Friday, 30 March 2018

WI-fi/wireless hearing aids.

Interpreters very much in demand

Wigan InfirmaryDoesn't seem to be much take-up of BSL needs in Wigan hospitals, once a week if that.

Perhaps campaigns about 'demand' need closer examination? One wonders if they would accept video translation.  We know some American health areas, deaf are demanding people only.  One worry factor is no record of any demands for text or lip-spoken support whose patients outnumber sign users 20 to 1?  No-one asks for it?  or is it because such need is NOT listed under 'translation' or 'support' And BSL is. Perhaps an issue HoH etc need to get sorted if they want their needs acknowledged.

Information about the use of British Sign Language.

Interpreters were needed 60 times in 2012-13 and 80 times in 2016-17, with figures rising and falling over the years. Mrs Jones said: “A&E is a problem. If we have a patient who comes in who is deaf, we can’t get a signer on the telephone. We book an interpreter but it can take six to seven hours for them to come. 

“We are looking at web-based signers so we could have signed access for patients. “We do engage with the local deaf community and know they don’t always like web-based services, so we would book face-to-face interpreters for outpatients.”

Sign tutor of the year a paedo..

Robert John Lupton-Le Masurier, 41, was jailed for seven months in Jersey
So many things of concern in this case (A) Him being a tutor, and (B) It being acknowledged he has the literacy of an 8yr old, which apparently means he gets reduced sentence as well.  Is deafness and sign use an excuse to commit a crime and get away with it now?  We cannot understand how any judge can buy that excuse.  

The more you read of this case the more unacceptable the legal decision is.  This the 2nd high profile crime where deaf signers have been let off or had reduced sentences simply because they are deaf. 1 was a murder, and now we get paedos going free.  If a deaf adult is unaware having sex with children and grooming them is not something they are aware of or even taught (Even being a tutor!), then deaf education needs a make-over and how!

A teacher once named 'Britain's sign language tutor of the year' has been jailed after being snared by a female paedophile hunter.

Sick Robert John Lupton-Le Masurier, 41, who is profoundly deaf, was caught posing as a 13-year-old boy on the gay dating website Grindr in January. He attempted to meet an underage youngster for sex but was instead met by Cheyenne O'Connor, 25, and became the fifth paedophile to be jailed by the mother-of-two.

She launched her one-woman campaign to 'clean up' her community of Jersey as she claimed victims of sex abuse were being let down by the justice system. And she said that while she was pleased with her latest conviction, she felt his prison term should have been longer after it was reduced to seven months 'as an act of mercy' by Magistrate Sara Fitz.

The judge lowered Le Masurier's term from nine months after reading a letter from an expert about the effects that prison can have on a deaf person. Mrs Fitz said that she was taking into account deafness in terms of the additional hardship the defendant would suffer in prison. 'Those hardships are very well set out in the report,' she added.

The defendant from Jersey admitted a charge of attempting to meet a child aged 13 following sexual grooming.  Prosecuting, Lauren Hallam told the court how Miss O'Connor set up a fake profile on Grindr on January 7 under the false name of 'Benny' and registered the age as being 18, due to the application rules.

Once on Grindr, Ms O'Connor, however, posed as a 13-year-old boy. The court heard that three days later 'Benny' received a message from Le Masurier and told him his age. Benny told him: 'I not going to lie I am underage. Don't want anybody to talk to me that doesn't want to. Le Masurier replied: 'You mean you don't want some fun?'

Benny then said he had never done anything before to which Le Masurier responded: 'You want to try?' Benny then told him: 'I'm 13.' After this, Le Masurier asked the boy about his school and for pictures, asking him to be discreet. He told Benny: 'I'm really looking for fun (sex),' adding later in the conversation,

'Don't worry about being nervous, don't mind your age as long as you are very, very discreet.' Ms Hallam said that the conversation continued with some 'very sexual requests' and the pair then continued to exchange messages for five days. When they eventually met Miss O'Connor photographed Le Masurier walking around the area and then went to the police. 

During his police interview, Le Masurier, who his advocate described as 'profoundly deaf,' said he didn't understand the word '13' or 'age.'  Le Masurier claimed he had a poor command of English and didn't understand the content of the conversation - denying that he knew the boy was 13.

Advocate Nina Benest, who was defending Le Masurier, said he was profoundly deaf, of previous good character, had pleaded guilty on the first occasion and had several references. 

Ms Hallam said that the conversation continued with some 'very sexual requests' The pair then continued to exchange messages for five days. She explained that his first language is the British Sign Language (BSL) and that English is foreign to him and needs to be translated.

In addition, she said his command of English was equivalent to that of a seven or eight-year-old child. Advocate Benest told the court that there was no information about any prison officer having even a basic command of BSL. She said that as a result of his conviction, Le Masurier lost his job, lost his partner and was 'ostracised by the community.' 

She said he was completely isolated and couldn't rebuild his life. She told the court: 'He had never come across the word ''grooming'' before and it is something that had to be explained at length to him during his interview. This has been a shocking and frightening experience for him.'

Magistrate Sara Fitz lowered Le Masurier's term from nine months after reading a letter from an expert about the effects that prison can have on a deaf person. Speaking after the case Miss O'Connor said: 'I don't think it should have been reduced just because he was deaf. What difference does it make if it is five months or 12 months inside. He is still going to get the same grief.' 'The sentence was lowered from the standard 9-11 months due to him being completely deaf and no one knowing sign language at the prison, so Robert I hope you   enjoy your time up there with the other five serving time.'

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Deaf mute chained up over 10yrs by his Mother.

Heartbreaking photo shows a deaf-mute man sat in chains after his own mother locked him inside a stone hut for more than 10 years.

Wang Zhiqiang, now 41, was born unable to hear or speak, his mum Yue Rong, 77, revealed. But as a child he still showed signs of intellect, so his family sent him to a special needs boarding school. Only his time there proved to be a traumatic experience after he was severely bullied.

As a result Wang Zhiqiang, who lives in Xuanhua in Dengfeng City in Henan, China, developed psychological issues. Wang Zhiqiang, 41, was born unable to hear or speak and has been chained up by his own mother for 10 years. And as his poverty-stricken family could not afford to seek help and treatment Zhiqiang's mental disorders got worse.

His mother said: "He wasn't able to go to school anymore, and his condition worsened while staying at home. "It reached a point where he was attacking other villagers," Yue explained when her husband passed away she found it difficult to cope which is why she resorted to chaining up her son. She added: "When his father was still alive, he was able to take care of him, but when his dad passed away 12 years ago, I couldn't handle him on my own."

Woojer !

UK wants the vote removed from welfare claimants.

Oh well, that's the labour party done for.

Deaf child takes case for a British Sign Language (BSL) GCSE to Parliament.

Ann Jillings, Daniel Jillings, Nick Gibb, and Peter Aldous in Westminster. Picture: James McDermotthill
There IS a case to teach deaf to be more fluent in what is their own 'language'.  

Many leave school not really able to follow their interpreter support properly, and the deaf community is perhaps amid the minority of sectors that do not seek to improve their language skills after leaving education.  

The 'downside', is it encourages the deaf to ignore the basic English grammar structure in favour of their own, and this in turn, hinders access to initial education, employment, and further learning, maybe fluency in Signed English is a better option?  It would at least add validation to their contended claims of being bilingual.

BSL terps need levels 4 to 6 as a standard and grass roots are barely above level 2 or 3.   Many assume as they are deaf and use sign, this equals fluency, if it did, this child would not be demanding to learn it properly.

Daniel Jillings, 12, of Lowestoft and a Bungay High School pupil, visited Westminster on Monday, March 12 to put forward his argument for an exam in his own sign language. His mother, Ann, who is chair of the Waveney Deaf Children’s Society, has been in contact with Waveney MP, Peter Aldous, for many years campaigning about the education provisions for the deaf and hard of hearing. The invitation to Daniel and Ann was sent by Mr Aldous following the arrangement of a meeting with the Minister for Schools, Nick Gibb.

While at the House of Commons, Daniel was provided with a deaf interpreter to allow him to put his case to the minister, and was given a tour of the Palace of Westminster. The meeting with Mr Gibb follows years of campaigning from parents of deaf children who say the lack of a BSL exam hurts the prospects of deaf and hard of hearing children.

Mrs Jillings said: “Peter has been very supportive of the campaign to have a GCSE in British Sign Language because although the language has been recognised for the last 15 years, children still don’t have the chance to have a GCSE in their first language.

“He had arranged with his staff to give us a tour around parliament and the House of Lords. It was great for Daniel as he is very interested in history.” She added: “I was very proud of him. For a 12 year old to meet a senior education minister and to share his views. He was very keen to go ahead because sign language is very much part of his deaf identity and culture and he would very much like to achieve a GCSE in his own language.”

“He did mention that he might be the first deaf prime minister, so his ambitions might go higher!” MP for Waveney Peter Aldous said: “Ann is a tremendous campaigner for better education provisions for deaf and hard of hearing children in Suffolk. “Deaf and hard of hearing children are seriously disadvantaged by not having a GCSE in their own language and if there was one it would open up so many options for them in their careers and future aspirations.

He added: “I would hope there would be a robust exam in place in four years time when Daniel would be taking his GCSEs”

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Good Morning....

Morning Conversation from Molly McIntosh on Vimeo.

This was a method used with my autistic son in education (Maketon?), but he never really adopted the card 'PEC's' system at all. As he could hear he simply responded to the voice.  We weren't really positive about cards as it discouraged his speech and empowered PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance).  It does work with some autistics who won't talk, (i.e. have PDA and avoid responses to limit stress),  but don't think it works with deaf either.  The deaf prefer sign, not pictures.  The concept of your child walking about with a book of cards to communicate was made 'popular' by a film with Bruce Willis in 'Mercury Rising'.  It was debatable this worked in real time for a child outside the home.  In the film, the child never went anywhere without someone.

Monday, 26 March 2018

How to make the girls like you...

Alternatively, you could pay upfront and then get them to sign a non-disclosure agreement (Just in case you become president and the wife doesn't get to find out).

Ryder's Story

I find it unimaginable one of the most wealthy and modern countries in the USA still denies anyone with hearing loss a hearing aid.  There is an uproar in the UK regarding free provision here when the NHS wanted to restrict people to one hearing aid only, and only then only if/when your hearing deteriorated too far for it to be of use!  

In reality, it is a false economy, as untreated hearing loss causes huge costs to the country and to the person £Billions, in fact, more than if they had been given an aid to help.  Mental health services, welfare payments, no access to work, poor education/literacy, costs to support etc...  All because they want to save £35-£100 on a hearing aid...  Notwithstanding years of depression and stress that cost the NHS millions in medication to address with 10m suffering hearing loss.

Reading online critics we saw  'Yet another pro-CI video using children to undermine the Deaf, sign-language, and their Culture.." comment, the response came pretty quick to attack those who advocated the view..  Live an let live? erm, not if you are Deaf apparently.

#1:  "Its things like that, that tend to make me angry when people insist being deaf and not speaking is preferential to hearing anything, they cannot be aware how this upsets those who have lost hearing or the advantages of aids and alleviation to help the child make a better life for itself and be aware of the world around it. It's always the people who never had a choice, who insist it is!"

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Apple is finally planning on bringing more disability emoji

Apple is finally planning on bringing more disability emojis for people with guide dogs, prosthetic limbs and wheelchairsCredit: Apple, Emojipedia/Twitter
Creating more difference?  Do we even need a dedicated omji ?  Surely just more labelling and identity misleads we just do not want?  Deaf, disabled whatever, we don't NEED our issue highlighted, we just want to be respected and accepted. You can be sure deaf activism will be annoyed deaf are represented by hearing aids!  You WON'T be seeing such emoji's on ATR.

Why carry your own albatross around with you?  We are people who happen to have a hearing loss, not people with a hearing loss PROBLEM.  Be recognised for WHO you are, not what you wear or use.

The Article:  We were all pretty chuffed when Apple released an emoji update late last year that covered more human bases. Finally, people who don’t have cheese-coloured skin tone were represented, with new emoji released that included all skin tones on the spectrum, from white to black. However, our excitement dampened when we realised that people with disabilities still weren’t being represented. The knife was stuck in further when it turned out that Apple had gone to the effort of making mermaids, wizards, vampires – we're talking things that don’t exist here, people – but still weren’t bothering to represent the huge chunk of humankind.

There are currently 13.3 million people in the UK living with a disability (almost one fifth of the population), which is a massive proportion of people who aren’t able to shoot emoji off that represent them. This all may be about to change though, because Apple has submitted a proposal to the Unicode Consortium which includes 13 new emoji to represent people with disabilities. 

Apple worked with American Council of the Blind, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation and the National Association of the Deaf to create the new emoji. The emoji feature men and women in two different types of wheelchair, two different varieties of service dog and people with walking aids. There’s also someone signing, a hearing, aid and two types of the prosthetic limb. 

Taking into account variants for men and women, this equals 13 new emoji, but it’s 45 possible new emoji when skin tones are brought into the mix. Apple's proposed new accessibility emoji Guide dog with harness Person with white cane Deaf sign Hearing aid Person in mechanised wheelchair  Person in manual wheelchair Prosthetic arm Prosthetic leg Service dog with vest and leash One in seven people around the world has some form of disability, whether that be a physical disability involving vision, hearing, or loss of physical motor skills, or a more hidden, invisible disability,’

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Labour politician demands BSL in schools.

March 18 was the 15th anniversary since British Sign Language (BSL) was given official recognition under the last Labour government. I marked this occasion with great pride, as it gave deaf people the basic recognition they deserve.

I was honoured to become the first ever MP to ask a question using BSL last year. As an ambassador for the Brent and Harrow United Deaf Club, this is an issue close to my heart. It is estimated that there are about nine million people in the UK who are deaf or hard of hearing and they deserve more support. I have always said that equality is equality, you cannot pick and choose. Fighting for the rights of one group does not take away from the rights of others.

While the government failed to act, the 2017 Labour manifesto contained a commitment to introduce a BSL Act in Parliament and give it full legal status. It is a shame that the government failed to accept BSL as a GCSE qualification as I have seen first-hand the difference learning it can make with St Michael’s Nursery in Brent teaching their children sign language. I hope more schools can follow their example – there are an estimated 259 deaf children in Brent after all.

I hope people across the country will join us in calling for a BSL Act to enshrine the rights of BSL users into law, and join in raising awareness of the importance of BSL in our society.


It's not viable to introduce BSL sign and grammar into the school curriculum.  The UK has no staff to implement it, this is just another political party capitalising on issues they really don't know much about.  It's NOT agreed BSL grammar should be taught even to deaf children, as it makes issues of access and academics and understanding of the world outside their own, and one they need to be part of to function, to work etc.  

The immersive approach of BSL would almost completely isolate the deaf again, as it stands currently,  the deaf adult has little or no interpreter support per se.  All these campaigns are cultural-political and ignore communication issues. To adopt that approach would actually put BSL well behind Urdu or Hindi and 4 other widely used languages in the UK, few if any with any demands or access to the school curriculum, so what makes BSL a priority?

Teaching hearing BSL puts no demand on deaf to make effort.  Are the deaf just going to make 'occasional visits' to the hearing mainstream C/O translators only? and create demands of access, from a position of isolation they won't leave in case their community suffers? How does that actually empower them?   Research undertaken in primary education suggests children are interested in sign up to age 7, but NOT beyond that point, because of peer pressure.

After, it is some 'novelty' for the few.  Given UK education is already under huge pressure to teach even basics like literacy and Maths, (where deaf children suffer huge issues), it's a non-starter, and, should any 'awareness' class be inclusive of all deaf, not just a few of them?  For those who want to learn BSL, there are any amount of classes ex-curricular that already exist, however, they are suspect in that they undermine speech approaches, and lack English grammar knowledge, it is self-defeating to maintain that situation and, misleading awareness of deaf people, as well as hearing learners too who will assume (A) We all sign (B) Do not understand English, and (C) Cannot speak..

We need realism to kick in via these campaigns not emotionalism.  We also need deaf BSL activist NOT included in decision-making as they are biased.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Hearing, Speech & Deaf-CC

Dead woman asked to undertake welfare work assessment.

Even for the iniquitous UK Welfare arm, the DWP, (The envy apparently of USA welfare services desperate to screw their vulnerable too, so keen they sent 6 USA senators to see how it works), demanding an interview with a  dead woman to ascertain if she is fit to work is stretching it a bit !

A grieving daughter furiously handed an urn containing her mother’s ashes to a private health care professional who turned up to assess if the dead woman was fit for work, following an inexcusable and heartless blunder by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Louise Broxton had suffered a host of neurological problems for which she received welfare support. She tragically died from lung cancer at the age of just 47 in August. Her daughter, Hatti, immediately informed the authorities of her mother’s death and all her benefits were cancelled. After initially saying the information had been placed on file, however, some seven months later the DWP sent an assessor to the door of her home in Wolverhampton to see if Louise was “fit for work.”

Hatti, a prison administrator, said: “I’m so upset and angry about what’s happened. It’s our government that has done this to us. “I’m only 27 and my brother has just turned 17. We’ve been through enough already and we don’t need this. “I told the DWP afterwards I’d love to live in the world that the DWP live in, the one where my mum’s still alive. But she’s been gone for seven months.

“When Mum passed away August last year, and everyone was notified. I got an acknowledgement from the DWP themselves to say that mum had died. “They stopped paying her benefits, and paid the arrears they owed her into my account because I am her next of kin.

“But on February 28 we got a letter addressed to Mum saying they were going to do a home visit on March 13 to assess her disabilities for ESA (Employment and Support Allowance).


Welsh NHS still putting those with hearing loss at risk.

COMMUNICATION: Denise Carson wants doctors to communicate more effectively with her when she has appointmentsPeople who are deaf or have hearing loss are being put in danger because they’re not getting clear information about their health, a Welsh/national charity is claiming.

54 per cent of patients say they leave their GP unclear about their diagnosis or how to take their medication. Four years since standards for communicating with deaf people were introduced in Wales, research from a national hearing loss charity, shows more than half of patients say they’re still not getting clear information from their GP.

Denise Carson, of Risca, has been deaf since birth and uses British Sign Language (BSL). The 52-year-old said: “I can’t make an appointment with my GP unless I drive to the surgery to book it, no matter how ill I am. Alternatively, I can ask a family member to call the surgery for me, but that means I have no privacy, no independence.

“When I do manage to make an appointment, I also need a BSL interpreter to be present. Most of the time this means I have to wait at least a week to be seen, so if it’s an emergency I’m often forced to go without an interpreter and the doctor asks me to write things down instead. I went to a deaf school and my first language is BSL; writing English isn’t easy for me, especially when it comes to medical terms.

“This makes it difficult for me to properly explain my symptoms and I rarely understand what the GP has told me or what should be happening next. There’s never enough time for me to check what was said as I’m bustled out of there, ready for the next patient.”

More than 380 people who are deaf or have hearing loss in Wales. The survey found that 28 per cent said the appointment wasn't long enough to communicate properly and 42 per cent of BSL users said they were not provided with an interpreter.  “Failing to communicate with people in a way they can understand not only puts patients at risk it also wastes the health service’s time and money.

It should be noted this deprivation of access is solely about sign-using deaf people and is not about HoH, deafened or non-signing deaf people,  wales, has no verifiable data at all with regards to non-signing support, provided, or not.  By comparison, the BSL seems a lot more supported than most, and many HoH claim they Never get support, at a GP, or at the hospital, there is no record of text provision e.g.... The charity is just suggesting only the sign user (A minority within the deaf and HoH worlds), is most deprived, and/or, all deaf and HoH need sign language, they don't.

No CC, No subtitles equals No video.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Real awareness? Only you can raise that.

Image result for don;'t cross my lineForget deaf seminars, jobs for the boys, charity campaigns, and grass root pointless lobbies, time for you to create own awareness.

More comments on closed deaf social media sites asking why hearing don't stand there, face you and speak/sign/whatever clearly? We all probably need to fess up to the images we give out. First impressions of deaf/HoH people can suggest we don't want you in our 'space', e.g. for years deaf insisted hearing stay out of their clubs/online sites etc to make that very point, fiercely protecting their 'deaf space' (Which was a fancy name invented by deaf, to avoiding stress and effort, HoH do the same except they have no space except their own immediate one, to defend.)

Many deaf (And HoH), exude that 'defensive' stance, it can be picked up in body language you aren't aware of.    Hearing can then become embarrassed to approach you.  As for facing you and speaking/signing clearly, that is the approach that I find has hardly ever worked anyway, except in 'set' situations and how many of those do we get?   Deaf get very few, because in set situations a terp is middle-man/woman and buffer.  HoH can just avoid altogether.

Image result for defensive body language

We just do not go up to people and ask for them to 'adopt the aware pose', or worse, and if we do, and then still cannot follow properly, we never try it again.  Never mind the "15 ways to talk to the deaf.." how about 15 ways deaf can enhance own communications and skill with hearing?  We need to be aware what image we are presenting to others and just persevere, exactly what we ask others to do with us.  Strangers don't know you, your hearing loss, your preferred or most effective mode of communication, or how it affects you, they can only be aware if you help them understand it.

There is never an obliging social worker, terp or family to help out when you really need them, and if there is, it isn't YOU making the effort it is others acting for you.  Independence of action can ONLY come through you, or you just look as if you have an issue to others, who then have to decide if they want to continue with that or don't know how to. 

It is a totally false belief held within the deaf community you can actually legislate such awareness or, even enforce it (Which is far more negative an approach that is doomed to fail), not that the deaf/HoH don't keep plugging away at that approach.  Yes you can get a law but in itself, it cannot 'force' inclusion or awareness, as inclusion demands mutual effort.  

People still see the reluctance to engage, they, in turn, are then reluctant to engage, because they don't want to offend, or the deaf themselves don't want to risk a stressful situation and are backing away visibly or making excuses to avoid stress.   Naturally, what makes people aware of you, can only be taught BY you, as each person is different.  This is the primary issue of awareness, in that deaf believe its everyone else's job, and making awareness videos and holding awareness classes (Or worse leaving awareness to charities and others etc), and posting in own sites like these etc is job done, it isn't, you need to be 'in it to win it' you cannot do it by remote.  

Hearing DON'T read deaf sites or HoH ones, not the people you need to read it.  It just looks a lecture.  Many deaf/hoh sites are actually closed ones which reinforce the invisible barrier that hinders real awareness, double jeopardy! first, our issue is invisible, then we set up other barriers also invisible as some sort of 'protection' from the world we want to be all part of, can we not see the futility of that approach?  

It's a myth that because THIS site is online 1,000s of hearing are reading it and hopefully will make things easier, as a result, it doesn't work that way.  The deaf world looks big online but the grass root deaf and HoH person is alone when push comes to real shove.  There may well be 1,000s of them or millions even, but they don't live in your street.

We don't actually believe lobbying in  Westminster has much point or petitions, this is engaging with politicians, is lazy lobbying, it is NOT engaging with your neighbour, the man in the street/shop, or local social clubs etc where it really matters. It's just a sop to some cultural demand that is very loosely aligned with inclusion and integration, it is to reinforce an ideology, not to address the practical issues and difficulties of communication.

The whole issue of awareness starts from a point of unrealistic expectation.  Yes, you can sue for access to be enforced, but suing people discourages further cooperation.  People need to be encouraged to help mostly.  You don't do that putting THEM in a defensive state.  It's fighting against inclusion.

Can hearing-Deaf relationships work ?

Image result for Deaf-hearing loveFrom UK Social Media:  I want to ask how everyone here that's deaf or hoh and that have hearing loss how do you guys feel about dating hearing people? How did it work?


"I'm always puzzled (and sometimes annoyed!), at the terms Deaf use to describe other people, making 'hearing' sound like some alien race or something, they can hardly be surprised the same view gets seen in reverse. 

Obviously, we need to integrate deaf as soon as we can to take away the suspicion and poor understandings they have of the 'world' outside their own. Should we date deaf people? that would anger some deaf who see it as negative too. I've been hearing, HoH and now profoundly deaf, people are people and if the effort is put into a relationship by both parties then they can work as well as any other relationship does. 

While 'love can find a way' acceptances and compromise are really important too. Compromise should be, but isn't, 50-50. Sometimes, Deaf or HoH people find the sheer effort they have to make to integrate and overcome language/communication difference, defeats them and they retire to what they feel safe with. I think the fact the deaf community exists will defeat real inclusion and integration, as it offers an opt-out.  Perhaps the deaf should see that adopting their social area norm as a comfortable 'refuge' or opt-out is what holds them back. HoH struggle between denial and 4 different areas to address, language, communication and isolation as well as lack of support.

A relationship puts all that at the front of the queue to be addressed first. So such relationships, unless the hearing person has prior knowledge and experiences of the deaf 'ways', they can founder shortly after day one or the lifespan of that relationship is really short.  The question WHO has to put the most effort in, is in the debate, hearing often say they often have to put ALL the effort and compromises in, because the deaf did not display the ability they could.  It just seemed one long 'demand' the hearing had to accommodate them.  The hearing had to adapt to deaf social areas too which were difficult, while many Deaf still avoided hearing social areas as 'too stressful', this meant deaf-hearing couples often did not share mutual and social occasions.."  There did seem differences in the male and female areas, the attractive female deaf fared much better.

Deaf, by comparison, made few if any real adaptations to their communications or their lifestyle by default.  Today increased integration, and CI's, technologies etc, are making hearing deaf relationships a lot easier.  Awareness seems the key but a desire to adapt and compromise much more vital by both areas.

HoH has different issues, as they already struggle with communication, denial, and isolation, so don't start from the same direction, initially finding a way to effectively communicate is the first major obstacle.  Unlike signing deaf, there is not a communication base to start from or bridge.  Hearing can learn sign but,  finding a potential partner unable to understand what you are saying effectively, signing or not, poses different issues.  You take the role of teacher and student and that isn't the skill of everyone, you can be dealing with the psychological fallout and trauma too.  With the deaf it can be learning, communication, and behavioural issues too, of your potential partner and their friends.

We believe they can work if, the desire to make it work is there.

Deaf Jurors? Yes we can be, but.......

The only real issues are how knowledgeable and aware of hearing issues and topical norms, deaf understand outside their own.  An understanding of others languages too is needed and its grammar.  In accomodating the basic access thing, there is a need to determine the knowledge and academic base of the juror, be they deaf or hearing, not anyone can be a juror unless they fulfill the criteria set out for elgibility.  E.G. a highly complicated financial fraud case may well be well be beyond the accepted knowledge of most despite support and explanation.  Also some mentally ill people or those with learning difficulties may be excluded by default.

If deaf struggle to understand the hearing mainstream 'norms' different to their own, then its an issue that lawyers will exploit, perhaps not unfairly.  After all deaf demanded at one point only deaf jurors should decide on a  deaf client case brought to court on the very grounds hearing would not understand accepted norms they have within their community.  This was opposed, as it would disadvatage unaware opposing council, and could favour a deaf or hearing client unfairly.

One casts mind back to 26 years ago when a deaf man who murdered his ex deaf girlfriend, could not be tried in own area at all, because apart from learning disabilities, support could not be used that was familiar to the deaf client in case of bias.  It was 2 years before an acceptable trial took place, and suitable interpreters could be found.  Later the deaf man was adjudged guilty of murder, with the deaf community bias insisting he should not have had a hearing jury because although some aspects of his behaviour would appear definitely suspect to a hearing person, it was acceptable to the deaf..

This was challenged on the grounds 'stabbing someone to death can hardly be an accepted norm anywhere, nor, can the physical abuse and rape, the deaf man inflicted prior to the killing, be an accepted norm either, but a crime.'

SignAll@CES 2018

Auditory training of the deaf child.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

The Joy of Hearing

As it is Be happy! day in the UK, here are some who are.... just to make sure, ATR is banning critical response.

The C700 program for deaf-blind.

Robots to take over sign translation...

Talk to the hands because you can't see a face.

Scientists have created a robotic arm that is able to translate spoken words into sign language so deaf people can understand what is being said. It’s creator, Erwin Smet, says it will ‘change life for the deaf community’ by being easily available when access to sign language interpreters is limited. Royal Navy sailor downed so much alcohol at free lunch he couldn't carry out duty He hopes people will be able to carry it with them to school, university and work as a sort of portable translator. 

The robot, called Antwerp’s Sign Language Actuating Node (ASLAN), works by hearing someone speak, receiving information from a local digital network, then checking for updates sign languages from all over the world. 

It can be created using a 3D printer using 25 pieces of plastic, meaning it is relatively cheap at a cost of just £400 to make. Erwin Smet and a team of scientists creating the robotic arm to translate spoken words into sign language gestures. ASLAN stands for Antwerp’s Sign Language Actuating Node – and the robot can be 3D printed from 25 pieces of plastic, meaning it costs as little as £400 to make (Picture: SWNS) The robot works by receiving information from a local digital network, then checking for updated sign languages from all over the world.

Mr Smet, 57, who is responsible for the students who created ASLAN, said: ‘What we have seen in real situations that there is a real gap and barrier between the deaf community and the real world – ASLAN can reduce that barrier. ‘The amount of hours of help that the deaf community can get via translators is really limited. How to make sure your Facebook data is private after Cambridge Analytica concerns ‘I see ASLAN as something being put in deaf people’s backpacks – they can carry it with them, to lectures, to anywhere – there is a need for this.’ 

Erwin, who is from Antwerp in Belgium, explained that this robot is unique because of the low-cost nature of it and because it can be recreated anywhere by anybody who can use a 3D printer. He said: ‘We started some years ago, with the idea that students who are not able to hear, could use some help in everyday life to communicate. ‘It should be something that is reliable, cheap and gives you the opportunity to program it with different languages. ‘We started with small steps – with just one hand, and then the wrist, and then the elbow too.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Not Deaf enough for a CI...

It's like saying we won't give you a hearing aid until your loss is too severe, which entails years not hearing half of what is said, and all the stress and anxiety that goes with it.  In the USA they allow CI's to born deaf at 80, if they can pay for it, and most born deaf refuse a CI anyway.  

As the ENT here has stated deafness is inevitable, why are they prolonging the delay in giving him a CI?  This is all about cost, as even late deafened adults are being refused CI's who are prime candidates for them.  It's a false premise it saves money, as it costs 8 times MORE to support a deaf child or adult,  without a CI,and for a lifetime.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Is deaf 'support' an own goal?

Questions being raised in parliament about the dire shortage of work or training for deaf and disabled job seekers.

Could we not approach access to work support,  a different way? E.G. deaf communication support in employment can cost upwards of £42+K a year, mooted as the most expensive employment support in the UK, and yet it still isn't enough as Interpreters say this won't cover their fees. It is also more than some able-bodied earn full time in a job, which inadvertently creates resentment at deaf and disabled.  We need a different approach to some support options because employers just will not fund it to that degree.  A telling comment simply states from the CBI, "We are a business, not a charity, and certainly not a social service."

Some deaf appear to believe they can legislate themselves into a job regardless of how qualified they are.. The plethora of interpreters, carers, and social Workers that come with deaf support are all highly negative images that can kill a job application and CV off at the start. Naturally, some need a very high degree of support, is it matched by their abilities?  Can we even ask that question without being jumped on by rights activists?  We can understand the legal right to support, but the system isn't really sustainable at those costs unless the skill of the applicant merits it.  Paying £42,000 a year to do a job that pays less than half that, defies rational economics. Some deaf are working at a loss and cannot pay commute costs to the job site.  The interpreters are the ones making a real living.

Much more needs to be done in deaf and disability education so these issues present a lot easier to address later on. Too many are leaving full-time education with few qualifications or viable abilities to communicate and highly dependent.  I hope the comment is seen as constructive and not a criticism. The current approach is chaotic for all. Of course the current blitz on welfare allowances, and validation of support and disability itself, also feeds back to the ESA claim in that you just won't qualify for any support. The DWP having defined you as not needing much help, aided and fully abetted by deaf activism that insists they aren't disabled either.

Magic Leap Patent Plans Sign Language & Text Translation App

Another piece of Magic Leap's mysterious story has been uncovered thanks to a new patent application revealed on Thursday, March 15.

The new patent application descriptions and drawings outline a method of using a head-mounted device to detect and translate sign language. Yet another part of the new patent information details the ability to use the head-mounted device to recognize text on signs and storefronts and have that text translated into information on the headset. Magic Leap is calling this approach to sign language and text translation "sensory eyewear."

Specifically, the patent application describes the "a mixed reality system for recognizing sign language and text in an environment … these embodiments advantageously may permit greater interaction among differently-abled persons … the sensory eyewear system can recognize and interpret a sign language, and present the translated information to a user of the mixed reality device."

Although Magic Leap hasn't promised such functionality in the first iteration of its device, the Magic Leap One: Creator Edition, the simple fact that the company is working on such functionality is exciting and could open up a new world of communication for the deaf and hearing impaired community.

Drawings included in the patent filing show a person wearing a head-mounted device and interacting with a person using sign language. From the device wearer's perspective, we see a menu that offers a possible set of responses to the person using sign language.

In addition to allowing a person using sign language to seamlessly communicate with someone who doesn't understand sign language, the application would also allow sign language users from different parts of the world to communicate effectively. The wearable system can image signs (e.g., gestures) being made by a conversation partner, convert the signs to text or graphics, and then display information associated with the sign.

"Many people do not know any sign languages. A speech- or hearing-challenged person and a conversation partner may not be familiar with the same sign language," reads the patent application description.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Trouble at t'mill ?

Image result for Language EmpireAgencies refusing to pay interpreters agreed fees, sort it out, the deaf get the worst end. The link is to the review area as curiously the site has suddenly closed for 'maintenance'.

Why I will not work for Language Empire.

I have just asked to be removed from Language Empire's database of interpreters. This is why.

When I returned to interpreting at the end of last year my colleagues in the area were already unpaid by Language Empire to the tune of certainly hundreds and often thousands of pounds each. Having just returned I was yet to be let down by them and so began tentatively accepting jobs.

On January 4th they confirmed with me by text my quoted fee for a job. The LE system then sends all of their terms to the interpreter as a last word and obliges you to download a complicated job sheet, administered by somebody other than the person who sent the confirmatory text. That job sheet quoted the wrong fee. I worked the job and submitted my invoice. LE finance replied to say thanks for the invoice, and this is the fee. The fee was theirs and not what was agreed. I objected via their online portal and heard nothing back. Nor was I paid.

The same thing happened with all four of the jobs I subsequently agreed to. Confirmation of the fee was always laborious to secure and then they would try to do it verbally on the phone and at best by text. The job sheets were always wrong, the invoice confirmation was always wrong and I always queried it and never heard back. By this time my 30-day payment terms were exceeded and I stopped accepting work from them until paid.

They did not pay. Language Empire owed me £664.20.

I sent them two red invoices which resulted in a payment remittance being sent, which contained a list of fees and mileages which were different to that they had agreed to, but which totalled nearly what was owed and so I was cautiously appeased.

Except the payment was not made.

I received reassurance that it was being paid the day I queried it, but it was not. The remittance said the payment may take up to seven days, so I waited until then and checked. No payment, despite reassurance that it had been paid.

So I wrote formally on February 26th (sent by email) threatening court if the money owed was not paid within two weeks. It was paid in one hour.

Then I left it to let the anger subside.

Last week I bit the bullet and stepped up for two assignments for which I was available. LE had offered "14-day payment terms on all jobs" and I offered to work the assignments if and only if they could send me Job Sheets for each job with the correct fee documented on it. They did not. 

They sent the familiar nonsense with seemingly random values scattered across them and their normal terms and conditions. So I queried them, reminding LE that I was not confirmed until the Job Sheets were correct. They emailed to say my fee would be honoured, but the Job Sheets were still wrong. I said I would work the jobs if the sheets clearly documented what had been agreed. I heard nothing in return. So this week I emailed to remind them that I was not confirmed for these jobs since I worried that they might erroneously consider me booked. 

They did. I explained why not, and they said they had emailed a promise to honour the fee (but presumably not read my reply to that). They sent me a cut-and-paste table from their financial system for my fee, which stated mileage I had not agreed to and a fee I had not agreed to, which did not add up to the total given, although the total was what my fee had been quoted as. Their system not clearly adding up was troubling. 

I said clearly again that I needed correct Job Sheets and then I will be confirmed. I was a bit swearier than that. I have not heard back.

I have given up. I believe I have tried my best but my every encounter with Language Empire has been arduous, Kafkaesque, and deeply suspicious. I do not believe they have any intention of providing registered interpreters to the publicly funded NHS that has shackled itself to a 'provider' that cannot provide.

I believe Language Empire to be fundamentally and utterly failing in its duty to provide quality interpreting to the Deaf Community. However, this does not, in my opinion, absolve NHS England from its Equality Act duties to ensure its services are accessible to Deaf people. I do not know what the contract stipulates from either party, but it ought to allow for early abandonment of it if the provider does not provide. Why would it not do that? If the contract legally binds NHS England to a provider that does not provide then it should default upon it.

I am available to any GP, dentist, or hospital trust who wishes to book me. I am a good interpreter. I have a lot of availability. My rates are exactly NUBSLI rates. GPs, dentists, and hospital trusts have a duty to be accessible. PALS have a duty to ensure they are so at a local level. I think that HealthWatch have a duty to make sure that they are accessible on a regional level, and that the NHS Ombudsman has a duty to make sure that they are accessible nationally. Failing or ill-conceived contracts notwithstanding.

Not only are Deaf people receiving consultations and treatment with no or poor interpretation, the interpreters' reputations are suffering as a result.  NHS England please sort this out. If I can do anything to help, let me know and I will do it.

But I will not work for Language Empire.

Jim Cromwell..


Driving interpreter qualifications.. DOWN?

Related imageMoot point about Interpreter professionalism.  Should not the deaf demand nothing less ? and, as a result, be allowed to sue those who are poor signers who decided what the Deaf can or will understand?  

In the UK no interpreter can be brought to book, or even act as a witness in a legal action because it is said memory recall is hearsay in a deaf action, so any mistakes an interpreter may make is just tough on the deaf person, there is no legal comeback.

These 'ideological' * people ? are the deaf demanding lesser qualified support? Or just another attempt to put deaf people in place of hearing where they will demand own grammar etc and all that goes with it? Or maybe much lower standards to meet a huge support black hole?  The UK has this sort of set up already, and the cost is the driver.    The article mainly pertains to sign interpreters, but the issue is far more involved re professionalism and the deaf.

If it isn't 

(A) learner complaints of many £1,000s to qualify and different tuition with differing approaches and standards in sign.

(B) Poor cultural assessment of own standards aiding and abetting that, and 

(C) the system looking at hearing learners at very low stages of 'level' acquisition to fill in the support gaps cheaper. 

We are seeing basic level 2 BSL people attending in areas they are simply unqualified to work in, not even qualified as interpreters even, including near all Deaf 'mentors' and 'carers'. The Deaf are demanding  lesser qualified help already, and deaf charities are encouraging that 'choice'..

As professionalism is being questioned, those who attain higher levels are getting angry. Sadly the UK 'free-lance' system of currently qualified BSL terps is an issue, and their rows with the system wanting to reign them in to be more accessible,  less random,  and manage the fees to a standard is still ongoing an issue, many e.g. resigned and won't work for W.I.T.S. The current welfare changes and assessment decimated support, they just could not meet the need, not liked the fees, and 1,000s of deaf lost their help as a  result after terps wouldn't turn up.  It is the real price of commercialising deaf support and making a business of it.

There is also no identifiable area to censure or moderate interpreters when they are complained about, and no-one who can remove the worst offenders. That also encourages the system to hire others and not them and at a reduced fee, offering more regular work as another inducement.  The current BSL support system is wide open to abuse, and assessing clients is also very poor or non-extant too, so an Interpreter has to 'wing it' often having no real knowledge of the client's own skill and understanding.  It is why we see deaf users showing a preference for certain interpreters who 'know' them. Who then get huge issues when they aren't available.  Those who require signed support have a right to get properly qualified people who will look after their clients and can provide continuity.

The deaf do not get off lightly either, too many excuses are being made for poor deaf signers and their lack of academic knowledge, as well off fobbing off communication issues with 'regional sign acceptance' excuses, or poor own awareness. We aren't all the same. Deaf judges of interpreting learners are arbitrary and some very arrogant, they are deterring people to qualify by costing them money they cannot afford.   There is a case for state provision and training as a vocation.  That will drive standards upward and make them more accountable.    It will also set up a deaf support system with a bottom line.  It has to be said cultural' interference has affected deaf support too much, communication must be paramount, not dogma or deaf politics.  Knowledge is power not sign.

Deaf need to know how to actually use an interpreter and to know their own skills. what they will understand, and what they don't, and like HoH have to, understand that pride leads to a place you really don't want to go to.

BSL needs a UK norm and at least a wider knowledge of Signed English included, as basically, this is the INTERPRETERS main background.  Yep, terps are hearing too!

The article:

"The quality of interpreters is so important. I need someone who has the fluent skills to work with me," Leah Simmons explained. "Their lack of knowledge reflects negatively on me." Professor Simmons uses specific jargon and language. Her colleagues and students judge her by the language she uses. She cannot communicate directly to her hearing students.

Simmons is deaf. She is part of a community of deaf and hard of hearing people working to upgrade skill levels and regulation of sign language interpreters. At the same time, ideologically* conservative groups from outside Wisconsin are working to de-professionalize many occupations. Sign language interpreters are on the top of their list.

I became aware of the effort to eliminate certain occupational and professional licensing as a member of the Senate Public Benefits, Licensing and State-Federal Relations committee. A few months ago, this committee held a daylong hearing on legislation setting up a process to eliminate some occupational and professional licensing. Professionals from architects to registered nurses came to testify against the bills. Ideologically conservative lobbying groups spoke favorably. Several groups were from out of the state.

Moving in the Assembly was a bill (Assembly Bill 589) to increase the skill level and accountability of sign language interpreters. The bill, authored by Rep. Jonathan Brostoff, was cosponsored by a bipartisan group of lawmakers including myself.

Not a single person testified against AB 589 in the Assembly. However, the Senate committee chairman appeared to be ideologically opposed to professionalizing sign language interpreters. He refused to hold a hearing unless the bill was significantly changed.

To accommodate the Senate chairman, a substitute amendment was passed by the Assembly. This amendment stripped out all the original bill language and replaced it with a much watered-down version. Lost in this process were important provisions to increase skills and oversight, including the creation of a board to oversee quality and accountability and a process for resolving complaints. For the deaf and hard of hearing community, having oversight and a complaint mechanism for poorly performing sign language interpreters is essential.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Digital game developed to help with sign language learning

Image result for seecomHamilton woman Adele Hauwai is the innovator behind SeeCom (Reo-a-Karu), a social enterprise which provides sign language classes and products, and is developing an interactive, digital sign language game to help people communicate.

“Sign language is one of the easiest languages to learn and it can be fun for children, parents and whanau,” says Ms Hauwai. “There are so many benefits to learning sign language. It’s not just for deaf people. We educate parents how to communicate with all children using reo rotarota (sign language), even parents of children with autism or with slow speech development or learning challenges.”

SeeCom was established in November 2016 by Ms Hauwai, and she has grown her company into one that employs 12. Initially set up to teach basic sign language to parents and caregivers of babies, the company has become much more than that. In the past year SeeCom has been recognised with multiple awards for its products and services, which also includes sign language posters and flash cards in te reo Māori.

Ms Hauwai says one of the challenges of her business is the misconception that sign language is only for deaf people. She says sign language “is for everyone” and can be used as a “support language” for everyone from babies, toddlers and children to those with communication barriers.

“Sign language is empowering,” says Ms Hauwai. “I struggled with learning, and sign language helped me. I’ve been communicating in sign language for more than 25 years. For a toddler or child who struggles to communicate it reduces frustration and tantrums, helps with bonding and relationships and boosts confidence.” She says the value of sign language in an education setting is immense, and there is a lot of interest from ECE teachers and educators in learning it.

SeeCom offers professional development sign language classes for schools and organisations. They are particularly focused on training people who are fluent in te reo Māori to be sign language tutors, and have been inundated with interest from Māori organisations and schools, including kura kaupapa and kōhanga reo. “We've had strong interest from parents of children with disabilities, health workers, social workers, kaiako teaching te reo Māori and school teachers,” says Ms Hauwai. 

Wales 1st Deaf Midwife...

Wales' first profoundly deaf midwife
Sian Preddy, from Bridgend is Wales' first profoundly deaf midwife. Here she explains how she decided to pursue a career she loves and how she has overcome barriers.

I was four years old when I was first diagnosed as deaf.

My mother cried and cried when told the news. She had known there was something wrong with me but was constantly brushed off by doctors as an overly anxious mother; she was so relieved to finally have a diagnosis. After that, I was given a hearing aid but just ripped it off. Nothing helped. I kept getting ear infections and by the age of 14 was classed as profoundly deaf.

Because I had spent so much time in the hospital as a child, I was interested in the medical world and wanted to be a nurse. But at school, I was told it wasn't an option. There were no deaf nurses. As the years went on, I had two children. And I remember the midwife at my first birth saying I would be a fantastic midwife because of my personality; it just stuck. Because I wanted to hear my children, I then had a cochlear implant.

Adapted stethoscope:

It's an electronic device that helps deaf people hear by sending signals to the nerves used for hearing. It comes in two parts - a small device placed under the skin above the ear, and a headpiece that sits on the outside of your head.

I then applied for midwifery training and haven't looked back. So far, I've completed two years at the University of South Wales. The implant helps me hear things, such as monitors and emergency buzzers that are essential in midwifery. I also have a specially-adapted stethoscope so I can hear babies' heartbeats.

Addicted Deaf Mute stole 'because he was isolated'.

Wrexham Magistrates Court
A serial offender stole six bottles of spirits from a convenience store claiming he needed to feed himself and his two dogs. Joshua Brian Parker, 30, took the alcohol worth £128.98 from the Co-op store in Bala less than a month after he had appeared in court charged with similar offences following a number of thefts from Co-op stores in Wrexham, Coedpoeth and Denbigh.

Wrexham Magistrates Court heard how Parker, of Garner Road, Wrexham, entered the store on February 15 and placed two 70cl bottles of Jameson whiskey, one litre bottle of Bells whiskey, one litre bottle of Famous Grouse whiskey, one litre bottle of Russian vodka and one litre bottle of Captain Morgan's rum into a rucksack and then picked up a newspaper before going to the tills and only paying for the newspaper.

The theft was picked up on CCTV and a police officer who recognised Garner, later found him sitting at a bus stop with the rucksack and stolen items. Parker, who is profoundly deaf and mute, was arrested and in interview communicated to officers that he had "no choice" but to steal the items as he needed to buy food for his dogs and himself.

The court heard that Parker has 21 convictions for 43 offences and was in breach of suspended 16-week sentence for three thefts imposed on January 19 this year. Emma Simoes, defending, said her client was addicted to drugs and these were the catalyst for his offending. She described Parker as "very isolated" and probation services had struggled to work with him due to his disability.

"I find it quite alarming that someone who needs help cannot find it because he is deaf and mute," said Ms Simoes. She said that funding was hopefully being raised to send Parker to a specialist mental health unit in Manchester which deals with deaf people who have alcohol and drug problems and that he was very keen to get rehabilitation.

"It is extremely difficult for him to get the help he needs so this is a huge opportunity for him," added Ms Simoes.