Sunday, 17 February 2019

New Gadget for Blind and Deaf.

Love isn't Deaf

A deaf couple gets married and hopes their future children AREN'T deaf.

Entire neighbourhood learns sign for young deaf girl.

The whole neighborhood has decided to learn sign
Samantha is a lovely young girl and very neighbourly. She uses sign language to communicate with the people in her community. She is very friendly and likes to engage in conversation with anybody she meets. She would be totally a different person if somebody can communicate with her. 

She also becomes sad if people cannot communicate with her in sign language. Her neighbours have noticed her keen interest to communicate with people whenever she goes out for a stroll in the neighbourhood. The people also find themselves in a difficult situation when they are unable to communicate with little Sam. 

The whole neighbourhood has got together and decided to learn sign language. They have hired an instructor and are learning the sign language to communicate with the two-year-old Samantha Savitz. The whole neighbourhood has decided to learn to sign Their instructor Rhys McGovern finds it remarkable and said many times even the parents of deaf children do not bother to learn sign language. 

Nobody can force the entire community to learn sign language for one little deaf child. When the whole neighbourhood voluntarily decides to learn sign language to make little Sam feel part of the community is incredible. 

Strewth mate ! Fake Deaf scammers on the loose!

An organisation for the deaf is warning kindhearted members of the public to be aware of scammers taking money for cards with the sign language alphabet on them (pictured an example of the card)
[This seems to mirror issues in the UK, where a group of eastern European people are begging on the streets on behalf of deaf people].

Please be aware deaf people don't beg, do not want anyone approaching members of the public for money, notify the police instead.  One concern is that the card is an identical card to the one used in the UK, which suggests there is a global scam going on?

An organisation for the deaf is warning kindhearted members of the public to be aware of scammers taking money for cards with the sign language alphabet on them. Con artists pretending to be deaf are frequenting businesses in Western Australia with an 'introductory card' for sign language. 

One woman has been caught out multiple times offering the card to kindhearted members of the public for $5. One woman has been caught out multiple times allegedly offering the card to kindhearted members of the public for $5. One woman has been caught out multiple times allegedly offering the card to kindhearted members of the public for $5 On one side of the card, the scam artist introduces themselves to the stranger and apologises for 'troubling them'. 'I am deaf since childhood.  Our goal is to earn a living. Buy please this alphabet which costs $5. And many thanks to you and your family.'

 Lauren Emmens was with her family in Fremantle on Saturday, January 19 when the woman approached her.  'We were sitting inside of Gino's having coffee and cake and she came in and handed three cards out explaining she was deaf,' Ms Emmens told Daily Mail Australia. As Ms Emmens knows some sign language, she signed back to the woman saying: 'My name is Lauren'. 'I found it very strange when she didn't sign anything back to me but just nodded,' she said. 'As we were all taken aback that she just handed out the cards asking for $5 a pop we scrambled to get what change we had and gave it to her. 

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Teaching strategies.

GP's learning awareness

A course teaching medical students how to interact with deaf patients has returned. 

The University of Liverpool GP Society has organised sign language classes to be taught by Nicola McCabe, the owner of Talking Hands Academy, which offers signing and deaf awareness sessions across Merseyside. The course kicked off its first week for the third year running last Wednesday and will be held on every Wednesday for five weeks. The aim of the course is to improve communication skills and to kickstart trainee doctors into thinking about deaf patients and how they can support them. 

Ms McCabe told JMU Journalism: “I think everyone should be able to communicate with each other, that includes deaf people as well. Deaf people are often left out due to communication. It’s things like when you go for an appointment and your name has been called behind a wall, or even a door sometimes – very simple basic things. It’s all about planting a seed in trainee doctors minds.  

Deaf children: A lost generation?

New research has found deaf children are falling a whole grade behind their hearing peers at GCSE level, research finds it will take 21 years for deaf children to catch up with their peers Ann Jilling shares her fears as a parent to a deaf 12 year-old boy 

Ann is constantly anxious that her son, Daniel, will fall behind the rest of his classmates. Unlike many other parents, this isn’t just her wanting the best for her child – it’s because he was diagnosed as deaf in 2006. These children have been called the lost generation by researchers. 

‘Constant vigilance’ Ms Jillings said the reality of being a parent of a deaf child meant there is a constant vigilance around their education. She said she was always worried about whether her son was keeping up with his friends and making the progress he needed to. “At the time you’re told your child is deaf, the biggest fear you have is really how is that going to affect their lifelong opportunities, their education and their future,”  

“Really, that sort of worry never really goes away; it’s a sort of underlying anxiety. “I think all parents of deaf children would all report the same thing.” Daniel, 12, is a user of British Sign Language in his classrooms (Photo: Ann Jillings) At the same time, seeing the statistics in front of her was galling. “When you read the statistics in black and white, it does make you quite fearful for the future.” She said observing service cuts across the country and a drop in specialist teachers for deaf children has led her to think the “gap is widening, not getting smaller”. 

Perhaps linked to this response on social media, regarding a recent parental demand for £6,000 to learn BSL for their deaf child, that suggests BSL is holding up parity too?

#1  "This item has been discussed at length via dedicated deaf only sites. There are pros and distinct cons about these parental demands. One area feels charging parents to attain the ability to communicate with their deaf children is against their human right, practically no LA we know of has ever agreed to pay for that. They suggest there are a number of BSL classes in Gwent and near where these people live, but they are usually 2hr a week 6-month duration, (the cost used to be a nominal £40). 

On a practical level the child currently does NOT have the wherewithal to understand BSL at that age, and, there are no deaf schools in South Wales the child can attend where BSL is the language solely used to educate them, the nearest being Bristol, and less than 5 deaf children in Wales go there, and they are at the more extreme level of deafness with additional needs. The issue may be later on parents using sign and the child not comfortable with it. Free flow sign usage demands inclusion away from hearing people, it works best with other deaf they become a community this way. 

There aren't as we are aware any immersive BSL schools in England, i.e. BSL being used as a sole means of communication in education because inclusive policies ensure the deaf child gets the same education as a hearing child would, this is called 'mainstreaming'. It's not ideal there is a conflict of language and grammar used that confuse the child, BSL and English grammar is different, and the system is not sorted, but it was widely felt deaf schools were adding to the problems deaf faced, and not helping them. 

Wales shut them all down. In most part, parents welcome the children being included with their peers, same schools with siblings, instead of being sent off to boarding schools in the middle of nowhere, then after that, having considerable issue re-aligning with family and siblings and areas after, they became part of a deaf world with little interaction with hearing. integration/mainstreaming is to address that. Parents usually want the best for their child they don't want their child limited if they can help it. BSL education is catch 22, deaf love it, but hearing will go on without them and that's the problem, advance is limited for life. 

The BEST deaf school in the UK, is the Mary Hare Grammar school, but, that is a school dedicated NOT to sign usage but with considerable emphasis on oral/lip reading approaches as they feel this enables the deaf student far better at adulthood, takes away most need for support, and enhances more independence, but deaf culture supporters hate it! One rather suspects the parents in seeking advice to help their deaf child may be listening to the wrong people. What school will do, is determine properly what works best for the child, and perhaps that will NOT be what the hearing parent thinks is the best now. 

It comes down to ability, in the end, some are better signing some are better lip-reading some comfortable with both and many who simply do not sign at all. The basic reality is access, the deaf don't have it, and it is viewed as an issue with jobs health etc as the cost is amid the highest for any disabled area in the UK. We just read it needs for a deaf adult to stay in a job additional support fees of near £60K a year obviously the system is looking to not pay those costs and deterring sign use too. Practicality suggests total sign reliance if it can be addressed should be. There are after all alternatives."

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Deaf to benefit by increased A2W money...

Department for Work and Pensions image
Well those reliant on BSL will....

Announced by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Sarah Newton MP on the 11th of February, disabled employees will be able to claim almost £60,000 a year to aid them at work. From the 1st of April 2019, people will be able to claim up to £59,200 annually to help pay for additional support that they may need in the workplace through the Government’s Access to Work scheme. 

This can include workplace adaptations, assistive technology, transport and interpreters. Prioritising disability in the workplace has gained considerable momentum in the media recently, as a recent Wildgoose survey highlighted that employees feel as though disability inclusion is most important at work. It comes after the government increased the cap by almost a third last year. Now, more people will be able to benefit, especially those from the deaf community who can get BSL interpreters through the scheme. 

Access to Work provides financial support to ensure someone’s disability or health condition doesn’t hinder them in the workplace and, last year, more than 27,000 people received support. This included adjustable desks, special IT equipment and voice-recognition software. The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Sarah Newton, commented: “Access to Work provides tailored support to thousands across the country, ensuring a disability or health condition is not a barrier to achieve someone’s career aspirations. 

“By extending this grant even more people can benefit from this personalised scheme, and more disabled people can thrive in the workplace.”

Live Music: UK Venues to provide ear plugs on demand?

Hear hear!: Pub operators agree that earplugs should be more readily available at the UK's live entertainment venues
If only a ban on phones existed too!

Landlords in the seaside town of Weymouth, Dorset, have received a letter from the local council asking them to carry out a risk assessment on noise levels. If bar staff are frequently exposed to high noise levels, publicans have been advised that they should make "ear defenders" available to prevent employees from going deaf. 

If licensees do not observe the warning they could leave themselves open to future legal action by their staff, they have been warned. Some landlords described the warning as another example of "nanny state interference", and further bureaucracy that had to be overcome. They also expressed concern that staff would not be able to hear which drinks customers were ordering if they had to wear ear plugs. Mark South, landlord of the Cove House Inn on Chesil Beach, the setting for Ian McEwan's best-selling novel, said he was visited by a licensing officer on April 1. 

"When I mentioned it to the staff afterwards they thought it was an April Fools Day joke," he said. He added: "The risk assessment equates how often you have live music, the rotation of bar staff, and how often they are exposed to the noise. 

Kids acting up?

Image may contain: 2 people, text

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Are we all Racists? (II)

Image result for racists
The perennial query about respecting difference.   Albeit including 'Audism' isn't helping it much! 

Are we all racists?  Yes we are ALL racist, and all manner of 'ists', 'ism's', and 'ics' too, most is fuelled by diversity demand and human nature.  

Is this inherently bad, or just the way we are?  One man's meat etc, it doesn't mean we are bad people, just expressing a choice what we like, and what we don't, the only criteria being no-one suffers by your hand. Reluctance to accept others can be primal, and the selecting of your mate for life e.g. is based on that, the primal response is also vital to suggestions of danger.  Instinct?  Can we block that and still feel safe?

But choice is everyone's, there are people I don't want to know, issues I don't agree with, religions I can do without, deaf people who I feel really need a dose of hearing to get some balance in their lives, and a fool is still a fool regardless of what colour they are, and I am sure many out there who disagree with that too. You can respect the view but you cannot force agreement with it. Not even a law can enforce an agreement, it would simply mean people would move the goal posts and leave 'minorities' and the 'different' to own devices, and in the process, probably create a reluctance to engage and annoyance. 'Cest La Vie' being the ultimate assassin of real access.  Pure Apathy.

Which defeats the whole point or equality, acceptance, or inclusion.  The more we demand respect of difference, the more marginalised, stereotypical we become, and the more labelled, 'different', and isolated because it affects inclusion as pure concept.  Some groupings you just will not join.  Hence the Deaf are Deaf and the deaf/HoH are deaf/HoH and the deaf-blind are......  Anyone who suggests this is the real image of unison would raise a few eyebrows. Co-existing isn't inclusion.

You would be constantly seeking some norm that isn't everyone else's.  Something has to give.  We will end up with 6B minorities all demanding own thing.  Perhaps a message to  'be careful what you wish for'I don't know anyone who wants to be the same as everyone else, do you?  Contention is life.

New integrated support for Vision and hearing loss areas.

Cheshire East Council has launched a new integrated service for people who experience vision and hearing loss. Cheshire East Council is working with the charity Deafness Support Network to provide the new ‘one-stop shop’. 

The service is available for adults, children and young people with sensory impairments, this includes those who are visually impaired, are deaf or have hearing loss, are deafblind – sometimes known as dual sensory loss – and those with a significant combination of hearing and sight loss.

In Cheshire East there are 48,334 adults with a moderate or severe hearing impairment. This is predicted to increase to 63,774 by 2030; 7,490 adults aged 65 plus have a moderate or severe visual impairment. The number of people aged 75 plus with registrable eye conditions is 2,522, and 1,993 people are on the visual impairment register (although people are not obliged to register). The support available from the new service will be based on individual need and may include help in increasing life skills, promoting independence, working with conflicts of interest and relationships, as well as coping strategies. 

People using the service will be encouraged to learn new skills and support will be provided for those with a sensory loss to allow them to participate in group activities. Help with loss and bereavement will also be provided. CCllr Liz Wardlawouncillor Liz Wardlaw, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for health, said: “This is excellent news for residents. The new service will enable those experiencing hearing and/or sight loss to learn new life skills, meet with other people/children with the same conditions and form a new network of support.” 

Deafness Support Network chief executive Bob Birchall said: “Our combined service for residents of all ages, who suffer from both vision and hearing loss, will be easier to access. We’re proud of our team, our volunteers and other supporters who offer a first-class service for children, young people and adults with sensory impairments” Deafness Support Network is a charity which has been operating in Cheshire for more than 40 years. It has a team of more than 70 staff, including highly-skilled interpreters and support workers. 

The charity provides services for a population of around 200,000 people in Cheshire, Flintshire, Wrexham and the surrounding areas. 

There is a signed video on this site, but ATR is unsure deaf-blind can actually view it, let us know How can improve on such access

Blind Guide Dog owner attacked 6 times.

Carolyn with her guide dog Ally, who was attacked six times before she had to stop work as a guide dog Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN
Police in Suffolk are to receive specialist training on guide dog attacks in the first scheme of its kind in Britain. More than 1,000 Suffolk officers are to take part in the project thanks to a cash injection of nearly £10,000 from police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore. 

News of the investment has delighted Carolyn Allum, from Claydon, whose guide dog Ally had to be retired early after repeated attacks. “Over the last 12 months I’ve experienced the devastating consequences of these horrific attacks when my own beloved guide dog had to be withdrawn from service,” she said. 

Carolyn with her guide dog Ally, who was attacked six times before she had to stop work as a guide dog.  The impact on my independence and emotional wellbeing has been overwhelming and I am hoping to once again experience the liberation and freedom these amazing dogs give.” This new project – a partnership between Guide Dogs UK, Deafblind UK and the force’s learning and development team – could be rolled out nationally if the Suffolk pilot is successful. As part of the initiative, video and online learning tools will be developed for the force. These will help to build knowledge and understanding of the impact an attack on a guide dog has on someone with sight loss. 

Monday, 11 February 2019

A day at the BDA.

Warning,  (Paddy Ladd alert).  A real eye-opener into the chaotic working of the UK's premier sign language and culture-based charity.  With the first 42 mins a total blank screen and silence, and the incoherent rambling of the architect of Deafhood, who needed translation himself trying to fly a very limp flag of UK deaf culture there.

ATR noted a deaf questioner angry the BDA was over-focusing on its funded support areas and not enhancing its member base at all, via a BDA vlog that hardly included the deaf membership whilst advertising for more to join, and despite the charity being in debt like the AOHL is.  Less than 9% of all funds were directed at members or potential members. The Deaf still don't understand charity in the 21stc, where members are no longer the force charities need to drive them and takes second place to raising the money to exist.   Charities are no longer grassroots driven.  They don't need members except as the stat image in campaigns..

E.G. Whilst many deaf abandoned the RNID in the past because of their downgrading of the Deaf support areas, and the dubious sacking of the only signing CEO ever, the Deaf did not then migrate to their own culture charity in defiance but abandoned the concept of deaf charity to pursue rights agendas, only to find there was no unity of approach, and divisions over diversity and inclusive processes.  

Charity is a business and it is all about applying for grants and funding, that's it.  You could count the amount of deaf supporting them at this AGM, which should (but doesn't), cause concern about viability, then again the AOHL didn't make attending any easier by holding AGM's in London either, and their foray into social media access live (Which in retrospect was welcome from the BDA even if huge amounts of access failed to emerge), was a lesson they learned by them not to do again, because access means real questions are asked.  We saw despite streaming no real questions asked, apathy rules, or maybe no-one KNEW about the streaming!

They don't deserve to exist on the basis of what we saw.

The breakthrough of the 21st century

The clip on device is small and light.
Lisa Hayes has had a debilitating illness since birth, but a small device she got for free has changed everything. 

For most of us, receiving junk mail is an annoyance. For Sydney woman Lisa Hayes, it’s a thrill. She was born completely blind and has never known what it’s like to scan through the items in unsolicited catalogues that get stuffed into her letter box. 

That was until last September when she received a small device that clips onto a pair of glasses and uses sophisticated artificial intelligence technology to recognise faces and read text for her. “It’s one of the best things I’ve ever had,” Ms Hayes, 50, and says the device has transformed her life. “It has got be the breakthrough of the 21st century as far as I’m concerned.” 

The product, called MyEye 2, is the second version of the assistive wearable technology made by Israeli company OrCam. Designed for the blind and visually impaired, the device clips on to the side of a pair of glasses. On the front is a camera with real-time visual recognition technology and on the back is a small speaker that discreetly relays the information into the ear of the user — and comes in 23 different languages. Ms Hayes has been proficient in braille from an early age but she now relishes being able to read a book or magazine article recommended to her by friends. 

“Being totally blind since birth, I’ve never been able to read a print book,” she said. “I can now actually read.

Cuts to deaf educational support completely unacceptable...

Emma Heaysman with her son Lewis, who she fears could suffer at school if Hampshire councillors approve 700,000 savings to its Specialist Teacher Advisory Service. Picture: Duncan Shepherd
FAMILIES and charities have branded county council plans to reduce education support for thousands of children and young adults with disabilities ‘completely unacceptable’. 

A Hampshire County Council consultation is proposing changes to its Specialist Teacher Advisory Service, which provides support in schools for children who have hearing or visual impairments, physical disabilities or speech, language and communication needs. Emma Heaysman with her son Lewis, who she fears could suffer at school if Hampshire councillors approve 700,000 savings to its Specialist Teacher Advisory Service.

The changes could see fewer visits, reductions in trained staff, an increased workload for teachers and less continuity among the special teachers who still visit Hampshire schools. Mum Emma Heaysman from Portchester was angered after receiving a letter about the plans, which will affect her son Lewis, 10, who is deaf. She said: ‘I think it is awful because this support has really helped my son and many like him from a young age be able to get the most out of school. ‘His adviser has made sure his teachers, many of whom have not worked with a deaf child before, understand how they can help – ensuring they don’t turn round while speaking so he can lip read and he is sat at the front.’ 

Emma believes the council should be thinking about providing more services and ensuring there is continuity with advisers making visits. She said: ‘Deafness should not affect someone’s learning ability but many don’t pass five GCSEs at A to C, so they are under-represented already. If anything there needs to be more help and certainly not less. ‘Lewis has known his adviser since he was four and I think its a bad idea to have different ones as kids may then not be able to open up about the problems they are having.’ The National Deaf Children’s Society has branded the proposals ‘completely unacceptable’. 

Still unemployed after 1,000 rejections... Why?

CHANCE: Kellie Wilson believes she has not been offered jobs because she is deaf
Why do we feel there HAS to be more to this than the applicant being deaf?  ATR took ANY job rather than be unemployed, including stacking shelves in a supermarket and cleaning the road, why can't she?  Is there any point slagging of CI's as an excuse? other than scoring kudo points with the sign-using die-hards?  

The reality is a CI would not initially enhance her chances, she shows a lot of ignorance of the CI processes.  As ever the world revolves around hearing, and once you adapt to that things get a little easier.  

One suggests she has the wherewithal to complain, maybe if she was left with a more stark choice she could lower her sights a bit and get on the work ladder and prove the point.  Nobody is going to hire you just because you are deaf, you have to show a skill set and adaptability.  It looks like being adaptable is considered undermining her deafness.  So its principles before practicality.  Sadly that doesn't pay the rent.

Pointing out telephonic access isn't an issue would help, but demanding sign support and playing the deaf card will be a barrier.  It would be more relevant if we were to ask employers why they turned her down, it may not be because she was deaf.  It is about the person and willingness to adapt and also to show the potential, employers aren't there to enforce deaf rights.

"Kellie Wilson believes she has not been offered jobs because she is deaf. Kellie Wilson believes she has not been offered jobs because she is deaf  An IT worker is calling on employers to give her a chance after applying for 1,000 jobs in the past 18-months and being offered not one - she believes because she is deaf. Kellie Wilson, 32, is now considering going through an operation she is scared to have and which may not work just to give herself a chance in life. 

She has worked in the past in the court and prison services and in student loans but every application she has made since the summer of 2017 has failed. Her last job was with a temporary contract for the court service. Ms Wilson, from Middleton Tyas, near Richmond, is totally confident she can do the mostly administrative jobs she’s applied for, although she has also gone for pub, housekeeping and pot washing jobs. She said: “The only thing I cannot do is hear. My mind is sharp and I can lip read really well. 

“I am currently being assessed for a cochlear implant in the hopes of improving my situation. “I feel as though I have to change who I am in the face of ignorance. “I am contacted by companies saying they are happy with my CV and can I call them to chat or for a phone interview. “I explain why I cannot and offer to chat via email or Skype or text relay and either don’t hear back or am told that they do not have the facilities to chat in my suggested methods. “In interviews, if I struggle to understand what’s being said, I explain my disability. 

Then I get the reply ‘there’s a lot of phone work in this role’ or ‘we don’t think this role is the right fit for you’. She added: “I can easily do the jobs I apply for and wouldn’t apply if I could not. “I am just asking employers to give me a chance and treat me like other people.” 

Comment (Not by ATR):

While I feel sorry for her, you have to understand that businesses have requirements. If a business needs someone to take phone calls, why should they hire someone who can't hear? The army wouldn't recruit someone with no legs for obvious reasons. It's sad, but business are allowed to choose the best fit. 


But the Army does take deaf people.... and those with mobility issues, HoH too, away from front line duties that is.  Diversity doesn't just mean deaf people.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

To Emoji or not, why the question?

Would we or disabled USE them? The concept doesn't appear to relate to inclusion in a real sense, just another tier of 'labelling' to add to the plethora of stereotypes we already see (Like the deaf obsession with hands, and the wheelchair logo).  Adding different icons to ID individual issues is getting ridiculous.  It all plays into the 'diversity' thing that is creating more issues than it solves.    

Proper inclusion means nobody is identified as different.  It becomes an albatross around your neck if you play into it too much.  It also plays into the 'who am I?' scenarios creating more stress and isolation as you seek like with like and find.... there aren't any like you because you are an individual, just embrace it.  Wonder if they have a logo for 'I'm NOTHING like these people!'

Good Neighbours.

There’s being a good neighbor, and then there’s going the extra mile. And in one Massachusetts neighborhood, the neighbors are pulling out all the stops. 

Two years ago, about a week after Samantha was born, Glenda and Raphael Savitz learned their daughter was deaf. “She was the first deaf person my husband and I had known,” Glenda, 33, told the Boston Globe. 

“So it’s a surprise. Unexpected. But I think I’m someone who’s like: OK. What do we do? She’s a week old. We’re going to be learning sign language. There was no question that was going to be important to her development and her growth.’’ But the Savitz family weren’t the only ones who learned how to sign. Over 20 residents of their neighborhood in the town of Newton are learning sign language too. The residents hired an instructor on their own and regularly gather together in a living room to learn the language. The neighbors’ desire to learn to communicate with Samantha is something that the Savitz family finds extremely touching. 

“One of the most emotional experiences having her is that I really learned about how much support and how much love there is here,’’ Glenda said. “People are putting in so much time and energy to learn a foreign language because they’re dying to talk to my little girl. I don’t have words for that.’’ Baby Sam already has friends all over the neighborhood. 

Henry Marshall, a 19-year-old Harvard freshman, told the Globe that Sam plays with her child-size basketball hoop as he shoots hoops on his adult-size one. While he plays, she mimics his movements and signs the words for “play” and “friend.”

Old Chestnuts

girl with cochlear implants
Amazing the press are still supporting 'Deaf' reservations regarding CI's.  There aren't any, another crucial point via the links to their stories clearly show that no choices have been impinged upon and playing the deafie is simple, you just disconnect the CI if that is your want, and sign if that is what you choose to communicate with. As regards to 'risks' every operation from an ingrowing toenail to setting a broken leg contains risk.

By far the real value of CI's (We know they aren't the same as ears they are aids to hearing not replacement ears), is the support it offers to enable learning, why anyone would object to that defies rationale'.  Or, that 'Deaf' are quite prepared to wear glasses or have eye implants, have appendix out, or take supplements to prevent disabilities in children (Which could be seen as denigrating disability too by our ridiculous hashtag/snowflake culture), yer pays yer money and choices/perspective are not part of the equation.

It's as if some Deaf areas (Mainly those who don't have CI's anyway), feel the dependency nature of sign which underpins their culture, would cease if the CI enables less sign reliance, so the opposition appears mainly some desperate 'rear-guard' action to preserve the status quo of others.  Of course, CI implantees sign too.  So, it is the issue they aren't part of ye olde deaf school setups that irk anti-Ci people?  It's time CI media coverage stopped playing the D/d cards and endorsing what increasingly appears to be some sort of 'Deaf' paranoia aimed at opposing choice.  There is very clear evidence of very real benefits to the deaf child, and, deaf adults too.  They come first, culture doesn't enter into it.

The Item:

Image result for an old chestnutMy niece lost her hearing. This is a story about how technology brought it back girl with cochlear implants Simon Hill/Digital Trends It wasn’t until my brother told me they were concerned that I noticed my niece couldn’t hear like other kids. When children are very young it can be extremely difficult to determine their level of hearing. “Around her first birthday, we realized she wasn’t responding normally to sound,” Steven Hill told Digital Trends. 

“She didn’t react to a lot of sounds, and when she was sleeping it was very difficult to wake her.” Because Maddie still had some hearing, it was a long struggle for her parents to get her diagnosed properly. Poor results in hearing tests are sometimes attributed to fidgety kids, and she was smart enough to compensate for her lack of hearing. They tried hearing aids for a while, but they just amplify sound. If you can’t fundamentally hear certain frequency ranges, then a hearing aid can’t do anything for you. They taught her some sign language to make it easier for her to communicate. 

But once it became clear the hearing aids, even at the highest volume, weren’t helping, Maddie was finally diagnosed with profound hearing loss. “If we didn’t implant when we did, it would have been removing a choice from her.” The next step suggested was a cochlear implant, and because of the delay in her diagnosis, the doctors wanted to proceed with it as quickly as possible. If the brain’s auditory pathways aren’t stimulated in the first three to four years, then the capacity to hear and learn to speak normally can be dramatically reduced, because the brain focuses on other functions. 

“We didn’t get as much time as we’d have liked to find out everything we wanted to,” Hill said. “Our overriding rationale was that if she decides later in life she doesn’t want to hear, and instead use sign, then she can remove them. But if we didn’t implant when we did, it would have been removing a choice from her.” 

Saturday, 9 February 2019

The Live Transcription App (II).

So, you want to be an Interpreter?

They will have to learn how to make themselves accessible first!

A device that converts iPhone screen into braille

Melbourne woman Heather Lawson is both deaf and blind; to participate in an interview she requires support from two interpreters.

She places her hands over those of the first interpreter and feels via touch as he signs my questions to her. A second interpreter translates her Auslan responses back to me. But despite the multilayered conversation, this remarkable and independent woman's great sense of humour shines through. Ms Lawson was born without hearing and grew up communicating via sign language.

By the time she reached her 20s, she gradually began losing her sight as well. "It really did affect my life," she said. The small device has given Ms Lawson, and the wider deaf-blind community, the opportunity to connect with the world. In recent years a small display which fits in her handbag has become vital as it converts the words on her phone screen into braille.

"It's just fantastic, that technology, and I love it. It has made my life a lot easier and I've been able to achieve things." The braille display connects to the phone via Bluetooth, allowing her to access emails, SMS, Facebook, apps and the internet. It also makes banking and navigating public transport much easier. "I live an independent life, and I have for a number of years, but the technology that's available now has allowed me to remain independent," Ms Lawson said.

Useful in an emergency.

The machine also allows her to write notes in the phone which can be useful for communicating with taxi drivers.

She once used it to communicate with firefighters who had broken into her home to respond to a fire alarm. "I didn't realise the firemen had broken into my house to turn it off," she said. "We were able to communicate on my computer using the braille display. "I get goosebumps just thinking about it. It was a great experience."

The device has 14 braille cells which change with the touch of a button to reflect the next passage of text.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Hearing Technology

Part Four: Hearing Technology from Chime on Vimeo.

By an area that offers no captioning access, subtitling access, or narrative and relies on sign for it. Surely the primary users of such technology are NOT sign-using people, but others who need alternatives to sign use?

This seems some half-arsed semi-cultural 'support' system  (There has to be a cash angle somewhere else why play this 'Deaf Card' approach?), that flies in the face of basic access requirements, for goodness sake STOP listening to a minority of people who actually DON'T want any other access but sign.  Such output is just spreading disinformation on access/need for the majority with hearing loss.

The output is unjustified on cultural grounds too!

A deaf Take on Technology.

Deaf actress has to learn regional sign for role.

If she as a deaf signer cannot follow the regional accents, how accessible is the sign outside Glasgow to other deaf?

Deaf actress learns to sign in Glaswegian for hit BBC comedy Two Doors Down Actress Sophie Stone, 38, said British Sign Language differs from region to region, just like an accent. 

Deaf actress Sophie Stone had to learn to sign like a Glaswegian for her role in hit BBC comedy Two Doors Down. She plays Louise, an old friend of Joy McAvoy’s character Michelle, and appears in Monday’s episode – which is the last in the series. 

Sophie admitted she wanted to get the right regional dialect sign language for the show. Sophie, 38, who’s originally from London, said British Sign Language – BSL – has dialect influence, slang and phrases of its own from region to region, just like an accent. There were experts on set and a friend even gave her some Glaswegian insults he’d picked up from deaf clubs as a teenager. 

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Deaf Children

deaf children from lauren schlander on Vimeo.

No sign, no captions, no subtitles and no narrative.


Two new mobile apps being rolled out today, Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier, are aimed at the 466 million people—more than 5 per cent of the world’s population—who are deaf or hard of hearing. The Live Transcribe app uses Google’s cloud-based, speech-to-text intelligence to offer text representations of spoken conversations as they’re happening, while Sound Amplifier relies on an Android-based dynamic audio processing effect to make speech and other sounds easier to hear.

During a demonstration with the press last month, a group of Google product managers showed how their presentations could be transcribed into text in near real-time by Live Transcribe. In another corner of the room, Google had engineered a hearing loss simulator as part of the demo of Sound Amplifier. Slip on a set of headphones, and a Google employee cranked the simulator to reduce your hearing abilities. By using the new app, testers could swipe on a series of sliders to adjust volume, ambient noise, voice clarity, and the distribution of sound to the left and right ears.

It’s easy to imagine a not-so-distant future when accessibility apps like these are increasingly aware of a person’s needs and become self-adjusting. Google research scientist Dimitri Kanevsky, who has been deaf since age one, had a conversation with a colleague about an upcoming party while using Live Transcribe on his personal phone.

SEE HEAR Backlash at ATR

Image result for sign language or not?The ailing BBC/UK Deaf program feedback slot angry at ATR's suggestion BSL use is unhelpful for some deaf children.  But then the SH feedback slot was erased on the BBC site because SEE HEAR couldn't cope with the criticism it got from the HoH and deafened who felt excluded, and the BBC then dumped feedback on social media, (They dumped the disabled too!).

They are now annoyed the criticism has followed them there.  They can run, they can't hide.  Sadly innocents like the parents get the flak.  The program hasn't reflected diversity in the deaf world in years. Is 'egg-bound' in cultural nonsense.  It's a cushy number for a select few deaf luvvies and still exists via public handouts.  It's clear too, the SH program utilised these parents for cultural gain too.

An important thing to realise is that the couple live in Wales, which, has NO DEAF SCHOOL for the child to attend.  They could face having to send their child to England to sign at a deaf school. 2 or 3 every year end up travelling to Bristol.  Mainstreamed welsh deaf/HoH education is not predominantly sign based either.  I'm sure the parents have considered this, but SH made no mention of it.

Initially on the ATR blog: Why hasn't the BDA or AOHL stepped in to provide free BSL? or is it charities want cash upfront too? I was confused by the demand for BSL given the child appears to have not even started education yet, is there some assumption that child will only sign? or has no other capability? It's not as clear cut as SEE HEAR makes out, and SEE HEAR is minority deaf viewing with an axe to grind as well being paid for nothing much at all.

@ATR: I'm sorry but Do you not talk to children before they go to school?? Is a deaf child not supposed to have any communication before they go to school? I'm assuming you've never learnt a second language? Or are you one of the lucky ones that you don't need to learn because it comes to you overnight? Of course, you don't need to learn BSL, because the parents will just know how to sign, just when they need to talk to their child , which according to you is when they go to school omg! My child is deaf, he cannot vocalise, so we sign with him, and incidentally, we wanted to communicate from birth, strange concept I know.

ATR:  I asked because I could not see how a child would understand BSL at that age.  I would assume it was more simplistic and basic manuals. Also Signed English is far more useful than BSL is, BSL is in decline, deaf schools, clubs, and social areas that use it are too because that is how UK education is (And everything else really), SE or SSE is still signing but more aligned to what we all use. Also, lip-reading/speaking etc is more widely used. Personally, I would use speech as well, it is an issue if you sign and don't speak to a child, they will assume speaking is not their norm, first impressions etc. 

I noticed a hearing aid, which suggests there is some residual hearing there, another reason. I do think it important the child comes first so the widest possible varied input would be any norm, never restrict it to just one mode, it limits child options. Many deaf children taught varied approaches that way gain a considerable advantage over those for whom the sign is all they have. Don 't listen to those deaf for whom nothing can or has ever changed, because each child is different in need, and, the child is yours, not theirs. Obviously its a personal view it is not meant to upset parents, for whom 'Deaf' advice is random, biased and unhelpful in the main part. They are fighting a losing battle, we don't want deaf children being collateral damage.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Parents forced to pay £6,000 to learn to BSL.

Ros, Josh and Lola Hannam
The huge costs of teaching sign language, not only to children but their parents. Why doesn't the welsh BDA help them?  They appear advocates of sign and culture but unwilling to help the parents with a deaf child unless they get paid too.

Why the assumption their child will only be able to sign?  There ARE other options and assists.  Parents of a deaf four-month-old have to pay £6,000 for sign language classes if they want to communicate with her. 

 Ros and Josh Hannam's daughter Lola was diagnosed shortly after she was born. Although they had some support from Monmouthshire council, the couple from Caldicot will have to pay for British Sign Language (BSL) classes themselves. 

Mrs Hannam said people found it "ridiculous" when she told them they had to pay. The Welsh Government said it would review BSL funding. "I think the first thing we felt [after Lola was diagnosed] was probably devastation," Mrs Hannam said. "She was going to have extra requirements and extra needs that we weren't anticipating. 

"I think once we got over the initial devastation, it was about what can we do to make this good?" The couple got some basic language support through the council's Sensory Communication Service, but how much parents have to pay towards BSL classes depends on where they live. Some get it for free, but others have to foot the full cost themselves.

AVT. What is it?

By George (I think she's got it!).

Not!! Far easier would be to simply NOT draw any attention to whatever 'issue' they have and address them the same as everyone else and treat them the same, this is just creating and cementing labels. A rose by any other name is still a rose.

Deaf Children need English.

Image result for ENglish
Undeniable proof English is the primary way forward for the deaf.  What is surprising are claims it wasn't being used to educate our deaf children, what on earth have they been educating these kids with?  A millstone?  It's time these linguistic isolationists considered the futures of deaf children.  Whose bright idea was it to invent an alternative that would just handicap the deaf child for life?  Culture doesn't create jobs (Except for hearing interpreters, hearing teachers, hearing carers),  it doesn't even equip the deaf to do them.

Around 6,500 deaf children in the UK use English as an additional language. Without the right support, they can face a number of challenges which affect their development, confidence, school work and happiness. A new booklet and video are being launched with practical advice and strategies for teachers and education professionals to help children overcome these challenges and learn at the same pace as their hearing classmates.

These resources are free of charge and the National Deaf Children’s Society is urging all schools who work with these deaf children to use them. 20% of deaf children using English as an additional language achieved a grade 5 in both English and Maths in 2017. This compares to 29% of deaf children generally and 47% of all English as additional language users. Thousands of deaf children using English as an additional language are set to benefit from two new resources aimed at improving learning and overcoming exclusion.

The number of children using English as an additional language has more than doubled in the last decade to over 1.5 million, around 6,500 of whom are deaf.

Dear Diary...

An 11-year-old girl who is profoundly deaf has shared her diary, giving a moving insight into her world and the difficulties she faces every day.

Lily Murray, 11, from Workington, Cumbria, wears bright pink hearing aids but has been picked on by both classmates and adults as a result of her condition. She was approached by the Deaf Children's Society to front a campaign about her experiences and has so far raised almost £24,000 for the charity. Some of the diary entries reveal how she feels left out in school or embarrassed when she doesn't hear what someone has said.

Her mum Nicki said "Lily was bullied a bit last year over being deaf and missing out on things really. "It's difficult for anyone going to secondary school but she says in her diaries about how if she doesn't hear something she's the butt of a joke. "Her school have been doing deaf awareness workshops and we're hoping to get in a few sign language classes as well for the children who want them.

"She's just so proud to have raised so much money to help other people." Lily wrote in her diary about how her hearing disability leaves her feeling left out at school.  She wrote: "Dear Diary, really fed up today. Everyone was laughing and joking at lunchtime, but I missed out on lots of what they were saying."

Friday, 1 February 2019

Deaf man sued for captions 100 times.

consumer reports hard of hearing
While it is great to see systems sued for lack of captioning access, why no class actions against online refusals to caption?  Because it would mean suing ASL output? Is lack of access to ASL output against the law too?

A deaf man who has sued more than a hundred companies under the Americans with Disabilities Act has made Consumer Reports Inc. his latest target. consumer reports hard of hearing Phillip Sullivan Jr. of New York City filed a class action complaint against the Yonkers-based publisher on Jan. 15 in federal court in White Plains. He claims that Consumer Reports’ failure to use closed captioning with videos “excludes the deaf and hard-of-hearing from the full and equal participation in the growing internet economy that is increasingly a fundamental part of the common marketplace and daily living.” 

Consumer Reports did not respond to an email message asking for a response. The federal lawsuit is the 107th that Sullivan has filed in the Southern District of New York since April 2017. Many of the defendants are media companies, such as CNN, Fox News, National Public Radio, Newsweek and The New York Times. Nonmedia defendants include organizations such as the National Rifle Association, Starbucks and Varidesk. He is represented by Lee Litigation Group of Manhattan, “one of the most active filers of class action lawsuits in the country,” according to Legal Newsline, an advocate of tort reform that is affiliated with the U.S. 

Chamber of Commerce. Defendants routinely settle the lawsuits quickly, Newsline said in a 2017 story, even before courts have certified cases as class actions. Sullivan tried to watch “Your Safer-Surgery Survival Guide” video on Consumer Reports’ website in December, the complaint states, but was unable to do so on his own because it has no closed captioning. Closed captioning consists of a transcription or translation of the audio portion of a video, without which, the complaint states, deaf and hard-of-hearing people cannot comprehend the videos. 

The lack of closed captioning is a barrier, the lawsuit argues, “just as buildings without ramps bar people who use wheelchairs.” About 36 million people are deaf or hard of hearing in the United States, according to the lawsuit. Sullivan is suing under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which requires full access to public accommodations, and under state human rights and civil rights laws. He is demanding that Consumer Reports makes its website fully compliant with the laws. He is claiming that the class action damages amount to at least $5 million. 

How they do it....

Standing on the far side of the stage, someone’s hands move swiftly and decisively to words ringing out from the podium at the center. 

Sometimes they’re recognizable, but to most hearing people, they are a blip in peripheral vision, and rarely thought of. American Sign Language interpreters are doing a hugely important job, particularly when it comes to politics, according to Annie Urasky, Director of the Division on Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing at the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. 

“Providing interpreters as an accommodation ensures equal access to the information relayed at events,” Urasky, who is deaf, said via email. There was not an interpreter available at the time of the interview. She went on to say when ASL interpreters are there translating in real time, it allows the deaf and hard of hearing to be full participants in events rather than having to wait for information most others get straight away. 

A study from the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education estimates that 1 in 20 people or roughly 10 million Americans are deaf or hard of hearing. 

For scale, that’s greater than the population of New York City by almost two million people. Of them, about one million people use ASL as their primary language.

ATR Explains.

Very obviously mixing a fact with non-fact works for them as it does in the UK in suggesting 1m is actually 10 times that amount, and 9m HoH are actually 1m deaf people.  They didn't actually identify in the 'Deaf and Hard of Hearing' terminology, HOW MANY USA HoH are actually daily sign users, or how many ASL terps support that area.  It's unheard of in the UK.  

The hashtag has landed.

Image result for the hashtag humorLet us hope they can address the 'All deaf use sign language', and 'Deaf & HoH' are the same thing, or even 'The Deaf are not disabled people..' Or is it just another plug, like Deaf are this, and deaf are that?  If they want to address misconceptions and plain deliberate misinformation, and biased unawareness, maybe start there before going the mainstream? #timetoaddressthisnonsense

Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) officially announced today its #DeafinMedia initiative, a multi-faceted campaign designed to increase the authentic representation of Deaf people in the media and challenge ongoing societal biases toward Deaf people.

#DeafinMedia highlights both damaging and positive representations of Deaf people in a multitude of media, including movies, books, television, journalism, video games and more. The #DeafinMedia campaign also provides media creators access to a variety of helpful resources, including a new media toolkit, so that they may avoid common mistakes and emulate positive portrayals of Deaf people while also providing a platform and strategies for the community to effect change. #DeafinMedia started in beta stage last November.

CSD is the world's largest Deaf-led social impact organization and for decades has served as a leading advocate to eliminate biases and misconceptions about people who are Deaf and what they are capable of achieving.

The inauthentic representation of Deaf people has serious, real-world implications. Portrayals of Deaf people as tragic figures, unintelligent and incapable can have a direct impact on hiring practices. According to CSD, approximately 70% of Deaf people today are unemployed or underemployed and a critical part of closing this severe job gap is challenging unconscious bias and modifying perceptions.