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What is D/deaf Awareness Week?

It is an annual event in the UK to raise awareness about the D/deaf community. It also aims to promote a better understanding of deafness, D/deaf culture, and the experiences of D/deaf people.

When does this event take place?

It takes place in the first full week of May. This year, it takes place from Monday 6th to Sunday 12th 2024.

Why do we need a D/deaf Awareness Week?

The purpose of the week is to help break down communication barriers and encourage better communication between D/deaf and hearing individuals.

The event also aims to promote the inclusion of D/deaf individuals in all aspects of society and highlight the importance of accessibility in the workplace and other public places.

Facts about the D/deaf community

Here are a few quick facts to know:

  • 12 million people in the UK are D/deaf or have hearing loss.
  • Roughly 1 in 6 people in the UK experience some form of hearing loss.
  • BSL (British Sign Language) is the most widely used sign language in the UK and has been recognised as an official language since 2003.
  • There are many different types of deafness, including congenital deafness (present from birth) and acquired deafness (developing later in life due to illness, injury or age-related factors).
  • Deafness can impact people’s ability to communicate and access information, but many deaf people use sign language, lip reading, and other methods to communicate.
  • Access to services and information can be a challenge for D/deaf people due to barriers such as lack of captioning or sign language interpretation.
  • Some D/deaf people use cochlear implants or hearing aids to improve their hearing, but these technologies do not work for everyone.
  • The D/deaf community has its own culture, history, and identity, which is important to recognise and respect.

Here are a few top tips for communicating with D/deaf people:

  • Always face the person
  • Speak clearly, slowly and steadily
  • Don’t cover your mouth – so the person can lip read
  • Repeat and rephrase if necessary

How to support D/deaf Awareness Week in the workplace

  • You can celebrate this event in the workplace by making your workplace more inclusive for D/deaf colleagues. This could include providing resources such as sign language interpreters or captioning services for meetings and presentations.
  • Educate yourself:
    1. Attend a D/deaf awareness training session to learn how to communicate effectively with D/deaf colleagues.
    2. Use our D/deaf awareness factsheet
    3. Read our blog, How to Support D/deaf People at Work
  • Provide deaf awareness training to all employees: This can help increase understanding and knowledge about deafness and encourage better communication and inclusion in the workplace.
  • Offer sign language classes: it employees can help bridge communication gaps between D/deaf and hearing individuals in the workplace.
  • Make the workplace more accessible: Ensure that the workplace is fully accessible to D/deaf employees, for example, by providing visual alarms, hearing loops, or captioning services.
  • Encourage the use of technology: Provide technology such as video conferencing software with captioning capabilities or messaging apps to enable deaf employees to communicate more effectively.
  • Organise a fundraising event: Consider organising a fundraising event to support local deaf charities or organizations.
  • Share information about D/deaf Awareness Week on social media to raise awareness and promote understanding among the wider community.
  • Provide support to D/deaf employees: Offer support to deaf employees, for example, by providing a mentor, a D/deaf role model or a support group.

Next steps to embed D/deaf inclusion at work

If you would like to explore how the best practice highlighted in this awareness day page can benefit your workplace, we would love to hear from you. Start the conversation by filling in the form below:

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