Monday, 22 May 2017

Guillotine disabled kids..

Owen ListerA Tory deputy mayor has sparked outrage by calling for disabled kids to be guillotined to avoid wasting cash on their care.  Retired GP Owen Lister made his sick suggestion to fellow councillors as they discussed sending the youngsters to a £3,000-a-week care home. Mr Lister, 79, told them: "I would guillotine them."

Related imageHe has now quit as deputy mayor but yesterday stood by his outburst. He said: "I indicated at that point that perhaps the guillotine might be better. These are children you can't educate. "It's merely a matter of caring for them until they die. The only difference between a terminally ill patient and a severely handicapped child is time."

The councillor, of Swindon, Wiltshire, argued the funds should instead be used to cut NHS waiting lists. He added: "It shows how peculiar we are as a society on this matter that we spend this vast amount of money caring for disabled youngsters to very little purpose at all.

"It would be better spent on those who might actually benefit, such as cancer sufferers.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

BSL User limited to 3 days access a week

David Buxton and Terry Riley from the British Deaf Association giving evidence to peers
The newly-appointed Deaf chief executive of a leading disabled people’s organisation has been told the government will only provide him with enough support to pay for interpreters three days every week.

David Buxton, a British Sign Language-user, began his full-time job as chief executive of Action on Disability in London last week, but has immediately been hit by the controversial cap on the Access to Work (AtW) scheme.

The scheme provides disabled people with funding to pay for some of the extra disability-related expenses they face at work, reducing the costs organisations face when taking on disabled employees.  The cap was introduced for new AtW claimants in 2015 and is due to affect existing claimants from April 2018.

Campaigners have been warning for the last two years that the cap, which will limit annual AtW awards to one-and-a-half times the average salary, would hit Deaf users of British Sign Language (BSL) hardest, with BSL services accounting for about four-fifths of the highest-value AtW awards.

But they have also warned that the cap will “actively discriminate” against Deaf and disabled people with high support needs in senior positions, like Buxton.

He had previously received enough AtW support to provide BSL interpreters throughout the week when he was a senior manager at the disability charity Scope and was overseeing about 125 staff across the London and south-east region.

His AtW budget at Scope was about £70,000 a year because he needed to book support every day, and sometimes needed a second interpreter for formal meetings.  When he left to join the British Deaf Association in 2011, he and four colleagues pooled their support, so there was always a full-time interpreter available in the office, while most of the staff used BSL.


The article about Cecile, a near deaf former nurse, now 95 years old, triggered many reader responses. The majority suggested “voice to text” communication. I was greatly helped by the suggestion by Liz of Londonderry. I quote her email in its entirety:

“My husband and I are hard of hearing and utilize all sorts of technology to hear better, including hearing aids. On our iPad, we have an app called a Flip Writer. This enables us to speak to someone using voice recognition. The two individuals using this app speak to each other and can read on iPad what each is saying. The app could be very useful for doctor appointments and for all of Cecile’s communication needs. 

The app, Flip Writer, costs $24.99. If you would like a demo of this app, call Joan Marcoux at (603) 271-9097. She works as a specialist for the Department of Health & Human Services, state of New Hampshire, and provides assistance to persons, who are deaf, hard of hearing, visually or speech impaired.”

I received an email from Joan, who stated she is willing to demonstrate the app to Cecile. Therefore, a somewhat permanent solution has been worked out.

A smaller group suggested cochlear implant operations. Laura of Exeter sent a detailed email about the benefits of cochlear implants, and strongly recommended Medel, a Swiss firm with distribution representatives in the United States. In New Hampshire, it is represented by Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital in Lebanon.

According to Laura, to wear this device is easy and the effect is as though the hearing has been totally resurrected. She states “a potential candidate must first receive a qualifying test (you need to be deaf “enough”) and a CAT scan or MRI to make sure all the cochlea physical needs are there but the rest is up to the brain once the implant is activated.” Being a total outsider to this type of medical procedure, I abstain to make any comment except that you should visit read the description under Med-EL...

Incompetent Interpreters...

Incompetent interpreters ‘misleading’ the deafAccording to the General Authority for Statistics, 700,000 people with hearing disabilities in the Kingdom lack services and support to integrate them into society.

Among their urgent needs is sign language interpreters who can support them navigate many government and private sector institutions to conduct their affairs. This gap forces some of them to make notes on paper to communicate with others.

A girl with hearing impairment complained to Okaz/Saudi Gazette about the suffering she and her peers are experiencing because of the lack of interpreters at airports, government departments and hospitals, which hinders the process of completing their transactions and makes them feel embarrassed in front of others.

She criticized some of the interpreters who exploit their sign language skills and said that they are unable to communicate clearly, pointing out that some of the interpreters on TV do not convey the right information and their translations are often poor, loaded with errors and inaccuracies.

She stressed the importance of evaluating these interpreters when they are employed by a sign language expert to make sure they are capable of delivering information correctly to people with hearing needs. She noted that only people who have a relative or a friend suffering from hearing problems can understand the sign language properly.

Deaf and Sign Language Specialist Khaloufa Al-Shihri said there are some institutions that employ incompetent sign language interpreters. She hoped to spread awareness about these issues and provide the community with qualified and caring sign language interpreters.

“The most prominent issue the deaf people struggle with in Saudi Arabia and the Arab countries is a lack of trained sign language interpreters,” said Walaa Al-Barakati, a member of the Arab Federation of Organizations Working with the Deaf. She called for increased efforts to employ qualified interpreters so they can facilitate communication between deaf people and other members of society.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Deaf ? and choosing a career ?

The word between the lines, 'Would you like to work in a Charity ?' no doubt a deaf one....  What advice deaf need is to ensure they can cope in hearing environments with little signed access, we don't see that advice...

They have spent years telling deaf they are entitled to access the mainstream, and an equal amount of time insisting only if mainstream signs to them, it's the absence of realities we find hinder deaf at the work face, and their need to adapt to that, they cannot all work in the signing BDA, and the UK's largest charity for those with hearing loss hasn't a single signer in an executive position, they are all hearing, because the deaf have no work experience, and unable to get it, and it all hinges pretty much on the language acquisition and need for non-reliance on others.  

Employers seem convinced they have to hire two people every time not one.  In the efforts to improve academic gain for the deaf, little focus is given to the reality that mainstream does not use their approaches, it is far too late to expect deaf to adapt AFTER formative education has finished in a deaf school, it is like entering another world entirely, and without the skills to adapt.  It is not helped by demands everyone else has to adapt to them, in life, this doesn't happen.

It isn't helped by educational statistics that state the deaf child is falling further and further behind.  The whole suggestion is parallel educational approaches, and then parallel social aspects, followed by parallel job options, parallel approaches to work, in a world that is getting more black and white every day. There are not parallel job opportunities.  It is deaf worlds versus hearing employment reality, and with only one outcome.

There is more than the sign community...

A moot point during 'Deaf week', there are more deaf outside the community than in it...

The deaf-blind can now 'watch' television without intermediaries

PervasiveSUB compiles all the subtitles of television channels and sends them to a central server which forwards them to smartphones or tablets. From there, they are sent to the Braille line of the deaf-blind person thanks to the GoAll app, which integrates the software, is compatible with different Braille lines and makes it possible to control the speed of the subtitles that are captured directly from the TV broadcast in perfect synchronization.

The presentation, which took place at the UC3M Madrid-Puerta de Toledo campus, was attended by Ángel García Crespo, a UC3M professor and director of the project; Arancha Díaz-Lladó, the director of Telefónica's Sustainable Innovation; and Francisco José Trigueros Molina, the president of FASOCIDE. Also in attendance was a group of deaf-blind persons who gave a demonstration of how this technology works.

PervasiveSUB, financed by Telefónica, was developed by the research group at the UC3M Pedro Juan de LastanosaInstitute of Technological Development and Promotion of Innovation. García Crespo, who headed the group, stated that "one of the big problems deaf-blind persons face is the scant attention they receive, which is demonstrated by the fact that they weren't recognized by the European Parliament until 2004."

Díaz-Lladó said, "At Telefónica we endeavor to become a more accessible company and that way contribute to equal opportunities for all. And although we still have a long way to go, the new inclusive technologies and the digital revolution are the best means to help us get there."

A group of deaf-blind users from FASOCIDE was asked to try this innovative software in Spain and the United States, with very satisfactory results. All the people who have tried it highlight the advantage of being able to access information they previously could not, in real time and without intermediaries, and they have also praised its ability to transmit to Braille lines and the ability to adjust the reading and viewing speed.

Given the success of these tests, the technology has already been implemented on all the national DTT channels and regional DTT channels in Madrid, and it will soon be available in the other autonomous regions of Spain. The research team is now providing this service free of charge to anyone who needs it. Interested parties need only to download the GoAll app, available on ¡OS and Android.

Deaf-blind persons suffer a combined deterioration of sight and hearing, which impedes their access to information, communication and mobility in a way that seriously affects everyday abilities necessary for a minimally independent life. This is why they require specialized services, personnel trained specifically to care for them and special methods of communication.

In Spain, there are around 20,000 deaf-blind persons. To interact with their surroundings, they need the constant presence of an interpreter through whom any visual or auditory stimuli must pass. However, from now on, and thanks to research of the sort done at UC3M, they will be able to receive television broadcasts first-hand and directly in real time and in the same conditions as everyone else.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Set to fail...

An ATR response to THIS lip-reading promotion. Please accept as constructive criticism not an attack.

Image result for poor lip-reading
"I think a lot of inspired guesswork is involved in lip-reading, I know it is in my case ! Unfortunately with no base line at lip-reading classes or aims to achieve, it is difficult to suggest lip-reading effectiveness, especially as huge variations of loss exist, and with so few people actually attending classes.  

I don't want to be negative at this assistive mode, but a lot of realities are not mentioned, or, aims developed to address those.  I would want to see lip-reading elevated to proper communication course with exams tests etc to determine attainment levels etc. Treating it as a 'hobby course' demeans the point, as do claims you can appear as a hearing person by its usage, entirely negative as well as encouraging people to lie about their issue..  

LR has limited effectiveness defined by amount of useful hearing you still have, that doesn't take into account that can deteriorate.  Obviously some born deaf have good lip-reading skills, but, they are less effective with hearing people than their own and use familiar approaches other deaf use, they aren't placed in an entirely hearing position to foster that skill, or they fail and revert to manual signing.

The point being LR is to aid people with hearing loss to attain a useful skill. A skill that doesn't appear to have a course or attainment level in the class. They should also be working with clinical psychologists etc not palming the struggling people off to social services.  Those most in need.  At present I just see a class that isn't taking itself seriously and acting more as a 'like with like' mini social club, rather than teaching a serious communication mode to form social relationships outside of those areas.    It is setting up students for disappointment when the class stops.   No-one with real hearing to facilitate. 

From one class to the next nothing changes.  You need conditional training and to be faced with the street, where ideal circumstances are never present. Without a bottom line where is there to go ?  We swap one form of isolation for a cosy other ? If we are all honest LR is an extremely difficult mode to acquire, simply being annoyed because this is being pointed out doesn't address the problem. The fact remains those MOST in need of the skill are not in these classes.  

With a diagnosed hearing loss or hearing  aid, THEN is the time to start making plans, not when you are struggling and looking for a quick cure.... If you rely on residual hearing to attain a skill, what happens when that is no longer functional ? because people are still relying on that.  I've seen students at these classes, told to switch hearing aids off, and a number immediately went into trauma/tearful mode  when it exposed the reality and degree of their loss to others..  It's often first time they are faced with that and realise it is probably a lot worse than even they think it is.

That trauma can multiple as years go on, and as the aids no longer are able to do what they did.  There is no planning or thought going into lip-reading tuition frankly.  You open a class 15-20 turn up, but your local statistics can suggest maybe 5,000 with hearing loss reside around the class catchment area, so what is it THEY are doing ? 

They are refusing to to accept the reality ! relying on hearing aids still, family help etc, and moving away from interactions, to lessen stress levels, i.e. until the reality kicks them up the bum and the class can no longer help them. 

10m with no plan, and a random set up that eventually may well fail, we deserve better."

Thursday, 18 May 2017


Image result for promises

The UK is awash today with yet more outrageous political promises we all know aint going to happen, but it did prompt me to suggest a few promises myself.  We can bullshit too....

(1)  I promise to not let anyone wind me up online this year, I've mined the comment slot, with more Trojans than the ancient Greeks could ever handle.....

(2)  I Promise to learn at least one sign a day in ASL and BSL, in order to break down communication barriers, today's sign is "shut it...!",  tomorrow's is "Whatever."

(3) I promise to read every word of Understanding deafhood, and worship Paddy Ladd as the coming messiah... After that perhaps war and Peace,  understanding thermoculear Dynamics Vol 9, and hyper-critical proton technology for beginners handbook, for some light relief and lot more clarity...

(4)  I Promise to abstain from lip-reading for the coming year, I'm going to learn phrenology, practice foretelling the future in a glass ball,  and mind-reading instead.... all appear equally ridiculous.

(5)  I Promise NEVER to join an awareness group, and to ban deaf awareness from all my blogs.  Who reads it ? we don't...

(6)  I Promise to continue to abuse charity workers for their own good, and create a 'throw a custard pie at them..' week.

(7)   I Promise NEVER to plug the latest electronic gizmo for deaf people, they bore us rigid already, most are obsolete before we see them, and I don't want to know anyway, pigeons work fine....

(8)  I Promise to poke fun at anyone who quotes 'Facebook', 'social site' or 'Twitter' on my blog, and to direct them to a psychiatrist for intensive shock treatment (Like meeting real people, and utilising that hole under their nose.. and that gooey grey stuff between the ears.)

(9)  I Promise to never take any notice of people who quote Wikipedia, or newspapers I'll direct them to a proper source of information, (but they probably can't read, or don't want the truth anyway...).

(10)  I Promise to annoy support service workers, and ridicule 'communication' classes based on who has the cash to be enrolled in them, also to make teacher's lives difficult by sending people with actual hearing loss to them.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Accessibility for deaf/HoH. (captions)

How the hype works, first suggest a discussion about deaf access other than sign, then fail to provide it !

Need funds for deaf heritage projects ?

Now can we apply for funding for HoH projects ?

Don't be a Dick to deaf people...

A woman from Scotland has shared some of the shocking things people have said to her about being deaf. 

In the video — posted by BBC Social — Bea says she's happy for people to ask questions, but there are some enquiries that are just plain stupid. 

"How do deaf people have babies?" is one of the more unusual questions shared by Bea. "How do deaf people have sex?" is yet another gem. 

"Can deaf people drive?" 

Don't be a dick to deaf people. 

A BSL right to Fake News ?

Image result for fake newsThe recent campaign for the 'right to sign.' has gone beyond fact to fake news in the push for BSL.

Read this: "97% of young people think British Sign Language should be taught in school. "

The current statistic is 17.3m UK young people.  Will the 'right to BSL" area now provide ATR with the number of people THEY surveyed ? There is considerable doubt ANY Proof a survey has actually taken place.  When the website was taken to task to provide proof of a survey or numbers involved, they refused to respond. Their figures do  not stand any scrutiny. 

Maybe they should change the name of their campaign to #righttospin ?  For far too long the deaf campaigners in the UK have gone further and further away from providing any real proof of demand in education, degree of need or support, or, in actual numbers of deaf people reliant on sign language. We do not dispute adequate educational support is not there, we dispute the outrageous figures quoted.

Other outright exaggerations include:

(1) There are 125,000 BSL using deaf in the UK.  This has over an 8yr year period, gone up from guesstimated 10K, indeed the figures emanating from the cultural deaf activists, have trebled in the last 2 years. 

[Fact: The UK census claimed only 15,000 said they did in England, after BSL lobbyists defined the question themselves, however the question was NOT how many BSL reliant users in the UK but those who knew some BSL.]

(2) There are 10m deaf and HoH people.

[Think of a number time! Prove there isn't, is the sole response you get !   Again detail is ignored, the reality of estimated figures does not ask if the degree of loss needs support or on what level, the UK Social services say they don't estimate,and they meet the need presented,which stands at point 2% of their support services which include other sensory issues and other disability and MH issues]

The plain issue and the reality, is no survey ever undertaken in the UK or worldwide, has been able to survey a significant number of areas to make an estimate.  Hence the cultural deaf being able to declare whatever they want, and the ridiculous justification of saying prove differently, when they know there is no way to do so.  

Equally we can say the BSL lobby is deliberately falsifying statistics to the general public, it is now their turn to prove ATR wrong.  If you want facts consult fact-based and proven surveys not biased guesswork.

Fake news based on Fake statistics.  Only read facts at ATR.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Is your GP discriminating against you ?

Image result for surgery access for deaf UK
It would seem despite 4 equality and disability access laws, the UK NHS and their General Practitioners are still determined to make things as difficult as possible for the deaf or hearing impaired patient.  One anomaly we came across was that the NHS in the UK does NOT have to comply automatically with access for all its patients, it is not written in the NHS remit.  

The 'free access at point of service..' declaration, does not imply we will all get communication support, but as we read on, some do but the NHS are highly selective and sensitive to vociferous minorities under the human rights act, but only then responding to those who carry a legal threat through.  'Each according to need..' means a 'global' application of support doesn't happen, even if a patient succeeds, it simply means the next patient has to go through it all again for the same access for him, or her. 

Telephonic help desks for health support invaluably fail at start of call, there is no access in an emergency situation.  Most online access is totally unbalanced, with sign using deaf people's access monopolising online by a ratio of 11 to 1.  There doesn't appear to BE an access campaign for non signing people. Some niggles we read are here....

#1  "I've been asked to make suggestions to the practice manager at the surgery. Obviously I will suggest a digital screen but I think the minimum requirement is a loop that is 'always on' which has been suggested. I asked for suggestions and I think it's clear that these two options are best. 

Due to the design of the waiting room it's not clear where would be the best position for any screen. This has already been raised by the staff as a reason not to install one. Can anyone confirm for me that most HoH/deaf patients will position themselves where they can see any screen, etc.? I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who does this!"

#2  "I park myself facing the counter, after informing them I am deaf so they can indicate to me when my name is called.  It doesn't always work if the seating is taken by someone else !  I saw a Channel 5 program on London surgeries and they had a very visual name, and indicating system, I've NOT seen a similar blanket system in my local surgeries at all."

#3 "My GP also did not make his online website accessible either, and still doesn't, as a sop to me for creating mayhem for him, they gave me a direct e-mail to the surgery booking systems which I can use for enquiries but NOT to their primary website and not available to many other hearing loss patients, who I assume still are unaware I have such access. I was informed I was not to 'pass it around' or it would be withdrawn. 90% of GP's offer no realistic access to those with hearing loss. 

#4 "As regards to online access they say they haven't the time or wherewithal to monitor it, so use it for stat updates on flu jabs whatever.  Even their TV screens showing health films, are not subtitled..."

#5   "The loop systems are the basic excuse for not offering any other access, most are not even switched on.. and many surgeries said HoH don't ask for that..."

#6  "GP's coerce patients to 'bring someone who can hear for you..' or ask you to ''Bring your carer...'  If you refuse or cannot, you  have to put up with huge delays to see the doc while they seek out what professional support you need to follow.  Rather than suffer more with your issue, you feel obligated or pressured to ask a relative to help, it is unfair..".  

#7  "This is why you DON'T see demand, you kill it yourself by default.  That is then used by the NHS to suggest access is already there and there is no great demand for help being seen."

#8 "I am hard of hearing and need some text assistance, my GP said he wouldn't write things down.  He asked if I would use sign relay access, I told him I didn't sign, what use would it be ?" 

#9 "I asked my Doctor for speech to text help, and he said there wasn't any provision available,  would you like sign language support instead ?  It seems outrageous unawareness with the very people who monitor your condition... when your own Doctor cannot understand what  your communication need is.. often after years diagnosing and treating you... even diagnosing your hearing loss !"

#10 "My surgery has a complete list of interpreters available for patients that struggle with English, I counted 23 of them my surgery said they could obtain with 24 hours notice.  There wasn't a single contact if you were deaf and needed text, lip-speaking or sign support.'  Waiting times for support for us, were 3 weeks not days... I felt like stranger in my own country and a 3rd class citizen."

Monday, 15 May 2017

No more Deaf and HI thank you.

Image result for cutting the cord
ATR's plea to UK's major hearing loss charity, to cut links and cooperation with cultural deaf and BSL using areas, and reject the 'Deaf and HoH' remit as both nonviable and misleading..

"Can AOHL launch OWN hearing loss awareness 'week' and concentrate on those with it ?  This years' 'Deaf Awareness Week' (like last year and the years before), prioritises sign language and culture at the expense of those with loss who do not use BSL or belong to that area.  ATR was shocked to see the UKCoD/RAD et al promoting awareness of hearing loss via deaf sports and deaf culture and deaf BSL, often, with nil captions included at all.  

Such areas are synonymous NOT with HoH or non-signing people, they are culturally-based.  As soon as the D is there, AOHL has lost the awareness ground.  It lost that awareness ground years ago when BSL deaf walked away from the AOHL. The issue of inaccessible and biased content is also being ignored. Not least funding is being expressly given on an inclusive basis, which is then duly ignored or circumvented.

Let culture get on with it, and without your help, they don't need it anyway.  If loss awareness of the majority with hearing loss is to be real, then we need to SEE actual people with it during an awareness week and we are seeing an image and awareness and a communication format that has nothing at all to do with them. The sad part of it all, is these areas are using the 'Deaf & HI' remit to 'suggest' other areas ARE included, by occasionally adding some captions as 'justification' even when the content clearly has nothing at all to do with hearing loss as an actual sensory issue, but some sort of cultural thing created by discriminatory hearing people instead.

This week the AOHL posted online 12 tips that suggested lip-reading was a lot more effective than it actually is.  Let us suggest they are not accurate.  AOHL also shares co-membership with charities that are not loss based at all.  The myth of lip-reading needs to be explained properly, warts and all. We need realism in the awareness portrayed, some honesty and truths being included, and it should not be left to lone posters and individuals to explain the stat images we are seeing online are almost totally  irrelevant to them or their daily experience, and dedicated charities misleading by omission of factual base.  It's a complete free-for-all.  

For the sign user it is all image, for the charities all about funds, when is going to be all about people ?  It's time to cut the chord of the deaf and HI remit, and concede we are neither a united area, mutually supportive area, or even the same culture or communication-format using area.  

It is not discriminatory to identify the right area you are campaigning for and supporting.  Inclusion has failed, so has awareness.  YES there are grey areas, NO it doesn't justify all these blanket statements and fictitious statistics being aired. 

AOHL can start by cutting all BSL service provision and letting the BDA get on with it, so AOHL can truly serve its core membership and assist the 10m HoH currently with no services at all.  Yes we know the BDA is incapable, poorly supported and lacks professionalism, but its time they put up and raised their own funds not rely on AOHL to do it for them.   They want a stand-alone communication and cultural support area ? now is the time. The talk stops now learn the walk.

We know initially the AOHL stands to lose money because BSL is a money spinner, mainly because AOHL has NOT concentrated on the needs of the most, and because they were unable to identify their own area, or interact with them on a meaningful basis.  In the long term, if money is AOHL's only consideration then 10m customers are better than a few hundred BSL activists. 

Can AOHL not see plugging BSL is taking the support AWAY from their own core membership, and promoting someone else's need instead ?  Let us have a week that explains problems 10m people have, and accept the realities.  It's time to move on..."

HoH not being listened to in Education...

Hard of hearing student Jordan Hollahan isn't happy with a listening component on his public exam.
High school senior Jordan Hollahan has mild, sloping to severe, sensorineural hearing loss. 

That means he has a hard time hearing higher-pitched sounds than lower-pitched tones.   "I was actually born with crushed lungs," Hollahan said. "I was dead. The machine that they put me in is what caused my hearing loss."

With hearing aids in both ears, he's learned to deal with being hard of hearing in the classroom.   Through elementary school he used an FM system, one that has the teacher wear a microphone and allows him to hear the teacher's voice more clearly. As it is for a lot of students in his situation, moving to junior high was a little more difficult. 

Jordan Hollahan says he learned to adapt to help him hear and has been able to pick up music, singing and acting in musical theatre productions. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC) "As I got older, switching from class to class, it was obviously harder," he said.  "I'd have to remember myself to get the microphone from the teacher and take it to my next class. So as I got older I stopped using it."

That's not uncommon. He got used to it and said he taught himself to adapt. Since then he's gotten into music and sings a capella. As his final year of school at Mount Pearl Senior High comes to a close he has to write provincial public exams. When he got the handout at the start of the school year, one thing stood out to him. 

"Right in bold letters, 'listening,'" Hollahan said.  "I was shocked because several years it got taken off. It was done. It was not on the English 3201 exam at all. Then last year they brought it back." In the past, hard of hearing students like Hollahan could opt out of the listening portion without prejudice. Then the department of education brought it back and the listening portion is worth 10 per cent of the final grade.

"That doesn't sound like a lot, but when it comes to getting into a college or university that could be an extra 10 per cent that I would have on my final grade that I won't have if I don't do it."

12 tips on hearing Loss..

Probably the only area giving tips on hearing loss during 'Deaf Week', that DOESN'T include sign language. 

Albeit doesn't full explain that even lip-reading is far from being anything like 36% effective.  These tips actually rely on your proficiency to lip-read and you have done the class and course-work.. and NOT just relying on what your aid picks up.

12 tips on communicating with people with hearing loss

(1) Even if someone is wearing hearing aids it doesn't mean they can hear you perfectly. Ask if they need to lipread.

(2) Speak clearly but not too slowly, and don't exaggerate your lip movements – this can make it harder to lipread.

(3) Don't shout. It can be uncomfortable for hearing aid users and it looks aggressive.

(4) If someone doesn't understand what you've said, don't keep repeating it. Try saying it in a different way instead.

(5) Check that the person you're talking to is following you during the conversation. Use plain language and don't waffle. Avoid jargon and unfamiliar abbreviations.

(6) To make it easy to lipread, don’t cover your mouth with your hands or clothing.

(7) If you’re going on a date at a restaurant, find a suitable place to talk, with good lighting and away from loud speakers and distractions.

(8) Get the listener's attention before you start speaking, maybe by waving or tapping them on the arm.

(9) Use natural facial expressions and gestures.

(10) Make sure you have face-to-face contact with the person you are talking to.

(11) If someone is working with a BSL interpreter, always remember to talk directly to the person you are communicating with, not the interpreter.

(12) If you're talking to a group that includes deaf and hearing people, don't just focus on the hearing people.

Welsh Deaf Children struggling in Education.

The latest Welsh Government figures suggest the attainment gap widened again at GCSE level.

National Deaf Children's Society Cymru is calling for more support and awareness in classrooms. Ministers said they were raising educational standards and investing in pupils with additional learning needs.

The attainment results for deaf children in the last three years fluctuated, according to figures obtained by BBC Wales. In 2014, 48% of deaf children achieved a grade A* to C in the core subjects at key stage four - English/Welsh, maths and science - compared to 64% of peers who can hear. The following year the attainment gap narrowed - but last year it grew again with 48.5% of deaf pupils achieving the grades, compared to 69.5% of hearing children. And the problem is not confined to Year 11.

Over the last three years, the attainment gap has remained the same or worsened at foundation phase and for primary school children aged 7 to 11. The figures come as organisations across the UK mark Deaf Awareness Week, which runs from 15 to 21 May.

Four years ago, the National Deaf Children's Society Cymru launched the Close the Gap petition following a poor set of results.  Debbie Thomas, policy and campaigns officer, said the latest results were "unacceptable". "Deafness is not a learning disability so that gap shouldn't be there and we need to make sure that deaf children and young people are appropriately supported so they can reach their full potential," she said.

"There's no reason why they should be underachieving - other than the fact they're not accessing the appropriate support."