Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Access for deaf and HoH.

This is the RAD...

It doesn't explain there are cost and basic RAD availability issues.  E.G. no offices or agency exists in Wales or in many other parts of the UK.  The reliance online does not help either.  In the opening issue, the man sought benefit advice, we don't know what area he was from, but in Wales, not a single deaf organisation was able to advise on that, as they had no deaf professionally trained to advise.   As such, benefits advice had to be supplied by the groups for blind and deaf-blind instead.

On another aspect, an advertised 'newly opened' RAD office in Wales, actually NEVER opened and 'closed' shortly afterwards with no explanation at all.  We suggest it was because staff said the RAD did not make it worth their while to be employed by them and left the RAD.  Budding 'Deaf' lawyers were still being ostracised by mainstream legal areas..... because no support was forthcoming for the RAD trainees to gain legal experience.

One issue is the perennial 'Deaf' issue in that the specialisation on BSL-only clients fell foul of laws (!) on inclusion, you should have read the books, lads.....  Maybe more productive of the RAD to lobby for own staff access and awareness first. With many parts of the UK now devolved, the RAD is really NON-extant for deaf unless you live in southern England, more honesty, please.

As an example, the AOHL (a charity for the HoH), had 42,000+ concerns raised on their forum re the complete lack of proper benefit advice from deaf or HoH groups, right in the middle of RAD's area coverage, are people seeking out the RAD, not !

Fake Terp Inspires...

Sign language. Picture: Tshepiso Mokoena Foundation.
Writer Sophie Woolley has collaborated with choreographer Andile Vellem and director Gemma Fairlie to deliver a theatre performance highlighting the need for qualified sign language interpreters.

They also focus on the challenge of slow integration of deaf people with regards to education, jobs and other sectors of society.  The Fake Interpreter incorporates sign language to drive the message home.  The production was inspired by Woolley’s own views around a fake interpreter - Thamsanqa Jantjie - used at Nelson Mandela's memorial service.

"It takes years of training and this is why people who think that they have just done a sign course can interpret to people… you have to train in the same way a doctor would train, it’s a commitment." said by 'Sophie Woolley, writer '

Controversial sign-language interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie remains in a psychiatric hospital but has stabalised. Picture: Alex Eliseev/EWN."There needs to be more resources. There is a will in the Constitution, a provision to promote sign language but it falls into the same grey area as the Khoisan language, it is not being called an official language." said by 'Sophie Woolley, writer '

Earlier this month the team showcased a 40-minute scratch performance to a select audience, which included pupils from the Dominican School for the Deaf at Artscape Theatre in Cape Town.  Woolley says more needs to be done to facilitate the integration of deaf children in regular schools.

‘Being deaf has shaped who I am’

Aidan Whitehead, cochlear implants, rowing, deafExamples of confusing images of deaf people abound, here is one.  It could be argued Cochlear Implants made him who he was,  but at least the d was not capitalised in the article heading.  Will medias or deaf people, EVER get it right ?

Although Aidan Whitehead was born profoundly deaf, he was fortunate to receive cochlear implants when he was two years old. Today, he is 19 and a first-year engineering student at the University of Stellenbosch. 

“Life with cochlear implants is sometimes very noisy and sometimes very quiet,” says Aidan. “I find that classrooms and lecture halls are a challenge – it’s often difficult to follow what’s being said because of the background noise. I know this can be difficult for hearing people too but it’s twice as hard for me. I have to sit close to the speaker or lecturer so I don’t miss anything.

“Being in a conversation with more than two other people is also a problem for me. I struggle to follow what is being said.”  To overcome this Aidan often has to guide the conversation or take charge, especially in group projects.   “Sometimes it also helps to position myself in the best place to hear, for example, sitting with my left ear (my stronger side) towards the conversation.”

‘I’m treated no differently’  “I don’t think I’m treated any differently,” says Aidan. “It helps that I don’t think of myself as being hearing impaired. I see it more as a part of who I am – a part of my personality. This has helped shape the way people treat me – they treat me as a fully functioning hearing peer rather than a disabled individual.”

Understanding cochlear implants

A cochlear implant is an electrical apparatus that is surgically implanted into the bone behind the ear. It is made up of a microphone (receives the sounds), a speech processor (selects usable sounds) and a coil (decodes and sends electric impulses to the electrodes). 

“Cochlear implants and speech processors have opened the world to me. They have allowed me to expand my potential far beyond what it would have been without them,” he says.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Teacher/Deaf-Blind Intervenor roles..

And finally… sign of the times

Image result for 1,000 or 1,000,000 ?A former IBM employee who is deaf is suing his lawyer for wrongly interpreting his sign language after settling his discrimination case for $200,000 rather than the amount he claims to have asked for – $200m.

James Wang, 49, argues his lawyer, Andrew Rozynski, exaggerated his understanding of sign language and mistook the amount Mr Wang was suing for. The sign for “thousand” involves tapping the palm once, while for “million”, it’s twice.  Mr Wang alleges that the computer giant fired him as a result of his disability in 2013, the New York Post reports.

Mr Wang is suing Mr Rozynski’s firm, Eisenberg & Baum LLP, for legal malpractice at Manhattan Supreme Court.

However, the lawyer argues the case is without merit, pointing to US District Court Judge Vincent Briccetti’s judgment in the previous lawsuit in which he said it was implausible for Mr Wang to expect to be awarded $200m, over 3,000 times his salary.

Promoting BSL to Mainstream

Related imageFirst, you have to agree what BSL is and then accept some norm, it goes without much saying, you have to clarify WHO benefits from mainstream being aware of it apart from the few...

E.G. the BDA promote a DIFFERENT version of BSL to the other areas as I understand it, and promote a different deaf week of awareness too, they believe their BSL is in the 'purist' form, i.e. devoid of 'English and grammar influences' but inclusive of cultural background, they object to sign being taught simply as a 'tool' of communication.  

Frankly, that is ALL learners are interested in, because they take it up as a paying job (Interpreting).  Whilst they will sit there learning about the culture, in practice, they won't be espousing or promoting that aspect except as a sop to clients. There is an acceptance they have to put up with the cultural part of sign, but they (Hearing learners), don't see it as integral to the work they will be doing and pay (Pardon the pun!),  'lip-service' to it..

The issue of awareness communication-wise, (and viz-a-viz with the hearing loss population), has little or nothing to do specifically with the 'Deaf' in this respect or even BSL, as basically, it is about those who lose hearing after formative years or are losing it now, the majority not the minority, who have own systems and never use such classes.  

It is staggering there is actually no set up of comms support tailored for that majority, except a fee charged BSL class set up, or a DIY Lip-reading set up without aim, bottom line, or purpose, given they represent that majority, and as statistics suggest, massive increases of people with hearing loss emerging.  They cannot all have or want CI's... and those with hearing loss are NOT the pupils attending the classes.. They are all hearing.

Even if they eventually agree on a signed norm, it still will do nothing for the other loss sectors.  We have 3m in the UK who would rather cut their ears off than wear a hearing aid e.g. and a load of others going downhill, but still desperately convinced they can hear something so they are OK, (except when it deteriorates to the point they are isolated by default!), then they get angry wondering why there is no support for them or any national program established for them.  

Those with majority hearing loss, do not see the fault of unawareness is entirely their apathetic own.  Awareness is a poor joke, but there are plenty of clowns making money from it, and nobody to oversee if awareness 'Deaf' or otherwise, is accurate or is just a complete free-for-all.  It's all randoms and colleges making money on it, re-framing hearing loss, and communication as a culture, it is the hard sell... 

There is no authority or standard to oversee any sort of accuracy, it is why the BDA went off on its own.  But 'Deaf' have little or no influence on college or private learning... or on how sign via the curriculum is taught, it is hearing dictating the format, honing the tuition to fit in with hearing employment norms, eventually, they will change the entire nature of sign and its use, one suspects BSL grammar will be the first casualty...  

Sign tuition being profit driven, could all collapse if market forces dictate the money isn't in it... there are already concerns state support via DWP ESA allowances for the deaf to work etc, are being capped or simply removed, this means interpreters would not be able to make a living out of it.  The state responding with 'You are too expensive to support,' and urging the deaf to find alternatives to sign... and/or to rely on others like family or friends prepared to help for free...  Employers don't want sign users or prepared to pay their support bill, which they claim is higher than the value of the deaf employees' skill value, or wage.  Employers are not a charity or non-profit. Providing a social service they don't.

The more able BSL sector has latched on to the fact awareness means money, and jobs/work for them as 'advisors to the ignorant'. Who would question (Apart from us), whether it is fact-based, accurate, or not ?  They just publish own take on it and ignore deaf and others who don't sign.   They aren't going to do the HI's work for them.  

Many are not interested in BSL, in either its 'pure' format, or its random 'preferenced' anything-goes approaches, it should really reflect English, e.g. Signed English, we live in the UK not 'DeafWorld', and it makes more sense to educate in the host country's grammar, if only to land a job, and read a book about their own background....  

The way sign is taught is self-isolating, and anti-inclusion based.  Using S.E. sign would make more sense and practicality to HI/HoH, encouraging 10 times the number with hearing loss to learn basics of sign, because they and hearing, are both conversant with the grammatical form.   If the majority hearing loss sector take up sign in any number then demand would also rocket.  Opposing english grammar is negative.

While sign carries the albatross of culture and deaf politics, as an equal or higher priority, it is not an attractive or realistic proposition for HoH, and a barrier to mainstream. Culture should be an optional take up, not part and parcel of sign language learning. All is still 'falling on Deaf ears..' as the pursuit of culture, overrides the practical issues and drawbacks of sign usage in the mainstream, and the direction is simply to fight court cases...

Monday, 24 April 2017

The Word...

The Chasm between sign users and hearing...

And, between sign users and others with hearing loss too !

Sex education: Communication is key...

In deaf sex education, communication is a key factor. Parents should be sure to find a way to talk about sex with their child at every stage of adolescence. 

Additionally, parents need to find a way to communicate this information clearly. It is important for children to know about sex for their protection against STD's and early pregnancy. This video features Bo Clements talking about deaf sex education.

Fiji Parliament starts sign language services

IMG2.jpgA system even the UK has never established.... 

Sign language has been introduced from today for parliament sitting. Officers who are proficient in this area are providing simultaneous interpretation of the sitting to the viewers. 

Parliamentary Speaker, Dr Jiko Luveni, says she is glad that information and communication from the sittings is now accessible to those that have a hearing impairment. 

“I am grateful to the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation for responding positively to our call for assistance in this respect. My appreciation also goes out to the Fiji Association of the Deaf, the Department of Communications and the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation for their commitment towards this worthy cause.” The parliament faced some technical challenges earlier and was unable to use the sign language services for the February and March sittings...