‘Invis-abilities: the Elephant in the Room’

The elephant in the room

The elephant in the room

Yesterday I was contacted by Rachel Wayne, a PhD student from Queen’s University, Kingston in Canada. Her studies are in the field of Cognitive Neuroscience and Clinical Psychology and she recently came to some very personal conclusions as a result of some research work she was doing with her supervisor. The result of that one conversation with one person, as she put it, sparked not only a deeply important personal realisation but a whole series of blogs which culminated in a TEDx talk entitled ‘Invis-abilities: the elephant in the room’. The TEDx talk is well worth listening to (and for once, google’s autosubtitles behave themselves) so it is definitely worth a watch. Her talk may not be evocative for every deaf person, particularly those that see their deafness from the Deaf perspective, but it certainly spoke to me. This was particularly so in the part where she talks about feeling that she ‘had to constantly advocate’ for herself and what she needed in the classroom. I know there are times where I get so tired of being the needy one, constantly (or so it feels) asking for support for this event or that seminar. Just once it’d be nice to be asked “say, there’s this conference in August, do you want to? if so, I’ll sort out the support…”. Inspired by Rachel, I plan to write more about this at a later date.

But back to Rachel: her writings, in three parts, are also very much worth a read, where she reflects on how to enable communication with deaf people; gives some insights into deaf students in further and higher education and finally, some strategies that deaf students and their teachers can use and the bigger picture.

More information about Rachel and her work can be found here.

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