Friday, 14 September 2018

A lesson indeed!

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Losing hearing and Inclusion issues...

17 more institutions to be checked for child abuses...

Child abuse inquiry announces 17 more institutions to be investigated. The new establishments will bring the total under scrutiny to 86. 

Seventeen further institutions are to be investigated by a far-reaching inquiry into historical allegations of the abuse of children in care. The 17 are in addition to the 69 establishments already identified by the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI), taking the total number under scrutiny to 86. The list includes religious and non-religious institutions, boarding schools and council and healthcare establishments around Scotland. 

The newly-announced schools to be looked at are St Andrew’s School, in Shandon, Dunbartonshire; Queen Victoria boarding school in Dunblane; Balnacraig School in Perth; Edinburgh’s Royal Blind School and Harmeny School; Donaldson’s School for Deaf Children; Oakbank School in Aberdeen; Ovenstone Residential School in Fife; and Balrossie School in Inverclyde. Cardross Park Assessment Centre and Dunclutha Children’s Home in Argyll will also be examined, as will Park Lodge in Glasgow. 

Lagarie House Children’s Home in Rhu, Argyll; Redheugh Adolescent Unit in Kilbirnie, North Ayrshire, and Humbie Care Home in East Lothian are also to be investigated, inquiry chiefs announced. Lennox Castle Hospital in Lennoxtown, East Dunbartonshire, and the Royal Scottish National Hospital in Larbert in the Falkirk area complete the list. 

Inquiry chair Lady Smith said: “Please would anyone who has any relevant information about any of these institutions contact the inquiry. Advertising “It does not matter whether you have already made a report to the police or to anyone else, and it does not matter whether or not you have been involved in any other investigation. You can still talk to us and we want to hear from you.” 

She continued: “I am well aware that it can be difficult and very emotional to talk about experiences in care and I want to take this opportunity to give an assurance that we have a dedicated witness support team here who will help and support anyone providing evidence to us. They will do so throughout the process.” The inquiry is tasked with examining historical allegations of the abuse of children in care. 

Deafness never defined me....

Maybe we don't need sign language or lip-reading, here is someone who managed without either.  

Despite profound deafness, the acclaimed British novelist David R Ewens never learned to lip read or to use sign language. Instead, his family taught him to ‘ignore the deafness and carry on’ – a mantra he relies upon to this day. 

In this candid, exclusive interview, he reveals how his mother’s tough love helped him to cope with social isolation and how he turned an impairment to his advantage. By David R Ewens I am stone deaf, but I have written five novels, and the ability to do that comes from the same source enabling me to do almost everything else that a hearing person can do: my mother’s determination that I (and my deaf brothers) would be treated in the same way as any non-deaf child. We did not get statements of special educational needs (and probably wouldn’t have even if the mechanism had existed when we were children). We did not learn to sign or formally lip-read. 

We were brought up unequivocally in the hearing world. Our family’s unspoken mantra was an adaptation of ‘Keep calm and carry on’: ‘Ignore the deafness and carry on’, and the result is a decent life with decent milestones and achievements.

Why isn't there a sign language norm?

A teacher uses sign language to communicate with hearing-impaired pupils at a school in France. Picture: AFP
September 23 is the International Day of Sign Languages, but most of us know little about the means of non-verbal communi­cation that has proven invaluable for the deaf and hard of hearing around the world. 

Perhaps surprisingly, there is not just one sign language, and different countries have different systems, often with regional variants. Like spoken languages, they developed among groups of people interacting with each other. Many of the world’s major sign languages (exceptions include Chinese, Japanese, Indo-Pakistani and Levantine Arabic) can be traced to two origins. British Sign Language (BSL) spread to the Commonwealth with 19th-century British settlers; a sign language within England’s deaf communities was noted from 1570. BSL, New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) and Australian Sign Language (Auslan) share many similarities and comprise the BANZSL language family. 

What Buddhist monks and discreet dealings have in common: hand signals French Sign Language, meanwhile, established in the late 1700s, is usually identified as the root of American Sign Language (ASL), which developed in the 19th century, and of Quebec and many European sign languages. 

In the 1970s, with contact between deaf users of different sign languages, a pidgin – International Sign – was developed. Sign languages evolve within deaf communities and neither mirror nor are dependent on the surrounding spoken lang­uages; they are fully fledged natural languages with an intricate grammatical organisation of their own. Auslan word order is different from English; and ASL and BSL differ significantly, more so than American and British English. 

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Do you want to be a D/deaf director?


Deaf Education debate (Update)...

Image result for parliamentSnippets from today's debate regarding deaf support in education.  Unfortunately, nothing mentioned by the MP's regarding ATR's request to include NON-signing support issues in any detail.  Over-focus on signed support tends to downgrade the majority needs for the rest. Only the education minister raised those points. 

Key comments are highlighted in red.

Stephen Lloyd

I appreciate the reassurance that has just been given, but as the money is not ring-fenced, if the NDCS or anyone else can find any evidence that it is not being used properly for profoundly deaf students between the ages of 16 and 18, will the Minister be prepared to review the matter?

I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman’s intervention. I will take up that point with the NDCS in our meeting on 29 October to understand the evidence in relation to that. In addition to high needs funding, colleges receive disadvantage funding, which provides funds to support students from areas of economic deprivation, based on the index of multiple deprivation—the IMD—and with additional needs, including moderate learning difficulties and disabilities. As I said, that funding is not ring-fenced and can be moved.

Nadhim Zahawi

I am very supportive of local authorities working together and I know that many will be considering how best to support the sensory impaired children and young people in their area, including by working closely with neighbouring authorities to provide joint services. My hon. Friend the Member for Waveney asked about joint working. To support that, we have established a national network for designated clinical officers, funded a local authority-led regional network and developed resources to support joint self-assessment and peer review. We have also funded a SEND leadership programme and legal training for all local authorities and their health partners to ensure that they are clear on their statutory responsibilities.

I understand that many local authorities have provided information to the National Deaf Children’s Society, setting out their plans for sensory support services in the future. My hon. Friend raised particular concerns about the provision in Suffolk. We have provided an additional £140 million in high needs funding this year and will provide an additional £120 million next year. In Suffolk, the local authority will receive £59.9 million in high needs funding this year. I understand that Suffolk has not indicated cuts to funding for deaf services this year.

Also this year, we have contracted with the Whole School SEND Consortium to deliver a two-year programme to help to embed SEND in school improvement and help schools to identify and meet their training needs in relation to SEND. That will of course include ensuring schools, including mainstream schools, know where to access the expertise that they need to support pupils with a hearing impairment.

In addition, a team from University College London will be working with the SEND sector to understand better the supply, demand and drivers for SEND training and continuing professional development. That will enable us to target resources at addressing those areas, too. The National Sensory Impairment Partnership will feed the views of the sensory impairment sector into that work, and we will review the NDCS report on local authority funding as part of that work. We have also asked Ofsted to consider how our accountability system can sufficiently reward schools for their work with pupils who need extra support, and encourage schools to focus on all pupils, not just the highest achievers.

As the hon. Member for Poplar and Limehouse stated, the vast majority of deaf children are born to hearing parents who have no prior experience of deafness. That is why the Government have separately invested in a number of programmes to support children and young people with hearing impairments, and their families. We have funded the development of an early support guide for parents of deaf children, available through the Council for Disabled Children website. In addition, we have funded the NDCS’s I-Sign project and the development of a family-orientated sign language programme, which is available free on the family sign language website.

The hon. Gentleman asked whether more can be done to ensure that school forums include more representation in respect of SEND. Local authorities are required to include at least one representative from a maintained special school, and a special academy, in their area. Many extend the representation of specialist providers by creating SEND subgroups to look specifically at issues relating to children and young people with SEND across the whole age range to 25. In some areas, there is a strong partnership with parent groups so that they are engaged as well. We need to learn from those areas and spread that good practice.

I want to touch on a few issues that colleagues mentioned. My right hon. Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead and the hon. Member for Nottingham South talked about the lack of teachers for deaf and hearing impaired children. 

To be awarded qualified teacher status, trainees must satisfy the teachers’ standards, which include a requirement that they have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with SEN, and are able to use and evaluate distinctive teaching approaches to engage and support them

Also, as the shadow Minister, the hon. Member for South Shields (Mrs Lewell-Buck) pointed out, we provided £900,000 of funding to the National Sensory Impairment 

Partnership between 2016 and 2018 to equip the school workforce. The new SEND schools workforce contract with the Whole School SEND Consortium, led by nasen—the National Association for Special Educational Needs—aims to equip schools to identify and meet their training needs.

Jim Fitzpatrick

I am very grateful for and appreciate the responses from the Front Benchers. I hope that when the Minister has the opportunity to meet the NDCS in October, he will have good news for it. I have been somewhat encouraged by some of his responses to the questions that I have asked today, but he has heard appeals from everybody who has spoken. He knows the pressures that have been described, and the hope is that he can champion the deaf community in Government.

I thank the Backbench Business Committee for our opportunity to have this debate; the signers for their sterling work; the House authorities for providing them with this opportunity; and all colleagues who have contributed to the debate. Many of them made kind comments about me, and I am grateful for them, but they apply to everybody who has participated in the debate and all the members of the all-party parliamentary group on deafness, who work with and for deaf people and with great organisations such as the National Deaf Children’s Society, Action on Hearing Loss, Auditory Verbal, The Ear Foundation and so many others.

Deaf people do not want charity. We know that. They want fairness. This debate demonstrates that we here collectively get that, and the hope is that the Government get it, too.

Question put and agreed to.


That this House has considered deaf children’s services.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Social Model: Unfit for purpose?

Related imageSome random posts from UK social media and online areas.

Twitter:  Social modelling, much used, much abused too.  I don't care for modelling its a political thing and doesn't add to access improvement, just inter-disabled disagreement, as many support the medical model as don't, and a lot who support both.  You don't need modelling to get a wider door fitted.

Twitter: The social model of disability has demonstrated political success for disabled people in society. At the same time, it has been labelled an outdated ideology in need of re-development. While the social model of disability has been used successfully for political activism, it has simultaneously created conflict and tensions in disability studies, sociology and the sociology of the body, and pitted disabled and deaf areas against each other, modelling emerging as the 'politics of the blame culture..'

Facebook on access:  There is room for videos for people who don't want sign etc, and the issues of hearing going deaf, is not understood at all by the cultural, or born deaf.  I wouldn't ask a born deaf person how to manage MY deafness because it is chalk and cheese and we don't want the same things or had the same experiences, we don't think their approach works for us either...  they need to stop quoting us as their endorsement.

Facebook role modelling: Instead of accepting these things  it provokes confrontations with representatives of the deaf culture accusing others of undermining them because they don't want CI's, don't want oral education etc, so mutual respect is suffering as each area fights own corner over silly things like role models etc and the medical labels and 'cure' research, which HoH endorse and the deaf do not as you feel it undermines what you think and believe is true for you.  

Twitter on sign language:  More sign use poses problems of unity, on other things like speech etc...  More sign, less talk, more isolation more myths the community can provide, just another negative and barrier for them.

Blogger on realism:  The deaf world may not revolve around speech but, the wider world does, so they need to understand how to cross and manage that divide.  Different strokes for different folks.    People have different views, it doesn't mean they are personal attacks on others who don't share those views.   We do live in a HEARING world not a deaf one, so practical consideration can override a 'preference' to sign, few deaf are actually bilingual, or want to be, and of course, true integration between non and signing deaf/HoH has problems. We don't see much conflict because mostly they tend to avoid each other.

Twitter on equality:  It is also true to say there are deaf people who would not accept equality with a bargepole unless on own terms, so some sort of parallel thing goes on they say isn't isolation but seems to be to everyone else.  Ask them to explain and they go defensive and respond with discrimination claims rather than listen.  They seem scared witless about inclusion and their inability to manage it.

'Tree House' site taken down.

It's taken some time, to see this happen, but it was reduced to 2/3 posters only and could not cope with the diverse/ contention views of commentators.  It deteriorated it into a ya-boo situation, which is the fate sadly of most UK deaf/hoh social media sites that attempt to include all views, it attracts extremists who want to dominate and bias output, whose posters then go at moderates.

Much in retrospect was done with naivete and wasn't able to cope with more direct points being made, TH tried to revert to the 'social angle' and people got banned, bored, or left as a result.  Most deaf UK sites on social media tend to be avoided for good reason, as either minor enclaves of mean-wells or direct bias, or some sort of old deaf pals club, it is a toss-up between earing wax removal options and rabid BSL only areas, we are just losing interest in them.  

Rank and file have abandoned them and just use mobiles to each other.  Frankly, there is no way to be social or debate an issue on these sites. They are unable to include diversity, and none have a moderator who knows what they are doing much.

We include one comment from ATR itself who was a member there, (Which at the start was a great site to be with), and included one of the issues Sara faced, (Taken from the AOHL main website forum 2015..).  We had respect for Sara but she faced a lot of bad posts and wasn't able to cope with it all. We felt she excluded the only people making real points in the end.  She treated most of us OK, but it just deteriorated to meanderings about wandering around stately homes, or entirely London based postings by 1 person and 1 venue ads only.  I believe she thought to raise issues on a peaceful level but was ill-prepared for their vociferous diverse views that ensued and her health suffered.  I thought TH had already closed.

"Yes it was a great pity the TREE HOUSE facebook page had to complain about much of the SignVideo output being inaccessible via titles. HI/deaf were not getting dual/equal access, only signed access... making viewing pointless. 

This site (Tree House), is now targeting ALL BSL video output that is not captioned as not adhering to the spirit of deaf access fairly. It's no good AOHL joining the TV campaigns on subtitling whilst ignoring public health awareness output. The ATR blogger had also complained at length to Welsh council/health/NHS public informational videos being also inaccessible via subtitling, with BSL interpreters being an active part of the exclusion process. 

If deaf awareness doesn't start with them, where does it ? Why hasn't AOHL Cymru taken this issue to task ? Carmarthen local Authorities are continually abusing our access with their help."

That post however atypically triggered a lot of nastiness from the BSL activist sector who accused Tree House, ATR, and its members of discrimination and anti-deaf rhetoric. Which of course was ridiculous.  They were debating equalities of access provision, what Sara wanted. However, it DID have the desired effect intended by those extremes of bringing down the deaf and HoH moderate view.

Tree House has now finally been felled, sad.  I have good memories at the start of it.  To list the deaf social media sites to be avoided would probably include 80% of them, it's really a poor situation for anyone deaf who wants to know what is really going on.  In effect, it has driven them away from wanting to know, giving the extremes free reign...

Mental Health and the Deaf (UK).

Woman In Consultation with Doctor
The deaf community struggles daily with stigma, prejudice, and communication, but that's not all: medical studies have found that deaf people suffer from mental health issues at about twice the rate of the general population, and also have real problems accessing needed mental health services. 

The mental health issues common in the deaf community include depression, anxiety and severe illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Mental illnesses are compounded in the deaf community by difficulties communicating with care providers — researchers have found that lip-reading isn't adequate, interpreters who know sign language are scarce, and many diagnostic tools depend on knowledge that's not common among those who are deaf. Mental Health in the Deaf Community Lots of people have some hearing loss — between 15% and 26% of the population, according to one study. 

But it's a different issue to be profoundly deaf, especially if you became deaf before you had a chance to learn spoken language. About seven in every 10,000 people fall into this category, and most regard themselves as a cultural minority that uses sign language instead of spoken language. Struggles to function in a hearing world can lead to mental health issues. 

In one study involving hearing impaired individuals, some 41% said they believed that communication problems coupled with family stresses and overall prejudice could cause or contribute to suicidal depression, substance abuse or violent behaviour in some cases. Other studies have found that about one-quarter of deaf students have learning difficulties, developmental delay, visual impairment, or autism. 

Deaf children who have trouble communicating with their families are four times more likely to be affected by mental health disorders than deaf children who have few or no problems communicating with family members. Bullying of deaf children also may be common at school, and deaf boys and girls are much more likely to be victims of sexual assault. Communication Needed, but Scarce Mental health services are difficult for deaf people to access. One small study involving 54 people found that more than half hadn't been able to find mental health services that they, as deaf people, could use. 

In addition, psychiatric conditions such as mood disorders are frequently under-diagnosed in the deaf community, in large part due to communication difficulties that include: few experienced interpreters between English and sign language problems in translation between spoken and sign language differences in how deaf people display feelings and perceive mental health Reading and writing aren't an adequate substitute for spoken language in this context. 

Hearing loss interferes quite a lot with vocabulary, and so many deaf high school graduates read and write at a grade-school level. In addition, lip-reading is far from 100% accurate — the average deaf adult can lip-read only 26% to 40% of speech.

Teacher: Not my job to prevent deaf abuse...

The teacher at the Donaldson Trust in Linlithgow is claimed to have said it was not her place to stop the abuse
A teacher at the Donaldson Trust in Linlithgow is claimed to have said it was not her place to stop the abuse. The teacher at the Donaldson Trust in Linlithgow claimed it was not her place to stop the abuse.

A senior teacher who ran Scotland’s deaf school while bosses were investigated for failing to protect pupils has herself been accused of failing to act over claims of sexual assault. Carol Binnie was made acting head of Donaldson’s School in Linlithgow in 2013 while two members of staff were suspended and under investigation. 

She has been accused of “failing to take . . . and ensure that appropriate actions was taken in respect of allegations of physical and sexual assault of pupils”. 

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Bias in the deaf community...

Good to see the silliness and bias of some Deaf views exposed, but it tends to make them more defensive about their ignorance sadly, so they retreat inwardly convinced they are being attacked by hearies or something.  

What these people need to understand is they display the very discriminatory attitudes they despise from others.  If such a  community exists, (and I don't think it does in relative terms), it is like we use the net to communicate to many parts of the world, they sign or not, we do or not, etc, but, we are never going to meet up with them or even socialise with them, and may well have issues so doing, then this area needs an educational program to sort out this bias against progress and inclusive policies, and oppositions to choice based on nothing much at all except it isn't your choice.  What DEAF have to do, is come out here.

The HoH experience

Virtual Signing avatars

Related image
Has to be a step up from face-pulling interpreters!  The region's largest provider of human capital information systems - MenaITech along with Mind Rockets Inc., a Jordan-based startup creating assistive technologies, developed a solution for deaf and hard of hearing employees. Through this collaboration, MenaITech users can have access to a virtual sign-language interpreter that translates on-screen content to sign language.

The system translates text on MenaITech's website and MenaME® platform - the employee and manager self-service gateway, to sign language for users who are deaf or hard of hearing, which allows users to access HR services such as leave and vacation requests, attendance and departure records, salary-slips and can easily manage their HR functions from anywhere in the world. MenaITech is the first HCIS company in the region to provide this feature to its clients and the general public.

CEO of MenaITech, Dr Bashar Hawamdeh commented, "We believe that technology should serve all people to help them accomplish more, whether in their professional or daily lives." He elaborated, "Working with Mind Rockets not only represents our drive to implement innovative technology, but also our ongoing commitment to make our systems more accessible to a greater number of people in addition to creating a more inclusive digital world in the region."

Mind Rockets system has been implemented on MenaITech's MenaME®, which allows users to access HR services such as leave and vacation requests, attendance and departure records, salary-slips and other core HR functions. With Mind Rockets services, employees who are deaf or hard of hearing can easily manage their HR functions from anywhere in the world.

The best thing about being deaf

John Cradden at Deaf Village Ireland in Cabra, Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
You tend to lose contact with reality and wear your underpants outside your clothes by the look of it.  All of a sudden the deaf become disabled as well (You have to fess up if you want to write to a disability magazine or claim a disability benefit)... .  

Any 'social capital' has to be entirely relative surely?  Is this area becoming some sort of cult?  The reality, is that being unable to hear your own child, isn't really positive at all, cannot easily be shrugged off or joked about.  We are all for the positive spin, but not at the expense of truth.  True, the deaf get deafer when it's their round!  Being deaf isn't a positive for most, it's a life-long curse for many, including deaf who develop serious mental health issues, that don't get addressed by making jokes about it, this plays into the cultist deaf area of negativity.  For every happy signer there are a 100 far from happy other deaf.  I'd like to see this man now put the reverse side of the coin.

What are the good things about being deaf? Let me count the ways (Elizabeth Barrett Browning ...): 

I can pretend not to hear when someone tries to reminds me it’s my round; I can easily tune out of the cacophony generated in my home by my young children; and – best of all – I always get a good, uninterrupted night’s sleep.

I’m sure other writers in the Platform series will jokingly point to the incidental benefits of their own disabilities. But I say “jokingly” because most these so-called positives can’t be taken seriously; they serve merely to take the edge off things, or add humour to our stories, rather than balance out the many negatives of trying to navigate a world built almost exclusively for the able-bodied.

I could also point to a benefit of a different kind, which is knowing Irish sign language (ISL) and being a member of the strong-knit Irish deaf community. The beauty of this is that all the positives that accrue from knowing ISL and being part of the deaf community is not confined to deaf people.

To borrow a term coined by prominent Irish deaf academic Dr John Bosco Conama, ISL has valuable “social capital”. 

Monday, 10 September 2018

Some deaf people can talk?


Most (Near ALL),  can, only cultural deaf refuse to!

Deaf children's services debate 13th September

Image result for deaf children UKATR will be watching with interest as not had a reply to queries on debate contact as yet.

On 13 September 2018, there will be a Westminster Hall debate on Deaf children's services, sponsored by Jim Fitzpatrick MP, and starting at 1:30pm.
The House of Commons Digital Outreach Team, in conjunction with Jim Fitzpatrick MP, are running a corresponding Facebook page and webpage to gather public opinion on this topic.

This debate pack will outline the support provided for children with special educational needs (SEN) in England. This is the framework under which children with hearing impairments will usually receive assistance. This pack also collates some recent news articles, press releases, parliamentary material and research that considers the provision of services for deaf children across the UK.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Hearing loss is screwing up my marriage.

What you need to know about deaf.

Almost the 'Deaf' equivalent of the 'Satanic Verses' but, it makes a welcome change from the 'all deaf sign, all deaf can't speak, all deaf should not have CI's, all deaf are cultural, all deaf are in this 'community', 'Deaf don't need captions', or, nobody understands the 'Deaf' and 'they all got it in for us..' sectors of these lost people.   

Ricky, however, DOES have a tendency to encourage that area sadly by 'respecting' it, when they do not accept or respect others or their choices.