Thursday, 30 November 2017

Too many deaf kids still cannot read....

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Communicating with the deaf without sign language.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(6) Keep trying.

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

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Should Oralism be promoted within the deaf community ?

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

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

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

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

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

Deaf teacher calls for BSL recognised by Government

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

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

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

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

The article: 

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

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

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

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

Factory staff learn sign to aid deaf co-workers.

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

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

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

Open to Interpretation.

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

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Deaflympics: Rally call.

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

Hearing aid rationing increases dementia...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No sign language interpreters at concerts is discriminatory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lies, damned Lies and all that....

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 26 November 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 24 November 2017

It makes sense.

Image result for It makes sense wales campaign

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

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

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

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

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

Wearing hearing aids at School.

It's a hard-knock life...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Deaf who live with dementia

RAD bias misleads on BSL.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, 20 November 2017

So U want to be an Interpreter ?

Does this mean the 60% of deaf support that comes from unqualified friends and relatives is illegal and dangerous ?

I am not broken...

It would seem ONLY the 'Deaf' are against certain terms, but quite happy to develop any number of their own !  They invented labels.  A clever move for culture, but one that just promotes disagreement with other deaf and HoH.  There has never been a unified advance from either sector.

New iPad system for deaf leaves them 'frustrated and upset'

Image result for Sign LiveTechnology still an issue with the Deaf.  

A Plymouth family say a new online signing system for deaf patients at Derriford Hospital has left them feeling frustrated and upset.

The service, provided through an app called Sign Live, has been installed on hospital iPads and is used to connect patients with hearing difficulties to a signer via Wi-Fi. The trust that runs the hospital says face to face signers are also available.

One Plymouth family, who visit the hospital regularly, say they have encountered many problems with the new system, and it has meant that they have had to cancel appointments, rush through notes or reschedule.  Stewart Parfitt, 75, contacted the Herald on behalf of his son, Jeffery, 46, who is deaf and currently undergoing treatment for Lymphoma.

In the past week the family have visited the hospital twice. During the visits they were given an iPad to use instead of a signer, which they say makes things very stressful and makes Jeffery want to cancel his appointments altogether. Stewart said: “They want to use iPad’s. In an emergency it’s a good idea, but the last thing he will want to do is talk to a machine. We need people to know what happens in the hospital.

"He’s so stressed out we’re having to cancel the appointment.”

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Is lottery and charitable/disability funding advancing access ?

Image result for charity is bad
In the wake of CIN the annual beggarthon that just ended on the BBC. (A beggarthon initially the deaf withdrew participation with, because it exploited deaf children for the pity angle).  

Now deaf charities que up with their hands out, but not everyone sees charity as positive in Deaf terms.

Ergo:  "I think the days of throwing money at minority output for no other reason than it is a minority serves no purpose of integration or access at all, just reinforces the status quo.  It is why SEE HEAR and BSLTV still survives with no viewing numbers of note, but justified because it does provide jobs for the deaf boys and gals. 

A patronage that is supported.  There are deaf bloggers who rely on charity support, which mean they are airing bias and providing free advertising.  That most support for Deaf relies on charity ignores the actuality the reason, that is their rights are being ignored, a far more serious issue.  Charity also enforces the 'poor me, I'm disabled' image too, since a positive image of deaf people deters fund-givers. If you are positive and outgoing, obviously you are not needing 'help'.  Of course the spate of media programs focusing on how heroic we all are simply because we cannot hear, see or walk is dubious to the extreme.  Deaf became a commodity to be sold.

E.G. must charitable/Lottery funding goes towards educational and help with work etc, two areas the state is obliged to fund itself but offloaded to others.

Funding part-supports its own cultural self-image, but as most deaf output goes under the disability label there are issues with the that as a concept, so an uneasy alliance.  Despite 30 odd years of funding BSL, it has barely moved outside its own area, basically because they don't want to move out of it.  We aren't fooled because there seems lots of it online, where it counts on the street it isn't there. Mostly funding is used to prop up culture, which would fail without it.  Up until very recently deaf clubs only survived because the local authorities paid their rents, when that stopped, most folded.

Deaf culture's bases was the deaf school and now only about 20 exist, and 50% under the threat of closure as inclusive education gets rolled out.  Wales hasn't 1. Despite claims to the contrary BSL recognition has still been blocked in education as a stand alone immersive means, because parents say it prevents choice and holds back the child.  They want much more inclusion and more options.  What they don't want is their child's education used as a 'tiered' system where some deaf children get an advantage over another or feel ostracised, by communication used, or alleviations obtained.

You have to e.g. feel for the genuine deaf actor who wants to move outward, no scope at all really.  It's co-disability arts, or BSL stuff.  Mainstream seems as remote as ever.  We believe media prefers to fund them in isolation, even the BBC that helps raise money for them, because it saves questions on access and inclusion that is causing them cost and bother.   They had to close down their online feedback because of outrage regarding bias.  Disability areas retained theirs, but the deaf got thrown out.  It is claimed HoH/deaf brought down BSLTV feedback, and they responded by bringing down the RNID (the dominate HoH charity in the UK), forums in retaliation.  Deaf V deaf very confrontational at that time.

'All Deaf together', means, 'It keeps them apart and out of our way' basically. The BBC fed up of being arbiter day in and day out.  They moved them to social media and both areas closed each other out.  Maybe media understand as most of us do, Deaf don't want out of where they are anyway.  With a third of deaf all in one City (London), the cultural concept gets driven from there, or in Scotland.  The real proof is going to mainstream and selling BSL and culture, to see where it goes.  Any audience is driven by demand, but the present systems are just job creation for the few, most of that funded by hand outs and with content that is honed to specific areas, mostly, their friends !

Sadly culture doesn't give you a job, a proper education, or helps you manage mainstream after that specialisation, mainly because deaf charities don't provide those jobs, and  because deaf won't join as members.   Inclusion is always relative, not a direction as such.  Have we gone full circle in relying on charity and handouts, that are based on the fact Deaf are not being included or taught properly ? Whilst the recipient believes it is some sort of cultural recognition instead, who cares where the money comes from ?

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Same sex marriage in Auslan.

Statement in regards to the media coverage of the Auslan interpreting of the same sex marriage postal survey announcement. 

It was a significant moment for Australia when David Kalisch, the Australian Statistician, announced the results of the same sex marriage postal survey at 10am on Wednesday 15th November 2017. The Australian Bureau of Statistics and ABC ensured this moment was accessible for the Deaf community as the live broadcast included an Auslan interpreter who interpreted Kalisch’s announcement.

This was an emphatic step to include the Deaf community in a momentous occasion, so they could too celebrate with friends, colleagues and communities. Unfortunately, afterwards media attention was drawn to inaccurate commentary in regards to the Auslan interpretation of the announcement. 

A number of national and international media outlets including The Age, and The Evening Standard posted inaccurate reports about the interpreting based on the Twitter commentary of a person who had previously studied Auslan at the introductory level. This person was not Deaf, nor a native user of Auslan, nor did they have a qualification in Auslan interpreting or sign language linguistics. By their own admission their Auslan was “rusty”. Yet this person’s commentary was used as the basis for a number of published reports. 

Deaf Victoria are disappointed that these media outlets did not attempt to verify this commentary by requesting the opinion of a native user of Auslan or an expert, such as a sign language linguist. Deaf people are all too often marginalised from even their own language and community, with precedence being frequently given to the opinions and views of people who can hear on topics and issues inherent to the Deaf community. This denies Deaf people the right to autonomy and integrity. This denies them the ability to speak for themselves about their language and community, and the workings of an Auslan interpreter. Subsequently, this perpetuates damaging myths and stereotypes about Auslan, the Deaf community and the interpreting process and standards.

Deaf Victoria hopes these media outlets will amend their reports, with an apology to the Deaf community and the Auslan interpreter concerned, for publishing inaccurate statements. Furthermore, Deaf Victoria hopes all media outlets will in future take steps to ensure that they consult members of the Deaf community with the appropriate qualifications and lived experiences, before publishing such reports about Auslan and Auslan interpreting. 

Mija Gwyn

Deaf Victoria provides advocacy for the Deaf and hard of hearing people in Victoria with funding received from the Victorian Government’s Department of Health and Human Services. Deaf Victoria acts in response to the needs of the community and are concerned with basic rights and accessibility. Deaf Victoria promotes and defends social justice and wellbeing for Deaf and hard of hearing people.

Deaflympics: "The talent level isn’t high."

Related imageA good reason for inclusion and time for deaf to come in out of the cold ?

Of all the swimming pools in all of Louisiana, the one on LSU's campus is where an Olympic champion and world record holder is still working on his craft.

"I don't want to let my parents down, my coaches or my team," said sophomore swimmer Matt Klotz, In a pool full of elite swimmers, Klotz is trying to find his place. The rings on his back suggest that sooner rather than later, he will. But there's an even bigger story at play here. Matt's success in the pool has come with a caveat.

"You go to the deaf Olympics, you go to those meets and it’s a smaller competition field," said LSU Head Coach Dave Geyer. "The talent level isn’t as high." It's the reality of the sport for Klotz, who's greatest successes have come against deaf competition. The medals he's won, five golds, a couple of silvers and a bronze, came at the deaf Olympic games in both Turkey and Bulgaria. The world records he set and still holds came again athletes that see and hear life like he does.

"I really don't hear anything. I guess you can hear the water going in and out of my ears but if people are cheering i don't hear them."

Speech helps deaf make new friends.

Abbie Donati (right) with proud mum Claire
A deaf Hardgate teenager has praised a national charity for helping her find the confidence speak again.

Abbie Donati stopped speaking while studying at Clydeview Academy in Inverclyde as she was self-concious about how she sounded as a deaf person.  But the 17-year-old has now found her voice and celebrated by addressing a 150-person audience at Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s flagship ladies lunch event in Glasgow.

Abbie explained to the audience through British Sign Language (BSL) that during a college preparation course, run by the charity’s Moving On service, she built the confidence to use her voice again and make new friends.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

BBC: Should oralism be promoted ?

Yes ! (Both women could speak, chose not to, biased ? not half !).  Neither needed a terp.

How 'Pure' deaf are you ?

Much is rightly made of the extreme deaf areas who use oralism and even medical interventions to attack other deaf on a very personal and hostile level.

What we do not see, are these extremists rooted out, named and  identified for what they are, and that is not a cultural or a Deaf person, but some sick saddoe with no life, who enjoys bullying others.

Not enough action comes from the Deaf representational areas to ostracise and remove these people who bring the deaf community into disrepute, there is free speech, and there is just plain abuse, and we all know the difference.  These extremes hide beyond the cultural facade, they use YOU as a front..  

These 'zealots' of the deaf area on some  mission too ensure only deaf people who share their views are truly deaf, are just segregationists and disenfranchised losers, who having little of no life them selves, who attempt to destroy other people's, all in the name of culture.

The UK suffers these fools too gladly too, they attack deaf people who use their voice, or have a cochlear implant, advocate oral approaches, those who integrate, some attack parents outright calling them child abusers.  Do we want these people running the community ? hell no !

What sort of 'world' they think we all want sounds like hell to me.  We have all seen what happens when these extremists get together, some congregate at deaf clubs, others at Gallaudet, who we know attempted to close out those who did not use ASL as a first option, or were Hard of Hearing, or spoke/lip-read.  It would seem diversifying the deaf community is the only real option we have to prevent extremists being listened to, we even saw terminology used as a blunt tool to attack others, and deafhood seized upon by the USA and abused for own ends  too.

Know the real enemy of deaf people, they live within our community and exploit our isolation and poor access to hide their own hatred.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Anti-oralists attack deaf singer in USA.

Mandy Harvey on stage with her ukeleleDeaf singer Mandy Harvey made headlines around the world after being put straight through to the finals of America's Got Talent. But when she first took to the stage, she received death threats from within the deaf community for promoting a "hearing" activity.

It was two months ago that Harvey sang live on prime-time NBC television across the United States. Barefoot and nervous, she had overcome a series of traumas to get there.

"I used to get some pretty strongly-worded letters and death threats," she reveals. "I got a lot of backlash from certain people in that community because I was promoting oralism." Oralism is the name given to the practise of educating deaf people to use speech and lip-reading rather than sign language.

It was first encouraged at a conference in 1880, but despite the near-ban for almost 140 years, sign languages developed across the world, including British Sign Language, and became part of Deaf culture - always written with a capital D.

What does it mean ?

Image result for subtitling proper english

Should a new form of subtitling be used to clarify nuances in English ? (A suggestion from social media).

#1    A new version of the English language should be created just for subtitles, so that we who use it know the subtle differences in speech. A good example is oh- there’s at least four different ways of pronunciation and each one makes a sentence different- oh - surprised. Öh -wonder etc etc  Sign access ? It’s a complex issue and if getting subtitles and audio description is hard ,how can signer be put on telly programs in the same way as subs and ad.

#2  It won't realistically happen until an '888' option is available for the interpreter. Even then I suspect there are huge issues of staffing output. The sheer cost may be prohibitive about easy signed access. Subtitling technology behind it to make it cheaper, deaf did not want to pursue animated signing. I suspect we would all like to see it done a lot quicker and less errors, but I am happy with what we have at present, definitely do not want to dumb down text at all. 

We are the last defenders of the English language ! You cannot do the same for sign language, there are issues of regional difference, conflict of visuals on-screen, alternative grammar forms,  etc. I don't think the demand is actually there personally, I think they are at 5% or something (?) and shunting 'Deaf' output to the midnight hours and 'dedicated' BSLTV areas. 

I do recall a few years ago the sign language program 'SEE HEAR' asked its viewers if they wanted an all-sign program, and the feedback was a resounding no, and HoH participated insisting their access and inclusion was being removed. I think the result was online feedback to the BBC was removed because of very strong words being used. I suspect more deaf are more literate these days. It would appear online is the prime area where subtitling is not the norm for those deaf, but we have seen campaigns to prevent that spreading to system and public awareness output. 

Quite a battle going on there between the cultural people and the few remaining HoH activists, which I suspect is down to the fact HoH do not campaign for what they want and the deaf do which has meant signed access is what systems perceive we all need.. I don't really see a need for a subtitle change, except, in programs where text is obliterating the visual content to the extent you are losing information (Sport etc). Such programs are un-viewable to HoH if text AND sign is used. SKY e.g. removed signed news because hearing couldn't follow with it included. Scrolling text, subtitling AND sign language was complete overload.  The other issue was that signing deaf started to a 'cult' of celebrity with some interpreters, which detracted from what was actually being translated. 

Deaf viewers started to watch the terps, NOT the program being interpreted.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Deaf Education (Tasmania 1990s)...

Being ableist...

Image result for ableistIt also promotes extreme political correctness and offers up presentment and an excuse to avoid the people they use the terms to.  Does attacking ableism simply isolate us more ?  There is no integration via separatism, context needs to be used more effectively, and not a blanket declaration as a term, there are many terms if used in general conversation are not negative at all, only the perception is by some.  Nuances of languages also lead to complete misunderstandings, if you want to be offended you will be.

E.G. many areas of the black population use the 'N' word to describe each other, they will sue a white person who does it.  A number of disabled people use the term 'cripple or crip' in a jocular manner, or even central a term via a media campaign, so it is context not a black or white term.  We need to understand also, WE are using negative terms towards those who are more able also, pots, kettles etc, common-sense tells us all what is right and wrong. Many deaf use ableist terms (!) to describe each other too.  Your friends can use ableist language and terms because your mutual relationship understands that context, but other will not understand why they can use those terms, and others cannot. 

Mostly in humorous situations, as humour is the best way to raise awareness of any kind, used properly, ableist language, makes the real point. The USA approaches e.g. are based on court actions mostly, and suing people, a system that does not really operate in the UK at all, but the USA system is conducive to confrontations, not acceptances, so doesn't assist inclusion much.  You win your corner even get compensated, but you don't win the real acceptance.  The real killer is the over-usage of 'isms', defeated day one !

Extract from essay online:

There is a growing concern about the use of ‘ableist’ language. Ableism is discrimination on the basis of disability, when disability is not in fact relevant. There has long been a move to eradicate sexism from our language. Most of us do not think it’s appropriate to use ‘effeminate’ as an insult; many of us object to the use of language that makes maleness the standard (‘mankind’). Similarly, many people object to the use metaphorical language which associates negative qualities with disability (while I am ambivalent about the use of trigger warnings, I take the opportunity to mention that I will mention some egregiously ableist slurs below the fold).

For instance, it is ableist to describe someone (disabled or not) as a ‘retard.’ The term is offensive in itself, and it is independently offensive to use it to describe someone whose performance you disapprove of. It associates (perceived) failings with disability, which is paradigmatic ableism.

While only trolls would use a word like ‘retard’, concern with ableist language extends much more widely. There was a time when lots of educated people, with no intent to offend, used words we now regard as sexist, like ‘mankind’ or the male pronoun as a universal. Some of those who used this sexist language were actually supportive of gender equality, and failed to see any connection between their words and reinforcing gender hierarchy. Today, this attitude is much less common. Those concerned with ableist language claim the cases are closely analogous: many of us unthinkingly use words that are ableist without recognizing that fact. They want to alert us to our ableism and have us change our linguistic usage.

For instance, they claim that phrases like “turn a deaf ear to” associate deafness with ignorance; that to call someone or something “lame” metaphorically is to associate walking difficulties with an unrelated (perceived) defect that reduces value; that to describe someone who acts unthinkingly as “dumb” is to inappropriately associate communication difficulties with mere foolishness.

It seems to me, though, that there are important differences between the many words which have been described as ableist. Language is pervasively metaphorical (the word ‘literal’ comes from the Latin literalis and is itself metaphorical). But many of these metaphors are dead (as we say in metaphorical language): they are no longer understood by their users as referring to disability or disabled people. ‘Retard’ is very much alive. I suspect that lame and dumb are dead: not only do users not associate them with disability, in many cases they are unaware of the words’ origins. ‘Deaf’ is by no means dead, but it may be dead in the context of the phrase ‘to turn a deaf ear to.’ That is, users may not associate the phrase with disability or disabled people, and using it may not tend to reinforce ableist patterns of thought or behavior, or ableist institutions.

I am conscious, however, that there was a time when defenders of locutions like ‘mankind’ claimed that their usage was not sexist. In effect, they were claiming that the ‘man’ in ‘mankind’ was dead (this is more plausible in words like ‘chairman’, which we often use in a way that seems gender neutral). Compare to this the decline in ‘mankind’. It strikes me as progress that ‘mankind’ has declined; perhaps in a decade a comparable decline in ‘lame’ or ‘halting’ will strike me the same way.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Hearing and Deaf/HoH development.

A more 'British' Genocide...

Image result for DWP HQBest to keep that stiff upper lip going.  A staggering 81,140 people died as a result of UK welfare/benefit cuts and sanctions according to official government documents.

Some 50,580 on ESA had died and the rest is made up of various other benefits people were claiming before they died. The shocking statistic was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the amount of people who had died, as the government have hidden away official statistics for 2016/17, it is expected the amount of people who have died due to the Universal Credit roll out will take this figure way over the 100,000 mark.

The calculating effect benefit reforms are having on people is chilling to the bone, even to the hard-nosed Tory out their and manipulated by their own party, can not be blaming Labour for this one! and the fact they have kept this information to themselves is another true indication of what this dreadful government are doing to the most vulnerable in society.

No excuses can ever be given for the death of just one person, not hundreds of thousands, and yet the stoney faced Tories continue to kill of the poor and in some cases even those that are working!

Theresa May and her out of touch with reality party, has much work to do, to convince those at the bottom of the ladder,and even those climbing it, that her party really cares about the most vulnerable in society.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Cancelled interview because applicant was deaf...

Martin McLean from the National Childrens Deaf Society
Martin McLean, 38, has two postgraduate degrees – a PGCE awarded by the University of Wales and a master’s in arts policy and management from Birkbeck. He’s an education and training policy adviser at the National Deaf Children’s Society, and has been deaf since birth.

As a deaf student, I'm used to being excluded. Universities must do better.  “I took my master’s part time alongside working full time, so I needed a university that offered courses in the evening,” he says. “That was my priority, rather than a university with a good track record for supporting disabled students. All universities should be accessible to deaf students and the disabled student allowance system for funding support makes this possible.”

McLean used a palantypist (someone who types out everything that is said in class at high speed) and a sign language interpreter for small group discussions or field trips. “Generally, things were OK at Birkbeck, but one lecturer told my palantypist to move as the noise was affecting her. She also told them, from time to time, not to type something controversial she had said. I was annoyed that she felt entitled to choose what I was allowed to understand. It singled me out as different from the hearing students, who had no filter on what was said.”

Friday, 10 November 2017

The Deaf driver sticker....

ENABLE: Towards a truly accessible website.

Image result for enable scotland
A charity is aiming to break down digital barriers with the launch of its new website. ENABLE Scotland has created a site which is accessible to people who have a range of support needs, including visual and hearing impairment, autism spectrum disorders and learning disabilities.

According to a recent report by Ofcom, people who have a disability are less likely to use the internet than people without a disability. Those who have a learning disability are most likely to say their disability impacts their use of communications services such as the internet.

The charity carried out a detailed audit of its online content while consulting its members on the challenges they faced when accessing online information.

Theresa Shearer, chief executive of ENABLE Scotland, said: “We worked extremely hard to listen to the feedback from our members to develop a website that is accessible to many more people and families who may need our support, or who may want to join our campaigns or get involved with ENABLE Scotland in other ways.”

Using BrowseAloud software, the new website adds speech and reading support tools to online content, including a read aloud feature which is available in multiple languages.