Friday, 31 August 2018

Hearing Loss Stats...

Dance On!

Audrey Tyrrell, who was fitted with her first hearing aid when she was just six weeks old
A six-year-old deaf girl became an award-winning ballroom dancer after learning her skills from Strictly Come Dancing. Audrey Tyrrell, who was fitted with her first hearing aid when she was just six weeks old, took up dance lessons as a toddler but struggled to hear the teacher. 

Instead, the tenacious youngster from Dovercourt in Essex turned to the hit BBC show to perfect her technique. Audrey, who has loved Strictly since she was four, was diagnosed with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) when she was a baby. 

The condition makes it difficult to hear someone talking nearby if there is background noise. Some sufferers may be sensitive to loud sounds. But Audrey hasn't let her hearing loss hold her back.  She used her lip-reading skills to understand what Strictly judges told contestants before studiously noting down their comments to improve her own dancing. 

Her mother Tracey, 39, said: 'Strictly Come Dancing is definitely where her love for dancing has come from. She watches it as though she is going to be on there.' Tracey, who is also a big fan of the show, said Audrey was so inspired by watching the celebrities compete that she asked her father to dance with her at home.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Leading HoH/Deaf charity distorts access campaigns.

Member Comment:

This article is solely about signing Deaf people. It has been written entirely from the assumption that all deaf people need sign language.  This is not actually what people are asking for and there is no point in giving them things they do not need. That's the worst kind of patronising charity.

The true fact is that for many years now there has been a drift away from sign language outside the deaf community. It still remains the lingua franca of the Deaf world and that isn't a problem. It's only when over-enthusiastic people start getting carried away that there are problems and these are reflected on the rest of us. We have to endure seeing earnest discussions for providing a tiny minority with what they demand while ignoring the vast majority for whom these provisions are of no help at all.

What the ordinary deaf person needs is not just access to a BSL terp but a large number would benefit from lipspeakers, notetakers, STTR, loop/infra/radio systems and other things of that nature. The number of signing Deaf in this country and in Wales is absolutely tiny. It is dwarfed out of sight by the much larger number of profoundly deaf oral people.

It would be nice if the principal deaf organisation purporting to represent us could get their facts right?

ATR Comment:

The relentlessly 'piggy-back campaigns HoH charities promote that actually do NOT promote HoH access but something else entirely is distorting access rights for most of us.  

Thinly-veiled suggestions they are a 'Deaf' and a 'HoH' group with a remit to match to cover up lack of any fairness or real awareness is patronising.  AOHL has lost out to cultural campaigns and is tagging on to them to stay in the public view, by suggesting everyone needs sign and little else.  They don't justify to HoH how it helps them in any way. Their own acknowledged member base is HoH and non-signing.

Basically this a corporate charity staffed by hearing people, with a business arm selling services and equipment to us all, and jumps on any bandwagon to get a profile.  In reality, HoH have been deserted by this charity and the Deaf left years ago. They are alleged to have signed up to a non-oppositional stance, and to not criticise discriminatory decisions by ministers, who have deprived 300,000 HoH welfare support, and held responsible for 110,000 UK deaths.

Parents with Hearing Impairment.

Parents with hearing impairment from Raising Children Network on Vimeo.

Maybe CODA's are bilingual, the parents aren't.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

ENT Open day...

Michelle Johnson, a highly specialised audiologist at FGH is organising the open day
Do the profound deaf USE audiology services? You would think they at least know the hearing loss difference.

Michelle Johnson, 37, a highly specialised audiologist at Furness General Hospital, said: “We want people to know these sort of services are available and they provide vital support. The services we have coming on the day are massively essential to people with hearing difficulties or deafness.” The event will be held at the Cumbria Deaf Association in Duke Street, Barrow on September 20 from 3pm and is open to deaf or hard of hearing families as well as professionals involved with them 

BSL GCSE and the DoE...

Image result for GCSEs
Dear ATR

Thank you for writing to the Department for Education.

The government recognises the cultural significance of British Sign Language (BSL) as the first or preferred language of an estimated 70,000 people in the UK.

The Government is open to considering a proposal for a BSL GCSE and would welcome a proposal for consideration at the earliest opportunity. If the proposal meets the expectations for GCSEs and a BSL GCSE is ready to be introduced in this parliament, the government will then consider whether to make an exception to its general rule that there should be no new GCSEs in this parliament.  

Introducing a BSL GCSE is different from making it a national curriculum subject. The national curriculum, introduced in maintained schools from 2014, was designed to reflect properly the body of essential knowledge in key subjects, while leaving teachers scope to use their professional judgement to design curricula and offer additional subjects that meet the needs of their pupils - which may include BSL.

In addition to meeting the statutory duties to teach the national curriculum, maintained schools are free to teach any other subject or topic they deem relevant for their pupils, as part of the school’s wider curriculum.

As part of our commitment to improving the service we provide to our customers, we are interested in hearing your views and would welcome your comments via our website at:

Yours sincerely

Margaret Akintayo.


BSL WON'T be a core subject of GCSE's.  Any such inclusion would have to be an exception but still have to conform to current curriculum/teaching norms.  The DoE 'May' consider is pretty vague a response, and isn't an acceptance of a BSL course at this time.  Whilst the DoE is recognising preferred communications for some deaf it still has to take into account the majority who don't, thus to avoid 'tiered' educational approaches, bias, and lowering of current standards..  It is in effect just saying OK, some deaf use BSL.  

'Immersion BSL' in education, which ATR asked the minister about was left unanswered.  Current systems (Official), say there is no leaning towards any single primary communication approach in deaf child education.  This follows the 'Each according to need' policy.  (It has to be flexible to meet all deaf and HoH children's needs).

English literacy will still be a primary requirement. 

ATR has pointed out on many occasions (As have the relative deaf charities and BSL lobbies), that there is inadequate support or trained staff to make such a class effective at this time, at best the classes would be randomly sited, not a UK norm,.  There is insufficient back up in classrooms in the mainstream at present, also no agreed BSL norm approach settled on as yet to use as a basis of teaching.  There are still issues of regional sign usage and acceptances, any set class on BSL would require the Deaf to accept a norm that can be used nation-wide.

It would at best, reflect current random BSL approaches in LEA and other class tuitions for hearing, (there are no sign classes for the Deaf). Each current hearing class appears to have own norm, often using different approaches to the college run coursework (which is primarily not BSL but cultural/history approaches).  Most cultural references are also not in a visual form but in hefty tome's printed in academic-speak.  There are still primary issues of there being no valid sign for many terms.  

Many were tried out (Some claim invented to fill space by un-academic deaf), in the original 1992 dictionary of BSL which was later panned by the deaf themselves  Other references are on a medical/clinical overview of deafness and loss, which deaf reject as material.

The minister could not be drawn on questions ATR asked regarding the GCSE suggestion, e.g. if culture would be included as part of an BSL advanced tuition.  Teachers of the BSL have no organised cultural academic approach to use at present.  Not everyone is happy with the dictionaries/programs of BSL either which are not allowing for a norm to be established or are being developed by proper academics and accredited.  The Deaf appear to be accrediting themselves via own rules, but hearing coursework going own way.

The minister would not be drawn to answering the most vital questions, although an e-point was listed to respond to, it failed to respond to ATR.  The overall 'image' is that the appropriate words have been used to placate the BSL lobbies but on an official level suggests that lobby would have to alter BSL approaches to conform to the national curriculum norm, which the Deaf were unwilling to do.   Also, any decision deferred ad infinitum, at a very minimum not until a new government (2012), has been elected, as changes to GCSE's are not allowed in this parliament.

Deaf want BSL taught with culture in tandem.  The Minister has said she would prefer that the class (After meeting curriculum rules), concentrates on communication and bilingual qualifications.  The Deaf won't be allowed to dictate own approaches in UK schools.  Looks like only a free-for-all would exist at best and only in areas of high deaf concentration.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

To CI or not CI who answers that question?

Image result for Cochlear Implants
Responses to a parent of a deaf child worried cultural deaf are telling her her deaf child will suffer with a CI and won't have any friends when it grows up if it can't sign..

#1 I think emotions need to be taken out of the decision, you have to balance the CI op with the reality of profound deafness for life and all that entails. Whilst much is made of cultural approaches it hasn't enabled their education or job advantages, its created a group of people convinced mainstream is out to disadvantage them. It's easy to blame discriminations, but giving a child every chance would be what influenced my decision, not a deaf community or even a language as such given its incompatibility with the mainstream.

#2 While it is remotely possible all these signing deaf will attain deaf nirvana and each have own translators etc it is not going to occur in our lifetime or our grandchildren so have to address the now. CI's Don't make you hearing but they are an answer when aids don't cut it. Is the state going to provide? or the deaf community? neither are doing much at present. And who decides? the parent, the Dr or the Deaf community? 

#3 The decision is critical time-wise, once children rely on sign they will have difficulty using anything else. The communication is set and alternatives or even assists will get ignored, many suggest deaf education needs a real change of direction, and to address immersive sign approaches. I think day 1 is when the decision must be made. My own preference is that decision gets made by the parent no-one else, they are our children. 

#4 Children with CI's even adults can still sign if they want to,  they are still deaf, the argument is more 'political' than anything else, parents must look quite rightly to future outcomes and have to balance them up. Do you really believe a deaf community can replace a parent or should?

#5  If deaf kids only sign they have no accessible futures, they need alternatives taught at day one and immersion signing stopped.  There are alternatives to sign, multiple assistive devices etc, and each and every one should be a basic part of teaching to a deaf child.   Anyone promoting a total sign approach is depriving a deaf child of a real future with any sort of choice.  Even an interpreter for every one of them is no answer.

#6 (ATR)  From my experience what I was told by deaf educationalists (UK), they don't concentrate on sign use but try any and all means to offer alternatives to give the child the most options they can.  However, a combination of cultural lobbying, and even human rights usage is forcing sign as a primary means of educating the deaf child as a 'cultural right'.  Parents are in a quandary and often don't know what best works with own child, it may be their first ever experience of someone deaf so they bow to professionals.  

Professionals are under assault from the culture too as are medics.  Recent UK campaigns are demanding BSL GCSE' etc.  Essentially sign use is seductive to a deaf person, it takes the stress away from having to oralise or speak or lip-read, a great impetus to stay with sign use, further on when they struggle with it, interpreters act as middlemen/women also taking away impetus to make singular efforts to communicate outside signing areas.    

Parents naturally don't want children stressed or unhappy, but, stress is life you cannot avoid it, and in certain situations drive the individual to find alternatives they would not usually.  Are we really helping that child by restricting it to one way of communicating? A  format everyone else doesn't use?  There are forms of 'blackmail' used in that the deaf have a right to be with own, but is it nature?  or nurture?   Are we just creating a lifetime of dependency?

There is no deaf background whatever with 9 out of 10 deaf families.  In essence, you are priming the child to have difficulty communicating to you and the world outside in the end.  All options should be on the table. forget the 'preference' debates, as, preference is not synonymous with either need or, ability. 60% of deaf never get a job that lasts or EVEN a regular job if they are sign reliant, that is the (UK) reality.  

Do we accept the argument deaf children really have no other option? we shouldn't, as there are oral schools that use little or no sign at all, there are lip-reading approaches, body language tuition etc etc, just because deaf purists hate it, is no reason to deny a child that option.  At the end of the day the child matters.  It is difficult these days to argue these points because of cultural lobbies that are very strong within their community, but parents need to be aware that choice does exist, nothing is written in stone, but we need to to re-write current deaf education and put an end to activist interference in it.  Our kids, not theirs.

A right to Offend.

The HoH Diaries....

Deaf Irish Community attacks poor access to Pope.

Given the Pope is the leader responsible for the world's largest paedophile ring, do we really want to know what he says unless it is a grovelling apology and a list of names and people to hand over to the police? Deaf need to understand it isn't just sign that is missing here, deaf children were raped and attacked too.

Members of the Irish deaf community have accused RTÉ of having “virtually ignored” it, and Irish Sign Language (ISL) interpreters, who were working at the Pope’s visit last weekend. 

A protest by members of the deaf community is due to take place outside RTÉ studios around the country, including at its main Donnybrook studios in Dublin, and at its Cork studios, at 4pm this Thursday, over the controversy, confirmed one of the group's spokespeople, Cormac Leonard. 

A protest may also take place at RTE's Limerick studios, Mr Leonard added. It has also led to the birth of a social media awareness campaign on Twitter, entitled #StopHidingISL.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Gallaudet receives Gun threats.

Misleading BSL Campaigns go into overdrive.

Rhyan Berrigan
People who are deaf or have hearing loss still face barriers in their everyday lives, a charity has said. Action on Hearing Loss said big arts and entertainment venues are providing British Sign Language interpretation, but that smaller venues and cinemas could do more.

The charity is calling for a scheme to recruit more professional interpreters to be brought back. More than half a million people in Wales are deaf or have hearing loss. And here are 7,200 British Sign Language (BSL) users - but fewer than 100 fully qualified practitioners. 

The Welsh Government said it had supported training to increase that number. Deaf access to NHS progress 'too slow' 'More help needed on deaf employment' Councils told to mind language barriers Rhyan Berrigan, a civil servant from Llanbradach, near Caerphilly, has been deaf since birth and uses BSL. 

She enjoys the theatre, gigs and cinemas. "I'd like to say it is getting easier compared with 10 years ago," she said. "But if you have a show with a run of 20 nights for example, only one will have an interpreter, so you don't get much choice. "You've got to go on that one day, or miss it completely." 


There is so much misleading information in this latest charity news item ATR is forced to respond.  ATR has already published Official Welsh (Health) assembly statistics which was 'supplied' BY the AOHL which quoted totally different numbers.  ATR suggests the AOHL is manufacturing numbers to launch campaigns and quoting areas that are neither deaf or use sign language.  Outright abuse of the Deaf & HoH remit.

Take one example from the above item:

(1) More than half a million people in Wales are deaf or have hearing loss.

NO, there are 1 in 6 with hearing LOSS, only 2,400 approx would be the area assumed (But not identified), to be signing.

(2) There are 7,200 British Sign Language (BSL) users in Wales.

Not.  Only 1,100 were listed as regular BSL using, in the official census of Wales.  Suggesting less than 1 in 7 of all severe/profound deaf.  The defining question of actual usage and reliance wasn't asked.  There is a difference between 'knowing BSL' and actually relying on it, as this would include hearing people.  Need is defined by demand.

(3)  There are less than 30 BSL terps.

Not so. 47 were listed on their sites in Wales, the bigger issue is funding them, they are leaving the support area because of system attempts to set up a proper system of BSL support and a 'normalising' of wages, which the BSL Terp says is rounding DOWN their pay, this they say, makes the work non viable, when you take into account recent government caps on absolute limit to BSL welfare supportIt also undermines the way BSL terps work, i.e. as 'freelance' workers. Need is defined by demand.

What AOHL did not include were any statistics on the 500,000 Welsh with hearing loss and THEIR requirements.   ATR can save them the trouble, there aren't any!  So who is the biggest 'Loser' here?  The BSL reliant deaf? or the rest?  Even the dubious juggling of AOHL statistical gathering, suggests the majority of HoH are losing out, and not the BSL user.

Perhaps the biggest and misleading statement is at the start,  'half a million 'deaf' and Hard of hearing', there aren't half a million deaf/Deaf, we can suggest there are half a million hard of hearing.   In-depth and complete surveys have never taken place on the degree of hearing loss, (Other than at NHS/ENT), Or, communication needs support since health areas are clinical assessment areas, not support defining areas, but primarily because the DP law prevents anyone asking.  

We DO know the amount of Welsh deaf/disabled seeking system support is 13,000 or so, these are statistics held by the relevant and supporting local authorities, and that includes all disabilities seeking system help and is not confined to the deaf.  

Wales has no system-dedicated deaf-support service, it is reliant on charity.  It has no Deaf schools either.

You have to ask the basic question, will training up 100s of BSL terps do anything to assist the majority with hearing loss, the area included in this campaign?  Will it provide bums on seats at Art venues?  It is an AOHL/BSL promotion that has nil to do with the HoH who do not sign, let alone who attend Deaf Arts programs. AOHL has failed even to identify BSL users who would attend IF the access was there.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Scottish thought police lose the plot...

Coming to a confused focus-group near you. Will you tell them to get a life or shall I? O'D'd' on Haggis again or is it 'Hag-gess'?  (Whatever!). 'Trans-stupid' spring to mind.

Use of pronouns.

If you know someone who wishes to change the pronoun by which they are referred (for example from she to he), try to understand it is very important to them that you respect this, even if you initially find it difficult to consider them that gender.  Deliberately using a different pronoun for the person will be experienced as offensive, judgemental and hurtful.

Most trans people will use the most common pronouns, ‘he’ and ‘she’, to refer to themselves. However, some people may use the gender neutral pronouns ‘they’ and ‘their’ in the singular sense. You may also meet a trans person who uses less common gender neutral pronouns (such as ‘zie’ or ‘hir’) but these are currently mostly used online.  In place of the gendered titles of address (Mr, Miss, Mrs, Ms), you might see the use of a newly created gender-neutral title of Mx.  More commonly people may just opt not to use any title. Once someone has let you know their pronouns and title, it is really important to try and get them right as much as possible, even if they are new or unusual to you.

If you are speaking briefly with someone and you are unsure how the person would wish to be addressed, then it is usually best just to avoid using any gendered terms than to risk insulting them by guessing wrong.

Shit Happens...

Friday, 24 August 2018

Hearing Restoration Project.

BSL song coverage banned by Facebook.

Becki Breiner
Facebook has stopped Sittingbourne mum Becki Breiner's sign language music videos in a row over copyright.

The 36-year-old has recorded a catalogue of top tunes using British Sign Language as part of her campaign to get the subject taught in schools and posted them on her Facebook page. But the social media giant has warned her to stop posting after music giant Sony muted her videos.

The lip-reading mum-of-two, of Bale Grove, Kemsley, said: "I am really angry at this decision and do not know where to go from here. "This is truly outrageous to discriminate against the deaf community in such a way from such a massive social media site."

Becki, who works at Medway Maritime Hospital, has been deaf since she was three but turned to music recently to help her learn sign language. Her first video was This Is Me from the film The Greatest Showman. But this week she announced: "I am no longer allowed to post my British Sign Language videos with the music attached on Facebook.

"I have appealed against the ruling for all of my videos but Sony has denied my appeals." "This is truly outrageous to discriminate against the deaf community in such a way" She added: "I am still allowed to use my YouTube channel but unfortunately the deaf community on Facebook is being discriminated against."

Facebook warned: "Posting content that you don't own may breach copyright law."

Sony Music Entertainment has "partially muted" her videos in 248 countries. Becki launched a free karaoke night for the hard-of-hearing using sign language at the Ypres Tavern in West Street. She lost her hearing after crashing into a barbecue and hot coals burned her face. Hearing charity Signhealth has recently asked her to become their new ambassador to help promote sign2sing.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Challenging signed Video awareness.

ATR challenging Deaf videos than suggest culture clashes, offer poor awareness and promote bias with no access instead.

There are MORE than just hearing and deaf, in culture, and in approach/language/social issues, there are 4 or more areas within hearing loss, including the deafened/acquired deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing etc, to what 'culture' do they belong to? Yours?   They are closet hearing?!

They don't exist? What? and, where is our access?  It's only awareness if those you want to make aware KNOW that you are saying and post to hearing areas. 'Us and them' approaches are dated campaign-wise and designed to induce issues of discrimination where it doesn't exist and to make Deaf feel disadvantaged by deliberate design.

Deaf sign, hearing don't? Wrong again.  If your wife doesn't understand you, perhaps your communications aren't up to it!  Is there ANY point cultural deaf posting awareness at each other?  To assume hearing are going to log in to youtube to gain deaf or cultural awareness with no in via access, is plain ridiculous.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Home Fire Checks (Leicestershire)

EE to ofer more access to deaf and HoH...

EE news
EE has pledged to offer the UK's best customer service to people who are deaf or have hearing loss.

According to the provider, one in six Britons are currently living with some form of hearing loss. EE has therefore worked with Action on Hearing Loss to assess its call centres and develop best practices for supporting these customers more effectively.

This includes a sign language interpreting service for British Sign Language users and the use of the Next Generation Text text relay service.  Customers can also receive additional support from EE's dedicated Customer Disability Team if they inform the provider of a disability.

Furthermore, people with a compatible device can enjoy improved sound quality during phone calls has EE used Enhanced High Definition Voice to ensure clear communications. Edward Goff, Marketing Director of Mobile at EE, commented: "Our collaboration with Action on Hearing Loss helps us to provide a great experience for our customers, and helps to improve their lives through the latest mobile and network technology."

He went on to state that EE will continue working closely with the organisation to provide "the best, most personal support for our customers".  James Rowe, Technology and Enterprise Executive Director at Action on Hearing Loss, added that it is "very pleased" to be partnering with EE, as the provider offers "some of the best support" for people who live with deafness or hearing loss.

Loads jobs for the deaf...

But, they are self-employed surely? not employed by hearing?

Why is deafness hard?

A sure 'sign' Deaf ignorance is bliss if you never had hearing to lose, or indeed if you never miss not being able to hear.  The only issues others have with the 'Deaf' are their claims it is OK for them so OK for everyone else.  As acquired deaf at ATR,  losing hearing is ultimately traumatic, a sense is lost, and despite claims to the cultural side,  their set up isn't an adequate replacement, and certainly no cure for that.  

Coping and managing and indeed finding alternatives that work that aren't via a 'Deaf' community approach has actually enhanced much of our ability to find alternatives to the 'Deaf' way that suit our particular need and requirement.  We can speak from direct experiences of being deaf and being hearing.

We don't say the 'Deaf and their culture/community' is negative, only that it just doesn't work for us and we want more options and we certainly are at odds over access and support.  There is a naive 'arrogance' with some signing areas that is grossly misplaced and can be taken as poking fun at those who are struggling and highly sensitive about it.  Great you are happy with your lot but.... 

We've read online those with later deafness and severe hearing loss being called 'whiners' and 'whingers' as they reach out for help and understanding.  Being personally attacked in fact. When you take into account the huge reliances and depencies on others, the 'Deaf' have, and it is right those issues get rightful support but reality is.  

It's NOT perceived fun or acceptable to be deaf by others, it can lead to family break ups, divorces, mental health issues, suicides, total isolation, zero understanding or help etc, they can be forgiven for not accepting the view deaf is fun, as it isn't for them.  

It helps in lauding the deaf culture, to accept that for others deafness is actually a real issue, its calls for compassion, empathy, and understanding, which seems short on the ground when we see thinly-veiled digs and fun pokes at those who struggle.  It more suggests 'Deaf' know its a struggle and are avoiding talking about it, which we need to do, why me? is a constant with those who lose hearing and they need to know.  

For those that never heard it is suggested they don't offer an opinion to those who are losing it.  It lacks the experience to validate.

Care-Co-operative recieves complaint about BSL videos.

After reading about BSL video access from the Welsh co-operative, ATR discovered they had no captions/subtitling or text narrative, which means 2/3rds of welsh deaf were not able to follow even the sign provision properly. 

ATR immediately contacted the co-operative receiving a welcome apology and said they will now insert a text narrative to enable more inclusive access for Welsh deaf and the 300,000 others with hearing loss, and/or send that narrative to those that want it in the meanwhile.  These text narratives can be obtained via the link to the co-op at the foot of this page. 

ATR intends to complain also to the BSL area about telling systems deaf do not require text access because they all sign, or even BSL users don't need text when it's a norm on their own specialised TV programs. To be scrupulously fair the Co-op has done very well to respond to ATR so quickly and put things right, and many thanks to them and Catherine in particular. 

It's vital in raising access issues we thank those who provide them, this encourages more of it.  More so to identify why deliberate access confusion exists.  ATR blames cultural deaf activists and charities for deliberately misleading the co-op on access requirements for Welsh deaf people, which could have seen the co-op taken to task for discrimination through no fault of their own. 

ATR also complained to Carmarthenshire councils and NHS areas for doing the same thing, which was endorsed apparently by interpreters taking part who should know better, but putting own work before deaf access.  

The communication response:

Tue, Aug 21, 10:02 AM 

Dear ATR

Many thanks for contacting us via the form on our Care to Co-operate toolkit, and for providing such useful feedback. Please accept my apologies that you weren't able to access the videos.

The BSL videos were produced because the Care to Co-operate team were working closely with a *BSL only group and we were responding to their specific needs.

Catherine.Evans wales coop

*Notice the response 'BSL-Only' term to avoid inclusive content for all, all deaf sign, they do not!

As a footnote, those who feel they aren't getting proper access should go at these people direct, NOT approach charities and activists to do it, because their bias is undermining that very access As commercial areas are highly sensitive to discrimination complaints, the access success rate would be much higher, our 'support' groups are just not up to the mark, and creating haves and have-nots in access terms.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Ready to be Heard

DWP defeats deaf objections to welfare cap.

The DWP just won a court case allowing it to openly discriminate against people
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) just won a court case over a controversial cap on a benefit. A solicitor in the case has gone so far as to say the law is now ‘allowing’ the DWP to discriminate against people. What’s more, the DWP even admits that the benefit in question ends up making money for the taxpayer.

As The Canary previously reported, the case centred around the Access to Work (AtW) policy. It is a scheme where the DWP gives a grant to an employee for changes or support they need to carry out their job. This is on top of any reasonable adjustments an employer should make under the Equality Act 2010.

AtW was introduced in 1994 with no limit on the funding available. But in 2015, the Conservative government capped the amount of money claimants could get at £42,100. It was going to increase this amount in April 2018 to £43,100. But on 22 March, the government said it would up it to £57,000. It is the cap itself which was central to the court case.

The legal case.

The claimant, David Buxton, argued that the cap breached the government’s obligations under the Equality Act. This is because it doesn’t provide enough support to cover his needs. As the Disability News Service (DNS) reported, Buxton, the chief executive of the charity Action on Disability, brought the case against the DWP because it would only give him British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters three days a week for his full-time job.

Buxton and his legal team from Deighton Pierce Glynn argued that the cap discriminates against him. This is because it leaves him with no communication support for two days a week.

Work and pensions secretary Esther McVey claims that the cap was put in place in order to encourage better use of public funds and to enable Access to Work to support more people – particularly traditionally under-represented groups…

She also said that the cap would free up £2m a year, to “support growing numbers” of people claiming AtW. Effectively, the government’s argument is to take money away from people at the top of the AtW spend and give it to those at the bottom.

A judgement.

The judge in the case sided with the DWP. Mr Justice Kerr said that the cap was not discriminatory nor a breach of the Equality Act 2010. This is because he believed the DWP’s arguments that the cap was intended to:

bring more disabled people into the workplace, improve compliance by employers with their duties to provide adjustments and distribute the Scheme’s funds in a manner that is judged fair as between different categories of recipients.

But Kerr, somewhat paradoxically, noted that the cap meant:

The sacrifice demanded of high-cost award holders, mostly deaf persons such as Mr Buxton, is pitched at a level that still leaves them enough money to pay for most or all of a BSL interpreters services for 230 days each year at NUBSLI rates. So he effectively admitted that the AtW cap would leave people without some of the support they needed.

Who pays for the Deaf?

MESSAGE: Staff at Deaf Direct, in Lowesmoor, Worcester. (From the left) Paul Scott, Paul Challinor and Hannah Cooper
Public areas are obliged by law to provide this sort of access, but usually, demand creates the access, not a rights message.  Private areas tend to provide access when they can see it is being used.  

It demands significant costs to install, and if afterwards, they see only 1 person using it, it stands a chance of being withdrawn for good, this is the reality with much 'accessible' cinema the deaf are just not attending to watch in any viable number as regards to loops the same applies, there seem to be issues, of Hearing Aid users unsure about aid settings, and older HA's switch you out from everything else except that which is on the loop.  In a social situation this means limiting participation and ability to follow.

The real question is why are they using sign to highlight non-signers? Laudable but the image is obscuring the sector it is aimed at.

While it's absolutely right that, as a society, we should be trying to make life as manageable as possible for people with any kind of disability, the cold hard fact is that it takes money to provide the equipment needed. 

In Worcester, the vast majority of businesses and venues don't have hearing loops and that makes it difficult for people with hearing problems, so Deaf Direct is calling for action. This is a worthy cause and would undoubtedly make life easier for lots of people – but who is going to pay for the required hearing loops? 

For many businesses, the cost of installing a hearing loop – which can total hundreds or thousands of pounds depending on the system – would be a significant bill. Deaf Direct suggests that Worcester City Council could help cover the cost but, after years of government funding cuts, our local authorities barely have enough for core services. 

This problem, of a lack of money for public services which are essential to many people, is widespread as we still feel the impact of the recession.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Deaf falling further behind in Education...

What is the real issue via cuts?  Is it lack of funded signed support? insufficiently trained staff available? an over-emphasis on signed language with its poor compatibility with the curriculum? WHERE are the cuts being made? now deaf demands for stand-alone BSL classes as part of the curriculum too.  

Even setting that up would set the system back 15 years as there are no qualified BSL-English teachers available to make it work.  The deaf child must learn more effective hearing-deaf communication modes, acquire more English skills, and less stand-alone approaches that won't help them to move forward.  There is no work to be gained from the community. More funding yes but targeted where it does the most academic good.  This means deaf communication HAS to be a lot more compatible with the school curriculum, it's ludicrous to suggest they should have their own!

A lot of the issue is deaf students jumping ques via rights laws etc, to go to Further Education colleges, and universities and those establishments having to spend the first 2 years bringing their literacy into line so they can follow their chosen courses. (Which also suggest current deaf child education modes, are a complete waste of time and contributing to poor results later).  Quit priming deaf children for the deaf world and start priming them for the hearing world they have to live and work in.  It won't stop them going to a deaf club after school!

The article:

Deaf children are falling further behind their hearing classmates at A-level amid government funding cuts, an analysis has found.

Almost six in 10 (58.8 per cent) deaf pupils in England failed to achieve more than one A-level by the age of 19 last year, the highest proportion since 2012, the latest figures show. Students with no special educational needs (SEN) opened up the biggest attainment gap – 23.5 percentage points – over their deaf peers for six years, the analysis of government data has revealed.

‘Deaf students far less likely to attend prestigious UK universities’  Only 41.2 per cent of deaf pupils achieved two A-levels, or equivalent technical qualifications, by the age of 19 in 2017, compared with 64.7 per cent of their hearing classmates.

The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS), which carried out the analysis, has said the decline in attainment among deaf young people has been driven by “year on year cuts”. And the attainment gap is likely to get worse this year, the charity said. The warning comes after thousands of students picked up their A-level results and found out whether they attained their university places, and pupils will receive their GCSE grades on Thursday.

The attainment gap between deaf children and children with no SEN also widened at GCSE last year, with deaf children achieving more than a whole grade less at GCSE than their hearing peers. Martin McLean, an education policy analyst at the NCDS, told The Independent: “Deafness isn’t a learning disability and all of the research shows that deaf children can achieve just as well as their hearing classmates, they just need the right support in place to do it.

“To be falling behind so drastically at A-level, even with an extra year to complete their A-levels, shows the system is completely failing deaf young people. The government should be shamed by these statistics.” He added: “As councils up and down the country slash the education support they offer to deaf young people at an unprecedented rate, we are expecting the attainment gap, which is already unacceptably wide, to get worse.”

Earlier this year, the charity warned that millions of pounds of support for deaf children were being lost, with one in three councils making cuts, leaving services at breaking point. Campaigners have warned that deaf-specialist teachers are being cut back every year, which has reduced the amount of time they spend with young people doing their A-levels.

She said: “Clearly deaf children aren’t getting the support they need – and even more cuts being planned are going to make a difficult situation even more bleak for many families.” The NDCS is calling on education secretary Damian Hinds to take personal responsibility for sorting out the “crisis” in deaf young people’s education. Mr McLean said: “Teachers of the deaf are now supporting far too many deaf children, their capacity to support young people over 16 is getting less and less and so far we have seen absolutely no action from the secretary of state for education to step in and sort this crisis out.

“We know there are huge pressures on education funding, but to do nothing is to be complicit in failing a whole generation of deaf young people,” he added.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

The truth the whole truth and?

Image result for the truth and nothing butIn order to clarify claims by BSL groups regarding sign and deafness, here is a valid breakdown of the neutral statistical gathering of fact by the system in Wales, gathered by ATR and sourced with official agencies.

Hearing Aids:

50% of people who had some form of hearing in Wales, have never tried a hearing aid.

45% of people who did wear a hearing aid, still have trouble hearing.

Hearing Loss:

16% of welsh have hearing issues. (currently, the population is 3,060,000 approx).

More men have issues with hearing loss than women, but the difference is just 1%

Deaf with speech 1,539 (Another welsh statistic is 1,644 to include sight/other issues)

Deaf without speech 725. (Same source as above is 710)

Support defined need:

As listed on Local Authority need registers, it is 13,480 (To include any and all other disability/health/learning disability issues).


Deaf: People who even with a hearing aid have little or no useful hearing.  This is a definition based on hearing ability, and NOT choice of language.  It includes the 'cultural deaf', BSL users, not identified specifically as the same grouping, stats don't cover actual comms usage as regards to daily or sole reliance, and others with alterntaive modes of communications (Unstated).

How are stats gathered and by what systems:

Statistical registers of hearing loss come under section 29 of the National Assistance Act 1948, (but registration is entirely voluntary), actual take-up of support doesn't appear to have an actual statistic, so we don't know if all who registered are asking for it, or, even still alive in some cases. Localised computer systems don't check if the deaf are still alive, or even living in the same area.

Who do they ask:

National surveys statistical gathering now will focus on just 11,000 selected people across Wales (2017/18).

Where are the facts located:

The number of identified BSL terps in Wales 30. Statistics show  3,000 deaf. 1 terp for 100 deaf approx. 

Charitable stats.

AOHL Formerly (Or not!), the RNID, states 575,000 with hearing loss in Wales, mirroring the 16% stat, that does not mean they are all deaf. 

*There is confusion who is supplying actual stats, aka, if it is health/system areas, or (as the Welsh Assembly states on its site), the charities themselves who are supplying those stats to them.  Technically they should not be accepting statistics from charities with bias and no actual proof of research. The statistics appear a confused mish-mash of both systems.


Predominantly the BDA, as are the AOHL major charities, are unable to verify actual stats of BSL users because the data protection law forbids them asking individuals what they use, this would mean identifying them and checking it out.  The UK Census didn't ask that question in any detail.

Statistical gathering issues:

The Welsh health statistical systems do not separate BSL/Cultural usage from any other hearing loss statistic, (at least that is the claim! but their own site says differently, and there are cross issues between the official health stats and the inclusion/equality sections of the Assembly which are conflicting with each other). 

A cursory search of the official Welsh assembly sites ATR found deafness listed under 11 alternative health/disability headings, and the site itself was unable to be accurately used because of the inclusion of the D/d thing and the inability of the site search options to differentiate grammatically between the two, which suggests statistics may be wholly inaccurate or even currently impossible to validate in terms of getting any sort of 'BSL' accuracy.  

ATR's validated official links listed 3 major and official Welsh Assembly/Health sources.  Charity sources were too suspect and ATR wanted to present neutral sources.. It does appear official 'sources' don't discriminate enough to get any accuracy, leaving all the estimates, guesswork, statistics and accompanied bias to charities and activism.

The issue was also marred by 'preference'/choice/culture/language' being used, to blur actual and defined need. Need and choice are not the same things but the stats were unable to differentiate, because alternative support areas support both or either, depending on own areas of interest.

Daily usage reliance of BSL is still undefined, could be more could be a lot less..  Wales has no deaf schools, and few hearing support units, most are mainstreamed.

1,100 were listed as BSL using here via the Welsh census, 1 in 3 deaf signing.  ATR defies anyone to validate anything.

Friday, 17 August 2018

My communication, my choice?

Laudable but its horses for courses, intent on using a medium that needs 24/7 support to work outside own areas and conditions, suggests you need to learn alternatives as well, because most hearing won't sign to you, do not know it, so you are talking to yourself persisting that way, deaf need to understand too, meeting people halfway is essential or we leave, then we don't go back.   It's always others must conform to the signer, never the other way around or even trying.

Only when deaf accept they need to be truly bilingual and not distort the concept to mean all deaf sign instead, will they actually move away from the isolation and the non-access situation they are in, and yes those brought up in hearing/oral areas can usually communicate better because mostly they can cross that divide.  A situation that surely suggests the 'Deaf way' is the wrong way to equality, and mainstream is the way they should all be going.

I think the concept of 'born-again' 'Deaf' is a danger to harmony, and these people are the most prominent activists, messing up inclusion, and promising deaf what they can never deliver.  It's about control not liberating people. We soon found the old setups and 'signing community' are just enclaves where some deaf can actively avoid real interactions with us and near everyone else used to wider choices and option. 

I spend just 1 day a month within the deaf community because I don't need the restrictions it presents, it's an artificial environment. There are no other deaf around, and because a hearing background has literally forced me to find alternatives to the 'Deaf' way, I don't need it. It is the vulnerability and lack of social contacts that drive people towards these things, but we should be widening those options, not driving deaf to more isolatory ways of dealing with it, a prison doesn't change because you put up curtains to cover the cell barred windows.

Living in a Deaf bubble is avoiding the realities of the situation. I have deaf friends and hearing ones no big deal. I speak.  I never sought out 'like with like' options because late deafened don't have many peers or any systems to do that. I did find some deaf areas inflexible, mostly the predominant signing ones, but  HoH areas also presented some issues because they had the hearing advantage, even over us who were once hearing ourselves, their issue too is refusing to accept realities. They don't do anything until it is too late, these never integrate with deaf systems, and the systems don't cater for them anyway.  

I assume Deaf issues occur because being born that way, and having poor support and education systems they were left with no other options.  I didn't understand why deaf didn't then go on to further education and learn more communication options to help where all deaf together failed them by suggesting they don't need anything else.  They reached adulthood came to a full stop or left on a plateau where nothing ever changes much, because whatever systems and support they had before now no longer exist, they had to find own way, and were not equipped for it, deaf education was a complete misnomer in terms and a waste of time.  They were primed to lose and couldn't compete.

It is an issue, some deaf areas decided, that lauding inflexibility as a right has driven them further away from integration and inclusion, but I find this sad attitude exists primarily online and not much at grass root level where most including the born deaf, have moved onwards. Any 'Deaf' areas that demanded I must sign or would ignore me, I would leave, I'd never go back to it.  Who needs it.

I sign, I speak, I spend social time where I want, maybe these 'Deaf' activists need to undergo what we do, i.e. finding no-one to support you and no-one to include you, having to ignore the biased classwork, no dedicated social area, thus forcing the entire onus on yourself to find the way, most would then find the alternatives they need, or go under, its a great impetus although I wouldn't recommend it as the only way!   

I don't have issues with the sign, I have issues in some signer's inflexibility which is unnecessary and negative to others. We all know what follows pride.......

They asked young people deaf in the UK see what they said, and, hardly any signed either. 

Thursday, 16 August 2018

UK, guilty of disabled genocide [118,000] dead.

DWP confesses to contributing to premature deaths of disabled but vow to kill more.  

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has been forced to release updated Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) mortality statistics, in response to a Freedom of Information request from disability campaigner Gail Ward. 

The shocking statistics reveal that 111,450 ESA claims were closed following the death of claimants between March 2014 to February 2017. However, the DWP stress that “no causal effect between the benefit and the number of people who died should be assumed from these figures”. This is because the Department “does not hold information on the reason for death”, meaning they cannot be directly linked to any benefit problems faced by those claimants or whether some of these people had died after wrongly being found “fit for work”. 

The DWP has since been urged to update these statistics to include individuals who flowed off ESA after being found “fit for work” and who died soon after this time. The data also shows that more than 8,000 Incapacity Benefit and Severe Disability Allowance claimants died over the same period. 

Gail Ward told Welfare Weekly: “The fact the DWP know that disabled people are dying in such large numbers and refuse to adjust policy to reduce the stress on claimants and make sure the right outcome is 100% all the time, and with Universal Credit coming with such strict criteria, doesn’t bode well for the future for the disabled community”.

See and Hear (UK 2018).

The Village...

Brandy Watene-Paul in a still from The Village by Little Feat Films.
Members of the Auckland Deaf community have collaborated with local filmmakers to tell a story about Deaf culture in the Whau. A story of language alienation and friendship, The Village, follows Brandy, a young woman arriving at a Deaf school and experiencing the culture shock of full immersion into a sign language environment. 

 The film is a fictionalised account based on the experiences of the many hearing impaired youth who grow up in verbal environments, who only later discover sign language. It reflects the challenges and daily experiences of being Deaf and speaks to the participants’ desire that more people become fluent in New Zealand Sign Language. 

Brandy Watene-Paul, who plays the lead character of the same name, says she felt nervous at the start of filming and was worried about a breakdown in communication. But over time she felt herself become more confident. “I feel good about it and proud to share it, to show that we are equal and not separated from the world," she says.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Why is there a shortage of Sign interpreters?

Maybe the answer is much more simple, deaf aren't signing so much anymore?  The only thing that promotes more professionals is more DEMAND  for their services, 63% of all deaf still do not use interpreters, some never have, because they rely on hearing family or relations to do it.  Attempts to tell the deaf if they want more help they need to create a demand for it hasn't got far, most are lazy frankly, they just find it easier to let the hearing family take the strain of it all.

E.G. A young man in South Wales complained about lack of interpreter support to health and education he was 18 yrs old, when asked how often he needed one, he said 'I've never had to ask for one before, because my Dad/Mam helped me with calls appointments and all that, now they can't and I'm unable to follow. I don't know how to use an interpreter..'  The irony, is the main article pertaining to this issue was written by the BDA (UK), who opposed restrictions on family support to increase demand, thus, creating the issue themselves.  

We have to question 95,000 alleged BSL users and less than 15% using a terp anyway, to ask how, or what ARE they 'listening' with? With only 1 BSL terp alleged for up to 300 UK deaf, this suggests demand for BSL is pretty low anyway, directly challenging 95% of all BSL campaign statistics.  It certainly does not back up online BSL campaigns for more sign or more interpreter support.  With health/education areas relying on and encouraging deaf to use family to avoid support costs and the BDA doing nil about it because unprofessional family help is a right, what's the point or the answer?

Basically, family doing a  professional job without professional qualifications either, let the deaf down, leave them dependent and vulnerable, at risk, so do their charities, and as regards to individual rights, independence and own decision-making, forget it, you abandoned that when Dad/Mum/children/friends took over, they make the decisions now...... when they can't do it, what then? social workers? (the area deaf disposed of 18 years ago because they oppressed the deaf, and no dedicated deaf SW now exist).

The BDA answer? that old chestnut 'all deaf together' again DOH!  They just admitted Deaf don't want that, the clubs have near all closed.  We'd like to think the Deaf have moved out of that straightjacket but...

The Article:

Robert G. Lee is a Senior Lecturer in BSL & Deaf Studies at the University of Central Lancashire. He has noticed the dearth of interpreters:

“There are not enough interpreters and sign language teachers to meet the needs of the community, especially in rural areas there might be very few interpreters or teachers. London, Manchester and other big cities have a higher percentage of Deaf people partly because there are more services but there still aren’t enough interpreters in the right place and the right time. In a rural area there might be a more limited range of interpreters not all qualified to interpret the range of things Deaf people might need, so you might have interpreters good with community work but not legal work so if you needed a solicitor it would be difficult to find the right interpreter.”

Of course, this is true for everyone, cities have always had better public services and more jobs, hence only 6% of British people live in the countryside.

Robert doesn’t think interpreters are badly paid:

“Before I can teach someone to interpret they have to be bilingual and so we need to have a greater number of qualified BSL teachers out there teaching the language. I think interpreting is a fairly well paid job for the level of education required, but not hugely rich.”

Robert pointed out that the decline of Deaf clubs has made it harder for interpreters to learn the full range of BSL. This is because Deaf clubs tend to be attended by Deaf people from all age groups, but since the internet revolutionised social gatherings, Deaf people only tend to hang out with people their own age, limiting the vocabulary that potential interpreters can learn.

A spokesman for SignHealth confirmed that it was very difficult to book interpreters which suggests that there is a shortage.

According to the national union of British Sign Language interpreters (NUBSLI), wages for interpreters have been forced down by government policy. Their committee said:

“We do not believe that the perceived shortage would be the only factor in Deaf people not having access to interpreters, in fact it would be the national framework agreements the current government enforce on public services such as the NHS. These frameworks have forced interpreters’ fees, terms and conditions down to such an extreme that many professionals are unable to accept the work, not that they are not available or prepared to work.”

Logically, the ideal solution would be if the Deaf community all lived together in a few areas. That way they could maximise their political and economic bargaining power. Under first past the post, politicians have little incentive to pay attention to minorities unless they are concentrated in a few constituencies. Maybe that’s utopian and they shouldn’t have to, but those are the cards we are playing with.