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Dementia study launched within the deaf community
Date:3/3/2010

Researchers have launched a unique project to improve early diagnosis and management of dementia among Deaf people who use British Sign Language (BSL).

The research, funded by Alzheimer's Society, will examine how to identify dementia in Deaf people and explore how they might best cope with their condition. The study will also investigate how to provide support services for the Deaf community and develop assessment tools in BSL.

The University of Manchester team, working with colleagues at UCL (University College London), City University London, and the Royal Association for Deaf people, brings together Deaf and hearing researchers from a range of disciplines, including dementia care, social work, old-age psychiatry, psychology, Deaf studies and Sign Language research.

Lead researcher Professor Alys Young, from the Social Research with Deaf People programme at The University of Manchester, said: "Nobody knows whether Deaf people are more or less likely to experience dementia than hearing people. Our assumptions about what might be valued in care and support are based on hearing people's preferences, not rooted in an understanding of Deaf people's cultural experiences. Information about dementia and related services does not exist in Deaf people's preferred or only language BSL.

"There are no validated assessment tools in British Sign Language for diagnosis of dementia among Deaf people and using assessments designed for English speakers with an interpreter can lead to misunderstandings; some terms do not mean the same thing to people from different cultures."

The researchers will study normal ageing amongst Deaf signing people with the help of several hundred Deaf people who come together annually for a holiday organised by the English Deaf Darby and Joan Club. The team will also work with Deaf people with a diagnosis of dementia and their carers to explore their experiences of living with the illness, their pri
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Contact: Aeron Haworth
aeron.haworth@manchester.ac.uk
44-161-275-8383
University of Manchester
Source:Eurekalert

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