Stickers to indicate disability

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pseudonym
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Stickers to indicate disability

Post by pseudonym »

As a paddler with a severe hearing loss who wears hearing aids in everyday life I have had a few awkward moments in eddies and beside rivers as someone comes up and starts chatting (friendly bunch paddlers!) and I come across as rude and obnoxious due to noy being able to hear them.
I am thinking about getting stickers for my helmet/boat to avoid this. Probably some variation of this
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... afness.jpg

As I am also registered as sight impaired I would also like a symbol on my boat to show that e.g. http://www.we-make-money-not-art.com/yyy/lowvis.gif. This is intended to be more of a 2 fingered salute at life than anything else

I have three questions for the mass of humanity that is UKRGB.

1) would you understand what the symbols indicate?

2) Would you believe them or would you think I was an insensitive fool and all round cad?

3) Can you think of any better (or for the blindness more humourous) symbols?

cheers

paddletrek
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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by paddletrek »

Not a bad idea I have to admit, I am in a similar position, also being hearing impaired and wearing hearing aids. It could be an useful tool especially if you are leading down a rapid or setting up safely. Again would be interested to see what kind of opinion people think about this. Although I lip-read it is not that easy on a river once you get onto grade 3 ish or in the wrong position.

TomWardill
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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by TomWardill »

I understand the symbols, however it's not something I'd expect to see on a boat/paddler (not intended to be a reflection on your disability, just a general out of context problem), and would probably assume it's some form of reference/in-joke.

I'm not really sure what would work better, it's something I've never really thought about.
Maybe 'DEAF' under the hearing one, in a prominent place on your boat and helmet? And similar for the sight.
I'm not sure that it'd solve the initial assumption, but it would explain things once noticed.

Out of sheer curiosity, do you find it affects your paddling in any significant way, and what have you found helps in the paddlers around you (in terms of instruction, signals etc)?
Coaching disabled/impaired paddlers was part of my L2 course, but I'd love to hear from someone about what actually works in case I am ever in that situation.

I honestly don't know what would work (making this a fairly useless post in that regard tbh), but it's certainly made me think about how I'd respond in such a situation, and something I'll definitely be more aware of.
Tom Wardill

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peakfreak
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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by peakfreak »

The hearing impaired image, I feel would be fine, as I know exactly what that one means (but I did go out with a girl for some time who was deaf and she taught me quite a bit of sign language also)
As for the partially sighted image, I think you may be off the mark with that one as it does seem a bit of a p**s take image. Is there not an international sign for visualy impaired?
As you are obviously light hearted about your vision impairment, maybe a huge pair of Mr Magoo glasses with a slogan such like "Yes I am Blind!" underneath it would be a good conversation starter. Think on, if you make people laugh they WILL remember and take note.
As Tom Wardill has said though, I too would be interested in what methods or experiences you have for handling your condition whilst out on the water.

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wezzzy
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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by wezzzy »

Could you have a white paddle shaft with red bands on it?
The white shaft could be like a cane and the red stripes indicates hearing imparement, problem is I doubt many would associate the white shaft with VI or know about the red stripes if they did.

I agree that the VI symbol would be seen as a bit of a p**s take, another symbol could be used but would need to be advertised on lots of websites, forums and in mags/vids for it to be taken seriously.

stephan
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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by stephan »

Maybe it would be easiest just to get a sticker printed which says "I am deaf", or whatever you want to put on there.

If it's a big enough size, that might be ok, as long as the person can read of course!

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Dug
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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by Dug »

Does it really matter? Kayaking is no different to real life, appart from the fact your sitting in a boat... As long as your group know and can take it into account in signals etc most others will pic up on it pretty quickly if they start talking and don't get much back.

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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by peakfreak »

Dug wrote:Does it really matter?...
To some people I would say it does Dug. If only to save embarassment on both sides. The OP even said that some paddlers in eddies got the impression that he/she was being ignorant for not replying when spoken too.
Sometimes it helps to be informed and also to inform others, that way we can all get on with what matters, in this case paddling.
Does the disability matter, is probably the best question to ask and I am sure you would join me and most others out there with a resounding answer of "no it doesn't, not a jot".

:-)

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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by scottdog007 »

Recently I had a strange experience with a person who had a hearing disability. 2 weeks ago were both on a 3 Star Assessment. He explained that he was deaf. But what I and the instructor didn't realise was that he was totally deaf, he couldn't hear any sounds so he had to lip read to understand what others said. Now in normal life communication he would have a person standing infront on him, stationary and at a set distance. Now on the water it was so very very different, and difficult for him to lipread, especially if you need glasses to see the lips. Glasses with water drops on. So I have every simpathy for him and for you.

The situation on the 3 star course went a little down hill when we started by doing support strokes and a roll. When this guy did his roll, his glasses although attached to a piece of string, came off and he lost them. So the poor guy had to struggle with his eye sight as well. It made it difficult when I had to go into an eskimo rescue position, and I sat there, and sat there and sat there. And he was also sitting because he hadn't heard the instructor, and so wasn't coming to rescue me. It seems a lot of waving by the instructor set him on the way and he indeed rescued me.

Going back to your situation. I don't think many people truely understand how difficult it must be for a person with a hearing disability being in a boat. But it would be a good idea for you to have a sticker. And when you are approached by another kayaker, point to this sticker and tell them you have a hearing disability, and that YOU HAVE to lip read to understand. I am sure most people will adapt, and realize you are not being rude when you don't reply all the time. But a sticker and an explanation from you would be very helpful.

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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by morsey »

If you do not want to chat to people by the river you could just get one of these International symbol for not listening stickers!

TomS
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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by TomS »

Interesting topic. My 6 year old son is profoundly deaf (meningitis) and uses a cochlear implant. I am hoping that I will be able to take him boating and get him interested at some point in the future. Is deaf/disability awareness now part of the coaching curiculum?

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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by pseudonym »

Somehow I hadn’t thought of combining the images with words… That should definitely make it easier for others to understand. Cheers

The issue of disability not being expected in an “extreme” activity is very real. I often use a symbol cane in crowded/dimly lit places and find that the default assumption at kayaking events is either I’m in fancy dress or I’m making a poor taste joke.

As to the issue of whether or not it matters, from my point of view I will do as much as I can without running undue risk. Any measure that reduces my stress (at an awkward conversation for example) and makes life safer and easier for everyone is worth trying.
Also whether you like it or not first impressions do make a difference.

For those that are interested here is a quick note on my paddling situation…

I feel it has impacted my paddling significantly (although perhaps not as much as lacking fitness and generally being not very good anyway). I sometimes find myself more concerned about whether I will see/hear communication than about what I’m actually paddling. I definitely prefer pool-drop style rivers to continuous and will generally never paddle anything above 4 as the risk is just not worth it for me (although the way I’ve been paddling lately 3 is pushing it).

I try to always brief the people in my paddling group (at the same time as we go over river signals) that there is a problem. I tend not to say much more than that I am deaf and will have trouble hearing on the river, I should probably be more explicit and detailed there and say that I will be relying on lip reading. Hearing descriptions of lines is stressful, I feel far more secure if I have seen other people run it.

Sight wise is trickier as I have no basis for comparison with normality (the brain effectively just fills in the gaps with what it thinks should be there). In well lit conditions it is fairly good and in dim it is horrible. The decision is mine alone. If I feel it is safe then I will paddle but will not be afraid to walk out if I have to or simply not to paddle at all. I try to err on the side of caution in the interests of staying alive…

One thing I have used a couple of times and found useful is to have a specific signal (usually obscene) to mean something along the lines of "help I don't know what is happening, come and talk to me". Alternative phrasing includes "you're a horrible river leader and I hate you"... ;)

The majority of people I paddle with I know fairly well and see often. I believe they all know (to varying degrees of detail) my situation, certainly they understand my need to be led back from the pub after dark.  People are generally understanding and supportive.
I would probably choose notto paddle with a group consisting solely of people I didn’t know and trust already.

paddletrek
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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by paddletrek »

TomS wrote:Interesting topic. My 6 year old son is profoundly deaf (meningitis) and uses a cochlear implant. I am hoping that I will be able to take him boating and get him interested at some point in the future. Is deaf/disability awareness now part of the coaching curiculum?

when i first started paddling at 11 there was no kind of training and when different coaches came on it was hard to adapt however being a regular it quickly adapted and some of the coaches became more aware than others. Have had several problems especially when a coach assessing awards come along and has not met anyone deaf before. It has slowed me down but has not stopped me from paddling.

Having recently completed my level 1 coaching award I have found that disability awareness is part of the course however due to the wide variety of disabilities and the limited amount of time it is covered so all coaches should be aware of paddlers with disabilities. having said that some people are more aware than others maybe through personal experience or knowledge. natually people who were on the course would be more aware, again it depends on the knowledge and experience of coaches and those teaching coaches.

I would expect now that coaches are more welcoming people with disabilities to join in and make sure they have fun and adapt the activities to the group.

having said that being deaf has not stopped my paddling and i hope to continue it yet for a long while to come, the most important thing i think is when you join a group or go to the centre on the first session tell them you are deaf as it means they are able to support you, if you are more shy at least make sure the coaches are aware.

On the river as a casual paddling group the situation is more complex especially on moving/white water with the distant lack of waterproof hearing aids, where you could end up in a mix paddling group in an eddy at the top or bottom of a rapid. It would be interesting if anyone has any ideas as to what to put on the boats, some kind of awareness sticker or something could well be useful to indicate hearing impairment but what we don't want is put other people off approaching us because we have a hearing impairment however as canoeists we are naturally inquisitive so it should not happen . sometimes especially now on flat water and depending on craft/activity/whether i am coaching i would wear one of my hearing aids so if something did happen i would hear but not necessary know but its easy to adapt to the situation. Again it would raise awareness and hopefully bring people out of their shells especially if they see other deaf paddlers around.

think some kind of sticker with words could work very well, any ideas for designs welcome.. would be interested in how many people would welcome something like this.

would be interested if anyone else has anything to share with this. Would like to see more deaf paddlers, are there other deaf paddlers out there, would be interesting to see if there are as in 11 years have only met 1 other hearing impaired paddler.... i am sure there are many but again as many of us dont wear hearing aids or cochlear implants on the water on the water then it is hard to tell.

hope this gives an further insight to what i have experienced... this is a very interesting topic. look forward to seeing other ideas, opinions, experiences.

any other deaf paddlers/hearing paddlers fancy meeting up/paddling feel free to pm me. based in SE/SW england.

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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by TomWardill »

pseudonym wrote:Somehow I hadn’t thought of combining the images with words… That should definitely make it easier for others to understand. Cheers

How about something along these lines:

Image

I had a spare 5 minutes, I've got the original vectors if anyone wants them to modify/print.
Tom Wardill

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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by Jones Chris »

Hey Tom - thats cracking, good work fella.

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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by pseudonym »

I really like that. Referencing paddling seems to make it look less jokey as well.
Well done Tom, and thanks.

John Saunders
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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by John Saunders »

Like the design - simple and effective.

As a possible alternative you could do as the Chicago Police started doing a few years ago in response to the need to identify deaf people with whom they were trying to communicate over distance. This issue arose after they changed their operational procedures when pulling over vehicles for traffic offences, etc., in response to a number of officers getting shot when they approached drivers on foot &/or leant towards them in their vehicles. The new practice meant keeping their distance and their own police vehicles between themselves and the stopped drivers, but it also meant having to shout commands to these members of the public... and the innevitable result when deaf drivers failed to respond to armed patrolmen.

The solution was to issue deaf drivers with a piece of card about 30cm long by 8cm high on which was printed something like "MY NAME IS ....[Fill in your name]. I AM DEAF/HARD OF HEARING". This could be placed in the back window of your car, just as the stickers proposed above could be stuck on your kayak. The additional advantage of filling in your name is that it could serve as an ice-breaking intro to anyone who thought you were being stand-offish before spotting the sticker (or you could of course just fill in your UKRGB pseudonym if you preferred).

paddletrek
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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by paddletrek »

Tom, great design, maybe something to put your name on which again like john can act as a great ice breaker and possibly a bit more of a border to allow for the tape for when your securing it to the craft unless they are backed on some strong adhensive.
Would be interested if there was enough interest for something like this or if it was to start appearing...

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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by TomWardill »

paddletrek wrote:Tom, great design, maybe something to put your name on which again like john can act as a great ice breaker and possibly a bit more of a border to allow for the tape for when your securing it to the craft unless they are backed on some strong adhensive.
Would be interested if there was enough interest for something like this or if it was to start appearing...
As it happens, I own a vinyl cutter, would be a bit of a pain to make on a cutter rather than a printer, but I'll have a crack tomorrow night and see if I can come up with a prototype version.
If anyone wants the original files to modify or print, just send me a PM, I'd love for something like this to be used, if it'll ever be of any use to anyone.

I know someone who got a load of stickers printed up fairly cheaply recently, if there's enough interest to cover the cost, I'll get a batch made up professionally.
Tom Wardill

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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by adski »

I think Tom's sticker is a brilliant idea and rather than talking about it here on UKRGB I think if any BCU heirarchy are reading this they should be running with Tom's prototype asap. Anything that makes life easier and safer for disabled paddlers should be encouraged.

I imagine the PC brigade may winge that we're singling a minority group out by providing disability stickers but its up to the individual whether they wish to inform others about their disability. And finally before I get off my soapbox, if you're in an eddy with someone else you don't know- lets be nice! Listen to Earl...it's Karma!

ps. Good work Tom, well done

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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by Cymru Richie »

.... I am sure there are many but again as many of us dont wear hearing aids or cochlear implants .
What is a cochlear implant? If you don't mind me asking?

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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by Jim »

I wouldn't have a clue what the symbols mean and if you appeared not to hear me in the eddy I would probably assume that you either had ears full of water from rolling, were wearing earplugs, had a helmet that covered your ears, or that you had a hearing impediment. Personally I get a lot of wax, it means I often miss things said to me in noisy situations like eddies or pubs and I can't recall it being a problem. I think most paddlers are used to the fact that verbal communication around whitewater is a nightmare and probably won't take offence at being ignored - there will always be occasions when someone gets upset because you failed to hear their yell to move out of the way or something, but they probably won't notice a symbol anyway, it won't show up through red mist!

Visually impaired is more of a problem, people tend to expect other paddlers to be able to see - even those of us that wear glasses - and are much more likely to give you a mouthful of abuse for failing to see something developing than for failing to hear them. I once randomly met up with some people from a club I was in at a slalom site, and I recall one girl who normally wore glasses wasn't wearing them on the river. I talked to her in the eddies a few times during the afternoon, and then later after she had got changed she spotted me in the car park and started a conversation as though it was the first time she had seen me that day. She had no idea who she was talking to in the eddy, which I found rather disturbing. Even knowing the person in question wore glasses and knowing how poor my sight is without mine, it never occurred to me how little she could actually see when she was paddling without them.

I can see that this is a real concern but I really don't know if symbols are the way forward, likewise there are enough muppets about with stupid things written on their kit because it amuses them that spelling it out might not be effective either. I guess the best thing is to try the symbols, if a few people start using them and telling others what they mean then eventually it will filter through to everyone and prove my doubts utterly unfounded.

Callieee
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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by Callieee »

Hi
I am a 15 year old girl who wears very strong glasses and hearing aids. I do have a problem hearing on the water but I am quite happy to tell people that I am Deaf if I can't understand when they speak to me. I would love one of your stickers (will they come in Pink)?? I am a little unsure what the effect will be when wearing one as i think that some people may avoid talking to me if they think that I can't hear and I wouldn't like that.

My eyes and ears haven't stopped me from progressing and I am in Div 2 slalom where organisers are only to willing to give me a visual start instead of the verbal one . I go on plenty of river trips with my club who all understand and are very Deaf Aware, and I am working through my cadet leaders award with my school.

A good way to give anyone Deaf awareness training is to experience white water when I feel that I am totally equal as nobody can hear each other and at least I can lip read.

Callie

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peakfreak
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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by peakfreak »

Callieee wrote:...(will they come in Pink)?? ...
Brilliant! That has made my day :-)) Comment of the week.

Tom, I think you are on to a winner here mate with the sticker design. Good effort.

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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by paddledragger »

I think the sticker idea is a really good one, anything that helps us with (pleasant!) communication in any environment is always positive. That design is brilliant Tom-well done!

As for this comment:
pseudonym wrote: 2) Would you believe them or would you think I was an insensitive fool and all round cad?
Yes I'd believe the stickers but I'd really have to get to know you better before I decided the rest ;-)

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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by paddletrek »

Cymru Richie wrote:
.... I am sure there are many but again as many of us dont wear hearing aids or cochlear implants .
What is a cochlear implant? If you don't mind me asking?
a cochlear implant is another type of hearing aid which instead involves an operation to insert a sort of magnet in the cochlear to stimulate the fine hairs which send the electrical symbols to the brain. not sure how to insert an image into this otherwise a google search images with cochlear implants can show you what they look like. Again i only wear hearing aids, but have alot of friends who wear an cochlear implant. an cochlear implant is not for everyone, feel free to pm if you would like some more information

have sent round an email to some fellow paddlers to ask their views on the stickers. It would be up to the people themselves to what extent they reveal their disability. often most importantly it is useful for the immediate group to be aware of this which most of you probably do anyway. it just could be a useful addiction when paddling casually as part of a group espeically on those rivers which are a bit more popular or moving where communication could be key between groups trying to navigate a rapid one after another or providing safely for each other which often does happen.

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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by Debaser »

Probably a good idea to draw attention to a possible problem, but I think deafness is probably the least limiting in a sense.

Off the river I have almost bat-like hearing, but add some moving water (even a gently babbling brook) and the relatively high pitch does something to interfere with the human voice (isn't that supposed to be the reason for the fountains, etc. at the Alhambra, to stop private conversations being overheard?).

I could also foresee some abuse of that symbol.

Take one paddler, one sticker, a river with contentious access and any number of fisher folk (possibly enjoying a competition) and watch as he paddles serenely down river, oblivious to any shouts from the bank, possibly returning the odd 'friendly' wave with a beatific smile, only at the end to give a puzzled "Who? Me?" gesture and pointing to said symbol.
"Summat funny and insightful here..."

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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by TomWardill »

So, I got some more spare time last night and knocked this up:
Image

As a proof of concept. It's a bit rough, and made of layered vinyl, so wouldn't last that long on a boat.
I've found a source to order some made up properly and printed (on waterproof, outdoor vinyl), if people would be seriously interested in them. Cost probably less than £1 each.

I can't come up with a way for people to be able to put their names on, that wouldn't get destroyed on a river, permament marker would just come off.

I've also got an idea for a visual impaired one, when I can shift my current headache I'll have a crack at that too.
Tom Wardill

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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by TomWardill »

What size?
Boat size (9x12cm) or Helmet (4x6.5cm).

Helmet is cheaper (about £1 versus 25p)
Tom Wardill

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Re: Stickers to indicate disability

Post by pseudonym »

I'd buy both. Although if it was one or the other then the smaller one would fit in more locations.
Good prices as well
I was just trying to work out how many I would need. Probably be looking at 8 just for kit I own now... ;)

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