Deaf awareness week 2022
Angela has been at Fisher Lane since 2014 and is the assistant manager there.
Fisher Lane is a unique service. The five residents and five out-reach service users are all deaf, as are all bar one of the support team.
For Deaf Awareness Week Angela explains the unique challenges faced during Covid:
“We’re a close group at Fisher Lane, and when Covid happened it made it really hard to communicate with each other and the people we support.
“We had to introduce new technology to continue supporting our people.
“I worked with our IT team and SMaRT team to find assistive technology solutions to help us out. We quickly set up video calling. It meant that we could lip read and use sign language, but without having to be in the same room.
“Our service users used video calls to contact each other too. It helped them to see friends and catch up with family. It stopped people feeling lonely in lockdown.
“Video calling also helped the staff team stay in touch with each other and keep spirits up. It’s something that we’ve carried on now lockdown has ended. It helps us support each other.
“At the beginning of the pandemic we did panic a bit. There wasn’t much information to start with and we have additional communication needs to work around. Even something as seemingly simple as wearing a face mask is not so straightforward at Fisher Lane. How do you communicate with someone who lip-reads when wearing a mask? We tried various alternatives, including facemasks with see-through plastic panels, but they just steamed up! In the end we settled for normal masks, and communicated with sign language.
“Now, life feels like it’s getting better. We’re able to use the shared activity space again that our residents and out-reach users used to enjoy so much together. Everyone is so pleased to get to see each other. We’ve started art and craft sessions again and the other week we did some Easter baking. And we’ve planted lots of sunflowers. We can’t wait to see who’s grows the tallest!”