Cultural/Linguistic Model of Deaf

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2006 National Disabled Members' Conference
6 July 2006

This Conference recognises and welcomes the ongoing work being done on the British Sign Language Project since British Sign Language was recognised by Governments as the fourth indigenous language of the United Kingdom 2003.

Conference notes the growing recognition of the need to combat discrimination against Deaf people as a marginalised group within society. We also recognise that Deaf people continue to be treated within a medical context as people with broken hearing, or with sensory loss; these labels are inaccurate as they fail to recognise the cultural and linguistic identify of 70,000 community members.

This Conference supports the evidence during the last three years that Deaf people’s demands for equal status in society should be validated as comparable to other minority ethnic and language groups. As such we are committed to supporting Deaf demands for equal access to the natural language of sign. We endorse cultural Deaf people’s demand to have equal access, particularly in respect of the Disability Equality Duty responsibilities in employment and public service delivery along similar principles that apply to Welsh speakers.

This Conference calls upon the National Disabled Members Committee to:

1)Strengthen the national union’s policy on the social model to reflect the cultural and linguistic needs of Deaf people

2)Produce guidance for branches to support their negotiations on the Disability Equality Duty to reflect a Deaf perspective in employment and public service delivery.

3)Produce guidance to branches to support their representation of Deaf members and their inclusion of Deaf members as activists of this union.

4)Issue guidance to branches on effective communication with Deaf member

5)Advise the union on best practice relating to Deaf members accessible recruitment, including advice to UNISON affinity partners.

6)Advise appropriate structures on making the UNISON website accessible to Deaf users and that branches are encouraged to follow the same model of good practice.