Friday, 29 July 2016

Pokemon Go encourages unemployed...

Deaf Culture and Groupthink...

Doing the social media rounds.....What is 'Groupthink' ?  Is this why Deaf Versus deaf exists ? why deaf awareness is a biased failure, and creates divisions ?  It's rather unnerving the similarities !

Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. 

Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.

Groupthink requires individuals to avoid raising controversial issues or alternative solutions, and there is loss of individual creativity, uniqueness and independent thinking. The dysfunctional group dynamics of the "ingroup" produces an "illusion of invulnerability" (an inflated certainty that the right decision has been made). 

Thus the "ingroup" significantly overrates its own abilities in decision-making and significantly underrates the abilities of its opponents (the "outgroup"). Furthermore, groupthink can produce dehumanising actions against the "outgroup".

Antecedent factors such as group cohesiveness, faulty group structure, and situational context (e.g., community panic) play into the likelihood of whether or not groupthink will impact the decision-making process.

Groupthink is a construct of social psychology but has an extensive reach and influences literature in the fields of communication studies, political science, management, and organisational theory, as well as important aspects of deviant religious cult behaviour.

Groupthink is sometimes stated to occur (more broadly) within natural groups within the community, for example to explain the lifelong different mindsets of conservatives versus liberals, or the solitary nature of introverts. However, this conformity of viewpoints within a group does not mainly involve deliberate group decision-making, and might be better explained by the collective confirmation bias of the individual members of the group.

The future of sound

The future of sound: KOAR Bone Conduction Bluetooth headset delivers audio to your inner earHave you ever listened to music through bone conduction? It sounds like science fiction, but the legendary Beethoven (who was deaf) was known to use this method of listening by biting down on his composer’s wand, which was touching the piano as he played.

An updated version of this technology is available in the KOAR Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headset, a high-end set of headphones delivering crystal-clear sound directly to your inner ears. For a limited time, you can grab a set of your own at 48 per cent off from Pocket-lint Deals.

KOAR’s patented transducers bypass your ear canal to deliver sound straight to your inner ear. The sound is transmitted through vibrations via the bones of your face, sidestepping the outer and middle ear (where the eardrum is located) and directly stimulating the inner ear.

To sign or not to sign? That's the question facing deaf children..

Sophie and her mom Samantha Zawislak. (Elizabeth Fiedler/WHYY)The invention of cochlear implants and other technologies have given many deaf and hard-of-hearing adults and children the option to hear. What, then, becomes of sign language?

When the world gets too loud—because of fireworks, or just to take a quiet break on the weekends—8-year-old Sophie knows what to do.  "When it's really loud, I just take the magnet off," she says. She's deaf and has had a cochlear implant that's helped her hear since she was a year old. But she knows by moving that magnet she can stop the device from bringing her sound.

More than 1 in 500 children in the United States is born deaf or hard of hearing, making it the most common congenital sensory problem in the country. Technological advances, like Sophie's cochlear implants, now give many children the ability to hear and communicate with spoken English from the time they are babies.

Sitting next to her on the couch in their living room, Sophie's mom Samantha Zawislak says getting her daughter a cochlear implant, which requires surgery, was a difficult decision.

"We didn't ever want our daughter to think that she's broken or not complete somehow," Zawislak says. "[But] There is this really neat technology that if you're the appropriate candidate and if you do it soon enough, children who are deaf have access to sound and can use their voice if they choose to speak."

Sign language is a vital means of communication for many members of the deaf and hard of hearing communities. Sophie can hear now and make her own decisions about how to communicate. Even though her parents sign to her, Sophie responds to them in spoken English. When her mom asks why, Sophie explains that they can hear, so she wants to speak. Zawislak says she wants her daughter, who attends the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, to have the power to define her own identity.

"Ultimately at the end of the day that child's going to grow up and find out who they are, and it might be hearing, it might be deaf," she reasons. "And we have chosen to accept that Sophie already identifies as being deaf and we're comfortable with with, she wants to go to the deaf university, to Gallaudet and we're very proud of that."

Children who are deaf learn, without sign language. Other children who are deaf, or hard of hearing, are on a different educational path, where sign language is much less visible. At the Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech, which has five locations across the country, all of the students use sound amplification devices, including cochlear implants and hearing aids. Clarke School teaches listening and spoken language, but not sign language. Instead, they learn to listen and speak, with the goal of succeeding in mainstream classrooms alongside their typically hearing peers.

Generation Deaf...

Dr. Joe Vandermeer
But, will they be next generation cultural deaf ?

"Turn that down before you go deaf" is a common phrase parents use on their kids, and according to experts those parents are right.

Dr. Joe Vandermeer, a physician from Lakeshore Health Partners, says kids who listen to loud music are experiencing hearing loss more than ever before. The World Health Organization is warning that more than 1 million young people are at risk for hearing loss from personal audio devices, concerts, even mowing the lawn. That's why some are calling the millennials Generation Deaf.
We see it all of the time: teens and adults walking along wearing headphones or earbuds, tuning out the real world. Sometimes, the music that is drowning out the sounds of everyday life can be literally deafening.

According to Dr. Vandermeer, our ears are like microphones plugged into our brain, and when our music is too loud, those microphones can break. "It comes down to how loud your things are and how loud you're listening to them," Dr. Vandermeer said.

"Now everybody has MP3 players with their entire library of music and streaming music services plugged directly into their ears," Dr. Vandermeer said. "They are exposed to a lot more sound and options for loud music and loud noise sources than a lot of generations before this. There's some evidence that adolescents and kids who are listening to a lot of music are showing signs of hearing loss in high frequencies."

Good Vibrations...

Ruth MacMullen who was born Profoundly deaf, is pictured with her Clarinet at York St John University, York..25th July 2016 ..Picture by Simon Hulme
She plays the clarinet, sings, listens to music and chats on the phone, but Ruth MacMullen was born profoundly deaf. Catherine Scott finds out how.  Ruth Macmullen was 18 months old when doctors confirmed she was profoundly deaf.

“My parents were told I would never learn to speak or hear anything, but my parents pushed back and said they wanted to give it a go,” says Ruth now 28. “Looking back it was a bit like living your life under water. I could hear muffled sounds but that was it.”

Ruth’s mum taught her to speak and when she was eight and said she wanted to learn a musical instrument her ever supportive parents said ‘good idea’.  Her mum set about researching the best instruments for a profoundly deaf person to play and discovered that the clarinet was ideal because of the amount of vibration.

“I always loved music and really wanted to play an instrument,” says Ruth. “Some people might have tried to put me off but my parents really encouraged me. I really enjoyed the clarinet getting to grade six and even playing in an orchestra.  “I have been brought up to believe that if I want to do something then I should give it a go. Music has been no different.”

But growing up she did find being a deaf person in a hearing world at times very frustrating.  “I went to a mainstream school and I wore really high powered hearing aids ,but I was frustrated at not being able to do all the things that the other children could do,” she says.

“I do think it has had an effect on me. Growing up and getting through the teenage years is hard enough, but you don’t really want to be different, being deaf made me stick out.”

And so when Ruth was 13 she was given a cochlear implant.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Deafness is not a learning disability ?

Subject Genius, Phil Rowlands, Why children struggle with maths: part 3
But, there was another research project that suggested the signs aren't there to advance academically, let alone tutors who are aware of them, so where will the expertise come from to teach deaf children, what they need to know ?  Is it not an issue of sign still having not enough depth ?

The head of policy and research at the National Deaf Children’s Society explains some of the biggest barriers that deaf children face and what schools can do to help.

The Article:

Deafness is a not a learning disability. Despite this, only 36 per cent of deaf children achieved five GCSEs (including English and maths) at grades A* to C in 2014, compared with 65 per cent of other children. This is unacceptable and indicates that too many deaf children are not getting the support they need in mainstream education.

Part of the problem is that deafness is a low incidence need. More than 77 per cent of school-aged deaf children in the UK attend mainstream schools where there is no specialist provision, and in which they may be the only deaf child enrolled. That’s why local authority specialist education support services play such a vital role in employing visiting teachers of the deaf to advise mainstream schools about how they can improve outcomes.

Failure to provide this advice means that deafness can often be overlooked because mainstream teachers simply don’t have any understanding of the needs of a deaf child. Often these children are nodding their way through life without really understanding what is being said and missing out on vital early development.

Using hearing Tests to ID Autism.

Some people with autism may have problems processing sounds"A hearing test is being hailed as a revolutionary technique to spot autism years earlier than current methods can," the Mail Online reports. The test is based on measuring how the inner ear reacts to sound.

But while the test shows promise, the headline is premature. The study the report is based on only looked at boys aged 6 to 17 years old and was not used to diagnose autism spectrum disorder.  In the study, 35 boys with autism and 42 boys the same age without autism had a range of hearing tests.

The first tests measured their ability to detect sounds at different levels and frequencies. All boys had the normal range of hearing.  But other tests used to measure the ear's ability to process and distinguish between similar sounds showed boys with autism had a 25% smaller processing response to sounds in the mid-range.

The researchers say this could make it hard for them to discriminate between sounds – for example, similar vowel sounds in speech.  The processing tests – using a measure called oto-acoustic emissions – are regularly used to screen newborn babies.

The hope is they could also be used to look for difficulties in sound processing in line with those found in these boys with autism.

Developing Academic signs...

Technical language and terminology can be a stumbling block for keen science students who are deaf or hard of hearing. A Swansea lecturer is helping to bridge that gap with a new glossary of specialist words, and will talk about her work at September's British Science Festival in the city in September. 

WORDS like "abrasion", "magma chambers" and "chemical erosion" prick up the ears of geologists. Depicting them in sign language is a different matter, according to Swansea University lecturer Dr Rhian Meara.

She is helping to compile a geography and geology sign language mini-dictionary as part of a wider initiative to help deaf students and teachers.  The aim of the BSL (British Sign Language) Glossary Project is to develop academic terminology, and has thus far resulted in glossaries for chemistry, physics, biology and astronomy.

Dr Meara, who does a lot of geography and geology lecturing in Welsh, began learning sign language as a hobby and came to wonder how deaf students were catered for.

Researching the matter online she got in touch with the Scottish Sensory Centre, which runs the glossary project, and a plan of action was formulated.  Dr Meara works with a deaf focus group to develop new BSL terms to cover topics including rivers, glaciation, weather, maps, and geographic information systems (GIS).

Each new term is filmed, along with a signed definition or explanation. They will then be available on the BSL Glossary Project website and on a new app which is being developed.