Day in the Life of a Lipspeaker by Tina Holmes
My assignments vary from GP/hospital appointments, PIP assessments, driving theory tests, office/telephone support and even court work. Before any assignment I always check location/parking/travel and read any prep that may have been sent e.g. power point. I check my work bag is ready with my NRCPD badge, my timesheet, pen/pad, phone, bottle of water and of course a bright lipstick!
I aim to arrive early to meet the client prior to the appointment, to discuss their communication needs. I establish whether they want me to us my voice or not, use fingerspelling including numbers and/or signing. This is an important time for both the client and I to tune into each others lip patterns. My priority is always to put the client at ease, empower and assure them they are in control of their appointment.
In some cases e.g. a court or classroom setting, I ask to go into the room beforehand, to check for seating arrangements, lighting and general environment are appropriate. I may need to clarify my role to other professionals and explain that I repeat what is being said using clear lip patters, but I need to sit opposite the lip reader so that they can see me. Sometimes I may need to offer some deaf awareness or cultural mediation e.g. reminding the hearing person to look directly at the deaf/hard of hearing person.
At the end of an assignment I check that both hearing and deaf clients are happy with my support. Once my timesheet is signed, I then invoice the agency. The service provider pays for communication support NOT the lip reader, (unless they have booked them directly e.g. for a wedding or a funeral).
My work may be one full day at one place or a couple of shorter assignments in different locations. This is one of the things I love about my job is that no two days are ever the same. Additionally, I also visit organisations and lipreading classes on behalf of the Association of Lipspeakers to give a talk explaining the role of a lipspeaker. My objective is to highlight to lip readers that they do not have to struggle with communication or rely on family members. There is professional help out there.
If you think you would benefit from using a lipspeaker or you would like to see a demonstration then do get in touch:
Tina Holmes NRCPD Lipspeaker & BSL/English Interpreter
07801 825411 or email firstname.lastname@example.org