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Learn to work and communicate well with deaf people: UCL launches new online deaf awareness course

14 February 2017

According to the charity Action on Hearing Loss, one in six of us has a hearing loss – this will increase to one in five by 2035 (source). This means millions of people who need to work, access services, shop, enjoy entertainment and more may be experiencing barriers to doing so. Do you and your staff really understand what these barriers are and how you can help overcome them?

The Deafness Cognition and Language (DCAL) Centre, based at UCL (University College London), is a world-renowned centre of excellence for research and teaching in sign language. The centre brings together leading Deaf and hearing researchers in the fields of sign linguistics, psychology, and neuroscience.

These experts have developed a self-paced online course that explores deafness and hearing loss in its many forms:

The DCAL and Life Learning course teams at deaf awareness launch

The UCL Life Learning team supported the development of the course, which was officially launched at an event last week.


Picture: Dr Robert Adams and Dr Manjula Patrick from DCAL and Dr Mina Sotiriou and Victoria Banks from UCL Life Learning attend the launch event.

Understand what it’s really like to have a hearing loss

Throughout the course you’ll see videos of four people who have different kinds of hearing loss and very different experiences, giving you a unique insight into their lives. They range from those who've acquired a hearing loss later in life and have had to adapt to a difficult change, to those who celebrate their Deafness and have no place in their vocabulary for such words as 'suffer' and 'disability' – it’s part of who they are and they’re proud of it.

You also get to experience what it’s like to lip read, play a lip-reading game and hear what it sounds like to use a hearing aid.

You’ll see some of the discrimination and obstacles facing deaf people and find out how you can avoid making the same mistakes.

It’s a unique opportunity to gain an understanding of the variety of technology and support available to help with equal access. You won't just be told the theory, you'll experience it yourself.

Practical, enriching experiences like this are woven into information about what deafness is, how it’s caused medically, historical attitudes to deafness and what deaf culture is.

Book now: Deaf Awareness: Working and Communicating Well with Deaf People

Why do you need deaf awareness training?

Understanding the barriers facing this group of people and the importance of equal access will help you to communicate better and provide easier access to your services, products, workplace – whatever is important to you.

You may already work in an environment where communication is important and think that you're deaf aware – but do you really understand the diversity within deafness and how you can make a difference?

" …deaf awareness is important because, at its most fundamental level, it facilitates a bridge between hearing and deaf people. Indeed, concentrated efforts to champion and utilise inclusivity will create a more diverse and open society" (DCAL)

Book now: Deaf Awareness: Working and Communicating Well with Deaf People

Endorsement from the Provost and Vice-Provosts at UCL

UCL Provost with deaf awareness course

Professor Michael Arthur, UCL Provost, commented:

" The new online short course, Deaf Awareness: Working and Communicating Well with Deaf People, developed by UCL’s Deafness Cognition and Language Centre (DCAL), is a fantastic innovation in how we are using our world-class research to remove barriers and ensure equality across society. This course will certainly make an important contribution to any organisation that wants to ensure equal access for staff that are deaf or have hearing loss.”

Professor David Lomas UCL Vice-Provost (Health) said:

" I am delighted that DCAL have launched Deaf Awareness: Working and Communicating Well with Deaf People. It is vitally important that frontline health and social care professionals understand the needs of deaf people and people with hearing loss if they are to provide safe and efficient services. The online course has been designed to be as flexible as possible and to support the ongoing professional development of people working in the public, private and third sectors.”

Rex Knight, UCL Vice-Provost (Operations) commented:

" UCL takes its equality responsibilities towards both its student and staff communities very seriously. As UCL’s Disability Champion I am delighted that the DCAL research centre has launched an innovative online short course, Deaf Awareness: Working and Communicating Well with Deaf People. The course is a great way for higher education institutions to demonstrate their commitment to ensuring equal access by facilitating their staff who come in contact with people who are deaf or have hearing loss to attend.”

Further information

UCL staff and students can join the course for £50 (standard price is £119). Contact dcal.da_course@ucl.ac.uk for more information.



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Page last modified on 01 November 2016 10:21