Saturday, 9 December 2017

D&D 13... be there ?

It's...Human Rights Day.

Human rights for ALL deaf people, and HoH and deafened too.  Just who is going to enforce these 'rights' on the parents ?  Not going to happen.  While we are at it, why not national bans on CI's, Hearing aids,  and genetic research into deafness ?

Friday, 8 December 2017

Deaf unable to access Parliament TV.

Image result for Parliament TV
More deaf complaining they are being told by the BBC to search online for text coverage and to ignore televised Parliament (UK), output as its 'for hearing only'.

Poster on social media:

"I ran a campaign within the deaf community to get access, they said 'We don't want it, who cares about politics ?     boring !"  We got no backing from the AOHL/BDA or anyone else either.  I personally believe it is outright abuse of my human rights to have my access to my government ignored and told to use alternative access to what I use, or to go online and search for it, when hearing just switch on their TV set..    

The way programs are prioritised for access for us is random, initially you have to 'prove' there is sufficient demand for subtitled or captioned access, this defies the law that says access is a right.  However viewer statistics have to attain a certain number and the way they collate figures and the access requirements makes it all a lottery.  E.G. Programs like 'SEE HEAR' for the deaf or BSL Zone cannot be removed if they had NO viewers because the access law applies there on a  cultural basis.  This means deaf who use captions/HoH have no real access as they are classed as 'hearing' without a cultural access right.  Whilst such 'dedicated' TV IS captioned the content isn't relevant.

But doesn't apply to any program output that is bought in from elsewhere (Subcontracted TV coverage).  The welsh assembly e.g. has no direct hiring of coverage of what they do, but does have own  in-house 'Senedd TV', that isn't accessible either,we were unable to get sensory loss/deaf committees captioned or signed.  As a result the committees failed, after charities got fed up of having to provide own access for free.

We are further undermined by deaf representations that say we don't care if it is or not !   To ID who has responsibility to caption is a minefield.  Wales Assembly said not our problem, it is down to those that create the coverage, the overall responsibility to caption is not the obligation (moral or legal), of the parliaments or assemblies to ensure coverage of what they do is captioned or signed.  We suggested yes it is, as the BBC broadcasts it,it then is covered by their access legal requirement.  Demands Political areas should set the basis of coverage to fair access was ignored. Local authorities also defy access regulations as do MP's/AM's/SMP's etc who produce own blog coverage with videos.  

In essence Parliament, BBC/ITV/SKY et al channels and regional Assemblies pass the buck.

You are then forced to lobby the people who make coverage to provide captions.  No-one takes responsibility for deaf access, I have succeed to a very small degree in Wales where they put up 1st Minister question time up on youtube and it is captioned/signed, but the Parliament channel they don't want to know.  

I suspect the huge cost of captioning every committee or meet they have is astronomic so I targeted just areas that were relevant to our areas.  However when I suggested that approach as a compromise the deaf then turned around and said NO, not without sign language too, that killed the whole thing.  I said why would you want sign language access when they already declared you don't watch it, and opposed a captioned campaign ? 

The criteria for listing programs re numbers ignores minorities, and ignores regional variations.  If Scotland/Ireland or wales had low deaf figures then none would get access.  Because political coverage has low viewer base anyway there can never be a relative number identified that would justify captioned or signed access,it is why I went for specific access as a compromise, but the ambiguity of the deaf campaigns and their singular approaches to access combined with a complete ridicule of the political access campaigns, means we are never going to know what our politicians say unless we search online,and how many actually do that ?

The approach seems to be wait for the decision, then complain after, instead of taking an active interest in determining them and ensuring we are included."

ATR's letter to the UK Parliament TV:

As a deaf person there appears to be no sign-language or captioned access, when can we expect this TV channel to be accessible ?  I would have thought the voters access to its government was a right ?

No deaf access defined HERE

In the Land of the Deaf

Appalling service for Welsh deaf people

Image result for W.I.T.S. WalesPeople in Wales are probably unaware that in 2009/10 the Welsh Government gave a grant of £120,000 to a consortium of un-elected public bodies to set up a Welsh Interpreter and Translation Service (WITS). The aim of this was to provide a one-stop service for foreign-language interpreting for hospitals and councils to enable them to deal with ethnic minorities seeking their services. The service was run by Gwent Police until the summer of this year.

On the face of it this was a much-needed initiative to save costs and simplify the procurement of interpreters for public bodies. However, an ill-informed and ignorant decision was made by the WITS board to include sign language interpreting for deaf people in the service. Until then this service for deaf patients in Wales had been provided by the Wales Council for Deaf People and RNID. 

The deaf person would contact one of the charities, which would arrange for an interpreter of choice for the deaf person to attend the hospital or GP consultation and invoice the local health board for the pre-agreed service. This long-standing arrangement came to an abrupt end when some badly advised health boards decided to embrace the WITS system. 

Deaf patients were forbidden to discuss appointments with the Gwent Police-run WITS. Under WITS deaf people are not told by the health boards whether an interpreter would be present for an NHS health session and who the interpreter would be. Appointments had to be deferred if a WITS interpreter failed to turn up. 

Seriously ill deaf patients had to struggle with their GPs or NHS consultants without a promised interpreter and their health worsened in some cases due to miscommunication's. Gwent Police adopted a Pontius Pilate stance and refused to deal with complaints from deaf people, saying that it was the health board’s problem, not theirs. The possibility of corporate manslaughter charges against the WITS board could arise because of the appalling service to deaf people.

Sign language interpreting should never have been taken over by WITS. Cardiff Council now hosts WITS and recognises that sign language is completely different from oral languages. If Cardiff Council fails to get the WITS board to allow deaf people to directly discuss their appointments with WITS staff, then sign language provision should be removed from WITS and reverted to the charities of and for deaf people.

Cedric Moon MBE

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Life Skills ??

Saffron Lilley takes a skills class at RAD's HQ in ColchesterLife skills suggest it is an issue the deaf have to be educated in, not mainstream.  Surely a failure of access and a right to it is the issue ?    Most deaf ensure they plan ahead or have someone with them.  

Referrals from the Social Services is just passing the buck.  Real skills and getting around is better undertaken by immersing deaf with hearing people a lot more, they cannot learn to integrate while being apart.

For many deaf people, the biggest frustration is not understanding what is going on around them.

Communicating with other people can be a tiring task, becoming mentally, as well as physically, straining as one party tries to comprehend another.  But instead of lingering on what they cannot do, deaf people are being inspired to think about what they can do even better despite the challenges they face.

The Royal Association for Deaf People, based in North Station Road, Colchester, aims to help.  Kerry Cole, head of marketing and PR, said deaf people can be affected by seemingly everyday issues. She said: “Take Colchester station, for example.  “If a train is delayed, there is often an announcement over tannoy. “Deaf people cannot hear this and so may be standing there at the platform not knowing what is going on.

“What makes the charity different is we are not an organisation helping from the outside. “We work with the deaf community to make people as independent as possible. “We take the time to understand and deliver what matters to deaf people in their identity, community, heritage and diversity and what we do is develop services and partnerships that they need.”

The charity’s Colchester Life Skills Group, which specialises in helping to develop important independent living skills, meets at the Oak Tree Centre, in Harwich Road, Colchester.

Users can be referred by a GP, but the greatest number of referrals come from social workers.

From Theory to Practice...

Why did you give me a CI ?

Deaf kids taught by robots...

So what's new !   Makes a change from amateurs.... The way it is going with the deaf kids and adults, they will only interact with machines.  So who wants a cuddly tin can to talk to ?

This kid doesn't know it, but he’s kind of a big deal. Sitting in his mother’s lap, he looks at a mo-hawked robotic head, which periodically turns left to look at a computer screen with its big blue eyes. And the infant takes the cue, glancing at the screen, where a human avatar signs a nursery rhyme.

This boy is doing something remarkable on two levels. For one, he’s practicing a pivotal skill for his development—language—with a clever new platform that blends robotics, fancy algorithms, and brain science. And he’s doing what few humans have done before: communicating with a robot using facial cues alone.

In an ideal world, every child would get enough face-to-face communication during early development to build solid language skills, be that by way of sign language or the spoken word. The reality is, not all parents have the time to sit down and read to their kids. And for deaf children, it may be that the parents themselves have to learn to sign.

What researchers at Gallaudet University—in collaboration with Yale, the University of Southern California, and Italy’s University of D’Annunzio—have developed isn’t a substitute for interpersonal communication between parents and infants, but an experimental supplement. It’s meant to simulate the natural interaction between baby and mother or father.

What’s interesting about the developing infant mind is that natural language, no matter if it’s spoken or signed, stimulates the same areas of the brain. “The same neural sensitivities, they are processed in the identical swatches of brain tissue,” says Gallaudet neuroscientist Laura-Ann Petitto. “The brain tissue that we used to think was only responsible for sound is not the unique bastion of sound processing. It's the unique bastion of human language processing.”

With this knowledge in hand, the team can strap little brain-scanning hats to deaf infants and watch for these areas to light up. 

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Assistance dog ban NOT deliberately discriminating

The Village Inn, Llanfairfechan
If there was no discrimination why were they fined ?

The owner of a pub chain indirectly discriminated against two disabled people who were told they could not sit in a carvery restaurant with their assistance dogs, a court has found.

The Pen-y-Bryn group, which owns the Village Inn, Llanfairfechan, Conwy county, was ordered to pay £2,000 damages at Caernarfon County Court. But Judge Merfyn Jones-Evans ruled that it did not deliberately discriminate.

The restaurant said it was trying to balance hygiene with equality. Burnadette Clutton, from Llanfairfechan, and Ed Williams, from the Midlands, had booked a table at the pub for Sunday lunch. The court heard they were offered a table in the bar where their dogs would have to stay while they got their food.

The restaurant denied discrimination and said that dogs were not allowed in the carvery restaurant on health and hygiene grounds. Ms Clutton said the dogs were not pets but highly-trained working dogs that performed important tasks for their owners, including fetching and carrying and monitoring the breathing of people with respiratory problems.

"I want to be as independent as I can," she said. "I just want to live independently and do what any able-bodied person can do." Martin Mensah, who represented the pub, had told the court the test was whether the defendant acted reasonably and whether the plaintiffs had been substantially disadvantaged.

"They were offered a table. They were offered someone to hold their dogs and they were offered someone to go to the carvery with them to help," he said.

Deaf, Work and the welfare State...

Image result for states that receive the most welfare UKSocial media responses to cuts and redefining disability.

"It's a laugh really, having gone deaf the Welfare services nagged me for 4 years on a monthly basis asking 'When is your hearing coming back ?'  I said according to your own medical assessment, and clinical examinations, never.    It's like asking someone with a limb missing, when is it going to grow back.

Deaf got suggestions from them to have a cochlear implant or an expensive hearing aid,  then we could 'hear' again, and stop being  a burden on the tax payer,  but its medically impossible for me, you have to have hearing to be amplified, and anyway, my NHS does not fund CI's for ANYONE over 20, and rations hearing aids to one ear despite anyone having a need for two,  I could go private if I had £21,000 to spare but it still would not give me any hearing.  

Undeterred the DWP asked, why don't the deaf lip-read ? then they can 'hear' everyone, the deaf aren't trying hard enough was the next gripe, I said my area had no classes to attend and wasn't able to teach those deaf already.  Or even learn sign language, until they could not identify where I can actually use it if I did, I needed a reason, and would still be dependent on someone else.

Employers wouldn't pay for the support it needs to function properly in a job, notwithstanding, the DWP capped the ESA support and now it won't cover it... Social Services dedicated 'Deaf' systems, were removed 18 years ago, and you still cannot use the hearing version without an interpreter, they have  no access for any deaf person who used text, which was by far the most effective access there is. 

Technology is a hit and miss, but the DWP are now saying we should all be using these applications that translate speech to text or sign language 'immediately' and for free, but they are 15% effective, and speech was an issue because they believe deaf cannot speak, so those that do, were frauds and fakes.  We could suggest awareness wasn't really working at all.

Sign is far less effective than lip-reading (The wonder 'cure-all' for every issue deaf have..), but entirely impracticable to do a job with unless in a  BSL run charity or something..  But that isn't really an issue, once they know you are deaf, your CV is valueless anyway.  They never look beyond your hearing loss, you are marked as a liability from day one, and who needs it when there are 100s of hearing who want the job too and don't need any support or effort ?  

Some of our necessary support requires heavy investment of time and money from an employer, and as one said to me before kicking me out of the office,  'I could hire two people for supporting you, it just isn't viable..'  In the the work place, you could ask they learn to-communicate with you, that is more time an employer thinks is wasted too.  Unless the industry you are in is very large it cannot afford the expense, awareness, or time.  

Most of us leave whatever jobs we do have because we are just too isolated and unhappy, we get left behind and stressed, that invites the sack.  We go unemployed and resenting hearing people..."

Sign Wars ?

The Singapore Association for the Deaf said it is troubled by a Channel 8 Chinese current affairs programme, known as "Hello Singapore", which showed a trainer from a People's Association (PA) SkillsFuture course teaching sign language. The association, which represents individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, said the signs were "inaccurate" and that the trainer is not on the association's list of sign language instructors.

Moreover, the trainer was demonstrating Signing Exact English (SEE), and not Singapore Sign Language (SgSL), which the deaf community in Singapore uses. The association said SEE is not a sign language. In the United States, the deaf community uses American Sign Language (ASL). And on its website, SEE makes it clear it is not a replacement for ASL.

While ASL is about facilitating communication, SEE is about developing an understanding of the English language which allows users "to effectively read and write English, despite not being able to hear the spoken words". In an open letter to the PA on the Singapore Association for the Deaf's Facebook page, the association said: "(SEE is) a sign system which, as its name implies, follows English exactly in terms of word order and grammar.

"It visually represents spoken language on the hands and can be used simultaneously with voiced English."

Monday, 4 December 2017

Employers lack confidence with the Disabled ?

Image result for disability confident new zealandFrom here it looks more like lacks the staff, time or money to employ us. 45% in work in New Zealand is 4 times MORE than the UK, and 8 times more than Europe.

People’s views about an organisation are influenced by the people who work there. 

An organisation’s success may depend on its ability to draw on diverse skills and experience of all people who work there. This includes supporting and celebrating diversity, and not seeing “different” as “bad”.

Nearly one in four New Zealanders identifies as having a disability, whether it be physical, sensory, intellectual or mental health-related. It may be visible or hidden, permanent or temporary, and could have a minor or major impact on a person’s life. Here are some interesting facts in New Zealand:

• 21 percent of people aged 15 to 64 are disabled

• 85 percent of disabled 15 to 64 year olds are not disabled at birth

• 24 percent of people in NZ are disabled

• 45 percent of disabled adults are employed compared with 72 percent of the non-disabled

• 61 percent of disabled people aged 15 to 64 were working in paid jobs in 2013

• 74 percent of those who weren’t employed said they would like to work

• Only 10 percent of disabled staff require modification to their work area or equipment.

Many organisations already have disabled people; in their workforce, as customers, shareholders or even as suppliers. However, disabled people are sometimes not hired because of the perception, fear, myth and prejudice — like that accommodating a person with a disability is too expensive.

A 2011 report by Deloitte for the Australian Network of Disability found that the cost of recruiting disabled employees is generally lower, and most disabled workers display better attendance, higher productivity and lower health and safety issues than non-disabled staff.

The Ministry of Social Development has produced a guide for employing disabled people called the Lead Toolkit. It is a useful resource for business owners, leadership teams, managers and human resource teams, highlighting the many benefits of employing disabled people. It helps employers to get the information they need to become “disability confident”.

The Magic Lamp.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Greed is Good...

And charities operating apart from us.  More complaints online after Oliver raised the ATR issue of the parasitic charities undermining us all.

From Social Media: 

"Charity is just a business now, most do not encourage memberships either, I know the hearing loss area has almost totally disengaged from Charities purported to represent them, because they don't do that.  Their staff get ripped off too.

Image result for charity or a business ?Executives of charities are hired via corporate sites etc, excluding those who they 'help & Support'.  Requests to enable grass root deaf and HI to get work and raise real awareness in their charities as interns even, are refused, because 'It is positive discrimination and is illegal in that hearing applicants will be viewed adversely', or 'disabled/deaf lack the qualifications we need..' So, no deaf or HI executives or leading position with the UK's largest hearing loss charities, who only have 5-11% with any hearing loss at all, mostly unpaid or part-time, we don't get the training or the opportunity to train, the undercurrent is opposition by hearing staff who feel their would be grass roots demand for their removal, and that the deaf approach of positive imaging and culture undermines their cash flow 'donors won't donate'...

Images of disability are deliberately aimed at getting max response via sympathy or pity, and positive imaging not a part of charity fund-raising because 'No one is going to give money to those who help themselves..' a total distortion.   Kids and animals are where the cash is.  Rights campaigners are viewed as randoms making trouble for the rest.. and undermining 'support we need'  

Image result for gravy train
What we want today is leadership and proper representation, but we cannot be bothered, all the fight has been kicked out of us. So we languish on social medias complaining to each other.   Charities won't put themselves on the line for us, claiming the law prevents them being political and they are 'support-based'.  So rights deserve no support ?  Charities have adopted business attitudes, approached celebs, retired politicians, over-the-hill businessmen who are bored,  or soap stars, and use sound bites photo shopped images and PR output that today, bears little or no resemblance to us or what we want. 

In essence, charity assists the state in dumping support, recognition, and rights awareness on others. Bone idle lobbying by an occasional visit to Parliament where those conned by the charitable set ups, bask in the glory of utter patronisation and pit themselves against those who accuse them of being hypocrites, so all lobbying is bias.  A token handout now and then from the state or industry, allocation committees comprised of 'plants' that ensure they have 51% say etc,keep up the pity angle, maybe take over the state role of caring a fig.

They also encourage grass root bloggers to advertise their dubious services and campaigns too, one UK/HI blogger is sponsored by 32 of them and encouraged to oppose others who criticise their biased output. There is a media war taking place, the disabled and deaf,  have no chance of winning. It goes without saying the state is removing the entire concept of disability and dumping them on the street, whilst encouraging your fellow man or neighbour to view you as a waste of space and a fraud who is too lazy to work.   Your representation is belonging to charity too, who speak in your name whether you agree or not.  There is a reluctance to criticise charity that is silly.

Image result for greed is good
We sleep-walk into it, and now have no voice of means at all. I set up my own blog 15 years ago to attack what charity was doing, and to oppose biased Deaf/HoH campaigns that were one-sided and not inclusive. I was eventually forced to move my blog to the USA to get aired as they all accused me, of biting the hand that feeds and 'helps' others,  Mostly from those who earned a living supporting my patronisation. 15 yrs before anyone got the message I was right. I don't support charity in any form and don't contribute to it, go make beggars of others, not me.  Deaf charities raising cash so deaf kids can get an education ? Can no-one see the perverse reality of all this ?

Charity is BIG business, you take them on at your peril.  One blog I did that went at them, was threatened with a legal writ, fortunately the USA has a better understanding of free speech than they do, and they backed off,now they arrogantly use the same means I do to raise issues, except they are appealing for money and I'm not.

They can wheel out the righteous at the drop of a hat to attack you, but employ them no.  £6B a year plus, so they don't want people who would tip that gravy train over or question where they spend it, £100K a year to their hearing executives takes a fair amount of it, whilst their foot soldiers do the work for nil hoping some kudos will go their way, pathetic really..   

So much money is involved we have no say whatever about, or where it is spent, nothing for us without us, has fallen on deaf ears..... results in issues where private industry now profits by raising charitable funds charities cannot be bothered to raise themselves, because they are too posh to beg.  Nice earners for some but sadly NOT us. £250,000 that could have empowered us sits in a private business account as they do the disability 'imaging' with the aim of maximising the pity angle...

Friday, 1 December 2017

Market Review of BSL...

And they say it is not a business ?  Deaf people being a 'client market' a 'business proposition' and a 'captive market', is what undermines real access.  We have to be a paying proposition or go without.

Still no mention that the issue of supply and demand is being totally undermined by the Deaf users themselves utilising family and friends instead of demanding a qualified Interpreter, this is confused by BSL activists who insist discrimination is the issue, but there is no access without demand.   What we are seeing in these videos is misrepresentation of the real problem, the Deaf and a lot of hoo-ha about culture and language, not communication.

Calls to  prevent Deaf using unqualified people have been ignored via 'freedom of choice', and opposed by their activists, which must be the first time choice has meant a right to be in ignorance.  There are also very expensive fees being demanded of BSL learners, and arbitrary and unregulated judging by BSL 'judges' who are failing people because their own 'region' signs differently, thus, potential Interpreters cease the training courses, and are lost to the 'community.   All because BSL hasn't a norm and a UK standard.

We know the deaf signer struggles to get support, but this 'market research' avoids the basis of why that is.  Easy to blame others rather than identify you are the cause yourself.  One suspects the statistics are coming from BSL activists or those who have little access to any support, so unable to call on friends and family..

Deaf still opposing relay access.

Image result for hospital video relay for deaf USA
Give us people not technology ! Though a court decision earlier this year offered hospitals some leeway in how they communicate with deaf patients, The University of Vermont Medical Center has agreed to resolve a complaint that its use of video chat to provide interpreters is not sufficient to meet the needs of those patients.  

The court ruling earlier this year tightened the standards that hospitals must follow to effectively communicate with deaf patients, but allowed hospitals some leeway on how to provide interpreters. 

Deaf patients have filed seven complaints against the UVMMC since 2010, according to an article from VT Digger. Barbara Prine, a disability lawyer with Vermont Legal Aid who lodged the complaints on behalf of five deaf patients, told the publication that in each case the patients requested an in-person interpreter, but instead were connected with one over video chat. Federal attorneys and the Department of Health and Human Services jointly investigated multiple discrimination complaints against UVMMC, according to an announcement from the Department of Justice.

"Sign-language is a three-dimensional language, so it doesn't play well on a screen," Prine told the publication. "If you're having a conversation about someone's condition [or] you're getting informed consent for a procedure, you need an in-person interpreter."   UVMMC agreed to provide interpreters when necessary and to provide additional training to staff members on effective communication. 

"Being able to communicate effectively with medical providers is fundamental to meaningfully accessing healthcare," U.S. Attorney Christina E. Nolan said in the announcement. 

Disabled Movement condemns 'parasitic charities'.

It is a relief to ATR we aren't the only people utterly condemning charities that purport to support us, but doing nil representation or support where it counts, and undermining our access and equality.  Despite UK Deaf and HoH  who stopped supporting charities or being members, these charities continue to take money in our name and perpetuate the image of useless dependency, either on them or the state.  Yet allows one UK blogger to promote 32 of them. Selling out the Deaf and HoH.  We have ditched charity so why do they still exist ?

The Article: GO Oliver !

One of the key figures in the disabled people’s movement has come out of retirement to deliver a stinging rebuke to “parasitic” disability charities.

Professor Mike Oliver (pictured), the disabled academic who first defined the “social model of disability”, was speaking at an event hosted by the University of Kent last night (Wednesday), as part of UK Disability History Month.

The annual series of events was launched at a parliamentary event last week, and this year focuses on disability and art.

Those speaking at the launch included disabled comedian, activist and trainer Barbara Lisicki, who spoke about – and displayed – some of the tee-shirts designed and worn by members of the Disabled People’s Direct Action Network (DAN), and disabled artists Tanya Raabe-Webber and Tony Heaton. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell spoke of the importance of challenging stereotypes and how austerity had made it harder for disabled people to “fulfil their artistic ambitions and articulate their views about society” and how they face discrimination.

In his speech in Kent yesterday, Oliver warned of the risk that disabled people’s shared history was being “rewritten” by charities and politicians to “suit their own interests and agendas”.

He mentioned Scope, and a series of films it produced in 2015 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), which failed to point out that, in its earlier incarnation as The Spastics Society, it had been “bitterly opposed to anti-discrimination legislation in the 1980s and only reluctantly came on board when it became obvious that such legislation was inevitable”.

He also referred to former Tory leader William Hague, who told the BBC that he regarded the DDA as one of his finest achievements, when in reality he had “turned the legislation into a pale shadow of what it should have been”.

Oliver was heavily critical of “the big disability charities”, which he said had “proved predictably useless at defending the living standards and lifestyles of disabled people” from the government’s “vicious attacks, while continuing to do very well for themselves”.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Too many deaf kids still cannot read....

Too many deaf children are still failing to learn to read, says new study

Sign still falling behind oral approaches ?  The British education system is neglecting the needs of severely and profoundly deaf children, many of whom have major reading difficulties, according to new research from City, University of London.

In one of the largest studies of its kind, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, the researchers found that over half of the deaf children involved who communicated using spoken language and four fifths of those who used sign language had reading difficulties at least as severe as those faced by hearing children with dyslexia, and in some cases they were more severe.

There are almost 49,000 children with permanent hearing loss in the UK, many of whom have reading difficulties. This is because reading is based on spoken language, which many deaf children struggle to acquire.

As hearing difficulties are often seen as the primary issue for deaf children, underlying reading difficulties can go unnoticed, and diagnosis of dyslexia is rare. In contrast, hearing children with reading difficulties are more likely to be described as dyslexic, and once diagnosed, can benefit from evidence-based specialist support and interventions.

To investigate the impact of deafness on reading, the researchers took 129 deaf children aged between 10-11 in their final year of primary school (Year 6), 79 of whom communicated using spoken language (oral deaf), while 50 used sign language (signing deaf). This is larger than samples included in other studies. Specifically, the report found that literacy scores in both oral and signing deaf children were lower than expected for their age. 

Scores were also lower in the signing group compared to the oral group, with 48% of the oral group and 82% of the signing children reading below age level, although signing children with two deaf parents scored at the same level as the oral deaf group. Scores for spelling were better in both oral and signing groups, but were still below average. In both groups, language skills were particularly weak.

Communicating with the deaf without sign language.

Former mayor Theresa Higgins and cafe volunteers demonstrate the sign for 'welcome' at the Old Heath Recreation Ground in 2016
Communication can be a struggle for Deaf people and everyday tasks like making a medical appointment or dealing with a delay on public transport can be a real challenge.

But communicating with a Deaf person doesn’t have to be difficult and you don’t need to know British Sign Language.  All you need is a little patience and to take the time to make sure you understand each other.

So, here are our top tips on communicating with a Deaf person:

(1) Always face a Deaf person. Make eye contact and try not to cover your mouth as a Deaf person may use lip-reading to help them understand what you are saying.

(2) Speak clearly and slightly slower than you normally would. Please don’t shout as it changes your facial expression and makes you look cross.

(3) Use mime and gestures. Pointing is allowed and actively encouraged to help communicate.

(4) Write it down. Don’t be afraid to write or draw to get your point across.

(5)  Be prepared to repeat yourself. Or try to re-phrase what you are saying to help understanding. Whatever you do, don’t say ‘Oh, don’t worry’ or ‘It doesn’t matter’ as this will make a Deaf person feel that they don’t matter.

(6) Keep trying.

(The RAD did add 'or learn sign language ', which rather defeats the point they are making in how to communicate to those that DON'T ! and, where is the equal onus or means the DEAF have to use to respond ?]

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Should Oralism be promoted within the deaf community ?

Image result for Infamy !A recent blog by the biased blog 'Deaf News Today' in reality it was a kickback to the condemnation of deaf cultists who attacked Mandy Harvey with vile and abusive online hate mail.

Deaf News today also said there was 'No militant Deaf area' in the USA, so where have they been living them ? Is their blog just another agent for them ? after preventing feedback to their  own blog which suggested not only did militant deaf groups and individuals exist, but where noted online by the BBC and in the USA, DNT edited comment out.

Deaf News Today became an apologist for the Deaf extremist, in essence, applauding hate messaging.. Worse prevented balanced and critical-neutral feedback.  If they are going to print news don't print bias and mislead readers.  Then attack balanced feedback and call THAT a deaf attack.

Should deaf be encouraged to oralise ?  Well deaf should be encouraged to use whatever it takes to communicate effectively, and if that includes speaking, oralism or sign language and lip-reading, then, yes.  It's time to take the politics and culture out of communication, we don't all want to be martyrs to whatever cause these misguided loony tunes people have.

If you go to deaf clubs or deaf meets you see little or none of the crap these signing extremists promote online, most are accepting of each other and that is how it should be.  The issue appears to be when you get singular areas and approaches the extremes hold sway, difficulties of access, and education, instead of being addressed, are lauded as 'attacks on deaf people'  to stoke the cultural fire.  More inclusion is vital to stop our deaf children growing up with a permanent chip on their shoulder about people who don't sign like they do, and to prevent these extremes getting any mileage at the expense of our communication issues.

Deaf teacher calls for BSL recognised by Government

We could applaud the demand for proper qualified BSL terps, if it wasn't for the reality the deaf oppose it ! 

64% still use relatives or friends with NO qualifications, and kill demand, the system says they will accept ANYONE the deaf ask to support them, on the basis the deaf accept any mistakes are down to them NOT the system. Suits them down to the ground as its FREE !

What we really need is a law to prevent deaf people or systems utilising unqualified help and only use relatives and friends as personal support, your relatives could struggle with detail as much as you !  Levels 4 to 6 seem reasonable, level 2 is not a qualification for an interpreter but deaf never ask.  We also need to understand as do other deaf signers, interpreting needs specialists too, e.g. health/clinical/legal and educational areas,  to explain complicated terms and detail, too many terps are 'dumbing down' detail, because they are out of their depth and no one demands specialisation.

It's also important to note BSL ISN'T fully recognised in the UK in regards to legal terms.

The article: 

A deaf teacher is calling for Parliament to recognise British Sign Language as a minority language before Brexit.

Although deaf people who use BSL as a means of communication are entitled to an interpreter under disability and equality laws, there is no requirement for that person to be a registered qualified interpreter.  Ayesha Gavin, who runs her own business Ayesha Communications from Weir, said: “This means that a person who has Level 2 BSL can be used as an interpreter.

“Imagine if you were English in a foreign hospital and you were assigned someone who only had a GCSE in your native language, would they be deemed competent enough to translate for a patient?

“I have just finished teaching nine students to NVQ Level 6 in BSL, that is the equivalent of a degree. As part of their studies the students had to look at deaf issues with Brexit being one.  “The European Parliament asked each member state to recognise their country’s sign language, Britain has not done so but Scotland did in 2015.

Factory staff learn sign to aid deaf co-workers.

RSBi’s window factory workers have been learning sign language
A group of city factory workers have been learning sign language to allow them to communicate with their deaf colleagues.

Window factory staff at RSBi, the manufacturing arm of City Building, are being taught British Sign Language as part of a new national scheme to boost opportunities for deaf people. The Scottish Government scheme, the first of its kind, aims to make Scotland the most inclusive place for BSL users to work, live and visit.

Royal Strathclyde Blind Industry got involved by enlisting the help of non-hearing BSL approved employee Mark McGowan to teach classes at its window factory in Queenslie. The lessons have been running since October and the firm says they have increased day-to-day communication among workmates creating a more happy and confident team.

Open to Interpretation.

At what point does 'glossing over' remove vital detail ? and, becomes part of the interpreters view of what is being said ?  Like anyone else when ad libs and interrupts start the plot is lost quite quickly.  We need to be careful not to create the cult of interpreter 'celebrity'.  Just the fact 'M'am' that's all we want.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Deaflympics: Rally call.

We have a bright future. Erm  not what deaf people are saying.  Maybe when they start concentrating on sport instead of culture....

Hearing aid rationing increases dementia...

Sign at a hospital for hearing aid department
Health service rationing of hearing aids could be fueling the dementia epidemic, health experts have suggested, after studies showed that poor hearing is linked to faster rates of mental decline.

Around 10 million people in Britain suffer some hearing loss but NHS trusts are increasingly limiting those who are given electronic aids.

However Dr Frank Lin, assistant professor of Johns Hopkins University told a conference in Washington that when people struggle to hear it damages memory and brain function. Deafness forces the brain to work twice as hard to make up for the lack of sound, putting excess strain on the mind and speeding up mental decline.

Animal studies have also suggested that deafness changes the structure of the brain causing grey matter to shrink in areas related to language and memory. The third theory is that deafness causes social isolation, which is known to increase the chance of developing dementia. Sign at a hospital for hearing aid department
Sign at a hospital for hearing aid department.

Dr Lin believes that a third of the risk of dementia is down to hearing loss and has begun a new trial to see if it could be combated though treatment. “Hearing loss is incredibly common as we age, and as a result I think many clinicians typically perceive hearing loss as being an inevitable, and hence inconsequential, part of aging,” he said.

“More importantly, the research linking hearing loss with an increased risk of cognitive decline, dementia, has just begun to emerge in the last five years. “I think the problem of hearing loss being an afterthought could be rectified to some degree with increased awareness, understanding, and the availability of more accessible options for obtaining hearing care.”

About 2 million mainly older people have hearing aids, 84 per cent of whom got them from the NHS. Hearing tests cost the NHS £49; a test and fitting of one aid is £294; and fitting two aids is £388.

No sign language interpreters at concerts is discriminatory

Recently in the United States, concert venues have made an effort to ensure that deaf people are able to enjoy the show. Sign language interpreters are now quite common throughout concerts and festivals; you may have even seen the number of viral videos of sign language interpreters at concerts.

In Canada, however, it’s a much different story, and the assistance that concert and festival venues provide is extremely limited. These venues are consistently shutting out deaf people, and Canada must start addressing this problem to end the discrimination against the deaf community.

A woman with a hearing impairment requested a sign language interpreter for one act from the Montreal International Jazz Festival this year, but her request was denied. This denial came even though the federal government provided $2 million for the event, so funds could have been made available.

Canadian concert venues are thriving; the cost of interpreters is minuscule for them, and they would be able to make that money back and then some with all of the deaf people who would be able to attend concerts.

This issue, however, is not limited to free festivals; most organizations across Canada do not offer such services.

This is a simple issue for Canada to address, yet Canadian venues seem to be content with leaving out the deaf community completely. Another woman who requested an interpreter at a Sean Paul concert was told to “just stand there and feel the beat.” Such a response is completely disrespectful and inexcusable. A large portion of Canadian concert venues just do not care about accommodating deaf people.

There is a large population of people in Canada who are deaf and over 350,000 whose first language is some form of sign language.

Maybe it is discriminatory but 'global' access isn't on. Provision doesn't work by right, it works by need, or many areas would be unviable via providing statutory support, when no-one is using it.  Demand creates access, not law .  As most concerts of note are in central cities those outside have no access even TO a show.  So who really benefits ?

Lies, damned Lies and all that....

Charities continue to lobby and raise 'alarm' at vast increases of the population with hearing loss, and Statistics are added to every campaign that takes place to enforce the view.

Stats are fine but support is definitely a division and lottery. we've had these debates with the RNID/AOHL and the BDA, both do not clarify the stats, in that devolved areas have different ones and different support needs and aid.  The sole source of most stats seem to emerge from these 2 charities. 

The BDA simply lies about how many deaf there are for cultural-political reasons, hearing loss equals cultural deaf to them for lobby purposes, hence their continued questionable and selective use of the terms 'Deaf and HoH'. The RNID/AOHL uses guesstimates mostly from clinical health areas, but doesn't declare the fact stats only matter IF, a need too has been identified, this is how systems work, they don't take any notice of the 1 in 6 or 90K deaf claims charities make etc. 

How they work is via OWN records, of those with deafness and loss who have APPLIED for help or support. hearing loss ISN'T an issue unless you are seeking help with it. If you aren't then the assumption is you don't have a problem.  Or you are managing it without any further help.

It is very difficult to get those statistics because the data protection Act is used to prevent you asking via an FOI request, mostly it is a cover up for the fact systems just don't keep accurate records, they haven't the wherewithal to track everyone.  the DWP refused too, their stats would be a great help because they are the strictest assessors of hearing loss need, far and above any medical or charity definitions of need, and there is a political element involved.  

We repeatedly ask for those numbers, we are repeatedly told to ask charities instead whose systems cannot be relied on.  E.G. in Wales there is no official or dedicated HI or 'Deaf social service provision' as such, it folded 18 years ago as a dedicated service. The RNID/AOHL who publish info mostly cover SE England and nowhere else, because information and provision is devolved too.

Wales wanted the AOHL devolved and the BDA too, both refused.  Many disability services ignore devolve to other areas,yet these areas now provide the support independent of England/London via the Senedd in Wales the Scottish parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly.   If those areas want to use stats they cannot utilise the AOHL or BDA ones as they are 'UK' guesstimates, not local ones and need isn't allied with numbers this way.  everything gets 'averaged', not pinpointed.

The nearest we got was having an informal discussion with a senior social worker in my area, he said the local record we obtained of 630 deaf/HoH this area was a myth, "we have only 67 with hearing loss mostly elderly and some children who require our services long term. To be honest (!) our records you are using, are HoH or deaf are 15 years out of date, you can assume a fair proportion of those are either no longer alive, or have moved, we don't track them... charities are using outdated data and we don't update ours, hence the stats are no use to you..' 

Service provision and need identification is a lottery, e.g.the equality and access provision in Wales for deaf and HoH was only issued to health services as a guideline' in 2008, despite it being a LAW, it has still NOT been implemented.  As we published earlier, only now are they even discussing the inclusion of hearing loss issues within medical records.  It still will NOT mean such identification will mean support is automatic when you need treatment.  ATR asked for all this 16 years ago.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Lip-reading unacceptable as a viable mode to understanding speech.

Judicial Summary from Parliament UK, in regards to access for deaf or HoH lip-readers claiming benefits:

Use of lip reading re activity 7. I was concerned in EG-v-SSWP (PIP) [2017] UKUT 101 (AAC) that pending any amendment of the regulations to reflect a policy intent to discount lip-reading ability the appellants for whom this may be an issue were dealt with at appeal fairly across-the-board. 

I suggested that the Secretary of State provide a general submission to the Social Entitlement Chamber pending any regulation change. This has not been done. although guidance has been issued to decision-makers to say that lip reading is not considered an acceptable way to interpret verbal communication. I am told that this should ensure that what there will be a consistent approach with regard to that issue by decision-makers, but I point out that the decision-makers guide is not binding on tribunals.

ATR COMMENT:   We're screwed..... Anyone for BSL (despite courts stating that isn't either) ?  However it is correct in stating Lip-reading is only 30% effective at best, that protects the HoH or deaf who use it from having benefits stopped because the assessors can declare it is 100%.  

We do not know how effective BSL is, because like LR, that depends on the person, who he or she addresses, and not the mode.  

Friday, 24 November 2017

It makes sense.

Image result for It makes sense wales campaign

It's a start*, but ATR asked for this 15 YEARS ago !  The Health Secretary has unveiled improvements to the All Wales Sensory Loss Standards, which help ensure people with sensory loss get information about services they can access and understand, as well as any communication support they need. 

From this month, GP surgeries in Wales are being asked to identify and record the information and communication needs of their patients with sensory loss issues. The system will give GP surgery staff the tools they need to meet a patient’s needs, such as how to generate letters in large print and add prompts to medical records.

* The second phase will ensure that when a GP surgery refers a patient to hospital, their information and communication needs will be automatically sent with the referral, therefore increasing the likelihood of these needs being met.

At present, very little information of this kind is routinely captured and recorded in GP surgeries and hospital departments. This means it can be difficult to safely and effectively share information about a patient’s communication needs within and between GP surgeries, hospital departments and other healthcare services.

Sensory loss affects people of all ages and there are more than 600,000 people in Wales with hearing or sight loss or a combination of both. These problems are particularly common in older adults with 70% of the population aged over 70 and over living with hearing loss and 1 in 3 people over the age of 85 living with sight loss in Wales.

Wearing hearing aids at School.

It's a hard-knock life...

Related imageIt's a hard-knock life for us
It's a hard-knock life for us
'Stead of treated
We get tricked
'Stead of kisses
We get kicked
It's the hard-knock life

Being hybrid deaf or Hard of Hearing.  Communication issues are far different for us than they are for the signer cocooned in the comfort zones of their deaf worlds and systems, shielded from the day to day issues others with hearing loss have no choice but to face up to.  But are we doing it the right way ?

Deaf and HoH of all persuasions are viewed 'difficult' or just plain 'angry' people, even rude.The UK NHS in a survey asked 1,000s of Doctor's and Nurses, "who did they feel were the most difficult patients to treat ?" 69% said the deaf/HoH definitely !  We came ahead of drunks and drug addicts in terms of being difficult to understand or to treat.  Curiously HoH were viewed more difficult to help than the deaf sign user.  We must assume the fact they have an interpreter is the reason for that, and the HoH don't.

Some of us Hybrids, DO need to realise first impressions are not always right when someone hearing approaches you, and I think a few of us fall down in that aspect. I have blanked people who later on I found just assumed I understood more than I did. My 'Bad' (Hoping at my tender years that is the appropriate buzz word to use).  Mostly I was to blame for that, the last few years I have made a mental note not to assume everyone is poking fun at me, and I probably am putting up a front that does me little credit or helps one iota. 

Image result for angstSo pride has been ditched to a fair degree.  Even me making less uncompromising demands, or displaying an intransigence to co-operate, since I get the arse-end of the result anyway.  On average I feel I am 60-40 at this time in regards to estimating someone trying to communicate to me, is not assuming I am a total idiot or being difficult. Sometimes the stress of communication regardless, I just want out. I tend these days to pick my fights where I feel I can have the most success.   I leave saving the deaf universe to others.

I find like the majority with hearing loss, I am still putting up a front on occasion, that suggests I follow more than I actually do, it's a residue of being HoH, perhaps better people feel you are a rude and angry person, than a total babbling idiot.  It isn't helped by the fact my good speech, immediately works against me, the curse of being able to speak and the incompatibility with the view, hearing doesn't follow that.  

I remember then a Social Worker years ago saying to me 'You need to act more dumb, because others will assume as you can talk, so you can hear..' That was very common advice I had from systems, from the employment area to claiming a benefit, play UP your disadvantages play down the pro's you might have, with loss or deafness comes misery, so don't be over confident either, go for the sympathy angle... for a start no charity will want you to front their campaigns.  Misery sells (Or cute kids and animals), NOT confident adults.  Maybe develop a limp or some restricted mobility and grimace occasionally, it all helps.

Sadly the fact my back plays me up on occasion didn't get me off first base....

I was never comfortable doing that, so told charities to get lost, they were killing awareness and misleading the general public, most hadn't any hearing loss anyway and didn't want their core membership sticking their nose in, we were just the reason they had a job. The SW said "Deaf got it sorted, say nothing start using your hands.. simple, they can see you are suffering." I suspect today that SW could have been fired, or at least some deaf social media area would have had a field day, or created a new blog with it.   A chicken with a limp did it...

Image result for HadesSome deaf have no speech, but others have, and told not to utilise it, all because mainstream connects hearing to speech, and/or some 'Deaf' purists will accuse you of being a traitor to their cause, (whatever it is),  or you end up in oralist exile or worse, hearing Hades something.  I don't think HoH give a shit these days, they have left that area to it, as life is too short to restrict yourself more. Being permanently pissed off is emotionally draining too.

Laugh and the world laughs with you, or in our case at you, it is all perceptions.  being an old codger is better because they expect you to be a bit eccentric rude, or stubborn, and is the best time to be entirely politically incorrect and downright rude, and say it how it really is, they expect it.

Our defensive reaction works against, it's a difficult life with hearing loss. If only communication was the sole issue, we would be fine, but these days you need a culture, a rights message, an interpreter, or a language and grammar that is difficult to follow, or you get ignored.  Awareness is a monumental failure in the western world, driven by, (Pardon the awful pun), 'sound bites' based on the 15 seconds of 'fame' you can attain on a closed social media site, where you complain to each other.  

You could be playing to an empty room but...... Can't help feeling we are on a hiding to nothing if we carry on this way.... do you ?

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Deaf who live with dementia

RAD bias misleads on BSL.

A community support worker from RAD communicating with one of its clients
Many people think sign language is a universal language used by Deaf people worldwide, but it is not.

Sign language evolves wherever there are Deaf people, explains Kerry Cole, head of marketing and PR at the Royal Association of Deaf people.

Not only are there international variations but there are regional variations too, much like the regional accents and colloquialisms found in spoken languages.

British Sign Language is the signed language of the Deaf community in the UK.

* But BSL is NOT the sole sign mode used, S.E. and S.S.E. is also used. Sign usage also includes lip-reading and other communication forms, even hearing aids/text to follow the spoken word, that's because sign alone is not enough. Statistics on BSL dependency isn't available.

A rich and complex visual spatial language, it involves a combination of hand shapes, facial expressions, lip patterns and body language.  It also has its own grammar and sentence structure and is not a signed equivalent of English.

*A reason WHY SE and SSE is used as an alternative or deaf would suffer more via education.  It's grammar is still being created, it's dictionary contested by deaf over 40s.. SE is not intended to be a BSL equivalent but a bi-lingual format to enable English to be followed better.

The first description of a Deaf person using sign language in England appears in the Marriage Register of St Martin’s, Leicester in 1576.

* Even earlier, 1528,  but current BSL is a 20thc concept, post 1960s...

But in spite of being the first or preferred language of approximately 87,000 Deaf people in the UK, BSL is yet to receive the legal recognition in England and Wales that other minority languages such as Welsh and Gaelic have.

* That is correct but the Deaf campaigners refuse to accept the fact it is not used in education as a right, or why that is so, and it isn't discrimination.  

There is no basis of statistical proof there are 87,000 daily BSL-dependent deaf with that preference. The sole source of that statistic appears to emanate only from the British Deaf Association, a dedicated BSL charity, and nowhere else. England census e.g. (The first time the question was ever asked re sign use), states 15,000 only declared themselves in SUPPORT of BSL, (the question about daily usage, proficiency even IF the person was profound deaf, were not asked).  As the law stands, the Data Protection ACT prevents it so the question was wide open and anyone could state a preference.  No checks are made.

Ireland/Scotland, and Wales were in low 1,000s too.  The issue was that the question of BSL was not put in any context, so hearing were allowed to say they used BSL too.  As with  most statistics concerned with all forms of hearing loss, they are guesstimates. E.G. 10m with hearing loss, does not mean there are 10m with a need for sign language, support, or even a hearing aid.

We need to understand the RAD is itself dependent and specific to the BSL users, so is not without bias.  It has no representation outside England of any note.