Introduction to Lipspeaking
Lipspeaking is the skill of conveying a speaker’s message in an accurate, clear and lipreadable way to deaf people who use spoken English as their first language. Lipspeakers are trained to produce the shapes of words very clearly with and without voice using the flow, rhythm, and phrasing of natural speech. They relay the stress patterns of the speaker and use facial expression, natural gesture and fingerspelling (if requested) to aid the lipreader’s understanding. Messages which are too fast for lipreading may have to be pared down by the lipspeaker in order to make them more lipreadable.
Lipspeakers usually convey the speaker’s message silently and without voice. However, a lipspeaker may also, if asked, speak the words aloud, using clear communication techniques so that the lipreader can make use of their residual hearing.
Training to Become a Professional Lipspeaker
This course will be based on the new Lipspeaking Qualification developed from the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Lipspeaking.
Below are the 4 mandatory units.
- Prepare for Lipspeaking Assignments
- Deliver Lipspeaking Services
- Develop your performance as a Lipspeaker
- Co-work with other Lipspeakers
Assessment will consist of written and practical work.
(In addition to the 4 units the course team will also provide students who sign with an excellent grounding in the use of lipspeaking with sign.)
The course will consist of 23 course attendance days (about 1 weekend per month).
In addition to the 23 course attendance days students are expected to carry out:
- Extensive lipspeaking practice at home using recorded material such as CDs and DVDs
- Observation of lipreading classes
- Observation of a hard of hearing club(s)
- Where possible, observing and working with professional lipspeakers in the field. (This may not be possible if the lipspeaking assignments being undertaken are confidential.)
Entry to the Lipspeaking Training Course
Entry qualifications to the lipspeaking course
Applicants are expected to have a passed minimum of 5 GCSEs (A – C) or GCEs (including English Language) and 2 A levels or equivalent academic or vocational qualifications. A higher education qualification is usually very helpful. However, exceptions may be made for candidates who do not have these qualifications but who can demonstrate that they have the potential to become Lipspeakers. Evidence of qualifications (i.e. original certificates) must be brought to the first day of the course.
Qualities and Attributes
Selection will be based on the NOS standards.
Lipspeakers must have:
Good unaided hearing; good breath control; naturally clear speech with and without voice; a good memory; a good command of English; an expressive face; no facial jewellery; no visible facial hair such as a beard, moustache or designer stubble; no visible facial piercings or other distractions; no visible tattoos; clothes which do not distract; no bad teeth etc; a professional attitude; the ability to remain calm under pressure; a pleasant, warm, friendly and approachable manner and a practical and intelligent approach to solving problems; and the ability to communicate well with deaf people who use speech.
Eligibility to work in the UK
Passports must be brought to the first day of the course. Lipspeakers are required to have a current DBS (formerly CRB) to work in the UK. If you do not already have a current DBS (formerly CRB) check you will need to obtain one before or during the course.
Knowledge about communicating with deaf people and understanding deafness
This is essential for all good lipspeakers. Candidates are expected to have successfully achieved the Signature Level 1 Award in Deaf Awareness and Communication (DAC1) or equivalent.
The DAC1 course is run by a number of colleges and other organisations. However, if you cannot find a course yourself please contact Manchester Centre for Deaf Studies for information.
Course members are expected to attend all the course attendance days and hours provided by this course and to be punctual. Course members will also be expected to adopt a professional approach throughout including wearing professional clothing and following the dress code for lipspeakers. Course members will also be expected to give and receive feedback in a professional and helpful manner.
Most of the course will be on Zoom and there will also be individual tutorials.
To apply for lipspeaker training
For a course leaflet and an application form for the course or further information please contact us by post or email.