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Diabetes UK reaches out to deaf people who use BSL

Posted Feb 16 2011 11:57am

Clare Chilton.JPG
Diabetes UK has produced crucial information in British Sign Language (BSL) for people with diabetes in the Deaf community.

Studies suggest that people with diabetes may be more likely to develop hearing problems. There are concerns that deaf people may not be able to easily access information that can help them to efficiently manage their diabetes, which if not managed effectively can lead to serious complications like heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputation.

The project, in collaboration with the RNID, involved translating the Diabetes UK leaflet ‘Understanding diabetes’, which is considered the core information to have when someone has been diagnosed with diabetes or for people who want to know more about a family member or friend’s condition. British Sign Language has also been incorporated into the Diabetes UK ‘Your Body’ animation, which describes the biological processes of diabetes. Both films also have subtitles and are available to view on the Diabetes UK website .

The videos will be publicly presented for the first time at an NHS Diabetes conference called ‘Diabetes Education Session for the Deaf and hard of hearing’ in London on Friday 11 March, 2011.

RNID’s Clare Chilton, a former presenter on the BBC ‘See Hear’ television programme, provided the BSL for the videos. She says “RNID was delighted to be involved in this project. The use of technology to improve access to information for people who are deaf is a vital part of our work. It is fantastic to see Diabetes UK recognise the needs of sign language users and provide important medical information in BSL. I have been directing people towards the website because I think this information is so important to members of the Deaf community.”

Head of Equality and Diversity at Diabetes UK, Jenne Dixit, adds “We have been working with people in the Deaf community and the RNID to try and provide information that is easily accessible. It is so important that everyone with diabetes, and their families, understands about diabetes and how to manage it, as if not managed effectively diabetes can lead to devastating complications.”

A project is currently underway to try and find out more about deaf people’s health. It is hoped results from The Deaf Health Research Project will provide a clearer picture of how many deaf people have diabetes in the UK. To take part, people who are deaf are being encouraged to fill in the online survey at www.deafhealth.org.uk .

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