Saturday, 30 September 2017

Hard Times...

Being deaf isn't easy...

Falling on Deaf ears only...

We are reading constantly, of deaf concerns hearing people are not listening to them, but the reality is hearing are not logging in, to deaf sites or social media closed sites relating to deafness, culture, or hearing loss, so few are taking any notice.  

ATR has for years taken the awareness 'fight' TO mainstream, engaging in local medias, contacting relevant politicians and local authorities and, attending events where issues locally and nationally involve hearing people.  It avoids being a martyr on a deaf site talking to myself, and shows deaf are willing to make that effort, and no I don't get any official support to do it.

If I relied on that or a deaf group it would not happen.  What we read on 'dedicated' deaf sites are constant whinges about recognition, language, equality, but omitting INCLUSION as any part of that, of course this means it either won't happen, is not really wanted, or at best sets up a few deaf to exist in some parallel world of their own, whilst the rest of us plod on towards real acceptances and inclusion prospects.

A recent poster on a deaf blog pleaded for mutual acceptances of hearing, and deaf people making the D/d point, which of course immediately highlighted the real differences that prevent any such unity taking place.  The relentless D/d plugs out to mainstream have no effect but to highlight divisions as one sector who are deaf,  promotes one approach, and the other something totally different.  Deaf still cannot make up their mind if they are disabled or they aren't.  What they do know, is an outright official challenge to that concept would remove their support.

Hearing do not understand how a sector of people attack a disability term, yet, exist by it.  Commonly we as people with hearing loss and by majority, assume the position of cest le vie, mainly because it avoids Deaf V deaf V HoH wars.  But it leaves the door wide open to misinterpretation of need.

Of course it makes cooperation impossible, We have no common aim.  Even hearing loss effects are unalike.  We don't support digs at hearing people either, it's childish and beneath us all, and won't encourage support and inclusion to the mainstream if we keep doing that.  We need them more than they need us, the deaf world is not enough..  We need to drop the angst and start working with everyone, but we cannot do that until we all drop the chip off our shoulders and quit inventing labels all the time like no tomorrow. 

Until we address divisions WITHIN own areas we are in no position to lecture anyone else.  We should be leading by example.  When did a BSL or cultural campaign, ever include other needs ?   HoH too, appear to be supporting sign language, but not sign users, especially the rabid cultists ones, who deter most from attempting to learn sign language, because they see the promoters as negative and aggressive, Deaf don't like their 'let us cure deafness' attitudes either..  HoH also view sign as a tool for communication, an 'assist' but not an end in itself..  Posting exclusively to hearing areas, not our own, means no-one else reads them.  And yes this post has been sent to local media for perusal too, as part of IDW, which I am sure will annoy some purists, but as I am deaf too who cares what they think. Equality is a bugger aint it ?  No doubt why purists don't like it.

Personally I am up to here (And way over !), with posts like 10 nasty things hearing say to us, or, 15 misunderstandings hearing have of us, it deters hearing people getting involved.  Ya boo playground posts, grow up.  Get out there and change these perceptions.  Else feed inbred paranoia, only breaking isolation can do that, not promoting more of it....  We need to address cultural bloggers and aggregates that block debates or ask real questions of signing deaf people, and especially those that oppose access for other deaf people.  

It would appear the internet has simply moved the closed shop and minds of the old e mail deaf sites into the mainstream areas of closed sites and minds, have we advanced at all  except in reaching wider area of the already converted ? Our very own Deaf dark web ?

Every campaign ever run, is to re-enforce an already existing status quo, that, is not inclusion and it re-defines what access actually is.  A licence to be a separatist under the label of equality.  It sadly, offers no future to the next deaf generation, except more of the same.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Employers shutting the door on deaf and disabled job applicants.

Employer discrimination shutting disabled people out of jobs market, report
Disabled people are being "shut out" of the jobs market in huge numbers because of the discrimination they face when looking for work, according to a new report. A survey of 2,000 disabled people for the charity Scope found that only half are given an interview when applying for jobs compared with 69% for non-disabled applicants.

Disabled people apply for 60% more jobs than others, while more than a third of those who do not feel confident about getting a job believe employers will not hire them because of their impairment or condition, the research found.  Scope has joined with Virgin Media to launch the #WorkWithMe campaign to support more disabled people to get into and stay in work.

The research findings showed that disabled people who are unemployed and looking for work have lost faith with the recruitment process, as two in five do not feel confident about their chances of getting a job in the next six months. Mark Atkinson, chief executive of Scope, said: "We have a huge amount of work to do to tackle the disability employment gap. At the current pace of change, the Government is set to fail on its pledge to get a million more disabled people into work.

"Disabled people with all the skills to do the job are being repeatedly passed over for roles, while others are being forced to apply for jobs which they know they are overqualified for. "Employers are missing out on the talent they badly need because they do not have the right support in place or because of outdated attitudes towards disability."

What you should do in the event of a terrorist attack..

UBER to use ASL app...

In stark contrast to London in the UK, where UBER is to lose its licence for abuse of worker rights !

Uber has added a new feature to its app this month to support its deaf and hard of hearing drivers, a group the company says number in the thousands across its service. Uber says that these drivers have together completed millions of trips, and while it has added a number of features to its app over the years to provide additional support for those with hearing impairments, it’s going a step further with a new feature launching at the end of Deaf Awareness Month, which takes place in September.

The new feature will surface a card in the feed of the rider app when they’re paired up with a driver who is deaf or hard of hearing that will give them an option to learn some basic words and phrases in American Sign Language (ASL). The rider can select basic greeting like “Hello” and “Thank you,” or learn the letters to spell out their name so they can confirm it to the driver.

It’s a small thing, but a handy tool that could build on top of what Uber already does in-app for its hearing impaired drivers.

Open Letter to Stephen Lloyd MP...

Image result for open letterSir

Having recently read on an AOHL (deaf/HoH charity), site. Your campaign re disabled people, I would like some clarification on the corner-stone of your campaign which appears to me, to be behind the 'Social Modelling' of disability.

As your campaign link appeared on a site dedicated to deafness/hearing loss, you must be well aware there are two very distinct areas there who attain to both social and clinical models and some to one only, or even neither.  Very obviously the EFFECTS of a disability are in debate here.  removing the 'clinical element' can seriously undermine any qualifications for any hearing loss sector to claim welfare or support.

It cannot be argued social  modelling, that in the 'Deaf' sense, is based on 'blaming mainstream for discrimination and poor equalities', and then suggesting meeting that need would somehow 'cure' the disability itself, its wide open to misinterpretations.  There are serious questions to be answered on inclusion too.  It would appear access and inclusion are not the same things to deaf or disabled.

We know 100% isn't possible.    If we draw an example between current beliefs in the hearing loss worlds, then, those born with no viable hearing and claim a cultural/language status, demand their hearing loss is only an issue in as much as society is not engaging them or accepting their communications.  Once everyone acquires sign language they are then 'equal'.  Of course there are numerous debates that is un-achievable or even if it happened, that those deaf people would take advantage of the access and inclusion it presented.  

We have a universal (UK), 'Deaf & HoH' remit which is based on inclusion, the reality is sectors are going different ways regardless, and this has affected access, and welfare support, which is now an entirely grey area.. 10 million with deafness and loss, present 10m different issues now. In order to highlight inclusive and access aspects, they have to identify groups who can be seen.  This is difficult when deafness and hearing loss is invisible.

The majority with hearing loss, insist they are disabled clinically via that loss, and, it can destroy their well being, communication, families, education, jobs and makes them vulnerable to mental health issues, clearly a clinical model, they also insist that while the other cultural deaf HAVE a nation-wide support system, they, do not. The true clinical definition of a disability is LOSS.   It also cannot  be remedied by equal access.  The argument it can is far too naive and simplistic.

If you loss a limb or your sight, or you are incapacitated or not mobile, access is still not going to replace the primary issue, It encourages better coping strategies.. but still won't apply to all. E.G. Autism may well make the social model approach pointless.

If we look at support currently, they are polarised charity-wise between these two sectors.  Too many issues are down to politicians endorsing one hearing loss approach against the other, and failing to include all equally.  Politicians are cherry picking what cause celeb they support.  It is very obvious such political campaigners need something visual to identify the areas they are lobbying about, and sign language is the prime means politicians and others are using.    As this image is to a MINORITY with hearing loss, the overall majority are not seeing their needs recognised, supported, or even seeing them re-defined as something else entirely.

E.G.  "All deaf people use sign language".  Which is an inaccurate statement.   I can draw your attention to the fact the NHS offers sign language support to those who need that, but does NOT offer other means that are used, including lip-speakers, note-takers, speech to text back up etc.

We also saw other politicians attended Westminster demanding sign language access, and not even mentioning the means the rest of the 10m in the UK use.  Social modelling is being utilised to promote cultural aspects of a very small minority with hearing loss, at the expense of the rest who suffer clinical traumas as a result of losing hearing.  Social modelling also suggests they are entitled to be separatists, which is anti-inclusion.

What I ask is any promotion of the social model makes it clear it is NOT applicable to everyone, and is not a 'cure all' for disability or its subsequent issues.  Not all support the social model.  40% of deaf children suffer mental health issues. Adult deaf who rely on sign language take up the majority access to work welfare support.  Support the others do NOT qualify for.  It would appear despite having identical levels of hearing loss or profound deafness and related issues, the system is discriminating by language used.

E.G. PIP, as we are all aware has decimated the ability of non-signing deaf people to qualify at all for many welfare allowances. 346,000 Hard of Hearing lost any right to it after DLA folded.  They were penalised in that despite also being deaf they had some speech, or a hearing aid/CI, so the DWP classed them as not deaf but hearing people.   This actually created further traumas. 

The social model as viewed by cultural deaf and the system, offers wholesale and systematic discrimination towards the majority by default.  It is an issue not faced by other disabled people.  It can be argued as offering unfair advantage too.

As there are obviously two very diverse and distinct areas of hearing loss that is echoed by its national support set ups, then politicians need to agree that status quo exists and, makes that distinction when lobbying 'on our behalf' when in reality they are seen taking 'sides'.  There are already other politicians who lobby for A or B hearing loss areas, none argue for cultural/hearing loss equality, or for dedicated support.  Hardly any example of a social model.

Thank you


Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Social Model: Anti- support ?

Stephen Lloyd in front of a sign for the Liberal Democrat conference
A genuine rally call by a politician to take to task, the assaults on the deaf and disabled people, and who strongly advocates the social model approaches.

Frankly,  the social model he supports could undermine the clinical aspect that qualifies us all for a welfare benefit.  The criteria of the social model challenges clinical aspects of hearing loss and its effects, seriously undermining our ability to claim, to claim a benefit or support you have to prove your hearing loss is an issue to you, and the medical profession are the people that define that..  Without a criteria that suggests you have a problem, you won't have any. It is too simplistic to suggest without discrimination or access issues no-one would still have that problem.

We know born deaf 'blame' everyone else for the issues they face, not the fact they cannot hear, which they say isn't an issue to them, a dangerous approach to adopt given welfare benefits are based on the damaging effects of hearing loss, and ignores the almost total dependency on hearing the deaf signer has to get support for their daily life and employment.

I don't see how you can then force the DWP (The UK's state arm that dispenses welfare payments), to challenge that aspect when they ARE part of that system.  Access isn't their domain, it is the laws.  Effects of losing hearing go way beyond simply having some access or support, trauma, mental health and communication issues come into play, not a social model at all, but a very real clinical issue.  

From statistical info we can read 40% of Deaf children have some degree of mental health issue, their parents may well disagree the social modelling of that will do much but confuse the type of support they really need. .  Issues of access can help cope, but they won't cure, or enable most.  If we are being just black and white with social or medical models, then by default born deaf would fail to qualify for any benefit once they got access.  The DWP has argued that as they have the law on their side and a nation-wide system of interpreter support, then already they are viewed less entitled to a benefit based on a disability, and disability/welfare money and grants underpin the deaf community. 

Deaf arts would cease to be supported without it.     Maybe they need to be careful what they ask for.  Despite the politics, my concern would be applying this social model across to everyone, when, the 10m with hearing loss are the LEAST supported area already and aspire to the clinical model on the basis loss equals disability.. I just think it would deteriorate yet again to demands for more BSL access at their expense, because the HoH really are invisible.

The issue,  is no politician seems aware most of us do not sign or belong to a deaf culture, because every petition and campaign that is launched relies on images of sign language, the sole visible identifying factor of someone with a real issue via hearing loss.  A complete conundrum when pertaining to the social model.  Ergo if you aren't disabled then not entitled to welfare support IF, disabled then not a social model.

While the social model recognises the person, not the issue, it doesn't replace the issue that creates that person's ID.  We cannot afford confusing statements, there are too many systems lined up against the deaf, the disabled and the HoH, who consider we are too expensive to keep supporting.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Swiss Deaf demand political access...

Simonetta Sommaruga on stage
Voting pamphlets and explanations of federal bills should be available online in sign language, says the Swiss Federation for the Deaf, which has handed in a petition to the federal chancellery. 

For the more than 10,000 people in Switzerland who are deaf or profoundly hard of hearing, the voting pamphlet appears in the “wrong language”, the federation said in a statement on Monday. 

“Their language is sign language. Written German is a foreign language they have to struggle to learn,” it wrote. “Having to understand complex political content in this foreign language is an unnecessary hurdle which violates Swiss and international law on barrier-free access to information.”  The federation explained that without appropriate measures, “the free formation of opinions and therefore political participation is made more difficult – if not impossible – for affected people”. 

More than 2,700 signatures were collected on Saturday, National Sign Language Day. The petition calls for all political information producing by the state to be made accessible in sign language, beginning at a federal level. 

Deaf, Autistic, Free, and a licence to kill.

Georgia Fields, an autistic and profoundly deaf woman, leaves the Supreme Court in Melbourne after being granted bail.
An autistic and deaf Melbourne woman who helped murder her friend's housemate has avoided jail and will instead live in her family home under a court order, which has angered the victim's family.

But the Victorian Supreme Court found its only option besides prison was to allow 21-year-old intellectually challenged woman Georgia Fields to live in the community under a strict supervision order.  The two intellectually disabled men who helped murder 36-year-old Robbie Wright have been sent to a secure residential treatment facility, but there is no equivalent for women with intellectual disabilities or cognitive impairments.

Mr Wright's sister, Karen Wright, said she found it difficult to comprehend Fields was allowed to continue living at home with her parents. "She gets to spend Christmas and birthdays like nothing happened," Ms Wright said. "It makes me really frustrated and very angry that the non-custodial sentence has actually permitted her to do that."

Monday, 25 September 2017

Gene therapy on hearing loss and Ushers.

Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance
Scientists from the Institut Pasteur, Inserm, the CNRS, Coll├Ęge de France, University Pierre et Marie Curie, and University Clermont Auvergne, have recently restored hearing and balance in a mouse model of Usher syndrome type 1G, characterized by profound congenital deafness and vestibular disorders caused by severe dysmorphogenesis of the mechanoelectrical transduction apparatus of the inner ear's sensory cells. These findings open up new possibilities for the development of gene therapy treatments for hereditary forms of deafness.

Hearing loss, sometimes associated with other disorders such as balance defects, is the most common sensory deficit, affecting more than 280 million people worldwide, according to WHO. In France, one child in 700 is born with severe or profound hearing loss, and one in every 1,000 will lose their sense of hearing before adulthood.

Over the past 20 years, scientists have made remarkable progress in deciphering the genetic origins of congenital hereditary hearing loss, which is usually caused by inner ear dysfunction. The inner ear comprises the hearing organ or cochlea, together with the five balance organs (the saccule, utricle and three semicircular canals), which contain the sensory cells, or hair cells, that detect mechanical vibrations and convert them into electrical signals. To date, mutations in more than 100 genes have been associated with inner ear defects, and it is estimated that mutations in more than 100 genes can cause genetic forms of deafness.

The various hereditary forms of hearing loss include Usher syndrome type 1 (USH1), a particularly severe clinical form of deaf-blindness, and specifically the USH1G genetic form. USH1G patients are profoundly deaf and have no balance function at birth, and they subsequently suffer from prepubertal-onset sight loss leading to blindness. USH1G syndrome is due to mutations in the gene encoding the scaffold protein sans, which is essential for the cohesion of the hair bundle of the inner ear hair cells.

Patients with hearing loss and balance dysfunction are currently fitted with auditory prostheses and may be given balance rehabilitation therapy, but the outcomes are variable. One possible alternative for treating such hereditary inner ear defects is gene therapy. This approach entails transferring a healthy (non-mutant) copy of the defective gene to restore the expression of the missing protein. So far, gene therapy attempts have only resulted in partial improvements of hearing in mouse models of specific human deafness forms that did not include severe anomalies in hair cell structure.

In-store sign language pilot service to support the needs of its deaf customers

Mobile network operator (MNO) Three is to pilot a new scheme to help deaf customers communicate with staff in selected retail stores using British Sign Language (BSL) through a video service provided by Birmingham-based BSL learning and services organisation Sign Solutions.

The new partnership extends an existing relationship that exists between Three and Sign Solutions through which it has enabled a video-communication service on its website that uses a computer’s webcam or smartphone camera to help deaf customers get answers to their questions from fellow signers.

Its new in-store video relay is designed to help deaf customers get more out of their mobile devices and services, and will enable them to talk to in-store staff via an iPad video connection to a Sign Solutions interpreter.

The interpreters will relay questions to in-store staff who can then offer customers much better support for purchases and customer services than they would be able to provide using more traditional audio induction loop technology.

While many retail stores will already have audio induction loops installed, and UK businesses are required to make them available where possible under the terms of the Disability Discrimination Act, often this technology is neglected and not functional, staff may not be properly trained in its use and it may not even be the most appropriate solution for the customer.

“This pilot extends on our commitment to give all of our customers the best possible experience with Three,” said the firm’s head of executive office operations, Steven Cocker.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

The Deaf in la-la land ?..

Another foot in mouth, approach from the AOHL, who never cease to amaze us with their weird ideas about inclusion, considering it isn't a Deaf charity at all, and just utilising a 'Deaf' week for self promotional reasons..  They are desperate to counter the success of sign promotion over HoH need, so any bandwagon will do.

Basically this petition demand as with others about BSL, always fails to address the reality.  There aren't the staff to implement it, there is no curriculum organised, there are no details of how BSL can be effectively used for the deaf except via hearing support.  

It is yet another attempt to re-invent the wheel that carried the BSL culture in deaf schools, but the world has turned a few times since then.  The major drawback to a BSL - based approach is, that it doesn't address hearing-deaf communication issues, it is simply saying you have to conform to what we use, end of.  The BSL community also lacks peers who can show by example or mentors who are aware, let alone has the sign teachers to do what is asked.  


The UK has over 40,000 schools.

2,400 teachers (BATOD survey 2014/15), who teach the deaf, they, are all in deaf specialist education. 

There are approx 5/600 who run BSL/cultural centres (?) and classes in the UK, but have no recognised school teaching qualifications, many are free-lance and unregulated as to their class approaches too..   

They are too specialist and lack the variety of skills and qualifications mainstream would need as well as sign tuition.

A 'stand-alone' class is suggested because they know it would never operate any other way, it could well clash with educational directives on inclusion.   We know that demands for BSL in schools end up with more demands for the return to the deaf school set ups as well, anti-inclusion schools that put 'like with like' and leave it at that, so when deaf children leave schools there is hardly anywhere for them to go but the deaf set up again.  From ATR standpoint BSL is anti-awareness of hearing loss too, we already see BSL based areas who want nothing to do with HoH or deafened issues or their access and needs.  

You cannot separate by culture, the needs of those with deafness and loss, the entire BSL culture is based on it.

Hardly a valid option to raise awareness.  If any dedicated 'class' is to be set up in schools, then it should be based on as many aspects of COMMUNICATION to those with hearing loss as possible, and not a relentless cultural lecture and bias.  As soon as these pupils hit the streets and find there are hardly any signing deaf there it is going to look silly.   Are they just going to walk up to the nearest deaf person they see and pitch in ? BSL classes extra curricular, are already NOT working on the basis of loss awareness, it isn't a part of their set up. Lip-reading does some... Deaf do this 'deaf' do that ?  no thank you. We should not be promoting bias and exclusion.

I'd urge people NOT to sign this position, on the grounds it is counter productive to real awareness.  It is basically demanding mainstream promotes and pays for deaf culture whose members have no real desire to include them or other deaf who don't use BSL.   It won't empower deaf either because 9 out of a 10 of deaf don't rely on sign. Basically what  we are seeing is a charity hoping to cash in on it.

There is little proof BSL lessons at this time have empowered deaf on the street, to any significant degree at all.  The direction of the BSL-based culture is away from hearing and others to some sort of independent deaf la-la land where all deaf sign or are mute, and everyone else hears with a hearing aid.  Culture has destroyed the concept of true access and inclusion, it keeps suggesting some sort of comfortable isolationist alternative instead..  

The reason that idea exists to its present level is down to a very simple and sobering fact of life, they are isolated, and BSL isolates them from mainstream. If the class includes us all then maybe, but the fact still remains the huge bias towards culture and against hearing loss, means there are no teachers to actually teach balance. Deaf awareness has failed, HI awareness doesn't exist, so who is going to teach mainstream ? We have had charities for years and special schooling, not made much inroad have they ?  

Surveys suggest up to age 7 children are receptive to sign language, they have no preconceptions about it, but they don't teach loss awareness because they're too young to understand the issues, but post age 7 peer pressure kicks in, and whatever they did learn is buried and then forgotten.  Factual statistics suggest the number of people wanting to teach sign is going down too, too expensive and too many biased 'judges' of sign who argue amid themselves area by area, failing learners who have spent £1,000s to get their assessment, because one judge 'doesn't sign like that..'...

This petition really has not been thought out at all, it is a simplistic plea to promote BSL, nothing else, by a charity dedicated to HoH. Appealing at a very base level without ever thinking about if it would work at all.  I'm sure parents would have input too, with all the current pressures our children already have to comply with the current social engineering in schools, whether most of it is viable at all, it looks a non starter. As stated before the MOST successful deaf are oral not signing. 

A fact the deaf activist keeps very quiet about.

Love, Hate,and being deaf...

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Life in a hearing world

Life in a hearing world from Simon Blakeley on Vimeo.

Clearly without captions it seems....

Tips for hearing friends.

Assuming your hearing friends watch your youtube :)

Deaf Teenager gets eight A* GCSEs

Jessica Olliver
Get ahead, get a CI ?  Teenager says eight A* GCSEs show deaf children can avoid underachieving tag.  A deaf teenager is celebrating after gaining eight A*s at GCSE and says her results show deaf children can overcome the “stereotype” of underachieving.

Jessica Olliver, from Hove, East Sussex, achieved her top grades, as well as a seven and six in English and two As and a B, at Brighton College. The 16-year-old, who was born profoundly deaf but had cochlear implants at aged two and eight, said: “I’m quite pleased with my results, I didn’t expect that at all, when I opened the paper I was really shocked.”

Jessica said her disability had made her more determined and added: “Because I hear significantly less than others then it’s like I have to work more to be able to hear what the teacher says, so I have to strain more in classes so sometimes I get more tired than others.

“Overall, the main issue, my language was a lot less than everyone else’s because I only started talking when I was three which was a lot later than everyone else and I had to work to catch up with everyone else but I think I got there.”

Deaf kids school bus trashed...

Callous thieves have left children with hearing impairment high and dry after stealing parts off their school minibus.

Pupils at Catwg Primary School in Neath have been left devastated after the minibus, which is frequently used for school trips, was vandalised and parts from the engine were stolen. It means the van is now out of action. Head teacher Carol Bassett, said: “The caretaker arrived at the school first thing on Wednesday morning, he spotted the bus on the field.

“It’s usually parked in the car park but it had been pushed onto the field. “The bus was donated by variety club, a children’s charity, it’s dreadful what has happened, it’s hugely disappointing, the children are really upset.” The damage of the bus is so bad that the school can no longer use it.

“The locks and doors have been destroyed, parts from the engine have also been stolen,” the head teacher added “We have to find out how much the damage will cost and then it will be repaired, we don’t know how long it will take.

My disability is worse than yours ?

We are still reading comments and posts where there is suggestion one person's hearing loss experience is nothing compared with the huge disadvantages of being born with it.  I don't agree that those who lose hearing after, aren't as disabled as those who are born with it. In many respects it is a matter of perspectives.

The true definition of a disability, is LOSS, if you are born deaf then loss isn't the issue, it is something else.  Comparing apples with lemons is not a true analogy.  Are we into the realms of 'My disability is more then yours ?'

From the article:

People who are born deaf have a great disadvantage over those of us who were born with hearing, but who then either suddenly or gradually lose our hearing. We know about sound; they don’t. We can pronounce words the way they are supposed to sound because we can remember. We can draw on what we learned when we had hearing.

It ignores the effects of losing access to sound and speech.  Which is the prime disabling factor. It is like saying if born deaf lose sign later on, that isn't an issue either.  When are we going to stop trying to erect more barriers of misunderstanding to justify how we live ? You don't get to define my need.

As for having hearing experience before, it is irrelevant when you STOP hearing.  Indeed, the effect of no longer being able to hear can destroy families, communication, mental health, appreciation of music, social discourse, and access to a job, along with many other areas hearing give us access to.  If you add on to the fact those that lose all useful hearing later on, or after formative years, then it becomes a very real issue, and an issue that worldwide, no one takes much interest in.

If we accept the 'Deaf' community is self sustaining, and offers social access where else it may not be possible, then we can look at the  other deaf with no language or social community or support, who just have to get on with it.  The fact many might well be doing that, does not mean it is without issues. They have found alternatives to sign language in many respects, by sheer necessity in most part, but haven't found a communal approach honed to own experience.  All of us are different.

Mostly the 'deaf' sector is text reliant.  When signed access becomes a real access issue again as support dwindles by less demand, like their deaf schools, and clubs, then the 'deaf' may well come into their own.   It is suggested in many respects in the UK, hearing loss is no longer a real issue except for the sign user, and lip-reading is being abandoned, most feeling it is not run properly as a real system of empowerment, and cannot meet the needs of older deaf people or is taken seriously.  

Good lip-readers need good speech being used, no-one empowers that aspect. Most are viewing it unrealistic. As an attempt to set up a poor man's social aspect it doesn't work either.   Technology is providing real access and alternatives to sign and lip-reading.  The deaf don't need or ask for signed access, many signers no longer demand it in medias. 6% is the best they can hope for.  What happens is they are just shunted to own medias and left to it, NOT access at all.

Dedicated 'sign only' areas just serving to maintain the isolation of its users, and can only work where there are larger concentrations of those sign using people, who probably feel integration is a step too far, and launch access campaigns with no real desire for them to succeed.. The fact many deaf can speak is not a proven advantage in real terms, it won't enable your LOSS.  Sign is no advantage unless you have the support that goes with it.  

Speech makes it easier to ask the question, but it still doesn't provide the answer.  No more than a flashing door bell is of use when you open the front door after.  You still have to find a way to communicate with those that rang the bell.  A hearing animal is not going to do it either, they make poor conversationalists until they can speak or sign that is.

Good speech can suggest to mainstream you have no hearing loss at all, and invite ridicule, discrimination, or worse. Trigger-happy police won't stop shooting at us because we are 'deaf'. That can be compounded with a reluctance by born deaf to communicate with you either as THEY view you hearing.

The usage of sign is self-evident. They don't need a label although they seem to spend 80% of their time trying to invent new ones, and new terms for it all.  But you can only re-invent a wheel so many times.  It's round that is it....Let us dispense with the 'it is harder for me than you..', and we as deaf should not be supporting that concept either. We have much we can teach born deaf on ways to access mainstream without sign dependency, and we should all be working together to limit the need for support where we can, because most view it as negative, and the systems too expensive.    Who has time to be a martyr ?

If deaf children are finding  it hard after an education, then this suggests in itself they need wider communication options, not fewer of them.  So there is a need to resist signed only approaches, so that deaf children can relate to the fact most are not like them and have alternatives they can use.

The gulf between deaf and Deaf is growing ever wider.  Deaf power ? relative isn't it ?  What they lack is real confidence to put themselves to the test, as deaf have to.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Access to Work: What for ?

Image result for support ?
From HoH social media feedback. 

What is the reasoning behind paying up to £42K a year to keep the 'Deaf'  in a job ?  There must be a better use for this money than to support the fact if the state don't support you, the employers certainly won't ?   Is it just to fund the very dependent sign using areas to access their own Arts and cultural areas ?  (Read via the ATR blog site)...

I'm wondering what the hell we are all doing campaigning for an equality law... that is only partially working for a minority of those with hearing loss.  In respect of the majority of A2W funding, the BSL user takes up near all of it. ATR blog said of a case a few years ago where one deaf man had £96,000 in support grants for just one year, and many felt it unjustified because he failed to attain the qualifications after due to poor literacy skills and really should not have got it on that basis, and he should have been supported to be more literate instead.... 

All sorts of issues were raised about the value of dedicated deaf education, and even sole use of sign language, that appear to laud poor literacy.. The complaint was rejected as discriminatory and validated by a right to sign.   I just wonder if ANY HoH of note or deafened actually claimed this allowance at all ? I don't know any that have... and, if so, what type of support is it ? 

Most deaf don't use sign, a lot rely on text or lip-reading, own voice, and denied A2W support funding. HoH are told to just turn the Hearing aid volume up, or ask for a loop ! The criteria seems very ambiguous, with little onus ON employers to do their bit, and the majority of A2W claimants are working in BSL areas and charities....  which suggests the grant of support is NOT empowering them to move outward, simply consolidating what they have. 

Access should have a bottom line of aiding real integration and inclusion...  we aren't seeing the deaf do that.... In real terms only the sign user has ever gained from A2W. Maybe time for THAT discrimination to end ?

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Owls hold the key to better hearing..

Barn owls do not appear to suffer hearing loss as they get older
German researchers have discovered that barn owls, which rely heavily on their sensitivity to faint sounds in order to hunt, do not suffer any significant hearing loss even when they are elderly.

Georg Klump, professor of animal physiology and behaviour at the University of Oldenburg, said it was likely that the ancestors of humans and other mammals had once had a bird-like capacity for repairing their cochleas. This means it may be possible to switch the relevant genes back on with drugs or other treatments.

Deaf Man shot dead by police...

A criminal investigation has been launched after a man, who was holding a stick, was shot dead by police in the southeast side of Oklahoma city last nightA criminal investigation has been launched after a man, who was holding a stick, was shot dead by police in the southeast side of Oklahoma city last night. 

A witness told the Daily Mail that people were yelling at police that the man was deaf before an officer shot him. 'We have lived in the neighbourhood for 13 years so we knew him to see and we knew that he was deaf.

'As the cops tried to approach him my husband, my daughter and I were all screaming at the police that he was deaf,' a female witness said. Police Captain Bo Mathews said officers were responding to a report of a hit-and-run at around 8:15 pm last night when they found a vehicle that matched the description of the one in the crash.

He said that two officers confronted a man holding a stick who was near the vehicle.  One officer fired a Taser and the other shot the suspect with a firearm. The man was pronounced dead at the scene. Witnesses said that the deceased man was Hispanic. One of his neighbours told the Daily Mail that he was deaf and had special needs.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Shape the hearing future...

New Deaf Club in Welwyn G City...

Ludwick Family Club
A new club for deaf and hard of hearing people is coming to Welwyn Garden City to help prevent isolation.

The group called, Welwyn Hatfield Deaf Club, is officially opening on Friday, September 29, at the Ludwick Family Club, in Hall Grove. The grand opening, which begins at 7pm and ends at 9pm, will be attended by the director of Welwyn Hatfield mayor, councillor Lynne Sparks.

The focus of the club will be on well-being and preventing isolation. Those who attend the opening night will be asked to complete a questionnaire to help decide the policy on membership and attendance charges, among other things.

Why deaf prisoners can't phone home...

Calling home from prison is cumbersome and expensive. For deaf people behind bars, it’s even tougher, sometimes impossible.

The technology provided to deaf people in most US prisons is a teletypewriter, a machine developed in the 1960s that requires users to type their messages. 

The system is rife with problems. Most deaf households have switched to some kind of videophone, which allows users to speak in sign language. But prisons across the country still use the outmoded system, known as TTY or TDD (telecommunications device for the deaf), leaving many deaf inmates cut off from loved ones.

“Right now, most deaf detainees and prisoners have absolutely no telecommunications access,” said Talila Lewis, volunteer director of the nonprofit Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of Deaf communities (HEARD), which has been working to improve conditions for deaf people in prison since 2011. “This completely violates federal disability laws left and right, all day every day.”

Access to Work: Is it viable, or the right way ahead ?

Image result for access to work logoMuch is written about the anger of deaf people having their financial support to work being capped, making a job very difficult to get or maintain.  examples of caps are listed below...

The annual cap (limit)  is:

1st October 2015 to 31st March 2016 £40,800
1st April 2016 to 31st March 2017 £41,400
1st April 2017 to 31st March 2018 £42,100

I'm absolutely staggered the lower limit is as HIGH as £42K a year, it is more than some get as a regular wage.  Prior to caps there were some deaf getting twice that allowance, one deaf adult whose support went into the £100K a year range.... and still failed to attain the qualification needed...   Expectation and realism wasn't even considered. The criteria seems to suggest you have to be IN work first and it has to be a viable proposition with a future. Employers are not liable for the main costs.

One wonders if paying a deaf person £42K a year to support them to empty dustbins e.g. is the best way to attain equality. We would rather see the deaf get a valid education and taught alternative communication options that create their need for expensive help,  and so that it helps to pre-empt dependency on others, makes them more employable.  Access support seems to not identify which jobs deaf should be supported to maintain.   

It does seem those most wanting the A2W grants are amid the higher functioning deaf too.  The bottom line seems not the finance but, what is being gained by deaf people as a result of near a £1,000 per week subsidy in some cases. This does not seem a pro-active way of enhancing deaf access to employment, or to avoid questions of, could not that money be used more effectively elsewhere ?

Is this funding, advancing deaf access in real terms ?  Is there a better way of enabling deaf people than paying huge sums of money to do a job that may even not be full time ?  May cost more than if being paid to do it ?  it's financing our own patronage.  The basic issue is not so much the 'caps' on allowances as the fact their support are demanding ever higher fees. 
Reading concerns by deaf people, a lot appears to emanate from the area of the 'Arts' (Theatre, film etc). Of course most are from cities not rural or semi rural areas, where such jobs don't exist anyway, and where many deaf have no work options at all...  It would certainly affect those urban areas because of the high costs of living in those areas.

Do we get explanations of A2W issues away from such areas ? we don't.    Are deaf  getting a £1,000 a week support too ? NOT, where we live, where 67% have never had a full time job of any kind.   Wouldn't upwards of £42K a year be better utilised creating real work ?  None of that money goes TO the deaf.

There is no real breakdown of 

(A) What type of work is being supported ? Sustainable ? or not ?

(B)  Will it enable/empower that deaf person to seek a job anywhere else without it ?  

(C) What jobs are there that using support would NOT be a viable proposition ?

(D)  At what point is a job deemed to be going nowhere in real terms ?  

Health and safety rulings would prevent many deaf taking up some jobs, with  support or without it.  At some point we maybe have to ask what upper limits do deaf want,  up to £80,000 a year ? more ? no limits ?  If we are paying people to keep deaf in a job that is far higher than any wage they could hope to ask for, that puts NO onus on employers to accept their obligations, or incentives the deaf person to do more, something has to give doesn't it ?  

Basically we are paying for deaf to have access, because employers don't respect the equality laws...  Can't help feeling we are aiding and abetting them.  I feel sure I could make a passable independent living if they gave me £1,000 a week, but, the A2W criteria sates you cannot use money for that.. so it is paying for deaf to do jobs with no future ?  To gain experience for jobs they won't be hired for anyway ?

Monday, 18 September 2017

Keeping it clear.

There is no uni-sign ?

UK in the dock...

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6,000 disabled dead before their time because the UK government withdrew their support and allowances and send it to a very dubious and corrupt 3rd world, who promptly spent it this way:

Pakistan: A country that promotes terrorism and denies females an education or equality.

India:  A country that used UK funding to improve its missile arsenal aimed at Pakistan.

Turkey:  Who attacked those fighting ISIS and sent a million migrants to EU despite blackmailing the EU and us to keep them there.

Nigeria:  A country run by a junta who spent the money on Swiss accounts, weapons, and private jets, and operates one of the biggest internet hacking areas in the world that targets democracy, while denying its own people equality.

France: So that it maintains its own borders.

So far deaf and disabled in the UK have lost £13B a year this way, just so the UK can 'look good' as a caring country. We urge Americans to demand no trade deals until the UK respects human rights.  The UK has been found guilty and is ignoring the UN, what hypocrites.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Deaf Child: Amazing sign language...

13 things my hearing friends should know about...

Is Braille relevant today ?

Image result for brailleThe question is asked, could a further query apply to sign language being replaced by text ?   Sign has lost out already in Media and via iphone. 

When Renita Rogers was growing up, her mother pinned her outfits together to help make sure her daughter wore clothes that matched. Today, Rogers, who has been blind since birth, just uses an application on her smartphone. Demonstrating its capability last week at The Blind Center of North Carolina, she simply aimed it at her shirt and an audible voice said, “dark gray.”

Such technological conveniences might lead some to question whether something as basic as Braille is still relevant in modern society. But those who work with people who are blind and visually impaired say the tactile writing system developed in the 1800s is far from obsolete.

“We need to continue to given children with significant vision loss a way to access the written word,” said Robin Bliven, lead teacher for deaf and hard of hearing and visually impaired for Pitt County Schools.“While auditory information is more readily available across the board, continuing to promote literacy skills is going to be a foundation of education no matter what.” Liz Liles, executive director of The Blind Center in Washington, N.C., said even clients who lost their sight later in life are sometimes interested in learning Braille. Doris Wilson, 73 is one of them.

Why? “So if I want to read something, I can read it for myself,” Wilson said. Liles said despite the availability of audio books and forms of technology that read documents for people who are blind and visually impaired, Braille instruction remains desirable. “We find that there are a number of people who are still wanting to have the opportunity (for instruction),” she said. “It's still a skill, and it's still a resource that can most definitely be used.”

For some, using Braille is a matter of personal choice. For others, it represents a level of independence.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Today is the day...

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Deaf Waves !

D/d 'in-fighting' is it destroying equality ?

My thoughts and feelings toward people dictating the use of the word "disability" and the supposed negative connotations associated with the word, as well as infighting in Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities regarding who gets to be considered "deaf" and problems with ignoring the hearing spectrum.


This is the corner-stone of most of my presence online, having to 'defend' the fact I am deaf, not sign reliant and haven't a deaf culture, despite being deaf longer than many of the people saying I am not... really !  Who are these people trying to tell me who I am ?

What started out as justifying an identity based on a disability, and via way of using a manual language to communicate to enforce the cultural concept, has been hugely successful in creating awareness, but only for a small sector of deaf people, it only looks huge because so many Deaf are all in one place, step outside the doors.... so real awareness, acceptances etc get applied in a  very limited fashion to a very small area.  The above vblog is one of 5 I have seen this week fed up with cultural promoters dissing 'd'eaf people, a term they but not us use, and one we have to challenge as wrong, every time the we come into contact with the system.  It's as if it is  new swear term for us or claiming there is a D versus d war going on..

The kickback of successful ID/Cultural promotion is it has overridden awareness and support for everyone else.  I don't think non-cultural deaf or HoH are anti-culture, just anti the negative promotion and misguided-ness of most of it and of course completely in denial about their own profound loss, given they take the LARGEST share of hearing loss support and the MOST expensively supported sector of hearing loss in our respective worlds, and yet to use any of it to become included.... in case culture alone won't carry them.

There is no  doubt that existing in a very small world, isolated and totally reliant on peers, tends to give you a very narrow perceptive of the hearing world and indeed others with hearing loss if you don't really mix with them anyway, HoH/deaf equal hearing.  By far the biggest problem  is the assault on universal access by the cultural deaf, if they went inclusive instead of exclusive more common ground and Less aggravation and frustration would take place. Lack of captions, systems being told all deaf sign etc... assaults on  loss alleviation's, name calling, political campaigns that ignore the most with an issue, that suggest they speak for that majority too, is misleading and annoying when it isn't corrected.

Attempts to correct, get listed as 'attacks on cultural deaf', what it is is a response to misleading awareness campaigns and false declarations.  E.G. Deaf arts via disability funding ?  who are they kidding ? (Themselves obviously).. all this undermines support for others,

It could be argued the 'majority' should fight their own battles, factually they don't have a grouping or unity or the access support to do it, they are far less served in real terms than the 'Deaf' are.  In the UK 'Deaf' support is a national set up, there is NO 'deaf' set up at all.   Division by db and communication mode is being encouraged by hearing and Deaf alike.

There IS a 'smugness' about having a culture and language with some deaf, it is highly misplaced when you look at their sheer dependency on others, that it needs to function.  A clear description of a sector DISABLED.  There is nothing wrong in pride, except what inevitably follows after... I would deem access and equality a total FAILURE, if the total sum of my equality and access, means it only functions within a Deaf world and nowhere else.  The 'I's' are missing INCLUSION, and INTEGRATION.  While those culturally aspiring oppose those in the name of their culture, they will never achieve what they want to, and annoy the shit out of us too.

Our problem is to prevent the activists labelling us all the same as them, as this detracts from ensuring we have what we need... Most of their awareness is aimed in-house, so pointless anyway preaching to the converted. If they want a real fight get out there.    I share the v-bloggers frustration, but do not expect any of the cultural deaf care one bit. Their activists are looking paranoid and self-obsessed, using isolation as a cause celeb. Inevitably this will continue to isolate all Deaf from the rest of the community. So no change there then.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Sign Language, to be recognized in Sri Lanka

Minister of Social Empowerment, Welfare and Kandyan Heritage, S.B. Dissanayake submitted a draft bill and the Cabinet approved to recognize sign language as an official language in Sri Lanka. S.B. Dissanayake - Minister of Social Empowerment, Welfare and Kandyan Heritage

Minister Dissanayake had pointed out that official recognition of sign language will allow a deaf person access to education and have government services delivered to them without discrimination. Official statistics estimate the population of deaf persons to be 389,677. Furthermore, the National Policy on Disabilities has accepted that sign language more often than not is the only language of communication for deaf persons.

"In the meantime”, Minister Dissanayake said, “we have initiated a programme to train 50 persons in Sign Language at the School of Social Services. They would be given training in modern Sign Language. We will enroll another batch of 50 students soon. At the end of the training they could become the next batch of trainers.”

"There are around 400,000 persons in the country who use some form of sign language for communication. At the moment there are less than 10 persons who are proficient in Sign Language known all over the world. 

Medics use Facetime as deaf support...

Darren Tobin with nursing staff
Medics in south Wales hope to roll out a new service to ensure deaf patients and staff always have access to a sign language interpreter.

It follows a trial using the live Facetime video features on iPad tablets at Neath Port Talbot Hospital and the Princess of Wales in Bridgend.

Hip replacement patient Darren Tobin praised the new system as "fantastic". The Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABMU) said it was now "fine-tuning" the new service. Health bosses stressed the system will not replace live face-to-face sessions with British Sign Language interpreters for patients, but was an additional service for use in emergency situations or when an interpreter is not immediately available on the ward.

"I did have a few concerns about having the interpretation through an iPad rather than having an interpreter present," said 51-year-old Mr Tobin, from Port Talbot. "But I was very happy with the way it went. It was very straightforward and the care I received was excellent. "The interpreter was fantastic. When the nurse and doctor were explaining about the hip replacement it was all very clear and easy to understand."

The project was carried out under the supervision of the Wales Council for Deaf People, which provides interpreters for the health board. "It will allow the health board to ensure deaf service users receive appropriate and timely communication support at point of need," said the council's operations manager, Louise McGrath. "This additional provision makes the service an effective and cost efficient means of ensuring the health board reinforces its commitment to the deaf community."