Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Annoying questions deaf get asked....

deaf2.jpg'Do you have sex?' 'Can you read and write?' You wouldn't believe the inane questions hearing impaired people put up with.

There can sometimes be a fine line between polite interest and crass insensitivity. In the latest video from, a group of deaf and hearing impaired people reveal the common questions that annoy and offend them the most – and there are some you wouldn't believe. Many interviewees said they have to put up with probing questions about their sex lives, with one young woman asked: “Do deaf people actually have sex? Can you date hearing guys like me?”

College student Shiana said: “I’m like, yes, I’ve done that before. What’s wrong with that? We just can’t hear. That’s all.” Many said they were most irked by insulting questions about their abilities, such as “can you drive?” and “can you read and write?” One young man said he has even been asked if he needs a wheelchair.  “People ask me if I need a wheelchair, like when I’m at the airport,” he said. “I’m like, hello, I’m standing right in front of you!”

Another woman revealed she has to contend with people who want to check that she’s actually deaf. “Some people try to test me, to see if I’m really deaf – like stand behind me and yell.”  House cleaner Yvette said she was often bothered by the patronising way some people communicate with her. “They say, CAN YOU READ MY LIPS” she said, imitating their exaggerated enunciation. 

Another man was annoyed by questions about sign language. “I’m asked, ‘do all deaf people sign the same, like is it a universal language?’” he complained. “Do you have a spoken universal language?”

Despite having to put up with tone-deaf remarks and ignorant assumptions, most of the interviewees said that they wouldn't want to be able to hear.  “I would not want to be a hearing person for the rest of my life,” one young woman said. “I want to be deaf. I love my life." (YOU HAD A CHOICE ?)

“My identity would sort of disappear,” said student Shiana. 


Eradicating the deaf gene for good.....

Image result for genetics of deafnessYou have to ask yourself as a prospective parent IF and WHEN an actual  choice exists where a child will NOT be born with an issue because the gene can be removed, why would you not take that option, ? but prefer your child to struggle for a lifetime instead  ? Because YOU had to ? Because deafness is a cultural right ? not an issue of  rogue genes ? 120 different genes suggest that isn't logical.

More emotional claptrap from uninformed deaf parents (Or even deaf who aren't parents at all but feel culture under attack),  worried about genetic interference in their right to produce more like them.  All these arguments rotate around the POSSIBILITY of a 'cure' as yet there isn't one.  120 genes have so far been identified as contributing to or causing deafness and hearing loss.  So there is little basis to suggest there is some 'singular' deaf gene that creates the deaf person and so this should not be 'addressed'.  

No deaf gene has yet been 'altered', 'realigned' or 'removed', the research is only in identifying them, but there are still no national tests to suggest how many have them, or what type, and most deaf children are born to hearing, not deaf parents, so the deaf parent won't get much say anyway.

Is this deaf culturalism playing the 'Canute' gig ?  But they have no influence over what other countries will do or what hearing parents will choose when the options present themselves.   Countries like China would insist on gene eradication if they can do it, India is operating a massive CI implantation process, we have no influences over any of those countries.  Once a cure or an alleviation is viable, it will be taken up, hearing loss and deafness costs countries many billions in expense and support.     

We would demand the cures too as a right, the can of worms would be open, others would have choice, so why can't we? The issue is that identification of a rogue gene isn't accompanied by a cure or treatment being available to correct that gene, so the options are pretty stark then, you HAVE a disabled or deaf child or, you don't.  This is the basis of angst, not the cure, as there isn't one.... yet.

The choice to abort is a right without question mostly.  And a mother's right not a father's. Let's cut the crap and do realism and expose deaf hypocrisy.  Why do deaf people have tests to identify, if e.g. a child has Down's Syndrome ? Or a certain chance of inheriting a terminal disability ? It is a basic test available to prospective or vulnerable mothers.  There are also 'supplements' all pregnant mothers are urged to take (deaf and hearing), that can help prevent, or at least limit the possibilities of a child being born disabled or seriously ill.  

Why are deaf parents just focusing on their own issue ? it just looks as if they feel deafness isn't a problem for them but other disabilities are, and they don't want their kids with them.  Not very encouraging for bon homme for those disabled and their children, and how the deaf view those !  

The smoke screen of deaf ire, hides the fact they already use the means to prevent other disabilities if they can, so why should not hearing parents take the option (if/when they can get it), especially if it means the child is born without the deafness. Can deaf impose their view on other parents ?

Research is about making life easier, not harder for our kids, theoretically they can sue us further along the line, for allowing them to be born deaf, when, they perhaps could have been hearing (Was there not a case in the USA where this already happened ?) Where is the child's choice ? VACCINATIONS prevent illnesses that would cause our kids to go deaf too, how many deaf parents are or would be refusing vaccinations ? 

NOT a lot of them, not even those who ARE deaf because they contracted e.g. rubella. Their deafness wasn't a right it WAS caused by an illness, I feel sure their parents didn't choose to let them catch it because they wanted them deaf.... Have deaf parents not prevented a deaf child themselves already ? No-one attacked them for that.... The issues we as parents have, should make it clear that as a parent you don't want your kids to go through that too....

Research work firstly by identification, then after with research into how best to address.  The time difference is always the problem, having ID'd that problem, how best then, to prevent it happening ? And what 'choice' can you offer when the cure hasn't yet been found.. there are very few, so we do nothing ? Genetics are becoming a moral dilemma... but also possibilities to make life easier for our kids.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

RSVP for Deaf & HOH empowerment !


Hello everyone! Our Deaf and Hard of Hearing Empowerment Symposium is coming up soon. If you’re interested in attending, please RSVP before September 29th. When you RSVP, you will be given a nametag that will include your meal tickets for free. That also includes free admission into Deaf Empowerment as well as the Interpreters Conference workshops. 

If you would like to RSVP, please email He will handle the paperwork for you. We look forward to seeing you at the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Empowerment Symposium!

Hearing aid loop first at Federal...

They had ASL long before this, so they excluded the majority first ?  In a first for Federal Way, the Performing Arts and Event Center comes with Hearing Loop technology for patrons who live with hearing loss. The system sends the voices of performers from their microphones directly into hearing aids or cochlear implants. Hearing Loops reduce background noise and send pure sound to devices that are equipped with telecoil hearing aid technology.

AIDB 2017..

Monday, 28 August 2017


Image result for look at me !
A recent complaint a UK TV program put an autistic child on-screen who could mimic the bongs of Big Ben in London.  It grew outrage disabled children were being used as 'performing seals'. One facebook respondent puts it in real perspective, but will the media, charities or even the misguided parent of this child take any notice ? We aren't brave for being who we are.  No more than Di Marco is 'brave' for being gay and winning a dance competition...

"I hark back to the old days when Children in Need charity telethons were BLOCKED by the deaf community for making out deaf children were some sort of heros or very 'brave' or 'inspiring' just because they could do what others did. Sadly these days the patronage continues unabated where we become a novelty act to get awareness. We would do far better refusing to participate in our own patronisation. Or playing to the perception it is some sort of 'awareness'.

Charities are very much to blame, as they see it as a means of raising money for us poor sods, not that I actually see any of it but, then, I am not a child or have fur which seems to be the ace card to play. Of course telling charities we don't want to be portrayed as 'almost normal' or as beggars, gets hefty criticism from those who make a living by insisting on it, because fickle joe public doesn't donate cash to those who help themselves, the real inspirationals, you need the 'pity' or 'cute' angle, well joe public can get lost with that view and stick their cash where the sun doesn't shine and their charities..

We could do with LESS support for charities by deaf people too.  I'm deaf BUT, I can read, and write, and talk, and walk down the street unaided, where is MY recognition ? Aren't I a bloody hero as well ?"

Di Marco has he missed the point ?

Image result for love is never silentWhy must deaf actors play deaf characters ?  Apparently nobody does it more effectively, but isn't that a description of typecasting ? and stereotyping ?  

Maybe only people with a car can portray car drivers, or only blind people could play the blind, etc etc..  But whether they can act that...

Di Marco fails to identify why film/TV and other medias are just not including a deaf role in output, which is the real issue, not who plays them. We know no Deaf person can play a hearing one, because sign defeats it. They haven't that versatility unless brilliant lip-readers. Hearing however can sign, and appear deaf simply by wearing ear plugs, they won't have the natural' appearance of a deaf person but other hearing won't know about it or get much 'cultural awareness' feedback from it, but won't be bothered about that.  

In India many hearing actors are now doing specific deaf roles in Bollywood.  They say their deaf  cannot act, or are literate enough. The western world moves sideways and creates minority output for minorities, defeating inclusion. It's called equality of some sort, but is self-defeating, because it hardly ever gets to mainstream at all, so inclusion becomes relative as does the audience make up..

As Deaf culture has OWN media, this takes away impetus by the mainstream to start wholesale inclusion of deaf role parts in everything they do.  By far the main reluctance to include deaf in mainstream media output is the deaf tendency to lecture and use the position to promote cultural awareness and language, not every media role has a place for that.  The reality basically, is the deaf don't have the skills to really interact one on one with hearing so that it looks 'natural' or inclusive..  Di Marco WANTS the 'lecture' approach.  This will deter inclusion.  'Deaf do this, or deaf do that..' etc isn't awareness, except to promote difference.

Always there are a set of 'rules' to be observed first, which takes away the spontaneous reaction that is so vital to joe public taking an interest and for film/TV makers to take an interest.  In the world of equalities deaf cannot expect to get priority, and still claim they aren't getting special treatment but there on their skills alone.  No-one would believe it. I think deaf will achieve Independence only when no-one sees it is an issue a deaf person is there, but a norm.

Unfortunately with many deaf actors honing skills in exclusive deaf output they can still lack the natural approach in mainstream. Should a deaf person always be selected for a deaf role ? Should they always be signing ?  That isn't a genuine awareness anyway as very few deaf are like that.  Not, if the skill isn't there, or, they show difficulties interacting with hearing counterparts.  This means deaf signers of the cultural persuasion need to open themselves to more inclusive communication approaches first, so that interplay with hearing actors does not look 'forced'.  Or stick to 'Deaf' output. If you have no ID except when you sign this is an issue too.. media needs to see the people and the person.

More to the point, does the Deaf world have enough actors to fill the roles ?  It's a case where sign use would not be enough in itself.   'Love is never Silent' was perhaps the only film I have ever seen that does this effectively, that crosses the divide.. I never thought children of a lesser god did that at all.  Deaf have made it when their contribution is NOT an issue, not when it is. The American drive to include is more emotive than based on the realities of a very critical public, you appeal or you don't.

No-one is going to watch a media just based on the fact someone is deaf, except i.e. other deaf people... therein lies the problem.

NZ Sign-Language: Updates...

Not quite there yet.....

When I visit Europe, I gathered Deaf furs together and made a video! Our sign language is different, just like oral language. We learned each other a lot and we had a great time! We figured to show you the basic of our sign language. Hope you enjoy watching it!

[With the prompting from behind the camera some way to go yet I suspect.. but would have been far more interesting to see...]

Fighting to be heard...

Sarah Broderick (9) and her brother Daniel (6) are both profoundly deaf. Rachel, their mother, says: “Deaf children are succeeding more and more, because it’s more accepted that their education needs are different, and that’s not a bad thing.”
When Genevieve was diagnosed profoundly deaf at the age of two, her mother was consumed with worry. “This was a new experience for me,” she says. “ I hadn’t had an experience with a deaf person in my life before. So I believed everything that they [the professionals] told me.”

It was the 1990s and she was told that sending her child to her local primary school in Donegal was the best option. Experts were influenced by a Department of Education policy that emphasised integrating children with special needs into mainstream schools. Prior to the 1990s, some deaf children had been placed in mainstream schools on an ad-hoc basis, but most would have been mildly or moderately deaf.

But since the mainstreaming policy kicked in, the speed and scale of the shift has been astonishing. Today, it is estimated that about 95 per cent of the estimated 5,000 deaf or hard of hearing children are placed in their local schools. But, more than 20 years on, has the policy change resulting in better outcomes for deaf children? An Irish Times investigation, based on interviews with parents, teachers and experts over a six-month period, paints a very mixed picture.

While deaf children can thrive in mainstream classes, many are being let down by a system where access to appropriate supports is patchy and where teachers lack specialist training.


There are still issues of trained teachers in mainstream for the deaf child we agree, however the role of deaf schooling is no longer relevant to the educational futures of deaf children. While we can see deaf activism taking relentless digs at mainstream and claiming all sorts of discrimination against the deaf child,  it is still a major improvement on deaf SCHOOLS.

There is no comparison educationally with a dedicated deaf education to a mainstreamed one.  It is an eye-opener to compare deaf mainstreamed access with dedicated access, and to see that despite professional deaf tuition in a deaf school, there is little advance educationally to justify maintaining deaf schools.  It is a nurturing ground for culture not education.  But you don't get jobs because you are culturally deaf, you need academic qualifications.

The prime and most successful of deaf schools in the UK is one dedicated to an oral approach not sign language too. Deaf activism is fond of insisting mainstreaming fails to encompass 'culture', but culture is nurture mostly, as an oral education tends to display.  The issues with following the deaf cultural approach is it isolates by default, and fails to equip a deaf child to manage in mainstream, and the over-emphasis on social aspects leads to the deaf child being unable to effectively function in a hearing world.

Inclusion does not destroy identity, an ill-equipped upbringing and lack of confidence will do that.  If you start your life a 'breed apart' then it is a barrier many deaf children as they get older, cannot overcome.  They face huge issues when they leave dedicated and supportive education they cannot manage because it isn't there afterwards.  Having created a life of reliance on others, then to find it is barely available after school leaves the young deaf isolated. There aren't learning difficulties, but cultural 'norms' are a barrier and need to recognise inclusion is an ongoing and relentless process they cannot keep fighting.   The 'Deaf' world is far too small for it to stand alone....

We must continue to equalise deaf access in mainstream, but NOT revert to a system of deaf schools that failed deaf people in the past.  There can be no inclusion via dedicated exclusive approaches.  There IS a section of deaf and the disabled that DO have huge learning and associated issues who WON'T function on any level in a mainstream setting, but who knows ? In the future and with medical and technological advances they can come in out of the cold too.  Acceptance requires more effort by everyone, and educational mainstream is the start of that.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Far from the tree...

'Proof' pursuit of deaf culture undermines support for deaf people ? Promoting deaf integration not deaf identity ? One book reviewer suggests the cultural deaf and alleviation opponents in the 'Deaf' world are hurting their peers.

The many wise and helpful statements that Andrew Solomon makes in "Far From the Tree," his study of how families accommodate children who are significantly different from their parents, include this one: "There is no contradiction between loving someone and feeling burdened by that person."

Published in 2012, "Far From the Tree" won a National Book Critics Circle award and other honors for its seriously researched exploration of how families raised children with disabilities and differences, including deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome and autism. 

Now Simon & Schuster has published a young-adult edition of Solomon's valuable book. Working with adapter Laurie Calkhoven, an experienced writer for children, Solomon has slimmed the text and moved the extensive footnotes and bibliography sections online.

But they have not compromised the quality and seriousness of Solomon's research and writing. Had I come to this book unaware, and it not been labeled a young-adult edition, I would never have known. Adult readers who may have been daunted by the size of the original book should welcome this more compact version. Solomon comes to this subject with both experience and compassion. He grew up with two strong differences from his parents: He was dyslexic, for which he received strong family support, and he is gay, for which he did not. 

In each chapter, he draws on detailed interviews with parents and children (those who are able to speak) and sifts research and data to portray the challenges families face and the emotional rewards they may enjoy. He is honest and particularly good at examining situations where distinctions between disability and identity are hard to define or may be in dispute. 

This includes the Deaf community, in which many activists oppose cochlear implants and claim deafness as a full identity, not a deficit; and the worlds of Little People (dwarfs) and autism, where similar assertions are made. As Solomon points out, a danger of arguing that being deaf is not a disability would be the loss of ADA protections and rights to accommodations in hospitals and courtrooms, for example. 

What is a 'deaf ethnographic' film ?

The Deaf Colony...

[Video description can be found below. If you use a screen reader and need to access the caption file transcript, go to "More..." and click on "Transcript"]

Deaf and hard of hearing people always had the idea of having a place of their own. #deafhistoryTHAT #ASLstories

VIDEO DESCRIPTION AND TRANSCRIPT: Linsay Darnall, Jr. walks in frame in front of the fields, there is some snow on the ground. A small transparent NAD logo appears on bottom right.

LINSAY: For many years, deaf and hard of hearing people always wanted to have a place of their own. An example of that desire was an article in the American Annals for the Deaf written by John J. Flournoy, he argued that perhaps deaf and hard of hearing people could establish their own colony in the American west, a town where everybody could converse in sign language. There was another interest by E.P. Holmes from Nebraska City, Nebraska who attended the NAD’s first convention in 1880 in Cincinnati, Ohio -- he had planned to propose the same idea however, he never had an opportunity to present his idea to the convention body yet his paper was included in the convention proceedings anyway. 

Holmes proposed that maybe deaf and hard of hearing people could take an advantage of the Homestead Act, the law that allowed people to claim a piece of land up to 160 acres. They could remain on the land and improve upon it then the land would become their own. Holmes asked if deaf and hard of hearing people could come and claim lands side-by-side and in the process creating a community. 

However these two ideas never became a reality because one argument against it was: the more deaf and hard of hearing people move in that area meant they would conceive hearing children and eventually deaf and hard of hearing citizens could diminish. Regardless of that argument though, even today deaf and hard of hearing people have similar ideas and continue to search for a place of their own.

Video cuts to same grey background with white text "This video series is made possible by the Emanuel "Manny" Golden Visual History Fund." In smaller text on the bottom, "National Association of the Deaf © 2016 All Rights Reserved"

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Mental Health First aid for the Deaf

Mental Health First Aid for Deaf People Llandudno October 2017 from Centre of Sign Sight Sound on Vimeo.

The British Society for Mental Health and Deafness are doing a free course for Mental Health First Aid, this is on the 2nd and 3rd October 2017 at the Grand Hotel.

[ATR would have preferred captioned access to this in welsh and english, or has Society changed their remit to just BSL deaf with MH issues ?]

ASL defining HoH ?

No thanks, we don't deal in labels, that is YOUR gig.

Speak now,or forever sign ?

Image result for Welfare frauds UK deafOngoing welfare assessment issues in the UK see non-signing deaf and HoH being unfairly targeted for helping themselves, and, for endorsing the 'all deaf use sign', and do not speak or understand basic written English or its grammar.  Deaf.Read is a clear example whereby this is absolutely untrue.  Indeed the standard of written  English and its grammar is exceptional in some cases, as are their abilities to adapt. Why would Deaf play this relentless 'we are unable because we cannot hear' gig to welfare agencies ? 

Why downgrade the education and skills, of their own area and reduce it to a clinical thing, for the money ?  Many deaf and HoH who can speak and be understood, are losing welfare payments because the DWP have decided you don't fit the criteria as a deaf person if you speak, or if you are educated. They take little account of the fact YOU DON'T HEAR!  Are cultural deaf utilising welfare aspects because it compensates for mainstream ignorance that prevents their access/inclusion, but, enables their cultural preference ?  The 'disability' gig has done wonders for cultural deaf output... Yet they oppose the reference.

Sadly in the scheme of things, 'deafinitions' of who is deaf or isn't has decimated help, understanding, awareness, and support for the majority with hearing loss, including the higher educated cultural deaf signers.  

E.G. I use my voice all the time, even when I sign to my partner, I really do NOT have a choice in that as the only alternative would be to make it impossible for ME to manage my daily life and to support my partner to interact with it.  Why would anyone NOT use the one advantage they have, that can help ?   The Blind use their ears to compensate the deaf ?  They stop talking.  Signers 'manage' their interaction by moving sideways to avoid  the problem almost entirely, but many are not able to do that, nor want to. OK interaction is non-standard, even poor at times, and I am sure we don't get half or even a third of what people say via inspired guesswork, but the bit we do get helps from this day to the next.  

We have accepted a lower form of access as the price of our 'indepdence'.  That attitude towards self-help whilst being viewed positive in most areas, will kill off any eligibility for a DWP benefit. Many deaf still do not get one, I don't, I have been profoundly deaf over 43 years. I speak, therefor I hear, I manage (regardless of degree or effectiveness), so don't need support. The fact I spend more time on my ass than on my feet is not taken into consideration. It certainly does NOT pay to help yourself, and the DWP certainly won't pay you because you try. 

There is no impetus by the UK state to encourage you to DIY, they just see it as a way to refuse help. There is no back up if your abilities fail you, you fall, you have to get up yourself.  Sadly as you get older, that ability isn't as effective and can fail entirely.  

One deaf woman who had speech in the UK had her PIP refused as a result, she now relies on food banks to eat, and is under the Doctor because her weight has dropped to danger level, she used what welfare she still had to feed her kids instead.  With regards to the hearing loss majority, there is the price they pay to NOT look dependent, or reliant, 'hearing' pride' does it for them. Deaf pride enables them, go figure..... There is no such thing as HoH pride, it is their downfall.  It seems once you get over the fact you have to rely on interpreters for communication, the access to welfare benefits is much easier.

Although none of us like the deaf who suggest most of us are unable to understand grammar, read, write properly, or use speech is some norm, because it isn't, it's a 'preference' which isn't the same thing.  We don't like un-captioned videos or signed only ones for that reason, it suggest an image that isn't true, not even for those of a cultural persuasion.  It does play into the mainstream perceptions of what we are.

Sign language has served some deaf well in respect. They sign, stop talking, ask for a terp, automatic qualification for a welfare benefit for most who sign... None for deaf or HoH because of pride and a morbid terror of reliance. Should we  be identifying the 'Deaf' fakers, who use the cultural ethos to gain welfare advantage ? Who play DOWN our abilities to gain welfare allowances ?

Should we not be helping more, those who are helping themselves ?  How do you do that, when the DWP will always see those that do the best to help themselves get penalised for it ?  Doesn't it PAY, to 'play dumb ?'

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Losing their WITS !

NHS services for deaf people in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan are “not fit for purpose”, it has been claimed. Cedric Moon MBE, acting secretary of the Cardiff and District Deaf Support Group, said deaf patients were being given “substandard” care and called for urgent changes.

He claimed deaf patients rarely know whether an interpreter will be present at an NHS appointment and described the provision as “poor”.He said there was also a distinct lack of email and SMS telephone numbers on NHS forms which makes it more difficult for the deaf community to contact hospitals about appointments.

But the health board has hit back, claiming it has received no formal concerns about the service provided. Mr Moon said the problems have stemmed from Cardiff and Vale Health Board’s decision to scrap its arrangements with deaf charities and sign up with the Welsh Interpreter and Translation Service (WITS) in 2007.

In a letter to the health board’s chairwoman Maria Battle, Mr Moon said the deaf community was kept in the dark over the change and given no consultation.

In his letter, Mr Moon wrote: “It was imposed upon the community by faceless, unelected bureaucrats who had no understanding about the needs of deaf patients. “Under the WITS system deaf patients are refused a choice of interpreters, thus one deaf man had a female interpreter for a very intimate examination by a consultant, wholly inappropriate.”


Welsh NHS Access for HoH is not so much poor in Wales, as non extant mostly, e.g. there are NO RECORDS of lip-spoken provision or indeed text support.  The usage of WITS is an attempt to corral deaf and HoH support under one agency, and to bury free-lance support, which the NHS is saying is unreliable.   Reading between the lines the NHS and other system areas are then hoping to drive down costs and to control wages deaf support workers get. Obviously this is being met with opposition from free-lance BSL interpreters who constitute the majority of deaf support.

WITS could find itself unable to provide BSL terps.  If we look at recent issues regarding e.g. welfare changes, the welsh BSL support system collapsed under the demand.  Terps had to choose between basic issues like GP/clinical access, or a benefit assessment, and chose the former.... It led to complaints many deaf lost their welfare payments as a result. Traditionally and in terms of practicality, many deaf signers prefer a terp they are familiar with, this is also an advantage to the system in that less doubt is there in translation, as there would be if an unfamiliar terp turned up..

There is a completely inaccurate means of gathering statistics, whereby every form of access regarding hearing loss support in the NHS in Wales comes under BSL only.  As regards to WITS they refuse to respond to you.  Their 'customers' e.g. the police were very angry a request for information was put to them.  Every area that uses translation services has to pay for it, so financial records MUST be there. FOI's and any suggestion support isn't there, is met with a blank refusal to identify it using the Data Protection Act as a blunt tool to stop you knowing.

This completely buries any demand or statistic made for non signing access provision (like lip-speaking, text support, loops etc..).  No demand seen, means no demand to be met.... saving the NHS money, surely that ISN'T the main reason ? or IS it ?

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Why do welfare benefits fail the inclusion test ?

Image result for failing to includeA situation ongoing via the UK's welfare benefit PIP, which has seen 38% of all deaf and  HoH people lose all their entitlement. Many claimants deaf and HoH, were stating their primary issue is lack of access and support to the wider world, but the state welfare system said, you haven't defined that, and have refused welfare support as a result. In effect you have no welfare right as an 'assist to inclusion or socialising'.  But lack of access and inclusion is the main reason deaf are isolated.

The problem is defining what sort of help you need to socialise etc outside the home, is it technology based ? people - based ? I've never heard (Sorry !), e.g. of a deaf person asking for terp support to socialise in hearing areas, only system areas, because they don't USE hearing areas to socialise.   They go in own groups or attend own social areas. A set up HoH don't have.

E.G. Would those with hearing aids and poorer and problematic hearing, ask for a 'carer' (Call them 'enablers' if you prefer that term), to support them outside the home ? It appears NOT. So when the DWP asks what sort of support do you need ? we falter in describing that, for reasons of reliance and lack of Independence inferences. We don't FEEL comfortable using others.  Welfare case lost by default.

WHAT sort of social support/communication enablement do YOU want ? and, how often ? Pub once a week ? Cinema once a month ? Restaurant once every 2 weeks ?  Social club once a week ? How about when you go on holiday ? All questions the DWP would ask you, and if they then compare that 'like with like' hearing and deaf and suggest most hearing don't do that anyway, how can you justify ?  Basically the access to the world outside your own (Inclusion), is wide open for debate and you have to justify everything you feel you have a right to.

As such you need a case by legal case to set access precedent... still you won't get welfare recognition of your basic need.  Can throwing welfare money at deaf people improve access ?  It did not with the previous DLA allowance which the PIP replaced... with deaf people on a TV show stating it was extra 'pocket money' for them... There is no stand alone allowance whereby deaf or HoH can 'buy in' the support they prefer, Blind people had one version, deaf were denied it, since preference was challenged as a real need.

Quality of life defines, and it is compared with everyone else. Whose job is it, to include the disabled and the deaf ? The government ? its people ? US ? (as the excluded party).  It is behoven to all, but the suggestion is that a welfare payment is NOT going to do that.  Not even to bolster the access laws... because you cannot identify what that payment could be used for... ergo, using it to pay for 'help and Support' just identifies you as preferring that to inclusion,at the same time applying the 'clinical' label too you.

How could welfare targeted payments assist the deaf communities to integrate ?  When they already have own preferred alternatives already endorsed by equality laws ? Because of D/d issues you could not identify the sectors adequately.  Far too many cultural deaf do not understand the damage the D/d thing has done to real access, inclusion, support or to integration approaches. Off in a world of their own making...

UK Local Authorities assisted state institutionalised discrimination..

Councils complicit in ‘human rights violations’, disability organisations sayHot on the heels of the UK up in the UN for abuse of disabled and deaf people's human rights, we read local systems assisted them.  Does this now open the door for deaf people to sue local councils and services for their lack of support and help ?

"Deaf and disability organisations have accused the Government and local authorities of human rights violations due to policies which prevent disabled people living independent lives.

They have also said Whitehall is being ‘evasive’ in its response to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The committee is assessing the UK’s progress in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People, which the Government ratified in 2009.

In their submission to the committee, deaf and disabled people’s organisations (DDPOs) from across the UK will say that a range of Government policies - many arising from the austerity agenda - place it in breach of the convention. They will also say other public sector bodies such as local authorities and NHS organisations have ‘aggravated’ Whitehall’s shortcomings by failing to deliver the support and safeguards set out in the convention.

The DDPOs’ submission highlights the poor supply of accessible housing, the impact of the Government’s welfare reforms, and cuts in health and social care services as three factors impacting on the ability of disabled people to live independent lives.

They also highlighted the rise in the number of disabled children in segregated education."b  [Are deaf schools segregated education ?]

Discrimination verdict reversed (Didn't happen).

Image result for Not happening !A federal court ruling in favour of a deaf litigant who was denied a court-provided sign language interpreter for mediation in his child custody case was reversed on appeal Friday.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the judgement and award of $10,380 in damages in favour of Dustin King. The panel remanded his federal civil rights case brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act with instructions to dismiss the suit, though King may file an action in state court.

“The district court held that Indiana does not enjoy sovereign immunity because this case falls within the abrogation of (state sovereign) immunity sustained in Tennessee v. Lane, 541 U.S. 509 (2004). We disagree with that conclusion,” Circuit Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote for the panel in Dustin King v. Marion Circuit Court, 16-3726. In Lane, a litigant who used a wheelchair couldn’t reach a second-floor courtroom, which the court held violated his right to fundamental access to the court.

Easterbrook wrote that no such violation occurred in King’s case, when he requested and was denied a court-appointed American Sign Language interpreter in Marion County’s Modest Means Mediation Program. King ultimately participated in mediation with the interpretative assistance of a relative and received a satisfactory outcome. Further, Easterbrook wrote, local court rules provide Marion Superior judges the discretion to determine when mediation is appropriate.

No assistance dogs please !

The branch of Gourmet Burger Kitchen in Wimbledon, where the incident happened
More business' that just aren't buying into deaf needing assistance dogs.

A deaf man was thrown out of a branch of Gourmet Burger Kitchen in front of shocked customers because he had his hearing dog with him.

Louise DeNew was eating with her partner at the restaurant in Wimbledon, south-west London, on Saturday afternoon when she was confronted with the “horrible, horrible sight”. She said she saw a middle-aged deaf man and his wife being kicked out by the manager of the branch, as outraged patrons looked on.

Ms DeNew added that although the small dog, believed to be a cocker spaniel, wore an assistance dog harness and had an ID card on its lead, the manager ordered them to leave. She told the Standard: “They came in after us and had been seated in the corner with the dog pretty much hidden under the table. “It wasn't in anyone way and most customers in there wouldn't have seen it.

“My partner and I were most upset by the fact that the gentleman seemed to have speech difficulties and wasn't able to make himself understood. “He was waving the dog's lead with the Hearing Dog badge on it to show it was an assistance dog but the staff just ignored him. “We felt that they used the gentleman’s disability against him really.

Monday, 21 August 2017

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.