Saturday, 30 June 2018

The UK's NHS (Aged 70).

Not usually a great fan of the charity that produced this, but, I'd really like to see more promotion of those with hearing loss and deafness that DON'T sign at all, and their issues made more prominent. The neglect of the majority who are deaf and with hearing loss is a scandal, we aren't seeing their issues raised at all because it is being swamped with minority BSL issues instead and biased distortions of need.  

There is life beyond the sign, believe it.  The only niggle is AOHL focussing on things/alleviation/medical, not the people, they need to take a leaf out of the BSL book and let us see those. 10m WILL get their entitlement that way.  Yes the old AOHL/RNID were indeed, groundbreakers in pushing our rights years ago, but, now they don't, that's the problem because they went into the care business, and shop sales approach instead and had to sign a non-critical response clause to bad support from the state in order to get funds, as did other major charities.  

AOHL has shown they have that capability, so why aren't they using it to counter huge discriminations against us? and the recent NHS approaches of limiting testing, issuing hearing aids, waiting until you are deaf before giving you an aid, then today banning ear grommet provision putting children at risk of further hearing loss and even deafness, isn't telling it how it really is.

The cost of going deaf is far far higher than addressing it day one. The astronomical costs of supporting deaf and those with hearing loss, in work, in education, and with aftercare, is higher than supporting other disabled areas. In employment the highest UK support cost.  It is totally a false 'economy' to cut research, hearing aids, and implantations.   You just create more deaf people with more reliance on others.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Deaf centre with no deaf, may close.

The Early Years Centre for Deaf Children in MackworthWhy are they complaining when no deaf are actually using it?  How can it be 'hugely popular' with no-one there?  (I blame the hot weather personally.) A Derby early years centre which caters for deaf children and their families is at risk of closure.

The “hugely popular” Early Years Centre for Deaf Children, in Brentford Drive, Mackworth, was established more than 20 years ago. It provides assistance for families in Derby and Derbyshire, including weekly sign language and communication sessions, taught by deaf tutors, to help parents converse with their children.

The centre, based in a residential house, contains a family sitting area and playroom, kitchen, baby changing facilities, soft play, sensory room, resources room and outside play areas. However, due to declining attendance, the county council says that it may pull funding if the number of families using the service does not increase.

This puts the centre at risk of closure, says a national deafness charity, which has asked that, if the site is closed, any savings are pumped into other services for deaf children.

In 2011, when the county council brought its social care in-house, the authority pledged to fund 40 per cent of the running costs for the service - on the basis that it is used by Derbyshire families “in sufficient numbers”. It remained a leading stakeholder, along with Derby City Council and the National Deaf Children’s Society.

At the time, 17 Derbyshire families were making use of the service. By October 2015, this figure had dropped to just six. A further review in May 2016 found that only one Derbyshire family was using the service. There are no longer any Derbyshire families attending the centre.

Pornographers target the Deaf.

Degradation of men, women,  and children, perversions, assaults, and using access to spread it. What we need are online bans on porn.  We have all the perverts we need. Anyone who thinks this is some sort of romantic sex is deluded. Pornhub is Introducing Closed Captioning for the Deaf Porn Lovers of the World

Over the years Pornhub has done a lot to make itself more inclusive for the differently abled. Because everyone loves porn, and not being able to experience it in the exact same way as an able-bodied person doesn't mean you should be left out. Plus, the more people watching Pornhub videos the more money it makes. 
Image result for no porn!
In the past, the site has included features for the visually impaired, including described videos. Now it's added closed captions to over 1,000 popular videos from its many categories.

The launch of the dedicated 'Closed Captions' category comes Pornhub Cares, the site's philanthropic division that has taken on the responsibility of making the site more accessible for a wide range of porn connoisseurs. Initially, the category features 1,000 videos, selected from the top viewed videos in Pornhub's straight, popular with women, gay, bi and transsexual categories. And it's important to note that they're closed captions, not regular subtitles, so the on-screen text is going to show off a lot more than each video's hokey plot.

Pornhub VP Corey Price said:

“Here at Pornhub, it’s important that we continue to service all of our users’ needs and make content accessible to every individual. By integrating our new Closed Captioning category, we are now able to render some of our most popular adult content more enjoyable for our users who are hearing impaired. We encourage them to check out our newest category and provide feedback, which is especially important as we seek to continue to offer content with the differently-abled user in mind.”

It'll probably be quite useful if you want to watch some actors go at it when there are other people at home and your headphones have gone walkabout. See, accessibility benefits everyone.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Deaf-Blind Awareness week...

Transcript / Visual Description: 

Short Video of Heather Quayle jumping down onto floor from indoor rock climbing. Short Video of Heather driving a Landrover off-road. Short video of Sophie Nanthabalan (Deafblind Ushers lady signing ) My family pick up bit by bit by bit and learn more. Glen Tamayo (Deafblind Ushers man signing) One time I was using my cane and I accidentally hit another man in the face! 

Hi everyone my name is Heather Quayle (finger spells her full name ) Next week is Deafblind awareness week. I am Deafblind myself and next week I plan to upload different videos onto my Facebook page. The videos you will see are that of my Deafblind friends from all over the UK as I’ve been busy flying here, there and everywhere to get these clips. The videos will show a brief insight into their lives, their different activities and their views of being Deafblind. You will be able up to watch, read and learn about Deafblindness. 

I grew up with a Deafblind father and my Auntie was also Deafblind so for me, my life was pretty normal seeing and being in the Deafblind world. It’s funny though when sometimes you step into the Deaf community or meet a Hearing person and they’re surprised as they’ve never experienced meeting a Deafblind person before. So that’s why the clips this coming week are to show you the differences in Deafblind people and make it easier and clearer to understand. 

Next week whenever you are watching the different video clips please can I ask if you have any burning questions or perhaps you feel embarrassed to ask or think it’s an inappropriate question or it’s discriminatory please have the confidence to ask as I’m happy to answer any questions. Remember it’s Deafblind awareness week so it’s your opportunity to ask me for more information. I hope you all enjoy watching the upcoming clips next week. Bye bye (Heather waves goodbye)

What's in a term?

Image result for Moray Council
Where is the actual 'Hard Of Hearing' Access? (How access campaigns distort communication needs.)  Does BSL and deaf equate with Hard of Hearing?  The BDA did not state the Hard of hearing access was there, only that its own estimate was that 7.000 Scottish DEAF wanted access via BSL).  Yet, the Deaf refused to support captioning of the UK parliament, via 'who cares what councillors or politicians say)?  

It will be interesting to read if Scottish deaf log in for their BSL access.  interestingly a mother of a deaf CHILD, welcomed the access, (they start 'em young up there!),  she substituted deaf for 'hearing difficulties' so confusion reigns, the terminology is redundant, and bias/chaos rules.  Maybe the BDA can tell us how many Hard of Hearing in Scotland actually rely on BSL?  Or even if the BDA represents Hard of Hearing at all?

Moray Council becomes first in Scotland to broadcast meeting with sign language.  A council meeting in Moray will be the first in Scotland to be accompanied by sign language. The council’s communities committee will meet tomorrow to discuss its sign language policy, and an interpreter will be on hand to make sure that residents with hearing problems don’t miss out on the debate.

Vice-convener of the committee, Theresa Coull, is a proficient user of British Sign Language (BSL) as she has a 40-year-old daughter who is deaf. The Keith and Cullen councillor yesterday demonstrated the form of communication in a video for the Press and Journal’s website, as she welcomed the move.

Mrs Coull said: “As a mother of a deaf child I’m delighted that BSL will be used for the first time to translate the council meeting to the deaf and hard of hearing. “This will be of huge benefit to those with hearing difficulties, as it will keep them updated with council matters.

“The deaf and hard of hearing have much to contribute to this area and should not feel that they are being left out. “We really hope that they will contact us with their opinion of the service or any ideas they would like to share.”  The sign language translation will be captured on video using the council’s webcast system, which can be watched live from 9.30am tomorrow or anytime from the day afterwards.

Helping with hearing loss advice

Friday, 22 June 2018

Deaf-Blind Awareness week (UK)

Cops ridicule deaf and their dogs.

Hearing aid basics and troubleshooting.

Identfying as deaf.

Me giving the graduation speech at Gallaudet University.
It is amazing adults are still struggling to ID themselves, but the struggle to be someone else will always end badly.  It is a fact such people are being defined by their communication and not as themselves. So how can an individual ID exist?

When I was 5 years old, my parents found out I needed hearing aids. They weren’t told I was deaf, Deaf, hard of hearing, hearing-impaired; there was no label. They were simply told I needed hearing aids, and that I would need to sit close to my teachers in my private school.

We didn’t know why I lost my hearing, and we still don’t. All we had was my audiogram (a hearing test) telling us that I had a moderate “hearing loss.” I was the only one in my entire school ― which serviced preschool through 12th grade ― who had hearing aids and the only one who was Deaf or hard of hearing. I was often teased, questioned and “tested” for how much I could hear by my peers. They’d cover their mouths and ask, “Can you hear me now?” like the Verizon commercial. Back then, being deaf (though I didn’t identify as such) meant to be different or abnormal.

When I was older, around 13, I still had never met another deaf or hard-of-hearing person. I had only hearing friends. I went to sleepovers, swimming parties and get-togethers where everyone spoke and it was noisy. I struggled to understand what people said, especially when I had to take my hearing aids off for a pool party or when it was time for bed at a sleepover. I had lots of good friends and I enjoyed hanging around them, but it was still work to catch everything they said.

I used to pray that if I behaved well enough and was good enough, I would be fixed. I would no longer be embarrassed when I didn’t understand what someone was saying. I never wore my hair up in fear that someone would see my hearing aids and call me “retarded.” I was tired of being asked if I was “like Helen Keller” or why I had these huge things in my ears. Then, being deaf no longer meant that I was just different, but it began to mean that something was wrong with me. 

When I was 17, I started to get angry. I was tired of lip-reading teachers and people and going to loud places where I couldn’t understand anything. I was tired of feeling like I could not be a part of parties and the typical teenage experience because it was too hard to hear. I avoided loud, dark places and settings where it was difficult to read lips and match what little I could understand to what I could hear with my hearing aids.

I was dating a hearing guy at the time. Whenever we would go to friends’ houses or go out, I started getting angry when he begged to stay. I wanted to leave because I couldn’t hear other people. Most of the time, I just faked it by laughing along and smiling, but eventually, I started losing more hearing. Being deaf for me then meant being angry with everyone else because I couldn’t understand them, but they could understand me.

When I was 18, I was turning in my car and signalled my blinker. I couldn’t hear it, so I thought something was wrong with my hearing aids. I called the audiologist for an appointment and later found out that it was actually my hearing levels decreasing. “Sometimes it’s progressive,” the doctor said, unable to explain why the change in my hearing occurred. I went from moderately hard of hearing to severely hard of hearing/profoundly deaf, and in my mind, that meant my identity had shifted somehow.

I googled “What do deaf people do” and found an online message board that talked about rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, interpreters, captioning and vibrating alarm clocks; I had never heard of any of these things. I thought subtitles were for foreign language films and never knew I could use captions for regular movies. I had been using my phone as an alarm and constantly missed the weak vibration of it, resulting in me being late for class or work occasionally. I thought interpreters and sign language were only for Deaf people who did not talk.

I began to think better of it, and I immediately got my audiogram and went to my university’s disability services office. I found out I was eligible for captioning services and was referred to a captioning telephone company, as well as classes in sign language at the local school for the Deaf. I suddenly realized that being Deaf meant I was not alone, not anymore.
I began learning American Sign Language (ASL) at 19 and met my first deaf friend (actually, the first deaf person I ever met) not long before starting classes.  As I started meeting more people who were Deaf, I was the happiest I had been in a long time. Finally, I met others who were like me. I maintained my friendships with my non-signing hearing friends who made the effort to sign and who accepted this new part of me, and I found, more often than not, my non-signing hearing friends were supportive.

At last, I could understand other people conversing with me, without working hard and without needing to rely on my hearing aids. Being deaf no longer meant darkness. It meant Deaf pride, confidence, access and support. I soon decided to explore the idea of transferring from my hearing university and going to Gallaudet University or the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology, two schools created for Deaf students. I visited both schools, and after some coaxing from friends, I decided to transfer to Gallaudet. With the support of my parents, I was ready to start my new journey. While I was at Gallaudet, they began their own journey learning ASL and attending Deaf events and Deaf education rallies.

I went from not knowing ASL or any Deaf people as a child to being the graduation speaker at the world’s only Deaf university.
At Gallaudet, I found a wide variety of friends. Conversation was never a burden, a hardship or a tedious task. There were many others like me who were new signers, and I had never felt so warmly embraced in my life. I had started to find my Deaf identity before Gallaudet, but once I had arrived, it began to solidify. I was in my element. Learning became easier, socialization was natural and my happiness was inevitable. Being Deaf meant freedom.

At 22, I graduated from Gallaudet with honors, summa cum laude with a 4.0. I went from not knowing ASL or any Deaf people as a child to being the graduation speaker at the world’s only Deaf university. I was soon headed off to graduate school for Deaf education and aimed to work in early intervention. After a few months, I moved back home and began working at a Deaf school as a substitute teacher. Seeing young students like me every day made me realize all of the opportunities I had missed out on in my mainstream school. Seeing all of the staff signing, seeing the access available all the time, was incredible. Deaf schools and settings felt like home to me.

Being Deaf now, at 27, means fighting for Deaf and hard-of-hearing children to have the rights and access I did not have growing up. I now teach at a Deaf school and I am a second-year doctoral student at a hearing university. I engage in research in hopes that I can support early intervention services, identity development and more. I want other Deaf and hard-of-hearing children to have what I didn’t. Being Deaf means supporting the Deaf community in all of our fights for access, but especially in ensuring the future of our Deaf children’s success and happiness. I now have a mix of Deaf and hearing friends, and some sign while some don’t. We work together in all that we do and embrace our differences. We all know that being Deaf is more than audiograms and hearing devices. Being Deaf now means being part of a community and a culture that accepts and respects the Deaf identity and Deaf journey. 

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Awareness ASL style...

Tamala David, Ph.D., M.P.A.,M.S., F.N.P.
So much confusing and inaccurate awareness, its a wonder non-signers get ANY support, as we know, currently, they don't, at least Deaf have interpreters/relay access etc, and the suggestion all deaf cannot speak defies fact.  These nurses will STILL fail when presented by deaf who don't sign are poor lip-readers but still speak.  Another case of misleading awareness I fear.

Nursing students at the College at Brockport now have a new understanding of the challenges faced by the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. On Wednesday, students experienced a role reversal simulation in which they were given a fake illness and had to seek medical help without being able to speak.

The students had to communicate with members of the deaf community to get the help, relying only on facial expressions, hand gestures and written notes.  The goal is to prepare them for working with deaf patients when they become nurses.

"Some of them have never interacted with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, and typically when they interact with them, they freeze, they get away, it’s an awkward interaction," said Tamala David, an assistant professor in the Department of Nursing at the College at Brockport. "But this is an opportunity for them to practice beforehand." "This is the opportunity for those students to meet the deaf community, how to interact with them, understand our challenges that we face everyday being deaf in the hearing world," said Susan Demers McLetchie, who leads Partners in Deaf Help in Rochester.

Students also attended a lecture in which they learned the difference between being deaf, hard of hearing and experiencing hearing loss.

Put a cap on it?

The present situation. The grant will only cover the support needed to let you stay in work or self-employed. In 2015 Access to Work grants were capped to a maximum yearly award limit of 1.5 times the national average salary.  

[The average UK annual salary or monthly wage of full-time employees differs drastically across industries. According to the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), e.g. average gross annual earnings for full-time employees was £27,600 in 2015, which was a 1.6% increase from the previous year.]

The current issue is an objection to a cap on a maximum AtW grant reputed to be below that 1.5X allowance, with London disabled losing out more than others.  The campaign is about all disabled, not just BSL-using deaf.  It is alleged the Deaf are amid the highest claimants of this funding. The cruel question is at what point is it deemed unrealistic to fund disabled access? 1.5 times the salary of everyone else, or even more?   

Could there be alternatives to financially subsidising deaf into work? e.g. giving them rights, addressing employer reluctance, better and meaningful training/education, so more deaf get the work on merit?  If an employer has to do very little to include deaf or disabled,  where is their impetus to include?  Currently, there is little or no onus on them to put up in access terms at all, AtW covers it.  Factually deaf wouldn't work without it.  It's far from certain where the majority of 'work' is for the deaf.

What you'll get.

You’ll be offered support based on your needs. This may include a grant to help cover the costs of practical support in the workplace or getting to and from work.

The grant can help pay for items or services you need, including:

adaptations to the equipment you use
special equipment or software
British Sign Language interpreters and video relay service support, lip speakers or note takers
adaptations to your vehicle so you can get to work
taxi fares to work or a support worker if you cannot use public transport
a support worker or job coach to help you in your workplace
a support service if you have a mental health condition
disability awareness training for your colleagues
the cost of moving your equipment if you change location or job
Access to Work can also help assess whether your needs can be met through reasonable adjustments by your employer.

What Access to Work will not cover.

You will not get an Access to Work grant to pay for:

Changes that your employer has to make (reasonable adjustments), items that would normally be needed to do the job whether a person is disabled or not, support  that your employer used to provide but has stopped

2 Deaf Stories

CI's have replaced hearing aids?

Image result for CI's deafCochlear implants are used to treat the hearing problems of deaf patients. These implants have replaced the old hearing aid devices. 

Many manufacturers are involved in improving the quality and design of the cochlear implants. During the last few years, there has been a significant increase in the demand for cochlear implants. According to the research carried out by, LLC. in 2014, 360 million people worldwide were suffering from moderate to profound hearing loss. 

Additionally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by 2025, it is estimated that 900 million people across the globe are likely to suffer from hearing impairment of which around 90 million of these people may more likely from Europe. The global cochlear implants system market is majorly driven by increasing number of patients having hearing loss, rising geriatric population, acceptance of hearing implants by the patients with hearing disorders, and favourable reimbursement policies. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2015), 8.5% of people across the globe i.e. 617 million were over age 65. During the last few years, people across the globe have adopted these devices, which have helped the growth of the market. 

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, in 2013, approximately 324,200 registered devices have been implanted worldwide. Additionally, increasing healthcare expenditure and government support have fuelled the market growth. However, the cost of impacts can be more than USD 100,000 which are not affordable to the middle-class population, thus, the high cost of the implants may slow the growth of the market.

The Joy of Hearing...

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

DID Cards?

Image result for did cards
National Disabled Identification Card (DID).  I wonder how many deaf have one?

The disabled identification card launched in 2015 and is run by disabled people or parents and relatives of disabled people. We are more than just an identification card, we are committed to helping individuals or groups to achieve ordinary things and some extraordinary things in their lives. Not every disability is visible.

About the National DID Card.

The National Disabled Identification (DID) Card was introduced in response to disabled people posting comments in a number of social media sites that they were getting tired of constantly having to carry their paperwork proving they were entitled to some form of disability benefit in order to obtain a concessionary rate.

In particular parents of children with disabilities and special needs, whose children's disability is not immediately obvious, such as autistic, global developmental delay and other disabilities find it hard to explain their disability, especially if the children are present who may be unaware that they have a disability.

Disabled individuals often do not want to request or highlight the fact they have a disability when they would be entitled to concessionary rates. There can be a stigma attached to requesting disabled rates.

What can the DID card do for you?

The aim of the National DID Card is to remove the need for individuals to carry their paper documentation with them at all times. The card will have a photograph of the cardholder and will only be issued to disabled people who are in receipt of some form of disability allowance or medical evidence to support your application.

The card can be used as proof that they are in receipt of an eligible benefit and therefore entitled to gain entry at a concessionary rate. Many establishments, theatres, museums, attractions, leisure facilities etc. offer concessionary prices for disabled people and in some cases offer free entry to another person assisting the disabled person.

Daytime TV presenter reveals hearing loss issues.

At least it puts paid to his wife's complaint he doesn't listen :)

Why not get a CI?

'Noise, is Life' (Norman St John Stevas), on debating campaigns for sign usage in education).

The EY Deaf and HoH Network

Born this way...

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Tag Abusage and access distortions by sign users.

Why are these videos tagged as for 'Deaf and Hard of hearing', when they are in international sign language and contain no access via lip-speaking, subtitles or captioning, that HoH need to follow? Yet another example of signing vloggers deliberately distorting the HoH access messages by suggesting there is actually an audience via HoH proficient in ISL of any note? Should there be an outright ban on deaf signers tagging videos that are neither relevant to HoH or accessible to them and for youtube this is misleading?   

If these people can find just one HoH person who follows ISL then this clears the way for what is, poor access awareness.  ATR discovered 68% of sign accessible videos claimed access they did NOT provide to HoH.

The 'Deaf and HI' remit is dead, please stop using it.  Output must portray the reality.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Chorus Call: Life-size video.

Deaf siblings at the House of Commons...

A deaf brother and sister performed at the House of Commons at an event organised by the charity that taught them to speak. Alice Campbell,11, and her six-year-old brother Oliver, from Surbiton, were part of the Power of Speech event run by Auditory Verbal UK.

The event is hoped to challenge perceptions of what deaf children can achieve, and show the communication skills of young people who have been helped by its early intervention programme. The pair gave readings from their recent exams to an audience of more than 100 MPs and professionals from the deaf sector - they were among ten children from across the country who performed.

Alice said: “It made me feel excited and proud to be a part of the Power of Speech. I was a little bit nervous but most of all happy to be there and help more people understand why auditory verbal therapy is so important. "I think Auditory Verbal UK are really special and lovely people because they have helped so many children.”

Alice was diagnosed with a profound hearing loss at 18 months after her parents noticed that she was not making the same developmental milestones as her older brother. She had surgery for a cochlear implant after doctors discovered she had been born with Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder.

Deaf man attacked wife and mistress and then urinated on them.

Deaf ménage à trois ends in Jail sentence. A man who flew into a rage during a "terrifying" and "degrading" attack on his wife and live-in mistress has been jailed. Shaun Walsh, 50, shared his Ebbw Vale home in a three-sided relationship with the two women, who are both deaf, Newport Crown Court heard.

He admitted assaulting his wife Sherin Walsh, 51, and wounding his mistress Karren Grainger, 47. Walsh was jailed for 27 months and handed an indefinite restraining order. Prosecutor Emma Harris said the defendant first attacked his wife in the bathroom after she noticed he was in "a bad mood".

Ms Harris said: "He punched her in the nose, pulled her hair and pushed her against the wall. "Walsh then shoved kitchen roll inside her mouth and she lost consciousness. "He poured a bucket of water over her. She felt she was going to die."

After Ms Grainger came to the wife's aid, she was cut with a knife before Walsh urinated on both women to humiliate them. The court heard the defendant has been married to his wife for 28 years and has a teenage daughter with his mistress who lived with them for more than a decade in "a highly unusual arrangement". The defendant pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm against his wife and wounding his mistress.

Walsh's barrister Llyr Williams said: "He is suffering from a number of health issues, including depression, and problems with his medication had contributed to his behaviour". Recorder Ifan Wyn Lloyd Jones said: "Both complainants were deaf ladies and I have no doubt about their vulnerability. "This was a determined attack and it must have been terrifying for them.

"It was also aggravated by the fact you urinated on them which was gratuitous and degrading conduct."  After sentencing, Mrs Walsh said the term handed out "wasn't long enough".

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

The role of Deaf edcuators...

Free as a Bird...

For decades now, scientists studying hearing loss have been trying to figure out how to make humans more like birds.

When a bird loses its hearing due to loud noises or trauma, the damaged sensory hair cells in the inner ear essential for hearing simply grow back. Any hearing loss is quickly restored. Not so for humans. As I explained in an article in the new issue of Stanford Medicine magazine:

If these hair cells are destroyed in humans, they lie around like flattened wheat after a rainstorm, permanently powerless to help us hear. The cells die for various reasons, including injuries, ageing and loud noises. And no new cells replace them. But in birds, amphibians and reptiles these cells grow back. So birds, unlike humans, never go permanently deaf.

My article tells the story of how Stefan Heller, PhD, a professor of otolaryngology who has been studying these inner ear cells for more than a decade, is following a new line of research to understand the process by which individual cells, rather than entire groups of cells, regenerate into functioning hair cells. As Heller said:

The goal is to follow the trail of these regenerating cells in birds. Then we have to figure out why this trail is not working in mammals. What are the missing parts? Maybe we will discover one critical trigger and we can cleverly fix this trigger in mammals.  In other words, the devil is in the details. The good news is there is now new technology available, which also originated at Stanford, to help uncover the mysterious steps of each of these essential cells. 

"Technology has really turned the tables for us," Heller told me. As my story explains, about six years ago, Heller’s lab adopted a technique, called single-cell transcriptome analysis, invented in part in the lab of Stephen Quake, PhD, a professor of bioengineering and of applied physics. The process uses high-tech tools to decode the genetic instructions that enable cells to differentiate into other cells. And it's use has become increasingly popular among scientists.

But even these tools have their limitations. Heller explained further: We are analyzing all the genes expressed in individual cells during regeneration. The cells are mixed up together and when we isolate the cells, we lose critical information, such as their precise location in the organ. Currently, there are no informatics tools that allow us to reconstruct that so we’re creating our own.

NDA on the move...

Norfolk Deaf Association at their new headquarters. Senior Audiologist, Matthew Keogh.
A charity which helps more than 11,000 people across the county has told of the near £50,000 cost of having to move headquarters. The Norfolk Deaf Association is now settling into a new life on Meridian Way, after the landlord of its previous base in Graphic House decided to turn the floor it rented into flats. And while the charity – which celebrates its 120th anniversary this year – was given advanced warning of the decision, it is one that has come at a cost.

Aliona Derrett, NDA chief executive, said the move had so far cost the charity around £49,500 – which had left a hole in its financial reserves. She said: “We had raised around £20,000 to provide a new aural service for ear wax removal, which we are now back to square one on. It is not an ideal situation to be in and we are reaching a struggling point financially, however, we have to put a system in place to adjust to this.”

However, Mrs Derrett said there were some positives to the move, with their new, larger, headquarters allowing them to offer more space for clinics and services to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital’s audiology department.

She added: “We are settling in nicely and people have commented that the new site is easier to access than the old one. “Our contractors – Norfolk Ceilings and Interiors and Breakwater ICT – have done a great job getting everything ready at very short notice so I am very thankful to them.” The new location will also allow the charity to have a specific room for the new aural service – which will see them able to carry out micro-suction ear wax removal.

However, this will rely on either the charity being able to raise the £26,000 needed or for funding from the local clinical commissioning group.

What is the future aim of those with hearing loss?

Image result for FAcing the future
Some interesting feedback comments from HoH social media, the only areas that discuss hearing loss difficulties as averse to cultural and signing promotions.  

Poster#1 What do HoH expect to happen in the future as regards to those who want deafness got rid of, and hearing loss 'addressed'?

Poster#2 To hear hopefully. Defeating deafness (Sadly a title medical research uses that works against), should be our aim and dedication, no-one wants our kids/grandkids or others as adults, facing a life of reliance, dependencies and stress. Those who think 'legitimising' deafness as a right, can work, are cruel to the extreme, it is not about us any more who cannot get hearing back but we really do need to support the research and alleviations that can help future generations, we don't advance by going backward, or, calling deafness something else entirely. 

Things we campaigned for like 888 and better hearing aids, aren't just to cope, but an ongoing drive to get to the root of this debilitating and horrible disablement. You cannot legislate hearing, or even attitudes all that much, and anti-discrimination laws are not there to enforce a right to deny people hearing to enforce some cultural ideal, or block or oppose research into its eradication.

The only people who don't care they are deaf, are those who never had hearing anyway, a minority. Sadly they appear to think any 'assault' on hearing loss or deafness is an attack on them when the reality is they never had the hearing to start with. It is understandable they are scared of something they won't understand (Hearing), but it isn't an excuse to deny or oppose others who want out. 

HoH don't just want to cope, HoH want the hearing answer, if we roll over and accept nothing will change, then it won't.  It is a conundrum in that despite all of these issues we face, not a single national HoH/deafened (UK) campaign has taken place to effect change, and no-one seems to know why this happens.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Self Help Telephone. etc...

Deaf Bullies...

Santa not Deaf ?

Ray Bradshaw: York and Whitby gigs
Ray Bradshaw's Deaf Comedy Fam show is a first for stand-up comedy, as York and Whitby audiences will discover on his national tour.

Bradshaw, a two-time Scottish Comedian of the Year finalist, tells stories in his first language, British Sign Language, as well as in English, having grown up with deaf parents.

Those circumstances have given him a fund of eye-opening tales, including the time he learned that Father Christmas was not deaf, and this is coupled with his desire to make the world of comedy more accessible for deaf people – one in six people suffers from hearing loss – if only to take the pressure off himself when it comes to making his parents laugh.

Communication Support Workers: The scandal of unqualified care.

Image result for Communication support workers for the deaf UKIs a carer qualification sufficient qualification for looking after deaf people?  E.G. Deaf with dementia were left for many hours on their own and harmed themselves, others left to walk the streets, and 1 in S Wales drowned himself despite desperate pleas by deaf friends for the local authority/SS to care for him, leaving him only with a woman who cleaned home, cooked an occasional meal and ensured he wasn't allowed upstairs in his own home in case he fell down them. Who then left the deaf client alone again for the other 22 hrs.

As the 'carer' had no sign skills, she could not communicate with the person being cared for and it was gesture only, and the length of care was averaging just 2hrs a day out of 24.  Concerned deaf friends had searched the streets after he just walked out of his home half-clothed.  The Social Services still refused to act.

Another cause for concern is local authorities recruiting fellow deaf as 'carers' for their friends a few hours a week.  Personal privacy went straight out the window as these 'carers without portfolio' discussed all aspects of their charges daily living and personal life openly in a deaf club.  There is complete confusion as to what a carer, mentor, or 'aide' actually was, or what real qualifications are laid down or enforced.  Sadly, a number of these people are provided via charities who do not seem to monitor what goes on or know either.

One example of a job description offered in Derby (England), to support an elderly deaf signing woman.  Verbal/Oral skills but no signing ones. 4 other other job ads stated 'No deaf experience necessary.'    Many were 'on the clock' by their employers and told 15 minutes was the maximum at the home, others told 2 hours a week was all they could do and were monitored via mobile phones and harassed to go from one client to another to fill some quota, leaving real care a lottery.  

It seems that a communication ability is lesser a qualification needed than a basic care one, leaving the door wide open to people with little or no 'communication' skill at all to provide safe or effective care.  A number go straight from an academic course in a college to the 'coal face' of direct care, or unemployed off the street.  Obviously, people have to learn skills, but they should be overseen by senior qualified staff and there is scant evidence this takes place. The deaf are having these hearing strangers in their homes and their lives but unable to understand them and vice-versa.  Those who do have friends supporting them, risk their private lives being discussed by all.

The issue is clear, qualified people demand (Quite rightly), much higher fees for their time, so deaf are sacrificed in care  terms, to save money. 

As if to cause more anxiety to the deaf client, staff turnover is rampant, they never know from one visit to the next who comes into their home, again the reason is lower or non-qualified help wages, which combined with zero hours working, are not enough to retain even them.  Migrants are taking up these jobs who still struggle with English.  Meaning well won't do.

Experience and qualifications needed:

The successful candidate will have good verbal and written communications skills.

Must be able to form and maintain effective working relationships and work effectively as part of a team.

Must be able to work independently and use your own initiative.

Previous experience of working with people with deafness or learning disabilities is desirable.

The successful candidate should also have a level 3 NVQ in Health and Social Care or an equivalent qualification or be willing to work towards this.

This ad does not appear to put much emphasis on the communication requirements, other than an ability for the 'CSW to work with hearing employers, health professionals, and local Authorities.' but apparently NOT the client!   In fact doesn't appear to mention BSL at all. The wage is also well below even a basic stipend for such qualified people. It is surprising, in that his advert is by the UK's largest deaf charity too.  One ad very similar stated 'Stage 2 BSL' is OK, then withdrew it after deaf complained it wasn't sufficiently safe to provide valid care, and the deaf client still remained isolated, even from their help.  It wasn't possible to fulfil the criteria to enable the client outside or inside the home, which was a job requirement.

The ads also demanded a range of skills the disability advice,  welfare agencies, and LA employer areas would really envy, skills in benefit claiming/advice, medical awareness, social guidenace and support, interview support, care qualifications, driving cars, etc.  

This provided a conundrum in S Wales where the Deaf were unable to find any professional deaf to advise them on welfare claims.  How could hearing do it without the communication skills?  The CAB had stated they had no funds for it.  For the wages the charity offered, one would be surprised anyone at all would apply for the job, and there is anecdotal evidence qualification entrance levels for the jobs, were being lowered to get people in, then not improved on after, because it wasn't possible to retain the people.

So who cares? (A very basic job list here!)

Deaf Mentors
Deaf community workers
Deaf communication workers
Cleaners, meal cooking, doing shopping?
Nursing staff who cannot sign.

'Deaf' everything to satisfy the cultural areas, but still completely random and vague.  Deaf are NOT being served, but who is qualified to service them?

Monday, 11 June 2018

FFS get a grip people...

You cannot be serious !!

Are BSL users Health disadvantaged?

Jeff Parfitt
Social media response suggests they actually aren't despite the BBC and Hearing  Loss charities rallying to their cause on national media today.  

Some feel they are actually being ignored altogether, by charities and the signing deaf on health access.  E.G.

Poster #1

I think it's about time AOHL got their facts right. 90% of deaf people do not sign. Yet all the deaf charities are still banging on about sign language users. The question is: Why are the rest of us being ignored? I've been in and out of hospitals since the age of dot and they have always coped with my deafness. Why concentrate on the few bad cases and ignore the rest?


I can only add my local GP and Health board has NEVER offered any lip-speaker or text access to us who do not use sign as a main medium of communication. I have lost count of the demands I get from my local NHS to 'Use a BSL interpreter' why would I do that? On that basis If I was French, a German terp would be OK! 

I challenge the BDA and others to prove the BSL user is actually anywhere near as disadvantaged in access terms than we are or the HoH, surely 'some access' is better than ZERO we get? E.G. In Wales, the BSL user has regular access to 37 interpreters, the text user could not find any or the lip-speaker, who says? 

The NHS did, 'we cannot book what isn't listed or there..can't you sign instead?'   (In fact, ATR DID identify 2, who both wanted 7 weeks notice and a £500 fee, how far that will stretch to 300,000 with hearing loss in Wales is a mystery), Maybe I should take up the violin to get some understanding? AOHL should leave the BSL people to the BDA and start championing its own inherent membership as its remit suggests.

Deaf and Social Media: Does it empower?

The issue is that 'Deaf' social media is as isolated as the deaf themselves, if you are looking for Deaf output it does appear huge, albeit if online in ASL mostly, where we don't see the 'Deaf' is where it counts in the mainstream, sharing and including and holding back on relentless lectures at others.

Unless they move OUT of their 'space' and start to make inclusion viable, and integration a real goal, social media will just produce an illusion of empowerment. A 'Deaf Club' online, where like hearing users, real interaction on a personal level hardly takes place. Preaching to the converted gets lots of local kudos, but if the mainstream isn't included or caring about it, it serves no point with regards to empowering and doesn't influence anyone else.

Image result for I don't need your issues!Deaf are utilising social media to carry on as usual, and while we would agree Deaf aren't stupid by any means, the proof has to be in proving that point out there, and not complaining and campaigning 'In-House' about the injustice of it all amid themselves.  They have to join in the wider mainstream of social media and show they are as aware as anyone hearing, get involved in things outside the exclusive and signing areas they inhabit, otherwise, mainstream, just acknowledges the Deaf are 'different' and pay lip-service to the whole thing.  Today most of the mainstream is in 'issue overload' and becoming increasingly apathetic.  If you want to engender support and acceptance, going at them is not the way to do it.

Another aspect is to drop the Deaf attitude of negativity, and 'them and us', yes injustice is there, NO, not all hearing are in on it.  Demanding all sorts of inclusion is right, but unless active participation and mutual acceptances are there on BOTH sides, it still won't work.  The overriding problem is the apparent standoff between deaf/Deaf and other major hearing loss areas, who between themselves adopt a 'do your own thing' approach too, which confuses the mainstream who are expected then to assume all of us are the same, both in need and deed.  If every area goes its own way and direction, then, how can inclusion work?

Image result for inclusion versus equalityUntil the Deaf understand what inclusion and equality really mean, even social media isn't going to help them.  Notwithstanding, near all Deaf Social Medias are 'closed' sites,  and often dedicated communication content approaches too, they should be inviting hearing and others in and not showing a very obvious reluctance via the 'Deaf Space' excuse to make a real effort.  

It is very difficult to engage the cultural deaf on own sites, they band together to kill debates that challenge perceptions, editing material and banning posters is much wider an issue on their sites, because they are uncertain how to engage, and suspect everything is an 'attack' of some kind. We can only kill ignorance with wider understanding.  Few if any attempts to aggregate those who are deaf and with hearing loss, online succeed.  Yet this would display the diversity we have.  We see vlogs where access is denied to anyone that doesn't sign, and then justified as a right, the reality is such vlogs never get seen by anyone else, because the apparent demand is the viewer has to sign first.  That form of awareness does not work at all.

Deaf awareness failed because the Deaf would not show willing to go half-way.  They need also to show more interest in non-deaf things and display the wider knowledge they have, both locally and nationally.  Instead what we see are breeding grounds for Deaf paranoia, where many Deaf believe everyone is out to disenfranchise them, and the only answer is to keep those barriers up and stay tightly together to protect themselves and their perceived culture.  Which is just seen as yet another and often an insurmountable barrier to real equality and acceptance, not only by other deaf but by the mainstream, it is a constant diet of fear and distrust.

'Cest la vie' must be the worst cop-out and poor excuse ever, and diversity a cruel lie and excuse for segregation and keeping the Deaf isolated.