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Working with Deaf People
A Handbook for Healthcare Professionals

Anna Middleton, Wanda Neary, Kerstin Möller
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  • Date Published: November 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521690850


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About the Authors
  • Long gone are the days when a deaf person is expected to struggle through a healthcare consultation with a health professional who has inadequate deaf awareness. Legislation now dictates that the onus is on the health professional to utilise the right communication skills. Deafness is very common, meaning that health professionals, whatever their specialist area, can expect to encounter a client with deafness or hearing loss on a daily basis. Working with Deaf People is intended for use as a general reference manual, offering practical advice on how to prepare for the consultation with clients who are deaf, deafblind or Deaf (i.e. use sign language as their first language). Information is offered about language, communication and culture; case studies demonstrate how the messages can be applied in practice. Every health professional, medical and nursing student, whatever their discipline and whatever country they work in, should have a copy of this book.

    • The first text to bring together information on communication with deaf and deafblind clients
    • Case studies are used throughout the book to illustrate specific scenarios that health professionals will be able to relate to
    • Includes summary points given in boxes, allowing the reader to skim through the text and pick up the key messages
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is a brilliant book that every health professional should read as part of their ongoing training. It is amazingly readable and gives insight into what it is like to be deaf, or deafblind. I've worked for 17 years with deaf people and for the first time health professionals have a book that gives them sensible practical advice on working with deaf and deafblind people.' Steve Powell, CEO, SignHealth, UK

    'This book presents some excellent material in a wide and complex field, written with such clarity that it will be useful to almost any reader whatever their background. It will be of particular value to professionals whose work brings them into contact with people who have hearing loss, enhancing the effectiveness of their work through ensuring that they can relate well to their clients/patients. However, it will also be of interest to readers who themselves live with hearing loss, helping them understand the perspectives of the professionals they encounter.' Lorraine Gailey, CEO Hearing Concern LINK

    'This is a must-read book for all health professionals. As health provision becomes increasingly the responsibility of individual patients making choices about their own care and treatment, professionals working in health not only need medical expertise but also skills in communication and information giving. For deaf and hard of hearing patients, this requires skills not often used by the average health professional; this book guides you through the maze of how to understand and communicate with a wide range of deaf and hard of hearing patients. … Well worth keeping for those times when you may be confronted by a patient that requires different communication tactics that you have never used before, and also for patients from other countries as you learn some of the useful tips of interacting with patients that communicate differently.' Paul Redfern, Disability & Diversity

    'Healthcare providers in a majority hearing/sighted society, the majority of who are themselves hearing and sighted, are likely to be unfamiliar with best practice when communicating with deaf or deafblind people, unless they are working in a speciality such as audiology. This book is a handy distillation of practical improvements that can be made in a consultation setting, many of which can be achieved by increasing one's self-awareness of the perspective of the person attending. The editor, Anna Middleton, has a professional background as a genetic counsellor and therefore a good understanding, both clinically and from a research perspective, of how clinical genetics is a particularly sensitive area of medicine for many d/Deaf people. As a result, this book may be of particular interest to clinical geneticists and genetic counsellors.' Rachel Belk, St Mary's Hospital, Manchester

    'This is an extremely useful manual for health professionals who interact with deaf and deafblind people in a clinical setting. There are sections outlining different types of hearing loss and deafness, various methods of communications and types of communicators preferred by deaf people, as well as the historical context of genetics and eugenics with respect to deafness. For those who have little experience of meeting deaf people, the case studies emphasize common pitfalls in communication, and I will be recommending the book to trainees who are new to the field.' Maria Bitner-Glindzicz, UCL Institute of Child Health, and Great Ormond Street Hospital, London

    'This is a new, unusual and very exciting book aimed at all health professionals. The book can serve professionals in training as a guideline into a world unknown for many of us. The book is clearly structured and has a holistic approach including many components of ICF. I have worked with patients with deafblindness and NF2 for over 23 years, and I realize now that this is the first book which has addressed the basic knowledge of how to interact with people who are deaf or deafblind. I sincerely recommend this book.' Claes Möller, University Hospital Örebro, Sweden

    '… packed with useful information … highly recommended …' Dr Margaret du Feu, Consultant Psychiatrist, All Ireland Mental Health and Deafness Service

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521690850
    • length: 230 pages
    • dimensions: 187 x 124 x 11 mm
    • weight: 0.25kg
    • contains: 4 b/w illus. 1 table
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Facts and figures about deafness, NF2 and deafblindness Anna Middleton, Wanda Neary and Kerstin Möller
    2. General themes to consider when working with deaf and hard of hearing clients Anna Middleton
    3. Specialist issues relevant to working with d/Deaf clients Anna Middleton
    4. Specialist issues relevant to working with clients with neurofibromatosis Type 2 Wanda Neary
    5. Specialist issues relevant to working with clients with deafblindness Kerstin Möller

  • Editor

    Anna Middleton, Cardiff University
    Dr Anna Middleton is a Consultant Research Genetic Counsellor and Principal Investigator working at the Institute of Medical Genetics, School of Medicine, Cardiff University. She received her MSc in Genetic Counselling from the University of Manchester in 1995, and was awarded a PhD in 2000 from the University of Leeds; her thesis involved gathering the attitudes of deaf and hard of hearing people towards pre-natal genetic testing for inherited deafness. She was also awarded registration with the Genetic Counsellor Registration Board in 2003. She has worked as a general genetic counsellor at St James's Hospital in Leeds (2000–2001) and a specialist cancer genetic counsellor at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge (2001–2005). Since then, she has run a Department of Health funded, national research project which involved collecting the views and beliefs of deaf and hard of hearing people towards genetic counselling, access to health services and attitudes towards communication with health professionals. She has previously been invited to discuss the implications of research as well as national issues relevant to deaf and hard of hearing people on the radio (e.g. BBC Radio Wales, BBC World Service, Radio Cardiff), TV (e.g. BBC See Hear, Channel 4 V-TV, CNN news, ITV Look North) and for articles published on issues about deafness (e.g. Nature, Telegraph, Western Mail). Anna Middleton has published extensively in the academic literature on deafness and genetic counselling research as well as presented at national and international conferences (in medicine, social sciences, genetic counselling and health communication). She is a UK representative on the GENDEAF European Concerted Action group on Psychosocial Issues Relating to Genetic Deafness (2002–2005), and a member of the UK Association of Genetic Nurses and Counsellors; elected by the AGNC membership on to the Genetic Counsellor Registration Board for the UK in 2004 and 2006–2010 acted in the role of Vice-Chair.


    Anna Middleton, Wanda Neary, Kerstin Möller

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