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.