Tuesday, 28 February 2017

The scandal of operative genocide on UK's disabled

Considerable anxiety and stress is being heaped still, on disabled and deaf people who claim welfare support in the UK, whose policies have already contributed to 6,300 premature deaths of disabled clients who had support withdrawn and welfare support stopped, under the guise they should be working instead in jobs that don't exist, and with employers who won't hire them.  

The European court of Human rights has yet to condemn this cull. Who is going to hire a bed-ridden employee virtually deaf-blind ?  or even someone with 8 weeks to live ? Apparently, the UK government says UK employers will !  The major issue at present is with the PIP roll out which is to replace an old disability allowance, basic reports say this has resulted in 68% of those with hearing loss losing all payments, and a number of disabled facing sleeping on the street.  On one charity site there were suggestions audiogram's will help assessors determine and clarify what loss is, this has been challenged...

Image result for Capita assessorsWith due respect the DWP do not take them into account. Audiograms cannot show the EFFECTS of that loss, this is relative to the person with it, it's a clinical guide that is all.  They base assessment on how you respond on the day, and to them, the subcontractor assess your capability, i.e.  Capita /ATOS (DWP subcontractors), simply relay their assessments to the DWP. The basic criteria for assessment is STILL with the DWP, the instruction to the subcontractor being 'assume they are all frauds, and get as many off benefits as you can'.  

The Capita agencies are just 'carrying out orders', and where have we heard that phrase before? The DWP take the decision, they are not really influenced by GP's reports, they refer back to their own.  They took this stance years ago to try preventing people getting sick notes for days off work.  PIP even if awarded can be reviewed/re-assessment as and when they like. I am reminded of years ago, when I was assessed as profound deaf by them, and they came back to me 6 months later and asked 'can you hear now ?' 

My GP acknowledged deaf patients with nil speech and sign-using only, had almost total reliance on their family support, or interpreting (I.E. other people), to manage health and most day to day issues.   The DWP said clients own GP's are biased.  Deaf are being pitched against quite serious other disabilities like clients limbless, the deaf-blind, bed-ridden, terminally ill, also those with serious heart conditions, and all those areas are reporting the DWP have refused them support also.  Deaf and disabled are at war with own government. If we die one less to give welfare support to.   

As I read this week the government has rejected claims Anxiety, depression, and other Mental Health conditions are valid conditions for a welfare payment, one MP a Tory claiming they are all fakes and abusing the system.  Get a grip !  SCOPE a mental health charity have gone into total meltdown over it, the deaf and HoH have no unity of approach on welfare and suffering greatly, because of lack of access to support or advice. The DWP wants to shift onus away from them to councils and the NHS. Both are collapsing as we write.  Disabled being vulnerable are sitting targets.   Many cannot fight back.

I do feel charities are to accept blame for not fighting the HoH corner.  They claim representation, but they are not being seen as doing that.  The approach seems to be let's send a letter saying 'Sorry old boy I think you should not be treating people like that !'  Then tapping them for more funding, avoiding biting the hand that feeds. Those with hearing loss have been left to it.   The more we need support, the more funds they hope to claim, it's a self-perpetuating drive to keep us all dependent on others...  it's bizarre and I am not comfortable with it.  

All are major areas concerned with hearing loss as we know, especially young deaf (40% of deaf children with MH issues), and HoH going deaf, plunged into depressions, losing work, devoid of social interactions, losing families, because they can never be sure what they can hear next, and suffer huge non-support and isolation as a result, not even with the luxury of a backup support system, and relying on partial hearing or complete guesswork.  

Most deaf failed PIP here as I reported earlier, most was down to three reasons, no signed advice, no access to BSL terps, and relying on family to fill in forms, and they cannot find relevant areas to cover hearing loss or deafness in them, questions heavily designed to show your condition isn't an issue, or,  the 'state' provides for  it, via, if you can walk, you can hear.

You receive responses like 'An equality law is there for you, 3 in fact, all you have to do is use it..' This ignores the fact even if you can use that law, the state has withdrawn the means for you to do it via a court, and even if you win, the infrastructure of hearing loss support isn't there to meet the need, the UK has no national hearing loss support system set up,  the nearest visage of that is BSL support, there is NO hearing loss set up, and NO unified approach to support, it is just 'each to his or her own', allowing a cruel anti-welfare state to divide, rule, and denigrate or disagree with you or your issue.  Culture isn't a disablement.

There's a fallacy of deaf/Deaf/Disabled HoH unity, just because we read loads of deaf and HoH stuff online this isn't reflected in any way via access, equality or support on the street.   Not so much 'fake' news but a massive propaganda and 'hard sell' campaign, in the pursuit of cultural recognition, with 'ear wax removal' VIDS for the HoH !  If we don't get a grip on this, we will all be plunged into poverty, unemployment, and sleeping on the street selling matchboxes, I suppose we should be grateful there are no chimneys they can send us up to sweep any more.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

I'd prefer my kids deaf...

Interpreter Amanda Coogan (L) and Sarah-Jane Moloney O'Regan. Image: RTE/The Late Late Show
An Interpreter makes a political statement in the name of culture, and creates two children deaf for life when they need not be.  

Let us hope these children do not grow up to resent the fact they were disabled for life when there was a choice.

Maybe take care the parents won't get sued for that choice under child abuse law.  Will they be footing the bill for their children's care for life ? Thought not !   

An Irish mother has opened up about choosing to keep the deaf gene she carried while trying to become pregnant through IVF.  Speaking on The Late Late Show, sign language presenter Sarah-Jane Moloney O'Regan told how she and her husband Conan struggled to conceive after they got married and as a result chose to try IVF.

During the interview, which was conducted through sign language with Amanda Cooagan interpreting, Sarah-Jane explained that the couple tried IVF three times before she became pregnant with twins Conor and Louisa on the fourth try.

Sarah-Jane added that the couple was offered a "genetic route to get rid of the deaf gene," but they chose to deny the option and allow nature take its course.

Politics of Envy (II)

Image result for insightProbably one of the most insightful topics covered on this site, and all without BSL or Lip-reading being bashed.  

Another great response to the issues of how best to support those with hearing loss, sadly, the insight is perfect, the means to address the issues as far away from being viable as ever.

"In a perfect world we would all respect and support each other, but we do not live in that world. My sign language level was suggested to be level 4 at least by an assessor of BSL levels, but I have never taken a regular class or exam. I did not take the class approach to learning it, 50% of the time was waffle about the D/d thing. Most people need to understand BSL or Lip-reading classes do NOT have deafened or seriously hard of hearing people in them. 

BSL classes are attended by HEARING people (Hence the cultural and 'hard sell' approach), Lip-reading classes I feel so much of their approach is based on the reality those attending have enough useful hearing to maximize the tuition. I saw some attending who were older people who shouted most of the time, not really knowing they did that. One class had two such people in it, after the 2nd class the tutor took them both aside and asked them to leave, the tutor said 'I cannot teach the rest while you are there..' 

It suggested to me that the LR class being virtually the ONLY way 'in' for HoH or deafened to attain some help, then worked against that, and the classes were working not on a supportive approach but on a percentage approach. I am sure the issues of those 2 people were serious, but it meant those who were most in need, definitely needed something a lot more than a 2hr class. Lip-reading is the most difficult mode to acquire.

I had doubts a 2hr class of very mixed degree of loss worked, I think the deafened and those with very serious loss, do not benefit from that approach at all. Also, the classes are shunned it seems by males on the whole."

What is Autism ?

Say Hi to Ava..

Friday, 24 February 2017

The politics of Envy ?

Image result for politics of envy"Why are some people in the deaf community so dead against those of us that never learnt to sign. ??"  

Another lamentable query from a social media Hard Of Hearing site, still struggling as we all are with coping with hearing loss.  To turn around and suggest sign users are against HoH, we need really to accept we envy how they have coped and managed with their profound loss, because we still cannot. It would help if the 'Other' community did not take it upon themselves to decide to attack alleviations of hearing loss or medical advances, because HoH hold on to that hope for a cure, and will resent the Deaf Community's reluctance to do the same, as a slight against those struggling.

The issue of sign use is one that rambles on, and on, and on.  I don't think it helps when HoH charities promote sign use either, because they are world's (Literally), apart from those who have always signed. Mostly the HoH areas try to jump the cultural bandwagon simply to try highlighting their own issue, and it just promotes more cultural support as mainstream assumes then we are one and the same, the basis of the 'All deaf sign' gig.  You won't find cultural or sign campaigns jumping on any HoH campaign, they are loss areas and contribute to medical perceptions of deafness which cultural deaf won't accept..

The mindsets of HI/HoH are different too, so sign use won't level that playing field.  Like most who have a hearing and profound loss later and after formative years, I believed there was no such thing as Deaf or deaf, we all had hearing loss, the years have proven chalk and cheese is far nearer the mark and a definite ideological and political difference now exists.  30 years ago I would have thought there was a chance of unity, not now.

To us sign is a 'tool' and with an uncertain access to it to make it really viable, because we don't move in the same signing areas to make it viable.  There is an assumption you can sign and then carry on in mainstream and socialize, it doesn't happen either. Sign and social is integral to making it work.  The 'Deaf' cannot adapt, can we ?   Our desire to not use any cultural approach to sign use, pits HoH directly against the cultural concept.  Our naive assumption we sign therefore are the same as those who always did it, is ridiculous without the background or even the social lifestyle to support it. Can we assume the 'Deaf' position ? we cannot, we will always struggle with it hoping there is an exit option. Always thinking, one day I won't need all this.....We need a HoH 'Space' to escape from the 'Deaf' one, because that can stress as much as mainstream can.  

In campaigning for access for ourselves, (CI's, better hearing aids, genetic advance support, alternatives like text etc), we become the medical model they hate.  Even support for the hearing medico's determined to erase all they hold dear, we can be seen as the 'Trojan Horse', more often than not, seen as whining and negative.   We will forever chase an impossible dream of one hearing loss area. I sign because my partner does, no other reason, it is no use whatever to me outside my home or in the street, so for me it was simply a practical issue of using what works to enable me to communicate myself, and without an reliance on an area that is itself, permanently reliant on others.  So long as a decibel exists we cannot even start to integrate.  But we cannot form a HoH community either.

Image result for politics of envy
There is the other primary issue for HoH, reliance on others, but, born signers take it as a natural thing and can divorce their constant reliance on interpreters or family from their day to day issues, because their social areas revolve around other signers, they have had this since day one.    Even re-branded interpreter usage as 'empowerment' and not support. In real terms the HoH area has been zeroed by the effective unity of deaf signing areas, and we play second fiddle because we lack that unity.  Such is that 'norm' it is well documented the 'Deaf' struggle with the equality concept, and would prefer not to fully integrate or work at that concept if it means hearing or even HoH moved into their areas, what they call the 'Deaf Space'.   They want the access, but on their terms. 

The HoH have that equivalent too, but not the same reason for having a 'space'  for them it is an area where all are signing,  so communication is no issue for them, for us that 'space' is a refuge to avoid daily stress.  We see our isolation as part refuge, Deaf see it as a form of self-protectionism to preserve the status quo.  The HoH are a ship without a course to steer.  We should not envy the signers unity of purpose, it is what works for them, equally, we should never assume it can work the same for us, we would still not choose the same options as they do.  As HI or HoH we need to accept who we are, and not assume the role of those we are not.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

The Deaf Case Video

Deaf Driver Card: A story.

Priest confession: We sexually abused deaf children

IRS Scam linked to deaf VRS...

IRS warns of scam targeting deaf, hard of hearing
Every day scammers come up with new ways to steal taxpayers’ identities and personal information. Some scammers pretend to be from the IRS with one goal in mind: to steal money.

Be aware that con artists will use video relay services (VRS) to try to scam deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Don’t become a victim. Deaf and hard of hearing taxpayers should avoid giving out personal and financial information to anyone they do not know. Always confirm that the person requesting personal information is who they say they are.

Do not automatically trust calls just because they are made through VRS. VRS interpreters do not screen calls for validity.  The IRS has procedures in place for taxpayers who are experiencing tax issues. If you receive a call through VRS from someone claiming to be from the IRS, keep this in mind:

The IRS Will Never:

• Demand immediate payment and require the payment be made a specific way, such as by prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. In most cases, the IRS will not call taxpayers about taxes owed without first having mailed a letter to the taxpayer.

• Threaten that local police or other law-enforcement groups will immediately arrest taxpayers for not paying a tax bill.

• Demand that taxpayers pay taxes without giving them the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.

• Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

Receive a Suspicious Call? Here’s What to Do:

• Deaf and hard of hearing taxpayers who owe taxes or think they might owe taxes should call the IRS at 800-829-1040 through VRS. IRS employees can help with a payment issue or confirm if there really is a tax issue.

Deaf Discrimination Case nets $100,000

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi
A deaf and speech-impaired woman who sued the NYPD for allegedly denying her a sign-language interpreter while she was jailed overnight has won a $100,000 settlement from the city, the Daily News has learned.

Opal Gordon was arrested on Sept. 21, 2015 while leaving Manhattan Family Court. Cops accused her of violating an order of protection. Gordon, now 54, was at court for a custody proceeding involving her daughter.

The Manhattan resident, who describes herself as “profoundly deaf and speech-impaired,” claimed cops didn’t explain why they collared her — and didn’t provide a sign-language interpreter.

Gordon, who filed a lawsuit against the city on Dec. 11, 2015 over her arrest, also alleged the officers did not read her Miranda rights. After police brought Gordon to the 45th Precinct station house in the Bronx, they kept her there for two hours before taking her to a holding cell in Bronx Central Booking.

11 Million Illegals abuse USA hospitality ?

Image result for wheel of equality
Much is made of 'immigrant' rights, unsurprising from a country that is based on immigration and who decimated its native residents in the process. 

The UK introducing slavery to the USA didn't help much either.  In all the rhetoric we read clear ignorance is displayed about what an immigrant is, there are legal ones and illegal ones, work migrants, and, there are refugees. 

Too much deliberate confusion is created by medias who do not clarify those differences, because blurs mean column inches.

According to some USA statistics 11 MILLION 'immigrants' are actually illegal ones.    Is Mr Trump not correct in saying they have to leave ?  How many amnesty's do you give before you cannot cope any  more ?  Offer another amnesty ?

There is no perspective given with rights areas, left political areas always blur the issues to promote wholesale abuses of the equality laws.   All is based on idealism. An 'anything goes' approach in the name of human rights.  UK Human Rights lawyers were examined and found to be abusing the human rights laws to allow terrorists in and to make money from the British taxpayer in the process, even chased down our armed service personnel to get money to pay to terrorists families. They were called 'Tank Chasers'.  One screwed the UK for over a £1m and was struck off.  Our vets sleep on the streets, the illegals take their homes is how one area put it.

Human rights is becoming tainted by association, and genuine areas suffering persecution are being ignored.  Taken to its ultimate understanding, everything done is a human right, regardless who gets hurt.   Choice becomes something else, a discrimination against another who doesn't share yours and doesn't have to.  Hate breeds.

Britain has near 1 million illegals and already cannot cope.  Why can't we stop all these people coming ? and start addressing those who should not be here anyway ?  For every illegal that enters a country, 1 less refugee can seek sanctuary, so those who most deserve our help are pushed out in favour of people who are simply work migrants or there illegally, often perpared to work for less than those mongolot to the host country.  Unscrupulous employers claiming migrants provide skills, ignore the fact our own are not considered.  They ignore too the lack of any desire by the state to put an end to the inequality, by ensuring our own young people and disabled get those skills.  Employers are not interested in equality only profit, why use home grown talent, or even train them, when they can buy in and sack a migrant at will ?

It was no surprise to read IT companies like Google and others funded opposition as they buy in their expertise. Slavery has now become legal again.  That extends to 63% of all disabled and deaf who will never get a job of any kind, again because they can import/export someone with neither issue. The state responds by preventing deaf migrants coming too.  In the UK the argument ignores, that unlike the USA, we are a small ISLAND, and there IS a limit to how many people we can logically support. The infrastructure isn't there, wholesale areas are existing where no-one speaks English, a recipe for hate groups to exist.   

Multiculturalism means sectarianism is allowed free reign.  According to USA statistics, they have reached their limit already. Equality is a dirty word, discrimination a matter of personal choice/view, not actual suffering, or it depends who makes the most noise about it..  Freedom of worship actively opposed in the name of atheism, and gender preference.  As human rights applies to us all, then 6B people will have issues with each other, and there is no law that can ever be enacted to satisfy everyone..  Some will always be more equal than others. It's a fact of life, and indeed, the corner stone of the American dream, now an American and British nightmare.  The wheel of equality has perhaps, turned too far to be safe, or to enhance equality...

The meek will not inherit the earth, the best they can hope for, is if the strong show them that compassion.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Deaf Women in Business

Deaf Women in Business Video from Love Language on Vimeo.

Video is NOT captioned or subtitled.

Finding Captions...

Image result for itunes
Learn how to find movies and TV shows on the iTunes Store that have closed captioning or subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Open iTunes.
Click iTunes Store.

In the search bar in the upper-right corner, type a specific title or keyword. You can also type "closed caption" to browse all available titles with closed captions or "subtitles" or "SDH" to browse all available titles with subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing. Then press the Enter key on your keyboard.

In the column on the right-hand side of the window, click Movies or TV Shows.
When you find something that you'd like to watch, click it. Look for a closed caption icon  or a subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing icon  on the item's product page, under its title.
Scroll down to the bottom of an item's product page and look in the Languages section for information about available closed caption and subtitle languages.

On your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

Tap iTunes Store.
From the navigation menu at the bottom of the screen, tap Search.
In the search bar at the top of the screen, type a specific movie title or keyword. You can also type "closed caption" to browse all available titles with closed captions or "subtitles" or "SDH" to browse all available titles with subtitles.
Finding and locating cations...
When you find something that you'd like to watch, tap it. Look for a closed caption icon  or a subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing icon  on the item's product page, underneath its title.
Scroll to the bottom of an item's product page and look in the Languages section for information about available closed caption and subtitle languages.
On your Apple TV

Go to Settings > General > Accessibility.
Turn on Closed Captions and SDH.
Then, depending what you want to watch, open the Movies or TV Shows app.
Browse to or search for a movie or TV show.
On the movie or episode description page, a closed caption icon  appears if closed captioning is supported. A subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing icon  appears if subtitles are supported.

Swipe down on your remote to move to the bottom of an item's product page. Look in the Languages and Accessibility sections for information about available closed caption and subtitle languages.

Spanish Deaf: An Historical perspective...

Image result for spanish deaf historyTHE HISTORY of education of the deaf in Spain is one of extremes. On the one hand, it has been seen as a model for educational innovation (during the 16th and 17th centuries), and on the other hand, it has been seen as lacking in educational initiative (18th and 19th centuries and part of the 20th century). Today's situation represents an intermediate point, one increasingly characterized by a move toward modernity. 

The origins of education of the deaf are attributed to the Benedictine monk Pedro Ponce de León (1506-1584), who proposed educating the deaf children of a rich, bureaucratic family from Madrid's royal court despite the general belief of the time that the "deaf and the mute" were unable to learn how to speak, read, or write. Ponce de León kept his methods secret. Nevertheless, later writings have revealed that he used speechreading, fingerspelling, and the use of signs and of a manual alphabet (the origin of today's International Alphabetic System), which was published by Melchor de Yebra in 1593 (Oviedo, 2006). 

Later, in 1620, Juan Pablo Bonet (1573-1633) published his book Reducción de las Letras y Arte para Enseñar a Hablar a los Mudos (The Reduction of Letters and the Arts for Teaching the Mute to Speak), the educational effect of which was very influential. Historical sources reveal, therefore, that it was during the 16th century in Spain that the education of the deaf began (Plann, 1997), although the clumsiness and secretiveness surrounding these first efforts (Gunther, 1996) resulted in their being forgotten and wrongly attributed to the Abbé de l'Epée and his 18th-century school for the deaf in Paris. Bonet's book, inspired by Ponce de Leon's methods, was translated and published in English, French, and German in the 19th century, and it had significant influence on John Bulwer (1614-1684), William de Holder (1616-1698), and John Wallis (1616-1703). 

Bonet's book introduces modern concepts of phonetics and speech therapy to the teaching of the deaf. Although it defends the practice of oral training for older students, it argues, nevertheless, that the first pedagogic task consists of teaching the letters of the manual alphabet in their written form. 

La historia de la educación de las personas sordas en España es uno de los extremos. Por un lado, se ha visto como un modelo para la innovación educativa (durante los siglos 16 y 17), y por otra parte, se ha visto como carente de iniciativa educativa (siglos 18 y 19 y parte del siglo 20 ). La situación de hoy darstellt en el punto intermedio, una vez más caracterizado por el desplazamiento hacia la modernidad.

Los orígenes de la educación de los sordos se atribuyen al monje benedictino Pedro Ponce de León (1506-1584), quien propuso la educación de los niños sordos de una rica familia, burocrático de corte real de Madrid a pesar de la general fue parte del tiempo, dass die "sordo y el mudo "no fueron capaces de aprender a hablar, leer y escribir. Ponce de León mantuvo sus métodos secreto. Sin embargo, los escritos posteriores han revelado hicieron que utiliza la lectura de labios, deletreo con los dedos, y el uso de los signos y de un alfabeto manual (el origen del sistema alfabético Internacional de hoy), el cual lo que publicado por Melchor de Yebra en 1593 (Oviedo, 2006).

Más tarde, en 1620, Juan Pablo Bonet (1573-1633) publicó su libro Reducción de las Letras y Arte para Enseñar un Hablar de los Mudos (la reducción de las Letras y las Artes para enseñar a los mudos), el efecto educativo de los cuales era muy influyente. Las fuentes históricas revelan TANTO, hicieron que, durante el siglo 16 en España hizo la educación de los sordos comenzó (Plann, 1997) A pesar de la torpeza y el secretismo que rodea tesis primeros esfuerzos (Gunther, 1996) dieron lugar a su ser olvidado y atribuyó erróneamente a la de su escuela del siglo 18 para sordos en París Abbé de l'Epée y. El libro de Bonet, inspirado en los métodos de Ponce de León, que se ha traducido y publicado en Inglés, francés y alemán en el siglo 19, y tuvo una influencia significativa sobre John Bulwer (1614-1684), Guillermo de titular (1616-1698), y John Wallis (1616-1703).

El libro de Bonet presenta los conceptos modernos de la fonética y la terapia del habla para la enseñanza de los sordos. A pesar de que defiende la práctica de ejercicio oral para los estudiantes mayores, sostiene, sin embargo, dass mueren primera tarea pedagógica besteht de la enseñanza de las letras del alfabeto manual en su forma escrita.

Gallaudet and the English Connection.


The Deaf Culture in America took shape at Martha's Vineyard. In Martha's Vinyard 1 in 155 people were Deaf. In the town of Chilmark 1 in 25 individuals were Deaf. The village of Squibnocket 1 in 4 people were Deaf. The mainland had only 1 in approx. every 6000 people who were Deaf so there was a marked difference in the average of Deaf individuals on Martha's Vinyard. The reason for this was the intermarriage of individuals who carried genes for Deafness. 

As these individuals intermarried and had children, more and more Deaf children were born on the island. Because of all this, Martha's Vineyard Sign Language [MVSL] developed. It was used from the early 1800's to 1952.  The last native resident of Martha's Vinyard died in the 1950's.  Both Hearing and Deaf individuals in Martha's Vineyard chose to use Sign Language. Hearing people would sign even when there were no deaf people present: children signed behind a schoolteacher's back; adults signed to one another during church sermons; and farmers signed to their children across a wide field, where the spoken word would not carry. Deafness disappeared on the island when individuals with Deafness genes left the island to live on the mainland. 

Rev. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet was sent to England to learn about Deaf education. While there, he met an Abee (French priest) named Roch-Ambroise Cucurron Sicard and two staff members Laurent Clerc and Jean Massieu. The Abbe was the director of the Institution Nationale des Sourds-Muets à Paris. The Abbe invited him back to Paris to learn about Deaf education first hand. He did so, and there was exposed to Old French Sign Language (OFSL). 

Gallaudet befriended Clerc and convinced him to head back to the United States in order to establish a school for the Deaf. The two men collected public and private funds throughout New England and were able to establish a school for the Deaf in Hartford, Conn. The American Asylum for Deaf-mutes was established in 1816. Today the school is called "The American School for the Deaf" or ASD. 

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Kiosks translating in sign language.

 Looking for a simple lunch, a deaf woman recently went into an Alabama restaurant and jotted down her order on a piece of paper. The waiter hustled the request to the kitchen, where preparers tried to decipher the woman's handwriting.

But when the sandwich she wanted was delivered, it contained tomatoes, which she had said in writing she did not want.  Frustrated, the woman went back-and-forth with the waiter for a few minutes to explain exactly what she wanted. The sandwich ended up having to be remade.

"That experience might keep her from going back to that restaurant,” said Grace Vasa, CEO of technology firm Juke Slot. “Unfortunately, such communication mix-ups are not isolated incidents in the larger restaurant field."  The inability of restaurants to communicate effectively with all customers both threatens to hurt their businesses and serves as an opportunity to generate additional revenue. But what might seem like an operational hurdle actually can be an easy fix with long-term financial benefits.

Self-ordering kiosks featuring capabilities such as sign language and foreign language translations allow people with conversational difficulties to communicate more easily represent solutions that minimize order errors and strengthen the customer experience.  Such technology would enable restaurants to cater to a different segment of the population – scores of people who struggle with basic communication, not only those who are deaf.

Just as important: It’s good business, industry experts say. 

One Injection Cure for deafness...

Scientists believe that a simple injection could restore the hearing of thousands of peopleA simple injection could restore the hearing of thousands of people, after scientists successfully grew hair cells from the inner ear in the laboratory.  

Most people go deaf from damage to hair cells in their inner ear, caused by old age or decades of loud noise. We have only 15,000 hair cells to last a lifetime, which do not regenerate in people as they do in birds and amphibians.

Currently the only solution for those worst affected is a cochlear implant, which bypasses the damaged area and stimulates the auditory nerve which carries sound to the brain.  But US scientists have now found a drug combination able to grow large numbers of new hair cells in the laboratory. Scientists believe that a simple injection could restore the hearing of thousands of people.

They have created 60 times the number previously achieved, providing hope this could become a routine treatment.   The experiment worked using cells from mice, and the researchers will start human trials in 18 months, planning to inject drugs into the ear to trigger hair cell growth.
Senior author Professor Robert Langer, of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) said: 'Hearing loss is a real problem as people get older. It's very much of an unmet need, and this is an entirely new approach.'

Around one in six people in the UK suffer from some form of deafness or hearing impairment.

We can't wait for March 6th !

Flood Expo 2017.

New Comedy Sketch for ITV.

Comedy, of course, come in many different forms but the producers of a new comedy sketch show say their project is a world first. It's writer is deaf - as are all the stars of the show.

The man behind it says he's had long-standing ambition to make a show for - and by - deaf people and now it's becoming a reality.  It's been financed by the British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust.

(Maybe they  have forgotten 4 deaf Yorkshireman, or maybe it wasn't funny ?).  The Site link has a video of the interview.

Health: deaf lifestyles day

Charity holds lifestyles day for deaf community
DISABILITY charity Trafford CIL is hosting a Healthy Lifestyles Day for deaf people in the borough.

Funded by Morrisons, the event will take place on March 10 from 1pm to 4pm, at Trafford CIL’s Marshall House headquarters in Sale.  It will be an opportunity for deaf British Sign Language (BSL) users, deafened and hard of hearing people to come together and share healthy lifestyle hints and tips with the help of Brian Kokoruwe, founder of Deafinite Equality.

Brian, who is deaf himself, has set up a social enterprise to raise awareness of the importance of diet and fitness training in improving the health and wellbeing of Deaf and hard of hearing people.  Also appearing on the day is Stacey Prendergast, from Lifeline, who will be sharing information about her crucial work with the deaf community about the effects of drugs and alcohol.

Ruth Malkin, Trafford’s deaf support broker, says “This is a great opportunity for all deaf people in Trafford to come together and share ideas about how to live more healthy lives.”  She adds, “I am very pleased that Morrison’s in Chorlton has made it possible for us to run this much needed event. Being deaf should not be a death sentence, but all the evidence suggests that deaf people are not getting the same access to healthy lifestyle messages as hearing people.”

BSL interpreters will be present and there is an induction loop in the hall. A text relay interpreter will also be provided. Trafford CIL has step free access to a ground floor meeting space and flashing fire beacons are fitted. There is an accessible toilet and all written information will be available in a range of formats.

To book, contact Ruth for a booking form by email on r.malkin@traffordcil.co.uk or phone/text 0161 8500645.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Deafhood and oralism Antiquated campaigns ?

Image result for what is hate
Oralism:  "The story of the suppression of sign language is known in the folklore of the American Deaf community, but few hearing people are aware of it. In the decades following the Civil War, educational reformers waged a campaign to eliminate manualism the use of sign language in the classroom—and replace it with oralism, the exclusive use of lipreading and speech."

Deafhood:  "A term coined by Paddy Ladd in his book Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood. While the precise meaning of the word remains deliberately vague—Ladd himself calls Deafhood a "process" rather than something finite and clear—it attempts to convey an affirmative and positive acceptance of being deaf."

Two primary Sign - based cultural campaigns that continue to thrive on the oppression of the 19thc but bear little resemblance to the modern way of acceptance, either of sign or education. It still suits deaf activism to believe that 19thc oppositions are still why they aren't in the mainstream of things. Although access has moved on, campaigns haven't since martyrdom and assumed discrimination pulls in more support than the realities deaf have more inclusions and access now, than they ever had. It would not do to suggest Deaf have a better life now than they had before. 

When the campaigns falter under the pressures of realism, they suggest Hate and Medical advances are determined to remove deaf people from the planet.  In modern terms of psychiatry, this is termed 'paranoia', in Deaf circles, a justification to oppose advancements in access and technologies, to prevent integration happening, which they fear will destroy the social basis of deaf culture.  To that end the constant opposition to 'Cures'  (They aren't any), or alleviation, are all identified as a deliberate ploy designed by medics and society, to remove culture for deafness, and deafness from deaf people.

Deafhood was a non-starter on any level, given it is what published in great fanfare as an awareness campaign tool for HEARING people, not deaf ones. The format was never in the host language of deaf people either, and still needs endless 'courses' to decipher, not deafhood itself, but the advanced academic usage of English terminology and grammar.   Deaf people still after the publication of Understanding Deafhood in 2003, are struggling to understand what the book was about, although critics dubbed it "The emperor's new clothes.." deaf-style, and ATR was amid the first British blog to offer a simpler interpretation of what terms were being used.  Here was another online.  There apparently was no sign language equivalent to identify or clarify them, so they developed signs for a concept they still don't understand.  You can only hope when they decipher this Deaf equivalent of the dead sea scrolls it actually has a point.

The Americas saw it as a ready source of profit, and capitalised on the fact of its publicity value in Deaf terms.  They redefined what the book was about to fit.  A profit that never materialised in Paddy Ladd's homeland of the UK, where it went straight to dusty academic and dusty reference shelving. 14 years later, the Americans are still trying to sell a concept deaf do not understand apart from the book title itself.  Basically it was another term for deaf culture, with another addition of 'everyone is against us..' involved.  The UK has forgotten all about it, there was only one TV program for the deaf that covered it, and then, only once, most confused Audism with Autism too..

Image result for what is hate
Oralism is a ready, and bankable set of circumstances guaranteed to inflame deaf even 130 years later and despite having little relevance today. Clearly seen for what it isn't, a system designed not as a choice or alternative, but to replace sign language.  Facts of the time were mainly ignored, statistics on the issue even more irrelevant, less than 32% supported oralism in education, less a than 14% of areas concerned with deaf education attended the Milan Conference..  

Even today AG Bell is blamed for everything that happened to deaf people in the USA, whereas in the UK he was something to do with telephones that's all, and pirated other people's innovation mainly.  The W C Handy of deaf education.  The only revelation is how the Americas maintained such a hatred for a man dead the last 100 years, and for a system which offered alternatives to sign for those able to use that alternative, and today still includes both, the purists of sign were just not having it. Communication seemed the last issue to be addressed with it all.  You signed or you were not deaf if you spoke you were against Deaf people, you 'betrayed' them, the politics of silence..

Such is the conundrum, speech became oralism and deaf went at each other for it. Then as advances in technology or alleviation emerged, medics were hated for offering it, or even researching it, despite most deaf jumping on the access to further their inclusion.  Some Deaf areas, had developed hatred and extremism for their own, CI's were a no-no, and then ran a media campaign to suggest 'Everyone Hated the Deaf', throwing in the D or d at complete random, to score media points, and alleviation and suggested cures were just another nail in the cultural coffin, obviously  a deliberate ploy to remove sign or culture from history.  Deaf dismissed choice as a fake option, or a 'conspiracy', to undermine deaf culture, nothing more, and nothing less.  Even today various blogs suggest there are identifiable 'hate areas' designed to end culture, paranoia is the name of the game and has gone mainstream.

Fake news and Fact has become the deaf norm too.  The Trump syndrome.

BSL support: When is it 'unreasonable' ?

E.G.  You have a clinical appointment for a standard 5-minute blood test, or just a flu jab, does this demand a BSL Interpreter is supplied by the NHS or GP provision ?

Image result for deaf people having an injectionThe sheer costs of provision for very short-term support is escalating, in an area that has scant provision to support all deaf who use sign language, currently estimated at 1 BSL Interpreter per 160 sign users nationwide.  

You need to take into account many Interpreters insist on a minimum 2 hour booking fee, to cover distance travel etc.  In essence, a short GP attendance (These days regulated to be UNDER 10 minutes), can cost the NHS anything from £2 to £9 per minute on average, and up to £200 every time.

Since January this year, sheer demand for BSL support for welfare issues has quadrupled, this resulted in 60% of deaf people not getting any support to claim, because the demand for welfare support alone, far outstripped the supply of Interpreters.  None would be able to support the deaf in any other area.   This must mean deaf people who rely on sign language alone will have to be aware there are areas where that support will not be provided, not because of discrimination, but simply because the support isn't available.

The demands for recognition, laws, education,, and access are not taking into account the ability of the BSL systems to deliver.  BSL take up by potential Interpreters has gone down, not up to meet demands.  The Deaf area will be left with a lot of legal rights, but still no access. 2 years ago it was decided via Access To Work areas, that the state would 'cap', (i.e. set a limit to how much support BSL using deaf could claim for).  That cap also inclusive of state demands to investigate how that support was applied, or made more cost effective.  Some quoted £35-40,000 a year in support for deaf sign users, making their access cost more than the job they were in.

Deaf support was suggested as the most expensive disabled support in the UK.  One BSL using law student had £98,000 claimed for 1 years support alone, yet, failed to qualify or work in that field of employment.  The deaf response appears more of the same.  It is of little surprise then the state seriously looks at the viability of some access, and wants supply directed where it is most needed. There is no national program to ensure supply meets demand, there is also the issue of deaf people expressing choices as to who they actually use for support.

It is suggested 60% do NOT use a qualified interpreter,  even when offered, this means obviously, the demand is killed for that amount of sign using people.  Issues like first stated where very short times are for attendance in some areas, then BSL support would not be supplied.  There are obvious areas where it is not actually needed.  Freeing up those areas can allow better support to be applied where the shortages are, until, or as soon as, some sort of regulatory system to ensure Interpreter training is set up properly.  Logic suggests assessment of sign users capabilities needs to be done too, not least to ensure they are getting the support they need.

This means deaf 'preferences' etc have to give way to realities.  It also means the chaotic BSL or Lip-reading approach has to be abandoned in favour of a nationwide 'Communication' system. Such systems can determine what works best for the individual as it seems they do not always choose what works best for themselves, except in a social sense, which leaves them isolated in a work and health sense etc.  The deaf social over life choice is at the root of much.  If we do not address the issues of supply and demand and training, then costs will keep rising and support get even less.  We know from the lip-reading areas, lip-speakers are abandoning people on the ground to concentrate on more lucrative legal work instead. Why support a lip-reader or a signer, for £200 an hour, when you can get up to £500 in a court ? At the end of the day it's your living, you are not a charity to support deaf people, even they charge for services.  

One result was state systems trawling learner classes to get cheap support instead, either that, or the old standby of telling deaf to bring their family to support them for free instead.  There is also the issue of unregulated interpreting areas, freelance areas who are overcharging, or unprofessional, who cannot be regulated either. This seems compounded by a free-for-all in BSL tuition via class and course-work. Another area unregulated, where college courses e.g. have some standard in part, but opposed by Deaf purist groups, and others that work on regional sign approaches, that are arbitrarily adjudged, that costs a lot of money, and deters as many as 54% of trainees from continuing.  Ominously all we are reading are campaigns for more BSL and not the means to make it work.  Deaf insist be it 5 minutes or 5 days their right to support is there, we know, but their terps aren't, something has to give, and it seems 60% of deaf people already use alternatives to Interpreters. The access bank of Mum and Dad.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Concert for the Deaf...

Welsh Councils cut funding for deaf alert systems.

Chris Williams has been severely deaf from childhood
Spending on specialist equipment for people who have hearing loss has been cut "dramatically" over the past four years, figures have shown.

Figures obtained by Action on Hearing Loss Cymru showed Welsh councils have cut their spending by 15% on average - or £40,000.  The charity said the cuts were "worrying" and called on local authorities to reconsider. The Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) blamed council budget cuts.

The money is spent on equipment including specially-adapted telephones, front door bells that flash when used and listening devices for people with hearing loss. The charity told BBC's Newyddion 9 programme that this equipment allows people to live more independently and reduces isolation and loneliness. More than 575,000 deaf people live in Wales but just £210,000 is spent annually on specialist equipment each year.

One of those who is worried about the situation is Chris Williams, from Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd, who has been severely deaf from childhood. "Without hearing aids I can't hear a thing. This equipment is essential," he said. "I have a special doorbell that lights up, and it works with a phone too. I have a fire alarm that works through bluetooth - which vibrates under my pillow. And with a fire alarm it is a matter of life and death.

Deaf couple married for 12 years hear for first time

Neil and Helen Robinson were both deaf from birth and are thought to be the first couple in the UK to have cochlear implants. 

A husband and wife who have both been deaf since birth can now hear each other for the very first time.

Neil and Helen Robinson have been married for 12 years and have spent their lives communicating with sign language.   But now, thanks to cochlear implants, they have been talk and hear for the first time. 

The pair, from Salisbury, Wiltshire, are thought to be the first couple in the UK to have the implants fitted and are amazed they can finally hear each other. Neil, 50, said: "It felt incredible, in a happy way.   "It felt really emotional.

There is a video with the link.

Friday, 17 February 2017

InDemand Interpreting solutions...

InDemand Interpreting, a technology-enabled language services performance improvement company and a leading video remote interpreting (“VRI”) provider within Healthcare, is pleased to introduce InDemand Clarity Connect.      InDemand Clarity Connect enables healthcare organizations and telehealth application providers to seamlessly add live, medically qualified interpreters into telehealth sessions on demand. InDemand is the first VRI provider to integrate its VRI service with the industry leading VidyoR videoconferencing platform, making it possible for telehealth programs to better serve the needs of limited English proficient (“LEP”) and Deaf patients.
In addition to delivering immediate access to a medically qualified interpreter, InDemand Clarity Connect enables better communication between patients and clinicians using high definition, crystal clear video and sound. Healthcare organizations as well as providers of custom applications that utilize the Vidyo videoconferencing platform can now implement telehealth initiatives with the InDemand Clarity Connect Widget or the Application Programing Interface (“API”). InDemand Clarity Connect also offers real-time analytics that provide data essential to effectively track and manage language access requirements.

“InDemand believes the Healthcare industry needs a no cost, “industry-neutral” solution to integrate VRI with telehealth encounters,” said InDemand Interpreting’s Chairman and CEO Cecil Kost. “The Company’s novel interoperability approach adds considerable value to any telehealth platform powered by the Vidyo videoconferencing backbone. This development is yet another way that InDemand is becoming the de facto industry standard for VRI.”

1 Billion auto-captioned Vids...

Is it improving access ? or are there still too many errors ?

The number of YouTube videos with automatic captions now exceeds 1bn – and consumers watch videos with said captions more than 15m times per day, the platform said.  Google first launched video captions in 2006. It added automated captions on YouTube in 2009. “This was a big leap forward to help us keep up with YouTube’s growing scale,” Product Manager Liat Kaver wrote in a blog post.

In addition, Kaver noted YouTube has made great strides in terms of the numbers of videos with captions, as well as in the accuracy of those captions. This doesn’t just benefit consumers watching videos without sound, but also those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

“One of the ways that we were able to scale the availability of captions was by combining Google's automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology with the YouTube caption system to offer automatic captions for videos,” Kaver wrote. “There were limitations with the technology that underscored the need to improve the captions themselves. Results were sometimes less than perfect, prompting some creators to have a little fun at our expense!”

As a result, a big goal has been improving the accuracy of automatic captions, which Kaver said is not easy for a platform of YouTube’s size – especially considering the diversity of content.  “Key to the success of this endeavor was improving our speech recognition, machine learning algorithms and expanding our training data,” Kaver wrote. “All together, those technological efforts have resulted in a 50[%] leap in accuracy for automatic captions in English, which is getting us closer and closer to human transcription error rates.”

Continuing to improve the accuracy of captions remains an important goal moving forward and YouTube wants to extend this work to its ten supported languages.

“But we can’t do it alone. We count on the amazing YouTube community of creators and viewers everywhere,” Kaver added. “Ideally, every video would have an automatic caption track generated by our system and then reviewed and edited by the creator. With the improvements we’ve made to the automated speech recognition, this is now easier than ever.”

Comedian's Sign not funny ?

Ross Browne was exposed by guards at the Cork event on Brexit (Picture: Ross Browne/Twitter) You may remember the fake Nelson Mandela interpreter who appeared at a memorial service to the late South African leader. Well, it’s not as high profile, but we’ve found another fake sign language interpreter, but this time his motives are a bit more political.

Comedian Ross Browne stood up to sign what Irish poiltician Enda Kenny was saying.  The problem is that he can’t do sign language much beyond the signs we all know for wanker, up yours, and fuck off.  He did, however, manage to make signs for what we can only assume means bullshit, and liar.

As he leaves Browne shouts ‘I’m not paying for my water anyway’ in reference to Ireland’s long-running drama over the Irish Water utility and Kenny’s plan to fund it.

But the response to Browne’s prank has been divided. While some found it hilarious, deaf organisations were concerned.  The Irish Deaf Society said: ‘You are fortunate that your parody has secured significant attention online -.we have struggled to gain access to the mainstream media to secure coverage about the disenfranchisement that arises from the lack of recognition of Irish Sign Language on a daily basis, but our requests tend to fall on “Deaf ears”.


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

The HI Dilemma ... Gain or no Gain ?

Image result for Dilemma or apathy ?
A response to yet another poster praising Gallaudet and how you can actually GAIN by being deaf. (Which is rather a strange statement to come from the poster who had never actually heard anything, to be able to offer comparison by real experience.).

I see few real gains, and it is not really positive to suggest hearing loss to profound status is any 'advantage', for some it is hell on earth and undermines those who need that empathy and support to cope with their loss.  I'm OK so you are too, isn't realistic a statement. 

The consistent stress of having to cope or simply deciding to opt out and become isolated 24/7 every day of your life, rather limits any 'gain' to the negative side of relative..  

A lot of HoH do opt out, so convince themselves that the approach they take helps de-stress, addresses why they need to do that.   But, stress is life, and so is social interaction and a need to effectively be able to communicate.  Born deaf comparisons are not a 'like for like', you can identify very real issues are presented by those who have serious loss/deafened after formative education.    I never cross the road so unlikely to get run over by a car, doesn't ring valid when you need to cross that road.

HoH tend not to have a fallback option, or a valid support or social base either, that went when their hearing did.  I am sure to those within a signing 'community' and club ethos/deaf school background, life is less stressful, i.e. so long as they avoid mainstream really.    HoH can develop a thick skin, more skills yes, but aggressive doesn't help. There can be a tendency to blame others because they can hear and you cannot. The politics of blame tends to drive most campaigns on access and support, but I don't buy most of them. Graveyards are full of martyrs the ones that stick around make the real change.

It is your inability to present your issue or the reluctance to do that, is what inhibits wider awareness, not everything is down to people not looking at you or not signing at you, you have to identify what you need first, mainstream are not mind-readers.  The issue is you don't really know exactly what works best for you or, if you can re-adapt to what that entails.   Simply deciding A or B mode will suit without an ability to develop or use it, can mess it all up.   There is no communicational magic bullet or cure. Maybe many of your peers can sign great, or lip-read greater, you may find you are pretty hopeless at both.  There may well be medical reasons why you will never master a 'preferred' mode. HoH prefer lip-reading, deaf prefer sign, but in the HoH case their 'choice' is by far the most difficult one, and one suggests not very feasible.

For most it's a mishmash of everything, or other support that makes it viable.  A lot lose hearing of use, and hardly attend any tuition or communication class help, and expect if people speak clearly to them or sign they can still follow, well, they won't.  They will just endure more frustration and stress.  Sadly for the UK they do not have access to an organized communication class, one has never been developed. So its a free-for-all with no norm and no support basis.  At least the signer got organised.

I think there is an assumption of  'us and them' with some deaf who sign and, with those with hearing aids, a 'horses for courses' approach, which is self-defeating because both areas can enhance each other far better than any awareness gig.  I don't really have direct experieince of supportive education in loss terms, because in my time you were just called ignorant and stupid if you failed to respond properly.  There was NO organized educational support for a HoH child.

Praising Gallaudet also needs to be done with realism.  It is really a hotbed of sign radicalism to be honest. They do occasional good examples of awareness, the problem they have is embracing inclusion in that concept, which many of them feel, compromises what their 'culture' is about, and they cannot resolve that issue. There were very clear divisions at Gallaudet where HoH and Deaf did not mix at one point, indeed there was a partial deaf riot on the campus where signing deaf barricaded classrooms to keep HoH out of them insisting on 'Deaf-Only', 'ASL-only' and 'Deaf Space' areas, also problems in accepting CI's etc.   There was little an image of inclusivism or acceptance at all.  The deaf extremes ran riot.

The whole ASL ethos there is based on hatred for A G BELL mostly. We know the bloke died in 1922 but they haven't moved on and blame him entirely for the oral approach to communication, which they call the tool of discrimination and devised to destroy culture. There are a lot of issues at Gallaudet created by their conflict of interests, their cultural aims, and misguided belief, it is near all based on blaming others.

Deaf awareness has nothing at all to do with HoH awareness, that needs to be made clear, and the sign inclusion aspect is at the basic core of the problem. HoH do not feel they ID with an area that doesn't ID with them, and has a completely different view of inclusion, disability, dogma, communication, social approaches, and social interaction as well as educational. To suggest one size fits all is ridiculously uninformed.   Or that hearing loss, levels the playing field for all.

Instead of accepting these issues need to be addressed, there exists a continual and uneasy stand off, with occasional clashes where awareness excludes or conflicts with A or B areas.  I don't think HoH will ever get what they need if they carry on as they do, someone needs to get a grip on the reality and move on it. This seems to put the onus on charities, now the only area acting as a HoH 'voice'. But the charitable ethos is clinical in approach and not people-centric, the exact opposite to the cultural approach and why sign is more successful, so tough on the HoH majority who will have to put up with their status quo for the forseeable future as 'issues to be addressed' instead. 

Pessimistically I think HoH and deafened haven't a hope of advancing their cause under the current approaches. Their awareness campaigns have no appeal, and apathy rules.  HoH portrayed as a large sector of oldies with hearing aids who won't adopt a concerted approach to their problems, and the blight on their life isn't access or communication at all, but ear wax and duff hearing aids, is at the root of it all.  There are PEOPLE at the base of all these issues that aren't really being identified at all except as a clinical issue. 

One UK charity lauded the fact they supported mainly mostly 60-90yr olds, the image was completely negative and askew.   Profile images tend to be people NOT with any serious loss of hearing but have a relative who does..' then volunteer to be deaf for a day...   The consensus then being it ain't fun so I am not doing that again.      Those that did have a loss spent near all their lives hiding the fact, hardly role models.

Suggesting 9-11m with loss are mostly within that age grouping, was misleading the public, as the age spectrum gets younger every year.  Due to widespread use and abuses of technology the age areas are anything from 18 up now.  Being viewed as eccentric old codgers with a hand cupped to their ear is not going to get much support from them.  They are Generation Y the text reliant.