And what does it look like from the perspective of contacts more official, for example, in offices? How is Poland doing here?
It can be very different. In 2011, the law on sign language and other means of communication was adopted, which provides authorized persons with the opportunity to choose the method of communication, obliges the authorities to have an interpreter at the request of a minimum of 3 days before the visit. This is a great convenience, but in practice the implementation of statutory provisions comes out very differently. The Ombudsman has issued his report on the matter. It shows that only 10 percent. it is possible to use a PJM interpreter or the support of a trained official. As much as 41 percent. it only allows contact with a trained official.
Very often such a trained official is de facto after a 60-hour course.
Most often SJM, which does not provide sufficient communication skills to handle official business. Imagine being served in the office by someone with an A1 language certificate!
At the doctors, deaf people also face unpleasant situations. Sometimes they want to settle their own case in writing, without the participation of an interpreter due to the need for privacy, or, for example, they just need a referral. There are doctors who refuse to serve such a patient, arguing that the duration of such a visit is too long.
- My partner, who is deaf, came with a request to be referred to a pulmonologist, and the doctor sold him, conducted a listening test, found bronchitis and prescribed a prescription medicine!
- My partner wasn’t sick at all. But maybe he had the inflammation after all? Maybe he should take this medicine?
- Or maybe the doctor wanted to get rid of him quickly? He didn’t find out because there was no communication. In this case, the translator was not available, and the doctor did not want to agree to an online translator.
Marek immediately made an appointment with another doctor for the next day and learned that he was not sick, and a prescription was not needed.
Do you think more hearing people should learn to blink?
Of course, it is worth more hearing people to know sign language! I was on vacation in the United States a few years ago. There, American Sign Language (ASL) is perhaps the third most popular foreign language chosen by students. It was obvious!
Every now and then my friends and I would come across people who were flashing something at us, who had no problem communicating with us, helping us with something.
Of course, we didn’t understand much about ASL, but it was a very pleasant and refreshing experience. Poles are generally not communicative and cautious when it comes to contacts with foreigners. Abroad in the west it is much better.
It is very valuable when hearing people want to learn more about our world and are open to a different communication, a different perception of the world. It is necessary to reject stereotypes, it is not necessary to be afraid of deaf people. We’re human like everyone else. Writing on a card, gesticulating, speaking clearly will help to establish contact.