Wednesday, 31 August 2016

DeafRead Team - DeafRead Team - WTF ? (II)

Has been hacked ? or are independent deaf bloggers suddenly employed as the ' team' ?  (I'll take my wages in £'s Sterling please if that is the case)....  Dollars don't go far here....

The race to save a sign language...

In al-Sayyid, a Bedouin village in a remote corner of Israel’s Negev desert, deafness is considered less a disability and more a fact of life. The rate of deafness in the community is 50 times the world average; out of 4,000 residents, some 150 are deaf, the result of a gene that first emerged in the villagers’ ancestors a few generations ago. 

Deaf men work alongside their hearing relatives in construction jobs in nearby Israeli towns, and the deaf marry both deaf and hearing relatives — sometimes both, as the Bedouin tradition allows for polygamy and for the marriage between cousins.

Most important, both hearing and deaf members of the community speak al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language, a local language that developed in the village as its deaf population grew. ABSL, like other, similar “village sign languages,” is not a counterpart to any other spoken or signed language: It does not share characteristics with the Bedouin Arabic dialect, Modern Standard Arabic, or Israeli Sign Language, all of which are also used in the village.

“One of the most exciting things about this language is that it arose out of nothing,” says Wendy Sandler, the director of the Sign Language Research Lab at Haifa University, who has studied the al-Sayyid’s sign language since 2000, along with fellow linguists Irit Meir, also from Haifa University; Carol Padden of University of California, San Diego; and Mark Aronoff of Stony Brook University. Village sign languages, Sandler says, are appealing to researchers for two reasons: One, they “match form to function more directly” than in spoken languages; and two, when they’re still evolving, they offer a chance to “literally see [the language] unfold.” Which means al-Sayyid has become a perfect laboratory for linguists looking to answer an age-old question: How does a language form in the first place? And can the evolution of a relatively new one, like ABSL, tell us anything about the traits all languages have in common?

Researchers can accurately date the origins of ABSL to 200 years ago, a time when nomadic Arab tribes roamed the dunes of the Negev desert and survived by herding goats. The head of one of those tribes was the sheikh of the al-Sayyid clan, an Egyptian peasant who migrated to the area after a family feud, married a number of local women, and adopted the Bedouin way of life. When his children, two of whom carried the recessive deafness gene, were rejected as “foreigners” by surrounding Bedouin tribes, they married among themselves. Four generations later, the first deaf children were born; as their deaf children had deaf children of their own, the language started to form.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Aged treated like shit...

Why does it happen ?  If people are referred to residential care why isn't full assessment done then ? Eyes, ears etc It would seem if you are elderly and have some serious mobility issue e.g. then the assessment is for that only, not the fact you cannot hear or see properly either. 

No-one gets referred to residential care because they cannot hear, there has to be other issues or we would all be in them ! The problem is the care systems aren't recognising hearing loss AS an issue, (I blame the campaigners who keep reiterating they can do everything except hear !).  Erm that isn't helping older deaf people, who clearly cannot or they wouldn't be in a  residential home !

These campaigns are very poorly thought out and dogmatic more than realistic, and addressing awareness.  Hearing loss is just part and parcel of old age ? Acceptable ? Inevitable ? like arthritis or something ?  so to be tolerated (Or not !), rather than addressed. As we know, lots of technologies are available to help, but older people reluctant to use to it. Once you enter a residential home what access to the net is there ? does anyone check ? etc... older people can buy iphones and just text on them, but you don't need an iphone to do that.. 

ipads etc, are useful but older people still need help using those.  

When it comes to socialising with fellow residents...... nothing ? What system of assisting socialising to take place, is at the home ? or are they left to own devices ?   You will always get some older people who refuse to accept deafness is an issue, or if they even ARE deaf, we all have relatives like that. So do we shout at them instead ?

This issue of assessment is rife in health areas too, you can be referred by a GP to an eye clinic and no-one will tell them you cannot hear what they are saying, and your GP KNOWS. ATR lobbied for hearing loss to be included on patient files at the TOP so any referral elsewhere, they are forewarned, not left to us to turn up and find no support is there to follow and the treatment fails or we have to walk out again and get called names. 

Apparently there is ample room included on electronic health filing for that to be included, it just isn't. My old patient file used to have 'THIS PATIENT IS DEAF' printed on the top of it, last time I enquired it had been removed again. So if your GP changes he or she has no idea till you turn up and you have to start all over again, I did ask for links to support too, to be included, again there IS room on patient files for this, and again they AREN'T included. Booking appointments, there is no link to the patient file that ID's you as deaf. You have to do it all yourself every time. No doubt elderly in homes have the same issue.

What I saw was a Dr attending an elderly woman in a home where my mother was, and the Home supervisor said "She is deaf... she won't hear you..." so the Dr proceeded to TOTALLY IGNORE the woman, in clear distress, and talk to the supervisor instead, i.e. until I stepped in and point out that was unacceptable, what if they treated your mum like that ? 

Phone captions for deaf and hard of hearing people.

phone captions deaf and hard of hearing people
Phone captions versus Texting ? Both ? Do you find the phone difficult or frustrating to use? Your feedback is needed for a UK-wide survey on phone captions for deaf and hard of hearing people.

Historically, phone captions in the UK have been provided by Action on Hearing Loss via TypeTalk, then Text Relay and Next Generation Text Relay service (NGTS). 

The Next Generation Text Relay service allows people who are deaf and speech impaired make phone calls via a trained operator who types what they hear or speaks what the caller types to the called party. The text output is streamed through to a smartphone, tablet or PC/laptop. The deaf person can use voice over, they can speak during the call and listen, and read the captions at the same time.

A few years ago, CapTel for telephones (then WebCapTel for computers and smartphones) was introduced to the UK but was withdrawn due to lack of funding. One of CapTel’s and WebCapTel’s first users was Tina Lannin, who worked as the Finance Manager for Hearing Concern (now Hearing Link). Tina’s job entailed daily phone calls to payroll and clients, discussing numbers over the phone, so the captioned telephony service had to be very accurate.

I loved CapTel. It was so fast and accurate that no one even realised I was almost totally deaf and was relying on reading the captions appearing on my telephone screen.

We look at the USA and their captioned telephony services with envy. They have so much more choice than we do. UK Council on Deafness (UKCoD) are carrying out a survey to find out about your experiences of telephone communications in the UK, and whether they can be improved or if you are happy with them.

Australia: VRI service explained.

This video explains about the Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) Service provided through Vicdeaf’s Auslan Connections. 

VRI can be used to access Auslan Interpreters at your location using technology. Deaf people who use EAF can access VRI as another option if face to face interpreting is not available. 

These videos have been updated to reflect some of the new platforms used by Auslan Connections.

Leasing companies sued for Discrimination..

Five leasing companies were sued by Access Living after allegedly discriminating against deaf people who inquired about housing. 

A settlement was recently reached with four of the companies. A fifth is no longer in the leasing business. 

Using a discrimination test, would be landlords allegedly either hung up on deaf callers or told them not to call again. Under the terms of the settlement those rental agencies will set aside housing for Access Living consumers. 

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Deaf partner support: A 'try on'

DISCRIMINATION is one of the areas that the law has had an increasing focus on.

There are restrictions on discrimination based on racial, gender, disability, and many other grounds.  Generally speaking complaints about discrimination must go to the Australian Human Rights Commission before any court proceedings can be taken.

The idea is for complaints to be conciliated to reach an early, negotiated, resolution before formal proceedings.  Of course, not everything can be resolved early, and then litigation ensues.  The recent Federal Court decision of Hinton v Alpha Westmead Private Hospital was a good example of the cure sometimes being worse than the illness until, thankfully, a potential injustice was corrected on appeal.

Ms Hinton brought a complaint against the hospital as it refused to provide an Auslan interpreter for her deaf husband for the scheduled birth of their child. Ms Hinton was entitled to do as the "associate" of a person with a disability.

The first judge struck out the claim off his own bat at what should have been a mundane, procedural, appearance.  The judge described the complaint as a "trifle", "nothing more than a try on" and "an abuse of process on its face".

He also compared the childbirth experience to buying a packet of chips, the comparison being if the complaint was upheld a deaf person buying a packet of chips from a shop could demand that the shop provide an interpreter.

On appeal the Federal Court pointed out the available excuse of "unjustifiable hardship" (namely that a shop would be able to say that having an Auslan interpreter present just in case a deaf person came in would be an unjustifiable hardship) and upheld the validity of a claim by an "associate" of the person discriminated against.

CAL: Uni deaf Superintendent voted out...

The California School for the Deaf is located in Fremont.The embattled head of the California School for the Deaf has been removed from his post, the state's top education official said Friday.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson's announcement came a week after he appeared on campus, where teachers, staff and parents aired their grievances against Sean Virnig, the school's first deaf superintendent and an alumni.

The announcement letter to the school community did not give a reason for Vernig's ouster, although Torlakson did indicate he wanted to make sure the school year runs as smoothly as possible. Torlakson did not immediately respond to requests for further comment. Virnig refused to comment for the story.

State Special Schools & Services Division Director Scott Kerby, who was assigned as the "acting superintendent" for the start of the school year on Aug. 22, will continue in that role until a new superintendent is selected, Torlakson's letter states.

Virnig, who was "temporarily" reassigned to the State Department of Education in Sacramento to get some coaching the first week of school, will take on new duties in an unspecified role in the Student Support and Special Services Branch, Torlakson said. That division oversees after-school activities, student support, nutrition, special education and special state services and schools, such as the California School for the Deaf.

The news, which had started to circulate unofficially at the school earlier in the week, was greeted with jubilation and excitement in the campus community. The school's staff had issued a vote of no confidence in the superintendent earlier this summer.

Friday, 26 August 2016

HoH why are they averse to sign or cued speech ?

In a recent debate online regarding the pros and cons of lip-reading (Most of which were dismissive of lip-reading and BSL for different reasons), a poster suggested why not acquire cued speech ? (A system hardly known in the UK).

The problem, could be HoH and deafened students see cued speech as 'sign language' or a form of it, which I am assured it isn't.  Thus very reluctant to adopt it's use, even if classes existed for it to be taught, which there doesn't appear to be.. 

I did ask for details re cued speech and it seems to need some sort of 'supporter/interpreter' ? another no-no for HoH, it is why they are reluctant to use BSL. Many tend to be critical of these statements, the critics are coming from a cultural stance, and not from the point of entry for people losing their hearing.

The fact remains there are huge reservations by HoH to adopt a signing format of any kind, It's easy to assume negativity at Deaf people, or think its prejudice, but the issue is far more complex. HoH/Deafened see their Independence (such as it is !), being taken from them, they aren't convinced that the 'Deaf' take it in their stride, or call their support something else.   The idea of culture is also an issue, will I have to give up all that I know, if I sign ? 

There aren't really any deaf clubs to attend any more.  A lot of the deaf community find the arguments illogical, but if you were hearing half a lifetime, and can still make out something, then the issue can be quite differently seen.

Text technology (Vastly underrated in these issues of access), have opened up wide areas where the access has increased 10 fold for them. Face to Face being replaced, by text to text.   Deaf communities via deaf clubs have been decimated as a result in the UK, you don't have to physically attend a deaf club to meet up.

Who needs cued speech, lip-reading, or sign ?  Isolation has become a cosy area where you don't need to stress about direct communication, this is a phenomenon directly attributed to internet and technology use, why would it not affect HoH and deafened too, who were leaders/pioneers in its usage ?  It makes little difference to  the 'Deaf', as isolation and a community apart is the way they operate anyway.

SMILES: Assistive technologies.

Survival Tips for deaf teens..

Cochlear implants to almost double in government funding boost

Nearly 100 deaf or hearing-impaired Victorians will receive a cochlear implant, as the state government pledges a funding boost amid hearing awareness week.

More than $80 million will be given to the Eye and Ear Hospital by the Victorian government this year – a $7.8 million increase from last year -  which will allow the hospital to almost double the amount of cochlear implantations.

“We often talk in health care about statistics and outcomes, and the most important thing we need to remember is about making sure people can live full and meaningful lives,” Ms Hennessy said.  “Part of this funding will enable us to double the number of people that can receive implants each year – and better leverage the medical discoveries that are made.”

It was the doctors at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital who granted five-year-old Lily King the gift of colourful cochlear implants when she was born profoundly deaf.

Her mother, Sandra King, said it was a moment she will never forget.  “We really didn’t know what her future held at the start. Selfishly, when she could hear me say ‘I love you’ was the best moment,” Ms King said.  “It’s life-changing to give people that opportunity to integrate into society, and to have dignity is incredibly important.”

The contribution was welcomed by the pioneer of the bionic ear, Professor Graeme Clark, who created it more than 30 years ago.

“This cochlear care centre is an exciting innovation in the provision of healthcare, taking our work to a new level,” Professor Clark said.

Newz Hook app to provide easy access to Paralympics...

When 4,500 sportsmen with disabilities from 176 countries will compete in the Rio Paralympics, which kicks off in the first week of September, the deaf and blind in India will be able to follow the action for the first time.

An app called Newz Hook designed by BarrierBreaks, a Mumbai-based for-profit social enterprise, is planning to feature athletes contesting in the 12-day long event.

Newz Hook is the first ever mobile news application designed to provide easy access to news for the deaf and the blind. From current affairs to business, from science to sports, this app covers news across topics.  The only difference is that the articles in Newz Hook are accompanied by a 'sign language' video in which a reporter interprets the news for the deaf in the Indian Sign Language (ISL).

For the visually impaired, the application supports the use of 'screen readers'. Screen readers are software applications used by the blind to operate smartphone and computers. Screen readers read out loud the text displayed on the mobile phone enabling the blind to hear the news.

The application also enables the user to have a high contrast view and increase the size of the text. This permits senior citizens and people with a partial visual impairment to read the news.  However, the most striking feature of the application is the use of 'simple understandable language' while generating news content.

"While studying the news consumption pattern of the deaf, we found that most of them quit reading the article citing the use of complex words which they could not understand," said Shilpi Kapoor, founder, BarrierBreaks.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

The Importance of CC...

Exeter Deaf Academy faces closure...

Fears have been raised by Exeter's MP over rumours the Government could close Exeter Deaf Academy which is the subject of a major ongoing investigation.

Exeter Deaf AcademyA robust action plan is yet to be agreed and MP Ben Bradshaw has voiced concerns over the school's future if it doesn't receive the support and intervention required to address its problems. Since last month the school has been under the scrutiny of the police, the Department of Education (DfE) and Devon County Council following concerns raised about some aspects of its provision.

At the time the investigation was launched, the Echo was supplied with the names of three members of staff who it is said have been suspended pending the investigation, but the school in Topsham Road has continued to neither confirm or deny if anyone had been suspended.

No date has been given for when the investigation will be completed, or its recommendations so far, and the school is yet to come up with an approved action plan of how it will run in the future.

A spokesperson for Exeter Deaf Academy said: "The investigation into the academy has not yet been concluded. However, we have been given initial conclusions and recommendations.

Deaf children's charity warns hearing aids may fail

Doctor inserting a hearing aid (stock)
If radio frequencies are sold.  A government auction of radio frequencies could render thousands of hearing aids and implants useless, a charity has claimed.

The National Deaf Children's Society said the auction to mobile phone companies could leave an inadequate protection zone between the frequency range used by technology such as hearing aids, cochlear implants and radio aid and the band up for offer.

Ofcom said the NDCS's concerns were "alarmist", and said it had carried out careful tests to ensure devices would not be affected by mobile signals.  Many hearing devices all operate within the 2.40 to 2.485 GHz frequency range.

Ofcom is proposing to auction the 2.35 to 2.39 GHz frequencies, leaving a 10 MHz protection zone between the two bands.  The NDCS said this "might not be enough" to prevent interference from mobile telephone networks using 4G, and warned that "at worst" the use of these frequencies could cause equipment to malfunction or fail altogether.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Deaf employee experiences: 2016 Report.

National Lip-reading week

A pupil's viewpoint.

It's interesting regarding how pupils can 'bond' in classes, but is that the primary focus of classes ?  I saw the classes as a way out of being restricted who I 'bonded' with, you are hoping attainment of the skill of lip-reading is your passport out of isolation.

As a 'tool' to enable me to move outside the isolation I was in. There seems a point of using the social aspect to put 'like with like', but my driving aim was to be enabled outside that restrictive focus. I thought that is the aim of learning to lip-read, a 'way back' to mainstream, not a sideways move to only socialise with people who also have poor hearing.

I can understand the lesser stress value of it, I wonder how the motivations work in classes ? especially e.g. young people who want to be 'out there' not forever 'in there' with people who cannot hear well either. This is meant as no disrespect to other class mates, but what aims you have, after all we have to survive in a hearing world, not a hearing loss one. 

Are classes outward looking or just focused on some sort of mini social club set up ? And with people you may only see 2hrs a week for about 6 months. Also young people didn't want to attend classes where older people were, like most young people anyone over 18 is one foot in the grave ! BSL classes are completely different, NO-ONE with hearing loss in them, just relatives of them, or others wanting to work in the field. I'd like to see all present class taken on the street as an integral part of learning.

There can be age-related issues.  It happens still, because the difficulty in accommodating an older person with a severe loss, can halt the class progress, it's not by design but default, and one tutor could not manage the issue, so they refer them on. 

The referral elsewhere effectively removes the communication support they need. Ideally those with effective hearing should make way for the worse off in need.  The focus being addressing the issues before they arise, but not accepting the pupil are there pretty much as a last resort, not first. Obviously if you can teach someone to lip-read BEFORE their hearing gets too bad all the better, but the issue as we all know is people don't seek help until it is more difficult to teach them. 

There is e.g. no system designed to assist a newly deafened person. It is postcode lottery as well, there is no further area to refer these people to, when a class cannot help them. Teachers need to watch the class dynamics, because the students/pupils form clique's by decibel, this deters those in difficulty who feel left out. If they feel not part of the class they will leave. 

I'm on record anyway as not wanting and/or classes, be they BSL or lip-reading, I think it is a divisive and pointless situation that doesn't include a holistic approach to need via abilities. A pupil may well ask for an lip-reading or a sign class, but hardly suited to either, so inclusive approaches, clinical assessments, should replace both, and the teacher attaining higher qualifications in psychology..

I'd like to see extensive tuition too, at least an intensive year, and far more than 2 hours a week. A communication qualification too, without a bottom line you have nothing to 'achieve' have you ? This why sign language succeeds where lip-reading doesn't.  Even if the sign qualifications do not always regard access to hearing culture as a priority.

I get pretty hostile responses from BSL people for that, and, opposition from HoH who say I am opposing their preference. My point is simple, preference isn't the issue, it is NEED. Far too many at the end of their tether being deafened at later age, are simply being abandoned, if the classes are a 'way in' they need to up their game somewhat.

Teachers who 'refer' them to social service etc are literally casting these people straight back into isolation, because the system of support isn't there.  Once a deafened person feels there is no help even at a class, then they won't try again.  They will live online forever texting and never meeting anyone face to face, which is what socialising is all about.

A new way is needed.

Campaign for sign language interpreters at GPs

Two Hellingly teenagers who were born with rare speech disorders are calling for sign language interpreters to attend GP surgeries. Lara Goring and Eddie Osborne, both 18, are calling for a change to current system to make access to interpreters easier for people with speech and language disorders. 

Under the current system Lara and Eddie, who both attended St Mary's School in Bexhill, are forced to take their parents to doctor appointments to help communicate, which the say can be embarrassing if they are discussing personal issues. Unlike deaf people, patients with speech, language or communication needs are not entitled to an interpreter when visiting the doctors. They can apply in advance for an interpreter to attend, but must give plenty of notice. 

Lara said: "If there is an emergency you can’t get a speech and language interpreter to come in instantly, so it would help to already have those rights there." Lara, who can talk but finds signing more comfortable, was born with a rare disorder called Cat Eye Syndrome, which affects various organs in the body as well as speech.

Deaf children are being 'let down'..

Children during a lessonDeaf children in the North East are less likely to get five good GCSEs than their hearing counter-parts, a charity has revealed. 

Government figures show that deaf children in the North East are 18% less likely to get 5 GCSEs (including English and Maths) at grades A* to C.

With thousands preparing to open their results this week, the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) has urged Government, local authorities and health bodies to provide the support needed to close the gap between deaf children and their hearing friends.

Jo Campion, deputy director of policy and campaigns at the NDCS, said: “It’s clear that deaf children are being failed.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Deaf in the Outback: Australia

Are Deaf people cursed ?

1 in 4 Australians may go deaf....

There are only a few things more important to Brett Lee than cricket.  Hearing is one of them.  “I can’t imagine cricket without sound,” he said.
“On the field not hearing the appeals and the crowd, off the field not hearing team mates or at home not hearing family.” Brett is the Global Hearing Ambassador for Cochlear, an organisation that develops implants to help those suffering from hearing loss.

He was at Cochlear’s global headquarters at Macquarie University on Monday to help launch Hearing Awareness Week.  Held from Sunday, August 21 to Saturday, August 27, Hearing Awareness Week aims to raise awareness of hearing loss and encourage people to get their hearing checked.

“Hearing Awareness Week is important because it gives us the opportunity to raise awareness of hearing loss and remind people to take care of their ears and get regular hearing health checks

Deaf Europeans smuggled Into Israel to Work as Beggars.

Police arrested six people on Monday suspected of smuggling deaf people from Eastern Europe into Israel, forcing them to work as beggars and confiscating their earnings.

The six are suspected of serious offences, including human trafficking, false imprisonment, forced labour, assault, rape, withholding passports and conspiring to commit a crime. Police said they were detained in a “swift, professional and covert investigation,” based on information from the Population, Immigration and Borders Authority. The trafficking in deaf people was first revealed by Haaretz almost two years ago.

Three of the suspects are from Rishon Letzion, with the others from Ashkelon, Netanya and Bat Yam. They are believed to have brought deaf-mute people from Eastern Europe into Israel on tourist visas, forcing them to work as beggars, often treating them violently and extorting and threatening them.

Police say the ring provided the beggars with housing, took away their passports and confiscated a significant portion of the money they earned. One of the victims is believed to have been sexually assaulted, police said.

The beggars come from relatively poor countries, like Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Estonia....

Monday, 22 August 2016

Deaf families set for free day olut

editorial image
Deaf children and their families in the south of Scotland are being invited to a free family day at Bowhill House, near Selkirk. 

The event, on Saturday, September 10, from 10am-3pm, will be open to any deaf children up to 16 years old and their immediate family living in Dumfries and Galloway, the Borders, Midlothian and East Lothian. 

Heather Gray, director of the National Deaf Children’s Society in Scotland, said: “Families of deaf children in the south of Scotland can experience geographical isolation, with numbers spread across a wide rural area. “This event is crucial in bringing them together to meet other families of deaf children and to give them a chance to find out about all the support available in a relaxed, supportive atmosphere.” 

The charity’s new deaf awareness roadshow bus, pictured, will be featured. Guests will meet other deaf children and families, share a barbeque lunch and find out about local services, technology and support. They can also enjoy fun activities such as pond dipping and face painting, and explore the adventure playground, nature trails and beautiful scenery up for grabs at Bowhill. The event is free, but places must be booked online HERE

How Australian Politicians use sign...

Watch Julie Owens, MP deliver a speech to Parliament in ‪#‎Auslan‬ discussing the importance of deaf children to learn visual language at the same time that hearing children learn verbal language.

Deaf Action launch petition for visual fire alarms..

Deaf Action (New Zealand) have just launched a petition calling on government to make visual fire alarms mandatory in public buildings.

The petition was triggered by the experience of one of their members, Auckland University student Dean Buckley, who was left behind in a recent fire drill  "Dean's experience was scary for him. Sadly it is not unusual, many other Deaf have had similar experiences to Dean" said Kim Robinson, Chairperson of Deaf Action.

" Members of our group have told me about being left behind in buildings during fire drills , including while on toilets and during bomb scares  "In the panic of a fire alarm, all too often Deaf find that they have been forgotten by friends, family or colleagues. "

"This is an unacceptable state of affairs" said Mr Robinso  "It's time all public buildings were required to have modern fire safety standards for all users, including Deaf  "There's no reason today for building owners not to have Visual Fire Alarms with today's technology".

Green MP Mojo Mathers who is also deaf will be receiving the petition from Deaf Action at parliament in November  "I am fully supportive of this petition" said Ms Mathers.

"I have experienced first-hand how unnerving it is to be made aware from others that a fire or smoke alarm is going off and to realise that if they hadn’t done so, I would not have known  "I now have a visual fire alarm in my office which is great. But visual fire alarms should be the norm in all public buildings" said Ms Mathers.

Nil Desperandum....

Thomas Salomone, a Maltese deaf man who runs his own construction company, explained that his proudest moment came when he was recognised as a professional, and others in the industry turned to him for advice.

After graduating from the University of Derby with a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management under his belt, Mr Salomone was headhunted by a large construction company. The thrill of being sought after was short-lived however as he was unhappy with the way he was treated by the company.

This, together with massive drive, inspiration from his also-deaf father, support from his wife and a good education led Mr Salomone to embark on the brave mission of setting up his own company.

Where others failed, Mr Salomone made a name for himself and his company, proving to the world that obstacles only get in the way if you let them. Not only has Mr Salomone built a successful company, but he also employs around 30 deaf workers and sponsored the Great Britain Deaf Football Club.

One lesson he said he would pass on to all deaf people, especially those struggling to move forward, is to “never, ever give up. There will always be someone telling you that you are useless because you are deaf and your communication difficulties. Do not listen! You are capable of anything. Just because your 

Sunday, 21 August 2016

It's OK to be a paedophile if you are deaf...

Julie was found guilty of raping the boy, inciting him as well as engaging in non-penetrative sexual activity. (Representational Image)UK sisters rape boy for 14 yrs; court sets them free, says ‘they are deaf’ 

Herefordshire, West Midlands: In an incident that shocked UK, a court in West Midlands, England, has ruled in favour of two paedophile sisters who were accused of sexually abusing a six-year-old boy.

The accused performed oral sex on the victim who failed to understand that it was a crime, since it happened almost every time.  Julie was found guilty of raping the boy, inciting him as well as engaging in non-penetrative sexual activity. Julie was found guilty of raping the boy, inciting him as well as engaging in non-penetrative sexual activity. 

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the  Worcester Crown Court in its ruling, said that both the accused were deaf and they would experience 'complete isolation' if sent to jail. Identified as Julie Fellows, 30, and Jennifer, 32, the accused sisters from Kington, Herefordshire in West Midlands, had molested the victim for over a period of 14 years.

While the case was undergoing a trial in court, prosecutors told judge that in the year 2000, Julie had lured the victim into a toilet and began touching herself inappropriately.

On another occasion, she performed oral sex on the victim who failed to understand that it was a crime, since it happened almost every time. Prosecutors said that she also had sex with the boy when he turned 14. She was found guilty of raping the boy, inciting him as well as engaging in non-penetrative sexual activity.

Despite being found guilty, the sisters were spared jail because the judge believed that they were deaf and it would be unfair to send them in prison as it would land them in isolation.

Decision to dump services for the deaf was a bad one

Sorry, wrong number. That is what deaf people and their advocates learn when they dial 211 — the number the state provided to them for the deaf to get information and referrals after eliminating the Department of Rehabilitation Services interpretation unit along with its 40 employees.

Once again, the budget deficit is claiming more victims and wiping out basic quality of life measures, as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy tries to get the state back on solid financial footing.

According to Luisa Soboleski, the chairperson of the state agency’s advisory committee, there was no advance warning of the decision to eliminate the unit and there was no transition plan. She said 211 operators “didn’t know what was going on” and deaf people “were just dumped” by the Malloy administration.

We get her point. To eliminate an entire department that people with a disability need to function day-to-day is not only inconsiderate but a bit insulting.

Connecticut’s deaf community reacted to the elimination by staging a rally outside the state Capitol protesting that their civil right to have an interpreter had been violated. Sandra Inzinga, president of the Connecticut Association of the Deaf, said she was on hold for 10-minutes with 211 before a private provider in Bridgeport was recommended.

But Inzinga wonders about deaf people in the rest of the state. Are they expected to drive from Norwich or New London to Bridgeport for a provider?

Chris McClure, a spokesman for Malloy, said the decision to eliminate the unit was based on the “new economic reality,” an expression that is growing wearisome as a answer to every budget cut Malloy has made. However, McClure said little change — if any — is expected and the state has contracted with private interpreting service providers, which will save the state about $30 per hour.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

PIP: You can't prove deafness IS an issue...

Following a discussion on the TREE HOUSE (Link to the right on this blog), website covering issues of the PIP (Personal Independence Payment) being wheeled out UK-wide, here is just one comment in regards to how people who don't sign, or 'just have hearing loss', are being pushed aside as irrelevant because they don't, by the arbitrary welfare eligibility 'points' system.  

Most advice  seems designed on informing sign users of how THEY can claim, but not how anyone else with a hearing loss can. Much promotion of the 'D' thing... no promotion of the assumed 'd' issues or recognition of them.

Comment:   "Well they use the D because there is an obvious descriptor of needing support isn't there ? sign itself. I am sure that major point is totally lost on the signer 'though ! 

As a partial lip-reader, profoundly deaf in both ears, but with a fair speaking voice, I couldn't score ANY Points really. Basically because I said if I cannot lip-read people or have difficulty, I ask them to write things down to help me. That was immediately viewed as me having effective two-way communication, so, no hearing loss issues in reality. The irony and discrimination, was that when I attended an open day review At The DWP offices, and had to rely on their speech to text software, but that cut no ice with them either, as I had 'access' I said not outside this room I don't ! 

There was also considerable difficulty, even an impossibility of me getting text support 'on the move' Hospital's provided none, Dr's didn't, Dentists and opticians didn't, even my local authority wouldn't, nor was it viewed practicable at my son's school, hence I was literally forced to rely on sign language provided not for me, but my partner. The DWP response ? 

That is a matter for the law you have a right to it !!! I said how about you complying with that law too ? My partner got her allowances automatically as she signed, I got nothing, even as a support for her when she isn't in a 'set' situation. The DWP said get her a social worker, I said there aren't any deaf ones, the SW his or herself would have to hire a terp to work, and unavailable as and when needed, the cost of paying for two people made the idea ridiculous, it was all pretty ridiculous, and we didn't want a social worker anyway just access...  That STILL would not provide support, for ME.

Deafened people were shafted day one, I should have taken the disability officers advice years ago, play dumb, works every time...."

International Deaf-Blind Expo 2016...

Deaf Nation Expo 2016

Deaf Cafe run by hearing...

Keep Calm SignA cafe in Melbourne run by deaf and hearing impaired staff is helping to break down communication barriers and ready students for the hearing world.

A coffee machine hisses and cutlery clatters against plates, but Tradeblock Cafe is otherwise largely silent.  It is not a hushed, stifled type silence; just a gentle afternoon quiet where speech is scarcely heard, if at all.

This is not a "deaf cafe", but it is certainly a comfortable and welcoming space for anyone who is deaf or hearing impaired. The baristas, wait staff and kitchen hands all fall within those categories.  At Tradeblock, coffees and a range of meals are ordered via Auslan.

If that sounds like an intimidating prospect, it should not. Staff at the cafe are extremely patient with those learning to communicate via Auslan.An iPad at the counter has an app that clearly explains how to order using sign language, as well as a range of common greetings and expressions.

"With all the modern tablets available, it would have been easy to just have a menu on it where you could directly make your order from," says the cafe's manager, Amanda Joyce.

"That would have defeated the purpose of creating the communication between the hearing person and the deaf person. "The deaf person is constantly having to find ways to communicate in the hearing world, so we just wanted to turn the tables on that."

While it is open to the public, Tradeblock is part of the adjoining Victorian College for the Deaf.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Accessible Cinema Application...

Fully accessible cinema with audio descriptions and subtitles simply with your own smart device.

Fixing You Tube Captions...

Deaf woman files suit against Travelodge..

A deaf woman who relies on a service dog is suing the Travelodge of La Mesa, alleging discrimination for how she was treated when she tried unsuccessfully to check into the hotel earlier this year.

While the Travelodge did not initially bar her from staying overnight with her dog, it demanded that she sign a damage policy form for pets that she and her lawyers say is discriminatory, according to a lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court.

When she protested during the check-in process, the desk clerk informed her that she and her dog Chocolate were no longer welcome to stay at the hotel, the suit says. She asked for a refund but was denied one at the time because the hotel stay was booked on Expedia, the desk clerk told her.

The plaintiff, Naomi Sheneman, of Rochester, New York, is alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Unruh Civil Rights Act and the California Disabled Persons Act.

She is seeking a court order requiring Travelodge to comply with policies prohibiting discrimination against the deaf and to train its staff on a regular basis about the rights of individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing under state and federal laws.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Rare deaf social worker spotted in the UK...

Wales got rid of them 12 years ago, they are coming BACK ?

Deaf comedian clashes with comedy club

Deaf comedian Tom Willard advocates for establishments to find an interpreter for his shows. (Source: WROC/CNN)Methinks he doesn't understand what comedians are about, you DON'T lecture your audience or potential employer on rights, that isn't funny. 

If they want awareness they will attend a seminar. 

Tom Willard is a deaf comedian and while he likes to joke around, deaf rights are an issue he takes seriously.

"My next stand-up act is called wheelchair versus deaf and it talks about all the things society does, the parking, the bathrooms and they don’t have to ask. The deaf people have to ask and usually people say no," Willard said.  Some comedy clubs have been immediately accommodating in providing an interpreter, but others like Boulder Coffee, he said, have not.

"They just didn't want to pay for it, they wanted the comics to pay for it. But the law says no, it's the business. You don't make a wheelchair person bring their own ramp, so you don't make a deaf person bring their own interpreter" Willard said.   Steven Modica, a lawyer who deals in disability and discrimination law, said the Americans with Disabilities Act is straightforward when it comes to this issue.

"I think it's pretty clear that a comedy club would be required to provide that as long as there was advanced notice given," Modica said. Willard said he's been asking for an interpreter for Boulder's open mic night since May.

Boulder responded with a statement saying "Following the request, we posted flyers in the cafe and moved forward with a search for volunteers on social media. Our goal was to find a volunteer for our open mic comedy night."

"That's another issue people don't understand is that people go to school for many years to learn their job," Willard said. He said the responsibility of finding and paying an interpreter falls on the establishment and Modica agrees.

He adds that sometimes businesses unfamiliar with the deaf community either don’t understand the law or are afraid of the cost. "This is an example of where people are frightened about the cost and don't always make decisions we'd like them to make," Willard said.

What would a HoH dedicated TV program produce ?

I was going to do a survey then realised everyone had gone out for the day so..... I don't think anyone CAN run a program for HoH unless it was solely about access/Health or equipment issues.

I' think I'd start with an immediate ban any coverage of hearing aid tubing issues, and wax removal (Ugh get a life people !)   The problem is BSL output tends to have a dual base of sign language, social areas, and gets feedback.

This isn't relevant to HoH, because no UK HI/HoH community exists, and they still pretend they can hear...

HI/deafened/HoH campaigns/support etc come from just two areas, the rogue lobbyists like ATR,  or the sterile charitable 'please help or support your local Hearing aid user' approaches.   It has no chance of success, it's akin to launching a national support set up for people who wear glasses.

What communication approach would HI use ? It would probably be entirely verbal or Oral with captions, they did toy with the idea of lip-speakers but nobody has a way of using it in media,and they lips-speakers look distinctly uncomfortable and off-putting in video.  Still, if you want to discourage the kids watching too much TV, they are ideal deterrents..

I doubt sign would be an option at all, because you would want to avoid HI/HoH being wrongly labelled. It's a real problem of awareness, so distinct lines would be needed on output. I am unsure any inclusion of Signed English would help, because joe public doesn't know it from semaphore really and would be sure to call it BSL as well, and some errant BSL user is sure to complain,who needs it ?

The HI/HoH area has the numerical superiority over the BSL area, but BSL people have superiority of campaigning, and can call a crowd in to open a fridge without effort. Despite there being 9 million HoH they cannot get a 100 together (Unless we hijack SAGA tours and the stately home/Museum visitor coaches).

I think cultural deaf are vastly relieved we aren't organised. ATR is quite keen to get issues raised,like e.g. BSL and lip-reading classes stopped in their tracks because ATR prefers a holistic approach to communication for HI adults not an and/or approach, I think that would actually rake in a few serious viewers.

Current BSL classes I think at present should be split into relevant areas, as I see communication a different class to 'cultural' promotion.  It is in Wales already to a degree, with 'cultural centres' promoting that aspect with sign, even if they prefer to leave the local deaf community out of it.  BSL-only classes are taught apart in LEA areas. But the overall image is still confusion because teachers are using culture along with sign which blurs the line between sign as a communication tool and sign as a part of something else, HoH adults and prospective tutors, want that distinction made, because culture is relative... and we usually don't change cultures mid-stream.

I think hearing who constitute 90% of students to lip-reading and sign classes, are preventing actual deaf people at the coal face from getting what they need in the way of real help, another issue we can raise in a HoH program, because the BSL program certainly will not.

Lip-reading should be stopped in its present form, as this was supposed to be a format/support/Class to assist those with continuing serious loss, and they are frozen out and left isolated instead, as those who can hear more than them formed cliques via loss degree, poor old UK is still class-ridden !

Sign tuition is a fraudulent approach, as they don't inform those with hearing loss the realities of using it, or the difficulties of getting support for it, least of all where they think they can 'fit in' with Deaf culture or the 'Deaf' themselves.

Next week is culture only necessary to promote sign ? or will we all be texted out of it ?

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Medical Centre pays out $50K for ADA failure.

Hearing AidRome, Ga.-based Redmond Regional Medical Center reached a $50,000 settlement with the federal government over allegations it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The hospital allegedly failed to provide effective methods of communications for deaf and hard of hearing individuals, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia said. Two of the complainants were a deaf mother and daughter who went to Redmond’s emergency room after the daughter developed a rash on her leg. They said she was treated without effective methods of communication and then discharged, only to return two days later with a staph infection that required surgery and a four-day hospital stay.

A third deaf complainant said she was refused interpretative services for three different ER visits.  “Medical providers have an obligation under the ADA to provide effective communication to the deaf or hard of hearing,” U.S. Attorney John Horn said, in a statement. “Failure to provide effective communication could create a terrifying experience for the patient and compromised medical care.”

Redmond also agreed to provide mandatory in-service training to its personnel, provide reports to the U.S. Attorney’s office on its compliance and pay $50,000 to the complainants.

New app helps bridge communication gap for deaf...

Every day, the deaf and hard-of-hearing struggle to break the barrier denying them total access to a full social and professional life. But local massage therapist Jeanna’ Meade, who’s been deaf since she was four years old, overcame that obstacle when she discovered a newly-developed mobile app called Ava

Ava (audio visual accessibility) is a free mobile app that bridges the communication gap between the deaf and the hearing by captioning conversations in real time using a mobile device’s built-in microphone to pick up what’s being said. 

When two or more people are signed on to the app, they can engage in conversation by either talking directly into the mic or typing what they want to say, similar to texting or instant messaging.

NBC helps blind watch the Olympics...

In this Aug. 10, 2016, image made from a video, Jim Van Horne and Norma Jean Wick, of Descriptive Video Works, narrate a volleyball match from the 2016 Summe...Two people in a recording booth deep inside a Connecticut office park are helping millions of blind Americans feel part of the Olympics like never before.

For the first time in the U.S., NBC is airing the Olympics in prime time with additional narrators who simply report what's happening on screen — a sort of closed captioning for the visually impaired. Most viewers won't even know the additional narrators are there; to hear them, you need to turn on special cable-box settings to activate their audio track. But their running blow-by-blow can open things up for the blind, who at best get an incomplete picture from traditional sportscasting that takes visuals for granted.

"I love the Olympics," says Marlaina Lieberg, 66, who's been blind since birth and has long bugged her sighted husband to describe the athletic events. "I'm so happy I'm going to be able to sit back, watch the Olympics like anybody else, know what's going on, not have to imagine or wonder. That's huge.

Scots drive for Autonomy post Brexit ?

Scotland have suggested they have own dedicated deaf TV program.  It is an interesting concept, no doubt driven by a Scottish resurgence in deaf campaigning.  Although ATR itself has also suggested such a system for Wales, and Ireland already has own program.  Such a version in Wales lacks any real support at all, localised TV in Wales of any description is being dumped for mass 'national' output, and Wales no longer has a signing or HI lobby of any kind, unless you count charities, and we don't, because they won't lobby for us on a rights basis.

It's SEE HEAR or bust for us ! (We went for bust, because its just a self-indulgent platform for BSL luvvies in London).  It would have gone years ago, but some misguided sector demanded the inclusion was a right, even if it had no audience ! ATR asked the BBC via an FOI, what the audience figures were for SEE HEAR and the reply was "This program is part of the BBC's inclusive legal obligation,  viewing figures are irrelevant..."  I said 'Where is the 'Disability' program then ?' no reply.

It isn't clear what such a Scot-centric deaf program would be like. So far it is a suggestion without a design or format, but looks exclusive BSL-based..   It's an interesting concept, but what will that content/format be ? SEE HEAR lost its way, and its audiences,  trying to be BSL centric and was forced to be more inclusive of other deaf after numerous complaints about its deaf club quizzes etc. 

The main complaint was as usual about the reluctance to include deaf or the HoH who did not sign and not part of culture, who after all were the majority, it was mooted the BBC remit made it clear they should be all inclusive as a 'protected' program, and SEE HEAR had been abusing that.  BSL areas disagreed, it was a cultural requirement, with a specific language access need.  

HI disagreed again, citing the furore BY deaf people against SEE HEAR removing captioning, which appeared to suggest sign wasn't the primary access deaf were using. SEE HEAR in mitigation said 'HoH don't want to know us, and not interested in our output..'  Precisely ! But they still didn't include.

Are Scots also bound by that same equality remit ? More so from what we read of the Scottish BSL campaigns. Unfortunately as SEE HEAR tried to include others, (Mostly via the realisation the viewing figures were really dire),  the BSL sector stopped watching, uninterested in output about non-signers or non-cultural issues.  The BBC saw this, knowing the couldn't drop the program, they instead started shunting the program away from prime time TV to the midnight hour and dead zone viewing.

It is a risk strategy to include  all areas of hearing loss, charities could flood it, or even campaigners who feel BSL isn't an inclusive area, and could mount campaigns on it, (Deaf V deaf ?). which could create conflict on screen.  So they settled for obscurity and jobs for the boys instead.

By far the biggest complaint at SEE HEAR was its own patronising of deaf people, constantly doing items about how deaf people could do quite normal things like hearing people.   We complained what difference did being deaf make ? Signing doesn't mean you cannot ride a bicycle or run a marathon, nor does wearing a CI or hearing aid, it just was embarrassing. 

Attempts to link SEE HEAR to online for immediate responses, was opposed on 'technical' grounds, a huge opt out, as such issues presented no problems to hearing input... basically, it was because presenters risked negative feedback as did the program, and live too.  It's text forum was full of criticism and SH was forced to take it down.  SEE HEAR lacked the presenters and informed moderation, capable of adjudicating such a suggestion.

I applaud the Scots BSL sector on their progress, but I don't see any desire for HI inclusion or cooperation on such a program, without a real desire to include.  Why stop at a BSL program ? how about autonomy from 'UK charities' to hand over to the Scots their localised areas ? AOHL/BDA Scotland etc, Wales already asked for an Autonomous AOHL/BDA Cymru free from London control.   They were refused outright, despite Wales voting to Brexit.

The Brexit decision, must appeal to the Scots to go it alone.... I think I'd be struggling to find deaf issues to cover frankly. Sign will always be a very minority form of deaf access, most prefer text now, and captioned TV output has zeroed minority viewing.  Can it compete with online ?

The root of all issues is the conflict of bias and awareness. Although a Deaf and HI remit is a norm, and a legal requirement,  two very distinct areas exist, and they cannot resolve it, so loudest 'voice' wins..