Saturday, 24 November 2018

Exmouth: Wear a silly jumper for the deaf academy.

Jack and Fred get ready for the Deaf Academy Christmas Jumper Day. Picture: Dave Wellbeloved.
Do readers think begging for funds for deaf education is a POSITIVE?  

Cannot help going back to children in need telethon where deaf groups refused to participate in begging or fundraising for the deaf.  Today deaf groups are queuing up for handouts, so what price 'Deaf pride'?

Exmouth urged to get their Christmas jumpers on for town’s new deaf academy  People are being urged to pull on their best festive jumpers to raise funds for a new deaf academy being built in the town. Share article from on facebook Tweet article from Share article from on Google Pluspost article from on reddit email article from The new building is currently under construction and the doors are scheduled to open for new deaf students in 2020. 

Academy fundraising bosses are now asking residents in Exmouth to wear their best Christmas jumper to work and then make a donation of at least £2 towards the new build. Those taking part will help kit out a residential bedroom on the site and equip a specialist classroom. Sarah Shaw, new deaf academy appeal manager, said: “It’s our seasonal challenge to local businesses and I really hope that they get their jumpers on and support us.” 

Friday, 23 November 2018

Schoolgirl wins Auditory Award.

Camden schoolgirl Lily Conlan won a prestigious 'Community Spirit' award for her deafness awareness campaigning. Picture: Angela Conlan
Camden schoolgirl and deafness campaigner Lily Conlan capped a remarkable year by beating off competition from all over the country win a prestigious charity award.

The seven-year-old won a public vote to nab the ‘Community Spirit’ prize at a glitzy gala ceremony held in Gateshead by the charity Signature, who try to recognise people who are going above and beyond to improve access for deaf people. 

Lily’s mum, Angela, said they had a great night out in the north-east. She added: “I could not be more proud! We are absolutely over the moon that she has been recognised for all her hard work helping others, inspiring determination and raising deaf awareness.” Lily hit the headlines earlier this year when she starred in a fundraising video for the charity Auditory Verbal UK. 

The Kings Cross Academy pupil herself has hearing difficulties, but having had a cochlear implant which markedly improved her quality of life, she has been trying to give back. Lindsay Foster, Signature’s executive director, said “With over 3000 votes, it was by far the biggest and most exciting competition that the Signature Annual Awards has ever seen. 

Lily’s story is both inspirational and unique.”

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Your Health

A letter to New Zealand Deaf.

Image result for New zealand deaf maori"You cannot legislate empathy, understanding, or respect. It has to come from the person not via penal threat. I always tell people the answer lies with them not the law. 

The Uk has 4 major discrimination and equality laws and the Human Rights one in the UK, but, there is no WILL by the people to make a real effort themselves, so we end up as 'protagonists' threatening people with the law unless they care, not on is it? 

The way UK equality laws work is on an individual basis i.e. you can fight your corner, maybe win, but it won't mean all the rest in the same situation as you are, will win too. Divide and rule combined with individual or collective right aspirations make inclusion near impossible.  'Each according to need' meant we disabled ourselves as any sort of united community with a common aim.  We were sold a pup because we did not read the small print and some areas who had own agenda anyway.

Of course, individual success removes the effectiveness of the law, and the UK government removed any right to free legal representation, so unless you have the financial wherewithal to fight your corner, you couldn't even launch a case. I know a bit about NZ deaf issues and they tend to concentrate on the language and the culture, more than the access and equality thing, and both areas seem at odds with each other, so it is in the UK and the USA. The primary result is some sort of 'in-house', glorified isolation really, lauded as recognising 'difference'. 

The world is full of different people, but most not living with, working with, or respecting each other much.  In celebrating difference, they remain segregated and justify that, apart from the real majority who turn on hearing mainstream and claim THEY are keeping them isolated, it's that or they turn on the cultural area instead for working against them.  There are all sorts of 'in-house' attacks on each other's stance. I don't think many have the in-depth knowledge, real will, or direction, to gain real equality or acceptance, its all some sort of 'parallel universal' approach, which is still isolation and non-inclusion no matter how it is sold. 

You cannot attain inclusion via stand-alone approaches and just attacking others for not recognising that! If it quacks it really is a duck.  NZ deaf aren't getting a fair go either. I've done a few blogs on NZ and OZ, and have videos and books re NZ sign language (Which appears a mix of ASL/BSL, and local signs with Auslan), sadly they fall into the same trap of leading with the term 'deaf' thus establishing at the start what area and aims they are going for, and that may well not be including deaf with other views, type of access, cultural disagreement, or including the HoH at all except as an afterthought when reminded everyone has the same right of access and funding reflects that.  

They are about where USA and UK deaf were 15years ago, take it from ATR you really do not want to follow those leads, they aren't working out if your aim is inclusion and real equality and acceptance.  The US approach is to sue their way to equality, the UK only in self-interest and fragmented approaches, we've not seen any unity of view here, all we did was sell Deafhood to the Americans because we could make no sense of it, i.e. apart from Scotland which appears to be firm in the belief the law will provide, what the people will not, despite no success with the laws they already have."

More captions for the Arts.

Les Miserables at the QueeĆ¢€™s Theatre will make use of live captions (Ian West/PA)
My spell checker worked overtime on this one!  I hope they aren't doing the captions.  One piece of reality seems to be missing, even WITH captioning only those living within commute distance can access the arts anyway.  

E.G. Predominantly, 'Deaf arts' is about sign language and lacks hearing-impaired relevance or appeal and the issue of Deaf not wanting captions online as access, still isn't resolved either which makes youtube access etc difficult and solitary re the arts.  Why 'deaf audiences' ? should it not read 'access for those with hearing loss?'  A Freudian slip, or the tale of the real tape?

A campaign to give deaf audiences greater access to the arts Campaigners are pushing for greater use of live caption technology in a series of live performances. Les Miserables at the Queen's Theatre will make use of live captions (Ian West/PA).

Campaigners are calling for theatres, museums and galleries across the country to give deaf and hard of hearing audiences access to the “passion of the arts”. There are calls for more venues to provide captions for around 11 million hearing-impaired people in the UK, and a series of subtitled and captioned events is being held to promote greater accessibility. 

Caption Awareness Week sees shows such as Mamma Mia and Les Miserables make use of live captions which give hearing impaired audiences greater enjoyment of the arts, with text displayed live throughout the performances. 

Melanie Sharpe is CEO of Stagetext, a charity which is leading the campaign to make arts events more accessible to the hearing impaired. She said: “By unifying arts venues and caption users from around the country, Stagetext hopes to bring to life the passion and excitement of the arts to many more people. “Around 11 million people in the UK have hearing loss and we want to make sure that they still have access to the breadth of theatrical and cultural experiences on offer.

“Through Captioning Awareness Week we hope to shine a spotlight on the variety of different events and experiences that are available, so that audience members with hearing loss, or people who miss a word here and there can have their theatrical and cultural experiences transformed.” The campaign is running from November 12 to 18, and venues across the country will make use of live caption technology to offer running subtitles during performances. 

Campaigners want the technology to be incorporated into more shows, and for great information to be provided in galleries and museums for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Sharpe said: “Although the Captioning Awareness Week is a celebration, it is also a reminder of how much further we need to come to ensure that large sections of society aren’t excluded from something that many of us take for granted.” The first event of the campaign week will be Measure For Measure, played at the Donmar Warehouse in London. 

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Deaf Gamers angry at lack of subtitles...

Image result for spyro
Activision's Spyro remake only launched last Friday, but it's already done the business for the publisher, rocking to the top of this week's UK video game charts. However, while there's much to praise about the three-game collection, it's currently the target of heavy criticism regarding its omission of a standard accessibility feature for deaf and hard of hearing players: subtitles.

While Spyro does include on-screen text for its in-game conversations, fans began to report over the weekend that subtitles are not present in any of the games' pre-rendered cutscenes. Criticism around the internet became intense enough to elicit a response from Activision earlier today, albeit one that did little to alleviate the mood.

"When Toys For Bob set out to make an awesome game collection," an Activision spokesperson offered by way of explanation for Spyro's missing subtitles, "there were certain decisions that needed to be made throughout the process. The team remained committed to keep the integrity and legacy of Spyro that fans remembered intact."

Unsurprisingly, Activision's apparent admission that Spyro's missing subtitles were the result of a conscious decision rather than an oversight, combined with the rather bizarre attempt to seemingly claim that it deliberately omitted vital accessibility options in order to create a more authentic experience, didn't go down particularly well within the gaming community.

Deaf Boy reacts to Makaton TV show.

Monday, 19 November 2018

USA new ASL Emoji's

American sign emojis. Signily  is an Emoji-Style Sign Language Keyboard for iOS By Becca Caddy on 07 Aug 2015 at 3:00PM Signily is a sign language keyboard app. 

So instead of switching to a keyboard to communicate with sassy ladies and dancing girls, you can use official sign language handshapes, whether you're fluent in sign language or just a beginner. There are some similar apps on the market, but Signily is the most diverse with a huge range of skin colours available for each and every handshape. 

According to Signily, the app has been built for three different kinds of people, beginner, intermediate and advanced. The beginner is for those who don't know much about signing already and they can use the keyboard in a QWERTY setting in order to learn more. The intermediate people will be turning to Signily for a way to chat with friends who use sign language and to learn quicker. 

And the advanced users may already be fluent in signing so would be using the app to put together handshapes, play on signs and use the keyboard in any way they like! All money made from the app goes towards ASLized's emoji project, which wants to integrate official sign language handshapes into Unicode and get them approved by the Unicode Consortium. 

Signily is only available for iOS devices at the moment, but according to the app's website, it'll be available on Android mobiles and tablets soon.

Hearing aids can slow dementia...

Hearing aids keep people more socially involved which keeps the brain active
Sorry, not much positive for those still relying on sign language except that it slows down arthritis in some people.

Wearing a hearing aid can slow the progress of dementia by up to 75 per cent, according to a new study. Scientists believe that keeping older people engaged and active by adopting the devices can significantly reduce age-related cognitive decline. They followed the progress of 2,040 individuals between 1996 and 2014, asking them to complete word memory tests at various stages and monitoring the rate of decline before and after getting a hearing aid. 

The research team found that while the aids did not halt or reverse cognitive decline, they slowed it down by three-quarters, meanwhile, in a separate group of 2,068 who underwent cataract surgery, decline slowed by around half.  The team at the University of Manchester said the strength of the association between hearing aids, cataract surgery and mental deterioration meant policymakers should consider hearing and sight loss screening for all older adults.

Dr Piers Dawes said: "These studies underline just how important it is to overcome the barriers which deny people from accessing hearing and visual aids. "It's not really certain why hearing and visual problems have an impact on cognitive decline, but I'd guess that isolation, stigma and the resultant lack of physical activity that is linked to hearing and vision problems might have something to do with it. "And there are barriers to overcome - people might not want to wear hearing aids because of the stigma attached to wearing them, or they feel the amplification is not good enough or they're not comfortable.” 

The number of people in Britain suffering hearing problems will rise by 40 per cent by 2035 amid a rapidly ageing population, a charity has forecast. The charity Action on Hearing Loss believes the number of people suffering such difficulties will rise from one in six to one in five, as it called for more investment in treatment and research into hearing loss. 

Despite this, only £1.11 per person with hearing loss is spent researching potential cures, compared with £11.35 for every person with sight loss. 

Is your assistance dog really necessary?

Related image
Is there a need to redefine what 'assistance' is in terms of dogs for the deaf?  The USA can define such animals as 'emotional support', but the UK defines then as living alert systems, but near all alert systems deaf need can be provided without the need for an animal, so should hearing dogs for the deaf be defined as 'emotional support' too?  [We rather fear readers won't look any further than the picture...] And that's 80% of the issue.

The USA Definition reads as:-

"Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person's disability. 

Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA."

Whilst the UK definition is far looser with its description and doesn't mention emotional support:-

Hearing Dogs assist deaf and hard of hearing individuals by alerting them to a variety of household sounds such as a door knock or doorbell, alarm clock, oven buzzer, telephone, baby cry, name call or smoke alarm. Dogs are trained to make physical contact and lead their deaf partners to the source of the sound.

ATR Comment:

These animals may well be trained to do such things, but there are much cheaper technological assists and more effective alternatives the deaf can use that cost less than a tin of dog food. Pets are pets, and ignoring animal-loving Brits arguments as not relevant, we feel justifying a trained animal for the deaf as an alert, hasn't been proven valid. They aren't necessary to support the physical aspect of deafness. since nothing a dog does via alerting cannot be matched by technology.  There is an obvious pro-argument for support via deaf isolation or simply a love of animals and no one is debating differently..

It's misleading to suggest we deaf would not hear a doorbell without a dog, or a microwave ping, a letterbox, phone, etc. 990 dogs are out there in the UK over the last few years, approx 1 for every 10,000 deaf/HoH  the latter who appear to be the major area asking for such dogs.  This suggests  deaf just do not need dogs except as pets.  The old chestnut abpounds what use is a hearing dog alerting you to the front door when you still cannot converse with the people knocking on it?  Dogs are clever and very adept but their deaf skills are lacking somewhet as is their speech!  Again numerous iPhone and other visual systems can do that enabling, and do deaf really need an assistance dog to go out for a meal?

As we read, many restaurants and Taxi firms disagree and have objected to deaf bringing them, even accusing them of pretending to be blind, here, we suggest the law is not using the discrimination law for its intended purpose, primarily because no training is given for such animals in these respects.  There is a growing demand for proof the person with a dog is deaf and the dog is a legal trained one and not just your usual pet, so public and other service provision does not fall foul of health and safety laws.

The law is then failing to protect service providers  unsure on guidance rules. Many if not all UK restaurants ban dogs after 6-7pm for valid safety reasons. Is your dog really necessary as an alert?  It may be wanted, that isn't the same thing.

Signing can curb athritis?

KFC and the Deaf.

Deaf-blind PSA

Transcript: Jimmie: 

Hey there, my name is Jimmie, this is a Cal Poly Pomona news and here with me, I have Matthew on-site interviewing a student about the deaf-blind disability stay tuned and watch Matthew Casey: 

Hello everyone, my name is Matthew Casey and I am here with Ashley Woods a student at Cal Poly were trying to see what she knows about the deafblind community and the disability itself. I have with me Crystal Malveaux to provide some facts about this disability as well. So, Ashley tell me what you know about the deaf-blind disability? 

Ashley Wood: Some of the things that I heard about people who are deafblind is that they are either totally deaf or totally blind and they all have the same hearing capabilities. 

Crystal Malveaux: Well actually Ashley this is actually a common misconception about deafblind people there is a wide range of hearing losses and vision capabilities that have different effects on a persons with this disability this basically can range from a person that is blind can be classified under B1-B3, B3 being the worst and someone who is deaf can be classified under mild, severe, moderate, or even profound… profound being the worst meaning that basically they can have hearing in the left ear can be at 70% hearing and hearing in the right ear can be at 90%. 

Matthew Casey: Is there anything else you know about the deaf-blind disability? 

Ashely Wood: Another thing that I heard was that deafblind people are totally mute. 

Crystal Malveaux: Actually, Ashley this is wrong there are actually deaf and blind people that can speak very well and clearly. Yes, there are some that can be mute at times but that is because they are sensitive to different noises and things like that so, they are not able to hear the types of language coming from their mouth. 

Matthew Casey: So, Ashley, how do you think people become deaf-blind? Ashley Wood: I’m pretty sure it’s caused by genetics 

Crystal Malveaux Actually, Ashley there are a variety of things that can cause deaf-blindness. For example, it could be developed throughout age or it can be caused by genetics that can play a huge role in this condition like down syndrome or trisomia 13 and also can be caused by trauma like a blow to the head. 

Matthew Casey: So, as you can see there are various of stereotypes for those with deafblind disability and we are here just to provide some clarity. I would first like to thank Ashley Wood for taking the time to come to talk about the disability. And also, Crystal Malveaux to thank for coming to provide some facts about the disability

The Gift of Hearing...

A LEEDS girl who was profoundly deaf before cochlear implants transformed her life has travelled to Africa to help as her surgeons give more deaf children the gift of hearing. Georgia Green, 15, of Rawdon, was born completely deaf and could not hear or speak a word until after her first cochlear implant in her right ear when she was two-years-old. The operation was carried out at Bradford Royal Infirmary by surgeon Christopher Raine. 

At five-years-old, Georgia had a second cochlear implant in her left ear in an operation performed by surgeon David Strachan. ADVERTISING Georgia and her mother Sam travelled to Malawi at the weekend with Mr Strachan and Mr Raine, who will carry out cochlear implants during the 12-day trip on children who have lost their hearing due to illness or disease. 

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Adjusting your iOS system (for the hearing impaired)

The Apostles of Silence..

Image result for SIlence!Which includes not only born deaf but acquired and deafened people too.  The sorry state of ASL extremists with their relentless attacks on A.G.Bell etc looks like clouding the futures and undermining deaf options for the future.  

The UK has its loony fringes too but they tend to be a lot more cynical about it, practicality means making it pay. Curiously the UK's solitary oral deaf school is leading the fight on silence because once many students leave school they use their obvious oral advantages and superior education to run the lesser able BSL area.  Thus proving in the land of the deaf the one-eared king (Or more able lip-reader), still rules.  But many with better oral skills are rejecting sign language and its promotion too... 

"My voice is a curse, it's meant communication support is refused to me unless I use sign language.   Nobody believes I am deaf most of the time because 'The deaf can't talk..' view is paramount everywhere and promoted as the image of deaf people and all sign language awareness and tuition is based on the deaf being dumb.  They don't use speech in UK sign classwork because cultists objected.  BSL classes now being replaced by 'cultural seminars' with sign thrown in for a price.

It's no use stating they are talking about 'D deaf' not 'd deaf', or any other deaf, because they have no idea what that means, they see deaf people signing with a terp and a lot of 'face pulling' without speech, so assume we are all like that, when it isn't even representative of their area.  The images on USA media where ASL terps are more prominent than the officials they interpret for, is a false image too, as most refer to the text not the sign.  Recent concerns terps were displaying own political views in the UK, with very exaggerated faces and others who are aiming to be in some 'X-Factor' situation amongst the Deaf is a problem in that the reliance on it being neutral or even accurate interpretation is becoming a real issue.

The reliance of Deaf on interpreters needs much stronger and stringent monitoring. Anyone with a hearing background can see huge gaps in the interpretation of sign accuracy to the spoken reality, and detail goes by the board mostly because the user switches off mainly because they lack the signing skills to follow it.  Level VI BSL skills aimed at Level II deaf means too many corners are cut. The signing standard with deaf people just isn't good enough to maximise its usage.   Even then they will find co-workers and a host of others in the mainstream, who don't sign at all and won't enable translation.

The fact these deaf leave a deaf school and then no longer pursue own signing skills is a norm too.  Hearing have to train,  re-train, and train again through their working life, Deaf stand still waiting for .... What exactly? I have no idea what this recent drive of sign and community or culture is about, it maybe alludes to some 'cultist' approach to hearing loss, some sort of justification for sign not being able to cut it where it is needed.  Most of it is about money really, you can 'sell' sign language, you cannot sell hearing loss but that has made many issues of access and equality for those not born with the silver spoon of sign in their mouths or even those who are hard of hearing.

Many oral deaf can sign, it's no big deal, but most know its value is limited in a hearing world they have to live in, so common sense suggests it should be recognised for what it is, a form of 'social communication' within strict parameters of usage that is a hindrance to deaf advancement.  The reality most signers rely on captions and subtitling clouds the whole thing, take the text away they would struggle, as would we all.  The cultural answer is to relentlessly promote language/bilingualism, deafhood, oppose text assists, and medical intervention, to adopt the sheer joy of being out of it all and all deaf together, which usually means most not in a job or anything, isolated, and limited to social areas where everyone else is as deprived as you are.

If that is culture and sold as it is the reality, one wonders how many would carry on with it.  The answer is to blame hearing for not being deaf and signing too, yay! a whole new area of martyrs then rally to the cause and paranoia reigns supreme.  The D becomes discrimination. More power to the bent elbow with help from the law, so, why has it NOT led to any improvement?  

The 98.6% of those with hearing loss have mostly left them to it and adopted technology alternatives, which is a mistake because they carry on unchallenged and mislead with blatant self-promotion.  Technology supports solitary pursuits too so we are all going to hell in a  handcart.  As regards TO oral deaf support, the UK hasn't any system, which only tends to aid those who laud silence.  You just get BSL offered even if you cannot use it, want it, or know it.

They should come to my area where systems are falling over themselves to offer me something I don't want anyway (BSL), which tends to refute the claims deaf people AREN'T getting BSL support, take mine..  PLEASE!  But replace it with an oral support system instead.  It's astounding in the 21stc there isn't such a system for what is the overwhelming majority."