Possibly easy to say when you aren't !
Saturday, 21 July 2018
And the fight back.... Is the 'worm' turning against the cultural activists? Increasingly, more of us are expressing concerned that the pursuit of culture is damaging the needs, support, and well-being, of other deaf people, by constantly re-creating a 'them and us' situation....
On the deafness scale of mild, moderate, severe or profound, I am profoundly deaf. With the help of cochlear implants, I am able to “hear” and speak. The devices are complicated to explain, but basically, external sound processors, worn behind the ears, send a digital signal to the implants, which convert the signal to electric impulses that stimulate the hearing nerve and provide sound signals to the brain.
The implants allow me to attend my middle school classes with few accommodations, but I’m still quite different from people who hear naturally. When my implant processors are turned off, I don’t hear anything. I regard myself as a deaf person, and I am proud to be among those who live with deafness, yet I often feel rejected by some of these same people.
My use of cochlear implants and lack of reliance on American Sign Language (I use it but am not fluent — I primarily speak) are treated like a betrayal by many in the Deaf — capital-D — community. In the view of many who embrace Deaf culture, a movement that began in the 1970s, those who are integrated into the hearing world through technology, such as hearing aids or cochlear implants, myself included, are regarded as “not Deaf enough” to be a part of the community. People deaf from birth or through illness or injury already face discrimination.
I wish we didn’t practice exclusion among ourselves. But it happens, and it’s destructive.
Those in the Deaf community tend to think of deafness as a defining factor of who they are and how they live. Many have never heard anything and have never communicated by speaking. That is a different experience from mine, but, in the end, none of us can hear without assistance. I think much of the tension between the Deaf and the deaf stems from this inability to completely experience each other’s lives. Many Deaf people, and hearing people, think of cochlear implants as a “solution” to deafness. It isn’t.
The technology simply helps me live with my deafness in a certain way. My parents decided to get cochlear implants for me when I was a year old because they felt that I would have an easier life with them. Whether this is true or not I’ll never know. But in making the decision, my parents debated many pros and cons of cochlear implants. It is a debate that tens of thousands of parents have had since the implants became a practical option in the 1980s. My parents felt that the implants would give me more opportunities, but they worried that my having them would close off my access to a Deaf identity.
They worried I would be rebuffed by Deaf people who did not understand what it’s like to live with cochlear implants.
Friday, 20 July 2018
A term a day keeps the reality at Bay! More of us need to speak out at the constant flow of misrepresentations of deaf people, and their needs, who make claims that don't bear scrutiny and just create more disharmony. Stop the 'Deaf' terminology now.
Thursday, 19 July 2018
Excitement is mounting for The Walking Dead season nine after a first look teaser image was released.
It seemed to confirm a time jump was coming, therefore following a similar path as The Walking Dead comics. And now there is more evidence to back up the fast-forward, after the casting of a new role.
According to Entertainment Weekly, producers have cast the role of Connie, though with a major difference to the comics. Playing Connie is deaf actress Lauren Ridloff, who has been nominated for a Tony Award for Children of a Lesser God.
Some other facts. At present, your supplier will be adding around £6 per year to cover the roll out across the UK, whether you have one or not. But each meter will cost the public around £200 each on average if they get one. The only savings would be switching near everything off. This is in the wake of yet more energy price rises because the UK has had a few months of sunshine they said.
Things they neglected to mention....Vulnerable households face paying £57 more per year typically for their energy from April, warns MoneySavingExpert.com. This represents a rise of 5.6 per cent. Current inflation is only 2.4% so, we pay over twice that.
British Gas and EDF both announced price hikes in early April 2018. The increases will come into effect at the end of May, to ensure when winter comes they can make more money. Get smart, get your MP to lobby against the price hikes....HERE, they suggest the meters can be hacked easily too, although currently, they insist this wi-fi equipment cannot.. erm... right!
Wednesday, 18 July 2018
A damning indictment of charities who, as a social media poster points out, is capitalising (Literally) on a captive disability/Health issue client basis for profit.
The state says it also spends £50 BILLION a year, and other areas like charities another £8B a year. No wonder they are falling over themselves to make us reliant on them... They even pay private enterprise to raise the funds for them, so have little or no contact WITH their client base.
"I won't support charities any more, there are 4 reasons.
(1) Is the switch to corporate business trading,
(2) The almost total removal of grassroots input or inclusions,
(3) Their failure of charities to campaign for our rights to support and care, and,
(4) The main national charities signing a letter promising they won't criticise the DWP or its Ministers despite them causing 1,000s of deaths of the most vulnerable and disabled they 'serve', unforgivable.
They do it because they believe deaf and disabled are a captive clientele' so have nowhere else to go."
(Below is a recent study on how profitable the exploitation of disabled vulnerable is becoming.)
Charity pay study 2017: Top 10 highest-paying charities.
1. Wellcome Trust (income £390m)
The medical research funder paid a member of its internal investment team more than £3m after its portfolio returned £3.5bn last year. The trust declined to name its highest earner. Danny Truell, its chief investment officer, oversees its portfolio.
2. Nuffield Health (income £768m)
The hospital and fitness centre provider awarded its former chief executive, David Mobbs, more than £1.2m in his final year at the charity. Mobbs left at the end of 2015 after 13 years in the role.
3. Royal Opera House (income £142m)
The arts charity paid its music director, Sir Antonio Pappano, £737,424, according to its latest published accounts. This included a basic salary and separate fees for conducting.
4. London Clinic (income £142m)
The charitable medical hospital paid its highest earner between £540,000 and £550,000. The clinic did not respond to requests to name the person. Its current chief executive is Paul Holdom.
5. Consumers' Association (income £103m)
Group chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith was paid £490,000. This included a basic salary of £235,000, a long-term incentive payment of £125,000 and additional allowances and benefits.
6. Anchor Trust (income £367m)
The care provider paid its chief executive, Jane Ashcroft, between £480,000 and £490,000 in 2016. This included a base salary of £306,488 and a bonus of just over a quarter of her base salary.
7. Church Commissioners for England (income £148m)
The investment arm of the Church of England paid its director of investments, Tom Joy, between £460,000 and £470,000. This included a long-term incentive payment of £208,000, based on the long-term performance of its fund.
8. St Andrew's Healthcare (income £199m)
The mental health services provider paid its chief executive, Gil Baldwin, between £430,000 and £440,000, excluding pension contributions. He was paid a total of £489,000 including all benefits.
9. City and Guilds (income £141m)
Chief executive Chris Jones was paid almost £432,000, according to its latest published accounts. This included a basic salary of £256,000 and a cash bonus of more than £140,000.
10. Marie Stopes International (income £266m)
The contraception and abortion service paid its chief executive, Simon Cooke, between £420,000 and £430,000. This included a base salary of about £169,000 and a bonus of about £252,000.
The British Red Cross paid its highest earner £173,000.
#Fourteen of the top 100 charities paid their highest earners more than £300,000, compared with 12 in 2015.
Thirty-seven charities paid more than £200,000, compared with 32 in the 2015 study.
The highest-paid employee at the London Clinic earned between £540,000 and £550,000.
It should be noted that some charities include pension contributions, redundancy costs and other benefits in their remuneration, but others do not.
General charities occupied the highest number of places (40) in the top 100, but they paid the least. On mean average, the highest earners working for general charities received £186,000 and a median of £165,000. The seven charitable foundations included in the top 100 were the most generous on average, paying a mean salary of £618,000.
Britains premier HoH/charity (AOHL), income £40m a year, their wages site did not reveal what their CEO was paid.
British Deaf Society - Unlisted CEO wages.
NDCS CEO wage is unlisted
Seems to be a pattern here!
Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Scotland’s BSL Plan.
Developing D/deaf Cultural Engagement - PART 2 This is one of the most important events you’ll be attending this year. This Culture Republic event, in association with deafscotland, and designed and produced in collaboration with Glasgow Film Theatre, will introduce the British Sign Language (BSL) National Plan 2017-2023 to the arts and cultural sector.
This plan sets out Scotland’s ambition to be the best place in the world for BSL users to live, work and visit. It includes 70 actions that Scotland as a nation needs to take by 2020 to help us make progress towards this goal, seven of which are specifically aimed at the arts and cultural sector. Culture and the arts – our long-term goal: BSL users will have full access to the cultural life of Scotland, and an equal opportunity to enjoy and contribute to culture and the arts, and are encouraged to share BSL and Deaf culture with the people of Scotland. – The BSL National Plan What does this mean for the Scottish arts and cultural sector?
We will explore what actions we should be taking and shine a light on cultural activity in Scotland that is already addressing D/deaf inclusion. We will hear from those who embed collaboration and the right to access within their programming, delivery and venues. This event follows on from last year’s sold out Developing D/deaf Cultural Engagement event. We have invited Derek Todd from deafscotland as our Keynote Speaker. Derek is a BSL Consultant, the Deaf Sector Partnership Coordinator and works strategically on the BSL National Plan. We will also hear from partners working across the Scottish creative sector.
They will share best practice of accessible D/deaf engagement in case studies where inclusion is at the heart of the creative process in ways that are both exciting and sustainable. Learn from some of Scotland’s most determined and proficient practitioners in this area, take time to understand the D/deaf experience of the creative arts, and find out how you can enhance your work to make it D/deaf friendly. Join the conversation on Twitter @Culture_Public with #CROneAudience. It will be held at Theatre Royal Glasgow on Thursday 2 August 2018 at 9.45am – 1.00pm.
“I realised how isolated he was at work, so I started learning sign language to be able to talk to him properly,” she says. It made her understand the daily frustrations facing people who cannot hear and she wanted to do something about it. An MA focused on accessible product design at Ulster university gave her the idea for TapSOS, an app that sends users’ location and medical history to the fire, police, ambulance services and coastguard at the tap of a few buttons.
“I came up with this idea with the deaf community in mind, but actually it is potentially life-saving for lots of other people who cannot speak to 999 operators,” says Hume. “Anyone with breathing difficulties, allergies, in situations of domestic abuse or being held against their will can now call for help without having to talk.”
The app is due to be approved for integration into BT’s emergency service network this month and by September all 999 UK operators will be able to receive emergency alerts from TapSOS, with users able to download and use the app from September. The simplicity, likely reach and potential to save lives made it the digital health winner at this year’s Tech4Good awards announced on Tuesday.
How sad some deaf are so reliant on each other, they will put up with abuse from partners and peers... Maybe 'community' isn't what it is cracked up to be?
A district judge told a man who was completely deaf that he would not be treating him any differently to a hearing person after he attacked his partner who suffered from a similar disability. Robert Norman, who is also non-verbal, argued with the victim at their home in Glastonbury and then lost his temper, punching her repeatedly on the back and thigh. But although his solicitor Neil Priest said that the victim wanted him back home as they were “each other’s support system”, District Judge David Taylor said the defendant would not be treated in any different way by the court system just because he had communication difficulties.
He said the victim had felt frightened in her own home and was repeatedly assaulted by the defendant who also had a previous conviction for an offence committed in a domestic context. Norman, 36, of Dunstan Road, Glastonbury, pleaded guilty to assaulting his partner by beating her during the incident on May 24.
Prosecutor Christine Hart said that the couple had been in a relationship together for three years, and on the day in question police received a call from Social Services who were concerned about the safety of the victim.
“Officers attended the couple’s address and although communication was difficult it was disclosed that the defendant had assaulted his partner,” she said. “The complainant’s mother later confirmed to the officers that Norman had assaulted her daughter and sent them an email of a red mark on her thigh, although no injuries were initially seen by the police.
“The complainant had been taken to her mother’s house for safety and when she later made a statement she said there had been an argument between the pair of them and Norman lost his temper and punched her to the back two or three times between her shoulder blades and then punched her right thigh.”
Monday, 16 July 2018
Scientists in Germany have succeeded in restoring hearing sensations in gerbils using flashes of light. The technique, if it can be developed for humans, could offer a more refined, high-resolution auditory experience than what can be achieved with current hearing devices such as the cochlear implant.
The scientists, led by Tobias Moser, a professor of auditory neuroscience at University Medical Center Göttingen, achieved the effect using optogenetics. The technique involves genetically altering specific neurons so that they respond to light, and has become one of biotech’s hottest tools.
Moser and his colleagues are attempting to solve a problem that has stumped engineers for decades. The cochlear implant, invented half a century ago, does a decent job of sensing and converting speech in an otherwise quiet space. But move that conversation into a crowded room, and the wearer hears a jumbled mess.
“The chief complaint of people who depend on cochlear implants is that it’s hard to understand speech in noise,” says Moser. That’s because cochlear implants stimulate the ear too broadly. The device works by converting sound to electrical impulses that are delivered to the inner ear with electrodes. These impulses stimulate the auditory nerves that send messages to the brain, creating the experience of sound.
The problem is that the signals generated tend to spread widely around each electrode contact in the ear. The signals then interfere with each other, limiting the number of electrodes that can be used at a given time. As a result, the signals lump together many sound frequencies, making it difficult to discern between similar sounds due to poor frequency resolution. (You can experience a simulation of the sound from a cochlear implant by downloading software.)
YORK could become the first city in the country to use a digital avatar to help deaf visitors explore tourist attractions. An academic at the University of York has been working on a project to create a virtual signer, which can translate text into a number of international sign languages. The text is then signed by an avatar named John.
A number of the city’s tourist attractions, such as the Jorvik Centre, have already shown an interest in using the software to help improve visitor experience for deaf people. Professor Tony Ward, who has been spearheading the project at the university’s department of electronic engineering, said: “I would love it if York was at the forefront of cities that say ‘we welcome deaf people.’ It’s a serious challenge.
“If you are a deaf person visiting York for the first time you want to experience the fantastic attractions we have to offer.” Prof Ward has been working with teams across Europe to develop the software, which will sign British Sign Language as well as Portuguese, Libra, German, Cypriot, Greek and Slovenian sign languages.
The ultimate aim of the project is to install touch-screens across the city in transport hubs, tourist spots and even hotels. Prof Ward added that the software still needs work, especially with facial expressions: “It needs improvement, there’s ongoing research to make it better and better. It’s rewarding to get to this stage.
“I would like to see it everywhere. There is no cost of hiring a sign interpreter, no video recording costs – it is all there in the software, and you can engage in a live conversation with a non-signing person.” He added that the avatar has been named John because it is the only name that translates into all the languages.
Rebecca Francis, commercial manager at York’s marketing body Make it York, said there are plans to introduce the software at the city’s visitor centre where the avatar will sign a welcome message.
Sunday, 15 July 2018
Commentator #1 (The way ahead?).
I often read about communication therapy and hearing 'counselling' the UK has none of this as I am aware, or if it is, it is not available or advertised at all in most areas. I do think once hearing loss is diagnosed then a course on managing that should be offered immediately and for free, far too many of us wait until it is too late to plan what will happen when ears fail to cut it any more. Whilst hearing aids, BAHA's, and CI's are a boon to use, none provide the hearing we had before, but still, we don't plan ahead for that. Facts suggest hearing degrades as we get older, not improves.
Few of us would be isolated and neglected as we get older if we had. It is why we should challenge lip-reading classes and sign classes as such, one relies on still having useful hearing and how to make the most of that, but, no plan when the aid fails, and the other opposes speech use because 'Deaf don't like it or rely on it', but, WE can be deaf too and speech is essential a way we desire to follow. The politics of deafness need to stop. Without effect speech recognition and use, lip-reading is pointless an exercise. I don't believe lip-reading works for most of us, and age can prevent us mastering any useful skill in most, the tuition system doesn't recognise the person, the after effect, or has an endgame either.
Some take the sign route and try to find a deaf club or something, most cannot do that either, if they get in, they can't relate to those already there. As most all want to HEAR, I suspect the only real route we want to take is to find that cure. But hoping isn't fostering research, only support will do that.
Commentator #2 (Speech).
Speech can be affected, after I lost most my hearing I was unaware of it until my parents pointed out my speech use had declined dramatically too, I took the hint and forced myself to speak everywhere and anywhere, I still talk too much lol, but I am told now I'm deaf apart from talking when someone else was because I wasn't aware they had started, my speech was as if I was still hearing. We tend to concentrate on the ears and not the speech we use, a need to respond as well as hear is essential, even if the speech sounds strange. The 'nod' won't cut it. Use speech or lose it.
My partner is deaf she has no rise or fall with her speech, it is monotone because she was deaf from birth, for some reason she adds 't's' at the end of her sentences if she attempts to speak... as it tends to be loud and she is aware if it, she stops talking. Deafness WILL cause speech loss unless you are mindful it will happen, that applies equally to adults or indeed deaf children. The issues seem to be with sign language usage, which deaf say does not need speech to function, a lot are buying into this for cultural reasons, unaware they are neglecting a vital aspect of communication that will lessen the dependency on others, and challenge the innate skills we have to lip-read, which we all do, deaf, HoH or hearing.. Simply because its easier to not attempt it. People inherently will always take the easy route to avoid stress.
We should be encouraging all forms of comms we are capable of in my view. To cease using a vital one for 'political-cultural' reasons seems bizarre to me. Not an assault on sign use, more a determination to use any and all means to follow, why wouldn't you? My speech usage has meant I have no need to use sign myself, I am fairly fluent as my partner relies on it, but manage OK without it too. Too much reliance fosters apathy and a false sense of inclusion. To not be able to freely move around and communicate without help is a great driver to cut through all the crap.