Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Cymraeg? neu Saesneg?

Seeing Anew: The Welsh Alphabet
One hopes ENGLISH alphabet finger-spell signing (BSL A-Z),  are NOT used, as welsh alphabet has different letters, such as FF, CH, LL, ng etc... AND a different grammar form !  

There are concerns it is a simplistic translation approach from the English... that actually ignores welsh. So are they teaching BSL ? or Welsh signs via language and grammar ?  Recognizing the 43% differences between regional BSL. And, has Wales sufficient welsh interpreters or teachers ?  

One issue identified is the almost total lack of deaf welsh with knowledge of Welsh, or Welsh signs..... Ooops !

A new project has been launched which aims to teach sign language to young children through the medium of Welsh. The scheme, run by Mudiad Meithrin and funded by Bangor University, is the first to teach British Sign Language (BSL) through Welsh rather than English.

It will introduce one word per week in Welsh and BSL which will be shown to as many as 12,500 children under four. The Welsh Government said 85% of deaf children do not have special care.

Sign language by Mudiad MeithrinSign-language costs are 'too-high' for some families. The programme, with support from Bangor University's Widening Access Centre, also aims to make signing in Welsh a "modern" language on the Welsh Joint Education Committee's GCSE, AS and A2 syllabus.

However, there are concerns over the number of qualified deaf-signing teachers and that 85% of the 3,272 deaf children in mainstream schools do not have special educational provisions available to them.

Delyth Murphy, director of the university's Widening Access Centre, said it was a "privilege" to be involved in the "unique ground-breaking project".

Ireland: 1st dates show include Gay men.

Are charities still colluding to undermine our Rights ?

Many concerns charities are still colluding with the state in undermining our rights and refusing to oppose DWP cuts too.

We doubt anyone here can name a significant number of charities that joined with disabled and opposed the state cuts and refused to work with the system unless they changed. 

ATR has finished supporting charity on all fronts re disabled or the deaf, professional begging isn't what we are about, we aren't victims or wanting to be dependents. ATR deplores other deaf bloggers being sponsored and bribed by charities for kudos, as a display of supporting vested interests that is entirely negative towards us.  Using social medias and us, to plug their medical models.

ATR stopped supporting charities in the late 1990s when amongst others, the charity the RNID reneged on the DDA accepting it on our behalf, with no teeth to work so they could capitalise on funding and asset strip the charities with the most able campaigners to silence them.   Their CEO was a born deaf signer too.  The BDA deaf charity failed to turn up at all to campaign for a disability act, citing being disabled had nothing to do with deaf people, and only quotes the Act when it suits them..

Today what we see is these 'charities' are un-supported by grass roots, and being run on a corporate basis with next to no 'stakeholders' in any position to direct how we want them to proceed. They decide our priorities, and, how to address them, nothing for us without us should be our top and bottom line.

Charities are backing off attacking the government in case their funding dries up. Most disabled also fail to understand the very existence of a charity is directly in opposition to their basic rights to access anyway, and while they exist, we are viewed medically and dependently helpless too. Which puts work in the way of charities to maintain our reliance on them and perpetuate the myth. 

ATR would also like to see all charities less supported by deaf and disabled, until they start recognising our rights issue and supporting the campaigns. We don't want a handout, just our rights. Also, that a lot of them are devolved to local areas for running, so local needs are addressed at local levels, not decided unilaterally by some remote HQ in southern England instead, where 69% of all charity HQ's are based.

Charities are the only sectors in the UK who refuse to acknowledge political and regional devolution too, which distorts campaigns, access and lobbying, by a failure to declare who they are talking about.  This allows the capital city, and the activism there, to determine the needs of everyone else in the country. It's got to stop.

So you want to be a politican ?

Many don't ! a response to social media complaints we do not have the access to start.  

E.G. I do not have any access to my local authority/council/political meetings at all either, but it would help if disabled/deaf appreciated they need MORE than just own knowledge of own disability if they want to enter the political process, because they will be representing non disabled, local people, total strangers with other issues, and expected to understand local issues.

Sadly too many of us are very singular in the way we approach issues, and as a result do not connect with the wider mainstream, as a result. Stay in a deaf world you cannot compete with a hearing one.  My local AM/MP has his usual website and produces vlogs, but none are accessible to me so I can't watch them. 

We should be demanding those with sensory and hearing issues are included as a basic to the political process, but, turning up to show willing.  Yelling we want access then taking zilch further interest after, because the right alone is enough isn't good enough.  It's a betrayal of inclusion too.

Despite the UK having a  dedicated political channel (Parliament TV), none of it is captioned/subtitled or signed, you need to access instead a written recording of events on a government website, an issue if English Grammar isn't your forte or scouring state websites isn't your bag either.   Naturally we complain, but undermined by other deaf who say 'politics are boring' or 'who cares ? they are all the same..', or, 'Nothing will change..'

You have to be in it to win it, to change that. We are all about access perhaps and less about inclusion too.  We are leaving campaigns for a voice to 'lone wolves', or biased campaigners, in the lobby area (Areas like BSL lobbies that won't include others with hearing loss, or HoH areas that won't include signers), or respective charities who have a vested interest in not rocking the boat at all, for fear of losing funding, who themselves hardly have any grass root representation or memberships, because they have gone corporate to get money, and shun confrontational rights lobbies (Which are political).  

This apparently is an issue of their ability to operate as a charity due to a commision clause that prevents them technically being political in nature.  It is why the dedicated British BDA which is sign-based, and rights campaigning, is on the skids and the more state-linked AOHL which conentrates on the medical view of hearing loss and 'help' thrives.  They are subsidising state neglect.

The best they can manage is half-hearted pleas for more access, but zero confrontational stances.  This is an issue for us, being as the state only recognises 'our chartities' as the main area of expertise, for statistics, and advice on what we want.  It is a bit of catch 22 where access has to come first in many parts, but if you get that and still cannot connect with the majority you are a minority issue and stay that way.

This defeats awareness. First educate yourself politically then when you do get access, you have a platform that is viable.  It also serves a dual function in widening your own perspective and awareness, so win-win.

DON'T get bogged down in own issues, DON'T be a one-trick pony, DON'T preach to the already converted, and get out there. It is the ONLY way to inclusion there is no other way.  Access won't do it, unless you participate too.  That is what inclusion means.

Scientists grow new ears.....

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

USA in envy of UK's swathing cuts to disabled support.

Since 1984, each applicant's eligibility for SSDI is determined using the so-called medical-vocational grid. Applicants are deemed eligible depending on their age, education level, skills and language ability. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)I can assure USA disabled/Deaf readers you really really, do NOT want your government to emulate what has happened here, which includes:

(1) 11,000 premature disabled deaths by removal of their support and care. 

(2) The removal of deaf support to work and to care, claiming we are too expensive to help.

(3) Terminally ill people thrown on the streets, because they have issues being bed-ridden and unable to work. 

(4) 1,000s of soup kitchens and food banks are springing up, as current welfare cuts leave them no money to eat. 

(5) 150,000 families dumped in B&B's,  1 million children in poverty.

(6) The UK government found guilty in the European courts of gencoide against 6,000 of its disabled welfare claimants.

(7) The emergence of a rabid media that pits able bodied against the deaf and disabled and labels them scroungers, frauds and a 'drain' on the working people.

(8) 300,000 with hearing loss losing all welfare allowances.

(9) 64% of all deaf and disabled have never been offered a full time job.

(10) the state (UK)  arm of welfare the DWP, being above human rights laws, rewriting what your disability is, and overruling medical fact and opinion..

(11) Major cuts to NHS hearing aid and CI provision, dooming those with hearing loss to a lifetyime of deafness, misery, joblessness, and hate abuse.

(12) Deaf children being mocked, deaf schools shut down, and being left unsupported in mainstream classrooms.

What the UK says, is that if you are disabled or deaf, you are no use to anyone. You want more of this in the USA ? The only positive from the USA is the ability to sue employers that discriminate, again the UK has not this option.

Read ON:  The Social Security Disability Insurance program was designed to assist individuals deemed unable to work due to a permanent disability. SSDI has been, and remains, an essential component of the nation’s safety net.

However, with rates of disability remaining fairly stable in recent years, enrollment in SSDI has doubled in just 20 years from 2.3 million in 1989 to 4.6 million in 2009. What is more striking is that enrollment has more than doubled since then, to over 10 million enrollees in 2017, costing the federal government $144 billion. The cost of SSDI is expected to grow another 50 percent over the next decade alone, at $216 billion a year by 2027.

With the passing into law of the Social Security Disability Benefits Reform Act of 1984, the program's screening criteria were liberalized, and the SSA was directed to give additional weight to subjective factors when making its disability determination decisions. The result was a drastic and disproportionate increase in awards to beneficiaries with vague and hard-to-determine disabilities, such as musculoskeletal conditions and mental disorders.

Since 1984, each applicant’s eligibility for SSDI is determined using the so-called medical-vocational grid. Applicants are deemed eligible depending on their age, education level, skills and language ability. These guidelines apply much looser standards for applicants' eligibility and are an important part of the explanation for increased disability awards in recent years.

The increased use of medical-vocational definitions of disability has led to an increase in workers of advanced age claiming disability insurance since 1990, regardless of increasing life expectancy over the years.

Struggling with deafness...

Deafness and Me.....

Are deaf the same as us ?

Mostly we hail from planet Zog, and learning your fiendish hearing ways lol...

Monday, 29 January 2018

Dot Miles

Snapshots: Dot's Legacy from DPH Media on Vimeo.

About the sole signing artist that was original... and didn't 'cover' hearing output and re-label it 'Deaf'.

Dating and the Deaf

Deaf know what they want, but are they making that effort to facilitate hearing ?  There is the top, middle, and bottom line, that demands OTHERS adjust, not you, could that be a reason hearing-deaf dates struggle ?  I think the rigid statement, 'I am Deaf, so you must sign..' deters a lot of people outright.  Of course communication is important, so is leeway and ALL relationships require effort to succeed.

There was this full stop on everything 'I can only sign so...if you don't, that's it..' there was not a lot of effort put in by the signing person male or female.  They also had little ability to look outward or the confidence to try.  It looked like sign was an excuse not to try, because of the effort involved, hearing have to make effort too, often more than the deaf partner does.  They have to acquire another language.... Hearing-deaf relationships require equal efforts to make them work, no-one wants a hearing partner there as a sort of live-in free carer cum interpreter.  It demeans deaf too.

Deaf relationships are not very good to be honest, and choices negligible, as the woman stated, you are more likely to end up with another woman's or man's ex than anything.  Women are treated poorly by deaf men, sort of passed from one man to another because of the inbalance of availability of partners....  There was a blog I read recently that suggested deaf relationships were virtually incestuous by nature.

Be proud to be deaf, do not be too proud to the extent you  dump any real choice at all.  Maybe the real answer lies in deaf communication options, that give deaf people more than just sign, given most of the world doesn't ?  It's not just signers, but many with  serious hearing loss issues who can only rely on what their aid gives them, but are detered from going to areas to meet potential partners.  They also have no clubs to meet up in, or confidence either.

Online is a minefield, and few deaf join hearing dating sites or they risk abuse.  Deaf communities also need to be more flexible in allowing HoH and hearing in, so confidence can be taught in real time and in safety.

Why subtitlers have one of the hardest jobs in TV

We have a confession to make. And it’s probably something you need to come clean about too. Over the years, as much as we shouldn’t have, we’ve revelled in every major subtitling mistake. From the time they drastically downgraded the Queen’s mode of transport…

Okay, maybe we can forgive ourselves a smile for that last one. But the rest? It turns out there are actually a few reasons – well, two major ones – why we shouldn’t see subtitlers solely as gaffe-ridden Ed Miliband types.

Sometimes subtitlers’ mistakes simply aren’t. Remember when everyone thought the BBC used ‘the wrong subtitles’ during the US presidential inauguration last year?

That was, as Trump himself would say, fake news. It turned out that the mistake actually lay with a single faulty TV – one busted set had carried over subtitles from CBBC’s The Dumping Ground to BBC News.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Disabled not wanted in Politics.

Anita DaviesDisabled people are being blocked from politics in Wales due to "negative, archaic stereotyping" and inaccessible buildings, campaigners have said.

An estimated 20% of the population are disabled, but only 1.5% of councillors are known to have a disability. Disability Wales said more should be done to remove barriers to people standing to improve representation.

Disability Wales said about 600,000 people in Wales have a disability, but very few councils hold data on how many councillors are disabled. BBC research showed of the 1,254 councillors elected in May, just 19 are known by local authorities to be living with an impairment or long-term health condition.

Anita Davies, a councillor for Coity Higher Community Council in Bridgend, is registered blind and said people often made prejudgements on her ability to do her job.  She said she had sat in meetings where no-one introduced themselves or read out presentations, and she had not been sent important documents in the right format to make a decision.

"If I've got my cane with me and I'm on my own, some people will actually avoid talking to me because they are not quite sure what to say or how to introduce themselves," she said. "[If I'm with a resident at a meeting] sometimes they think I'm a relative... the last thing they would have thought of is that I may be a councillor, because I have a visual impairment."

Conservative AM for north Wales, Mark Isherwood, who is partially deaf and chairman of the assembly's group on disability, said he purposely wore large standard NHS hearing aids so people could see.

"When my hearing started deteriorating I was the last person to admit it, I had a bit of an experience where people assumed I was stupid," he said, "I now wear it to make a statement, I am deaf but I am proud of it."

Disability Wales said people were being barred from accessing democracy due to meetings often being held in buildings which lack hearing loops or ramps.

ATR COMMENT:  When asked, majority of deaf people said they were uniterested in politics, with, or without access.  Those that expressed an interest had zero knowledge of local issues or indeed hearing ones, and wanted to stand on the basis of promoting Deaf and Cultural/Language rights exclusively, giving the voters no option but to not elect them on the basis they lacked any background or interest in others and just wanted to promote own issues.

UK Charities collude to undermine disabled rights.

A blue badge parking signAs was their complete reluctance to challenge the DWP over 6,000 deaths due to arbitary cuts in their life-preserving support.

Disability charities are facing questions over why they helped the government disguise the reason it had to change “discriminatory” guidance that was preventing thousands of disabled people with invisible impairments from securing blue parking badges.

The Department for Transport (DfT) announced this week that it was proposing alterations to guidance that would “herald the most significant changes since the blue badge was introduced in 1970” and would “remove barriers to travel for people with conditions such as dementia and autism” in England.

Junior transport minister Jesse Norman claimed this “accords with the government’s manifesto commitment to give parity of esteem to mental and physical health conditions”.

The changes were welcomed enthusiastically by non-user-led disability charities such as Scope and the National Autistic Society (NAS), with NAS even quoted in DfT’s own press release, and they were widely supported by the mainstream media, including the Guardian, the Mirror and the BBC.

But what they and Norman failed to mention was that the changes had been forced on the government by a legal action taken on behalf of an autistic man with learning difficulties.

David* had had a blue badge for 30 years but was told by his local council that he no longer qualified because of new DfT rules**.

His family took legal action against DfT and his local council because of new guidance issued by DfT in October 2014, following the introduction of the government’s new personal independence payment (PIP) the previous year.

DfT was forced to settle the judicial review claim 15 months ago, by agreeing to review the new blue badge guidance.


Friday, 26 January 2018

Highs and Lows of subtitled film screening.

Imagine going to the cinema to see the latest release: you get comfortable on your seat, popcorn and drink in hand, eagerly waiting for the film to start. But there's one problem. The sound isn't working on the adverts. You brush it off and think they'll fix it in time for the film. The film starts. Still no sound. 

What do you do? Leave and mention it to the cinema assistant or the manager, get your money back and go another time that's suitable for you? Sound easy enough, right?.

Now, replace the word 'sound' with 'subtitles'. This is the struggle faced by most d/Deaf/Hard of Hearing (HoH) individuals in the UK when they visit a cinema that has been advertised as a subtitled screening. 

Unlike most cinemas, the next subtitled screening isn't just 30 minutes after the previous film has finished, we only get it once, or twice if we're lucky, throughout the whole of the duration the film is broadcast at selected locations. The additional struggle is actually getting the subtitled screenings at suitable times. Some of us have to travel a fair distance to get to the only cinema in the area offering this service.

There have been numerous occasions where cinemas have not supported d/Deaf/HoH people in providing subtitles. The latest, being incidents in some major multiplex cinemas with the screening of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Deaf people facing barriers....

Deaf people facing barriers accessing health and social care in Sheffield from Sheffield Live on Vimeo.

Facing more as this is not even accessible to them !

Local Community rallies to support lip-reading.

Lip-reading, still struggling to survive?

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Please hire me...

Deaf woman sues Little Mix concert promoter

LHG Live faced with lawsuit alleging failure to provide an interpreter during the girl band’s support acts at September gig

Before attending the concert at Sussex’s South of England Event Centre last September, Sally Reynolds petitioned the organiser, LHG Live, to provide a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter so that she and her two friends, who are also deaf, could enjoy the concert with their daughters, who are able to hear, the BBC reports.

Initially LHG offered Reynolds carer tickets and said she could bring her own interpreter. Citing the Equality Act 2010, which states that any organisation supplying a public service has a duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that a disabled person receives as similar as possible an experience to a person without a disability, Reynolds applied for a court injunction to oblige LHG to supply a BSL interpreter.

Before the hearing, LHG agreed to provide an interpreter, who appeared during Little Mix’s set.  However the interpreter did not appear during supporting performances, by Ella Eyre and the Germein Sisters. Reynolds is now suing LHG for failing to make reasonable adjustments for the entire performance.

“People with sensory impairment actually want to attend musical and sporting events just as anybody else does,” her solicitor, Chris Fry, told the BBC. “So it is important that venues and promoters recognise the legal duties to make reasonable adjustments extend to them.”

How lip-reading classes work (UK)

Image result for lip-reading imagesFree or Not ?

Lipreading classes are not free in most areas of the UK. They often used to be run and funded by local councils within their adult education service but these services have been decimated in recent years and most classes are now run by fully qualified Teachers of Lipreading to Adults. 

Trained teachers then set up classes locally and have to pay for the hall/room they use as well as insurance and the equipment needed. Obviously in these circumstances the teachers need to cover their costs and make a little money to live on. 

How Much are the lessons ?

The costs may vary depending on whether a charity is involved in supporting the class - where this happens the cost may be minimal but again this will depend on the area the student is in. 

How is the class tuition approached ?

At a lipreading class we use our residual hearing, with or without a hearing aid, in conjunction with all visible clues given - such as facial expression and gesture. Our residual hearing aids recognition of rhythm and pauses, short or longer words, stressed words, some vowel sounds and intonation. The aural and visual clues complement each other - many of the sounds that are difficult to hear make useful lip-shapes, and acoustic differences can sometimes help the lipreader to discriminate between sounds that look alike. 

Voice: Yes or NO ?

As teachers we often 'take away' our voice so that student lipread us but then we will confirm what we said with voice and using written words on a computer screen or overhead projector.

Who really benefits ?

The question of whether it is suitable for someone with a severe or profound hearing loss may be up to the teacher. 

Some teachers are able to offer individual sessions but obviously these would be costly as they wouldn't come under adult education.

Friday, 12 January 2018

UK Government: We don't have to enforce disabled access.

Lord Shinkwin speaking in the House of Lords
The Lords at Westminster ignoring 3 of the UK's own access and equality laws, and the Human rights one.  The law exists only on paper, not in any legal terms.  Why would they need to consult disabled on their right to access when the law says they already have it ?  The declared war on deaf and disabled rights goes on.

A disabled Tory peer has accused his own government of insulting disabled people by rejecting the chance to improve access to pubs, clubs and restaurants.  Lord [Kevin] Shinkwin said his party was in danger of “disowning” the laws it introduced through the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) more than 22 years ago.  He was speaking during a Lords debate – a few days before Christmas – on the recommendations made by a committee of peers that had scrutinised the impact of the Licensing Act 2003.

One of the committee’s recommendations was a call for the UK government to follow the Scottish government in adopting a measure* that would force all licensed premises to produce a “disabled access and facilities statement” when applying for a licence to serve alcohol.  The statement would include details on access provisions, and any facilities the business had for use by disabled people.

The committee said in its report: “The provision by licensees of disabled access facilities does not impose on them a new obligation or financial burden, since this is no more than what they are already required to do by law.  “This requirement is a simple way of enforcing the law and ensuring that licensees comply with it.”

But when it responded to the committee’s report in November, the government said only that it would “consult disabled peoples’ organisations [DPOs] to understand better the extent of the problem”, and work with licensing enforcement officers and the licensed trade “to explore what practical measures can be taken”.

Terp a sexual predator...

 Sign language teacher Amanda Nasser seduced the 15-year-old lad and had sex with him in the back of a van
A  “DANGEROUSLY predatory” school worker who romped with an underage pupil in her dad’s van has been jailed for 90 years.

Mum-of-three Amanda Nasser, 32, seduced the 15-year-old with nude selfies and befriended his mum to get closer to him. Sign language teacher Amanda Nasser seduced the 15-year-old lad and had sex with him in the back of a van.

Prosecutor Joshua Loren said after sentencing at Louisa Circuit Court, Virginia, US: “The victim in this case will be forever scarred. “His family has been victimised by her actions and Ms. Nasser’s own children will spend the next seven years without a mother.

“This case is a tragedy of Ms. Nasser’s making.” Nasser, a sign language interpreter at the school, wept as she apologised to the lad and his family during her sentencing. She said: “When I came here it was to make a new life for my family.

“I’m sorry I didn’t get the help I needed, and didn’t take responsibility at the time it happened.” Nasser met the boy while working with a deaf student at Louisa County High School. Hundreds of sexual images were used against her in the case.

Prosecutors said: “During the sexually explicit chats, Nasser even sent nude pictures of herself to the minor, and solicited sex from the minor on several occasions.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

What does a CI sound like ?

HandsUp and learn Greek culture.

Sign Language Isn’t Universal..

Related imageLess than 1/480th of the USA hearing loss population is deaf in fact, and there are no valid statistics as to daily usage because they confuse actual usage with a 'preference'.. Was a deaf community claim only ever relative ?  The suggestion International Sign is widely understood is a myth too Rikki...

ARTICLE: Sign language is still a widely misunderstood thing, even today, and there’s a lot more to it than people think. With the amount of countries in the world and the amount of languages spoken, sign language has different variants all over the globe. The two most commonly known sign languages are British Sign Language (BSL) and American Sign Language (ASL).

“There are actually about more than 300 sign languages in the entire world,” Rikki explains in the video, taking us through a number of them. “Even all English speaking countries don’t share the same sign language.”

However, there is an exception. She later shares with us that “there is this thing called International Sign or IS. This is typically used in big events where deaf people from all over gather.”

As different as the various sign languages used around the world are, she also points out that there are a number of similarities, such as the sign for ‘I’m sorry’ being the same in both ASL and BSL, while also mentioning that the same sign can have different meanings in different sign languages.

Deaf are unfit parents...

Judge Martin Dancey, pictured, ruled that the mother, 35, and her husband, 59, were not able to raise the two children who should be placed up for adoption¬†And her children taken into care.  

Two children have been taken from the care of a woman who is partly deaf and has a learning disability after a family court judge said 'kisses and cuddles are not enough'.

Judge Martin Dancey has concluded that the 35-year-old woman and her 59-year-old husband are not able to meet the needs of the youngsters - a girl aged three and a boy who is approaching his first birthday.  The judge said the couple loved their children 'very much indeed' and said the woman had 'done everything she possibly could' to look after them.

He said the youngsters needed more than kisses and cuddles - and concluded that both must be placed for adoption.  Detail of the case has emerged in a ruling by Judge Dancey following a private family court hearing in Bournemouth, Dorset. He has not identified anyone involved, including the council.

The judge said the court hearing had been conducted with 'careful regard to the mother's needs'. Two lip-speakers had translated, lawyers and social workers had been encouraged to dispense with jargon and speak in everyday language and the judge said he had produced an 'easy read' version of his ruling. Judge Dancey said the woman had a 'mild learning disability' and was partly deaf in both ears.

He said the woman's husband was her registered carer.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

We don't use sign language, stop offering it to us.

Despite the fact that there are more than 48 million people in the United States with hearing loss and only about 1 million people in the US who are deaf—a difference of 480 percent (See “Hearing Loss Prevalence in the United States” by Dr. Frank Lin of John Hopkins in “Archives of Internal Medicine,”11/14/2011, pgs. 1851-1852 and see “The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, January 2006, pgs. 112-119)—the courts and bar associations in New York continue, with few exceptions, to turn a deaf ear when it comes to the specific needs of people in the hearing loss community.

Witness the 9/26/2017 press release and the 9/27/2017 article published on page one of the NY Law Journal announcing that Court of Appeals Chief Justice Janet DiFiore had appointed a 17-member Advisory Committee to “Improve Court Access for the Disabled.”  The press release and article both state that when it comes to the deaf and hard of hearing, the panel will assess “the availability of sign language.”

Likewise the October 2016 Small Claims Court Guide published by the New York City Bar states that “If a party … is hearing impaired, he or she is entitled to an interpreter.”

The problem is that more than 95% of individuals with hearing loss cannot communicate via sign language; so to offer a sign language interpreter to a hearing loss person is the same as offering a Spanish-speaking interpreter to someone who only speaks Russian.  It’s useless. 

Equality: The New Frontier.

Equality Inaction.

Why HoH can't cut it as campaigners.

Related imageA response to a HoH social media suggestion to share information to others who cannot attend consultations, lobby for support and access, and contribute to researches etc....

#1  "I think attending open days and consultations (Those who can make it AND get support to follow!), should share what they see with the rest of us to get a more comprehensive idea of how the systems are approaching support and access for UK HoH.

I see many areas that encourage a sign user to come and get support and next to none that encourage HoH or deafened to go.   We aren't deemed as an area in need. E.G. I attended a DWP open day on PIP, (Which I came across by accident as they did not advertise it here), and despite suffering the indignity of being checked out first in case I complained 'or was an activist' (They aren't given seats or invited to attend), I managed to get a seat. 

It is why 60% of them lost their benefits and failed to qualify under the new rules. I found I was the ONLY 'grass root' person there apart from a HoH lady who worked for an advice centre and appeared to have few problems hearing the speakers, the sole speech to text support was there because I insisted on it, not a single HoH OR Deaf group went,  on what was the most important issue facing welfare claimants with hearing loss in recent times.

It's pretty clear the HoH 'community' is not bothering to turn up at all to many consultations. We know statistically only a small proportion of any area is, but the HoH input is near zero, in essence no viable representation is being seen, they leave things to charities who they also do not join or support, complete apathy rules this area.

Sadly, this means the ones who do turn up dictate most of the support directions and levels. Their 'size' fits us all. I was able to make my point direct about issues of access for us who don't rely on sign and indeed I was able to establish a direct email TO the DWP which was an exception to their rules. Any info we can share with each other has to be a good thing. 

We aren't even using social media or YouTube to put points, about the only disabled sector that sees no point in it !  Instead we settle to talking amid ourselves, which adage-wise suggests is the prime route to madness ! 'Overviews' on the type of access you got also helps us all to demand the same. I suspect some areas are very well served and others have none at all.   Bear in mind DEVOLVED areas of the UK e.g. Wales, Scotland, Ireland, where service provision is run SEPARATELY from how England is, no one size applies to all. Again what we do see as some sort of campaign is mooted as a 'national' one when in fact it isn't.

We had some hearing loss lobbies commuting to London for poor access issues created by their own devolved assemblies, and they just get referred back home.  There seems complete ignorance over WHO is responsible FOR your access and support.

This also applies to CHARITIES a number of English 'national' charities do not have a set up in other areas at ALL so you cannot join them or benefit from the services they might provide.  The big question is why do HoH and the deafened feel they do not NEED any help ?  It can be the reason they won't lobby for it.  Has technology replaced support for them ?"

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

#What about US ?

Image result for Alice Wong, founder of the Disability Visibility ProjectAlice Wong, founder of the Disability Visibility Project, an online community dedicated to creating, amplifying, and sharing disability media and culture, explains why we need to include disabled people in conversations about inclusion.

Watching the Golden Globes telecast last night, I was heartened to see activists from the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns featured. This reckoning in the entertainment industry (and others) is way overdue when it comes to abuse of power by people at the top and the system that perpetuates such complicity and silence. However, there were a few things that rubbed me and my Twitter friend Ace Ratcliff raw.

Another difficult conversation that is overdue in entertainment is the absence of disabled people. From coverage, performers, representation, production, platform-building, and leadership, where are disabled people? Why do disabled people time and time again have to ask, “What about us?” and beg to be included in conversations about diversity?

ATR: Could it be our tendency to make every appearance a lecture ?

Music makes U deaf.

The hair cells in our cochlea do not regenerate, so damage to them through loud music is permanent (stock image)
Actually excess volume does but.... I'm less concerned with the volume and more concerned with their taste frankly, decent music ceased in 1980.  Lyric writers seem illiterate too.

People are ignoring advice and permanently damaging their hearing while listening to loud music on headphones, an audiologist has warned.

William Shapiro, clinical associate professor at New York University Langone, says that young people in particular are at risk.  He says that one in five teenagers have some form of hearing loss due to noise exposure.   In a video produced by Business Insider, the expert explained why this happens.

If hair cells are damaged in any way, we suffer permanent hearing loss or balance degeneration. In each ear, the inner ear structure called the cochlea – which receives sound in the form of vibrations – has 15,000 hairs. These tiny, sensory hair cells are crucial to helping us detect sound waves – but  are very fragile. 

The hair cells do not regenerate, so damage to them is permanent — a common cause among people with some types of hearing loss.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Tinnitus: new treatment...

Tinnitus can be a desperately exasperating condition, but there could hope on the horizon for the millions of people currently suffering from the chronic ringing in their ears.

It comes in the form of an experimental device that uses precisely timed blasts of sound and electrical pulses to “reset” the responsible nerve activity in the brain. The remarkably research was recently published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Scientists have been trying to get to the bottom of what causes chronic tinnitus for years. Despite appearing to be a “mechanical problem” with the ear, research has shown that it’s most likely to do with brain activity, especially among the fusiform cells that help us gauge where a sound is coming from and phase out background noise.

“The brain, and specifically the region of the brainstem called the dorsal cochlear nucleus, is the root of tinnitus," Susan Shore, a professor at the University of Michigan Medical School and leader of the research team, said in a statement. "When the main neurons in this region, called fusiform cells, become hyperactive and synchronize with one another, the phantom signal is transmitted to other centers where perception occurs."

"If we can stop these signals, we can stop tinnitus. That is what our approach attempts to do, and we're encouraged by these initial parallel results in animals and humans." The device works through an alternating burst of two stimuli during a daily 30-minute session. First, sound is played into the ears through a specialized earphone. The audio stimulus is then precisely alternated with light electrical zaps delivered through electrodes on the cheek or neck. 

This tickles the fusiform cells to change the rate at which they fire, thereby "resetting" the nerve cells back into normal activity.  The first part of the research was carried out on guinea pigs (yep, actual guinea pigs, not humans), but it was also part of a small double-blind clinical trial involving 21 adult humans. After four weeks of daily use of the device, most of the humans declared that the severity of the phantom sounds had dramatically decreased and two even said their tinnitus was totally eradicated. No patient experienced any adverse effects or worsening of symptoms.

"We're definitely encouraged by these results, but we need to optimize the length of treatments, identify which subgroups of patients may benefit most, and determine if this approach works in patients who have nonsomatic forms of the condition that can't be modulated by head and neck maneuvers," Shore added.

Climbing the Walls..

The deaf social worker.

But no HoH ones.....

Sunday, 7 January 2018

No-Go UK for the deaf..

A new report from the National Deaf Children's Society says that, ten years on from the introduction of hearing screening for new-born babies, the benefits are being undermined by lack of support for deaf children and their families. Three quarters of such children arrive in school lagging behind their peers in terms of development and, by their teens, they are almost twice as likely to fail to achieve five good GCSEs.


Funds for sign used for English instead..

A total of 23 former members of the Hong Kong Association of the Deaf claimed the non- ­governmental organisation transferred HK$1.3 million of a donation to a private company that built an international kindergarten in Tai Po teaching in English, Cantonese and Mandarin instead of sign language as planned.

They held a press conference with lawmakers Ma Fung-kwok abd Leung Che-cheung before going to the police headquarters in Wan Chai. Neither officials at the charity nor the Social Welfare Department could be reached for comment yesterday. The former members of the charity said their membership in the group was revoked last November after they asked to inspect financial records. 

The complainants also claimed their memberships were revoked in ­November after they asked to ­inspect the organisation’s ­financial accounts. The funds were part of a HK$4.6 million ­donation raised in 2014 and 2015, they said.

Established in 1976, the association is a charitable self-help ­organisation exempted from taxation under ­section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance. It represents Hong Kong at the World Federation of the Deaf, an international NGO that works closely with the United Nations.

Former association financial officer Chan Ka-wo said: “I was not allowed to see a lot of documents when we had meetings, and no one would answer my questions during the meetings.” Chan said that he was ­removed from his post in May without notice and expelled from the association in November.

More cuts to Deaf Child support

Katrina Bence is worried for her deaf son, Kieran
Kieran Bence wants to be a bus driver like both his parents when he grows up.

There is one catch. Kieran, 6, from Rothwell, Northamptonshire, is deaf, and his mother, Katrina, is worried his opportunities are already being curtailed. Kieran is one of thousands of deaf children whose access to specialist help has been slashed in recent years.

A report to be released this week reveals 67% of councils in England have cut the number of specialist teachers of the deaf by an average of 14% since 2011, despite reporting a 31% increase in the number of deaf children.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

What BSL Needs: A voice over.

BSL Needs voiceover from Deaf Action on Vimeo.

AND captions !  It wasn't entirely clear what the Video was about until two thirds of the way in....looked more like the cultural bottom line of sign than Voice (Oral) support.  ATR welcomes any light shown on sign language that includes the plethora of additional techniques to make it effective.  Surely a video on lip-speaking would have made the point ?

The Hearing Loss Initiative...

2 Moms: Wy we want our children to hear.

Culture under threat from CI's ?

An infant with a cochlear implant.
Prime example  cultural paranoia exists.

Years ago, the university where I teach made budget cuts to the program that provides in-class American Sign Language interpretation. I recall this instance well, if only because the reaction among the university's deaf population was as swift and fierce as any other form of campus protest I'd seen.

There was a reason for the unusual intensity: Cutting ASL interpretation was understood as a cultural insult. Advocates of deaf culture see themselves as a community not unlike an ethnic group. Endowed with a distinct language and set of traditions, they conceptualize deafness not as a physical condition but rather as a social distinction.

More than any other factor, ASL fluency offers the most direct conduit into deaf culture. For this reason, supporters of deaf culture have become particularly concerned about what many see as the most common medical intervention into their way of life: cochlear implants.

A cochlear implant (CI)—sometimes called a "bionic ear"—is a surgically implanted device that offers deaf people access to sound. In some cases, an implant can help a user make out spoken language. The Food and Drug Administration approved CIs for adults in 1985 and for children in 1990. As of 2016 around 96,000 people had received a cochlear implant—36,000 of them children, some as young as 12 months old.

Maisie heads to Hollywood..

A profoundly deaf six year-old girl from Swindon is heading for Hollywood after a film she starred in, designed to promote awareness around hearing impairment, was shortlisted for the Oscars.

“When we tell Maisie about the message of the film, she simply says of course I can do anything.” Maisie Sly plays a deaf girl struggling in a world of silence until a caring social worker teaches her the gift of communication via sign language, in The Silent Child.

The 20-minute short has already won critical acclaim and awards at international film festivals. Now it has made the shortlist of ten contenders for Best Live Action Short at this year’s Academy Awards. The final five will be revealed later this month. The Silent Child was written by Rachel Shenton, a former Hollyoaks actress, who was inspired by her experience of coping with her deaf father.

Maisie was cast after the producers auditioned 100 deaf and hard-of-hearing children for the part.

Friday, 5 January 2018

HoH banning BSL Comments (2)

One poster responds to the current furore over a UK HoH site moderator bowing to BSL posters using the 'Victim' card so get constructive criticisms banned is affecting unity and discourse between deaf and HI people...

"The fact Facebook has no policy in healthy disagreement issues or biased mods banning people as a result, is the issue  At the end of the day site owners can please themselves who they allow in.  It's about moderation.  It should be a warning to read the site aims before joining so you know what to expect, as only 2% of social media moderators are qualified to moderate, they are just like you or me.

We can only hope the fact Facebook has agreed there are issues at this HoH site, even if they won't act on them, is a start.  Sadly we know the net abounds with such 'closed' sites and bias masquerading  as 'safe' sites and vested interest ones where the aim is to prevent anyone questioning what they do or what they are advocating, even if what they say is true or not.  They make themselves immune to question.

What you can do is approach and appeal to other members pointing out the moderation was banning people who queried aspects of sign language or culture unfairly, and of course its true relationship with the HoH and deafened areas. What the person who got a poster banned was doing, was plugging his BSL classes to HoH and was angry there were disagreements on how they were run, the ultimate aim and point, the effectiveness etc which is essential information you need before join any class.  As we know neither BSL not Lip-reading are classed as as communication class per se, in many areas of the UK the BSL ones are 'hobby classes' or even 'language' classes despite having no teacher English qualifications which mean they cannot enter a school and do it, there is no qualification be attained either except in BSL.  

E.G. Lip-reading has no bottom line at all, no qualifications are to be attained and no issue if you gain nil skills either.  One could rightly question 'Is this helping  ?'  So you should get banned for asking ?  This what happened when you asked the same question re BSL. So there is a hierarchy of who gets offended ?

This  suggests such 'Deaf and HoH support' is not being taken seriously as an essential aid to communication for for those with hearing loss issues.  Explaining there are issues with BSL and LR classes with regards to how they actually support pupils or of  class effectiveness, which was based on direct experience which the tutor said never happens, met with no response and a ban..

Clearly he or she had widened the debate by asking what methods were being used, who was attending classes, stats etc, which the site found unacceptable and even suggested hostility.

It would appear the BSL areas along with others, found flaws very early on in social medias they can exploit to prevent constructive criticism or even to get further accurate information in case this undermined their 'message' or campaigns.  It must be of concern they are logging into HoH sites to advertise their cultural views and then suggest bans on those who disagree with them although they openly operate such bans on own sites. 

Although Facebook acknowledge the site aim was contentious, unclear,  and biased, and the banned poster won, (albeit a hollow victory against it) it was a no-win situation for free speech because Facebook has no guideline on bias.  It had to agree on a harassment basis instead.  It is mooted as choice or even a right.  It is questionable if preventing free speech should be accepted as an excuse to justify.

Facebook advice to just ignore the site altogether isn't addressing anything, its a cop out and 'closed sites' along with closed minds and attitudes can still win.  They need to flag the site up as one that has received a warning, so potential members know what they are getting in to. It is how hate sites prosper and segregation becomes acceptable.  Facebook needs to address the issue, certainly where vulnerable people are concerned, who are a 'captive audience' for the more extreme view because of their isolation.

First Automatic sign translator...

But still no stand alone speech to text technology that works for us and creates real Independence.

SignAll has developed the world’s first automated sign language translator. The goal with the technology is to build a bridge to connect the deaf and hearing worlds. Providing full accessibility for deaf people is a very ambitious aspiration that was not supported by modern technology until now.

Numbers can best demonstrate the striking communication barrier deaf people experience when accessing services and information: there are approximately 1 million deaf people in the USA, and only 15 000 certified sign language interpreters. This means, that for more than 66 deaf people, there is only 1 interpreter, who, for this reason, has to be booked weeks in advance.

Most people take it for granted that they can communicate on their first language, in their home country. However, the first language of people born deaf is sign language – English is only their second language. SignAll’s aim is to enable deaf people to communicate on their first language, American Sign Language.

At the present, SignAll utilizes 3 webcams, a depth sensor and a PC. The depth sensor is placed in front of the sign language user at chest height and the cameras are placed around them. This allows the shape and the path of the hands and gestures to be tracked continuously. The PC syncs up and processes the images in real-time, which are then transformed into grammatically correct, fully formed sentences by a natural language processing module. This enables communication by making sign language understandable to everyone.

What makes SignAll a truly breakthrough technology is that this is the only solution that considers every components of sign language: manual components, facial expressions, ASL Registers, prosody and the use of space.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

UK HoH site bans poster for questioning BSL.

Image result for facebook bansYesterday THIS site set up for the Hard of Hearing in the UK banned a poster for question the validity of BSL effectiveness claims, and the UK HoH community involvements in sign and culture.

This was after a poster suggested posting signs for 'Ferret' to teach hearing and deaf children with, was questionable, trivial, and entirely unrelated to the HoH. (ATR posted the sign up too).

Immediately a BSL tutor posted he would quit the site unless the other poster stopped making 'issues' of BSL on a HoH site, the site responded to remove the other poster without warning and without explanation,   The BSL teacher in 'playing the victim card' had removed valid criticism from a site BSL people didn't actually use. Facebook was immediately contacted, the HoH site had discriminated against free speech when no personal attack had been made, and it was a case the fact BSL had been challenged was enough to invoke an immediate ban.

The banned poster said that over time BSL posters had made false claims of the value of BSL to the HoH site, with regards to 'Deaf' culture to the HoH community, and had provided no facts, no details, and no statistics to back any of it up.  They had also posted huge amounts of BSL/ASL issues at HoH sites and hijacked youtube and other sites to oppose HoH needs, via abuse of terms.  

(A point ATR agrees with and often raises that youtube provides no valid search option to separate cultural deaf  and sign language posts, from the HoH ones, removing choice from the HoH to access relevant content to them, the Deaf & HoH remit was circumvented entirely).  

The HoH site had in effect accepted BSL and culture as a 'Deaf' AND 'deaf' thing using blanket and unsubstantiated statements.  The reality is BSL is now a financial issue where people get work and a wage, just like the teacher who had a poster blocked so he could continue posting BSL at the HoH to recruit pupils!  This is abuse and manipulation of social media.

The fact BSL classwork (And lip-reading), was also challenged as discriminatory seemed to be the 'last straw' as the poster appeared to challenge both formats as 'Just for the hearing' and excluded those 'most in need' and had in effect become a business not a vocation, was bias, and tutors hadn't suitable qualifications to include those worse off either and had been 'dumping' them on social and welfare services...  

Maybe those in the UK who need to clarify the dubious set ups of 'help for the 'HoH and deaf' that also includes charities too, need a platform like  (UK), where at least to a bearable degree some free speech is allowed ?

The 'Tupperware' and 'Visits to stately homes' approaches to hearing loss in the UK are a threat to real support and create an artificial image that bears no relation to the reality of zero real support for the UK HoH. 

If you cannot raise concern about that, what concerns can you raise ? There is NO national set up of support for them in the UK.  The UK HoH are NOT going to adopt BSL either.  They are dedicated to alleviation and the cure, and the aim of independence not de-pendence.  It seems you cannot state this reality ON a UK HoH site, who is actually running these sites ? and what for ?  To talk about the weather ?

Ergo: If can operate a total ban on Russian deaf..... it raises the question just how much 'free speech' actually exists within or outside of the 'Deaf' 'community'. USA is just a large Island with an Island mentality really, as is the UK.  'World Deaf' and 'World Deaf community' being a myth too.

STOP PRESS:  Facebook responds.  But won't challenge cultural bullies.  Maybe this warning shot over the bows of bias will concentrate their minds a little ? the next instance of BSL bullying may result in censure of their sites.

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