Liam O'Dell

Liam O’Dell is a Deaf freelance journalist and campaigner who specialises in deafness, disability and social media. He regularly contributes to the deaf news blog The Limping Chicken as well as having his work featured in the likes of The Stage, HuffPost, Metro, The I and the Independent. You can find out more about Liam’s work on Twitter and his Website.

Am I a British Sign Language (BSL) signer?

28th Dec 2022

I’m going to be honest – some might even say vulnerable – but in recent weeks I’ve come to question if I can call myself a British Sign Language (BSL) signer, and wrestled with the cultural weight, as it were, which comes with that. A bit about me, first of all, in case you aren’t …

Don’t fool for the UK Government’s rhetoric on supporting disabled people – their inaction on BSL is embarrassing

14th Dec 2022

“I think it is fair to say that this Government has done an extraordinary amount to support those who are disabled,” said Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride MP on Monday. Days later, lawyers representing the Cabinet Office would continue to contest a claim for compensation brought by 276 Deaf people over inaccessible Covid briefings. …

Let’s go beyond Deaf awareness, and accept communication needs as well

20th Oct 2022

I worry that there is a generalised approach to Deaf awareness from hearing people, namely around British Sign Language (BSL). Of course, the language of our culture and our community is incredibly important, and when hearing people learn it in order to communicate with Deaf BSL signers, it can break down barriers. However, it’s important …

We urgently need to fix the communication crisis

22nd Sep 2022

I’ve seen many people of my generation bemoan the fact that we have lived through so many historic events in such a short space of time – the vote to pull the UK out of the European Union (a.k.a. Brexit), a deadly pandemic, war in Europe, the passing of Her Majesty The Queen and a …

BSL Bill moves onto the house of lords

15th Apr 2022

With the third reading reported to take place in the Lords on 27 April, there’s a real prospect we’ll have a British Sign Language (BSL) Bill ready to become law by the end of the month. It’s quite remarkable how far the Bill – which would finally give legal recognition to BSL – has come …

Course correction: Why it’s vital your British Sign Language (BSL) course is regulated and accredited

24th Jun 2021

I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve fallen foul to it myself. Having accepted that most accredited British Sign Language (BSL) courses were too expensive for me to enrol in, I settled for a cheap online programme. It was, I was told, a course which had been heavily discounted from hundreds of pounds down to double digits, and with a voucher code, I could bring it down to an affordable £12.

When my deafness and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) collide

30th Apr 2021

In July 2020, I was handed another diagnosis to process. Years of fending off intense intrusive thoughts on my own, the pressure from lockdown became a bit too much to bear. With the encouragement of my parents, I approached my GP and was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I was also prescribed sertraline.

I experienced my first activist burnout – here’s how to tackle it

30th Apr 2021

A few weeks ago, I had what I would probably describe as an ‘activist burnout’. Asking hearing people to make their content more deaf friendly and accessible, only for them to ignore you and belittle your concerns is exhausting. At worst, it can make you question your efforts to increase deaf awareness, when certain individuals just don’t want to listen.

Why I started up my own deaf newsletter

30th Apr 2021

I have one person to thank for repeatedly encouraging me to set up an email newsletter. For the longest time, I had brushed it aside on the basis that I didn’t know what on earth I would want to write about. A lot of things I considered news, I had written about in my job as a freelance journalist. If we’re talking personal news, then I’d save that for the small number of people on Twitter who may find that interesting – emphasis on the ‘may’.