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Accessibility guidance notes for lecturers

Accessibility: With making lunchtime lectures more accessible to a wider public, it is important to be mindful of UCL's statutory responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Acts and Disability Discrimination Duty. In summary we must ensure that disabled people can participate on equal terms and are not placed at a substantial disadvantage in relation to people who are not disabled. You will not always know whether there is a disabled member of staff, disabled student, or disabled member of the public in your audience, the onus is on us all to anticipate that there might be and therefore make adjustments to make the lectures as accessible and inclusive as possible.

Contact Sarah Guise UCL’s Head of Equalities & Diversity for further information.

How to find a sign language interpreter

Not all deaf people require the services of a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter so an enquiry should be made in order that the most appropriate language service professionals (LSPs) can be arranged for an interview or meeting. There is a current national shortage of LSPs so you will need to be able to give as much notice as possible, minimally two weeks, to guarantee service provision. The earlier the booking, the greater the likelihood of sourcing the most appropriately skilled interpreter, for the assignment.

Interpreters used within the public sector should be registered with The National Registers of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind People (NRCPD). In order to register, interpreters will have obtained a specified level of training, professional indemnity insurance and an enhanced DBS check. Their on-line directory can be found at . To verify that an interpreter you have booked is registered, check the directory.

Should you wish to engage with an agency to meet your interpreting needs, there will be an additional administrative cost but this will include sourcing an interpreter on your behalf. There are an increased number of agencies who provide sign language interpreters; to ensure quality, check that they provide registered interpreters.

Once an interpreter is booked they should be provided with preparation materials; these can include an agenda, minutes, meeting documentation, power point presentations, speaker's notes, lecture notes, etc. The preparation enables the interpreters to become familiar with your topic area, the names of people to be mentioned, to read further papers published by presenters and to ensure that they have the appropriate schema for the job. Without preparation interpreters have to make a greater cognitive effort and this will affect the quality of their interpreting. As with any interpretation there will be a short delay between you saying your sentence and this being translated. Whilst you do not need to speak more slowly be aware that the Deaf person will receive the message a little after everyone else. Take advice from the Deaf person as to seating arrangements and a suitable position for the interpreter. Whilst interpreters are there to facilitate communication, remember to speak directly to the Deaf person and not the interpreter.

For interpreting provision within the workplace, Deaf employees can apply to Access to Work to meet the costs, see . Deaf job applicants can also get funding from Access to Work for an interpreter to accompany them to a job interview at UCL. All other interpreting costs should be met by Departments as part of their obligation to make reasonable adjustments.

Contact Sarah Guise UCL’s Head of Equalities & Diversity for further information.

Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL)

The Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL), funded by the Economic and Social Research Council is Europe's leading centre investigating the communication of deaf people.

With British Sign Language (BSL) and the Deaf Community at the centre of its research focus, DCAL draws from the disciplines of linguistics, psychology, and neuroscience in order to understand how Deaf people communicate in BSL or English, and uses insights from this research to understand human communication in the broadest sense.

Research includes functional imaging studies of language processing, experimental psycholinguistic research on language processing, corpus linguistics, studies of signers with developmental or acquired impairments in BSL (for example, signers with stroke), and research on the learning of BSL by children and adults.

British Sign Language is the first or preferred language of between 50,000-70,000 people in the UK and was officially recognised by the government in 2003. Approximately 250,000 people have obtained qualifications in BSL over the last 25 years.

It is hoped that the research of DCAL will benefit Deaf children and adults by increasing awareness of research, leading to evidence-based practice amongst service providers, offering  research-based input into government policy affecting Deaf and hard of hearing people, and supporting the work of those concerned with human language and communication,

We are building on our success in research by developing new degree-level teaching programmes and a new range of short training courses for professionals. DCAL is uniquely situated to provide high quality courses which are supported by current research. Short courses will cater to different professions working with the Deaf community including BSL teachers, interpreters, teachers of the deaf, audiologists, speech and language therapists and other associated professionals. DCAL also offer bespoke courses, commissioned by organizations and designed and delivered to their audiences. For further information on DCAL courses, please visit

DCAL is a bilingual workplace: 1/3 of staff and research students are Deaf, and all members of DCAL are provided with training in BSL.

For more information about DCAL and its activities, please visit



Last updated: 12th October 2016