Who’s doing it? Anita Walsh.
Where? East Riding of Yorkshire Council.
Job description: Assessing the needs of visually
or hearing impaired people and arranging equipment and assistance.
Skills/qualifications needed: Ability to use sign
language, patience, sense of humour, empathy.
What’s good about the job? Often simple, cheap
things can greatly improve clients’ lives. I get job satisfaction
from that. I love face-to-face contact. My job shows someone cares.
Clients can be isolated, and some have families who don’t bother
much. I also find sign language fascinating.
What’s bad about the job? I wish there was more
deaf awareness and that people were more patient with deaf
relations, not mocking them for asking a question twice or making
remarks such as “She hears when she wants to.”
What’s the job like? I visit clients and assess
their needs. An assessment takes about an hour. We can suggest a
range of ideas. It might be simply recommending the talking books
service. Or help with cooking – you can stick different-shaped
“bump-ons” on microwaves and cookers, so visually impaired people
can tell which setting they are using. There are talking products
including microwaves, bathroom scales and watches. Loop systems for
hearing-impaired people amplify without distorting. When I show a
client a loop and they hear a human voice for the first time in
years, their faces light up. For deaf people who live alone, being
able to hear the television on a loop gives them company. Without
assistance, people will muddle on with a poor quality of life. Some
equipment such as magnifying computers and readers – where you feed
in a document and a voice reads the text – is too expensive for the
council to provide, but charities and families can help.