Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Post it? Lose it? get Spammed instead.

One result of a recent search: Only 24 UK deaf links today, but just THREE of them concerned the UK itself.  Can youtube posters please remember adding the 'deaf/sign/culture or hearing loss' tags will NOT mean it can be located by UK deaf viewers?  Not even adding 'UK' will guarantee it relates to them.  UK output is too small to 'compete' with the rest of the world.

On 3 other google search options requesting a 'British' deaf search, less that 2.5% actually referred to the UK and it is suspected Google is prioritising ASL unfairly with blanket priority.    Deaf posters need to remember that tags have to be specific, not, general, or they will get lost and remain unseen as the USA and India, and other areas swamp online with their output, its no cast-iron guarantee but could make searching easier.  It would be an idea for us all to agree on a specific set of tags to make things easier for deaf and HoH online. 

Deaf, deaf, sign language and hearing loss, being no longer applicable. It would appear British posters accept nobody IN the UK is going to see what they produce anyway so the output is rapidly diminishing youtube - wise.  UK Deaf are moving to FB where site owners can weed out youtube posts we do not want but are becoming insular as a result.

Requests for Google to address the inequality of tagged posts are being ignored, even Google stating they cannot make tags work themselves, as the leading 'deaf' posts this year were mooted as 'slime' and gardening ads, (Followed closely by disgusting promotions of ear wax removal).  It's clear the algorithm Google is using cannot effectively direct the deaf and loss community to its own output as even omitting the tags is being abused by advertisers (And worse!),  to target the deaf with all manner of irrelevant postings, as advertising is more important to Google than us knowing what other deaf are doing.  

At one point last year a weekly search showed us 680 in one week with only 9 that actually pertained TO our sector.  NO amount of tag search variation made much difference.  Advertisers were using the deaf tags to promote own services and goods.  What we need to do is aggregate our output and stop posts being displayed that do not contain deaf or loss relevance, if Google cannot control it then we must.

Mainstream to achieve Parity?

Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan
Probably the story of the year where equal rights success, created huge inequalities and discrimination as a direct result, and why there is a need to re-write the human rights laws in the UK so EVERYONE gets the same deal.   Have minority campaigns created more inequality?  E.G, has cultural promotion created discrimination at deaf support?  Was support redefined to prioritise certain areas of hearing loss instead of treating all need as that same priority?  Did specialisation create an elite?

Article: Thousands of heterosexual couples in England and Wales are expected to enter into civil partnerships later today. The unions will take place after a long legal battle against the law, which had only permitted same-sex couples to become civil partners. 

The partnerships offer almost identical rights as marriage, including property, inheritance and tax entitlements. Approximately 84,000 mixed-sex couples could become civil partners next year, the government has estimated. The changes come after heterosexual couple Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan won their legal bid at the Supreme Court in 2018 for the right to have a civil partnership instead of a marriage. As a result, rules were changed to extend civil partnerships - available to same-sex couples since 2005 - to everyone. 

Monday, 30 December 2019

Assistive Technologies.

7 of the Best Tech for the Impaired
"Assistive technology: items designed specifically to help people with vision loss or other disabilities, including everything from screen readers for blind individuals or screen magnifiers for low-vision computer users, video magnifiers and other devices for reading and writing with low vision, to braille watches, (blind charity)."

What are some examples of assistive technology? We have already touched on some examples above, but other examples include, but are not limited to: - 

Mobility aids, such as wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, canes, crutches, prosthetic devices, and orthotic devices. Hearing aids to help people hear or hear more clearly. Cognitive aids, including computer or electrical assistive devices, to help people with memory, attention, or other challenges in their thinking skills. 

Computer software and hardware, such as voice recognition programs, screen readers, and screen enlargement applications, to help people with mobility and sensory impairments use computers and mobile devices. 

Tools such as automatic page-turners, book holders and adapted pencil grips to help learners with disabilities participate in educational activities. 

Closed captioning to allow people with hearing problems to watch movies, television programs, and other digital media. 

Physical modifications in the built environment, including ramps, grab bars, and wider doorways to enable access to buildings, businesses, and workplaces. 

Lightweight, high-performance mobile devices that enable persons with disabilities to play sports and be physically active. 

Adaptive switches and utensils to allow those with limited motor skills to eat, play games, and accomplish other activities. 

Devices and features of devices to help perform tasks such as cooking, dressing, and grooming; specialized handles and grips, devices that extend reach, and lights on telephones and doorbells are a few examples.

12m missing.

Image result for the invisible disabilityCovering the latest pre-emptive campaign by the UK's largest hearing loss charity the AOHL, currently re-branding' itself again to hide the fact they are losing ground and funding.  That make the leading TWO charities in the UK the BDA and AOHL struggling to stay solvent.  The AOHL are going all out to retain hearing and prevent deafness as averse to offering help to those for whom it is already too late and far too expensive to support.  Again there is the dramatic declaration of the UK's '12 million with hearing loss' being promoted with more zeal than usual.  Social media realists not entirely convinced.

"12m with loss and less than a few 1,000 getting real support? Should not AOHL just be using the statistic of people who NEED support and have presented to systems as such? or the 12m stat is hearsay.   The statistic appears to have been taken from NHS records, but the NHS does NOT define a need, just notes the clinical element of loss, which can be slight, moderate, or profound and as we all know, that doesn't determine the db effectiveness or the effect of it.  E.G. there are people with loss all their life who never present a need for help with it, others who suffer trauma and never get over it, and presumably, the millions in-between with own issues, that doesn't include 'Deaf' areas who insist the only problem is everyone else.  There are many have hearing loss but only a small percentage (according to the health and welfare systems), who actually present it as a NEED (as regards to needing help)."

"I'd like to see AOHL asking the question of why 98% are not presenting at all the fact their hearing loss needs help? haven't seen that area asking the AOHL to do it for them?  As with the BDA and others, there is a charitable need to promote huge figures to engender funding and to highlight the issue, but it just looks like 'think of a number' to me and most claims are unresearched because it isn't possible to do that. One pundit suggests promoting the positives has meant joe public thinks the help isn't now required, only misery gets empathy (And funds), which suggests a spectacular own goal for those who demanded rights. "

"My local deaf area said 300 deaf needed help, the social services said only 15 had presented to them as an issue and near all were sign using, their records were 19yrs old, so could not show who was (A) Still alive (B) Still lived in their area, or even (C) Were still receiving help.  The way support is for deaf people is that welfare systems no longer support them anyway via deafness as they can ask for an interpreter, so 'welfare' or even 'need' is not listed as such.  Hoh know there is no support system for them and don't ask."

"I don't challenge health stats but they are not needs-based are they? (unless demand is actually shown). AOHL is assuming that need (And voice), for them, isn't it? If 12m were really needing help we would all know about it!  Systems then decide there is no base for such support, it's 'unproven', their records won't equate with the AOHL's or the BDA's of this world."

Note: ATR asked via an FOI request and they closed it down via the Data Protection Act, this included the BDA, the AOHL, and the NHS), the DWP said no initially but then demand £600 a time for asking, even then said they didn't keep such definitive records.  

Charities are claiming they are exempt from responding to FOI's, which ATR challenged (given they were appealing for funding and quoting stats that nobody can prove, they were asking to get funds for an 'unproven' need area). The BDA went one more ridiculous mile and 'up-quoted' from 15K BSL deaf to 95,000+ in 2 years.  We asked where the epidemic was. We need to see valid facts and demand from proven areas, so we can challenge, we are all undone if/when we cannot prove it.  Charities appear to function on the basis tell a lie often enough it becomes an accepted truth of some kind, who can prove otherwise?

"Older people who consist of most with hearing loss are either ignored or don't presently need via hearing loss, only via health and age, so hearing loss then does not get listed as an issue that needs addressing by the largest sector with it.  Isolation and loneliness caused by loss get ignored as prime factors."

"The reality is when these 'older people' were younger support didn't exist so they got on with it best they could. Also, stigma was huge in their time so you kept quiet about it or got sent to some institution, even in the late 1950s and early 60s well within living memory."

"At late ages, the elderly cannot really be helped to obtain more effective means to communicate and learn, because habit and coping systems are too well established and cannot be changed or they have just given up. In essence, we are unable then to teach an old dog new tricks."

"The focused tuition is not really geared for them either, as e.g. LR classes cannot help them and sign classes are the domain of hearing people wanting to help deaf family or to work in the field of support not them."

"True, I never see HoH at a signing class or old people at a lip-reading one either, age areas divide that way too, so the young are reluctant to attend a class with pensioners in it, and want stand-alone systems."

"To really support people with hearing loss, day one is the time to start, not when you are 60! and we still are seeing contention regarding approaches there and division from rights areas, I just see more and more struggling basically, while 'empowerment' continues to do the exact opposite and divide so loudest voice wins."

"HoH have switched to technology hence why they never seem to campaign about need at all now. With elderly unable and young taking alternative approaches what progress can be made for the HoH? I've not seen a HoH campaign in many years."

ATR Comment: One wonders if support charities really do have any handle on the issue of awareness? or, what is needed in the way of support?  Online is NOT the domain of elderly either where most very dubious and singular awareness is 'explained' and campaigns run,  so the very people who need that support are not going to get it or see it are they?  

Deaf and hearing loss awareness has never worked its a completely random approach with bias, and the communication help and support is much the same, again excluding those who will most need it.  It's not taken seriously at all if the chaotic and silly class and support systems in use now are anything to go by.

Saturday, 28 December 2019

The story of Jesus in Sign

Will be interesting to see if the signing Jesus still 'cures' the disabled and makes the deaf hear lol.

Harper Beckham signs..

David and Harper Beckham
David Beckham has been praised by fans for sharing a 'ridiculously cute' video of Harper where she wishes merry Christmas in sign language. Albeit ASL isn't British sign.  Prepare to be underwhelmed.

The proud dad shared the sweet clip on his Instagram account, where the little girl is seen wishing people a merry Christmas in American Sign Language. Alongside it, he wrote, ‘I mean come on this is ridiculously cute and Harper wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas 🎄♥️ #ASL’. 

Many commented to praise the dad and daughter duo for raising awareness about the deaf community. One said, ‘I’m deaf. Brilliant sign 👌🏻 Merry Christmas to you and your family too ❤️❤️❤️’. Another wrote, ‘Awww so cute ! Thanks for spread all around the world everyone to know about our deaf community .😊😊’ 

The missing 'LINK'

As we grind on to yet another year, just what IS available for people losing hearing, and struggling with it?

This charity offers some sort of talk and linking up with other therapies to help us cope, but looks more like the off-shoot of lip-reading class systems where those who really can struggle to cope cannot access even that.  Talking requires hearing what is said, it's pretty basic a reality.  Do not confuse deafened with signers.  Their option is an operation 'maybe' or text.

I think it a mistake and really sad that LINK had to amalgamate to survive, and with so many losing all hearing still with no viable support in the UK.   Even more obscure it contains advice on how to hear, clearly suggesting they are part and parcel of the lip-reading fraternity who also only support those still with useful hearing, but with no advice when the aid and LR starts to fail.  

LINK originally had residential support in Eastbourne where you could take some family with you to work out the 'Next Step' the only one of its kind in all the UK after the national charities carried on with those who needed less support and more able to get funding for.  The plug was pulled because LA social services who were asked to foot the costs said no and tried to dump deafened on the health pros, charities, and welfare system instead, and they were just abandoned basically because a dedicated support system did not exist.  We will never know how many ended up in a hospital for mental health and breakdown, what you can be sure of is that their loss of hearing was never put down as a primary factor for it.

Image result for the scream
Now (As before), the deafened for want of a better description, just go downhill and wait vainly until it gets so bad clinical support steps in. There is no real advice when the issue of loss arises, no plan A, or Plan B either.  As regards to talking therapies, how do you do that when you cannot hear who is talking? You cannot go to either of the major charities like the AOHL or the BDA because they don't have the attitude or means to help deafened.   The deafened are either 'Deaf' or 'deaf' according to the abysmal blanket and adopted stat descriptions we read now defining everyone, so any area that does not exist.  As it doesn't 'exist' there is no demand seen to support it.

The BDA told deafened to 'come back when you can sign.', the AOHL said 'You need to see a social worker to hire us to help you, or get a CI or hearing aid..' displaying an appalling lack of loss awareness as deafened were already at the point where none of that was viable and were incurring mental health issues as well, where even that system was a joke and unviable FOR others, hearing AND the deaf, let alone those without a portfolio.

The deafened area (And Hard of hearing), exist via technological support, not people. They are 'in it' by proxy, but still isolated.   Where the 'Deaf' do whatever their thing is to cope and pretend that works, and isn't isolation, it's 'relative', and the fact none of that works without an army of interpreters and disability support networks etc, goes over the head........... The deafened have no such delusion to adopt. It's life but not as most of them know it.   Bring back LINK.  It is a false economy to let things slide, and in the end, the cost is far far more than if they offered the right support day one.

Thursday, 26 December 2019

Review of 2019

Related image
A few snippets of ATR output coverage this year, just a small example over 1200 blogs ATR has published this year, how many did YOU miss?   An overview is deaf and HoH awareness has failed again this year, BSL is still struggling, deaf charities are failing and closing,  and access and inclusion for deaf children and adults is even more of an issue than it was last year.  We are back in many respects to pre-rights act status. ATR this year also passed the 2 million viewer total at Deaf.Read, and 4.2 million overall, (Many thanks). Oh, and we dumped Europe too.

January 2019    AOHL reports a willingness to pay settlement fees for hearing staff from Europe.
                           UK NHS using under-age children of deaf as interpreters.
                            Challenges are made to hearing dogs for the deaf.
                            Poor responders kicked out of Facebook Groups.
                            Deaf and Disabled faking own awareness.
                            BSL activists attack coverage of Babies with CI's.
                            AOHL reported in Financial trouble,
                            Airline criticised for failing to write things down for deaf people.
                            Hearing parents landed with £6,000 bill to learn BSL.

February 2019.   New emojis contain CI's, Hearing aids, and disability icons. 
                             Deaf unemployed man's CV rejected over 1,000 times.
                             Blind dog owner attacked 6 times on the street.
                             Deaf to get more A2W funding, top rate now near £900 per week for BSL.
                             Half of the USA youth expected to go deaf.
                             Deaf reported as suffering 'Boarding School' syndrome.
                             USA deaf demand sign interpretation at funeral homes.
                             Role modelling questioned as biased and discriminatory.

March 2019.       Deaf Direct Funding was withdrawn.
                            New Welsh Sign Language app emerges.
                            100s more UK deaf children to get CI's,
                             New Signs created for deaf drug addicts and support workers.
                             World first for middle ear transplant.

April 2019.           Increase of deaf extremism and attacks recorded at medical research into 'cures'.
                              Deaf boy has 'greater IQ than Einstein'.
                              Deaf woman refused a job as a potential 'risk'.
                              Jehova Witness' step up the targetting of vulnerable deaf.
                              UK insists disabled aren't entitled to Human Rights.
                              Blind and Deaf humiliated for trying to claim Universal Credit.

May 2019.             USA deaf attack the 'Hearing Impaired' terminologies.
                              New Zealand deaf finally discovers 1880s Milan.
                              Hearing to be taught signing swear words deaf use.
June 2019.          Deaf hear through fingertips as 'Glove' technology emerges.  
                              UK Deaf to demand the return of professional Social Service support again.
                              Deaf students abandoning University courses through lack of support.
                              Now OK to call the disabled 'Disabled'.
                              A cure for Tinnitus mooted.
                              Inside Bali's deaf village.

July 2019.            Allegations of fraud at ELDS.
                              Cultural 'Hype' challenged.      
                              Cumbria Deaf charity in Crisis.
                              The gift of deafness.
                              Socal modelling questioned in the UK.
                              Deaf hate crime increases on Facebook.

August 2019.       Deaf children left behind in UK Education.
                              BDA in disarray as Trustees en mass leave.
                              Di Marco - Wrong and Biased?     
                              UK aged deaf 'too old' for support.
                              'Anti-Social HoH' clash with BSL users. 

September 2019. 1st deaf juror reported as 'untrue'.
                                W.I.T.S. Interpreters and relay involvement.
                                Audists defended.   
                                Lip-reading reported as virtually useless. 
                                GDA.  1919 - 2019.
                                BDA blanks member concerns and ignores their EGM request.

October 2019.       Trends in assistive technologies for the deaf.          
                                Terry Riley dies.
                                1 billion 'at risk' worldwide of going deaf.
                                UK discrimination against deaf is institutional.
                                Deaf couple wants deaf gene edited out of their child.

November 2019.    More UK cuts to deaf and blind support.
                                 Deaf man hoaxes bomb alerts at Super Bowl.
                                 NDCS  opposes immersive BSL approaches for deaf children.
                                 BDA states 'We don't want deaf who cannot sign as members.'
                                 Welsh Channels discriminate against the deaf.

December 2019.    'Is the deaf community worth saving'.
                                 Helping the deaf speak.
                                 'End of Deafness in sight' reported.
                                 The loneliness of the older deaf.
                                  Deaf MP refused support to stand.
                                  Does BSL actually exist?

Image result for ostrich head in the sand]Xmas Turkeys?  Two we think won it 'hands down'.

(1) The BBCs/BSL ancient and creaking 'SEE HEAR' program, publishing sheer bias since 1981, on TV under sufferance only, and have to threaten cultural discrimination to stay on screen, but the BBC moved them to the graveyard shift instead.  They still didn't get the message.

(2)  The British Deaf  Association, who blanked members, gagged and legally threatened them, then lost 8 trustees in quick succession, still claiming to be the only BSL and cultural charity around, but struggling to get any deaf to join it and in debt.  Now with new trustless but expect nothing at all to change except a few new faces preaching the same old rubbish. Avoid it at all costs.

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Does BSL exist?

Image result for BSL dictionary 1992Some social media responses cast doubt on it.

"The fact is that British Sign Language was invented by a team of academics. Some of them were awarded OBE's for their work. I know this because I went to school with some of them. You need to distinguish between sign language, which probably goes back to the cave men and British Sign Language which was invented at the end of the last century. Why did this happen? Well because the UK contains many local versions of sign language. The signs used in, say Cornwall were nothing like the ones used in Newcastle.

This didn't really matter much in the old days because schools were using their own local signs and it wasn't until deaf people started to travel more that the differences in signs became apparent. I remember that some of the signs used in one place were quite rude when used in another place. This gave rise to some unfortunate misunderstandings.

So that is why a number of interested parties got together and wrote a standardised form of sign which would be used throughout the UK. They didn't suppress the local signs but many of them were changed to become the equivalent in BSL.

The BDA were very involved in all this and ever since they have become pretty much the guardians and mentors of British Sign Language. They always refer to it as BSL because the old local signs are still out there being used by an older generation. At the moment BSL is said to have a vocabulary of about 35,000 words. That is not very many by the standards used for other languages but it is being added to all the time.

Of course we fingerspell anything we don't have a sign for and that doesn't count as vocabulary! But the fact is that BSL is developing, people have had to invent signs for computer, hard drive, mouse and so on, things which did not exist until the 1980's.

Now we are moving into space travel so of course a new vocabulary is needed to describe it. We need signs to describe things like light years and gas clouds, these will be common terms in the future.  It is hardly practical to fingerspell "module multiple locking mechanism". Easier to just have a sign that means module lock."

"Yes the myth BSL it is some centuries-old British signed form just isn't true.    It came out in 1992 c/o Durham Uni in official printed form mainly because sign language remained unrecognised without a dictionary reference to it.

I have an old VHS video from Durham pre that and it wasn't called BSL in 1990 because there was too much regional variance, Wales e.g. had a difference of near 46% to England.  The welsh alphabet (ABC), in sign is also different to the 'BSL' one as in fact are English signs for numbers etc different, so is BSL 'British' or an attempt to kill off the regional difference to create a 'norm'?

Having re-read recently the first 'BSL' dictionary it is pretty clear the compilers ran out of signs halfway through and there were numerous claims many were invented to fill space up after grassroots complained about them being non-extant.  There, we saw the same claims coming forward the language was 'changing' and 'evolving' too.  The plural sign did not exist e.g. deaf just repeating the singular form, 'Faster' was translated as the  'fast' sign used multiple times. Bingo, another 600+ signs were suddenly included.  Scientific signs also do not really exist with one deaf scientist claiming this year he has had to create his own.  

Areas like genetics currently defy signing explanation.  In the academic area, BSL is a huge drawback given the deaf only refer to that 'language' as an explanation and it just isn't there sign-wise.  We could question the BSL language on the basis it is nowhere near a comprehensive one at all.  Its primary use is said to assist the deaf in obtaining literacy in English which will give them access to the terminology and understanding they need to advance.  I'm more concerned of some areas making BSL some sort of crusade or end in itself and undermining the deaf ability to use sign where it is most effective for them without a total reliance on it, given it has so limited an access option for the deaf.  

As a social medium OK but as an educational and academic one not, as deaf users cannot (Or won't), differentiate.  A few years ago we saw the Paddy Ladd thing going on which still, is unable to be read UNLESS the deaf have mastered English to academic level first, and then to understand the ridiculously obscure terms he used.  Of course, the signs did not exist to do that!  Then we saw Mr Ladd finger-spelling terms in English in the USA, but it went right over the American head.  Deaf are looking silly in the USA using his terminology in campaigns to the deaf who have no idea what is being talked about other than it is 'something to do with sign language and recognising it as such...'  The yanks saw a money-spinner out of it and created 'classes' to explain it, students are still nowhere near following it, as the USA adapted the tuition and explanations to suit their own agenda, losing whatever point Mr Ladd was trying to make.

Ironically, the tome was intended for hearing people, not the deaf so no signed access was included in it.  Brits lauded it for a few weeks then ignored it,  pundits in the UK said it was based on the fairy tale 'The Emporer's new clothes'.  While deaf attempt vainly to attempt a BSL 'Catch up' with the English language, the deaf advance remains static and keeps many deaf still isolated and unable to compete with hearing, all that emerges is ya boo dogma from its activism areas, it is all so pointless and divisive.  

I see some progress with young deaf utilizing technology and ignoring the negativity so much better.  Deaf activism is the Achilles heel of the deaf they want everyone to go backwards and the 'politics of blame rules.'

"I think a lot of it is commercialism. People have become experts in BSL through years of study and practice and naturally they want to be paid for their skills. The BDA for example has about 50 staff and they spend a lot of time organising BSL and Deaf awareness courses. They are well paid for this and it is understandable why they would not want this to stop.

There is a team of BSL users who work for the BBC making programmes for BSL users. This was pioneered by the late Terry Riley. People want this service to continue but it also represents a nice little earner for those well skilled in sign. Of course they do not want to see it end.

There are several Universities currently working on the development and use of BSL. They are paid at the usual rates for highly qualified people and for a few it's a nice little earner. Why would they want that to end? So it is apparent that there is a big movement to support and develop BSL in spite of the fact that evidence shows that its use is declining.  The reason why it is declining is because people are able to hear better. In the last 20 years or so we have seen unbelievable advances in electronic hearing devices.

This is unprecedented of course. Nobody ever imagined that deaf people would be able to hear and it is completely in opposition to those already leading a Deaf life. But... it is what people want. No matter what anyone says, that is what people are doing."

Much of the output of ATR is to highlight what you say, the commercialism of sign language by vested interest like charities and colleges and free-lance 'Cultural' advisors who throw in Milan as well as BSL via a paying class.  Once jobs and a wage comes into it, a new ball game exists, the disabling factor has to be got rid of or it won't sell, it is an encouragement for more of the same and those expressing concern about inaccuracies and bias etc (After all, deafness isn't a commodity like sign is and can be sold), then friction occurs where disability and deafness meet. Support gets a re-brand to empowerment, and deaf people get a culture as a legal onus if you debate against, and the blanket terminology "all deaf sign" starts to prevail despite statistics not bearing that out at all.  

The collateral damage of those who endure issues deafness present are ignored. One stat suggested more hearing than deaf sign yet, the deaf continue to complain no hearing are signing to them, go figure.  Commercialisation isn't cutting it either? It is why hearing loss awareness has failed completely, had that had a sale feature, BSL would not get a look in.

Monday, 23 December 2019

Learning the lessons.

I have decided to give deaf peers a miss next year and to revert to my age-old fantasy of being a hearing and normal person again, or whatever today passes as normality.  I suspect it won't be as easy as last time when I had a hearing aid nobody could see, and I couldn't hear with anyway.

I keep reading on the social media and dedicated deaf sites about how they can include me, but none seems to suggest I get some hearing to facilitate that which is the only valid way of doing it.  I read a blog recently on 'How to get Hearing people we dislike and who discriminate us, to include us.. in 12 easy lessons and under penalty of court action..' but the very advice seems a non-starter, given they never emerge from a  deaf club to attempt it, and get uppity if hearing want to take the message to us on our own ground, so I'll offer realistic advice any hearing person can follow, like e.g.  Give deaf Xmas parties a miss, all that signing while you are trying to eat is a big mistake (Wearing disposable overalls is great advice, as is maintaining distance so you don't get splattered).

(1) Buy a round table, and pretend you are King Arthur being face to face with 16 blokes dressed in scrap metal and tin helmets, one of whom is bonking your missus, and discuss the next crusade against hearing society.

(2) Turn the Subtitles on, or not, given the usual wall to wall crap of TV repeats again 89% this year the rest are stupids having fits on the dance floor, or more repeats of bad news from 1978, we can all quote the scripts from memory and cannot fail to notice the Xmas shows were made last June in a heatwave by self-indulgent nobodies who last had a hit in 1989.

(3)  Give the kids a pep talk:  Assuming you can get them away from their iPhones long enough, or get them to text you or something.  Forget the batteries at your peril.   Expecting more than the odd grunt or complaint is unrealistic.  They don't master proper speech until they are 24, even then it is them asking for money again.

(4) Speak Clearly. Erm not advisable unless you have A levels in lip reading or gibberish,  or if your next-door neighbour is a dyslexic Japanese. I refer you back to (3).

(5) Shave:   Not on, who wants to see Santa without a beard and shatter your kids Christmas?

(6) Brush up your sign skills.  Then struggle vainly to find any neighbour/man/woman/whatever in the street who can sign back to you. Approach deaf people at your peril, they are a bit touchy of hearing people signing ABC at them, they usually require a bit more than that for a decent conversation.

(7)  Include us. We want lots of free presents and you to sit there while we lecture you on what you have to do for us before we deign to talk to you,  you including us, does NOT mean we have to include YOU.  Know your place.

(8)  Give us a role.   I prefer Herod at Xmas parties and events myself, a much more realistic role than cooking for everyone else, because I will be under the table spark out after 16 sherries and OD'ing on the Sprouts anyway.

(9)  Play a game.  Like what's the sign? Handicap them by insisting they can only use two fingers and must quote the Milan treaty of 1880 in Hebrew.

(10)  Go easy on the dimmer switch. (Dimmer switch?), how many deaf do you know have dimmer switches in their house? DUMB! 

(11)  Go slow on the drinks, (it's Xmas for god sakes, read (8) ), last one sober is a loser.

(12) Make phone calls deaf-friendly (Include your bank numbers and passwords/pin numbers), don't use English, Swahili is the new black.

Sunday, 22 December 2019

The Xmas letter

Reproduced a once a year letter sent by a relative abroad who wishes to be anonymous for obvious reasons, and probably contains stuff that will annoy the #ihatepeoplewholaughandhavefunandarent'tasmiserableabastardandkilljoyasiam area, it's freely re-published on that basis, cos I don't care really.

Hi Garry

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Hope you are feeling OK. I know cards and that are a bore and a waste of time and money, so I'll take this opportunity to pass on good wishes to you and yours and save a stamp, there would be little hope of a card arriving before March 2021 anyway.   Well, another year has gone and not many changes really that's about it apart from my calendar still showing March 1948.  

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I gather Alan is in your neck of the woods again,  he didn't get a card either I thought it pointless as he has gone there for 2 months anyway to see what real earthquakes are like.  Bill Corman has decided to send a card our way after 40 years but I never see them because he doesn't know my address apparently they all go to Sandra and she died 11 years ago.  

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I doubt any of us actually send a card at all its the wives etc that enjoy doing that.  Martha's grandkids will be getting all the fuss, and this week she has admitted the booze sessions she can no longer keep up with but the kids are flying the flag and paving the streets with pizza (Or it may be Curry this year), as usual for us.  I will probably be stuck with watching Xmas TV or something in the hope at least ONE program emerges I haven't seen about 100 times already.  

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Odds are against, its celebs falling on their arse on ice or something, or having fits on the dance floor when they aren't in a soap opera or telling us it is going to rain.  and with the usual 'highlights' (Or in the UK's case lowlights), of the last years' repeats and news which was about Brexit or Trump, or what we cannot laugh at any more.  Good news is no longer passe, we need our misery in Britain its what we are good at.  So I am sending the obligatory whinging pom post to you.

Looks like Australia is getting more warmth than it usually does this time of the year with all those fires, there are barbies and barbies but it seems a bit excessive and dangerous to me.  New Zealand with yet another volcano doing its own thing as well, something we don't really see a lot of here in the UK, we had the usual flooding and too much rain really.  Unlike the local media and peers, I don't believe none of this has ever happened before, it seems the vogue these days to suggest whenever an event happens it is always the first time it ever did in living memory (Assuming your age is 3 months and you were born deaf and blind).   

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There is no global warming but certainly, a lot more hot air is emanating from the pundits than usual talking about it, if they all shut up at least a global reduction of 5% is on the cards.  We've had so many health warnings and food warnings, by rights we should all have died out years ago. We've also had another 15 exotic conditions made available to us this year too, including people contracting 'mobile ear' and withdrawal issues to social media amongst them, I suppose switching off and getting a life is another issue they can't address either.  My phone has emerged as an excellent doorstop so not all is lost. Smartphones for stupid people was always going to be an issue.

All our weather reports now come with traffic lights and dire warnings that would make Armageddon look like a non-event, or at least light relief.  We are now officially dropping our trousers at the European Union and giving them a good moon, and flogging what's left here to Mr Trump, at the same time, changing the laws to stop people coming here who cannot master the English language, won't accept slavery as a wage for a job,  or don't know what Tikka Masala is, (Its an Indian greeting I think for people they don't like I am reliably informed), and an ability to speak Urdu or Polish optional.  

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We haven't banned Europeans the freedom to roam they can roam wherever they like so long as it isn't here.  Europeans are now persona non grata otherwise, I blame these Eurovision song contests myself, there has to be a limit on Russian peasants singing about their mangles every year and expect we will continue to be enthralled watching it, and the Labour party is now looking for someone, ANYONE with a brain cell to take over the party in the forlorn hope they can manufacture a policy during the next 5 years.  

Odds are they won't make it, they have to master joined up writing first, and nationalising everything so nothing works at all was a non-starter apparently, as was us all needing to learn Russian.  Even the hacking was substandard this year, the Russians need to up their game a bit.

My street has seen half the neighbours taking their last long walk, or they just decided a change from looking at us was impetus enough, so 5 have gone this year, in their place we had 3 polish families, 1 Asian family and 2 lesbians have moved in next door who voted us neighbours of the street, probably because we are the sole people left they still can converse with, and don't object to orange.  

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None of the local shopkeepers parlez the ole francis any more, or speaks our lingo.  If I want to meet up with 'peers' I go to the nearest pub which apparently is out of bounds to our immigrant friends, since it fails feng shui-wise to face Mecca or something and the polish have their own shops and booze to drink. Apparently, it is all shleps, halal, and pickled sausage or something.  It can be a battle to pop to the bakery, as either side is a Turkish kebab shop and a Kurdish community centre, given the current disagreements in Syria we have the battles carrying on there, it's getting quite messy about dinner time.  There has been a considerable outbreak locally of consonants.

We are all probably racists, homophopics etc but at least it is something we true Brits have in common, so we are going back to our roots.

Best wishes or something....

Friday, 20 December 2019

Deaf Difference and Space.

Deaf MP refused sign support.

David Buxton head and shoulders
David Buxton head and shoulders Deaf election candidate plans legal action over the government’s access costs refusal.

A Deaf candidate in last week’s general election is planning to take legal action against the government after he had to raise thousands of pounds to cover the cost of sign language interpreters during the campaign. Liberal Democrat David Buxton, who came second to Tory Damian Hinds in East Hampshire, believes he faced discrimination because of the government’s refusal to meet the impairment-related costs of disabled election candidates. 

He also believes that this failure was a breach of his rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Buxton (pictured) calculated that he would have needed about £20,000 to pay for all the British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters he needed for a full election campaign, and to challenge his Tory opponent on a level playing-field. 

But he was only able to raise about £5,000 and so had to cut back on his campaign plans, restricting his ability to meet and communicate with local voters. Because of the government’s refusal to ensure this level playing-field, disabled parliamentary candidates like Buxton were forced to pay for costs such as BSL interpreters, personal assistants, assistive technology and taxi fares. Although the Liberal Democrats were able to provide some financial support for Buxton, he had to meet most of the costs himself and through contributions from family and friends. 

He told Disability News Service this week that he now planned to take legal action against the government. He has contacted the same legal team that represented him and two other disabled politicians in their successful case against the government’s decision to close the Access to Election Office Fund (AEOF) in 2015.

ATR:  The 'right' of deaf people to be funded for 'social reasons' has always been a no from the system.  UK Deaf and disabled are only able to claim support funds to access systems, (E.G. Health emergency etc welfare areas), but not stand for parliament.  ATR recalls a complaint from a deaf parent with a child in residential care who was refused signed support because the parental request to visit her child was made by the parent and was not an arranged visit, by the social care worker who would have 'legitimised' the visit on welfare grounds but only on the child's behalf, not the deaf parents.  

Systems claim to support deaf people outside welfare systems and emergencies, would open up demands for 'social' visits to cinemas, hearing clubs and every area hearing attend.  Albeit real demand for that has never been proven, deaf preferring own social bubble.  I suspect this attempt to sue is more to raise BSL awareness than any realistic prospect support to follow would have got him elected anyway.  It would appear the deaf area isn't targeted specifically for lack of funding to stand politically,  other disabled are too.

Is there any voter in the constituency he stood for prepared to comment?  Was he viewed aware of local and national issues e.g?.  Is Mr Buxton deaf OR disabled?  The area he represents (The deaf one) insists he isn't disabled but he is suing on that basis as the systems do not see deafness as anything other than a disablement and his demands for expensive support bears it out £20,000? blimmin eck!

Didn't blind MP David Blunket stand for parliament and win his seat, with just a dog and a notetaker?  And Jack Ashley a deafened MP do the same?  I am assuming Mr Buxton can read... or even use the current technology to assist?  Rights ONLY apply IF, the person applying has an access problem that such singular provision can ONLY be used to follow, but the deaf have other and alternatives to sign to follow and use them every day.  

Choice has to be respected in regards to the fact alternatives exist and the person if claiming can utilise those, preference is being used as a blunt tool by some deaf and does nobody any favours, given BSL support is horrendously expensive provision and they are refusing cheaper and equally viable options they can use.  Cost is the driver and if deaf want such access they have to use the options they already use daily anyway.  All the HoH have is an aid and a loop!

Footnote:  Mr Buxton has stood before and been elected ergo:  David has run for Parliament twice, the last time in Lewisham East where he achieved a swing against Labour and the Conservatives

In 1997, fighting Labour in Lewisham East, he maintained the LibDem's share of the vote despite a Labour landslide victory
In 2001, fighting Labour, again in Lewisham East, he increased the parties vote by 5.2% with gains from Labour and the Tories
From 1997, David and his team fought hard to increase the number of councillors in Lewisham from 3 to 17 by 2006.

In 2010, Liberal Democrats came second at the General Election from a poor third place in 1997.

David's policy in 1997 of keeping to an agreed strategy led to more votes, more support, more helpers and more new members.  So how did he win those without sign?

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Deaf and the challenge of mental Health Support.

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What social media BSL areas are saying themselves.. (taken at random from Facebook and twitter sites)

"Is really sad government don’t care abt deaf people because of conservatives people shouldn’t vote conservatives cos conservatives plan cut disabled benefit and old people they won’t help deaf people special need also cuts nhs everything fuck up will more cuts getting worse for 5 years..."

"it's not cuts or Tories, the professionalism demanded doesn't exist nationally.'  You have to be moved to areas where that is, catch 22."

"I've sympathy with the dependent BSL user, the reality is that compromise has been opposed by people like the BDA, charities of the BSL ilk, and others who constantly demanded specialisations via BSL from professionals (even demanding THEY are deaf too). 

"Obviously, this is not going to happen is it? and I don't see why supportive 'Deaf' areas don't utilise localised support provisions via interpreters and such, so e.g. that older deaf or those with mental health issues can remain supported within own areas of health and community.  Those insisting they cannot use such areas aren't trying really to access them."

"My own area a deaf woman was offered support via the local mental health unit and consultants and was offered a BSL terp, instead, she complained to the BDA who said she had a right to choose a dedicated BSL service with her own 'people' who 'understand deaf issues', is the BDA blaming the deaf community for their own mental health problems?  Of course, no such service of specialisation existed within 96 miles of where she lived so she ended up in a home miles away and with no peers to socialise with either." 

"True, a leading psychiatrist based in London who also signed, was also turned down by a deaf client because 'he signs different to me.. English and Welsh sign is different', she ended up sitting there mute whilst the consultant talked to a signing social worker instead. Diagnosed in her absence really, human rights straight out of the window and endorsed by social services."

"What can you do when nobody within the locality has the same diagnostic or signing qualifications to help? The question we should be asking is why the community is reluctant to utilise what is already there?" 

"We must take help where we can get it, its stupid to make a point when the only person suffering is yourself."

"Specialisation demands just encourage more issues because the demand for it is isolated as well, and training has to include sign, which it isn't, it is a personal choice that's all, and only a few centres where they specialise.   For the deaf with mental health problems, there is Manchester, Bristol/Bath and London for treatment that's it.  Being diagnosed is a complete lottery in many areas so it gets put down to 'Being Deaf and Isolated and unable to communicate effectively' the treatment then is to continue that isolation, but somewhere else.  " 

"This suggests deaf education is at fault, doesn't it? and they are demanding more BSL which will only add to their problems."

"Residential homes cannot find sufficient trained staff to go BSL exclusive for just 1 or 2 BSL people, so they get sent miles away too. It is down to the deaf themselves to get what they need or, find an alternative to sign language."

"This means a sea change to deaf education and dropping the BSL centric approaches! the rights area will rip that to pieces.  That isn't going to happen is it?" 

ATR:  So what is the answer?  On the strength of response none really evident sadly, remote help by video? not really viable is it?  It's a piecemeal approach with very few pieces. The Deaf community is shrinking too so little peer on peer support is around.  In essence, the Deaf are insisting on a type of support that isn't there even within own areas.

The only real suggestion was to use BSL as a second option not a first, but that depends on those who determine the content and approach toward deaf education, and a real change of emphasis from activists.  We cannot help those older its too late,  their paths are too set to change, we can approach deaf children and youth differently so they have more communication options to offset reliance on just one approach.  They need all the strings to their bow they can master, but Deaf activism will block that.  

Note: BSL won't help the deaf who don't sign, so who looks after their interests?  Has anyone ever met a GP or specialist who can speak properly?

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

The best and the worst 2019.

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The best (And worst of UK deaf and HoH online sites 2019).  So many were complete rubbish I have included just the ones worth a mention.

Deafland -  Full of the deaf having fun, who have a real-life and not obsessed with sign language or culture and wouldn't know who Epee was except it now costs 50p to have one.  People getting on with it.

Deaf European (Politics) - May not be the worst deaf site in the UK ever, but we were not able to find anyone else as stupid, biased,   or uninformed, thank goodness few deaf look at it.  They probably still think the earth is flat too.  Full of egotistical deaf obsessed with own navel and my dog has more political awareness than they do, and he gets out more.  Off-shoot of the olde email deaf-UK area that never went outside a deaf club, experts on introspection.  Albeit have still no sign for that. Still think it is 1950 and they matter.  

UK Hard of Hearing.  A decent site discussing real awareness of hearing loss, albeit still a bit obsessed with the pros and cons of hearing aids and clinical stuff,  if they can drop the ear wax obsessions too, win-win,  but to be fair are getting better all the time, now taking the fight to the signing community after 15 years giving them a free run, battle joined.  Fully able to display neither a need for sign language or lip-reading and probably lead the way in use of technology that assists.

Charities.  A really difficult area to assess as all are total bollox and would not know awareness if it had 3 heads and bit them in the leg.  Patronisation taken to a new and very subversive level.

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AOHL - Who use us all as a meal ticket, speak in our name and have no mandate (Who needs ACTUAL people with hearing loss, we don't!).  Kicked out their BSL members and never looked back.  Arch-experts at manufacturing statistics to meet their funding demands, and a corporate and charitable juggernaut no other deaf or hearing loss charities can match.    Is more interested in Royalty and holding awareness meets in posh hotels with hearing people.  Not comfortable with people who have hearing loss at all hence why all their executive are hearing and sign use support is a limited option.

The BDA - Hopeless losers with hardly any deaf membership and worship at the shrine of Paddy Ladd, absolutely convinced Milan was actually a watershed deaf moment and not just had a passable football team.  Can beat AOHL any day on manufacturing bare-faced lies and statistics, think of any number can double, triple or quadruple it, last count more BSL people lived in the UK than Brits did.

Has an executive Hitler would be proud of and why you never hear any complaints from their members.  Has more trustees than most, but they do tend to suddenly vanish without a trace quite a lot.  Lost 8 of them last year.  Has online sewn up, only supporters who keep their mouths shut and pass the BSL entrance exam and know the funny hand-shakes can join or stay.  A prime example of WHY deaf signers are still alienated.  Let's hope BDA members stay that way.

The NADP - probably the only online site alleged to represent people deafened but is still unable to actually show any members fitting that criteria.  Has been buried 4 times but still online for some reason nobody is able to fathom.  Loss Zombies. Some say it's for the funding to stay online but we don't really know, they offer no viable services and have no identifiable support system or awareness either.  Leftovers from retired social services mostly who love wandering about stately homes.

Deafinitely Theatre.   The show must go on (Deaf need all the dosh they can get). Composed of the most expensive, opinionated and London-based deaf theatrical luvvies in the entire UK, but who produce no output anyone watches outside their own fan club in London.  Reputed to be mostly composed of members who have claimed the highest amount of welfare payments of any disabled sector in the entire UK but who insist despite claiming disability funding they aren't.  Nice work if you can get it, and they have.  The output is obscure mostly, (the emperor's new clothes but with hands).

Deaf Umbrella.  They don't even need rain.  Sees itself as an 'aggregator' of some kind that operates as a 'think tank' with major charity players as members.  It's more the tail wagging the dog as without major players turning up they would fold, mostly criticised for failing to include smaller dedicated charities, and only interested in the big players, priced out the smaller ones.   Major players use this charity primarily to headhunt the more active and kill off the opposition who attend. Looking at profitable charity ventures and then moving in on them to asset strip. A prime example of what is all wrong about deaf and hearing loss support since we all became a commodity to be sold off to the highest bidder.

Most of the other 553+  not worth a mention really, with 78% duplicating themselves, most with no financial acumen whatever and bleeding support funding dry to no use to us, many with less than 5 members and unable to offer any type of support.    4 major ones folded this year costing over 300 deaf a living from sheer incompetence.  Offering blind dogmatic support for culture as opposed to supporting basic need.  Has cost fund givers £m's in handouts this year and no visible improvements in support or awareness have been seen.  They sit behind a computer and hardly have any contact with real deaf or Hard of Hearing people.  Have taken re-inventing the wheel to mind-boggling level.

The NDCS.  Probably amidst the better charities but still not really willing to counter the BSL area or address the interference they offer to the education of deaf children, often deliberately misquoted as supporting many aspects of the culture they don't, including immersive BSL education, anti-CI's, anti-hearing aids, claim genetics is cultural genocide etc,  and opposes parental choice.  There isn't much these people do want but obscurity but nobody seems to give them that. The last area offering some sanity towards helping the deaf or their children being ham-strung by rabid cultists.

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We couldn't finish here without naming the complete Turkey of the year, the SEE HEAR BSL program, still online and on TV via sheer sufferance/annoyance of everyone else, and who utilise cultural blackmail, without using that cultural card would have been gone years ago.  SEE HEAR along with the BBC first closed out the hard of hearing, then, closed out own deaf online feedback sites to the program after people complained they were not an inclusive area and actually discriminated against people with hearing loss.  Now has own 'Deaf luvvie' area sanitised and offering no criticism or realistic feedback at all now.   Deaf who sold out the rest of us. 

Deaf moving to the BBC Disability area were also removed from there too. Seems nobody wants the SEE HEAR images of deaf people but the BBC itself.  We want it gone.  It's a dated concept that never was inclusive.  'All Deaf sign' and can walk on the water too.