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May 20, 2005

Sound boost for deaf community

From: Waltham Forest Guardian - UK - May 20, 2005

A NEW tool to improve communication between deaf and hearing people was launched last week.

The event to introduce the communication card took place during Deaf Awareness Week at Walthamstow Deaf Club, Harmony Hall, Truro Road, Walthamstow.

It attracted 80 people including William Morris ward Cllr Liaquat Ali.

Head of Waltham Forest sensory resource team Jean Smith said: "I feel it was a really good and positive event. The deaf community is quite small in Waltham Forest but we want people to have access to the services we can provide."

She added: "The aim is to empower the deaf community and getting them working with us."

The card can be carried round and shown to hearing people when the holder needs to use public services, such as hospitals.

It tells the reader how to book a sign language interpreter through Waltham Forest Council and gives tips on how to communicate with deaf people if you do not know sign language, such as speaking clearly and slowly and not speaking with a light behind so that the face can be seen.

Mrs Smith added: "The card makes people aware that they have a deaf person in front of them and it stops that embarrassment a lot of hearing people get."

Anyone who would like a communication card can get one by visiting or writing to the Sensory Resource Team, London borough of Waltham Forest, Wyemead Centre, 5 Oak Grove, Chingford, or by calling 8498 3454.

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