 2015 11:33:52 AM


Exclusive University Summer School is a ‘Resounding Success’

A top London university has for a second consecutive year, held a three day residential summer school exclusively for D/deaf and hard of hearing students from across the UK. More...

Published: Aug 14, 2015 11:55:27 AM

DCAL welcomes report on access to health services for deaf people in London

Commenting on the launch of a report by the London Assembly’s Health Committee, which shows that access to health services in the Capital for those who are Deaf or who have a hearing loss is still unacceptable and in need of urgent attention, Director of the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre at University College London, Prof. Bencie Woll, said: More...

Published: Jun 13, 2015 10:04:54 PM

DCAL in Week@UCL

Last week we launched our new CPD courses and celebrated the 12th anniversary of British Sign Language (BSL) being recognised as an official language in the UK. To celebrate we held a Great BSL Bake-Off! More...

Published: Mar 27, 2015 4:09:01 PM

Media Release: "Clarity still required" on future of dementia services for BSL patients

The Director of an internationally renowned British research centre, specialising in the fields of sign language, psychology and neuroscience, has stated that the UK Government needs to do more to ensure the provision of a vital service to diagnose dementia in deaf patients using British Sign Language.

The remarks were made by Prof Bencie Woll, the Director of The Deafness, Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL), part of University College London and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, following a Short Debate secured by Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede in the Upper House, on mental health services for Sign Language users, which took place on Monday night (2 February).

With the firm focus of the debate centred on the appropriate levels of commissioning for specialist therapeutic and mental health services for British Sign Language (BSL) users, Lord Ponsonby raised the issue of the pilot Cognitive Disorders Clinic, run jointly by DCAL and the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) and questioned whether the future of the service could be maintained unless it could be commissioned and funded centrally by the NHS.

Prof Woll and her colleagues at DCAL, have led a sustained campaign to secure public funding to provide a permanent specialist neurological service for Deaf patients, with appropriate diagnostic testing and with trained staff who understand both neurology and deafness. DCAL has been working with UCLH to pilot access for Deaf patients to their diagnostic clinic but this short-term funded project will cease in 2015.

“Currently there is no permanent specialist neurology provision to properly assess and diagnose Deaf patients who present with acquired neurological symptoms”, said Prof Woll. “So when a Deaf BSL user with an acquired neurological disability, such as a neurodegenerative disease, like dementia, presents to a clinician in primary care, DCAL’s research indicates that they are often subjected to under-diagnosis, late-diagnosis or misdiagnosis. The consequences of this can be distressing for the patient and the family but it can also lead to poor health outcomes and inefficient use of valuable NHS resources.”

“My colleagues and I have long advocated that it is essential that GPs are able to refer Sign Language users to a specialist clinic where experts can make an early and timely diagnosis on a par with other patients - that is why we established the pilot clinic with our colleagues at the National Hospital for Neurosurgery and Neurology. However, this specialist service does not have long-term funding and when DCAL’s grant support from the ESRC comes to an end, the future of the service is precariously balanced unless UK Ministers and NHS England make a national specialist service a commissioning priority and a funding reality.”

“I welcome the opportunity afforded by Lord Ponsonby’s debate to raise this matter again and to have noble Lords like Lord Hunt fighting our corner was extremely helpful. Moreover, the commitment made by the Minister (Lord Howe) of establishing a working group to look at the way mental health services are provided for Deaf BSL users, was also a positive development.

“However, I am concerned that unless a permanent specialist neurological service for Deaf BSL users is formally established with public money, the health and well-being of those patients may further be compromised due to the continued denial of appropriate and equitable access to NHS treatments and services. I therefore hope the Government and NHS England can provide clarity on this issue so we can move forward.” More...

Published: Feb 15, 2015 6:43:57 PM