Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Teach Sign in Schools ?

Image result for education ?
To hearing.  Sign is not taught properly in deaf schools either. While we make no claim to be any sort of BSL expert, from what we have seen in deaf clubs the last 26 years some have very poor skills in sign, most appear to lack any sign knowledge regarding detail, it is generalities, 'concepts',  and assumptions, some good some not so.  

I don't support BSL in schools, it should be Signed English, or Sign supported English so they are better equipped to survive when they leave the deaf set ups and support, and have to work with hearing people on their terms too.  Older deaf over 30 already struggle with the 'new' BSL.  Being ill-equipped literally,  the deaf rapidly on leaving school, begin to struggle and became lost to the mainstream, as they revert to all deaf areas again, where struggles are less, and don't pursue their sign education to improve either, then it all goes to reliance on terps or each other.  

Lots of areas have a culture and different language, but the deaf appear pretty singular of the view they need not adapt at all, and that others have to, maybe the reason so many struggle, because you cannot force others to comply, it has to be a willing action.  Topically many migrants come here with little English at all, they adapt to survive, deaf can learn their lessons. HoH had to, deafened people who lost all hearing after or during formative education have to, there was no sign, no support, no 'hoh' schools, no community, and no social workers or terps to help them out.  The old deaf schools were based on the belief deaf had mental impairments, so education was based on that.

More realism has to be used in describing the 'cure-all' of sign use, but too much is being disguised and lost, under cultural demands and rights, and practicality is being ignored.   Trained staff aren't there to equip the demands the Deaf are making, and without those, it is not going to happen.    If you accept current 'Deaf' stats then, their current needs required a 100 times more support for sign they they have currently, and take up of Interpreter courses are falling, not growing, as regards to teaching hearing in a mainstream setting, it is very much pie-in-the-sky as the institutional staff do not exist, and the qualification to TEACH needs more than a degree in BSL..  Most born-deaf would fail the English exam qualifications needed to manage HEARING students..

Most deaf seem in a relentless 'blame culture' where hearing are public enemy number one, this is all down to the fact sign isn't effective enough a bridge and needs a third party, or the other person needs to be a signer too, statistically impossible..  HoH and deafened appear to have found a sign alternative.  At least they aren't complaining about access.  Or maybe they understand the realities.

Adam's Story....

Monday, 30 October 2017

First Cinemark, now Broadway ?

Broadway theater owners should man the barricades after a recent legal decision made them more vulnerable to disability discrimination lawsuits.

On October 6, the same day that Hamilton settled its disabilities lawsuit with a deaf theatergoer, a federal appellate court found that a movie theater chain had to provide tactile interpretation services for its deaf-blind customers under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The services allow audience members who cannot hear or see to understand what is happening in both the film and the theater by feeling the hands of sign language interpreters.

The deaf-blind plaintiff, Paul McGann, wanted to attend a screening of the film Gone Girl, and asked Cinemark, a worldwide movie exhibitor, to provide tactile interpretation services for him. But, after realizing that hiring two tactile interpreters would cost at least $260, the theater chain denied his request, and McGann sued it for disability discrimination in federal court.

The law requires places open to the public, such as movie theaters, to “take such steps as may be necessary to ensure that no individual with a disability is excluded, denied services, segregated, or otherwise treated differently than other individuals because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services.” Yet, when providing the accommodation would fundamentally alter the service already being offered, or pose an undue burden on the business, it is not required.

Cinemark first argued that tactile interpreters do not fall under “auxiliary aids and services,” because they are not “auxiliary” or supplemental to the service that it normally provides.

How will they Hear ?

Virgin Media: Erases CI from photos..

Deaf dancer hits out after Virgin Active edited out her hearing implant

A deaf ballerina has hit out at Virgin Active after they photoshopped her hearing implant out of the advert she starred in. 

Simone Welgemoed, 27, has worn the Cochlear implant since she was just 22-months-old. She considers it part of her and was proud to represent other people with hearing loss – so she was shocked to see the final edit of the ad for the health club had removed it. ‘I was shockingly surprised and it felt like somebody just dropped a bucket of water on me,’ she said. ‘I couldn’t believe what I saw when my sister tagged me in the Virgin advertisement on Instagram, I couldn’t believe what I saw.’ 

The company, founded by Sir Richard Branson, immediately pulled the edited version and replaced it with an earlier take which shows the implant. Simone had accused them of wanting to hide her disability, despite knowing about it when they booked her for the advert.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Substance Abuse & the Deaf/HoH.

Councils forcing free lance BSL terps out ?

Looks like a 'price war'.  Free-lance Interpreting systems under fire from booking agencies.   Is it due to unreliable acceptances of work by free-lance ?  We know chaos was seen when the DWP made demands on BSL terps, many failed to turn up or turned down the booking.

Deaf people in Warwickshire fear losing their voice after council chiefs ditched an interpreter service it had used for over 20 years.  Coventry and Warwickshire Sign Language and Interpreting Service (CWSLIS) was contracted by Warwickshire County Council to provide a free service to the county’s deaf community. But many deaf people were furious to learn the contract had been awarded to ‘BID Services’ in Birmingham.

Ruth Brooks, secretary of Stratford Deaf Group, explained members found the CWLSIS interpreters familiar and reliable, and they used regional sign language – something that exists in British Sign Language as it does in spoken language.

She said: “The group is still angry with the council for not letting us know the sudden change of the interpreter services. I had sent lots of emails asking what was happening when I heard rumours, but it only replied after I asked for a CWSLIS interpreter for parents evening. The group is not happy.”

Other service users have also raised their concerns. Paul – who suffers with mental health issues – said CWSLIS interpreters understood his anxiety and could handle his emotional difficulties, while Ann – who is partially blind – relied on CWSLIS interpreters regularly because they were experienced in reading her sign language which differed with her poor sight.

A county council spokesman said the switch was simply ‘procedural’ after the contract with CWSLIS had come to an end. He said: “All bidders were required to submit a price, all bidders that passed this requirement were then evaluated for quality and the contract was awarded to the bidder with the highest quality score.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Fake Assistance Dogs...

Chris Slavin of Danvers, Massachusetts, with her 3-year-old service dog, Earle. Massachusetts is considering a bill that would crack down on people who misrepresent their pets as service dogs. Nineteen other states have adopted similar measures. (Chris Slavin) Photo: Chris Slavin/TNS
Chris Slavin was in an elevator a couple of years ago with Earle, her yellow lab service dog, sitting calmly beside her wheelchair. The elevator doors opened and in walked a woman holding a purse. In the purse was a teacup poodle the color of apricots.

The doors closed just as the poodle spotted Earle. That’s when the trouble started. In an instant, the poodle leaped from the purse, flung himself at Earle, and clamped his teeth into the bigger dog’s snout, leaving Earle bleeding onto the elevator floor.

“As soon as this occurred the woman said the poodle was a service dog,” said Slavin, who has a severe spinal injury that requires use of the wheelchair. “She then said he wasn’t a service dog but an emotional support dog. Finally, she admitted he was a pet she just wanted to bring in the building with her.”

Incidents like that one in Reading, Massachusetts, not far from where Slavin lives in Danvers, have spurred 19 states to enact laws cracking down on people who try to pass off their pets as service animals. The push has been gathering steam in recent years: 

Virginia implemented its new law in 2016, and Colorado followed suit this year. Massachusetts is now considering a similar proposal.
“Today, any pet owner can go online and buy a vest for a dog to pass it off as a service animal to gain access to restaurants, hotels and places of business,” said Republican state Rep. Kimberly Ferguson, who introduced the Massachusetts bill. “Their animals aren’t trained and end up misbehaving in these public places, which gives real service dogs a bad name.”

BSL rule in Scotland.

Sign language performance
This simply suggests those with 'hearing loss' all use BSL.  Is it NOT time the misuse of the terms hearing loss and deaf was addressed properly, as this project appears to IGNORE deaf and HoH who do not sign.

The Scottish government has announced plans to integrate the use of British Sign Language (BSL) into everyday life.

Measures include removing barriers to deaf people becoming teachers and enabling more pupils to learn BSL in school. It will also address "equal access" to employment opportunities including apprenticeships and internships. The government will give £1.3m to a partnership of hearing loss charities over the next three years.

What's in the plan?

The national plan for people with hearing loss is thought to be the first of its kind in the UK. It has 70 actions ministers will take by 2020 to help deaf people in Scotland, including:

Removing barriers that prevent deaf people from becoming teachers

Developing Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) awards in BSL

Allowing more pupils to learn BSL in school
Guaranteeing government-funded employment schemes are accessible to deaf people

Improving ways of giving information in BSL at train stations and airports

Starting a steering group to help colleges and universities help deaf students. Delia Henry, director of Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, said the plan was a "starting point" in removing barriers for the 13,000 people who use BSL in Scotland.  She said people with hearing loss "often tell us about their communication needs not being met as BSL interpreters have not been provided when they've been looking for support at job centres or during health appointments".

Rude ?

Perhaps NOT the image of HoH or deaf we want to see encouraged ?

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

4 Quarters of Silence.

Increased BSL Access in Scotland...

Ambitious plans to raise attainment and increase access for people with hearing loss. Scotland’s hearing loss community is to gain new rights under Scottish Government plans.

Measures include the greater integration of British Sign Language into everyday life and a plan to boost the number of deaf teachers in schools.    It is also likely to address "fair and equal access" to employment opportunities, including apprenticeships and internships. 

Mark McDonald, minister for childcare and early years, is to visit the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow today (24 October), which offers the UK's only degree course for deaf performers.

It is thought to be the first initiative of its kind in the UK.

With a little help from his friends....

A and B: lateral views of the left and right external auditory meatus illustrating the large external bony growths in Shanidar 1's ear canals , especially the bridging ones on the right side. The arrows point to the bony growths
An older Neanderthal from 50,000 years ago who was deaf and had suffered multiple injuries relied on the help of others to lived well into his 40's.

According to a previous study, the Neanderthal, known as Shanidar 1, he sustained a serious blow to the side of the face, fractures and the eventual amputation of the right arm at the elbow, and injuries to the right leg, as well as a systematic degenerative bone condition.

But in a new analysis, Erik Trinkaus of Washington University in St. Louis and SĂ©bastien Villotte of the French National Center for Scientific Research discovered bony growths in Shanidar 1's ear canals, which would have led to profound hearing loss.

His deafness would have made him very vulnerable during the hunter-gatherer Pleistocene era, which lasted from 2.58 million to 11,700 years ago and spanned the last Ice Age.

Colour me.. What ?

Another daft idea, and you thought only the USA did these things... Please do NOT sign.  It would be sticking a target on yourself.

The latest UK Petition:

Use a different coloured disabled badge for people with invisible disabilities.

Have you ever been a victim of verbal or physical abuse whilst using your blue badge? and do you have a condition that is not visible on the outside? I think there should be another way for us to show others that there are people with disabilities that can’t be seen.

Monday, 23 October 2017

What does it take to become a Hearing Therapist?

hearing therapist careers
What does a Hearing Therapist do?

Rehabilitation specialists are advanced practitioners within audiology (previously known as hearing therapists). They work with adults who have acquired hearing loss, tinnitus or a balance disorder. 

Their role includes:

using counselling skills with clients and their families to facilitate adjustment to hearing loss and related disorders

assessing the rehabilitation needs of patients in order to provide programmes of care

discussing the ways in which everyday life may be affected, setting goals and using problem solving skills

maximising auditory ability by providing a tailored programme which may include teaching lip-reading or other communication skills

working with patients who are suitable for cochlear implants or bone anchored hearing aids

working with patients with complex needs such as dual sensory loss or learning disabilities

working in hospitals and the community as part of a multi-disciplinary team, liaising with audiological, medical and social work staff.

The work also involves keeping detailed records of treatment and progress and attending case conferences and team meetings. Rehabilitation specialists may be involved in giving presentations to groups of professionals, patients, and the general public to help improve their understanding of hearing loss and related disorders. 

What's the working environment like working as a Hearing Therapist? Rehabilitation specialists work 37.5 hours a week full time; part-time or flexible hours may be available. 

They usually work in ear, nose and throat clinics or audiology departments. They may also provide domiciliary services, visiting patients in their homes or in health centres, residential homes, special schools, housing associations and voluntary organisations. 

Some posts involve local travel and a driving licence would be needed. 

What does it take to become a Hearing Therapist? To be a rehabilitation specialist, you should:

enjoy working with a wide range of clients, and have patience and understanding

have clear and distinguishable speech patterns which can be easily lip-read

be able to teach and explain instructions to clients of all ages and abilities

be interested in the theoretical and scientific background of treatment

have imagination, adaptability and persistence in devising courses of therapy, and supporting clients and their families through it
have practical skills and a practical outlook to tackle the everyday problems faced by clients

enjoy working as part of a multidisciplinary team.

Lip-reading is it a lost cause ?

Related image
USA research appeared to suggest lip-reading effectiveness far from being universally acknowledged as just 30% effective was only 12% effective when testing was done.   So many  myths surround this communication assist most declaring far more effectiveness than it actually has.

What is the real issue behind the poor effectiveness of it ?  It is down to poor mainstream accommodations of the lip-reader ?  Poor ability to lip-read by the deaf or HoH person ? or just basic ineffectiveness of the tuition approaches ?  Time and again classes on lip-reading have been panned by HoH as fit only for those WITH enough useful hearing to hear the tutor, and little or no attempts are made to tackle the issue of individual academic or personal ability to complete the classwork.  No clinical advice or assessments on viability.  No monitoring of class approaches or make up either.

The cartoon above suggests it is mostly educated guesswork not a skill to be learnt.  We are told BY tutors the aim is not to acquire lip-reading skills as it stands, but acts as a 'gateway' to further support, or,  social interaction 'like with like', in the belief the skill will come by itself within such groups that understand the issues of hearing loss.  So many holes are in this argument.

E.G. those most in need of communication help cannot access the class at day one, the same issue is mirrored with the sign language class approaches, full of hearing not people with serious hearing loss.  Years ago such lip-reading classes existed for one reason only to promote British telecom telephones and alerts systems, none to deal with the issue of trauma and hearing loss, that prevented the majority even applying to attend such a class.

Those brave enough to take that step found themselves sidelined by decibel from the more abled with hearing, or were told to leave and seek further help from a Social service area instead, this meant most simply returned to their isolated status quo, because SS abandoned hearing loss specialisation services many years ago.

You would simply be referred back to an ENT dept or back to a lip-reading or sign class. At that point the whole concept would be abandoned by those already struggling.  The UK system is inoperable really with random classwork and a set time and duration of the teaching.  There isn't much structure to it because tutors are allowed to set own coursework. There does not appear to be a 'norm' as such to the classwork and too little time to acquire skills when you are 'competing against maybe 12 others in the same boat with differing degrees of learning approach.

Nothing less than a year's tuition one-on-one would produce any  viable results.  The basic complaint towards these classes are that they lack real-time 'training' and succeed only to the degree and within the confines of your class.  It is not enabling you anywhere else, this suggests if for some reason you are not in regular contact with 'like' to maximise the social aspect key to it all,  then it all falls down again.  Ditto when the class closes.

The latest assessment of HoH approaches, suggest we have abandoned this class approach and rely on technology instead, or even an implant of some kind.  Basically the majority are accepting their own lack of access, and own isolation and making the best of it with such technology.  Probably the reason why we do not see the 'HoH' campaigning much at all on any level.  The 'Deaf' accept their isolation too, but are more militant in enhancing it.  Is it now time to accept the fact Lip-reading is not working for us ?  

Given the reputed age-spread of those with loss are older people who find it much harder to readjust to learning a new communication approach, but are frozen out of actual classwork because tutors have neither the skills or time, to accommodate them.

How to talk to a deaf person.

Fair example of talking to people with hearing loss, that isn't a overt cover vlog for promoting BSL instead.  It is always an annoyance that awareness vids start with deaf & HoH but are just 'how to sign to a deaf BSL or ASL user' instead.  I feel sure purists of culture will ignore these things because there are no signs in it for them.  Maybe this is HoH fight-back, no captions for us, no sign access for you...

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Things deaf & HoH want you to know.

Hearing loss affects literacy.

Ear infections are the number one reason for preschool children to visit the GP. Ear infections can be painful, cause difficulty with balance and can also lead to temporary hearing loss.

Most parents assume that there will be no long lasting effects once an ear infection clears up – and most of the time this is true. But in some cases, children can become permanently deaf after repeated infections – which is also known as “glue ear”. It seems that repeated ear infections can also increase the risk of reading difficulties – as our  recent study shows. We found that a third of children who had repeated ear infections had reading difficulties at age nine.

In another group of children, we also found that a quarter of children with reading difficulties in year four of school had some degree of deafness that their parents and teachers were not aware of.

The link between hearing and reading

Most children who have reading difficulties are not deaf or hard of hearing – but there is a significant overlap. This is because learning to read builds on a child’s existing knowledge of language. So children who can’t always hear speech well can find it harder to work out how spoken words “map” onto printed words.

In this way, learning to read can be difficult for children who are deaf. Even mild deafness can have a big impact on hearing. And children with mild or moderate deafness can also have trouble understanding conversation in busy environments – like the classroom.

Communicating to deaf without sign.

Perhaps the most curious awareness video you will see in a while.  How to communicate without sign, IN sign language, thank goodness for captions.  Wonder where this video is accessible TO hearing ? Hearing should use a pencil and paper ? or perhaps  face them so they can lip-read ?  Take courses in understanding body language ?

How about just telling people you cannot hear ?  I've done that every time and there is always a way to communicate, each situation is completely different.  It does need some sectors of deaf or HoH to face up to their own reality, half of the problem is they are bluffing things out.  Or if you are a reliant sign using deaf person, just wait until someone signing comes along or point.

Predominately those who do not use or understand sign language (It would not help if you did and you are faced with hearing who don't anyway), use text, by far THE most effective mode for the majority of us.  It may be of interest to note UK courts have agreed lip-reading is not an effective medium to be relied on... and sign usage IS assumed as 100% so long as the client agrees to use an interpreter....hmmm !

So text wins hands down (No pun intended), it seems.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Hearing loss * Deafness: A recipe for Dementia ?

More studies show relationship between hearing loss and dementia
We are still reading that 'studies' into dementia lay the cause as hearing loss, this heaps guilt onto people losing hearing who may well believe the next step is forgetting your own name !  Responses on social medias when challenged tried to defray reasoned argument, by stating it wasn't 'targeting' us specifically (Nope they just examined deaf people in isolation ! As ATR pointed out:-

Pro hearing loss is at base of dementia poster said:

"These studies were targeted at Dementia as a specific, not hearing loss, and untreated hearing loss come top of the extra risk factors."


That is NOT what the news item (or you said), they specifically mentioned hearing loss in a global sense, and it was from a hearing loss site. We ARE being targeted as a sector. There is no assessment procedure that takes into account educational, language, or cultural differences. Are we back to HoH having no cultural difference as per 'Deaf' whatever ? They start life with 40% of deaf children having a mental health problem, they say hearing create that for them and deafness is no issue.

Their culture and communication does not follow the nation's grammatical norm either, again HOW are assessors defining the criteria for these people ? They don't know the same as hearing do ? they don't use the same language, grammar or same way of communicating ?  That puts the deaf amid 174 other cultural areas in the UK.  I'm willing to bet with proper criteria set up we would find, we do as well or better than many hearing do, its a matter of perspectives.   We may be rusty on reciting the 93 times table backwards, but so are most hearing !

We may well have no idea of music or quality of signing voices, but we do have a valid reason for that.  Frankly music appreciation died for me 48 years ago along with my hearing.  Are we all senile because we cannot name best singers today ? It's a subjective point anyway.   We have no means to follow them, you do not get voice quality from subtitling or sign language, its an audio thing.  Obviously learning difficulties etc and mental health affect questions too.

You have to use the assessment criteria bearing in mind the access we do not have, and the alternatives we utilise, and not ask questions that are applicable to only people who can hear..  This means assessors of the medical ilk need to be deaf and HoH aware, we are going to wait another 50 years for that to happen.  They are still talking through 3rd parties. 

Obvious thing like forgetting your own family etc we can agree on, but the rest... As the hearing loss worlds are introspective and isolated anyway a different approach has to be used. We can pick ANY singular sector of people and get the same 'results'. No-one is comparing like with like.

The decline of the deaf clubs....

The Decline of Deaf Clubs - Taryn Banks from Auckland Deaf Society on Vimeo

This should be welcomed if it means deaf are now being included.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Silent Network: The Return..

Read My Voice

The Hybrids, neither deaf or hearing...

Hidden Hearing comes of age...

The battery-powered microphone, processor and motor is placed beneath the skin and within the skull near the ear in a complex operation

NHS surgeons are restoring deaf patients’ hearing with a revolutionary ‘bionic ear’ implant with no external parts – making it impossible to tell a person has it fitted.

The battery-powered microphone, processor and motor is placed beneath the skin and within the skull near the ear in a complex operation. After six to eight weeks it is switched on – and the patient can hear again.

Other semi-implantable hearing aids, such as cochlear implants, are already widely available but all have external sound receivers which cannot be worn during activities such as showering, bathing or swimming, when water may damage the electronics. The battery-powered microphone, processor and motor is placed beneath the skin and within the skull near the ear in a complex operation

Most patients also find it more comfortable to remove the receivers during sleep, and at these times they are once again deaf.  Because all components of the new Carina device are fully implanted, patients are able to hear at all times.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Consultations without access

'Deaf' scammers target Kent...

editorial image
Concerns have been raised following several reports of cold callers going from door to door, claiming to be deaf and trying to sell items.

Residents across the district have said they have been targeted by people knocking on doors and stating they are deaf, before being asked to purchase pieces of artwork. On social media residents reported the callers had been spotted at addresses in Ashington, Storrington, Sullington, Findon, Henfield, Pulborough and Upper Beeding over the past week. An Ashington resident said someone claiming they were deaf knocked on their door on Saturday night, October 7.

Another, who lives in the Storrington Road area, said a woman came to their door stating a similar thing on Monday October 9. Local media reported similar incidents in other areas in Sussex including Mayfield and Heathfield as well as in Kent.

UK: Who cares about disabled ? We don't.

One picture sums up a ‘human catastrophe’ in the UK better than a million reports ever could [IMAGE]
On Thursday 12 October MPs debated the most “challenging” report by a UN committee in its 10-year history. The reports authors had concluded that the UK government was presiding over a “human catastrophe” in its own country. But the number of MPs present sums up the battle disabled people in the UK face.

The debate on the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) report into the UK government was called by SNP MP Deidre Brock. At the debate were seven SNP MPs (20% of their total number in parliament); six Conservative MPs (1.9%); five Labour MPs (1.9%), and no one at all from the Lib Dems, Greens, Plaid Cymru, or DUP. The debate lasted 33 minutes, with Penny Mordaunt – the Conservative Minister for Disabled People, Health, and Work – giving a 19-minute statement.

Paula Peters said:

It was dreadfully disappointing and disheartening to see the House of Commons chamber practically empty during the debate on the UNCRPD report. That only the Shadow Minister for Disabled People attended the debate, with four other MPs from Labour, spoke volumes. The opposition need to put credible action behind their words of supporting the fight for equality inclusion and disability rights, and attend debates. But they also need to start really hearing disabled people’s voices.

In August, the UNCRPD assessed how well the UK government is sticking to its obligations under its convention. The government agreed to these obligations in 2009. And the UNCRPD was unequivocal in its opinion on how disabled people are treated by the Conservative government. Its Chair, Theresia Degener, said in a statement seen by The Canary:

Evidence before us now… reveals that [welfare] cut policies [have] led to [a] human catastrophe in your country, totally neglecting the vulnerable situation people with disabilities find themselves in. The UNCRPD released its findings on 31 August, It said the government is failing disabled people in over 70 areas – from basic human rights, to not tackling discrimination, to the damaging impact of austerity and welfare cuts. It gave over 90 recommendations, the most given in its 10-year history.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Icons !

Image may contain: text
Moot point disability icons are old hat, and misleading anyway. The ear logo is boring too. The latest icon displayed actually does not indicate at all what the disability is, more which toilet you can use (Until transgenders move in that is). 

Hands and ears are the worst icons, because we lost control of those images and it just means means someone who is deaf, signing, and cannot hear or speak, HoH have never had an icon that counts at all, it is why we get sidelined and don't exist. We even get that wheelchair logo aimed at us as a blanket statement. Until HoH can invent an 'image' that clearly identified THEM, nothing is going forward they have lost the control of our issues online already and forced into closed HoH/Deaf sites to lament whatever ID they felt they had. 

They should be marching to Westminster, and sorting out pathetic charities. 544 exist in the UK for 'deaf' and 97 for HoH, this simply does not equate with the fact there are 10m others, and only 15-23,000 who confirmed in the last census they are profound deaf sign using. But they allowed hearing to state that preference too and relatives and teachers to the deaf.  

HoH never asked to be even included. It goes without saying they won't join these charities either, it's a complete mess and ineffective. 294 charities had LESS than 6 members.  The rest seemed unsure what they are doing and don't include those WITH hearing loss anyway.

Why sign language petitions won't work

Image result for exclusive versus inclusive

Not happy with BSL petitions ?  Online petitions are wide open to misinterpretation, ones that start or get supported via social medias can invite exterior countries and people to support them, since they do not ensure their target audience are the people supporting the points raised, some people will sign anything.  Government petitions tend to insist on residential proof, but not what status the person actually is, because another law, the Data Protection Act prevents you asking.

Of course hearing can support deaf petitions as they please.  Factually none of these petitions are worth anything much except as a protest, because you need 100,000 to get them read, that is not to say then the state will act on it.  Another issue is these petitions seem confined WITHIN the deaf areas, so hearing don't see them anyway. As such I would not waste my time supporting petitions like these.  The point of the petition lacks details as do most petitions regarding BSL.  

They don't come from a point of practicality they tend to be emotion-based.   They cannot staff deaf schools, we don't really support that concept any more.  You would never find enough teachers to make it a curriculum based thing or who was without any bias (Which is essential when teaching children, which raises the point of conflicting grammar being used).  

There is nothing either, to prevent HoH insisting on their awareness inclusion too and schools could come under real pressure they are discriminating.   The opt out via 'language' is a discrimination endorsed.  And the ever annoying aspect is the BSL campaigns are exclusive, not inclusive.  

They would not induce awareness of hearing loss because language/culture is the point, it would be all Milan, D/d plugs, and 50 shades of audism. We know the last legal census in England confirmed only 15,000 people were aware of or used BSL (Awareness and usage are not the same thing), there about 5,000 others in the UK, no-one believed the BDA's 90-100,000 ! claims. Even so, 10 million aren't. The 18K stat seems then a conundrum.  Who is supporting the petition ? hearing people ? or deaf outside the UK.  Whoever is, has not done their homework.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Stop shooting deaf people...

Assistance Dogs

Image result for assistance dogs australia
1 in 6 Australians are affected by hearing loss, with approximately 30,000 people with complete hearing loss.

“Hearing loss is an invisible disability. People aren’t aware of sounds that we often take for granted,” says Chief Executive Officer of Lions Hearing Dogs David Horne. 

The dogs are specially trained to assist the deaf by alerting and directing their carer to a number sounds that the carer may be unable to hear. These can range from common household noises to, in more extreme cases, fire alarms.

The dogs also provide emotional benefits - hearing dogs can give carers feelings of independence, comfort and security. The responsibility that is required to care for the dog is also accompanied with an additional sense of companionship. “People who suffer from hearing loss suffer and are isolated. Hearing dogs can encourage community participation and help clients regain socialisation and improve independence.”

ATR COMMENT:  At the risk of suffering eternal damnation from pet lovers, HOW, does a dog break down the real isolation people have, experiencing huge difficulties of social and communication isolation ?

We all know the value of having a pet, but they aren't PEOPLE, they cannot talk, and it is other people we need to be with too, to break down the barriers that are preventing our inclusion.  Is it just on the fact people will all walk up to you and pat the dog's head ? they are engaging with the pet not you.  Because that is what it amounts to, are we just seeing random people doing that and then really engaging with the main reason you are isolated ?  DO Let us know.

Pet lovers are not always people includers...

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Single, White, Female..

Theresa May during a visit to Dunraven School in Streatham, south London

A new report coming out today may well suggest the UK is inherently racist and unaccepting of ethnic minorities.  ATR suggests the research failed to clarify what is really going on.  Have you ever seen any of these 'groups' with any significant white presence ?  Mostly they exist to further own aspirations, and apportion 'blame' to others, as averse to integrating and adapting, or more vitally, talking it out properly..  By far the greater issue is confusing division, with difference...

ATR:   "If a picture paints a 1,000 words then the one with a single white female in it, tells it all. If it just another talk shop, new focus group, or even some sort of positive discrimination law, forget it, it won't work. Speaking to friends we all socialise, tend to live near each other, and work together we don't tend to seek out ethnic areas to do that. We accept they want to live differently to us, and that is half the problem as the state encourages that right. Until some sort of none acceptance of recognising division takes place nothing will change. 

Simplistically, when in Rome... adage seems to be driving most of it... people refuse to adapt. At the end of a very long day you cannot force people to get on, and it won't work telling people off or threatening them with more laws. Is the UK racist ? I don't really think so, I do think they are resentful ethnic areas are refusing to adapt to our ways, it is after all our country. 

We could not live in theirs and do what we want. Multiculturalism is a total myth if it remotely suggests that the concept is the same as integration. When you have entire areas where no white person lives, or is able to understand what the language being used is, then nothing short of breaking up that cycle is going to work, which in itself means the state has to discriminate. It cannot publish these things casting blame on us and expect anything will progress from that...."

Deaf girl gets Deaf doll...

Technically not a hearing aid but a CI...

Why I hate being deaf (III)

OASC to improve HI access ?

Open Access Smart Capture glasses. Photo: Cameron SlaterIt won't enhance a signer's access but....  how will HoH attend these shows which appear based in southern England mostly ? There is greater demand for subscribing to youtube/TV coverage. An untapped resource that would make the arts really accessible to all, and not just a few Londoners.

Sam Mendes was returning to direct a play about Lehman Brothers or the premiere of a new work by David Hare. Instead, what caught the eye was a pair of glasses held aloft by NT director Rufus Norris that soon may become become a regular fixture in the National’s three auditoriums.

The innovation, dubbed Open Access Smart Capture, was designed particularly with deaf, deafened and hard of hearing audience members in mind. It offers personal captioning, flashing the play’s dialogue in front of the wearer’s eyes as the actors say it.

It is a project that has been three years in the making and when the testing is complete in October 2018, it could prove “transformational”, according to Norris. It will be available for every performance the National puts on. In launching its new smart glasses, the National pointed to predictions from Action on Hearing Loss that in less than 20 years, one in five will be affected by hearing loss. The theatre says this equates to 11 million potential customers.

“If you think about it even for a minute you can understand that if we can get this right and develop this type of technology, the possibilities in terms of broadening our audience and really serving the people of this country are pretty fantastic,” Norris adds.

It means hearing-impaired visitors will no longer have to rely on the four captioned shows – with large LED caption screens on either side of the stage – that the National programmes for each production run.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Awareness: The real 'casualty' ?

Yesterday on BBC TV we saw the regular medical soap opera 'Casualty' cover for the third time, issues of including a deaf patient who uses sign language.  

This time, an apparent 16yr old teenage girl who had a cochlear implant that failed to work due to some accident or other, and was unable to communicate except in sign language.  Unfortunately from that scenario on it all went Pete Tong and diverged into the realm of complete bias and lack of any realism or continuity.

For example the mother who accompanied her daughter to the hospital despite bringing her up for 16yrs had no idea how to finger spell let alone sign anything else the daughter was 'dependent' on.  You have to ask where was she during the first 16yrs of her daughter's life, as she was unaware when the daughter acquired fluency in it, or maybe you ignore details ?

This was further compound by the introduction of one counter clerk who knew even less sign language than the mother did.  To the apparent rescue, came another teen completely oral but also signing who saved the day and gave us all a lecture on the evils of CI implantation and the lack of sign awareness, who rounded it off in complete 'Deaf' style by then quoting Helen Keller (As you do)..  and berating the parent for 'forcing' a CI on her daughter...  Give this guy a BDA Oscar.... Then started rambling about the 'music still going on' or something.  HIS signing was less than anyone else's there.

We have to ask who on earth sanctioned the script for this item that lacked reality, accuracy or even inclusion to plug a 'Deaf' attack on CI's ?  As someone who knows a bit of sign too (I only used it for 26yrs so it may be a bit ropey), I did not understand a single 'sign' used.  None on the screen were able to sign the medical aspect, so it looked curtains for certain because the CI failed.   It became farcical when the mother at the end was attempting to copy some finger spelling to spell her own daughter's name, c'mon !!

What deaf students need...

Apart from an accessible bar that is....

Vandals Target HI Center for 3rd time.

Image may contain: outdoor
A 20-year-old man was arrested early Saturday morning for burglarizing and burning a Vancouver resource facility for people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

At 2:40 a.m., officers responded to an alarm at the Southwest Washington Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at 301 Southeast Hearthwood Boulevard. Vancouver police said while officers walked the perimeter, a man fled the scene on foot. The suspect, identified as Justin L. Smith-Riggs of Vancouver, was detained a short time later.

While investigating the scene, officers found smoke coming from a broken window and damage described as very minor to the building’s interior. Fire officials also responded to the scene and collected evidence. Smith-Riggs was booked into jail and faces charges including second-degree burglary, second-degree arson and second-degree malicious mischief.

Police said the investigation into the incident is ongoing. Before Saturday, the center had already been targeted three times this year. Vancouver police have not reported if any of the incidents are related.

Phone calls can be beamed right into your central nervous system

Woman with cochlear implant
It used to be a running joke.. 'My CI can tune in to BBC 1 and Radio 5..'  Now it appears a reality.   Even deaf it seems are unable to avoid this increasing option to spy on us all.  Hackers already control baby alarms, and CCTV's etc, could the CI user be the next target ?

Just what you need in the age of ubiquitous surveillance: the latest cochlear implants will allow users stream audio directly from their iPhone into their cochlear nerve. Apple and implant manufacturer Cochlear have made “Made for iPhone” connectivity available for any hearing implants that use the next-generation Nucleus 7 sound processor. The advance means that these implants can also stream music and Netflix shows.

The technology was first unveiled in 2014 when it was added to hearing aids such as the Starkey Halo and ReSound LiNX. But this is the first time it’s been linked into the central nervous system.

While some cochlear implants already offer Bluetooth connectivity, these often require users to wear extra dongles or other intermediary devices to pick up digital signals, and then rebroadcast them to the hearing aid as radio. This technology simply beams the signal right into the brain.

It’s also a better way to use Bluetooth. Bluetooth headsets have been commonplace since the early 2000s, but the energy-sapping technology has meant they are typically clunky devices with poor battery life.

In 2014, Apple technicians developed a way to stream audio over the low energy Bluetooth format used by wearables such as FitBits. Now, tiny devices like hearing aids – and Apple’s Airpods — can stream audio signals for up to a week on a battery the size of an aspirin.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Care provision for deaf elderly...

Seems the western world is way behind Asia.

A first-of-its-kind housing facility in Hokkaido geared specifically to provide care to elderly deaf people has won plaudits, putting into stark relief the shortage of similar options for seniors in other parts of Japan.

At the residence, opened in Hokkaido’s capital Sapporo in the spring, residents say they relish the atmosphere described as a “big family” where they can interact with each other and staff members, avoiding the communication difficulties they might suffer at general facilities.

“Every morning I get to see the faces of everyone and greet them. I can live with peace of mind,” said Madam Michiko Hirata, 80, who moved into the home named “Hohoemi no Sato” (Town of Smiles) with her husband in April.

At around 3pm daily, lights flash in the hallways and common area of the home, informing residents it is afternoon snack time and calling them to gather in the cafeteria where they chat among themselves in sign language, gesture to answer pop quizzes from staff members, and drink fruit punch.

Around 20 male and female residents live in the home, some of whom rent single rooms and others in pairs

Only one per cent of media staff are disabled

Lizz.CarrAs few as one per cent of the employees working for some UK broadcasters have described themselves as disabled people, according to new research by the industry regulator.  Ofcom’s Diversity And Equal Opportunities In Television report says disabled people appear to be “significantly under-represented” across the television industry, at just three per cent.

The Ofcom report – which focuses on the five main broadcasters, but also looks at another 342 smaller organisations – found that only one per cent of staff working for ITV and Viacom (which owns Channel 5) describe themselves as disabled.  Sky is only slightly better, at two per cent, while Channel 4 performed best with disabled people making up 11 per cent of its workforce.

Although the report says that only four per cent of BBC staff say they are disabled, this figure represents the calendar year 2016 and new figures, following a diversity and inclusion census carried out towards the end of last year, show a much higher proportion, at 10 per cent*.  The Ofcom report says there is a “worrying” lack of data on disability, with no information on 30 per cent of staff across the television industry.

ITV provided disability data on fewer than half of its employees, while Sky provided disability information on just two per cent of its staff.  Ofcom also says it has now started enforcement action against 57 broadcasters, because of their failure to provide any data on gender, race and disability.

Simon Balcon, a member of the deaf and disabled members committee (DDMC) of the performers’ union Equity, welcomed the Ofcom report.  He said: “I think that it’s great that reports like this actually exist, and that attention to the issue of casting actors with disabilities is getting more attention.

“I also think that more can be done, though. While the BBC is doing more than other channels to be progressive with its casting, actors with disabilities are less visible than on other channels, strange as this may seem. “I would echo the report’s concern… that there is a worrying lack of data for disabled people, as this does not give us a full picture.


This article is not directly linked to recent concerns by the UK deaf community regarding should deaf actors play deaf people ?  Obviously any actor being considered for a part has to be viewed on the acting ability, and suitability to the role, not just because they posses a particular disability or language knowledge.  The tendency by deaf communities is to always focus on the deaf person, and far less on the role they are playing, if we read comments, which are largely based on poor sign skills.  As regards to signing or cultural background only if it is linked to the role being played, else our deaf actors get typecast, and restricted to only deaf roles which severely limits their ability to progress. Acting is not about 'jobs for the boys/gals..' but about widening access and opportunities, to more important roles to play.  There are just not enough 'Deaf' medias to make it worthwhile, and it would still be a minority audience..

What NOT to do !

Getting Shirty !

SUPPORT: Cubby House teacher Rebekah Bruce and Chelsea Lukito proudly wear their handmade loud shirts. Photo: SUPPLIED
The annual Loud Shirt Day appeal is the biggest fundraising event for charities, the Hearing House in Auckland and the Southern Cochlear Implant Paediatric Programme based in Christchurch.

Both charities are dedicated to enabling deaf children with cochlear implant or hearing aids to listen and speak like their hearing peers. Neither organisation charges deaf children or their families for their services. The Cubby House Early Childhood Centre on Pioneer Highway was one of the many local businesses who took part.

Centre manager Heidi Massicks says parents, staff and children had a particularly strong connection to the cause. "These are charities that are especially dear to us as we have one of our children with a moderately-severe hearing loss who is currently being supported by the Southern Cochlear Implant Programme. We thought this would be a great chance to fundraise and give something back."

As part of the Cubby House fundraising, staff tie-dyed loud t-shirts with the children ready to wear on Loud Shirt Day. The team also set up an online donation page and the children created t-shirt art works that were auctioned off. Donation tins were also placed in each classroom.

"So far, we have collected $565.90 with donations still coming in. The children were super proud to wear their personally designed t-shirts and we received many positive comments from our families." The day also saw the centre invite a special guest to their Nursery, to introduce some New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) to parents. 

Deaf who stress out their families ?

While those going deaf suffer embarrassment, worry and fear of rejection, both they and their partners experience frustration, anger and upset
Sparing some thought to the unappreciated and long-suffering relations who support us all.  Time for deaf people to cut the dependency on them and let them have a life too.  We know 63% of deaf people are NOT using professional/interpreter support and relying on families.  Time to stop being selfish, and taking our nearest and dearest for granted, and using them as a free source of unpaid care ?  If only to create the demand for it....

Going deaf makes life hard for the sufferer but it is tough on their husband or wife too. The partners of people losing their hearing endure frustration, anger and upset, research shows. They have to contend with a blaring television and must raise their voice and repeat themselves to be heard.

They also report becoming socially isolated or having to attend events alone, as their deaf spouse withdraws over fears they will be unable to hear. While those going deaf suffer embarrassment, worry and fear of rejection, both they and their partners experience frustration, anger and upset. While those going deaf suffer embarrassment, worry and fear of rejection, both they and their partners experience frustration, anger and upset

They are forced to act as interpreter and field every telephone call. The effort of speaking loudly, repeating words and avoiding misunderstandings can be exhausting, they say. Researchers at Nottingham University reviewed 78 studies about the impact of deafness on sufferers and those closest to them.

Lead researcher Venessa Vas said: ‘Hearing loss affects the whole family.’ 

Thursday, 5 October 2017

New Gene therapy research into deafness..

Researchers at Oregon State University have been working on what could lead to the development of gene therapies for those born deaf. Mutations in a protein called otoferlin, which binds to calcium receptors in the sensory hair cells of the inner ear, can be directly linked to hearing loss. 

The team found more than 60 mutations that weaken this bond to the sensory hair cells of the ear, marking the first of many steps to identifying successful therapies.  In a press release from OSU, Colin Johnson, associate professor of biochemistry and biophysics stated that, “a lot of genes will find various things to do, but otoferlin seems only to have one purpose, and that is to encode sound in the sensory hair cells in the inner ear. And small mutations in otoferlin render people profoundly deaf.”

The size of the protein has been causing problems for researchers thus far. “The otoferlin gene is really big, and it makes a huge protein,” Johnson explains, “the traditional method for making a recombinant protein is using E. coli, but they loathe big proteins. This paper came up with a way of getting around that challenge.” “We were trying to shorten the gene, to find a truncated form that can be used for gene therapy,” Johnson added. 

“There is a size limit in terms of what you can package into the gene delivery vehicle, and otoferlin is too large. That’s the holy grail; trying to find a miniature version of otoferlin that can be packaged into the delivery vehicle, and then hopefully, the patient can start hearing.” 

To get around these obstacles and find out how otoferlin mutations affected their bond to calcium receptors, the researchers developed a new way to assess that bond after identifying a truncated form of the protein that can function in the encoding of sound. This research not only opens a door for people who are born with hearing loss, but for researchers working to solve similar problems through bioscience as well.

Johnson’s team included doctoral biochemistry student Nicole Hams, former biochemistry doctoral student Murugesh Padmanarayana, and assistant professor of biophysics Weihong Qiu.