How did you come to be writing deafauntie?
I have always been involved in problem solving and assisting others (rather than ‘helping’) to solve their own problems and in fact was an Agony Aunt for a national deaf magazine (more of that another time).
However, lately I do seem to be inundated with problems – I probably get several a week now rather than an occasional one every couple of weeks. I think that is probably because more advice services are closing down and there are fewer places deaf people can go for advice. It has got to a point where it is proving impossible to keep up with this voluntary (eg unpaid) work so I decided to set up a blog and deal with it that way.
The beauty of this blog is of course, that everyone else can offer their viewpoint too (which might be different from mine and others) and suggest alternative strategies and ways of doing things.
Who exactly is deafauntie for?
Everyone! It is for the whole spectrum of deaf people from native BSL users (more discussion on this another time) right through to someone who lost their hearing last week.
Deafauntie is also open to hearing people who have a deaf connection – whether they are a sign language interpreter, a next-door neighbour, a parent, a lipspeaker, staff at work, education officers in art galleries – the list is endless. We want everyone to join in and see a deaf issue from all sorts of perspectives. There is no right or wrong answer but only the answer that is right for you.
Are all the problems, issues and queries on deafauntie (and your earlier Agony Aunt page for a deaf magazine) actually genuine?
I am often asked this (as is every agony aunt) and the answer is yes, they are all true and genuine. They come to me in a variety of ways, emails, text and written (although that is quite rare now).
Some people approach me in public places or at parties (that statement sounded a bit dodgy, but it isn’t meant to be!) with their story hoping for some kind of reassurance. Sometimes stories are told to me via other people or within a larger or more complicated story and I pull out one strand which I think sounds interesting. Of course all stories are interesting but some read better than others. I don’t need to make up problems, they just keep flowing my way!