Friday, 31 March 2017

Scots Awa' !!!

Nicola struggles to pen a request for Indy2....

Video gaming for HoH...

It's difficult not being able to be a good listener

Image result for good listener
How hearing loss affects Helen...

People who know me well realize that I am not an eloquent speaker or much of a coffee-shop conversationalist. I rarely sit around and talk about the weather. I don't know a whole lot about gardens, farm machinery, golf or fast cars and I don't engage in a whole lot of gossip. I used to consider myself a good listener until for whatever reasons I lost my ability to hear very well. 

Along with the hearing loss came a loss of confidence in my ability to participate in a conversation. If you are deaf or hard of hearing sometimes it seems like you are shut out socially – perhaps you shut yourself out socially. You become afraid to contribute because you are not sure what the topic is about. If you talk off the subject you become very embarrassed.

People who know me well realize that I am not an eloquent speaker or much of a coffee-shop conversationalist. I rarely sit around and talk about the weather. I don't know a whole lot about gardens, farm machinery, golf or fast cars and I don't engage in a whole lot of gossip.

I used to consider myself a good listener until for whatever reasons I lost my ability to hear very well. Along with the hearing loss came a loss of confidence in my ability to participate in a conversation. If you are deaf or hard of hearing sometimes it seems like you are shut out socially – perhaps you shut yourself out socially. You become afraid to contribute because you are not sure what the topic is about. If you talk off the subject you become very embarrassed.

It is also embarrassing to have to ask people to repeat what they just said to you, particularly if you have to ask a third time. Personally, I have difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds. Therefore, it is easier for me to understand a deep male voice than the higher voices of women and particularly small children.

Hearing aids have made life a little more pleasant. At least I can hear sounds. However, they are still a long, long way from being a cure all. More often than not I can hear someone speak but I have great difficulty in understanding all the words they are saying. When you are able to understand only bits and pieces it makes it quite difficult to follow the conversation.

Shouting really doesn't help at all. In fact, the higher and louder the pitch the more difficult it becomes to understand the words. Also, if I don't hear your first spoken approach, then my first response to that sudden blast of yelling is that the speaker is angry with me for not answering them.

The best way to communicate with those hard of hearing is when you realize that he or she doesn't hear well, don't raise your voice and change the tone. Try speaking slower and rephrasing what you said. The different arrangement and selection of words may make it easier for the hearing impaired to hear you and communicate with you.

Living in a silent world can be lonely but it doesn't have to be. Those hearing aids that I spoke of earlier enable me to continue to hear the music that I love so much. Closed-captioning has made it much easier for me to understand the plots of my favorite TV shows. However, there have been several humorous misinterpretations as the result of closed-captioning. I won't mention them here because this is a family newspaper.

Facebook and texting also have opened new worlds for the deaf and hearing impaired. I don't get on Facebook very frequently but texting has been a blessing. Perhaps the most frustrating part of dealing with hearing loss is the use of a telephone. Under the best of circumstances communicating over the phone for the hard of hearing can be quite a harrowing experience.

Changing approaches to deaf education

You will believe the deaf can speak...

As Cora Buck squished a bright green lump of modeling dough between her fingers, she let out a little laugh when a teacher put some on her nose.

"Are you making a snake?" Cheryl Broekelmann asked the wide-eyed child during a recent visit to the classroom. "Is that a scary snake? Say, no, it's a happy snake. Can you show me your happy face? Happy!" Cora gritted her lower teeth to make a silly smile, eliciting laughter from her teachers.  The two-year-old's ability to communicate has grown rapidly since birth, when her parents learned via a newborn hearing screening that their daughter had hearing loss.

Krista and Tom Buck came to St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf not long after their daughter's birth. Cora was fitted for hearing aids, and she started receiving home visits with a therapist. At the age of 2, she began attending the toddler classroom that meets three times a week. The family still receives weekly home visits and monthly audiology services.  The goal, Krista Buck said, is "getting her into mainstream (school)" when it's time for preschool. "There's no reason she should be held back by her hearing loss, and St. Joseph is very much focusing on the spoken language."

Technically speaking, what Buck is referring to is the institute's focus on auditory-oral — also known as listening and spoken language — education. "Helping families create an environment that is so rich in language and conducive to learning language through the auditory channel is the whole goal," said Broekelmann, director of operations for the institute's St. Louis location and an educator for more than 30 years.

Through early intervention, children such as Cora are equipped to learn language the same way a hearing child does, making the transition into the preschool classroom much easier.

Hands that Talk...

Participants at the deaf awareness evening run by Tesco and Hands That Talk.
[For people that don't sign ? We would much rather see awareness presented as inclusive, not exclusive.]

‘It means so much - it’s equality for deaf people’ Participants at the deaf awareness evening run by Tesco and Hands That Talk. 09:18Friday 31 March 2017 The founder of a deaf charity based in Dungiven said they’re seeing an increase in the demand from front line services and businesses for deaf awareness training. 

Hands That Talk serves the wider North West area and one of its aims has been to increase deaf awareness among front line services, and in the wider community. The Dungiven-based organisation, which can boast of the first deaf-owned premises in Northern Ireland, was established in 2000 to provide holistic support those who are deaf or hard of hearing in the North West. As well as offering support programmes, the charity also aims to promote social integration between the hearing and non-hearing communities. 

Founder, Dorothy Hegarty said while it’s taken a long time for people to become aware “it’s been worthwhile.” The charity has delivered training locally in GPs, dentists and opticians, Altnagelvin hospital, local council offices, churches and Roe Valley Leisure Centre, said Mrs. Hegarty. She said that type of training and awareness makes a huge difference. “It gives them confidence. It’s equality for deaf people, it’s their right,” said Mrs. Hegarty. Recently, Hands That Talk delivered an introductory sign language course to Tesco, Limavady and members of the wider community, with attendees learning everything from basic greetings to everyday questions. 

Mags Connolly, community champion at Tesco in Limavady, said: “Now we can confidently greet sign language users with the basic signs we learned at our training session. More than just teaching us every day words and phrases, Hands That Talk also helped us better understand the challenges faced by the non-hearing community every day, so we can be more mindful of this in store and out in the community.”

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Deaf Wake iOS clip

Deaf/HoH transition day: Sam Sepah

Sam Sepah delivers the Keynote for the 2017 Deaf and Hard of Hearing Transition Day event.

Surreal sign language musical..

Oliver in the Overworld
Oliver in the Overworld by Albert Hammond and Mike Hazelwood is the first-ever musical created from scratch with sign language. West Sussex audiences can see it live on stage at Horsham’s Capitol on May 4 (2pm). 

Presented by The Krazy Kat Theatre Company, the show tells a funny, surreal tale of a little deaf boy who travels to The Overworld, The Land of Machinery, seeking the parts to mend the memory of his best friend Oliver the Grandfather Clock. 

Created by multi award -winning artistic director Kinny Gardner, with beautiful puppets, magical transformations, 10 super songs and daft dances, and featuring fully integrated sign language, this is an imaginative theatre show with big laughs. The madcap musical adventure lasts 55 minutes and is suitable for 3-7 year olds and their families and friends. 

It is also suitable for both deaf and hearing audiences. Tickets cost £12. Visit or call the box office on 01403 750220. Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

We're off !!

UK hands Brussels the letter requesting a divorce 12:30 pm British Time.....  Scots told 'Not time now for a referendum.' on their independence.

Why we cannot unite

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A deaf world...

Deaf Wars..

Will in Homewood has cochlear implants and plays the trombone in his school band. (Hanno van der Bijl)
Advocating against oral education access, is it ilegal ?.

Advocates for the deaf are at odds with each other over an Alabama bill that seeks to prepare deaf and hard of hearing children for kindergarten.

"This bill," says advocate Leigh Leak, "is yet another battle in a very old turf war that exists between the deaf culture and what I will call the 'hearing deaf' culture."  Advocates in the deaf culture are proposing HB 253, which is aimed to help deaf kids who are falling through the cracks, while advocates in the "hearing deaf" culture are afraid the bill will force children who use spoken language to learn American Sign Language.

"Of course, I've realized that there appears to be a deep divide in the deaf community, and I knew that -- maybe only had a surface knowledge of that prior to introducing this bill," says bill sponsor Rep. Margie Wilcox, R-Mobile. "But now I feel like I've been baptized in it."   The deaf community uses American Sign Language, which was developed in the 19th century. The "hearing deaf" community uses listening and spoken language strategies.

Outside of schools like the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB), deaf students rely on interpreters. Hearing children are fitted with high-powered hearing aids or implanted with cochlear implants that, together with auditory-verbal therapy, enable them to attend mainstream schools.  Leak's 21-year-old daughter was implanted with cochlear implants as a child and is now fluent in English and Spanish. She opposes the bill.

"All children are special and all children are deserving of the best education we can give them, but the truth is, HB 253 bill contains nothing that would improve or enhance our state's ability to track, assess or deliver a better education to its students who are deaf and hard of hearing."

The bill says Alabama agencies must decide on language development milestones and monitor the progress of deaf and hard of hearing children from birth to age five in consultation with AIDB.  Proponents of the bill say it's necessary to hold the state accountable to promote sign language. They also support collecting data on the children's progress and publishing the reports.

"There exists an epidemic of language-deprived deaf and hard of hearing children and adults," says Susan Lambert, the Alabama representative for Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids (LEAD-K). Lambert is deaf and a retired educator with 19 years' experience with children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

LEAD-K has been successful in passing similar legislation in California, Hawaii and Kansas. The campaign in California was headlined by actor and model Nyle DiMarco who was a contestant on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." Last year, he told The Washington Post, "There are so many deaf kids out there being deprived of their own language (ASL)."

However, opponents of the bill feel there are no protections for families who choose spoken language instead of sign language. "Although LEAD-K supporters want us to believe parents can opt-out," says advocate Andrea Hill, "the language on opting out is extremely weak."


Independence Day !

730 days and counting.   The United Kingdom signs Article 50 today, paving the way for British independence again after 40+ years of inept European Federalism, run unequally by Germany and France.  What does the future hold for the UK deaf membership of the EUD ? 

At least we can now focus on oppression and inequality toward deaf people here, instead of sending our more able activists on freebie jaunts to Brussels to achieve nothing but photo shoots !  Now we need a UK Union of us all with hearing loss.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

The Handicap Seat

Branding and business identity for Deaf/HoH charities..

nonprofit brandingHow charity becomes corporate.... but, what is YOUR place in all this ?

Read Chris McCarthy, CEO, Hear and Say.

How important is branding and business identity to your organisation?

In 2017, we are ushering in a new generation of deaf children who listen and speak. This requires a collaboration between government, philanthropic, community and commercial funding partners to enable a dedicated team of professionals, parents and supporters.

We reflect on the need to change the perceptions of and work with parents, professionals, politicians, philanthropists and the public to raise expectations for deaf children, change how people think they communicate and reduce the impact of this impairment on individuals, families and the community.  This complex and complicated interplay between internal and external stakeholders means a strong and positive brand and business identity is vital to the long-term success of our clients and to our sustainability.

What are the positives and negatives with your current branding? 

Hear and Say turns 25 in 2017 so it has a significant history. As a founded organisation, many of our stakeholders feel a very strong linkage between the organisational brand and the personal brand of the founder, which brings both opportunities and challenges.

As our reach and impact expands, some partners find it difficult to grow with the increasing sophistication of the brand. Our strong paediatric focus over the years also means some external observers are unable to see the brand linked to anything other than childhood deafness and cochlear implants.  Conversely, Hear and Say has been built on our reputation for excellence and family centred care, and this commitment to ensuring child outcomes means the brand remains strong for many stakeholder groups.

Have you changed your branding in recent times or do you plan to change it?

In 2014/2015 we completed a capital campaign program for our Brisbane centre and headquarters’ building and, as a part of the associated organisational transformation, launched a new suite of brand artefacts including our logo, tagline and general ‘look and feel’.  As the NDIS, new commercial competitors, changing customer expectations and the increasing complexity of the sector all impact on us, it is important that we remain relevant and respond to the changing needs of our children and families as clientele.

While our core purpose will likely remain unchanged, opportunities to increase our reach and impact, in addition to the volatility, uncertainty and complexity of our changing market, means it is important that we continue to review the brand to remain relevant and contemporary.

Sign Gene... The Movie.

007 on mission with sign language in four countries
Three hundred are the genes responsible for deafness. But only 29 contain the power "Sign Gene"

Soon, in movie theatres around the world, viewers will be able to see the first action film that uses sign language to fight evil. Sign Gene, is the first film of this genre to use actors who communicate in sign language, thanks to the idea launched by Ital-Argentinian film director, Emilio Insolera who is deaf himself. 

The film centers around main character, Tom Clerc, a deaf American secret agent on a mission in Osaka, where he has to solve a crime committed by deaf criminals. But, Clerc is not just another spy. He has a genetic mutation (shared also by his staff) that allows him to use his special linguistic code to destroy his enemies. 

The film was produced with scenes in Italy, Argentina, USA and Japan, with the official sign-language of each of these countries used. The film release is scheduled in all four of these countries in September 2017.

7 Things to know About Parenting a Child With APD

Boy trying to listen in classChildren who appear deaf but aren't. One blogger's guide.

When my son was in first grade, his teacher complained to me that he “didn’t pay attention” in class. She said he wasn’t listening. To her, this was an act of defiance.  I explained that my son has auditory processing disorder (APD). He’s usually a very well-behaved boy, but the classroom was too chaotic and noisy for him. With all the background sound, my son simply couldn’t make out what she was saying to him, no matter how hard he tried.

For people who don’t have APD, it can be a puzzling challenge. Even my husband, who tries to understand, often struggles to see the world from the perspective of my son.  I’ve learned a lot from parenting a child with APD. And because I have APD myself, I think I’m a good person to explain. Here are some things I wish people understood about me, my son and APD.

(1)  He isn’t being defiant.  With APD, the brain doesn’t always process spoken words smoothly. So when my son doesn’t respond right away or doesn’t understand what you’re saying, he’s not doing it to be rude or defiant. He simply didn’t comprehend what you said.  My son wants to understand you—more than anything. People like my son and me sometimes give up on conversations, though, because we’re afraid of seeming rude. Sadly, it’s part of life for someone with APD.  

(2) The link between APD and hearing can be confusing.  Having APD isn’t the same as being hard of hearing. My son’s hearing is actually very good. In fact, that can be part of the problem.  For example, my husband’s electric shaver makes a high-pitched, irritating sound when it’s charging. At least it does according to my son and me. No one else in our family seems to notice the sound we complain about.  It may seem counterintuitive. He notices sounds no one else does but still can’t seem to “hear” what someone else is saying. That’s because APD is an information processing issue, not a hearing issue.

(3)  Competing sounds and noises make understanding harder.
When I’m talking to my child, my voice is competing with a thousand other noises. It could be the rush of air blowing out of the air conditioner. Or footsteps coming from down the hallway. Or the buzz of an overhead, fluorescent light. That’s why I try not to start a complex conversation with my son in a loud or chaotic environment.

If you have something important to share and it’s noisy, text or write down the message. Better yet, when you need to have a real conversation, talk to him in a quiet place. Speaking directly to him and making eye contact also helps.

(4)  Telling him to “pay closer attention” or “listen harder” doesn’t help.
Some people confuse APD with ADHD, but they aren’t the same.  Yes, APD can include problems with attention. After all, it’s hard to focus if you can’t understand what’s being said around you.  But telling my son to “pay closer attention” or “listen harder” doesn’t help when his brain is scrambling the sounds coming in. That’d be like someone telling you to “listen harder” to a foreign language you barely speak.

(5)  Rephrasing is more helpful than repeating. When my son responds with “What?” to something I said, it’s tempting to repeat exactly what I just said and in a louder voice.  But what he really needs is for me to say what I said in a different way. That’s because certain phrases and sentences can be more difficult to process. The sounds may be too similar. The word combinations may be too complex. Rephrasing—not repeating the same words louder—can really help. When struggling with my own APD, I’ve learned to say, “Can you please say what you said again, but with different words?”

(6)  He wants to feel safe to ask you to say something as many times as he needs.  Most people don’t like to say the same thing over and over. I understand that. My son does, too. That’s why it’s hard for him to ask.  But if he knows you’re OK with repeating and rephrasing something a few times, he’ll be more comfortable asking. It’s wonderful when people are willing to do this for him—and for me. We appreciate it more than you can imagine.  

(7)  It’s OK to be frustrated, as long as you try to understand.  Even though I have APD, I get frustrated with my son sometimes. I lose my patience. So I know others might too.  My son’s first teacher never did come around to understanding his challenges. In the end, though, we were lucky that a new teacher replaced her. This new teacher was wonderful. The only difference between her and the first teacher was the willingness to try to understand APD.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Woman attacks deaf girl on a train for signing..

Police want to speak to this woman
Police release image of woman they want to speak to after deaf girl was assaulted for using sign language.  The victim was shouted at and shoved in the head and shoulder by the offender.

Police have released an image of a woman they would like to speak to in connection with an assault on a deaf girl.

Police say the teenager was verbally abused and shoved three times in the head and shoulder by the stranger, when she used sign language to try to communicate with her.  The victim was sitting with her friend on the train - which was travelling between Manchester Piccadilly and Stockport - when two women started talking to them.

The girl tried to explain that she was deaf by using sign language.

However the two women became angry and abusive. They started shouting at the girl, before the victim was shoved three times in the head and shoulder by one of the women.  Now police are trying to trace a woman who is pictured in CCTV footage following the attack, which happened at about 8.25pm on Sunday, January 29.

#sayhello !

Deaf Hey Hey !

The former Deaf TV Network staged a TV show at Jolimont, Melbourne in 1994 with some interviews of different points while the players played billiards and the drinkers in old Jolimonrt Square Social Club.

Deaf genes research...

Researchers say they have found the genetic cause of a rare disorder that causes children to be born with deafness, blindness, albinism and fragile bones. 

The syndrome is called COMMAD. It occurs when children inherit two mutations – one from each parent – of a gene called MITF. Each parent is also deaf due to another rare genetic disorder called Waardenburg syndrome 2A.

Role of MITF

Further research is needed to learn more about the role of MITF during early development and how mutations in this gene result in the development of Waardenburg 2A and COMMAD, said researchers from the US National Eye Institute (NEI).

The study was published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

COMMAD stands for the names of a number of conditions that affect people with this disorder. It includes:

Missing tissue around the eye
Abnormally dense bones prone to fracture
Small or abnormally formed eyes
An abnormally large head
Albinism (lack of melanin in the skin, eyes and hair)

How to identify the cause

Identifying the genetic cause of COMMAD is important because deaf people commonly choose to marry other deaf persons. People who are deaf may not know that their deafness is associated with Waardenburg 2A, the researchers explained.

Deaf couples may want to consider genetic counselling prior to conceiving a child. If both potential parents have Waardenburg 2A, they risk passing mutated versions of MITF to their children, who would then have COMMAD, study lead author Dr Brian Brooks said in a NEI news release.

Brooks is chief of the NEI's Paediatric, Developmental, and Genetic Ophthalmology section.  The study describes two unrelated cases of children born with COMMAD who inherited the two mutations of MITF from their parents.  Most people who are born deaf don't have Waardenburg 2A. Along with hearing loss, people with the syndrome have premature greying of the hair, blue eyes, fair skin and sometimes vision problems, the researchers said.

Govt needs to address hearing loss in NZ

The Foundation for the Deaf's demanding the Government set up a working group to address hearing loss in New Zealand.  (But the discussion was put on radio !)   Methinks they still haven't got the awareness message).

They've just released a report completed by Deloitte, which says 880,000 Kiwis suffer some form of hearing loss, and that costs us almost $5 billion a year. Foundation chief executive Louise Carroll told Mike Hosking the Government needs to be proactive about the problem.

"This is a wake up call New Zealand, we have to stand up and do something about this, otherwise we're leaving future generations with a huge burden of hearing loss." 

Researcher hopes to teach infants with cochlear implants to speak

Child with iPad
Getting an AI to understand speech is already a tough nut to crack. A group of Australian researchers wants to take on something much harder: teaching once-deaf babies to talk.

Why so tough?

Think about what happens when you talk to Siri or Cortana or Google on a phone: the speech recognition system has to distinguish your “OK Google” (for example) from background noise; it has to react to “OK Google” rather than “OK something else”; and it has to parse your speech to act on the command.  And you already know how to talk.

The Swinburne University team working on an app called GetTalking can't make even that single assumption, because they're trying to solve a different problem. When a baby receives a cochlear implant to take over the work of their malfunctioning inner ear, he or she needs to learn something brand new: how to associate the sounds they can now hear with the sounds their own mouths make.

Getting those kids started in the world of conversation is a matter of “habilitation” – no “rehabilitation” here, because there isn't a capability to recover.  GetTalking is the brainchild of Swinburne senior lecturer Belinda Barnet, and the genesis of the idea was her own experience as mother to a child with a cochlear implant.

 “With my own daughter – she had an implant at 11 months old – I could afford to take a year off to teach her to talk. This involves lots of repetitive exercises.“  That time and attention, she explained, is the big predictor of success.

In the roughly 10 years since it became standard practice to provide implants to babies at or before 12 months of age (fully funded by Australia's national health insurance scheme Medicare since 2011), 80 per cent of recipients achieve speech within the normal range.  What defines the 20 per cent that don't get to that point? Inability, either because of family income or distance from the city, to “spend a year sitting on the carpet with flash-cards”.

That makes it hard for parents in rural or regional locations, regional, or low-income mothers, Barnet said.  The idea for which Barnet and associate professor Rachael McDonald sought funding looks simple: an app to run on something like an iPad that gives the baby a bright visual reward for speaking.

However, it does test the boundaries of AI and speech recognition, because of a very difficult starting point: how can an app respond to speech when the baby has never learned to speak?

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Revoking the licence to kill...

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Complaints escalate as Ministers express concern at the appalling treatment of UK Welfare claimants, yet do nothing...  ATR expresses concern DWP/ATOS/CAPITA 'appeals' and 'tribunals' are exempt from public scrutiny,  and opinion, to ensure they comply with human rights laws....

"I think when an appeal is successful, claimants should have a right to damages for injury and mental abuse via a court, as well as the option of highlighting the professional inadequacies, and lack of qualifications of the assessors. We have reached a situation where no application for welfare should be made on a personal basis, but should go through a lawyer, because the eligibility terms and confusions of criteria by asking one question 14 different ways e.g, have now gone beyond the abilities of deaf or disabled to comprehend.  

Is there ANY logic, in sending written applications to the illiterate ? the Blind without braille, those with Autism and learning abilities ? with poor mental health etc ?  Insisting on using online responses with no determination first, to ensure if a client can use, or has access to it ?  3m UK residents have NO online access, they are usually the most poor or vulnerable who require welfare help, frozen out by default.  When we asked for this access before, the state responded by withdrawing free legal aid for us to challenge.  Enabling only the celebrity rich the ability to challenge oppression and abuses.

All appeals should take place in a court of law, it would really concentrate the minds of the public on the hate system that is the DWP and its unqualified agents. Whilst 'private' or in-house appeals take place, with no recourse as to how decisions are being made, we have no way of taking this system to task when its actions kill people. 

I thought only 007 had a licence to kill with impunity ?"

YouTube uses AI for caption effects..

YouTube will now be enrolling its machine learning program to detect sound effects in videos and add caption such as [Applause], [Music] and [LAUGHTER] as they serve as a meaningful context for viewers who are deaf and hard of hearing.

The program was first debuted with Google’s video caption back in 2006 and was later taken up to 'another level' with automated caption on YouTube. YouTube is further enhancing the program by including captions for sound effects, after the success of the initial one.

According to a statement in a blogpost by YouTube, “the number of videos with automatic captions now exceeds a staggering 1 billion. Moreover, people watch video with automatic captions more than 15 million times per day.”  To see the sound effect captioning system in action, user will need to click on the ‘CC’ button that appears on bottom-right of YouTube’s video.

“Future challenges might include adding other common sound classes like ringing, barking and knocking, which present particular problems,” YouTube said in a blogpost.

New report looks at difficulties disabled people face

PHOTOGRAPH BY DANIEL JONES 2017+44 (0)7815 853503
22 years it has been going on since the law was enacted, what HAVE they been doing in the meanwhile !

HEALTHWATCH Essex have been holding events and producing a new report on the difficulties of those with disabilities.

Last year saw the introduction of the Accessible Information Standard, making it a legal requirement to make sure those with disabilities had the support to communicate effectively with medical services.

However, the new report highlights a range of difficulties people who are deaf or hard of hearing, sight impaired or severely sight impaired or deafblind experience on a regular basis.

Key findings of the report are the impact on dignity and quality of life and the loss of autonomy and confidentiality. Many participants highlighted the fact they often needed to get a family member or carer to make appointments for them, which was inconvenient and in some cases compromised their patient confidentiality.

NY Couple accused of deaf son's murder...

A couple allegedly killed their deaf teenage son and then burned down their house to cover it upAuthorities have charged a New York couple with killing their teenage son and setting their rural upstate home on fire to cover up the crime.

The Chenango (shuh-NANG'-goh) County Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday that 35-year-old Ernest Franklin II and 33-year-old Heather Franklin have been charged with second-degree murder, arson and tampering with physical evidence.

Officials say a fire was reported around 1:15 a.m. March 1 at the family's home in the town of Guilford, 55 miles (88 kilometers) southeast of Syracuse. The couple's son, 16-year-old Jeffrey Franklin, was found dead inside.  Sheriff Ernest Cutting says an autopsy determined the fire didn't cause the teen's death and that he was dead before the fire started.

Police haven't said how the boy was killed.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Derby Police: Crime at Home ?

Recently we launched a British Sign Language (BSL) film to highlight the difference between emergency and non-emergency SMS numbers for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

The film shows different scenarios and gives advice on what is considered an emergency and what is not, and how Deaf people or those hard of hearing can contact the police using SMS texts across our region.

This video is a snippet from that film, and focuses on what action a Deaf or hard of hearing person can take if, for example, their home has been burgled while they were out or if they witness anything strange whilst in the house, and what they should do.

To see the full video - and to watch other useful videos if you're Deaf or hard of hearing - visit our website:

We also have a PLOD Facebook page. The Police Link Officers for the Deaf (PLOD) scheme consists of police officers and police staff who have received training in deaf awareness and are skilled in the use of British Sign Language (BSL) at different levels.

PLOD use their skills in providing a service for any non-emergency situation where communication support is required as a point of contact. Find them on Facebook via:

2017 A G BELL symposium.

ATR V last Hiccup ?

Image result for YAwn
Handbags at dawn. Only 3% of deaf people sign, get over it.

Friday, 24 March 2017

CAB to develop BSL services...

New Health equality practice checks on healthcare UK

We've had the law since 1995, now they will check to see if it being enforced ?

Inspections carried out into general practices by NHS regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will include new objectives from next month that seek to ensure better equality for all patient groups.

The CQC has published new equality objectives for 2017-19 in a document intended to target inequality in health and social care.  The regulator said that despite progress on equality, people from some equality groups were still less likely to receive good quality health and social care.

It wants to check during inspections that providers make person-centred care work for everyone, from all equality groups such as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people using adult social care or mental health inpatient services.  The CQC has set an objective to look at reducing barriers and improving access to primary care for migrants, asylum seekers, Gypsies and Travellers, to help address their poor health outcomes.

It will also look at how people in specific equality groups are supported on referral, transfer between services - including adult social care services and health services - on discharge from hospital and in primary care.

From October, the CQC will:

Add a specific question to its Provider Information Request forms (PIR) on person centred care and equality.

Have inspectors examine these issues on inspection.

Build on the PIR response and support this with guidance and informal learning.

Identify, promote and share outstanding practice.

Communicating its expectations to providers and to people who use services by gathering their views.

In addition, the CQC will share information and intelligence with Healthwatch England on inequality.

In the first year of the new objectives (2017-18), the initial focus will be on how providers ensure person-centred care for older BME (black and minority ethnic) people using GP practices, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people who use adult social care and mental health inpatient services, and for people with dementia in acute hospitals.

For year two (2018-19), the regulator said it would review progress in the first year’s areas before determining its next focus.

The CQC said that through its inspections, it would also look at how providers were meeting the new Accessible Information Standard introduced last year, which applies to disabled people who have information and communication needs, for example, deaf people or people with a learning disability.

Software that is helping people with disabilities

closed captioning weathermanFCC rules require TV stations to provide closed captions that convey speech, sound effects, and audience reactions such as laughter to deaf and hard of hearing viewers. YouTube isn’t subject to those rules, but thanks to Google’s machine-learning technology, it now offers similar assistance.

YouTube has used speech-to-text software to automatically caption speech in videos since 2009 (they are used 15 million times a day). Today it rolled out algorithms that indicate applause, laughter, and music in captions. More sounds could follow, since the underlying software can also identify noises like sighs, barks, and knocks.

The company says user tests indicate that the feature significantly improves the experience of the deaf and hard of hearing (and anyone who needs to keep the volume down). “Machine learning is giving people like me that need accommodation in some situations the same independence as others,” says Liat Kaver, a product manager at YouTube who is deaf.

Indeed, YouTube’s project is one of a variety that are creating new accessibility tools by building on progress in the power and practicability of machine learning. The computing industry has been driven to advance software that can interpret images, text, or sound primarily by the prospect of profits in areas such as ads, search, or cloud computing. But software with some ability to understand the world has many uses.

Last year, Facebook launched a feature that uses the company’s research on image recognition to create text descriptions of images from a person’s friends, for example.

Researchers at IBM are using language-processing software developed under the company’s Watson project to make a tool called Content Clarifier to help people with cognitive or intellectual disabilities such as autism or dementia. It can replace figures of speech such as “raining cats and dogs” with plainer terms, and trim or break up lengthy sentences with multiple clauses and indirect language.

Blind & Deaf care inadequate...

Problems - Patients with sensory impairments face 'significant issues' with their care, a report claims.
Health services for the deaf and blind in Essex have been slammed in a new report on the county’s care services.

The latest public engagement project from Healthwatch Essex – the independent charity that provides a voice for the people of Essex on health and care services – has highlighted the significant issues of more than 180,000 people with sensory impairments face when accessing and using health and care services in the county.

In 2016, the Accessible Information Standard was introduced, making it a legal requirement for all NHS or adult social care organisations to make sure that people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss are provided with information they can easily read or understand and to communicate effectively. Despite this, Healthwatch Essex’s new report highlights a range of difficulties people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, sight impaired or severely sight impaired or Deafblind experience on a regular basis.

Key findings of the report are the impact on dignity and quality of life and the loss of autonomy and confidentiality. Many participants highlighted the fact they often needed to get a family member or carer to make appointments for them, which was inconvenient and in some cases compromised their patient confidentiality.  Regular problems included stiff and rigid booking systems, poor recording and sharing of information and people not receiving information and communication in their preferred format.

Dr Tom Nutt, Healthwatch Essex Chief Executive, said: “One profoundly deaf participant told us that when she asked a receptionist: ‘How do deaf people make appointments?’, her reply was to shrug her shoulders and say: ‘We’ve never had a complaint before’.

“A blind participant told us of an experience where a receptionist told him to, ‘go and take a seat over there!’. Not thinking that ‘over there’ could be construed as just a tad ambiguous by a blind person!  “People told us what they most valued was to be treated as an individual so they can take control where possible.”

He added: “They don’t want to repeat their story at each consultation and they want to encounter friendly, helpful staff who provide them with information in a format that is suitable for them. Doesn’t seem like too much to ask.”

Thursday, 23 March 2017

NHIR Scanning Research of emerging Technology....

Image result for NIHR Horizon Scanning Research and Intelligence Centre
The NIHR Horizon Scanning Research and Intelligence Centre has published a horizon scanning review of new and emerging technologies that are being developed for the management and reduction of the negative consequences of hearing loss.

More than 11 million, (approximately one in six) people in the UK are affected by hearing loss, the majority (92%) experiencing mild to moderate hearing loss. The likelihood of hearing loss increases with age, with more than 70% of 70 year-olds experiencing some form of hearing loss. Hearing loss is however, not uncommon in children; there are over 45,000 children in the UK who have a profound hearing loss.

We identified 55 technologies that fitted the identification criteria: five educational programmes, six auditory and cognitive training programmes, five assistive listening devices, eleven hearing aids (HAs) and alternative listening devices, eight implants and devices, twelve drugs, one regenerative medicine approach, and seven surgical procedures. Most of the developments were in early or uncertain clinical research and would require additional evaluation before widespread adoption by patients and the NHS.

Experts and patients picked out technologies of interest including: apps for converting speech to text and sign language to speech, hearing aids and alternative listening devices to support listening in different environments, a fully implantable cochlear implant (CI) system, a closed-loop CI system, and three developments to support the tuning and optimisation of HAs. If these were successful they have the potential to change the CI landscape for patients, improve patient experience and use of HAs, and to affect service delivery and provision.

Deaf V Deaf ?

Image result for deaf versus hearing
How just 3% of deaf people want to isolate the other 97% with deafness and loss. Deafism rule! Another extremist rant from the Deaf thought police central and home of loony tunes Inc aka Last Hiccup, (We wish it was their last!), with enough 'isms' to keep you occupied for the next 50 years.  

Far from 'identifying' deaf hate, he promotes it and extreme viewpoints that are anti-hearing, anti-deaf, anti-HoH, anti-CIs', anti-hearing aids, anti-genetic choices, and anti-parental decisions, and still hating a man dead a 100 years... is there ANYTHING LH does support ? Read on as Last Hiccup rants about those awful 'Hearing students'.

Gallaudet University: The biggest mistake is to allow hearing students at Gallaudet in early 1990’s. That is why it is also much diversion in Deaf community.

The bigger mistake was putting all deaf activism in one place and allowing Gallaudet to be a hot bed of radicalism, where we saw 'hearing hate' and oral-using deaf hate in action..

DPN was a series of hard-fought, locally and nationally organized campaigns, shining the lights of the media to challenge hearing privileges and employment that hearing people took away from Deaf people who are highly qualified for the jobs.

Not true, ASL student activists rioted, caused criminal damage, and closed down classes, denying educational access to their peers.  They even objected to their own diversity representation officer to make Gallaudet LESS diverse, and subjected teaching staff to the 'Deaf Inquisition' to ascertain if they were pro extreme ASL culture or not.

Blocking and closing classes which prevented access to Higher education they need to compete for jobs.  Hardly encouraging people to support integration, inclusion or equality, unless living in a vacuum is their idea of equality, and isolating deaf from the rest of the world.

It saddens me to see that Deaf against Deaf. How can we make it feel like 1988? 

Or even like 1880 ?  not going to happen, this is 2017, get real !


As is typical for these extremists, feedback and challenges aren't allowed. Welcome to cultural equality in action.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Don't leave me out !

Access versus fairness.

Image result for stop the PIP assessments !
More and more details emerging of biased and discriminatory assessments for PIP by the state welfare arm the DWP and through their 'agents' Capita and ATOS.  

As more upset is being expressed by disabled and deaf alike of poor and amateurish assessments of need by obviously unqualified people, it emerged that even being given British sign language support can be detrimental to you qualifying for welfare if you are deaf.  Read on:-

"My partner was not assessed for her issue at all in real terms, she was born deaf with no speech, and the assessor was a physiotherapist (!) who did not address my partner directly at all, but through a BSL interpreter, the view was my partner had no issues of note as she had support for the interview, but none of her questioning was directed at the problem of her being deaf or difficulties of communicating. 

In retrospect should I have REFUSED to accept DWP BSL interpreter help ? and forced the assessor to do her job properly and put huge stress on my partner as a result ? these are the sort of things that really undermine any sort of accurate assessment taking place. I have no doubt whatever had we not applied for BSL communication support the assessment would have been impossible, but it would have displayed her obvious need for PIP."

Just one of many concerns being raised at the UK's determined assault on its disabled and deaf population.  The sting in the tail was the DWP insisting if you make their assessors do their job properly, then this is deliberate attempt to frustrate assessment. heads or tails, you lose.

UK's Oxfam: The UK most unequal country in the world ?

Deaf Brutality with the police...

12 Deaf Plaintiffs Sue Banner Health for Lack of ASL

Accessibility KeyboardTwelve deaf individuals filed a complaint in Federal District Court in Arizona on March 13 against Banner Health, which operates hospitals, surgery centers and urgent care centers in Arizona, Alaska, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. (Cook et al v. Banner Health, U.S. Dist. Ct., Arizona, Filed 03/13/2017, Case # 2:17-cv-00758-JJT.)

Allegation: Failure to Provide ASL Interpreters and Communication Aids

The complaint alleges that Banner Health "discriminated against plaintiffs by failing to provide on-site ASL interpreters when necessary, by providing malfunctioning Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) systems, by failing to adequately train its personnel in the use of VRI systems, and by requiring the plaintiffs to reply upon other means of communication, including passing of notes and/or lip reading, that are inadequate for the medical treatment required by the Plaintiffs and the services required by their companions."

Claims: ADA, Rehabilitation Act, §1557 of ACA and Common Law "Battery"

The complaint alleges that Banner Health's failure to provide ALS interpreters and other communication assistance violates: (1) The anti-discrimination clause of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); (2) Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act which prohibits discrimination against disabled persons by entities receiving federal funds such as Medicaid reimbursements; (3) the prohibitions on both disability and limited English proficiency discrimination within Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which also prohibits discrimination under health programs or activities receiving federal funds; (4) the Arizonans with Disabilities Act; (5) the common law prohibition against "battery" as the alleged lack of effective communication resulted in a lack of informed consent for medical treatment.

Relief Sought

The complaint seeks a range of relief and remedies including an Order to require Banner Health to adopt policies and procedures to provide a range of assistive communication tools including a high-quality VRI system, provide staff qualified to operate the VRI system, enhance availability of American Sign Language interpreters, train staff in legal requirements, and award applicable actual, compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorney fees.

Trend: Dramatic Increase in Accessibility and Communication Litigation

Multiple similar lawsuits by deaf or hearing impaired individuals have been filed against hospitals around the country in recent weeks. The increase in litigation may also be linked to the hundreds of lawsuits filed in the past two years related to allegedly "inaccessible" websites in violation of the ADA. For more information, read ”Healthcare Sector is Newest Target for Website Accessibility Lawsuits.”

Deaf support strike: 16 days and counting...

Workers, with support from clients, walk a picket line Tuesday outside the Canadian Hearing Society office on Wellington Street  in London.  The local agency has about a dozen staff on strike. (Norman De Bono/The London Free Press)
Workers, with support from clients, walk a picket line Tuesday outside the Canadian Hearing Society office on Wellington Street  in London.  The local agency has about a dozen staff on strike.  Critical services for more than 6,000 deaf people in the London area are curtailed as a strike drags on.

The union claims the Canadian Hearing Society is dragging its feet on returning to the bargaining table, keeping 227 workers off the job across Ontario. “The employer is refusing to come to the table. There are outstanding issues,” said Barbara Wilker-Frey, national representative for Local 2073 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

“We have been ­communicating with them every other day for two weeks, and there has been no ­uptake.”  The London office employs about a dozen people and covers Middlesex, Oxford, Huron, Elgin and Perth counties and parts of Bruce and Grey counties.  Classes for new immigrants are among the programs curtailed by the strike, affecting about a dozen deaf refugees and immigrants trying to learn both English and sign language.

“The impact is huge. The deaf and hard-of-hearing community relies on us for interpretation, for employment assistance and for auditory services including hearing aids and repairs,” Wilker-Frey said. But Gary Malkowski, vice-­president at the Canadian Hearing Society and member of the executive bargaining team, said the union walked away from the table.

“CHS had requested bargaining continue to potentially avoid a labour disruption. After communicating their intent to strike, CUPE handed a new offer to Ministry of Labour mediators but their offer was not financially sustainable,” he stated in an email.

The workers, who have been without a collective agreement for four years, walked off the job March 6.  About 40 per cent of striking workers are deaf. Melkowski said the society is working to maintain services.“We have been able to ensure all priority and essential clients’ needs are met through our services or through partner agencies. We have a robust strike plan which focuses on limiting the risk to the people we serve.”

Staying connected, informed and empowered in Europe.

Staying connected, informed and empowered
Just about the first such event FOR HoH exclusively in many years, but not about equality !

An international event hosted jointly by the National Association of Deafened People (NADP) and the European Federation of Hard of Hearing People ( EFHOH) . This is a unique opportunity to meet delegates from hard of hearing communities across Europe.

The event provides an opportunity for you to hear directly from the most senior leaders in hearing care and the disability movement, discover innovative work led by industry, and network with colleagues from across the sector.

Speakers: Penny Mordaunt MP ( UK Minister for Disabled People) Dr. Laszlo Lovaszy (Expert at the UN CRPD Committee and EU Parliament Advisor), Lilian Greenwood (MP for Nottingham South), Søren Hougaard (Secretary General of the European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association), Mark Laureyns (President of the European Association of Hearing Care Professionals), Gareth Ford - Williams (Head of Accessibility, BBC Design and Engineering), Sarah Herlinger ( Senior Manager for Global Accessibility Policy and Initiatives at Apple) and David Bradshaw (Digital TV Group) are already confirmed to speak at the Conference.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Working with a Deaf Patient

Facilitating Communication with the deaf.

New software helps those with hearing impairments communicate more readily with those who may not know sign language. LP Connect provides users with a virtual interpreter who knows sign language and 150 different languages. (Video by Shyntel Del Aguila/Cronkite News)

Banning Deaf participation in telethons.

How many deaf I wonder  will participate or even benefit via 'Red Nose Day' on 24th March ?  

We yearn for the time when deaf had at least a semblance of pride they exhibited some years ago, when they refused to participate in one red nose/brown-arsing celebrity TV telethon on the grounds it exploited deaf children.   

Today we laud the fact charities portray us all as the medical model and the needy, but not why that is the case.  Not a word about why that image exists. We will see women and children portrayed as hungry and starving, what we won't see are their male relatives, because they are either killing each other or on a boat to Greece.  That the fact they live where nothing can sustain them either, means the money won't do anything but delay the inevitable. What support we give will not make any long term difference.  The agony is simply prolonged instead.

Red Nose day/week whatever is an UK national excersize in patronisation, we are well known as soft when it comes to helping others without caring if they need that help or even why they need it. Albeit humans still take second billing to pets.   Addressing the effects never the cause, and you get to wear a silly hat and trendy t-shirt as well.

RND lacks any moral compass, in that it refuses to recognise the cause of most issues of people with a disability and a hearing and profound loss, is a refusal by our own people to accept and include.  Only last year it was 'adopt a poor deafie and make them feel at home', gig going on.    Wjat upu will see are animals and disabled kids trotted out,because most fund raisers know there is no sympathy card they can use for adults in need, because many tend to 'bang on' about rights not handouts and the unfairness of the UK state systems, all issues guaranteed to suggest to charity givers and fund raisers they aren't going to get any money plugging those people.

They need misery, they need angst etc, being positive simply excludes your argument you need recognition. They need images of people being 'brave' simply because they can still tie their shoelaces up.  If you can throw in some kids and a few assistance animals too, it's a licence to print money.

This is not how to enhance or facilitate inclusion and acceptance, this is negative promotion. They are aided and abetted by relentless charity plugs for more money to enhance more dependency, which they suggest is empowerment, but empowerment should empower the person, not the provider, and the millions in handouts from the lottery which was set up for 'good causes' ends up subsidising state neglect, and jobs for the non-disabled instead.  It's all a self-sustaining dependency industry, where we have no input as to how it proceeds, and has  no bottom line of making itself redundant, so expect the same for the next 50 years at this rate..

There is NO valid reason why deaf would need handouts.  I am sure there will be people immediately outraged on this attack on what is really, an excuse for the worst exhibit of smug satisfaction on UKTV screens, GOOD ! It is basically any excuse for the same, tired old faces, to get a free plug on media, many of whom we had consigned to z celeb status, or we thought died years ago.

We can continue in the same vein by urging Uk bloggers to cease plugging areas that thrive on patronising them, and view their emancipation as a side show or plug for their business activities.  Let's fess up, charity and disabled and deaf support is BIG money, far be it from ATR to suggest that this their real interest in us, but, £6,000,000,000 a year up for grabs, is not to be sniffed at,and the reason most large charities employ not us, but corporate strategists and online spin merchants.    

The charities have entire areas dedicated to corporate dependency and job adverts which disable us applying for jobs because we will never have the opportunity to gain experience with them.  There are no corporate deaf CEO's, no higher education and corporate training facilities for us.  We are their face, they make it their living and future.

RND is a cynical exhibition of media hyping itself.  Another chance to patronise, feel good, then a 12 month break until the next time you feel that sitting in a bathtub of baked beans is doing your bit for equality or acceptance. It seems heresy to suggest we don't want any money at all, but the fact is we don't, we need a mind-set change, and your vote.  Is it too much to demand equity ?

Would it not be a Good idea to run a whole day's TV dedicated to highlighting the failure of charities to fight your corner ? the complete farce of the 'Deaf and HI' remits ? REAL awareness ? or, the culling of 6,000 disabled, killed by the iniquitous welfare assessments approaches by a state, who validate your entitlement along the lines of the Medieval witch trials, throw you in a pool, if you drown you are innocent, if you don't you are a witch and die anyway.

Could we not highlight the fact 68% of deaf and disabled will never get work experience or even a job of use in their lives ? or  Deaf and HoH UK children denied access to an education, contributing to 40% of them inheriting poor mental health as a result ? but that's fine we fund deaf schools in Africa. We even send mentors using BSL to them, mostly because none are interested in supporting their own here, or are frozen out by charities instead.  The UK are the ultimate patronisers, we spend £12,000,000,000 a year proving it.  It hasn't changed anything

We completely ignored the 6,000 UK families every day queuing up at food banks for their next meal, even ridicule and attack them, nor the 6,000 young people sleeping on the streets, or even our Vets dismissed now they have done their job and been disabled for life, risking their lives for errant politicians, not the image we want the brainwashed to see as they frolic in dancing and cooking laughs. anyone landing here from outer space would rightly assume we are all mad as the proverbial.  The USA has over a million doing it, and see no problem either.

Should we allow deaf  people and red nose comedians to make a joke of the fact we despise our own vulnerable by suggesting at least we care for those elsewhere ?