Saturday, 4 August 2018

Making Courts accessible.

The UK has huge issues too despite supposedly being more accessible and enlightened. Family courts e.g. can ignore access altogether, it is up to the deaf attending to demand it first if they don't they can turn up unable to follow and the decision, either way, will stand regardless.

Other issues transpire in that initially, courts banned the deaf from using interpreters they are familiar with, on the principle of bias.  This causes problems in that Interpreters who sign haven't a universal norm and not established the necessary rapport needed to ensure understanding is happening of the procedure.  'Some' courts have relaxed this, but the majority still haven't.  There are cases where a BSL terp has been engaged by the courts and the deaf clients unable to follow them properly.

A lot is down to old-fashioned deaf norms, where in fact deaf rarely if ever turned up in a  court and left their representation to social services or family instead, now, deaf expect and demand,  to be there in person.

Many deaf have issues with BSL interpreters because they use them with GP's, social workers etc and found that the very people facilitating them cannot be called upon to verify any meeting or communication effectiveness, they took part in as part of the job.  It is all legally regarded as hearsay, so litigation e.g. WITH a system an interpreter facilitated, you cannot ask the terp to prove, even if they saw/heard it, and interpreters are refusing themselves to attend courts to back clients, as they say, this would rely on memory recall.

Theoretically, if you feel an issue is there between you and the system and you use a terp to help, you would need to record it as well or there is no other proof whatever of what took place.  

There have been many issues where a terp has assisted and mail/clarification sent after proceedings that included issues that were not discussed and/or not agreed either, but there was no come-back because the system assumes you understood the support you asked for or added something else as an afterthought.

You have to agree at the time you understood everything when the amount of detail the deaf can take in is very limited.  Obviously, in stressful health and other situations deaf cease to be able to understand most.  

Ideally, deaf should make it clear at every meeting where a terp is in attendance they require a few weeks to take in what was discussed, and, an avenue to go back and revisit issues they think they missed and nothing is agreed until after that time period.

It causes delays we know, but the ignoring of the fact you HAVEN'T followed everything can have long-term implications.  Insisting on more protection for deaf people can mean systems want a better guarantee deaf are able to follow, it could suggest testing the deaf to assess capability to follow... and demanding a 'rep' that can if they fail.  

Can sign stand the acid test?  If deaf include learning difficulties and language issues, then this raises issues of representation too. Confusion would reign they cannot follow things even with their preferred means to follow, they have to prove they can follow with their preference of sign and ability to use a terp..  A terp that legally CANNOT assist you.

Friday, 3 August 2018

Challenging the 'Deaf' Sterotype.

Not just sign fluent, but highly educated and literate too... so why paint them into a signing corner?

How researchers can better serve the Deaf community

The answer lies in deaf people being literate surely?  It is unrealistic to expect to see all health information accessible in ASL, the resources aren't there.  

It would also help if 'ASL Researchers' stopped using the 'Deaf' label as a blanket term, to the wider public as this suggests deaf who DO NOT SIGN need ASL too, (Already a major issue in the UK where they are challenging BSL campaigns to health areas as actively denying others access).  Deaf.Read knows, mainstream doesn't.  

Will ASL readers here be able to read of the research?  They could be talking over their heads.    Contrary to popular deaf communal view, mainstream hearing still don't know one deaf person from another, or one person's communication needs from another.  'All deaf sign' doesn't help, and it is misleading too.  These are the people online refusing captioned access to own output.

The article suggests clearly these ASL deaf are not bilingual as they claim to be, or English would not be an issue, or reading....  If they tried the same thing in the UK it would not work, non-signing deaf oral deaf and others who use alternatives to sign would complain about their needs are being ignored.  The continued singular plugs for sign-only based systems ignore most deaf people's basic access requirements.  Its widespread abuse of hearing loss statistics, and blurring of definitions is a scandal.

What they need is not cultural interference in medical issues they aren't qualified to consult with, but to up their game in widening their literacy, not trying to create alternatives, where the mass support they will need to use it, doesn't exist..

The Article:

This researchers' 40-minute training video aims to help health researchers conduct informed consent with Deaf research participants.

New research aims to tackle a significant problem: low levels of health literacy within the Deaf community. The collaboration includes Tim Riker, a lecturer of American Sign Language at Brown University’s Center for Language Studies, clinicians and researchers, and group of Deaf community advisors who advise on how best to meet the needs of their peers. “The objective is to understand the social, political, and historical experience of Deaf people and to transform health research in order to improve population health,” Riker says. 

Members of the Deaf community, comprising about 500,000 individuals who communicate using American Sign Language, have historically experienced mistreatment in the research world, according to Riker and his colleagues. “In the past, non-deaf people would lead research without the Deaf community being involved.” 

The team conducted focus groups and community forums with Deaf people to collect information on how hearing researchers can do a better job of including Deaf people in biomedical research, says Melissa L. Anderson, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, who led the collaboration. From there, they developed and tested a new research methodology, which they outline in a recent commentary in the journal Qualitative Health Research. Cracking the code on effective qualitative research within the Deaf community could help address a range of health issues, Riker and Anderson say. 

“What’s innovative about the research team’s method is we used technology to collect and analyze visual qualitative data directly in sign language,” Riker says. Traditionally those data have been translated into spoken English and transcribed into written English for analysis by hearing, non-signers. “Mental illnesses, addiction, and trauma within the Deaf community are higher than among the general population,” Riker says.

“Rates of obesity, diabetes, suicide, domestic violence, and sexual or intimate partner violence are also higher, along with other types of health disparities.” Causes of health disparities While reduced health literacy and its negative health outcomes arise in part from reduced incidental learning—for example, through overhearing and understanding conversations or spoken health information disseminated by radio or televised public service announcements—Deaf sign language users also often miss the chance to engage with health providers and health researchers, Riker says. 

“As a hearing researcher within the Deaf community, I have to be aware of my limitations.” Some methods of data collection, like telephone surveys, are inaccessible to some sign language users, and health researchers often do not include the interpreters and video technology necessary to interview Deaf subjects as they plan their research, Riker says. Written materials can also be problematic, according to Riker and his colleagues. Median English reading level among the Deaf population falls at approximately the fourth-grade level.

BSL educational claims were #Fake news

Image result for fake news
Recent online claims that the UK government was considering BSL curriculum has proven to be false despite deaf online claims and campaigns, and charities publishing false statistics of actual deaf children in education, whilst failing to identify those using/needing sign language.  Find Below the official UK government position on the BSL demands...

Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education).

There are no plans to introduce any new GCSEs in this Parliament, to allow schools a period of stability following the recent reforms. However, the Government is open to considering a proposal for a British Sign Language (BSL) GCSE for possible introduction in the longer term. We have indicated this to Signature, the awarding organisation proposing to develop a GCSE in BSL, and the National Deaf Children’s Society.

Any new GCSE would need to meet the rigorous expectations for subject content, which are set by the Department for Education. It would also need to meet the expectations for assessment and regulatory requirements, which are set by Ofqual, the independent qualifications regulator. The Department and Ofqual will consider carefully any proposals put forward in due course.

Mr Gibb also attended a debate in Westminster Hall on March 5th where he said

Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education).

As I said, we value BSL. However, a huge number of steps would have to be gone through for the BSL qualification to be accredited as a GCSE. Having been through it, I can say that it is not a simple process to get qualifications accredited. There are existing level 2 qualifications; GCSEs are level 2. There are existing BSL qualifications of high quality available that can be taught in schools. BSL is not a GCSE subject, but as I said, many subjects taught in schools are not GCSE subjects and none the less are valued by schools and by those who take the qualifications.

We recognise that some who wish to take a qualification in BSL will do so to communicate with a family member or friend. Indeed, many of those in most need are hearing parents of deaf children. We understand that early access to language is essential to help children to learn and thrive and it is vital that families have the support that they need to communicate with their children. The Department has provided funding for the development of a support guide to help parents of deaf children. Families or carers may also be eligible for support to learn sign language. The Department has provided funding for the I-Sign project to develop a family sign language programme, which is available online.

We believe that all young people should be helped to achieve their potential, regardless of their background or circumstances. More than 21,000 children with a hearing impairment are supported at school. 

We are proud that 93% of hearing-impaired children are supported to attend a mainstream school. Pupils who use sign language are generally provided with support at school through specialist teaching assistants and specialist teachers of the deaf. However, we do not prescribe how schools should support pupils with a hearing impairment.

We have made it clear in the special educational needs and disability code of practice that all schools must use their best endeavours to make suitable provision available for all children of school age with special educational needs or disabilities. The reasonable adjustments duty for schools and local authorities includes a duty to provide supporting aids and services for disabled pupils. That could include things such as radio aids or communication support workers. In addition, the local authority can support parents and children in developing the knowledge that they need to communicate effectively.

When the time comes for pupils to take examinations, schools and colleges are responsible for ensuring that reasonable adjustments are made for pupils to make exams more accessible. Common arrangements include extra time and the use of scribes and readers and of word processors. More deaf children than ever are leaving school with good GCSEs, and we want them to continue to aspire to reach their full potential. Statistics show that attainment in English and maths for that group has been improving in recent years. The proportion of children with a hearing impairment achieving a standard pass—at grade 4 or above—in English and maths GCSE has increased by 6 percentage points compared with passes at C or above in 2011. We are very proud of that improvement.

From Andrew Arthur of  'Deaf Tribe'

And yet still people keep asking for the same thing, over and over again.  It's not going to happen, people. Get real. There are 8 million schoolchildren in this country and nearly 25,000 schools. That's 25,000 BSL classes that will need to be organised. This will take years even given that the Government has promised to "consider" proposals.


It would also mean sending deaf children away again, to schools in a field somewhere, as regions don't have enough children to fill classes, and, there are no staff to make such classes viable, it would take many years to retrain such people.  Wales e.g. had just TWO deaf children who required a deaf school placing.   Mainstream is working not all that effective as yet but it is working.  As recently highlighted, singular sign approaches can disadvantage the child's future in a world that:

(A) Does not use sign, and 

(B) The user has nowhere near the interpreter support to help them, 

Specialisation further isolates, a deaf community won't provide a job you need or an education you cannot afford to be without.  Training the professionals up will take many years, recently, it is reported the pay isn't worth it due to massive cutbacks. 

It's horse before the cart stuff, and an 'emotive' attempt to defeat mainstreaming as well as defy parental choice.  Deaf child support is essential and urgent a need, but deaf politics isn't recognising the basic fact.  The worst aspect is demand hasn't been shown except online, and charities are not using accurate statistics or identifying the actual deaf child demanding BSL.  60% in some classes are reputed to be CI using.

It is sad deaf activism is encouraging children online to put a case that does not appear supported widely, and the government is talking to oblivion.  What next assistance dogs for BSL???

Thursday, 2 August 2018

TTY English calls...

Changes to Wrexham deaf support...

Wrexham County Borough Council, Adult Social Care Department: Change of service provider - Services for adults and children who are deaf or have a hearing impairment or who are deaf blind. 

Transcript: Hello. This video is to let you know about an important change that is being made to the Community Support Service for people who are Deaf (members of the Cultural Deaf Community who use British Sign Language BSL as their first language); deafened, hard of hearing and those who are D/deafblind. 

The Community Support Service provides practical support, information and advice to help people to manage their hearing loss and promote independent living. This service has been provided by the Centre of Sign-Sight-and Sound (COSS) since 2016. This contract is due to end on the 30th August 2018. 

When a contract is coming to an end, the Council, following European Union procurement Law, is required to re-tender the service. As a result of this process, a new provider, Deafness Support Network (DSN) has been awarded the contract, and will provide the service from 1st September 2018. 

The Community Support Service will continue to focus on: • Advice and Information • Equipment assessment • Registration services in line with new duties for local authorities under the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act (2014) The service will continue to be accessible and available with a choice of access points (e.g. home visit, drop in service or by appointment). COSS, DSN and the Council are working together to ensure a smooth transition between providers. 

If you want to meet with the new provider, DSN, this can be arranged – information will be sent out to people. COSS will continue to have an active presence in Wrexham and will still deliver services commissioned by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Welsh Government. We are confident that the new provider will continue to deliver a quality service to the people of Wrexham. DSN have been providing valued services for D/deaf and D/deafblind people for over 42 years, including experience of working with D/deaf community and D/deaf social club networks in Cheshire and Flintshire. 

If you have any questions or want to arrange a meeting you can phone 0333 220 5050 or email We will visit Wrexham Deaf Club on Thursday 2nd August 2018 at 10.30am – 12.30pm.

Mum fears for deaf daughter's education...

Isla, Sarah and Grace Hepburn
A mum is “desperately worried” her daughter could fall behind her classmates if lifeline school support services are withdrawn.

Eight-year-old Isla Hepburn, from Gosforth, Newcastle, was born profoundly deaf. Thanks to cochlear implants and specialist help, she’s now thriving but her parents are worried that all that could change for her and up to 300 other deaf children in Newcastle. They have recently learned Isla could be set to lose the £5,000 of educational funding which has helped her develop into the “clever, feisty, fiercely determined” youngster she is.

The cash, claimed by South Gosforth First School, helps fund a teaching assistant, who provides Isla with 15 hours a week of help, going over vocabulary and making sure she starts each lesson on the same footing as her hearing peers.

Mum Sarah Hepburn, 44, said: “She’s thrived with that help, she’s done brilliantly. “We didn’t know how long it would take her to access language equivalent to that of her peer group because she didn’t hear anything until she was two years and seven months old, but she’s pretty much there now.

“If she loses this help, we are desperately concerned about how she is going to fare - will she drop off her curve? “This doesn’t just affect Isla, there will be many, many families across the city in this situation. We can’t send deaf kids into education only to see them fail.

Deaf sports crisis deepens ..

Rebecca Adam has been announced as the new ICSD President ©YouTube
Crisis levels surrounding the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) have intensified today after 46 countries called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to intervene in what they describe as an "unacceptable coup" by the organisation's Board. It followed the appointment of Australia's Rebecca Adam as President for the next three years by the Board earlier this week in a decision made without consultation with the wider membership. 

A group of 46 countries from four regional Confederations have appealed to the IOC administration and Ethics Commission to intervene in "supporting the ICSD's own constitution" at a "critical juncture" for the community.The controversy escalated in May this year when ICSD President Valery Rukhledev was arrested and placed under house arrest for two months in his home country of Russia.

The 70-year-old, a six-time Deaflympics champion for the Soviet Union between 1969 and 1977 in Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling who had led the world governing body since 2013, was charged under the Russian Criminal Code and accused of embezzling over RUB50 million (£604,000/$803,800/€690,000) from the All-Russian Society of the Deaf in Moscow.

An ICSD statement following a Board meeting in Yerevan on Monday (July 30), chaired by acting President Kang Chen, said that Rukhledev took the "serious decision to retire with immediate effect" after "five years of faithful duty".

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

New Bond Film to be released..

Blind man has guide dog taken away after punching it in the face

A blind man has become one of the first in the UK to have his guide dog taken away from him after being caught punching it in the face. The Guide Dogs For The Blind Association took action against the unnamed man after complaints he shouted abuse and punched the black Labrador near a public park. 

The partially-sighted attacker and his partner were playing fetch with the guide dog and his other black Labrador at around noon on July 9. The Guide Dogs For The Blind Association took action against the unnamed man after complaints he shouted abuse and punched the black Labrador near a public park.

The man, from Blackburn, Lancashire, told one of the dogs to fetch the tennis ball, which was being thrown by his wife, and he told the other dog to stay – but instead, they both went to fetch the ball, witnesses said. One witness said the man, who was wearing sunglasses, started shouting abuse at the guide dog before hitting it in the face with his fist ‘at least 10 times’ before dragging the dog into the back of his car.

Sound Of Silence

Kids taunt and stab deaf man...

Teenage thugs stab deaf man with nine-inch blade after mocking him for using sign language 'Nicholas had been punched, but still tried to stem the bleeding by putting his hand on his friend's chest'.

Nicholas Roache was attacked on the way home from a pub.  The deaf man was knifed in the chest by a boy - possibly as young as 14 - after being mocked because of his disability. In what police have called a ‘shocking, unprovoked attack’, the victim was stabbed twice with a nine-inch kitchen blade. 

The man, in his 40s, lost two-and-a-half pints of blood. His friend, Nicholas Roche, 43, who is also deaf, was beaten up by one of the teenagers. Both men are care workers for deaf people with mental health issues. They were just a few yards from Nicholas’ home in Swinton , Salford , when they were set upon by two boys, thought to be between 14 and 17 years old. Nicholas said he is too afraid to return home. 


Lip-reading AI can aid the deaf.

For millions who can’t hear, lip reading offers a window into conversations that would be lost without it. But the practice is hard—and the results are often inaccurate (as you can see in these Bad Lip Reading videos). Now, researchers are reporting a new artificial intelligence (AI) program that outperformed professional lip readers and the best AI to date, with just half the error rate of the previous best algorithm. 

If perfected and integrated into smart devices, the approach could put lip reading in the palm of everyone’s hands. “It’s a fantastic piece of work,” says Helen Bear, a computer scientist at the Queen Mary University of London who was not involved with the project. Writing computer code that can read lips is maddeningly difficult. 

So in the new study scientists turned to a form of AI called machine learning, in which computers learn from data. They fed their system thousands of hours of videos along with transcripts and had the computer solve the task for itself. 

The researchers started with 140,000 hours of YouTube videos of people talking in diverse situations. Then, they designed a program that created clips a few seconds long with the mouth movement for each phoneme, or word sound, annotated. The program filtered out non-English speech, nonspeaking faces, low-quality video, and video that wasn’t shot straight ahead. Then, they cropped the videos around the mouth. 

That yielded nearly 4000 hours of footage, including more than 127,000 English words. The process and the resulting data set—seven times larger than anything of its kind—are “important and valuable” for anyone else who wants to train similar systems to read lips, says Hassan Akbari, a computer scientist at Columbia University who was not involved in the research. 

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

New moderators for Deaf.Read?

Related imageIt's pretty clear the present group of mods have abandoned moderation or site updating the last 2 years, allowing open spamming to take place.  Maybe the USA needs to advertise more widely for people prepared to protect vulnerable deaf bloggers who are under daily pressures to wade though blatant spamming as it is.  

It looks like the free speech policy of the USA is not working at all.  It should not include the right to spam, troll , or abuse, Deaf.Read isn't Facebook... yet! We know Deaf.Read has a 'Hide' option but that is a cop-out, not an alternative, it isn't a replacement for moderation.   Not so long ago DR removed a spammer, now here we are again... with Deaf Chef, I urge readers NOT to log in to any of those posts.

New hearing aid technology claims better filtering...

Deaf lip-reader jailed for assault..

A mother punched a TUI flight attendant in the crotch after drinking half a bottle of wine on the way to Manchester Airport - and two vodkas at the bar. 

Helen Butcher, left passengers in tears - and forced children to cover their ears - after launching into a foul-mouthed rant.

The 51-year-old has now been jailed for her ‘appalling’ behaviour during the flight from Manchester to Kos in June last year. Manchester Crown Court heard Butcher, from Cumbria, drank half a bottle of wine on the way to the airport and two vodkas in the bar before getting on the 3.50pm flight on June 27 last year.

She and her daughter were being served drinks by a male flight attendant, with Butcher ordering a gin and tonic. After he moved further down the carriage, Butcher, who was sitting in the same row as her daughter but separated by the aisle, punched the man in the genitals. The man said he was in ‘intense pain’ and told Butcher her behaviour was ‘wholly unacceptable’, prosecutor Amanda Johnson said. Cabin crew were told not to serve any more alcohol to Butcher or her daughter.

Butcher became increasingly loud and disruptive during the four hour flight, Ms Johnson said. She repeatedly told staff to ‘f*** off’ and showed ‘no respect’ anyone else on the flight, the court heard. Butcher was given a written warning from the captain about her behaviour.

Helen Butcher, who has been jailed for 21 weeks after being drunken and abusive on an aircraft. When the cabin manager went to speak to her, she ‘took hold of his face’ with her hands and said ‘I’m deaf and I can lip-read, or just f*** off’.

Deaf being forced from their homes in Scotland?

Concerns: Christopher Plummer, from Dumfries
Deaf people in Dumfries and Galloway ‘quitting the area’ over interpreter fears The area’s main interpreter retired in December, leaving the council relying on freelance cover which ends soon. 

Deaf people are preparing to move home amid fears the region could be left without a sign language interpreter. The area’s main interpreter for more than 20 years retired in December, leaving the council relying on twice-weekly freelance cover. But users of the service have now been told that contract is to end next month due to lack of funding. 

Christopher Plummer, 27, from Dumfries, became deaf at just eight weeks old after contracting meningitis and has to use a cochlear implant. He said: “I am worried because I have an appointment coming up with no signer. We’re now having to phone up and wait for two weeks to find out who might be available to cover from further afield. “Some of my deaf friends have already decided to move to Glasgow because they will get more support and easier access to an interpreter than down here.” 

He added: “There are a group of us who need a signer to help with health appointments, the Jobcentre, or even going to the bank. “The Scotland Act said yes to supporting the deaf community, but in Dumfries and Galloway that support is lacking. “The existing signer is very good and it is easy for us to use her, rather than bringing someone from Carlisle to do the job.” 

Monday, 30 July 2018

Deaf Lobby uses cute kid factor BSL campaign

The issue is that BSL no matter how fluent you are in it alone will still mean deaf are reliant on others, on interpreters and on rights campaigns to get even those. You have to aks WHERE, can a deaf adult advance once fluent in BSL? Jobs? More inclusive social interactions? Higher academic attainments? There seems no trade-off between being fluent in BSL, and its effectiveness in a wider 'street' or mainstreamed context. 

You could end up with level 6 BSL and still not able to get any job with it, except in a BSL charity or something.  Assuming hearing students will then take it up is naive, so many pressures already exist on mainstreamed education, the first question to be asked is, 'what is in it for hearing?'  It may well be not as future interpreters, because they are already stating the job isn't economically viable for them, because it is the right thing to do?  Hearing have a full list of 127 other minorities and 7 other languages vying for a GCSE class too, where will the hearing find the time? If we are talking numbers, URDU has a higher priority or Polish.

The real key to deaf advancement is TC (Total education), combined with the support that ensures it happens, which means a more realistic focus on how best to enhance real communication effectiveness between the hearing and the Deaf.  The only 'awareness' that can succeed, not the 10 best things approach etc....  Perhaps far less emphasis on the suggestion the only social area/future available to deaf people is with their own?  That issue has to be addressed day one, if access and inclusion is to be a real option, or even a workable right. 

We need also to realise in the UK, the BEST deaf educational establishment is still an oral-based school (Mary Hare).  The issue with dedicated BSL classwork is it drives the deaf further and further away from the mainstream of things, and, enhances the deaf activists and cultural segregationists power over the community.  While you can agree a majority of the deaf are not fluent in their chosen/preferred language, there is an issue even if they are, because it isn't the language of everyone else and needs 3rd parties to work.  This need not be the accepted and fatalistic realism of being deaf, we need to address communication and how it is taught bearing in mind what is more of use.

If the deaf do not, then the alternative is more research into curing and alleviating it all.  Bilinguality is a con act as it is, and a deaf world will remain an isolated one.

Deaf Solidarity and Disabled views.

International Deaf and Disabled People's Solidarity Summit from Andrew Day on Vimeo.

Condemnations because the UK government supported it, despite found guilty of disabled genocide, and an institutional policy to cull disabled people.

Deaf have to up their game...

These type of simplistic and naive vids do nothing to raise awareness at all, and ATR refuses to believe people will run away from you if you are deaf. The format suggests a child does it.  A simply put explanation of the best way communication can be facilitated is the most effective, I've never had anyone run away when I explain I am deaf!

If you have no voice use other means etc... demanding sign won't work, the probability of walking the streets and meeting a sign-conversant person are 1,000s or more to 1. 

Where is this video published?  Where only deaf looking for it can see it?  Just because it is on youtube does not actually mean more hearing will see it.  You have to use specific search options first.  Would hearing use that?  'Tag' abuses are a norm, both with hearing and with deaf.  You could search for 'deaf awareness/deaf' and get flower arranging or 'slime' vids.  

Bear in mind 300 HOURS of videos are uploaded to youtube every single minute you have to compete with!.  The complete downer is most will never see it..... as ATR displays.  Try HERE!

Oops removed after this blog went up.

Taxi driver refused to pick up Deaf/assistance dog.

At the time of the offence Mr Irfans vehicle was operated by Skyline Taxis
A cab driver has paid the price for driving off rather than picking up his pre-booked fare - a deaf person and her guide dog. Muhammad Irfan, of Chetwode Avenue, Monkston, pleaded guilty by post to failing to collect a deaf person with an Assistance Dog under Section 170 of the Equality Act 2010. On Friday (July 27) Milton Keynes Magistrates fined him £223 in his absence for the offence and he was also ordered to pay costs of £540 as well as a victim surcharge of £30. 

At the time of the offence Mr Irfan’s vehicle was operated by Skyline Taxis. He is currently licensed by South Northamptonshire District Council, which will take appropriate action concerning his licence. The court heard that on January 29, 2018 a local resident, who is deaf, booked a licensed vehicle with Skyline Taxis and when the driver attended her home he saw the dog - and drove away without them. 

Councillor Catriona Morris, chair of the MK Regulatory Committee, said: “This is an excellent result and demonstrates quite clearly that it is unlawful for a private hire driver to refuse to pick up a properly booked person with an Assistance Dog. “I would like to personally thank the complainant for coming forward and reporting this matter to us. “Milton Keynes Council has a ‘Zero Tolerance’ approach to offences under the Equality Act 2010 and this case clearly demonstrates our position.”

Sunday, 29 July 2018

How deaf awareness doesn't work.

By telling us, not them, and taking the piss out of hearing like 5yr olds,  doesn't help either, but alienates.

Sign Language group highlights Deaf UK abuses.

The National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters (NUBSLI) has released a report [pdf] into the state of play for British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters and deaf people in the UK. It follows reforms to the profession which have seen strikes, a company liquidated and deaf people struggling to get their communication needs met.

CI's and ME....

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.

I’m sorry to say that my parents were right. They hired a Deaf ASL teacher to work with me when I was only a few months old, but she stopped coming after she found out that I would be getting cochlear implants. When I was a toddler, I was unwelcome in an ASL playgroup. My parents did eventually find a Deaf ASL teacher who respected my family’s choice.

I’ve dealt with hearing people not understanding my deafness — staring at the equipment, asking insensitive questions, congratulating me on “passing” in the hearing world — and I’ve dealt with Deaf people denying it. I’m glad to be part of my school community, acting in plays, singing (and signing) in the chorus and studying spoken French, and I’m grateful for all that I can access because of my cochlear implants. Still, I avoid swimming with hearing friends and attending sleepovers because I need to take my implant processors off in water and for sleeping.

I recently found a crumpled piece of paper I wrote on four years ago, when I was 10. It read: “There is a color between yellow and green that no one can agree on: I think of cochlear implants — hearing but deaf all the same.” I will always feel separated from the hearing world in important ways; I have also had to live with feeling excluded by a community that might have provided assurance that I wasn’t alone, that others felt the same way.

I hope that in the future, deaf children — regardless of whether they wear technology, speak or sign — will grow up with a sense of being accepted. To achieve that, we in the deaf world need to see each other for our similarities, accept that we may never agree on this issue, and start working together.

Julient Corwin lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.