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Breakthrough 40th Anniversary Reunion

Breakthrough 40th Anniversary Reunion at the Calcot Hotel, Reading on the 13th November, 2011.

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Ken Carter’s short speech

1.DEAF & DUMB /AT HOME MEETINGS

When I came into the world of deaf people about 50 years ago mainly through Denis Uttley and Dawn, a deaf daughter, they were generally known as the “Deaf and Dumb”. When I started to attend the early Deaf/Hearing Group “At Home “ meetings I soon realised when watching and listening to the likes of George Drewry, Peter Howes, Graham Hocking, Andrew & Diane Kenyon and many others that the word was not applicable  and totally inappropriate. I soon realised that deaf people had the same range of abilities and intelligence as hearing people. This was very inspiring to me as a teacher.

2.FRIENDSHIP JOKE

I was incredibly naïve with regard to communication and sign skills in those early days of the “Group” and “Breakthrough”. At one of the first meetings, I tried to put over the importance of “friendship” between deaf and hearing people. I used the following sign for “friendship”. It really shocked and confused those at the meeting .At break time Dawn Jarrett showed me the sign for friendship the one for deeper forms of friendship. David for the next couple of years always used this sign to signify my sign name..Ha Ha !!

3.THORPENESS/PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS

I can remember Diane communicating with Andrew and others in a very concerned and dramatic way about the ignorance of deaf young girls about personal and intimate relationships in sexual matters. Andrew nodded with approval but was not sure about his role in such matters. Diane did organise some important sessions on the subject. Diane will be pleased that Deafax has ventured into this area through highly explicit materials which are now put across to deaf children throughout the country by a team led by Rubbena. I would like to ask Rubbena to present Diane and Andrew with a DVD about Sexual Health. They may learn a thing or two about this most human of subjects.

4.CALIFORNIAN EXPERIENCE/SIGN NAME

As I was disturbed that very few of UK deaf people  were going on for Higher Education, I was able to go the CSUN (Californian State University Nothridge) for six weeks to see how 200 deaf students had been admitted and what support provision they were given. When I introduced myself to Dr Herb Larsen other staff and students I made an embarrassing mistake. I said I was an “English Gentleman” in BSL.Herb then questioned me with the following- Aren’t  you married ? Yes; Don’t you have children? Yes; and you are “GAY” as well. No. The sign I used in BSL was G (gentleman) but the same sign in ASL was GAY.As you can imagine, I was held in high esteem as many gay people were coming out at that time in California. Herb used the sign as my “sign name” whilst I stayed at CSUN but the students were really impressed that British were so open about their lives and how they saw themselves.Ha Ha !!

5. CONTRIBUTION TO INCLUSION – THANKS

I want to thank ALL of you for your contribution to improving the inclusion of deaf people into our society. I have had the privilege of working with the following who have been awarded top honours for their services to others whether deaf or hearing:

Morag Rosie MBE; Evelyn Carter, OBE; David Hyslop, OBE; Craig Crowley, MBE; and recently Laraine Callow, MBE and finally Alan Murray, MBE.

Let’s give them whether they are here or not a well deserved round of “APPLAUSE”.

Before I finish my 5 minutes ramble, I want to thank my wife, Helen Lansdown for all her personal support to me and also for her contribution to Deafax as its CEO.

Finally, I do want to thank Graham Hocking and Alan Murray for the excellent contribution to the success of this luncheon. Three cheers- Hip Hip Hurrah, Hip Hip Hurrah and Hip Hip Hurrah.

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