A skill that can improve lives

Margaret Miller is hoping to enoucrage more people to take up lip reading.
Margaret Miller is hoping to enoucrage more people to take up lip reading.

An Arbroath lady is encouraging more people to take up lip-reading which could help transform the lives of deaf people in Angus.

Margaret Miller, a trained lip reading tutor, is hoping to help make a difference to the lives of people with acquired deafness who can quite often become isolated as a result of their condition.

She said: “Acquired deafness can be from an accident or illness and it can be very sudden and can have a tremendous impact on people’s lives.

“Communication can become very difficult and can lead to depression and they can withdraw from society in general.”

Lip reading has until lately been overlooked in terms of government funding, but according to Margaret this is slowly changing, partly the result of a recent Scottish sensory survey and which identified a number of issues.

She said: “One of the things they are looking at is the severe lack of lip reading classes for adults.

“There’s been no training for lip reading tutors since 2005 because there was no funding, but there has been recognition from the government that it is a very helpful thing.”

Consequently, Margaret and 13 other lip reading tutors from across Scotland have just finished a year long course and are now looking to set up classes to disseminate the skill.

She said: “Lip reading is about learning new skills and learning tactics to help cope with difficult communication in every day life and making friends. It’s fun, it’s not heavy duty, it’s relaxed and it’s in a safe environment to come along and share experiences.”