Raising deaf awareness online: Asha’s input

At Signature we like to recognise those who use their platform to increase awareness of deaf issues. This week we would like to introduce you to Asha, a Deaf paediatric nurse who shares weekly medical and general British Sign Language on Instagram. Asha uses her platform to educate people on deaf awareness in healthcare and in the wider society.

Here is what we learned about Asha when we reached out to her:

  1. Asha, could you tell us a bit more about yourself?

I am a paediatric critical care sister working in one of the London hospitals. I also do a bit of work raising deaf awareness and myth busting on my Instagram page.

 2. At what age did you find out you were Deaf and how do you think this impacted your upbringing?

We found out when I was around 8 months old, and I was given hearing aids a bit later on. Back in the day there was very limited resources and support available to my parents. In turn, this has had an impact on my upbringing as I had a language delay.

3. Did you always want to be a nurse?

I knew I always wanted to work with children and after doing various placements I decided to focus on children’s nursing, and I have never looked back!

4. Have you faced any barriers in your journey to becoming a paediatric nurse?

Yes, I did, way before I started university, I was facing barriers at open days with lecturers telling me that they don’t accept deaf nursing students and that it’s not possible to get on the course! After choosing the right university for myself, I had great support but still faced barriers during placements and some practical exams. Despite these barriers, I got there in the end.

5. Why is it so important to you that you share weekly medical BSL videos with your followers?

Indeed, deaf people go to hospitals and require access to healthcare! It’s incredibly important to me that Healthcare Professionals can learn to use British Sign Language (BSL) to communicate with their patients. Alongside this, it’s important to me that I raise awareness of the importance of having a BSL interpreter in hospitals nationwide. Deaf patients should not have to worry about booking an interpreter in advance to simply get the healthcare they are entitled to. Just as healthcare is readily available for hearing patients, it should be the same for d/Deaf patients as well.

6. How can healthcare and the NHS be more deaf aware?

Like I have previously mentioned, healthcare and the NHS can begin by learning the simple basics of communicating with a d/Deaf person. Additionally, d/Deaf awareness training should be provided as part of healthcare professionals mandatory training days. Through providing such training, d/Deaf people don’t have to feel anxious when visiting the doctors.

7. What advice would you give to someone who is at the start of their hearing loss journey?

Don’t be afraid to speak up and reach out to the d/Deaf community! It can be daunting at the beginning but making friends with people who are in a similar situation as you can really help to process what you are going through. As well as this, reaching out can also provide you with a great support system.

8. Are there any specific adjustments that you would like to see changed regarding BSL and deaf awareness in the upcoming years?

Yes! First of all, I believe that it is vital that there are automatic BSL interpreter bookings for hospital appointments! Additionally, I would like to see GSCE BSL being brought into schools and hopefully be part of the primary school curriculum too. As mentioned, it is really important to me that deaf awareness training is implemented into the NHS.

9. Finally, do you have any future goals that you would like to achieve?

Yes, I do, I would like to progress my career further in paediatric critical care.

Thank you to Asha for taking time out of raising deaf awareness and working in the NHS to respond to us here at Signature. It’s great to learn more about those who are doing their bit to make people more deaf aware.

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