Jazz hands or clapping?

There are fears that clapping could trigger anxiety

Daily Express

Jazz hands? What will the snowflakes dream up next? says JAMES DELINGPOLE

"Why don't you go as a cannibal with a grass skirt and a bone through your nose?"

"That's not funny, dad," he said. And he's right.

University these days is no joke. You can get in trouble merely for wearing a sombrero if you are not Mexican or a hula skirt if you are not Hawaiian ("cultural appropriation").

It's lucky, I suppose, that my son is not at Manchester.

This was where recently some student activists defaced Kipling's poem, if, in order to paint it over with some doggerel by the more politically acceptable black American writer Maya Angelou.

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Why have jazz hands replaced clapping at the University of Manchester?

By Joe Harker

In British Sign Language jazz hands are the symbol of applause, at the University of Manchester's student union they are now the official substitute. Clapping, whooping and cheering are out in favour of vigorous jazz hands as union officers voted to help students with sensory issues, for whom loud noises of celebration could be highly distressing.

Writing in The Guardian, Gaby Hinsliff supported the decision. She explained that she opposed the idea a few years ago when the National Union of Students but realised she'd changed her mind when the University of Manchester made their decision, happy that people were "erring more heavily on the side of kindness".

Clapping and cheering can be difficult for people who are autistic. The BBC spoke to Hannah Molesworth, who has autism and explained how difficult it is to endure loud noises. She said: "Sometimes I literally just freeze up and I'll just sit there and get more overwhelmed until I end up crying, have a meltdown or run away.

"I'll have a panic attack, feel cold and my vision goes into tunnel vision. When I was at school, during assemblies and awards and things, it felt like people would just clap all the time. It would get so overstimulating for me. Especially in a big echoey room."

However, Hannah doesn't agree with the University of Manchester's action against clapping, instead preferring more focus was put on raising awareness of autistic people. She warned that the frowning on clapping to show approval could "breed resentment" if other students started to develop bad feelings because of it.

Many people have derided the decision. To some it is the latest moment for "Generation Snowflake" to show they lack the resilience to cope. Daily Telegraph writer Laura Freeman cited examples of posts on social media from people who the decision was supposed to be for, suggesting that people liked the ritual of clapping even if they struggled to deal with the sensory overload.

Charlotte Gill of the Daily Mail suggested that frowning on clapping was evidence of universities "turning into religious cults" and railed against her belief that higher education wasn't preparing young people for the real world.

Some of the students from the University of Manchester suggested that the decision had been misreported by the media, saying that they hadn't banned clapping and instead just done it to make events more "inclusive and friendly".

Measures that make people feel more welcome and accommodated should be encouraged and several such schemes have been better received. Supermarkets introducing a "quiet hour" have been lauded whereas asking people to use jazz hands has been mocked. What's the difference?

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Daily Telegraph

Clapping replaced with jazz hands over fears noise could trigger anxiety among students

Clapping has been replaced with “jazz hands” at a student union, amid fears that the noise of applause could trigger anxiety among some students.

Whooping is also discouraged at Manchester University student union events on the basis that the loud noise may be a problem for those with sensory issues.

The use of “jazz hands” - where students wave their hands in the air - is the British Sign Language expression for applause and is deemed a more inclusive gesture.

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