About Us

ATLA Membership

Membership of ATLA is only £40 a year. For this you get

  • Free listing of your classes on this website
  • Regional group meetings for support and ideas for teaching
  • Opportunities to meet your fellow teachers
  • Training events
  • Two copies of Catchword a year (electronic or paper)
  • Access to members-only area of website which provides
    • Job advertisements
    • Wiki – lesson material, publications and more
    • Special offers

Want to join ATLA?

You need to possess a recognised lipreading tutor qualification to meet membership requirements. Students on recognised tutor training courses in the UK are also eligible. Enquiries can be made through Contact Us.

ATLA members

Renew your membership here. (Page under construction-do not use yet)

Subscriptions are due by 1 April 2017.

Our vision, purpose and aims

Vision  – a world where lipreading classes are available to all those who need them

Purpose  – to provide a professional and recognised association for teachers of lipreading to adults, and to work in partnership with others to ensure that everyone challenged by hearing loss has access to lipreading classes and appropriate support.


  • Profile  – to raise the profile and priority of lipreading, and those who are qualified to teach it, throughout the UK and beyond.
  • Benefits   to generate awareness of the benefits of lipreading, related communication skills and tactics.
  • Understanding  – to promote understanding of the needs of people with hearing loss who want to use speech and/or lipreading to communicate.
  • Quality  – to promote the highest quality of lipreading teaching including continuous professional development
  • Support  To provide support for members.


ATLA Committee

Chair and Public Relations Officer – Molly Berry
Secretary  – Maria Bailey
Treasurer – Ann Orpin
Classes Information Officer – Susan Bramley
Catchword  and members’ E-Bulletin Editor – Susan Simons
Events Organiser – Julie Simms
Regional Groups and LTTC Liaison Officer – Ruth Bizley
Northern Ireland Liaison –  Elizabeth Ward
Scotland Liaison –  Jill Bradshaw
Webmaster – Fran Walker

To contact any of the committee members, please use this contact form

(updated June 2016)

Lipreading interpreting policy

This Code of Practice covers ATLA’s position on handling requests from the media etc for lipreaders to view and lipread events / conversations / CCTV video / DVD recordings etc.

It is ATLA’s policy that these requests should be refused.

ATLA is a registered charity which promotes lipreading as an essential skill for people who have become hard of hearing or deaf, and acts as a professional body for lipreading teachers ensuring that high quality standards of teaching are maintained.

We do not offer an interpreting service, nor can we offer details of people who could offer such a service.

Additional reasons include:

  1. The difficulties inherent in lipreading – e.g. lipreading is phonetic and, as such, a lot of words look very similar; also there is a need for context and subject clues. Accuracy cannot be guaranteed. There is no accreditation or formal test for lipreading accuracy.
  2. Lipreading used in this way could be used to sensationalise events and trivialise the difficulties involved in skilful lipreading.
  3. Evidence involving lipreading is unlikely to be accepted in a Court of Law.
  4. Lipreading such videos / DVDs may constitute an invasion of privacy of the person being lipread. Using listening devices (bugs) to record conversations is unlawful without a court order: lipreading duplicates this concept through an alternative medium.

Responding to requests for interpretation services

ATLA recommends that lipreading teachers who are asked to provide an interpretation service restrict any response to a simple statement that:

  1. They are not a trained or accredited language interpreter
  2. They do not offer interpretation services

We recommend that lipreading teachers who are asked to provide an interpretation service do not enter into any discussion regarding the accuracy or otherwise of lipreading as this could result in a summons to Court to explain their position.

History of ATLA

One of the earliest known lipreading teacher training courses in the UK was set up
by the RNID (now Action on Hearing Loss) after the Second World Was because
there were a large number of war-deafened ex-servicemen who needed lipreading
tuition. By 1970, before ATLA was formed, the training of lipreading teachers was
being undertaken at the City Lit Centre for Deaf People in London.

Over the years a small but dedicated and growing number of qualified lipreading
teachers struggled to achieve proper recognition of the communication needs of
people with acquired deafness who use speech. Their needs are different from
those of deaf people who use sign language.

These lipreading teachers were often very isolated having to work alone in
different parts of the country to obtain funding to run free lipreading classes at a
time when few deaf people or service providers knew about lipreading classes.
Lipreading teachers would often travel long distances to meet to exchange
teaching material and provide mutual support. The need for a professional
association was finally realised when ATLA was set up in 1977. Later, ATLA became
a registered charity.

ATLA was born out of the firm belief that ‘lipreading’ belonged within education
because it was important for the self-esteem of people with an acquired deafness
to feel that they themselves were tackling their situation and working on their skills
of lipreading and communication.

A City Lit trained lipreading teacher set up the lipreading teacher training course in
Manchester, and graduates from that course were active in the setting up of
teacher training courses in Scotland. In 2012 a lipreading teacher training course
was set up in Wales. The four courses are now all recognised as ‘ATLA approved’
and subscribe to modules set out in the newly accredited City and Guilds
‘Principles and Practice of Lipreading Teaching’ unit no. L/504/0231.