Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,294 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the two years I have lived in France I have only once met another deaf person (I have cochlear implants). Given that I live in a rural area (but go to Nice/Paris on a regular basis) this is not normal. I have also noticed that I have never seen a blind person, most especially one with a guide dog and rarely a person in a wheelchair.

My being deaf, not French, yet able to drive, speak reasonable French – even on the telephone and lead a normal life appears to fill my neighbours and people working in shops with amazement. Today I went to the salon to have a facial and was again treated like a “Star”. I came away as is now usual with a bag of freebies worth almost as much as the items I paid for. In other countries I have lived I was usually shouted at or spoken to like a two-year old. So is it unusual for a deaf or blind person to be able to live and work in France, as does a hearing and sighted person?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
53,151 Posts
Very interesting question.

When I first came to live here (16 or so years ago) I recall seeing people signing in the métro all the time. I assume they were deaf. (I took a class in Ameslan - American sign language - so was interested to see if the signs were similar. Probably stared more than I should have...) Haven't seen much signing here lately, but then again my trips into Paris are far less frequent than they were at that time.

There are a number of blind people and those in wheelchairs or those little scooter vehicles who show up for the various ham radio events I go to with my husband (who is the ham in the family - at least the radio kind of ham). Have seen a few blind people with long, white canes out and about in Paris, but far fewer out here in the suburbs.

Making buildings and transportation wheelchair accessible is something that has been happening only in recent years (AFAIK). I have one friend here who is now wheelchair bound and it can still be something of a battle to get access to some of the buildings here for her. Technically there is supposed to be a "handicapped entrance" for all public (i.e. government) buildings - but some of the ramps are far too steep to be negotiated without help and often you have to arrange to have someone come out and unlock special doors or gates meant to keep non-handicapped folks from using the special facilities. Fortunately, my friend has a good French friend who is a former nurse and who is super about knowing who to call and how to make a fuss to get the proper services set up for our friend.

She does have a handicapped parking card, which she brings with her when we go out. She can't drive, but if she's going out, her driver can make use of her parking card. If you check the RATP website, they have a section devoted to their plans to try and make the metro and buses in Paris more accessible - but they still seem to be in the early stages with that.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,294 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Bev,

American sign is the most visually beautiful of the deaf languages and good on you for taking the time to learn. It would appear that there are over 3 million "officially " deaf people in France yet only 100k who can sign (French sign of course) and only about 5 out of 15 official deaf schools who teach it.

As France is supposed to have one of the best healthcare systems in the world it has come as a surprise to me to experience that for anyone with a disability France is still in the dark ages. Anyone considering coming to live in France who has a similar disability needs to do serious research as to how they will be accepted and the lack of facilities. As to those with a small child I would say no. However, having this morning spoken to the EUD in Paris I was impressed at the work they do and how kind and helpful they were to the extent of insisting that they find me a teacher who will help me with my French pronunciation and French sign.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Hi there !

I'm new to this forum. I'm a French living in France (so what am I doing in here ? Well I'd love to live a few years in england or any english speaking country for that matter, but I'm stuck here for now) and I'm also half deaf, hence my interest to this discussion.

The fact that you haven't seen a lot of deaf or blind people is not surprising to me. I think you have to make some in-depth regular city traveling to see some. I've got some deaf friends, lots of them know sign language by the way, and I saw blind people regularly when I went daily to university in town (living near Lyon) by metro, and most of them with a guide dog. Also had a blind professor (with no dog though). I noticed in my town there is a lot of talking traffic-lights, very useful for the blinds (not so much for the deaf although :p), but what Bevdeforges said about accessibility sadly is true, lots of things aren't effective enough on that plan.

Cheers,
Johann

PS : feel free to correct me when I use bad english, I'm also here to learn ! ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
157 Posts
I think it depends a lot on where you live. Toulouse has a huge number of deaf people and a very large deaf club, but it's because people move here from other parts of France, mostly for the community and for the bilingual LSF-French school (there are less than 10 of these in France).

I have a 2-year-old daughter who's deaf and has a cochlear implant, and I agree that it's the dark ages for deaf people here!

In the two years I have lived in France I have only once met another deaf person (I have cochlear implants). Given that I live in a rural area (but go to Nice/Paris on a regular basis) this is not normal. I have also noticed that I have never seen a blind person, most especially one with a guide dog and rarely a person in a wheelchair.

My being deaf, not French, yet able to drive, speak reasonable French – even on the telephone and lead a normal life appears to fill my neighbours and people working in shops with amazement. Today I went to the salon to have a facial and was again treated like a “Star”. I came away as is now usual with a bag of freebies worth almost as much as the items I paid for. In other countries I have lived I was usually shouted at or spoken to like a two-year old. So is it unusual for a deaf or blind person to be able to live and work in France, as does a hearing and sighted person?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
974 Posts
The fact that you haven't seen a lot of deaf or blind people is not surprising to me. I think you have to make some in-depth regular city traveling to see some. I've got some deaf friends, lots of them know sign language by the way, and I saw blind people regularly when I went daily to university in town (living near Lyon) by metro, and most of them with a guide dog. Also had a blind professor (with no dog though). I noticed in my town there is a lot of talking traffic-lights, very useful for the blinds (not so much for the deaf although :p), but what Bevdeforges said about accessibility sadly is true, lots of things aren't effective enough on that plan.
I saw (or rather "heard"), those talking pedestrian/traffic lights in Orléans.

In Australia, all the buttons for pedestrians to cross the road have a part which beats like a drum when the light is green:



They place their hand on the top part with the arrow and they'll feel the beat when it's ok to cross.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
53,151 Posts
I'll admit that I took the Ameslan class strictly out of curiosity (plus I tend to talk with my hands anyhow, so I figured it might be interesting to actually be able to say something that way). It was only a beginners class, so I can't really communicate much in sign - but I am pretty good at finger spelling, which has stuck with me!

One thing my friend in the wheelchair has encountered is that, with all the historic buildings and all, adaptation of existing buildings (like we have in the US) can be pretty difficult. It always seems to be back entrances and tiny cramped little "handicapped only" elevators that you have to make special arrangements ahead of time to use. Getting around in the US with my Dad, when he was pretty much confined to a wheelchair, was pretty simple as long as he could transfer from chair to the car and back again. Here, you need to do more pre-planning.

I'm not sure what the system is here for deaf and blind, but I get the feeling they don't do much with "mainstreaming" - certainly not among the school aged kids. That's kind of too bad, as I think it's important to teach kids without impairments how to interact with those who do.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
_Sarah_ said:
In Australia, all the buttons for pedestrians to cross the road have a part which beats like a drum when the light is green
All of them ? That's pretty amazing !
Arf, I just realized that the fact that it seems amazing to me proves the point that France is in the "dark ages" as you guys put it...

Bevdeforges said:
I think it's important to teach kids without impairments how to interact with those who do.
You're absolutely right, I believe there's not enough communication in here on this topic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
157 Posts
They actually do have a lot of mainstreaming now, but it's only since 2004, so that's why you will find less awareness among adults. But hopefully it will change with this generation. The problem is that while they have made mainstreaming a right for all children, they don't have the resources to go along with it. For instance, it is almost impossible for a deaf child who uses sign language to have an LSF interpreter (it's possible to have a cued speech transliterator, but only for 8-10 hours a week). Also, the buildings are not up to date so it can be hard to find a good placement. For instance, my son attends a local "maternelle" and the director has said that he would be happy to welcome my deaf daughter as well, but the acoustics are just horrible - I went to a meeting the other day and I could hardly hear the teacher. So it's not really an appropriate placement for a child with a cochlear implant, and we will probably have to choose a different school. Though upgrading the building would benefit all the students, I'm sure!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
About French sign language and any local deaf clubs. I'm New to the forum, hi to all. I asked my neighbour in Monteran et St. Mediers which is near Uzes and in turn not far from Nimes for any local deaf clubs. Non were known!
I live in the Midlands and have just completed the first stage BSL and am keen to improve both BSL and start learning FSL. (I am not hearing impaired) We have thriving clubs at the dDeaf links both in Stoke and the 'Vibe' in Newcastle-Under- Lyme; so does anyone know anyone I can practice signing with or any unofficial meeting places?
I am also trying to find where I can buy household safety equipment to aid deaf people, to use in France – Such equipment is readily available in the UK; It is a pack that includes and connects the smoke detectors and emits a vibration / light should the smoke detector be triggered - to enable deaf people to evacuate the premises in an emergency. Janeus
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
French sign language

About French sign language and any local deaf clubs. I'm New to the forum, hi to all. I asked my neighbour in Monteran et St. Mediers which is near Uzes and in turn not far from Nimes for any local deaf clubs. Non were known!
I live in the Midlands and have just completed the first stage BSL and am keen to improve both BSL and start learning FSL. (I am not hearing impaired) We have thriving clubs at the dDeaf links both in Stoke and the 'Vibe' in Newcastle-Under- Lyme; so does anyone know anyone I can practice signing with or any unofficial meeting places?
I am also trying to find where I can buy household safety equipment to aid deaf people, to use in France – Such equipment is readily available in the UK; It is a pack that includes and connects the smoke detectors and emits a vibration / light should the smoke detector be triggered - to enable deaf people to evacuate the premises in an emergency. Janeus
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
53,151 Posts
About French sign language and any local deaf clubs. I'm New to the forum, hi to all. I asked my neighbour in Monteran et St. Mediers which is near Uzes and in turn not far from Nimes for any local deaf clubs. Non were known!
I live in the Midlands and have just completed the first stage BSL and am keen to improve both BSL and start learning FSL. (I am not hearing impaired) We have thriving clubs at the dDeaf links both in Stoke and the 'Vibe' in Newcastle-Under- Lyme; so does anyone know anyone I can practice signing with or any unofficial meeting places?
I am also trying to find where I can buy household safety equipment to aid deaf people, to use in France – Such equipment is readily available in the UK; It is a pack that includes and connects the smoke detectors and emits a vibration / light should the smoke detector be triggered - to enable deaf people to evacuate the premises in an emergency. Janeus
I don't know about any deaf clubs or associations here, but you might ask at a local hospital. (Here in Paris, I would ask at either of the English language hospitals: American Hospital in Paris or the British hospital.)

For the household safety equipment, try asking at the local pharmacy or medical equipment shop. Most pharmacies carry an array of medical home care equipment and they should know (or be able to find out) where to source the safety equipment.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
157 Posts
There's a Deaf-France (yes, that's the name) Yahoo group you could join and post to. The people on it are quite militant though, so tread softly. The Deaf community tends to be concentrated in certain areas in France because of access issues and the lack of schooling in LSF in most places - deaf families with deaf kids tend to congregate around Toulouse, Poitiers, Massy because that's where their kids can be educated in LSF. You could probably make some contacts on Facebook.

There's going to be a sign language festival in Toulouse the 1-3 June. It's called Sign'o and people will be coming from around France for it. May be a way to meet people. In my experience you just have to meet a few deaf people and get them to tell you where to go. You'll be able to make contact with people during the Journée Mondiale des Sourds (they put up info stands and stuff) but it's not until September.

You could see if there's a VISUEL in your area. They teach LSF but it's expensive (500 euros a week I think).

You can get smoke alarms for deaf people through audioprothèsistes here. I think you don't see them very often because not that many people have smoke alarms at all. The law requiring them was only passed in 2010 and doesn't come into effect until 2015.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
fsl (french sign language)

Thanks for the information provided. I will also try in Toulouse as apparently there is a vibrant deaf culture associated with the deaf schooling available there. Bit too far from Nimes but at least it is a start. There are also some signing examples on the web and I think I will try and find the equipment on the 'web' also rather than at a chemist as my spoken French is not that good. I remember trying to buy a 'dongle' pay as you go for the 'web' connection which is a really easy thing to purchase in the UK - crickey; not so in France! Janeus
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
157 Posts
You could try some of these places:
Languedoc Roussillon associations

I wouldn't bother emailing these associations. Just try to show up. You probably already know this, but keep in mind that LSF is really different from BSL. It's a lot easier to go from ASL to LSF (I went from BSL to ASL to LSF!)

If you go through the archived videos of L'Oeil et La Main

Oeil et la main - France5

there was one by a deaf British filmmaker discovering the French deaf community. You might be able to find some info on the forums as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
FSL info. thanks

The info provided was very helpful thank you. Perhaps I should start a practice group myself just to keep skills up. I have just been studying a an improvers BSL DVD where I think some ASL slipped in especially in the use of numbers - very confusing so thank goodness for subtitles. Thanks again. Janeus
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Bilingual School

I think it depends a lot on where you live. Toulouse has a huge number of deaf people and a very large deaf club, but it's because people move here from other parts of France, mostly for the community and for the bilingual LSF-French school (there are less than 10 of these in France).

I have a 2-year-old daughter who's deaf and has a cochlear implant, and I agree that it's the dark ages for deaf people here!
I am interested in doing an internship in France. I was looking into the deaf school in Toulouse and I was wondering if you could give me any information about it so I could contact them.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top