Michael`s Personal budget story

Michael’s Personal budget story
Feature length 5’43”
Michael signing (voice of a British Sign Language translator)
So I was born profoundly deaf, and I was growing up things started changing for me
at the age of 16, my eye sight started to change and deteriorate
and in bright day light I was really struggling and especially at night my eyes couldn’t
see a lot. I can see people but I can’t see the features. I had no confidence, my
confidence was really, really low and I didn’t have a lot of help or support.
Scott (PA): The first time when I met Michael at Oldham Deaf club, I recognised that
he was really, really low in confidence and I went and had a chat to him. Because I
have worked for social services for a long time, I kind of knew when people were
withdrawing and going within themselves and I thought I can help this young man, it
was me who heard about individual budgets explained to Michael to him go and see
social services and it has improved from then on.
Michael: Now I have an individual budget and things are on the up for me, and
things are really exciting – I’ve got PAs who help me and my life is much better.
Gill: – Michael’s mother: It gives me a lot more freedom, I don’t have to book holiday
to take Michael here there and everywhere because Michael has his own personal
assistants who do it instead of me so, we’re both more independent now.
When I went to school it was a hearing school kind of in a mainstream
school, there wasn’t a lot of signing, just basic sign language I had when I was
younger. Then I moved to high school, and there were around 30 to 40 deaf
students there and they were using BSL, which I didn’t really know about but I
started to learn it and absorb it.
When I became 16, and my eyesight started to deteriorate I was trying to
communicate in sign language I was missing a lot of information – and a
communicator came, he came and grabbed me wrists while he was signing. It’s
called hands on sign language and I understood from then on what I needed, I
needed to change my BSL sign language to hands on sign language.
So I’d like to have my hair cut today because I’m getting ready for tonight I’m going
out in Manchester tonight with a lot of deaf friends, it’s my girlfriends birthday tonight,
and we’re going to have a bit of a party in Manchester with all my friends tonight.
I don’t really feel deaf-blind myself – I feel just like a normal deaf person I feel very
positive and with the hands sign language and the way I communicate and the way
I’m guided, I’m quite happy with that…
First of all, I had a direct payment, and with the direct payment everything was the
same every week, you know, same hours same time, very restricting, you can’t do
that on a different day. Scott explained to me I’d need an individual budget and I’d
need a reassessment which I had. I get to choose, the times, any time and also the
people who work with me the personal assistants that gave me a lot of confidence I
went out so much more
Gill: There’s no planning ahead for appointments, if he wants to go for a hair cut he
would have have to wait until I’ve finished work, I do his books for his pay and
allowance and for paying the wages and it takes me ten minutes a month
Michael: Regularly I go and watch football, with my Pas, also helps me to go clothes
shopping, he’ll explain to me if I’m looking at some clothing, what it is what it looks
like, the deaf club is what I enjoy the most. I meet all my friends there and we have
a social life altogether and it’s a really good time for me. I can go out and do
anything in my time, when I want to do it.
I have a job as a lecturer for a company called Hear First, they’re a training company
who run training courses for social workers. I talk to them about my life and I explain
to them about individual budgets and direct payments and give them lecture to raise
awareness for them to give them some idea how it affects deaf blind people, the
feedbacks been really really good. They say they’ve enjoyed it a lot, and gives me
When Michael was little he used to ask Why me?, why can’t hear and why can’t I
see, and we always said to him you’re here to help people and I think that’s why
he’s been doing what he does now, which is going round and giving talks about
being deaf and being blind and how he’s coping.
You’re a really good role model for deaf blind people, cause there’s a lot of deaf
blind people out there with low self esteem, but looking at you a positive role model
might help them, for them as you are a young confident person who goes out a
regularly and you do lots of things and that’s a good example to give to people.