kate bohdanowicz writer

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Why is no-one listening to deaf people?

I didn’t know any deaf people until I met my boyfriend two years ago.

Now I can’t talk for every deaf person or anyone with a disability, but if they have to put up with a fraction of the crap he faces every day, I’m sorry for them, I’m embarrassed but more than anything I’m really bloody angry.

Because I’ve been witness to how he has been treated by many organisations and the answer in one word is RUBBISH (it’s actually far worse but this is a public blog).

Those diversity policies they trumpet in job vacancies? Why do they even bother typing them up?

And as for the recruitment agencies! (Naming no names but the initials stand for Bull Shit). Are you telling me that after 18 months, you are unable to find one day’s work for someone with 10 years' experience working for the civil service?

The bank that “likes to give you a bit extra” refusing to let him set up a payee account unless he signed up with telephone banking. When he explained he couldn’t speak on the telephone, they suggested he get a textphone (which is very last century: it’s like being told if you want to listen to music, buy a Walkman).

When I called up on his behalf, they made me pass the phone to him so he could speak the answers to the security questions even though he couldn’t hear them.

It’s humiliating and disgusting. I burst into tears.

The famous zoo that refused to deal with him on email and demanded he spoke on the phone. When he emailed to say he couldn’t hear on the phone, the message came back: phone or nothing.

I got on the phone and immediately they backed down and described it as an “oversight”.

My boyfriend doesn’t agree with my calling and complaining. He is a much nicer placid person than me. But I get so angry and whereas it’s not my place to fight his battles, I don’t believe these organisations should get away with it.

Last night he started an evening class with the understanding there would be communication support. The course co-ordinator assured him of this in writing but when he got there, nothing was in place.

He went in to the three-hour lesson and lip read throughout. Despite that he enjoyed the class. He said the lack of lip speaker was an “oversight” and he is helping the college find two lipspeakers for next week’s class.

I tried to bite my tongue. So now I’m writing this.


SEO: Journalist, teacher author. 


Comments (2)

  1. Andy:
    Mar 09, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    It is a common experience for most of us, I am afraid. My ex-wife could tell the same story. She only spoke from her own experience of being with me, she didn't realise that all deaf people get the same.

    Many of us are campaigning to put a stop to it, but it is hard work and difficult to make people listen. Gradually, at glacial speed things are improving but people's attitudes towards deafness are still shameful.

  2. Kate Bohdanowicz:
    Mar 09, 2014 at 02:10 PM

    Hi Andy

    Thanks for your comment. It's very true (and very sad).


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