What a difference a DALES makes…

Below, you’ll find a selection of real life case studies from people who have used the Deaf Awareness Leeds Enablement Service (DALES), as funded by Leeds City Council. The people involved wanted to share their experiences with you but have asked to be kept anonymous. We have therefore changed their names.  

Anita’s Story

How often do you use the phone to talk and listen to friends and family? To make appointments or pay bills? Imagine if this everyday task seemed impossible because you couldn’t hear what was being said. Frustrating, isolating?

Anita was someone who couldn’t use the phone because, although she could speak clearly, she couldn’t hear what the caller was saying. Diagnosed with Ménière’s disease 10 years ago, Anita has episodes of vertigo, low-pitched tinnitus and is unable to hear. Due to this condition, using the phone before she contacted the DALES team simply wasn’t possible.

DALES organised an assessment with Anita which highlighted that she had all the equipment she needed except for a suitable phone.  A staff member recommended a phone which would allow Anita to speak directly to the caller and the reply would be typed on the screen by a Text Relay operator, which she could then read and respond to.  Anita was delighted with this solution and also with the training offered by the assessor once the phone was delivered.

Thanks to this simple solution, Anita is now back in contact with her family and friends and able to carry out a more an independent life.

John’s Story

Most people at some point in their lives, have had financial problems. Add to this the inability to communicate without the assistance of an interpreter and imagine how confusing and complicated the financial systems would become?

John, unable to hear, contacted DALES in a distressed state when he discovered he had no money in his bank account as several direct payments had been taken out that he didn’t know about. He was unsure what to do and contacted DALES to seek their advice.

One of the DALES team arranged to take John to his bank in the centre of Leeds so he could find out what the payments were for.  They supported John throughout his visit to the bank and helped him understand the payments were for an online pay day loan that he had taken out.  John had not fully understood the terms of the loan or what the monthly payments would be.  DALES staff acted as an advocate for John and telephoned the loan company to arrange the remaining payments and ensured they were on a date that was convenient for John.

Thanks to the DALES staff John is now back in control of his finances, and the weight of worry has been lifted.

Zoe’s Story

Keeping your children safe is at the forefront of every parent’s mind. What would it be like not being able to hear if your child was upset or unwell? How would you feel if you had to rely on someone for the simplest of things like waking up on a morning?

Zoe is profoundly deaf and uses British Sign Language to communicate; she lives alone with her daughter (9) and her son (3), who also has hearing problems and suffers with severe asthma. Zoe’s social worker contacted DALES to see if they could offer her support and advice on a number of issues. 

As Zoe is unable to hear, she has resorted to constantly monitoring her son throughout the night to ensure he was breathing normally and not having an asthma attack. DALES staff helped identify a sensor that would fit on Zoe’s son’s bed which would alert her if he has having breathing difficulties.  DALES staff also recommended a minicom device which would allow Zoe to make her own phone calls and a vibrating alarm clock to assist in waking her up without relying on her daughter.

Zoe is now trialling these items and is hopeful that they will allow her to be more independent and in control of her own life and will help her support and protect her family with greater ease.

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