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Skiing for deaf people

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I have a deaf friend who's desperate to go skiing again and would like to take some lessons at Milton Keynes Xscape before hitting the slopes. Does anyone know of any ski instructors who can teach using sign language?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Monty82, Welcome to snowHeads snowHead The first time I have come accross questions regarding deaf skiers. Sorry, can't help you, but am sure someone can.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Monty82, There was a female instructor at Tamworth Snowdome who advertised teaching in BSL, but I don't know if she is still there or what level her signing is. My sister (profoundly Deaf) became a pretty tidy skier when on hols in France on the purely "watch & copy" basis - she's far better than me, but then that's not hard! When we went to a UK snowdome and had a lesson, I was able to go with her. We started off with me interpreting the instructor's initial advice & directions at the bottom of the slope then they went off and did some runs. After a bit they found me again and stopped for the instructor to explain things more fully through me - that worked pretty well and might well be an approach your friend could take.


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Fri 13-02-09 17:04; edited 1 time in total
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Thanks so much - I'll definitely pass this on!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Monty82, glad to help! A Deaf couple who are friends of mine from Hull got engaged on the slopes in Kitzbuhel over Christmas - really romantic!
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Monty82, My ex is profoundly deaf and an instructor(well not working atm but still does his updates).... he does not sign but understand not hearing what is said... He is in Oz though...
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
www.silentsnow.co.uk

ski & snowboard lessons with BSL mainly taught in MK but could be arrange at other ski slopes

Edited to correct link. Michelle.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
phil freeman, welcome to snowheads. Your link doesn't seem to work.
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Monty82, I don't know if there are any adaptive instructors based at Milton Keynes. The "silent snow" link above looks potentially interesting, but as beanie 1 says, at the moment the link doesn't seem to be working. Could you get to The Snow Centre in Hemel instead? There are adaptive instructors there.
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I don't know if Monty82's friend got sorted out - he hasn't posted since the two on this thread last Feb.

The Silent Snow link should be www.silentsnow.co.uk

My sister who is profoundly Deaf (uses BSL and English) is now coming on the Cautious to Confident week (20th March, LDA) - if anyone knows other Deaf folks who may be interested in small group instruction they'd be more than welcome! I'm not a qualified interpreter, but am a level 3 signer so can be of quite a bit of use! Please pass on the info - link in my sig.
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Butterfly, remember your sister qualifies for a disabled person's pass at a reduced rate (assuming they haven't changed it since last season). Ideally bring something with you which says she is registered disabled.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Lizzard, Oh thanks for that - would her UK rail-pass count do you think? I am not sure what else she has - she gets DLA (Disabled Living Allowance) so I guess there is some documentation there.

EDIT I have just had a ferret about on the websites and can't find any info. Could you find out for me sometime? There's tons of time - no rush!
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Butterfly, I'll check over the weekend. She could probably get away without the ID (I did passes for a couple of deaf Brits last year - it's a pretty obvious disability) but there will be some faffing and asking of supervisors, as the cashiers have to supply documentation for every reduced pass they give out.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I organise a ski hol each year (sometimes two a year) for families with children who are profoundly deaf and use cochlear implants to listen (like my own nine year old). This year will be trip number 11. If there are any snowhead families with children who are deaf and that would like to ask me anything then please feel free to pm me or post here. I can't offer any BSL ski instructor recommendations as we don't use instructors with sign language (as the children are able to use their CIs to listen).
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Lizzard, is this only for registered disabled, or would someone who is profoundly deaf in one ear count? Can produce documentation to support it, we don't consider it a disability, but frankly anything to help with the cost of lift passes in some resorts would help!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Monium, as a registered disabled skier I've found it pretty easy at most places with your registration... I would think tricky otherwise...

Not sure about Europe - I used my disabled wintersport passport that I use here...

In Australia you must be registered with the national body - Disabled Wintersport Australia - but once you are issued with ID you are eligible for 50% off lesson and lift prices and free pass for your guide if you are listed as requiring one(eg visual impairment, sitskier)

In USA you seem to need to register with each resort - again you are entitled to various discounts once this is approved.

In both cases you need a medical certification of your disability - this is then reviewed to assess the impact on a skier from the medical information.

The Australian requirement is it must impact on HOW you ski (need special equipment or a guide or both) or HOW YOU LEARN to ski (eg learning disabilities, deafness) I think the USA folks do similar - but on a resort basis not national.

I have seen aussie resorts issue disabled rates as a one off to obviously disabled clients - but request that the person complete registration for subsequent visits - this is because the above process takes a fair amount of time, and where they can assess the likelihood of the person being accepted they will try to assist.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I have been teaching a deaf person for many years...... the wife never listens to a word I say Puzzled


Seriously though

I found what butterfly said was interesing about using the watch and copy method. Could the lack of "confusing or misunderstood" instructions allow you to form your own way of learning. I watched a few videos on youtube from Richard Feynman, he explains this fully (The bit im refering to starts at 0:48 ). It goes on a bit but is interesting


http://youtube.com/v/Cj4y0EUlU-Y&feature=related


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Tue 19-01-10 3:36; edited 1 time in total
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
daehwons, my ex is profoundly deaf and became an instructor trainer mostly by just watch and copy... once folks knew him (by this stage he was an instructor) they would sometimes stand next to him and yell into his better ear... or get him to watch and lip read a little... (he can guess a bit from practise not taught lip reading)... He never wore hearing aids because he was young and disliked them... now he often does wear them but they tend to freeze up so he still cannot hear... he will slip them in his inside pocket to warm them and then slip then in for breaks or if he really really needs to talk to someone for a minute...

His brother is even more deaf and became a dive instructor because he does not need to hear underwater!
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little tiger, Monium, I always seek to get a reduced price lift pass for the children and teenagers who are profoundly deaf. In both Austria and France, this is never straightforward as both countries have a system where people with disabilities carry a 'disability card' (or some such item) which is nationally recognised. I always contact the lift pass office in advance from the UK and their response is to ask people just to present the card. I then have to explain that we do not have the same system in the UK. Usually they are sympathetic and agree to accept a letter testifying that the children listed on the letter are profoundly deaf.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
daehwons, it really depends on the learner, some people learn by watch and copy, others really prefer technical explanation etc.
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As StanBowles, says there is no concept of "registered disabled" in the UK. You frequently see on application forms and the like, the question "do you consider yourself to have a disability". Documentary evidence that can be used to "prove" a disability include:

a rail pass
a letter confirming receipt of benefit such as DLA
a motability pass
an educational "statement"

Lizzard, it seems that my sister's rail pass & DLA letters are acceptable evidence.

daehwons, watch & copy is how very young children learn motor skills - we don't teach them to walk by explaining how to balance, we just help them in their attempts to imitate. As adults we question and analyse too much perhaps? I find I like to watch someone demonstrate what I want to achieve in skiing and while doing so I am trying to imagine what it'd feel like to do it myself. Nobody can teach me how it feels to get it right, only help me to find out. However when I watch video afterwards, what I appear to be doing is usually different from what I feel I am doing rolling eyes
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Hey. Anyone know if ski passes are reduced in Austria for deaf? And anyone know any accessible instructors for sign language users? Thanks. We're going to obergurgle.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
The slope at Telford may should be able to help. One of the Instructors is learning sign language and having an interpreter to hand should be possible. Certainly easier than a 'snow' slope.
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Hi all,

Sorry to come so late to the thread.

Monty82 - I run the adaptive ski school for Disability Snowsport UK at Xscape in Milton Keynes. Whilst we don't currently have any BSL qualified instructors we have successfully taught several lessons to skiers with hearing impairments and found the lessons to be very enjoyable despite the communication barrier.

If you are keen for a BSL qualified instructor I would recommend Silent Snow. I realise the link to their website isn't working, but you could always try their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=98684815486. Their contact details are 07919355131 or silentsnow@hotmail.co.uk.

Any further Qs please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Best of luck Very Happy
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Monty82, 2 ski instructors who can teach using sign language are teaching in Courchevel (First Tracks ski school) and Meribel (Gilles at ESF Meribel Mottaret).
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Hi there
I am a ski instructor for able bodied and disabled skiers. I can teach using BSL (qualified up to Level 3). My 'day job' is working with a Deaf teachers as a CSW.
I am based at Aldershot dry ski slope but also help out at DSUK sessions at Milton Keynes and Bracknell. I can get to Hemel if needs be. It is always a pleasure to teach Deaf skiers - it also helps improve my signing. So please get in touch if you are a Deaf skier and would like some help in BSL.
Cheers
Jan Williams
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Hi, I would recommend any adaptive ski instructor from DSUK - They have an adaptive ski instructor in every snow dome and some of the dry ski slopes. Instructor doesnt have to use sign language as your friend will learn by watching and copying instructor. As long as instructor has got understanding and special training in teaching adaptive skiing (all DSUK instructors have) it is enough to guaranteed the success Smile
Good luck!
Dom
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Hi I'm a ski instructor at Tamworth Snow Dome and have recently just completed a BSL LEVEL 1 course and would like to try to improve my signing so I can communicate more effectively when teaching deaf people. I have only taught one deaf person before I completed the course but managed successfully with the help of an interpreter. The feedback was that although I couldnt sign at the time I was 'deaf friendly' with my teaching, visual.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Good for you TSR. I wish slope managers would encourage at least some of their instructors to take a BSL qualification or even basic Deaf Awareness training. Skiing like any sport can be taught by visual demonstration but to be able to understand questions, give answers, correct technique and socialise using a skiers own language as well as visual demos has got to be the best method. Make contact with your local Deaf club and encourage members to come along and learn to ski. You can get to practice your BSL and they can learn to ski. Join DSUK and help out at the Tamworth sessions, having an instructor who has some BSL will encourage more deaf BSL users.
Hope you are thinking of doing Level 2?
Good luck
Jan
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Monty82, Contact MK or HH direct and ask for your friend, both have BASI Adaptive ski instructors, HH I know have at present I spoke to him recently. They will be able to ensure best outcome.
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Thanks for your post Jan I'm hoping to work with DSUK this winter at Tamworth Snow Dome to encourage more deaf awareness. It would be interesting to know if you've adapted your teaching much and what you've done to make skiing more accessable apart from the obvious personal communications. Unfortunately the level 2 course clashes with my ski teaching at the moment and I'd like to get some practical use with BSL. I will be taking a level 2 course in the future, thoroughly enjoyed level 1 and would recomment anyone to give it a go. If there is anyone from the deaf community out there who would like to learn to ski in the Tamworth area then I would be willing to help. Ask for Andy Flannagan at the Snow Dome.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Hi Andy
Good question - ways in which I tend to adapt my methods of instruction for Deaf students are mostly common sense.
For example:
I do like Deaf skiers to wear fluorescent jackets with Deaf Skier printed on the back for their own safety especially in busy sessions.
Spend sometime communicating with your skier before hitting the slopes. You need to know how they like to communicate - they may use BSL, or SSE, or they may be oral lip readers. Agree on essential signs that you will be using and vice versa.
Make sure you are facing the skier when you communicate so they can pick up your non manual features such as facial expression and lip pattern, as well as your hands.
Wear gloves not mittens, the thinner the better to make your finger spelling and signs as clear as possible.
Best without poles to keep your hands free for signing.
Best to wear a helmet without padded ear covering - you should wear have nothing that may obstruct your hearing, you are hearing for two!
When you are progressing down the slope together our skier is behind you, especially an exuberant Deaf child - they can be very difficult to catch when you can't use your voice!
You really have to hammer home the safety issues even more so with Deaf skiers especially checking up slope for other skiers before setting off. They won't hear shouts from other skiers or instructions from you.
Visual demos are great and very necessary whether your student is Deaf or not but ask your Deaf student whether they understand and if they have any questions when you have finished your demo. Same when you give feedback.
Use of feedback using video clips if very effective especially for older children and adults. They also give you time to clarify your feedback before actually giving it.
Brush up on your ski specific signs eg parallel, stop, wait, pressure, bend/flex, follow me, turn etc etc.
Make it fun especially for the kids otherwise they will wander off! I hope these off the cuff thoughts are of some use.
Cheers Jan
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Thanks Jan as you say some are common sense but there are quite a few that I wouldn't have thought about. Your comments were really helpful.
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Wow this thread has been going on for nearly three years - and I have just found it.

I am a Deaf skier and have skied for a total of 15 years. I am not a very sportive person but skiing is something I have always enjoyed. After all these years, I was told that I could get a discount for the ski pass last season, I flashed my rail pass and got 50% off. It was a nice surprise.

As someone who is a better intermediate skier, I find it difficult to progress. I still find off piste and moguls a challenge. As a Deaf person, my balance can go off and it is easy to lose control. Last season, I tried to ski with a Ski Club of GB group but I realised they can ski in all weathers and terrains. It was a white out, snowing and very hard to see, I couldn't tell which way was up. So I pushed my way through the weather and tried to keep up. It was too much of a challenge. Since then, I have quit my membership to the SCGB, there wasn't anything there accessible for me: videos weren't subtitled, people couldn't sign, often meet a deaf person for the first time and look pretty scared. As you can see, it is very difficult to improve as a skier beyond the basics.

What I often do is try to book some one to one time with an instructor and I can only afford about a couple of hours. They were all great and gave me some 'tips' but they are often cautious and don't push me hard enough. I often approach an English speaking ski instructor company and then ask for an Italian or French instructor because they often know how to use their hands to communicate. I can't go into a group because there are often rather boring pauses when the instructor rambles about something and I stand there looking like a lemon. Watch and learn techniques are only good if they keep the speeches to a minimum.

In an ideal world, I would love to find an instructor who can communicate well or can sign, or someone who can push me to another level. If you know of anyone, send me a message.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Hi. I'm a qualified interpreter and also moonlight (shhh!) as a ski instructor at the indoor ski slope at Xscape Leeds. I teach with the Lions Ski Club on a Sunday morning, and we welcome all ages and abilities. How does that sound? rolling eyes
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AMonty82, Hi Little Tiger, realise this is an old thread so you may not pick this up, but wanted to find out more about how your ex became an instructor trainer, did he go on an instructor course and, if so, which one? A friend's 16 year old boy is deaf and has cochlear implants, his reading and writing isn't great but his language skills are ok and he can make himself understood. He's a good skiier and has just taken up snow boarding. Now thinking about possible careers and working as a ski instructor would be great for him. Just wondered if you're able to qualify as an instructor if you're deaf in the UK? Thanks for your time!
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Joanna1304, not dealt with it specifically, but any organisation is legally required to make reasonable adjustments for disability. This might include a bit of additional time, using different methods or techniques to help him to progress, and as a result it must (assuming he meets the required standards) be possible to qualify as an instructor if you're deaf in the UK.

There is quite a substantial difference between making yourself understood and being able to teach someone to ski though. My advice would be to get him to spend some time with instructors and instructor trainers at the indoor slopes and see if they will coach him towards becoming an instructor - very quickly they should be able to assess whether his skiing is up to the standard required and if they can find a way for him to teach others. That might include some creative solutions to some aspects of the instructor exams, but experience is that talking to examiners in advance usually gets them interested in finding a way.

Interesting that nobody seems to have a BSL instructor to reccomend though - if he can get the tickets there is probably a clear market in the thousands of deaf people in the UK looking for a ski instructor. If it was marketed well through RNID and internet I think he could find himself in demand in the UK and in resort - I've never seen anyone market deaf skiing in any ski resort I've visited.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I believe that Richard Fetherston of snowblity.co.uk (based at Hemel) now has a deaf instructor working for him. I realise its probably a bit late in the day for the OP, given a six year old thread, but maybe the info will help someone in the future.
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Just for the interest of anyone who might be following this thread, BBC See Hear recently did a piece on Snowbility's deaf ski & snowboard instructors at Hemel...
https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09j3b65/see-hear-series-37-episode-8#
It's available on iPlayer for the next week (the skiing segment starts about 16 minutes in)

And while I was looking to see if it was also available on YouTube I stumbled across some videos of Arran demonstrating some BSL vocabulary for snowsports...
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLibdbQXeyr21z4faJDUvSd6U3UrT4s1RM
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