Saturday, 20 October 2018

The Postcode Culture.

Image result for accessThe Deaf still live in a  vacuum to a large extent, their representatives or spokespeople are not an inclusive group either.  The nature of deafness and sign is a unifying factor but also, a barrier to wider inclusions too. 

Trying to widen deaf horizons means ultra reliance on the sort of lifestyle that relies almost totally upon a visual language and its family/interpretation support, has to be addressed with regards to enabling the young deaf to move outward, they want the same as their hearing peers get and have a right to that. 

The insistence deafness is a choice, and the current communal lifestyle approaches are a right, ignores communication reality and is a lie.  That certain activist promotion of community and culture is paramount and inclusive to all ignores demography too.

We would agree that means a fair amount of pain involved to address Deaf and HoH child communication approaches and education etc which cultural deaf say is a direct assault on them because it suggests to  them sign won't be the prominent communication approach.   Bilingualism has to be real not suggested.  It needs to reflect the reality it is older deaf who fear this because of their reliance on social workers deaf clubs/schools etc and would have issues with few if any other deaf keeping them going.  

That wheel is already in motion as most UK deaf clubs are against the wall already.  Those that still manage to keep going rely on lottery and charity if not Local authority/disability handouts and tend to centralise to larger populated areas where statistically more deaf are.

We think there is a middle ground and from the young deaf people I meet they view many activists as dated, a hindrance, and they are already out there, club closures are proof, there is less reliance on terps too.  This is the postcode culture, cities tend to make most of the running because the numbers are there, but outside those areas, the deaf have little or nothing frankly.  We don't see the culture then as inclusive but selective and exclusive.  People deaf outside these areas don't believe an online community is the same thing they are still alone and feel pressured to move home.   Because sign has isolated them.

Employment:

The financial aspect of culture often rears its ugly head and distorts the community ethos, unlike lip-reading,  sign equals income, as many hearing areas have realised, its the basic of deaf cultural success.  A number of abler deaf offer sign services but quite questionable awareness, as a way of self-employment, they aren't addressing independence or empowerment, although their area remains a captive one, uneasy lies that crown, and ultimately bias is involved.  Because there are far from enough interpreters to support deaf people, the reality is that deaf need communication alternatives, this poses risks at modernists who encourage CI's, text approaches assistive devices, more hearing involvements, clinical intervention, etc.. they can be accused of an attack on the signing culture which is providing work for these few.

Explaining reality deaf need to adapt is met with anger, why should they?  'We do not want to be third-rate hearies!'  which is what nobody is suggesting, they are saying, deaf need more strings to their bow.  Protests don't pay rents.  It's unrealistic hearing people are all going to learn sign so deaf can integrate, or, that deaf WOULD integrate if they did. because the Deaf mantra is self-sustaining and lauding difference via distance. 

Support:

Interpreter training is having huge issues, not only of qualifying at huge own expense for the learner and a biased 'regional' adjudging system but the mainstream system addressing the wage and support set up, mostly via cuts.  In reality so much deaf signed support is based on part-time workers, because free-lance interpreters won't adopt any norm, and are unwilling to operate that support in areas outside larger populations existing towns and cities, simply because it won't give them a regular wage.  You can get 100s of deaf relying on just 2 or 3 terps, and activist opposition to remote translation.

Culture:

As regards to Deaf Culture and Art areas, they too focus almost entirely on major city areas, which means the only culture support and outlets are in those areas, it also allows a select area of Deaf people to call all the shots on access, empowerment, deaf art, cultural norms, health support, progress, and education.  So many deaf are actually not part of it all.  Those who don't sign, or deaf-blind, HoH, are ignored totally, so others access gets compromised too, and arts aren't for them either.    The deaf arts area are the primary drivers of opposition to allowances for them to work which the state (UK), has put a cap on, many suggesting it is because Deaf arts was abusing the inclusive remit using culture as an out.  Again this arts area is almost city exclusive and the domain for the few determined to go it alone and making issues and one trick ponies out of deaf actors.  The response isn't more inclusion only demands deaf people should be the deaf actor because deaf actors lack the versatility to do anything else.  So the only way to 'inclusion' is to insist on stereotyping?

Online:

Not so much fake news, more another one-trick pony with a singular message repeated till our eyes bleed.  Online areas for deaf operate predominantly within 'closed site' or charitable/disability areas, in reality nothing has changed since the old e-mail site days, which although originally created that way to protect vulnerable deaf and promote culture, now exist as a barrier to most, who may not agree with the more extreme cultural views being offered to them, and feel it oppressive, out of date, even restrictive in most part.

The issue can be the more able and biased Deaf egotistical moderators running these sites, for own platform/views, plugging on provision,  and is legendary with numerous deaf people claiming they are shouted down or banned for little or no reason other than they didn't agree with the site mantra,  democracy for the deaf is at stake. They have an influx of snowflake contributors too! The postcard lottery places 'power' in the hands of the few/wrong people, people for whom self-interest drives progress, access, demand, cultural norms, and profit/Kudos for this 'Deaf' elite.

It's a mess.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Sign Language: Making a stand against hearing.

Hearing Loss: It matters....

Deafness. It could be reversed...

Break open the bubbly lads!

Deafness could be reversed, research suggests. Scientists have discovered how to regrow cells in the ear that are critical for hearing. 

Deafness could be reversed as scientists discover how to re-grow lost cells in the ear (stock)Viruses, genetics and even existing drugs could trigger little hairs to regrow in the inner ear, according to a study by the University of Rochester. These hairs are the first step in picking up on noises and are not naturally replaced when killed off by age or overexposure to loud noise.

Humans do not regenerate hair cells in the inner ear once they are lost, which leads to permanent hearing damage. These hair cells move in response to vibrations, which causes nerve impulses to be sent to the brain where they are interpreted as sounds. In other animals, however, such as birds, frogs and fish, surrounding cells in the inner ear, known as the cochlea, can change into hair cells. Although unclear exactly how this occurs, it is thought to be driven by protein signalling. 

Hearing loss can be temporary or permanent. It can also develop gradually with age or come on suddenly. Hearing loss in just one ear may be due to a build-up of wax, an infection or a burst eardrum. Sudden loss in both ears may be due to damage from a very loud noise or side effects of certain medication. A gradual hearing loss may be the result of fluid building up, known as glue ear; a bony growth, called otosclerosis; or skin cell accumulation, known as cholesteatoma. A gradual hearing loss in both ears is usually caused by ageing or exposure to loud noises over many years. Hearing loss sometimes gets better on its own. 

A build-up of wax can also be treated by being suctioned out or softened with drops. However, hearing loss can also be permanent, with treatment then focusing on making the most of the hearing that remains. This may involve: Hearing aids Implants - attach to the skull or are placed deep in the ear if hearing aids are ineffective Communicating via sign language or lip reading Hearing loss can be prevented by avoiding loud music and wearing headphones that block out background noise. Ear defenders should also be worn if you work in a noisy environment, such as a building site. And ear protection should be worn at concerts and other noisy events. 

Source: NHS Choices The researchers analysed the effects of one of these proteins, known as ERBB2, in the hair cells of newborn mice. 

Total Communication: Finds first job for 54yr old...



The article posed more questions than answers to ATR !

All the signs for success are looking good for Total Communication (Interpreting Services) Ltd at this year’s glitzy awards ceremony after the agency was put forward as the 2018 Stronger Together Employer by Karen Patten, disability employment adviser, at Reading Jobcentre Plus.

This new accolade is for firms that help unemployed people (aged 25 or over) who need support to get into work or vocational training, or to move closer to either of these goals. Read More Jobs to be created as KPMG moves to Reading town centre Mrs Patten, 62, who awarded Total Communication, which is based in Cardiff Road, the Two Ticks disability symbol (now called Disability Confident) in 2013, said: “Total Communication is passionate about enabling and empowering deaf and deaf-blind people. 

“They do this both through the provision of high-quality British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters, lip-speakers and note-takers, advice and advocacy and form filling and by offering employment to deaf people in a supportive environment. “They set up a local ironing service called DEAFinitely Creaseless, employing deaf people and giving them the opportunity to gain valuable experience in the workplace. “They employed one of my deaf customers who lost her hearing at the age of six as the result of suffering severe burns in a house fire. "She is now 54 and started work for DEAFinitley Creaseless in October 2014. 

This was her first job and she excels at it. 

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Hearing in a deaf world



Sub Heading 'Adopting the position!'  Another example of activism of the cultural variety convincing hearing people who we aren't.  Deaf people can hear, can talk, a hearing person walking around playing the mute is the ultimate insult surely?  Gallaudet's intake comprises of many with deafness and hearing loss, and whilst the majority do sign, they use many other means as well.  Had she entered Gally as herself and spoke her way around, she would have got an entirely different view of deaf culture, or not, they may well have just ignored her!  The real test is putting the hearing and deaf there on each other's terms and watch how the barriers are addressed via compromise.  This instance the hearing did all the compromise, not a true test and promoting bias as well.

Normalising NZ sign language...


Merge NZ directors Jaime Brown and Victoria Lessing are taking their courses on the road.
A social enterprise hoping to normalise New Zealand Sign Language is running its first course in Morrinsville. Hosted by Merge NZ, the course, taking place from November 5, has been designed for people with no prior knowledge of the language. 

Director Jaime Brown, a former Te Aroha native, is hopeful participants will walk away with the ability to string a couple of new sentences together. "There are 440,000 deaf or hard of hearing people in New Zealand and that's quite a large proportion. 

"Most people know how to say kia ora or kai or aroha, so it'd be great if we had that same affect with NZSL . If people could sign the basics, that would make a huge difference to deaf peoples access to society." Merge was established in Auckland two years ago and launched in the Waikato in 2018, where they have since organised courses in Hamilton. The Morrinsville course will be run by Te Aroha resident Hayley Jackson, a deaf woman training to become a qualified NZSL teacher. It will be a completely "voices off" course, Brown said. "There's a huge difference between NZSL and English. 

They have different grammatical structures so if you were to use your voice in the class, you'd kind of be using two really separate languages at the same time. So if you just work with the one language, you'd learn it a lot faster. "Voices are turned off and everything is completely in sign language from the very first lesson." Participants will be able to walk away knowing basic conversational sign language such as numbers, how to introduce themselves, how to introduce others, and discuss what they have learned. 

Brown said that although more people have become aware of NZSL , there was still an unfamiliarity of the history of sign language in New Zealand. "It really has a similar pathway to te reo; it was banned in New Zealand for over 100 years in the education system and that still has a roll-on effect to today. "There's also not much awareness that sign language is actually a language," she said. "It has a different grammatical structure to English and it's also not universal. There's over 230 sign languages around the world. "NZSL is really unique to New Zealand because it incorporates our culture and Māori signs as well." 

Get a CI and don't be a state liability....



She is fortunate she doesn't live in the western world, most of her terminology would have her in the stocks and in total opposition to deaf cultural people.  CI's are great but don't undermine the people who need them.

More than 250 million people around the world are suffering from hearing loss and deafness. When it comes to Madhya Pradesh, 50-100 cochlear implants take place in a month. 

Against this, double the number of patients wait for their turn. After addressing an awareness programme at a local hospital, cochlear implant specialist Dr Shenal Kothari highlighted this concern while talking to media persons on Tuesday. She said it is a myth that cochlear can be implanted in children only. 

“We operate upon old people too to help them in hear well,” said Dr Kothari who has conducted the highest number of cochlear implants in the state. “I have treated a patient who complained of deafness at 50. After cochlear implant, she is living a normal life. Similarly, the implant of a 10-month old baby was also done,” Dr Kothari said. The best age for administering implant to a dead (?!) child is 2 to 4 years but can be done in adults at any age. Dr Kothari appealed to parents to see a doctor when their infants do not respond to their voice and call. 

“Hearing loss is not only related to listening to sound but also affect the life of patients socially as hearing gives the power of recognition as well,” she said and added, “A large number of children remain deaf due to lack of financial support. Philanthropists and donors should come forward to help these children so that they don’t become a liability for the nation.” 

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Having hearing loss in Wales....



We wonder how youtube selects particular images from videos of people with hearing loss that tends to focus on sign language users as the primary image when less than a 1,000 are sign dependent users out of half a million? 

Charities put the actual figure at 300K but having hearing loss and having issues of support and access are not really collated in Wales, neither are the statistics on sign use, we do know no deaf schools exist here.  The program was an informative one about Welsh people with hearing loss and includes oral speaking deaf and cochlear implantees but not the text dependent, or real issues hard of hearing are facing.

(Ben attends ATR's local deaf club, Hi Ben !).

Smart Caption Specs...

Advice Hub to close...



A grant will be made to raise awareness instead (Good luck with that!).  More jobs for the BSL lad's given HoH don't bother...

A visitor centre of a Shropshire-based charity dedicated to helping the deaf and those living with hearing loss will close its doors at the end of the month due to a lack of funds. 

The Hub which is based in the Riverside in Shrewsbury, will shut for good in a couple of weeks time. The Hub was entirely funded by donations which have not been sufficient to keep it open. Those clients who currently use the service will be told of other providers who can give support and advice and provide equipment maintenance. 

The Hub provided help and support and offered a range of services including hearing aid repairs, befriending and outreach work, deaf awareness training and British sign language classes. The Shropshire NHS Audiology team also visited three times a week to provide appointments to those concerned about their hearing. 

Better hearing is better than sign dependancy?

Image result for better hearingFacts appear to prove the point.  Jane R. Madell, a pediatric audiology consultant and speech-language pathologist in Brooklyn, wants every parent with a child born hearing-impaired to know that it is now possible for nearly all children with a severe hearing loss to learn to listen and speak as if their hearing were completely normal.

“Children identified with hearing loss at birth and fitted with technology in the first weeks of life blend in so well with everyone else that people don’t realize there are so many deaf children,” she told me.

With the appropriate hearing device and auditory training for children and their caregivers during the preschool years, even those born deaf “will have the ability to learn with their peers when they start school,” Madell said. “Eighty-five per cent of such children are successfully mainstreamed. Parents need to know that listening and spoken language is a possibility for their children.” Determined to get this message out to all who learn their children lack normal hearing, Madell and Irene Taylor Brodsky produced a documentary, “The Listening Project,” to demonstrate the enormous help available through modern hearing assists and auditory training.

Among the “stars” in the film, all of whom grew up deaf or severely hearing-impaired, are Dr. Elizabeth Bonagura, an obstetrician-gynecologist and surgeon; Jake Spinowitz, a musician; Joanna Lippert, a medical social worker; and Amy Pollick, a psychologist. All started out with hearing aids that helped them learn to speak and understand spoken language.  But now all have cochlear implants that, as Lippert put it, “really revolutionized my world” when, at age 11, she became the first preteenager to get a cochlear implant at New York University Medical Center.

“Suddenly when I was playing soccer, I could hear what my teammates were saying,” Lippert, now 33, recalled. “My mother practically cried when I heard a cricket chirping in the house. I couldn’t talk on the phone before. Now in my job at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Manhattan, I’m on the phone all day long. The implant has been a wonderful gift.”

Pollick, 43 and deaf since birth, lives in Washington with her husband and two young children, all with normal hearing. Her deaf parents determined that she learn to speak, got her a hearing aid at 6 months along with years of auditory therapy. A graduate of New York’s prestigious Stuyvesant High School and Wesleyan University, Pollick was in graduate school researching primate vocalizations when she got a cochlear implant.

She told me, “The earlier you get the implant, the more successful it is because the more auditory input the brain gets at an early age, the better the auditory skills you will develop.”

Still, many deaf people resist the current technology and insist that children with a profound hearing loss should learn only sign language. They reject the idea that deafness needs to be corrected. But, as Madell points out, only 0.1 per cent of the population knows sign language, and 95 per cent of deaf children are born to hearing parents, who then have to spend a long time learning to sign, during a period when children are normally learning to speak.

AI: How machines help us all?



The only issue we can see is that AI will be programmed by the unintelligent.   Personally what deaf person wants to spend time talking to a box of electronics? especially a USA one that has rather dubious knowledge of basic English... or the obscurity of signed 'English' grammar.  Let's not even start regarding regional/national differences...  The best use of technology would be to overcome hearing loss altogether.

Artificial intelligence often leads to speculation about how machines may displace workers. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella thinks we should talk more about how AI algorithms can expand the workforce now—by helping people with disabilities. 

“There are a billion people in the world who don’t fully participate in our economies or societies,” Nadella said, at the WIRED25 Summit in San Francisco. “Technology can allow them to fully participate.” Nadella, a WIRED25 Icon, nominated Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Microsoft’s chief accessibility officer, as someone who will shape the next 25 years of technology. 

Lay-Flurrie was born hearing-impaired, and is now profoundly deaf. She described a Microsoft research project that created a plugin for PowerPoint that can automatically add closed captions during a presentation, by transcribing a speaker’s words. People in the audience can choose to see those captions in their language of choice, thanks to Microsoft’s automated translation technology. “Artificial intelligence is going to just open up so many doors to us all,” said Lay-Flurrie. 

She was accompanied by a sign language translator who helps her understand what people around her are saying, so that Lay-Flurrie can respond with her own voice. She said automatic captioning is one example of how AI technology could help more people into the workforce. Another is software that can translate sign language to help hearing and non-hearing people communicate more naturally, she said. The unemployment rate of people with disabilities is roughly twice that for the rest of the population, Lay-Flurrie said. 

Monday, 15 October 2018

Captions for Hearing.

Aviva and Roger Voice...

Eugenics


Professor John Rasko AO wearing suit and standing in front of blue background.
Coming from an area of the world that leads the way in Cochlear Implantation.  You won't find many who support deliberately disabling a child for 'cultural' reasons, it's on par with genital mutilation and such which are equally abominable.  

I want my child deaf because I am?  Selfish.  Of course, the factual, omission of CHOICE is reprehensible in this article.  Parents don't choose disability as an option it occurs for many reasons and so far few cures in the womb for most.  No parent wants a disabled child to satisfy someone else's lifestyles, they want the best for that child.  Women all over the world (even deaf ones!), take supplements and medical care to ensure lesser chances of a child being born disabled or ill.  They are the ones who nurture and provide for it.  

It's hypocritical to state I want a deaf child, but I don't want a disabled one. If that 'best' is hearing they will go for it but no-one can offer that.  This is all emotive not subjective.  The propagation of deafness is an assault on the majority of hearing loss fighting its effects daily.  Just so a minority of deaf can self-perpetuate their own experience.  That doesn't suggest it is the best interests of the child at all.

The Item:

"There's great concern that eugenics has returned — by the back door," he says. "When pregnant women and their partners take up the option of prenatal testing, there is an inbuilt expectation that they'll end the pregnancy if Down syndrome is diagnosed. "The pressure is even greater on people who use IVF …some IVF clinics simply won't allow the implantation of an embryo with genetic abnormalities." The flipside of prenatal screening Prenatal screening may reduce disease and disability, but it also carries sinister implications. 

As Professor Rasko points out, the idealisation of a disease-free future implies a negative attitude towards people living today with Down syndrome and other genetic conditions. "Not all genetic disorders bring great suffering or hardship; some people even regard their genetic condition as an asset," he says. "For instance, not all people born with deafness consider themselves disabled — they're proud to be part of a deaf community, with its own language, culture and identity." 

Some IVF clinics will only implant embryos that "pass" genetic tests.  It's for this reason, Professor Rasko says, that some members of the deaf community have demanded the right to use prenatal testing and IVF to select in favour of deafness. "They want their children to be like them — part of the deaf community," he explains. "They argue that, if those with hearing are allowed to discard 'deaf embryos', then they should be allowed to discard 'hearing embryos'. "What strikes me is that these deaf activists aren't trying to shut the eugenics 'backdoor', so much as make it swing in the other direction." 

Sunday, 14 October 2018

8 tools to reduce the stigma of hearing loss.

Image result for own it!
Stigma exists in your external environment, but it can also manifest from inside of you in the messages that you tell yourself. Consider making changes in your life to reduce stigma by committing to at least one of the following tools:

Tool #1: Take responsibility for your hearing loss. Accept your hearing loss and resist the urge to deny it. In most cases, your hearing loss is not the secret you think it is. Commit to wearing your hearing aids or cochlear implant(s) every day to hear better. Visit your audiologist for adjustments to ensure that your devices are working well.

Tool #2: Create and adopt new messages about your hearing loss. Get a better understanding of how internal and/or external stigma manifests in your life. Determine which voices in your head belong to you—and which ones belong to other people. Focus on what you can control. If you feel “less” because of your hearing loss, alter the message that you tell yourself by changing “I can't” statements to “I can.” Accept that the hearing loss is one part of you but it's not all of who you are.

Tool #3: Make a list of difficult listening situations. Reflect on each day of the week and make a list of challenging listening situations organized by home, work, and public places. Be specific and note what you're feeling—-uncomfortable, vulnerable, embarrassed, or ashamed. If a situation triggers an unhappy memory from the past, add the memory to your list.

Tool #4: Plan how to talk about your hearing loss. If your hearing aid or cochlear implant is visible, your hearing loss is probably not a secret. If your device is not visible, other people such as your family, friends, and co-workers might not know about your challenges with hearing clearly. In either situation, it takes courage to accept your hearing loss and no small amount of bravery to talk about it. Plan what you want to say. Consider practising out loud with someone you trust.

Tool #5: Ask for accommodations. Technology is ever-changing. Educate yourself about the range of assistive listening devices so that you can identify and request the appropriate technology and accommodations that you need. People in your life may not know what is available or appropriate for your condition. Become the expert, then ask. Learn about not only technical solutions but also non-technical strategies like note-taking buddies at work.

Tool #6: Communicate effectively and comfortably. How you handle your hearing loss will have a direct impact on the people you closely and regularly interact with. Teach the people in your life how to best communicate with you so that you can hear clearly. For example, remind them to face you when they speak. Your hearing difficulties can be as new and challenging for them as they are for you. Ask speakers to repeat their point in a different way. Remember that humour goes a long way to increase comfort for everyone.

Tool #7: Set realistic and meaningful goals. Living well with hearing loss requires change and adaptability. Change happens slowly and requires commitment. Don't take on more than is reasonable and consider your other responsibilities. However, make a commitment to a meaningful and achievable goal to reduce the effects of stigma on your life.

Tool #8: Connect with other people with hearing loss. The challenges of living with hearing loss and ways to overcome them are known best by those who live with it. Consider participating in online forums and connecting with local hearing loss advocacy groups and events to meet people who “get it” (e.g., AG Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Association of Late-Deafened Adults, Hands & Voices, Hearing Health Foundation, and Hearing Loss Association of America, among others). Engaging in these communities and events can help you be yourself and learn from others who understand the impact of living with hearing loss.

The end of deaf sport too?



UK's welfare arm the DWP, to penalise deaf and disabled who participate in sports because it suggests they aren't needing welfare.  We know at the London Olympics, DWP staff were photographing/recording Paralympian participators to see if they could withdraw support to them.  What price Deaflympics?

Did you sign it? Or not?

Image result for standing up to be countedDiscussion on the UK's AOHL site regarding concerns many charities are signing non-critical clauses of state welfare decisions and Ministers, [The 'gagging clause], allegedly to avoid the state cutting their funding, blackmail. Today the majority of UK charities are being coy about declaring one way or the other. The AOHL were asked DID they sign such a clause too?

First response:

"Action on Hearing Loss is a successful campaigning charity and we’ve never had any difficulty in terms of anyone stipulating what we can and cannot say or do in terms of our policy positions and activities. As the largest charity in the UK working for those with deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss, we are committed to representing our beneficiaries and supporters in the most effective way possible to stakeholders across society – including all government departments.  We consider it a vital part of our role to hold those in power to account on behalf of the 11 million people in the UK with some form of hearing loss. For example, when a cap was introduced by the DWP on Access to Work funding – something that would disproportionately affect British Sign Language users - Action on Hearing Loss not only vocally opposed this measure, but worked effectively with other stakeholders and the DWP to have the cap significantly raised."

ATR:

"But has AOHL signed a no criticism clause?  We still feel you are too close to the corridors of power to remain forefront in attacking state policies towards the deaf and Hard of hearing, We want to see cooperation withdrawn by AOHL from the systems that assault our disablement.  1,000s have lost support and financial aid, and many have the fact they can't hear called into question daily.    We tend to look at the UK's largest hearing loss charity to be prominent in snapping at the heels of politicians and the state who are attacking us daily with no comeback.  I'd like to see AOHL drop the 'support' angle and become a champion of our rights instead.  

I do think ear wax and hearing aid batteries are an irrelevance in the scheme of things.  As it stands it is a self-perpetuating reliance in operation and trivialising the real cause of the issue.  Our support is a legal right, it doesn't need charity to underpin it, we want charities more proactive in putting our case. training professionals in advance, and utilising legal power to fight back.   If AOHL can't or won't do it, we are lost because as individuals we cannot succeed.  The AtW area was/is a shambles whereby it costs 3 times a paid wage to actually do part-time work and it appears the main claimants are just a few lucky people in the (BSL) arts areas.  A new way of empowering deaf and HoH to work is needed. 

As AOHL said itself employers and co-staff alike treat us like village idiots.  We are under assault from many directions and it needs the UK's largest charity to stand up and say enough is enough.  It's NOT enough to add your name to someone's petition etc, you have to lead.  Anyone can sign a petition and anyone can say we empathise, but that alone does not mean anything actually happens.  It's the lazy way to avoid standing up to be counted."

Defeating deafness.



Hearing again after 40 years...

Deaf Children: Look who's talking too!


Sign Language tours of artwork on London Underground for Deaf Awareness Week
These inspirational children defied the odds by learning how to speak after being diagnosed as profoundly deaf when they were just a few weeks old. 

Four-year-old Mia Basma-Saffiedine, from Barnet, and eight-year-old Hope Dennis, from Primrose Hill, were both diagnosed as deaf when they were less than a month old. Hope, who in 2011 became one of the youngest babies to undergo bilateral cochlear implant surgery at just nine months old, was diagnosed three weeks after her birth. 

Now eight years old, Hope has defied the odds by learning how to speak. In 2016, she even told her story to an audience of MPs, experts in hearing and language and sports stars in Westminster. Mum Becky said: “We are unbelievably proud of all that she continues to achieve and the way she shatters stereotypes about the life a deaf child can lead with the right support and intervention.” 

Four-year-old Mia was also diagnosed at just three weeks old. Her mum Rayan, who is also deaf, desperately sought out options to give her daughter the experiences she had missed out on. Mia was fitted with cochlear implants at 11 months old and was “switched on” just before her first birthday – a month after her devoted mum was fitted with implants herself. Ms Basma-Saffiedine said: “I feel so fortunate to be able to give my daughter this crucial opportunity to train her mind to listen in such a natural, fun and creative way.”