Sunday, 20 August 2017

CI's for all...

For Meerschaum Vale resident, Pam Moreland, a cochlear implant has proved life changing.At 64 years of age, Meerschaum Vale resident, Pam Moreland, decided to contact the SCIC Cochlear Implant Program to find out how a cochlear implant could change her life for the better.

Pam's surgery was one of the first cochlear implant surgeries to take place at Port Macquarie Base Hospital and the surgery boasted every success. During Hearing Awareness Week, August 20-26 RIDBC advises that there is no age limit for a cochlear implant. If you are struggling to hear, even with hearing aids, a cochlear implant may be for you.

Pam described the day her implant was switched on as "exciting” and said, "I have a future ahead of me now, it will be wonderful to hear properly again”. Pam has already noticed a positive change in her hearing and will continue to attend her auditory appointments to further improve.

"The support I've received from the SCIC Cochlear Implant Program has been just fantastic!” she said. Looking forward into the future, Pam hopes to re-join the workforce as a seamstress and share her experience with others. Today, one in six Australians is deaf, hearing impaired or has a chronic ear disorder. Unlike hearing aids, cochlear implants don't just make sounds louder, they stimulate the hearing nerves directly providing access to higher quality, more detailed sound at close to normal levels.

"The benefits of cochlear implantation are abundant and have been well documented. Benefits include better communication, increased quality of life, improved speech recognition and greater independence for those with moderate-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss,” RIDBC Audiologist, Eleanor McKendrick said


Total distortion of stats,assuming ASL is the world's sign modus and America is the world !

Aslan could help us communicate with the 70 million people around the world whose mother tongue is ASL. Around 70 million people today claim sign language as their mother tongue, and now, we can add one more to their ranks. But the latest entity to be fluent in ASL isn’t a person — it’s a robotic arm. Meet Aslan, a new 3D-printed structure meant to “minimize the communication barrier between the hearing and the deaf.”

Intended to serve as a translator, Aslan can hear spoken language, then turn it into sign language. By means of a robotic set-up, spoken language will be immediately translated to sign language. And thanks to its 3D-printed design along with its easily attainable components, the team behind the project (sponsored by the European Institute for Otorhinolaryngology) believes that “the Aslan robot can remain available at a low-cost and more accessible to the world.”

Friday, 18 August 2017

USB 3.2 and you...

Technology and Mental Health

Obviously not always a help. Maybe a contributor to even poorer mental health.  Too much Information ? and an inability to process, or use it ?    Deaf being conditioned to socialise by remote.. where your 'friends' can excommunicate you at will, and instantly.  Why are deaf sucked into this ?

The ADA: gives unfair advantage to Deaf people ?

Image result for the ADAFrom a recent legal article, pointing out how the American Disability Act uses 'reasonable access' to prioritise disabled and deaf job applicants, even those who could be put at risk and maybe not qualified for the job they apply for.  

'Deaf can do everything except hear', even jobs that are based on an essential hearing ability ? or jobs that require qualifications they don't have ? While it is right they give equal consideration where equal qualifications are apparent, that doesn't mean advantages to gain jobs they cannot effectively do.... or does it ?  So much gets lost in the volatile discrimination issues, realities being one of them.  

The end of the article then offers up discrimination AT hearing applicants who assist deaf people, ergo they should not be allowed to do it, only other deaf should, is this deaf discrimination in action ?  What if that maxim was applied to translators the deaf are utterly reliant on ? Just how does an employer assess a persons real capability when the threat of litigation is always there if they decide against a disabled or deaf applicant ?  Does this not take away the right of an employer to hire who they want ?

There’s a lot to say about the ADA (and I will say it in the many future posts that I will devote to it). Today, however, I will focus on deafness as a disability solely because, for reasons I don’t know, there are so many recent cases that involve this disability.

Less than two weeks ago, the EEOC announced that it had sued a California telecommunications company for allegedly denying a deaf employee his request for a sign language interpreter, “an accommodation that would allow him to interact meaningfully in the course of his work.”

On the flip side of this, the EEOC settled a case where a Texas cellphone repair facility was alleged to have denied employment to two hearing-impaired applicants. The company became aware that they were hearing-impaired after observing them in a group interview using American Sign Language (“ASL”).

And as much as the ADA leads to some interesting cases, it also leads to some strange ones.

Earlier this year, an Ohio employer settled a case in which it was alleged that it refused to hire an applicant “because she is deaf and cannot speak. [She] applied for the site manager position at one of the [housing service provider’s] housing communities. Despite its being an apartment complex that gives preference to deaf residents, [it] required the successful job candidate to be a hearing individual.”

Hard to believe – a housing community that “gives preference to deaf residents” refused to hire a deaf site manager.

And just last month, the EEOC sued a company because it allegedly refused to hire someone for a warehouse position because of his deafness.

The reason?

The company site manager said it in a text message: “we have determined that there is no job that we can offer that would be safe for you. There is just too much equipment traffic in our work areas and being able to hear a horn or equipment in operation is paramount for safety. I would not want to put you in a dangerous position.”

So the manager made a decision on his own as to the applicant’s disability and safety?

The EEOC noted that the company “never asked [the applicant] about his ability to perform any of the essential functions of a warehouse position, with or without reasonable accommodation.… the ADA requires employers to undertake a rigorous assessment of whether a disabled employee poses a safety threat in the workplace.”


You can’t refuse to hire someone who is hearing impaired without an individualized assessment of their condition and whether they can perform the essential functions of the job with or without accommodations. And you cannot speculate about the disability.

Oh, and you must engage in an interactive process with the applicant (or employee) to determine if there is a “reasonable accommodation.”

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Hearing-Impaired Adults Lack Government Funding

Over 200 deaf and severely hearing-impaired adults are unable to receive hearing restoring implanted hearing aids due to lack of government funding.

In New Zealand funding is available for approximately 40 adults per year to have cochlear implant, yet there are over 200 who have been assessed as good candidates for achieving significant hearing improvement with a cochlear implant. Currently we can fund only 1 in 5 patients who have been assessed as needing a cochlear implant.

The Northern and Southern Cochlear Implant Programmes are forced to choose only those whose lives are most severely affected to receive the implants.  It is heart breaking to watch those not able to access this surgery slowly disintegrate as their lives fall apart, especially as there is a great treatment option that makes an enormous difference.

Typically, a person with this degree of hearing loss understands less than one third of spoken words when using the most powerful hearing aids and in a good listening environment. Once there is competing noise they cannot follow conversation and telephone conversation is impossible. This severely impacts functionality in the workplace as well as at home.

Concentrating on listening and lip reading is both stressful and extremely tiring and interpersonal relationships suffer; leading to social isolation, loss of employment and often depression.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Deaf woman using assistance dog kicked out of restaurant.

A severely deaf Taranaki woman has had her confidence shaken so much she doesn't want to go outside after being kicked out of a restaurant because of her hearing dog.

Valerie Hastie and her shih tzu-maltese cross Milly had been away on holiday with a group of friends when they stopped at the Waitomo Caves Homestead on State Highway 3 for lunch on August 7. The retired teacher, who has had Milly for three and a half years, said she joined her friends at the table after getting her meal but was approached by a woman who identified herself as the duty manager and told her she couldn't have the dog in the restaurant.

Despite explaining legislation allowed hearing dogs to be in any public place, showing her ID and Milly wearing her bright yellow coat with the hearing dogs logo, the manager insisted they had to go outside. "She was quite implacable, so I went through that fact that she could be breaking the law.

"I was shocked that she didn't know the rules. I said she has got the same rights as a seeing-eye dog, but she wouldn't listen. 

Deaf will leave Scotland over poor Dementia care...

A CHARITY worker who is deaf says she would leave Scotland if she develops dementia, describing the lack of specialist services as “terrifying.”

Avril Hepner says she had to fight for a conclusive diagnosis for her dad Jack ,who was also deaf, after he developed Alzheimer’s disease because there is currently no assessment tailored for those patients.  Avril, who is Community Development Manager for the British Deaf Association Scotland, says she waited three months for an interpretor to come up from England to diagnose her father.

However, according to the charity, the average waiting list across the UK is 18 months. Avril says the majority of NHS and support services are geared towards the hearing population and that people with dementia can decline “very quickly” in care homes because of a lack of communication and stimulation.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Misfits of the world Unite.

Image result for acquired deafnessIt seems many are still questioning the option of joining cultural signing areas, or lip-read and carry on conning our hearing peers. too many wondering what should be the direction to take once hearing loss poses that ultimate question of where do we go from here ?  Some tending to be swayed by the glitterati of cultural deaf areas and the perceived community of it, others desperately wanting a cure,and areas like ATR where no defined label can be really applied, who accept the inevitable but are unswayed by other area approaches, where the message between the lines is redesigning or disregarding your social life.

We don't fit in anywhere much, personally I decided going it alone was the only logical decision. HoH form cliques by db and age, the signing area by birth and background. I can lip-read a bit, sign a bit, and can make myself viable to both the HoH and 'Deaf' areas, but there is STILL a major barrier to overcome, when someone tells us what it is we can address it, (or not if the issue is being carried on by a status quo that is not applicable to us). 

Image result for acquired deafnessI strongly suspect only hearing will do for most of us. Learning sign won't make you a 'Deaf' person, lip-reading won't make you a passable hearing person either (And you shouldn't even be attempting that). I don't want to be half of anything. Its time to accept there is the third option with issues of its own. Increasingly we are the actual majority, but it is clear the systems only acknowledge two of them and seem determined to offer us A or B options only. 

I'm totally turned off by deaf politics and cultural stuff, it drove me away from cultural membership or affiliation frankly. Once hearing always hearing ?  Communications determine social access. I think the fear of labelling is still a major drawback and the urge to fit in with areas, you as erstwhile hearing, would never consider usually. Often it just doesn't work no matter how keen you are.  The systems assuming you sign or lip-read, end of, just denies us proper support and real access.

Image result for 'fitting in' with hearing loss psychologyA recent request for further information on support, found that many areas no longer list lip-reading or text support as formats we use, everything is under sign language.  This effectively buried both formats as viable modes we used or preferred.  technically there is no point in utilising LR or Text support because they system does not acknowledge its existence, this is reflected in near zero professionals in either area, outnumbered 40 to 1 by sign translators.

Or it may just mean the Deaf are just fooling themselves they don't have an issue.  Our access is being removed by default. Just where will we get it now ?  Such is the awareness there is no trained support forthcoming for the third area of hearing loss, it has to sort out its own way of doing things.   Some have managed it, a lot haven't. What's the answer to acquiring deafness ?  Increasingly it is... regaining hearing, even accepting isolation than trying to be what you aren't..

Deaf petition for sign access to Politicians.

Related image
(Got to be a first !).

The deaf community have started a petition to add New Zealand sign-language interpreters to the election debates. The lack of interpreters was an act of excluding deaf people from the democracy, said Kim Robinson, who is the chairman of a deaf advocacy group called Deaf Action and who started the petition. Over 800 people have signed the petition, including Mana party leader Hone Harawira who has a deaf niece. It will be presented to TVNZ at the end of August.

The election debates to be held on August 31, September 8 and September 20 will be live-captioned but will not have a NZSL interpreter.  Mr Robinson, who is deaf, said NZSL needed to be recognised as it is an official language of New Zealand. Captions moved fast, were sometimes hard to read and devoid of the debaters' emotion and expression, Mr Robinson explained.

He said as a result deaf people sometimes found it harder to be informed and could be easily influenced by others telling them who to vote for.  "You get more feeling and emotion through an interpreter than what would be portrayed through the captions.

"We've got the right to vote as well and we need to receive a clear picture of what's presented by each of the parties." A TVNZ spokeswoman said while they recognise some hearing-impaired Kiwis would prefer to see a sign language interpreter rather than on-screen captions they were not set up to provide that.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Asian spammer in determined attempt to bring down UK national deaf charity.

Find below screenshot of an Asian spammer who has posted over 140 posts/ 10 pages of spam in 2 days this week at the AOHL main forum site.  Every weekend, and at times every other day this person is relentlessly posting spam at us. This site is for deaf and hard of hearing people to get help and express views on support.

PLEASE do NOT offer this person ANY publicity, but, we ask you help us identify who this person is, so we can get him or her offline. It would appear our national charity has not the means or moderation to prevent this person at ALL.  It MAY be THIS person, or he may be being phished, we just don't know.  If you do, let us know !

Rock Band to stream direct to hearing aids..

Styx has teamed up with hearing-aid manufacturer Oticon to stream the first live rock concert directly to hearing-aid wearers. Their Aug. 22 concert will be live-streamed to Opn hearing aid wearers. Photo: Rick Diamond, Staff / 2014 Getty Images
Classic rock band Styx is wrapping up a tour behind its first record in more than a decade. "The Mission," a concept album, tells the story of a mission to Mars in 2033. Fitting, then, that the band responsible for such a futuristic theme would pair up with a hearing-aid company to stream the first live rock concert directly to fans with impaired hearing.

On Aug. 22, the band will perform the final show of its summer tour in Holmdel, N.J. Wearers of Oticon's internet-connected hearing aid, Opn (pronounced "open"), can experience this concert live, via their hearing aids, from home. "This has never been done before. We'll be able to reach some fans that may not have been able to hear Styx well for a while," band manager Charlie Brusco said.

Styx and crew tested the technology at the end of July from their soundboard at their Austin show two days after playing the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands, Brusco said. It went off without a hitch.

Want to tune in?

Allison Audiology and Hearing Aid Center, 12900 Queensbury, invites anyone with the Oticon Opn hearing aid to call or come by for a quick tutorial on how to stream Styx's Aug. 22 concert. Schedule a walk-through at 832-410-1416.

Check your hearing

Audiologists recommend getting a baseline hearing test at age 55. If hearing is normal, it should be checked every two years. If you've experienced hearing loss, a yearly check is suggested. Want to tune in? Allison Audiology and Hearing Aid Center, 12900 Queensbury, invites anyone with the Oticon Opn hearing aid to call or come by for a quick tutorial on how to stream Styx's Aug. 22 concert. Schedule a walk-through at 832-410-1416.

Opn wearers can contact their hearing care professional for instructions on listening to the concert feed via Bluetooth on any Apple device. "I like to think of it as 3-D or HD hearing," said Jana Austin, owner of Allison Audiology and Hearing Aid Center in west Houston.

Fireman helps deaf woman stranded...

A scary moment for one woman quickly turned into a rescue mission when flood waters left her stranded. “I was hollering for her but she ended up being deaf,” says Andy Singletary, a lieutenant for the Jackson Fire Department.

Crews originally thought two children were still trapped inside of the car. But thankfully Singletary had an unexpected skill, “luckily I knew sign language, so I was able to communicate with her, and ask her if anybody else was still in the car.”

“If it hadn’t been for Andy, being able to communicate and get that information for us it would of been a lot more complicated than it was, but luckily my partner knew what he was doing,” says fellow fire fighter Greg Altorfer. Everyone was able to get out of the car and crews were able to bring the woman to safety.

Singletary says though this skill came in handy on this call, his team is what comes through on every call, “it’s always about team work, because you’re never going to have the same call, even though, say you get a house fire, it’s never going to be the same exact house fire. Every one’s going to be different every calls going to be different you’re going to have to deal with different people and you just always need your team work.”

Saturday, 12 August 2017

New VR access for sight impaired and Deaf.

The European company in question, Greta & Starks, specializes in developing tech for hearing or vision impaired persons. Their new deaf-friendly VR headset is called “Starts AR.”

Here’s how Next Reality explains the device, which is still in pre-production:

“Starks AR resembles a call center headset, except the arm that would hold the microphone rests at variable angles in front of the wearer’s eye. A micro display, similar to those seen on Google Glass, streams subtitles in any language to the user’s field of view.”

While many other startups continue to work towards aiding the hearing impaired through software and hardware both, Starts AR represents the first crack that I have seen any company take towards pairing the limitless world of VR with tech to aid those with heading impairment. The organization is planning a crowdfunding campaign — due to launch Sept. 6 — in order to fund the creation of the device. Greta & Starks has previously made apps, so the hardware they’re planning will be a step in a new direction for the company.

It’s certainly a welcome one: As our world develops into the tech future we’ve hoped for, we won’t want to leave those with any disabilities in the dust.

Do we need to talk about the cultural appropriation of sign language

We need to talk about the cultural appropriation of sign languageDoes it help dissing hearing who use it to raise awareness ? surely only when hearing start using sign can the barriers be removed to equality and access ?  It seems rather churlish and some form of protectionism to insist only deaf should be signing, what if terps took them at their word !  Di-Marco throwing a hissy fit is rather silly too...

So hearing sign isn't perfect, are deaf people's ?  Most are nowhere NEAR the signing standard of interpreters who are hearing.  The deaf person's insistence only their particular sign or way of signing is the right one, attacks any norm anyway, and a norm in sign has always been opposed by the deaf for that reason,and because of regional/world difference.  if we criticise those who attempt sign, we lose that person who can help raise awareness.  ATR stopped signing videos personally after petty criticisms this sign or that sign, 'wasn't perfect..'  If we wait for perfection, we have a VERY long wait ahead of us all, and the signer loses BSL access by default... (Are you pissed off with the purists ?)

Eat your heart out Greta Garbo....

The article:

As a hearing person, sign language isn’t something I’ve given much thought to.  I learned to sign my name in primary school, but that was pretty much the extent of things. At least it was until I found myself caught in an online debate about the cultural appropriation of sign language.

How this model went from being pressured to drop two dress sizes to loving her body. That’s a big sentence, so let’s break it down. American singer Banks posted a video of herself signing as part of a performance. Apparently she had felt inspired by the Deaf community and wanted to add sign into her performance. Model and American’s Next Top Model winner Nyle Di Marco then retweeted the video with the following caption:

‘I’m sorry but I’m Deaf and fluent in sign language and I can’t understand her at all.’  [ATR: I don't understand Di-Marco either]

He then went on to add:

‘Artists has been known to be profiting off our sign language. Our language is our culture and this is cultural appropriation. The best way to do it would be doing it with a Deaf person or hiring a Deaf person to sign only. We rise by lifting others.’

Cultural appropriation is a relatively new concept. It hinges on the idea of a person taking a cultural touch stone and using it for their own benefit, without giving due credit or respect to the source.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Australia: Jury amendment Bill

$8000 CI stolen in smash and grab

MELVILLE resident Joanna Rusling’s mother Anna Slattery has been left completely deaf in one ear after a thief made off with her $8000 cochlear implant at the weekend. Mrs Rusling was watching her children and nephews at Kadidjiny Park around 1.45pm on Saturday when a man shattered the window of her car and stole an esky and her mum’s handbag, which contained the expensive hearing aid. The smash and grab happened less than 50m from where Mrs Rusling was standing with her mum next to the children’s play area.  “I heard a car braking hard and looked up and saw someone had parked next to me but didn’t really think anything of it,” she said. “Next thing I heard a huge smash and realised what he was doing.

“I started running over but couldn’t get my phone out in time to take a picture and by the time I got there he had jumped back in his car and sped off.”  Mrs Rusling believes the man may have followed the group from a nearby patisserie in Willagee.

Deaf to have phone calls streamed into ear implants...

Hearing implants will stream phone calls and music straight into the skulls of the profoundly deaf after a breakthrough in wireless technology from Apple.

The computer company and Cochlear, which makes medical devices, have developed the first cochlear implant that can stream direct from a smartphone, allowing people with severe hearing loss to hear calls and listen to music and audiobooks clearly.

More than 11,000 people in the UK have cochlear implants, which work differently from hearing aids, replacing the usual hearing mechanism rather than simply making sound louder. They consist of an internal component that is implanted in the mastoid bone behind the ear to stimulate the hearing nerve directly and an external microphone and sound-processor.

BSL TV, has it any point ?

Recent social media complaints the BSL 'Zone' program was repeating old news to fill in program slots, has exposed the reality (Apart from emulating hearing TV), that in fact no TV program, let alone a 'Deaf' minority one, can compete with the immediacy of the internet, or appal to the majority deaf and with hearing loss, because of its exclusive nature..  

This latest 'news' Item was shown many months ago and repeated far too early for people to be unaware it had been on before. 'Another chance to see..' the old standby by all TV stations (And a few UK deaf bloggers !), to repeat till your eyes bleed, being aired first, they might have got away with it.  It was shown in part on the SEE HEAR program and national news too. It is sheer laziness on behalf of the program makers, who assume the deaf attention span is shorter than the average mayfly, so they won't notice, but on deaf social media the deaf did.

ATR responded with the realities:   

SEE HEAR and the BSL Zone are dated Deaf TV concepts. Most has gone to YouTube and elsewhere already. They serve no point these days except to bolster London Deaf egos and encourage the concept of the 'Deaf Luvvie'.   Same old deaf crowd determining 'Deaf' everything and with no real experience of hearing loss awareness in most part, there just because they can sign and get access to 'disability' funds, to continue to promote their own view as a specialist disability area (Just remove the term 'disability')....

Such output dedicated to people who sign,  cannot keep pace with the net where 10 minutes ago was history.  BSL Zone did its own survey sending people around UK deaf clubs (Those that are still open !), to tell them BSL Zone existed, as most had no idea. There has been no appreciable increase of viewing.

SEE HEAR continues to be ignored, so it has to go, it was never an equal access program for those with deafness and hearing loss anyway.  HoH were excluded by default and non-signing deaf. Who can forget (Many tried !), the deaf club quizzes and reluctant deaf presenters being told to bungee jump and wouldn't. Or that the real in-fighting took place on the BBC SEE HEAR website which had to be closed down because of heated Deaf V HoH arguments, and had to exclude BSL deaf responses until it got out of hand ? 

An issue that SEE HEAR should have taken up and sorted out by inclusion, but instead removed the option to talk about its output, re-enforcing the closed shop attitude of the BSL areas they played to. Ignoring the reality of hate posts from their own people. They knew the real attackers on the website were their own sector determined to oppose inclusion of others,  ensuing continual 'jobs for the boys'..  Viewing figures were so low they cannot be noted because they do not reach a basic level to be recorded.  As a 'minority' program the BBC cannot remove it as it does others that fail to get viewers.  So we are stuck with it, even if we never look at it.  Inclusion by passed for a cultural whim.

These are TV programs that are determined not to move with the times, or current acceptances.  Yeah they got HD and a few more gizmos, but the content isn't there and hasn't the wider appeal of the majority with hearing loss who see it a program that excludes them.   There never was enough content to promote a dedicated program as SEE HEAR knew, it is why they only transmitted a few months of the year not weekly.  They kept ending up with the same old faces all the time, they had reached cultural saturation point after 15 years.

It's sole saviour is a reluctance by the BBC to get rid, in case they use the cultural exclusion or rights card, itself an abuse of the access law, the BBC said if no-one watched it they were still bound to air it, which is ridiculous.  Of course serves nil purpose to the 'Deaf' either, the program isn't supported by their own sector.  The niggle of poor inclusion aspects led to the creation of BSL Zone, which does more of the same, just in a laid back manner so they don't obviously look like they are doing the same thing.  In essence it allowed major TV media to move them out of sight.  An issue of be careful what you ask for that created that situation.  You want to stand alone ? You got it.

What the BBC did was move sideways instead, and relocate the SH program out of sight.  Deaf lost major access to the prime TV slot, had its input removed from the BBC website too,  and ended up after midnight or early AM transmission. Far better they included the HoH and deaf of all types in TV output instead, give them real access, not tokenism programs for the few, this just pigeon-holed them and everyone else.   We aren't a special case, we are a non-included one.

With the proviso such inclusion is NOT used as a platform to propagate BSL and cultural access to the exclusion of other loss areas, or, turn participation or inclusion into an automatic lecture on biased awareness.  

It has severely restricted deaf arts and actors to minority output for good, making them one-trick ponies only fit to perform in select areas with others the same as them.  Not least it takes away the desire for deaf to be included, and participate in the main event, as someone who isn't there because they are deaf or sign, but there on artistic merit. It is uncomfortable to watch deaf acting in TV mainstream where the lecture and sign is the main event not the story.  

That is what seminars are for, not acting and the arts.  Even a recent inclusion where a main TV program included a deaf woman in a family search was looked at as some 'breakthrough' when it should be a norm.  It was not lost on ATR, the BSL terp was kept OUT of view, quite rightly it is about the person not their support. Good for the TV program there.  They understood.  It is a pity Deaf arts and such do not....

It's a complete turn off.  It doesn't work anyway.  It just moves these deaf into a corner where everyone accepts they cannot or won't move out of that corner anyway because it suits them to stay. The news item is far better covered with captions anyway.  It cannot be lost on the Deaf cultural area its major event of the Deaflympics is completely ignored.  Time for deaf and others to come in out of the cold and stop playing the martyr card accept the realities and get out there pitching, but get there on MERIT.. use access properly, to enhance, not to self promote.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Meet Quill.....

Deaf Pedlars selling ASL ?

What is 'Deaf' awareness and cultural awareness selling ?  Is it any different ?  or,  Deaf charities ?  or Deaf people setting up a business to make money via sign language ?  Because one is 'legal' and the other isn't ?

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Terp smashes it !

Deaf Action Youth: Fight Song

BBC to offer deaf/disabled actors support

The BBC has launched a new training programme which will focus on working with disabled actors currently in the industry, as well as finding new up-and-coming talent.

The participants of the scheme, which is called 'Class Act: a nationwide search and skill factory', will be tutored in auditioning, camera technique, business and acting skills, and script and character work. They will also be given the chance to work with directors on material for use in their showreel. The workshop will last three days, and give actors the opportunity to build contacts within the industry. The residential training scheme will be held in London from 2nd to 4th October this year.

Controller of BBC Comedy commissioning, Shane Allen, said increasing the number of disabled actors represented in comedy programmes is "crucial" and this new training scheme is the "most focused and practical way" to nurture new talents. The BBC’s target for disabled people within the organisation is 8% of all staff by 2020, including 8% of all screen talent.

Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama said the actors will be provided with the "finest training the BBC has to offer", while Alison Walsh, the pan-BBC disability lead, said: "Although this scheme doesn’t guarantee work, it will provide training opportunities and exposure for new talent". To apply, prospective actors should register their interest by visiting this website. 

Disabled performers of note to appear on stage recently include Game of Thrones' Mat Fraser, who played Richard III for Northern Broadsides, and Genevieve Barr, a D/deaf actress who appeared alongside Matt Smith in Unreachable at the Royal Court. When he was appearing at the Hull Truck Theatre, Fraser said British television is “pathetic” when it comes to casting disabled performers.

World class Deaf Academy at Exeter..

Plans to create a world class Academy to transform education and care services for Deaf children, young people, and their families, have been submitted. The Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education is aiming to complete its move to the former Rolle College site in Exmouth by 2018/19, paving the way for new housing on its eight-acre site in Topsham Road.

Following consultation earlier in the year, plans have now been submitted to East Devon District Council for the redevelopment. The proposals will see the majority of the existing buildings demolished, but not the Owen Building, and it is proposed that the popular community theatre will reopen for community use.

The key points of the application include:

- A new centrally located main school building, likely to be arranged around a central learning forest, providing a lively and engaging learning space

- Existing main vehicular access along Douglas Avenue will remain for school drop off and parent parking, with an additional pedestrian link from Rolle Road, providing a clear connection from the site to the town centre

- Staff parking to the rear of the site with access from Fairfield Road

- The land to the east of the site sits within the conservation area and includes the listed Eldin building and greenhouse. This area is not included within the current proposals

- Student accommodation is to be located towards the centre of the site, creating a buffer zone between the school and the Eldin building. The existing brick walls and mature vegetation surrounding this area of the site provide a more private feel, suited to student living.  

The proposal will provide a school for approximately 100 children and young people between seven and 25 years of age. Of the 100 pupils, up to 50 could be boarding, and the boarding accommodation will be provided by three storey new town houses.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Access at the Assembly...

Footy stars on inclusion gig

A message of tolerance, solidarity and social inclusion will be sent to vulnerable children as part of the UEFA Foundation for Children’s active role at Tuesday’s UEFA Super Cup match in Skopje.

Ahead of the game between Real Madrid and Manchester United, a group of 19 hearing-impaired youngsters from the local state school for education and rehabilitation, DUCOR Partenija Zografski, will perform a song by the British band Coldplay, A Sky Full of Stars, in sign language, alongside the Falsetto children’s choir from Skopje.

The performance aims to transmit the message that it is important to integrate children with disabilities in society. The youngsters met Manchester United's players at the stadium. Both Real Madrid and Manchester United are lending their support to the initiative by sharing this unique stage and helping to promote diversity and respect. In addition, the youngsters were given the opportunity to meet players from the two clubs at the stadium on Monday.

“Participating in an event such as the opening ceremony of the UEFA Super Cup would be a dream come true for any number of children and teenagers,” says Viktorija Volak, a teacher at DUCOR Partenija Zografski. “But for these deaf teenagers, it is even more than that.”

“It’s an honour, it’s exciting,” she added, “but they also want to perform to the best of their abilities, to thank the UEFA Foundation for Children for giving them this opportunity, and to send, in their natural way, a message of equality despite the differences between us all.”

“Football is a universal language and an inspiring force for integration and positivity,” said UEFA Foundation for Children general secretary Pascal Torres.


The Magnet in my head...

These deaf children have had hearing aids or cochlear implants for most of their lives.  But there are still some things you can do to help them understand you better.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Carry on translating !

Ominously and because there is a power-struggle going on between the official W.I.T.S. set up which the NHS wants as a central booking translating area, and one-stop system, so all BSL and other translator system are under 'one banner', Deaf and HoH in Wales are struggling to get health support. Some deaf in requesting sign language and other support modes. are being sent a form to fill in personally, to apply for own support, but are prevented access to any direct request to book support themselves, as this is the sole domain of the provider, the NHS itself or the 999 system using W.I.T.S..

It was recently reported free lance BSL interpreters refused to work under the W.I.T.S. system as this prevents them being free agents/self-employed, and see the systems of the NHS/W.I.T.S. colluding to standardise booking and fees, BSL terps are totally opposed to. The ASLI couldn't do it.  (W.I.T.S. also supplies the police and other 999 areas, but is now struggling to get BSL terp cooperation to function).

A recent FOI response (Copy kindly sent to ATR by Mr Cedric Moon MBE), it has revealed that since 2016 the number of BSL terps prepared to work under W.I.T.S. has gone from 55  (2016) to 27 (2017).  A decrease of over 50%.   Mr Moon has also expressed considerable concerns about the tone of the form and the ability of deaf to fill them in properly, it is far from clear why the NHS is sending these forms out, as it is completely random, and seems to vary area by area, and applicant by applicant, its also clearly NOT designed for us because the system  refuses to allow us to access booking arrangements.

The other issue being the totally random approach BY deaf and HoH via requests for support.  Some will want BSL, some won't, some will want a lip-speaker or a text support and won't get either. They 'might' be getting other than BSL we just don't know. Contact is chaotic as the deaf and HoH approach requests not by official contacts, because no NHS area has one that covers all aspects of deaf communications, and there seems nil interest at all in HoH ones.  Deaf are still asking friends, relatives, families, or struggle online to find a viable contact to use that works.  The deaf equivalent of the 'bank of Mum and Dad' !

On the face of recent issues it looks as if the NHS intends to attempt to standardise and centralise support areas themselves, to address the costs, but have faced stiff opposition from BSL free-lance interpreters determined to protect their self employed status, and to prevent the NHS blocking their employment by insisting they are with a W.I.T.S. only set up.  It is seen as an NHS attempt to lower demand, cut costs, and to restrict the right of free lance support to work in the NHS..

How pointless are NHS access notifications to deaf and HoH ? Some examples below.. (Apologies for the poor reproduction)..

This one was distributed to local deaf clubs but not to all of them.  It totally relies on the deaf or HoH person to be carrying it at the time an emergency exists.  As readers will note via the bottom right of the image there is no area that includes the text user at all.  There is still no guarantee system direct contact will be aware of your need.  E.G. Ward staff in Hospitals had no contact on their computers to the hospital's own booking areas, or patient liaison, and no-one knew whose responsibility it was to request support.  Deaf were also angry the system was asking who their 'carer' was and would not fill those details in.

The general 'appointment' letters deaf and HoH get to attend a clinical review or assessment, often does not contain a viable local response at all, and access for deaf people often failed to work. The issues seem to be an inability for the system to respond itself or in time for appointments.

E.G. In booking access to the community dentist, a mobile text contact was provided, it meant you could text them, but, there was no ability for THEM to respond with a text to you, so even if your support was there you would not know.  This meant a personal visit to the office to confirm, NOT possible if as now your booking office has been closed down locally and moved 43 miles away and NOT a place you are able to visit in person, it has a box number address  and uses snail mail to reply.

This system is increasingly being used for hospital visits too. ATR's constant campaign for deaf and HoH to STOP providing their own means of communicating or own families to book appointments is still being resisted by deaf groups.   If mass demand was seen we would get what we need, professional support at all times, and neutral.  Real empowerment and choice. 

Find below a recent response to an FOI request to W.I.T.S. (Many thanks for this to Mr C Moon MBE).   Albeit it seems a refusal to comply in most part !

Q1.      Could you tell me please how many Sign Language interpreting assignments were carried out in each of the financials 2010/2011 to 2016/2017.

A1. This information cannot be provided as bookings were taken on paper up to May 2015 when the current Booking System went live.

Q2.      Could you please tell me how much was paid for these assignments.

A2.    No information, as above – Point 1

Q3.      Would you please tell me how the assignments were made up in terms of subject, for example health boards, courts etc.

A3.    No information, as above – Point 1

Q4.      Could you please tell me the same information in relation to the Cardiff and Vales health Board area.

A4.     No information, as above – Point 1

Q5.     Could please tell me what the same information is for this financial year to date.

A5.    156 requests from 1st April 17 to date.

Q6.      Could you please tell me how many sign language interpreters there are on your (WITS) books at the present time.

A6.      27

Q7.      Could you please tell me how many sign language interpreters there were on your (WITS) books this time last year.

A7.      55

Q8.      Could you please tell me how many of these assignments (Sign language) were the result of Deaf people directly approaching WITS.

A8.       Nil, we do not accept assignment direct from ‘service users’

ATR: So why send us forms designed for the NHS not us ?

Q9.      How many of these assignments were the result of approaches from other parties, such as statutory authorities or private concerns.

A9.     Nil, we do not accept assignment from other parties if they are not a Partner

Q10.    How many lip-speaking assignments were undertaken during the same period and at what cost?

A10.    Cannot identify due to bookings being booked generically under BSL bookings

ATR:  No way to identify lip-reading or text demand as it comes under BSL ?  The reason why no demand is seen ?

Q11.    How many staff are currently working for WITS?

A11.    11 members of staff

Sunday, 6 August 2017

All disabled not the same

Ministry of Social Development and Family ServicesRefreshing to find a deaf area that hasn't challenged the 'disability' tag.  

The Ministry of Social Development and Family Services has been hosting public consultations on the Revised Draft National Policy on Persons with Disabilities. But the head of an association for the deaf believes that the policy lacks specificity while the head of an association for the blind says it is time to move past policy and into legislation to protect the rights of people with disabilities.

According to the ministry, the national policy will also provide a holistic framework for achieving equal opportunity for all citizens with disabilities. The ministry said it is in keeping with its mandate and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which was ratified in 2015 as well as the 2030 development agenda. 

Qushiba La Fleur, president of WeCare Deaf Support Network and acting executive officer for TT Association for the Hearing Impaired, told Sunday Newsday that she attended two consultations for the new draft policy. 

She said at the consultations participants called for education and employment of persons with disabilities to be areas of focus. She also recalled one participant complaining that while ministry officials would say what they want to do “implementation takes a long time” or never happens at all. 

La Fleur said they want companies to have their buildings suit the needs of persons with disabilities as employees but some were saying it is too expensive to make their buildings disabled friendly and prefer not to hire or engage with them. She said this was especially the case for deaf people as companies believe it will take time and cost them money. 

Saturday, 5 August 2017

The deaf boy and his hearing machine...

Sexuality in a Deaf World

A new position ? Neither signed or captioned properly.

The Thought police move in ?

Image result for Mind what you say !
ATR reading of new/proposed USA legislature suggesting what terms you can use for others. 

DOH !!! (Just what we need more politically correct fodder for the legals to gorge on)...  Psst ! can we get rid of the capital D now ?  Never was a term more divisive or discriminatory than that one, why empower extremists ? 

PUBLIC ACT 17-202: AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF RESPECTFUL AND PERSON-FIRST LANGUAGE.  Among other things, this Act, which takes effect on October 1, 2017, updates the terminology used in various statutes by, among other things, substituting the terms “persons with disabilities” for “handicapped persons,” “deaf and hard of hearing” for “hearing impaired” and “older person” for “elderly person.

Friday, 4 August 2017

They think it's all over...

(It is now).... It's over ?  Most in the UK never knew it started...

The national deaf team returned back home after a successful assignment in Turkey, where Kenya finished 9th at the deaflympics. At the same time, Safaricom has announced a 17 million-shilling sponsorship towards the biennial East African Safari Classic Rally scheduled from 23rd November.

Improving your maths online...

Online mathematics assessment (OMA) could help improve the mathematics performance of deaf and hard-of-hearing learners in South Africa.

This is one of the key findings of a new study at Stellenbosch University (SU).

"OMAs can help deaf and hard-of-hearing learners to understand difficult mathematical concepts and provide them with equal opportunities to do well in formal mathematics assessments," says Dr Nolan Damon who is a mathematics teacher and ?blended-learning designer and trainer from Worcester. He recently obtained his doctorate in Curriculum Studies at Stellenbosch University.

Damon investigated the use of OMAs as an alternative form of assessment to current pencil and paper-based mathematics assessments which do not provide deaf and hard-of-hearing learners with a fair chance to showcase what they have learnt.

"Deaf and hard-of-hearing learners perform poorly in mathematics pencil and paper assessments because they struggle to read and understand written texts and to interpret mathematics questions posed in Afrikaans or English since neither Afrikaans nor English is their home language," says Damon.

He adds that since these learners communicate through Sign Language, they struggle partly because of the difference between the structure and grammar of Afrikaans/English and Sign Language, the absence of a mathematics vocabulary in Sign Language, and their limited language skills.

Taking the Dementia test ?

It's very rare ATR would ever put up a link to posts from here, mainly because they are heavily charity sponsored, have bias, and/or operate the deaf closed shop mostly.  But as the UK is heavily discussing dementia awareness, and focusing on those with hearing loss as prime targets for dementia, this blogger inadvertently can suggest why early 'signs' are being ignored, or memory recall being downgraded to support a signing ideal...

An important point is these are often clues to dementia to a a medico. Deaf people focus on visuals almost to the exclusion of everything else, in the process they tend as the poster suggested, then lose out on memory recall of names etc.  But that's fine they are deaf.  It's even a corner stone of being a sign user.e don't know what her name is but drawing attention to the fact she has a big nose or something will do just as well.

Deaf recall people via images of them, hearing people do, via there 'I know the face, can't place the name' thing, and many signs of people are NOT via finger spelt names, which would aid remembering people by name, but focusing on an aspect of a person's appearance.  (Hence 'sign names etc).  The vid below lauds The fact signs replace the name recall.  It's part of deaf culture after all.

It isn't helped by the perception sign language uses 'holistic' signing to cover a multitude of detail, you get a concept, but you have to go into the detail yourself. It is argued then such translated simplification downgrades the need to attain real details.  We get the idea, not how it works. Terps are well aware of the huge diversity in educational knowledge in deaf too. But this is an important 'pointer' to a medico assessing you.  Many deaf suffer eye issues another main problem.  You cannot describe what you see if you cannot see it properly.

Dementia testing, would YOU pass it ?  This is an offical NHS UK version...

A range of tests and diagnostic procedures is needed to diagnose dementia, but there are several that are fairly commonly used to diagnose dementia.

People with symptoms of dementia are often given questionnaires to help test their mental abilities, to see how severe any memory problems may be. One widely used test is the mini mental state examination (MMSE).

The MMSE assesses a number of different mental abilities, including:

short- and long-term memory
attention span
language and communication skills
ability to plan
ability to understand instructions.

The MMSE is a series of exercises, each carrying a score with a maximum of 30 points. 

These exercises include:

Memorising a short list of objects and then repeating the list.

Writing a short sentence that is grammatically correct, such as "the dog sat on the floor".

Correctly answering time-orientation questions, such as identifying the day of the week, the date or the year.

The MMSE is not a prime test to diagnose dementia. However, it is useful for assessing the level of mental impairment that a person with dementia may have.

Test scores may be influenced by a person's level of education. For example, someone who cannot read or write very well may have a lower score, but they may not have dementia. Similarly, someone with a higher level of education may achieve a higher score, but still have dementia.

NOTE:  A number of these tests are not even based on the fact you cannot hear, or never had any useful hearing, or, an in-depth dementia test that has at its base AWARENESS, either of loss, or language.  The cards look pretty stacked against aren't they ?  Young deaf would certainly fail.  If the test doesn't reveal dementia it would still reveal mental impairment.  Sod's law for the Deaf.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Yes ! (Erm not really !).

Noise-limited, but easy to unlock.
A great bit of common sense on the face of it, to limit volume on headphones, rather defeated by the fact you can by pass the noise limit and turn it up again !  Why not just totally limit the db output ? simples....  Last thing we need as acquired deaf are 1,000s of other people who did it to  themselves.

If you're suddenly feeling a chill wind whistling through your parental responsibility zone you're not alone. The number of young people suffering NIHL is growing and you won't know your kids have it until well down the track. It accumulates over time and lasts forever, so when it starts early it means a lifetime of either asking people to speak louder or wearing a hearing aid. Neither is cool.

Russell says that one in five American teenagers suffer from some form of hearing loss, an increase of 31 per cent over the past 20 years. He believes it's all about music players and headphones. Incidentally, iPods hit the market 16 years ago.

Russell has developed headphones specifically for kids with a volume limiter that restricts volume to 85 decibels (dB), the maximum safe level recommended for continuous listening by the World Health Organisation. They're called Puro BT2200s, and since our story was published he has made them available in Australia through a distributor in New Zealand.

Dementia: Deaf Nature V Deaf Nurture...

Image result for dementia UKThose with deafness and hearing loss again being told their issue creates dementia, a whole raft of 'politics of medical blame' for an issue that isn't 'self inflicted'.  

What contributes to dementia in deaf people that suggests the deaf lifestyle enhances the possibility of getting dementia as a result ? ATR suggested isolation speeds up dementia and the deaf are a very isolated area, reliant on each other, and when that breaks down as they get older and less mobile...

Areas of deaf culture, do not want their isolation addressed if it means away from peers, or mass inclusions of hearing input. The 'deaf space' ensures it doesn't work too. Meeting that desire/perceived need,  continues the isolation, it's a sort of vicious but necessary circle for them.   But, there are no alternatives to inclusion. 

There is a mind set with many deaf they only want to be with those the same as themselves. Mostly that is driven by sheer necessity more than actual desire. Communication divides them from mainstream educationally, and socially. Unfortunately, and because inclusion is a moot point, that mind set would have to be challenged to make inclusion viable.  It does include the fact hearing/mainstream have to play their part too.  I don't see desire on either side to break the impasse at this time.   

So much hype regarding deaf culture suggests who needs hearing people except as terps ?   There is a belief  'The deaf world will provide for its own..' Mainly because of the nature of their communication and the way it functions to the exclusion of hearing.  It is based on a dated concept where the culture was based and honed in deaf schools/deaf clubs, a system that is almost non-extant in the UK.  We've gone from 100s of deaf schools to just 20 now, and up to 2009, a deaf club closed every week.   The best deaf school in the UK uses the oral tradition if we use the benchmark of educational and literacy deaf attainment.

There is no deaf university simply because the teachers do not exist, nor can sign language support a BSL curriculum. Elderly deaf when no longer able to care for themselves get placed in hearing homes, they don't last long in them, after spending a deaf lifetime with peers, their isolation is then complete.  This suggests a deaf community is a bad idea in the long run, and inclusion should take priority.  It's not good demanding access only on your own terms, as this changes nothing, least of all makes inclusion any reality.  At the end of a very long day, there is no deaf infrastructure to back you up.

Deaf need to look more outward in terms of advancing themselves, yes, it will take a lot of goodwill and effort from hearing too.  The laws are there now, but the will still isn't.  I suppose the standard deaf answer is still 'deaf-oriented' support, which will just maintain the status quo (as long as you are still able to contribute to it.).  Such things only partially work in areas of the world where there are large deaf populations.  In the UK apart from the major cities, deaf have nothing in the way of real social interaction, their peer base is too small.  Their choices limited.

I don't think arguing over social-medical modelling does anything but maintain the divide, because Deaf and HoH by their current nature maintain that.  We need to challenge the medical perception dementia is inevitable if you have deafness or loss.  With the right approaches we are no more at risk than anyone else. The way  dementia is medically established at this time should be taking into account the current deaf norms and not comparing like with like, as that isn't a true comparison.

For the future, deaf need to decide how to break out of the comfortable isolation they are creating for themselves, as age can do it anyway with devastating results.  They must take inclusion seriously.