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Deaf Parenting UK Support Video Relay Services (VRS)

Following the recent campaign on VRS across the country and the most recent in London at Friend House, Asif Iqbal, Media/ Project Manager of Deaf Parenting UK went to find out more and with over 150 people turned up to learn more about VRS.

Asif commented: “Video Relay Services is a fantastic way to enable Deaf people especially Deaf parents/ families to communicate with hearing people in daily lives via video phone and interpreters. Imagine the day where Deaf parents, using VRS would be able to liaise with the school, GP, children activities centres etc,  easily using the webcam on TV or via computer (and hopefully via 3G mobile phones too), be able to order pizza or takeaway from local restaurant, have a chat with families and friends via VRS and many more.

Many Deaf parents/ families faces barriers in telecommunication as currently, there is only three options – textphone which are very much outdated and too much reliant on English especially with typetalk/ text relay, not accessible for many Deaf BSL users. Other option including mobile SMS which is fine for a very short message but not for a long conversation and again reliant on English for hearing people to understand what we mean. Some providers take our mobile numbers eg insurance companies, councils, banking and mobile companies etc, but there is no way we could add a note that we are Deaf and to text us on the mobile numbers. Instead they ring and ring on our mobile so impossible for us to answer the call!! 3rd option is fax which is also outdated as technology moves forward very fast.

VRS is the best way forward, putting Deaf person in the control in telecommunication, giving us the freedom of who to call in BSL without having to rely on English or asking someone to make the call or making an effort to visit the place to explain what you want when it can be easily resolved via VRS!”

Deaf Parenting UK is a small national organisation, run by Deaf parents for Deaf parents and our motto is enabling, empowering and supporting Deaf Parents to access to services equally as any other parents on day to day lives across health, social services and their children’s education. From our recent conference on ‘Are we Equal: in accessing to health, social services and children’s education’, feedback from Deaf parents found communication even at the first point of contact was the biggest barriers and hopefully the VRS would the best way forward if available for all. For those reasons, Deaf Parenting UK wish to give their full supports, saying that VRS offer tremendous benefits to many Deaf parents/ families.

To learn more about VRS and to give your support, please check out their website: or contact your local MP (letter template available to download from VRS website or useful tips to make your video too onto VRS website!)

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