3 05, 2018

Sign Language in Hollywood

By |May 3rd, 2018|Categories: Deaf Community, Deaf Employment, Sign Language, Stories, Stories|0 Comments

In the last year, there has been a number of films released with Deaf or disabled actors cast as intrinsic characters to the storyline. These stories have always been there but it’s not until recently that mainstream productions have decided to include more variety in their narratives. Here are our favourites…

A Quiet Place, 2018

A Quiet Place is a horror with stellar cast and minimal dialogue. This film has the entire movie theatre holding their breath. Set in a post-apocalyptic future, not too far from reality, it follows a family who have survived due to their ability to communicative with Sign Language. This simple, clever narrative creates suspense while also addressing issues every family can relate to and expressing the frustrations of the oldest daughter Regan (played by Millicent Simmonds) for not being trusted to fend for herself due to Deafness.


Baby Driver, 2017

Baby Driver is about a young getaway driver, drawn into the world of bank robbing because of his impressive driving skills. Baby has Tinnitus and communicates with his Deaf foster father via American Sign Language and lip reading. The directors never explicitly said the protagonist has Asperger’s but there are multiple, gentle indications to this in the story line. Baby is a little alienated, he finds it hard to communicate in the same way as others and music is a big part of his life.


Behind the scenes: 

The Silent Child, 2017

The Silent Child is a short drama written by and starring Rachel Shenton (previously in Hollyoaks). It tells the story of Libby (played by Maisie Sly), a Deaf four-year old girl with hearing parents. Libby lives in silence until a social worker (played by Rachel Shenton) helps her learn how to communicate with sign language. The film was based on Rachel Shenton’s own experiences as a hearing child of a parent who became deaf. It has been making waves and gaining popularity among the BSL community because it won the Live Action Short Film category at the 90th Academy Awards.


The Shape of Water, 2017

The Shape of Water tells the story of a mute custodian at a government laboratory as she falls in love with an imprisoned creature, a hybrid between a human and an amphibian. The film highlights the possibility of love transcending different cultures and languages with stunning visuals and cinematography. It won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Score, and Best Production Design at the 90thAcademy Awards.


Wonderstruck, 2017

Wonderstruck follows the story of two children as they live in different decades (separated by 50 years) but are united by their experiences of Deafness and brave ambitions to pursue their dreams.


There have been more films with references to sign language communication released recently but not all have expressed these themes of connections and adversity accurately and creatively (for example, Mute on Netflix). It’s important that these stories are told well and the best way to do that is by listening to genuine perspectives and histories. It’s a great sign that casting and scriptwriting in Hollywood is increasingly including diversity, however, we have some way to go before everyone’s voice is heard and perceived as equal. Perhaps the next step is Deaf actors cast and Deaf characters written into narratives without their Deafness being the key point of focus.

Words by Ash Chalk

26 07, 2017

Student Stories – Colette

By |July 26th, 2017|Categories: Stories, Stories|0 Comments

“Being the odd one out in school knocks your confidence. I grew up thinking I was just plain stupid. A lot of children with hearing impairments will suffer from dyslexia. When we’re learning phonics in school, we miss the sounds and don’t grasp the spellings. Because I understand that now, it makes my learning ability easier, because I know it’s not just me. It’s not a disability or a condition, it’s just “dyslexia”.

Colette’s just finished her first year of Adult Nursing at Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford. She’s originally from Liverpool but moved around a lot and settled in London at 18.

“School was not a nice experience, I went to eight different schools around England and missed chunks of my education. I was bullied for my hearing and hated standing up class so the teachers tended to leave me alone. I left school at 16 with no GCSEs.

When I had my daughter at 21, I went back into education. I couldn’t write a sentence, I said to the teacher “I’m an idiot, I can’t do this, I’m leaving”, she looked at my work and said to me “I think

you’re Dyslexic, that’s where your issues lie” and from there I’ve just progressed. At 23 I had my son and was assessed for Dyslexia but when I tried to seek official support apparently I was too old. I was starting to progress but because I had kids, education was too much commitment. As my kids got older, I didn’t want to be a mum and not read and write. I wanted to be able to help them. I wanted to do more than just be a health care worker and realised I needed to go back into education.

I did the Access Course, which was difficult. I thought “If I can do this and pass this, I might just get into uni, I’ll have worked my up for 20 years.” What stopped me from walking away was a retiring colleague. She had a wealth of experience, I said “I don’t think I can do this, I can’t cope”. She turned round and said to me “You’ve got this, it’s not too hard, don’t be me in 30 years’ time”, I passed with merits! Anglia Ruskin University accepted me and I was floored. A year later, I’m here, doing really well and I can’t believe it.

When I was in college, Rebecca, my Disability Advising Officer was a blessing. She read what was needed, where my strengths and weaknesses were and told me about support available. Clarion UK have provided Kathryn, my Electronic Note-Taker. She’s a person, not a computer, she’s an absolute diamond and an immense support to me, we get on really well and that’s what I need. Without her I’d really struggle, she’s the most important part of the process at the moment. If I didn’t know this support was available I probably wouldn’t have gone to university, I wouldn’t be able to cope.

It’s hard balancing being a mum, a grandmother, a student and working. I’m juggling these four balls and keeping them in the air is tiring, but my kids are proud of me. I wanted to prove that if you strive for long enough you can achieve anything. If you want something, don’t sit back and moan about it, do something about it.

Once I’ve passed my nursing degree I would like to try A&E, I love the adrenaline and the fast pace. I don’t want to jinx it but I’ve planned my graduation dress and I’m going to start a family tradition. I may be the first in my family to graduate so I want to say to everybody, including my grandchildren, “I did it, here’s the evidence.”

My advice to anyone considering education would be to get out there and do it, start small and build yourself up. I’m so happy to have Clarion UK and my team because without them my learning journey would stop still. My education has been a struggle but it’s been worth it and I wouldn’t change anything. Whatever your difficulties are, challenge and push yourself. I’ve challenged and pushed myself and I got in! If you’re not sure what support’s out there, go and speak to somebody. With the right support and the right people, anything is possible.”



To find out more about the support that Clarion UK provides for students, get in touch or take a look at our website:


14 07, 2017

Partner Bulletin Week 1

By |July 14th, 2017|Categories: Partner Bulletin, Professional Development, Stories|0 Comments

Thanks to all our suppliers and partners, Clarion UK is having its busiest year, driving sustained growth of over 100 bookings per day with a 24 hour turnaround time and with 98-100% fulfilment.  We have also had three audits from the Ministry of Justice, Department of Education and Department of Work and Pensions.  Now Summer is here, we have time to turn our heads to the Autumn and plans for future growth. 

In order to achieve our vision and dreams, we need to improve the way that we communicate with you and what we ask of you.  We will therefore be sending out on a weekly basis; news about the company, new contracts that we have won, company and contract performance,  training, information about average charges, pay rate increases in some areas, supplier fees changes over the years and how we are using technology to communicate and deliver our services.   We will also be letting you know about what we need from you to ensure that we

  1. Have the best vetted and experienced team and
  2. Have a finance department that runs at full throttle – with money in the bank so that you get paid on time throughout the year. 

We need feedback from yourselves as well and we take it very seriously.  You can contact us through all the normal ways and also through our feedback site here – its’s just 6 easy clicks.

Finally, we will be changing the way we talk about you.  We have all these different terms: 

And, frankly, for a company with clarity at the heart of what we do, we are getting more and more confused and so are our clients.  From now on, when we speak to people, you will be, simply, our partners. As a result of your service, flexibility and professionalism we hope we can take our partnership from one that is good, to one that is best in class.  Thank You and here’s to the future.