Thursday, 28 February 2019

Fake Deaf targetting South Walians.

We suspect the east Europeans are doing the rounds again, but ATR reported recently there is a world-wide set up of people pretending to be us, and begging money from people who don't know we have nothing to do with this.

People claiming to be deaf are knocking on doors across south Wales asking for money. Social media is full of reports of a man or a woman selling drawings with a note claiming they are hearing impaired. 

Some people have even said that a mark has been left outside their home after they have left. There is no suggestion of any crimes having been committed but the sheer number of reports has sparked fevered speculation about if the couple are genuine. South Wales Police have confirmed they are investigating the reports. 


Deaf people and their charities do NOT go door-to-door asking for money, or selling paintings, key rings, posters, or anything else, photograph these people and telephone the police.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Ye Olde Finger Alphabet.

Legacy of Vineyard Deaf Community Endures

By the middle of the 19th century, nearly all up-Island settlers had become bilingual in spoken English and Martha’s Vineyard sign language. So much so that years later, elders couldn’t recall who from their upbringing had been deaf and who had been hearing. 

Due to a recessive gene and an isolated gene pool, at the time, one in 25 Chilmarkers was deaf. One in four people in Squibnocket was deaf. At around the same time in Washington D.C., a new university was founded for the education of the deaf. It would become known as Gallaudet University, named after the pioneering educator Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. 

Both the history of Martha’s Vineyard deaf community and the new university would change the way people with deafness were thought of, and the opportunities they were afforded. David Martin, a former educator and administrator at Gallaudet, visited Vineyard Haven on Sunday to talk about the legacy of the Martha’s Vineyard deaf community of the 18th and 19th centuries. Mr Martin, who now lives in Marstons Mills, was a featured speaker at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Martha’s Vineyard. 

“This is not just about deafness,” he said. “What can we all take away from this from the point of view of general human rights?” By 1952, the last known descendant of the Chilmark deaf community had died. But Gallaudet University students continue to study the phenomenon of inclusion that took place on Martha’s Vineyard through Nora Ellen Groce’s book Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language. 

Studying New sign languages can destroy them.

Image result for Kata Kolok deaf
Studying an emerging sign language won't kill it – so what are linguists scared of?  Connie de Vos was sitting on her hands. It was 2006, her first stay in the Balinese village of Bengkala, and visitors had come every night to her house, sitting on the floor of the front patio, eating fruit- or durian-flavoured candies and drinking tea. 

About eight to ten people were there now, hands flitting in the shadows, chatting away in Kata Kolok, the local sign language: Where is the next ceremony? When is the next funeral? Who just died?  Kata Kolok was created in Bengkala about 120 years ago and has some special features, such as sticking out your tongue to add 'no' or 'not' to a verb. And unlike American Sign Language (ASL), in which people move their mouths silently as they sign, you also smack your lips gently, which creates a faint popping sound, to indicate that an action has finished.

"If you walk through the village at six, people start to take their baths, getting ready for dinner," De Vos recalls. "You can hear this sound – pah pah pah – all through the village."

A graduate student at Radboud University in the Netherlands at the time, De Vos had come to Bengkala to be the first linguist to map Kata Kolok's grammar and list all of its signs. At that time, she says, it was "kind of untouched", having emerged in an isolated community with a relatively high number of deaf people. Like similar 'village sign languages' that were starting to be identified in the 2000s, it was rich research material. She knew that being first to describe it would be a feather in her cap.

But studying any phenomenon risks changing it.

(Or do they mean invalidating it?).

We aren't being served

Image result for access all areasThe UK national hearing loss charity, (They haven't got around to recognising devolved government in the UK yet, despite it being the reality the last 22 years), has been asked why they keep advertising accessible events that are not accessible to HoH or non-signers?  

ATR asked why one highly publicised event noting BSL access did NOT state there was NO loop or text/captioned or lip-speaking, or content access for the HoH or deaf-blind?   Should they more honestly declare 'This event is for BSL people ONLY'?

Mainly the charity cannot reconcile the Deaf and  HoH remit with the reality it is neither accurate or real in the light of highly successful 'D' 4 Deaf campaigns that mostly shun access other than that signed.  The reality is HoH will see a BSL supported event as not one for them to attend, but struggling to see what events were.  

We had other examples where deaf complained a lip-spoken tour was discriminating against them.  The fact HoH have the view BSL is 'for them not us', may well be known to charities, but they should still cover access properly and state what ISN'T provided.  Are they just playing safe by not challenging the inequalities of singular BSL access? Yes.  Because the other areas are doing the same as they are.  Equal access has a lot to answer for.

ATR Wrote:

While sign users will welcome updates on events there does seem very few events that are text, loop, ipad, or lip-spoken assisted etc, can we see a more balanced event posting approach that is a bit more inclusive?   

We have noted many BSL assisted events do not include access for hard of hearing or non-signing areas, BSL, is also assumed to be a 'Deaf' assist and events aimed at them exclusively by many HoH areas, we need more details on access to identify if, it actually is there for us all.  BSL assisted events don't mean HoH associated mostly. When posting event updates let us have more detail on access please.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

GP's installing Videophones

But, can lip-readers or text users access them?

Glam up your hearing aids..

Ditch the Beige and Grey!

Subtiling is too slow we want BSL instead.

Students from the Exeter Deaf Academy outside County Hall
We wonder what degree of depth they are getting?  In many areas, no local news is even captioned.  SKY removed most of their signing access too.

Devon County Council on Thursday unanimously agreed to write to the BBC and ITV in support of a campaign for Spotlight South West and West Country News to be signed in BSL, and for the council to ask other partners, such as the Police, NHS and voluntary sector to join in support of the Deaf Community in taking this action. 

Alistair Dewhirst, who brought the motion to full council, said it was great news and a great decision that the council had made. READ MORE Compensation negotiations start over 800 homes 'reduced in value' by South Devon Highway When his motion initially went before the council in December, the School Council from Exeter Deaf Academy delivered a presentation in sign language to councillors, articulating the need for regional TV news programmes to be accessible for all. Cllr Dewhirst said: “I am proud to support these fine young people and their desire to be kept in the loop by our local news broadcasters. “I was incredibly aware that when these youngsters came into the council chamber and before the interpreter was signing for them, they had no idea what was going on. 

Deaf still struggling in the workplace..

Employees being forced to exit their jobs due to hearing difficulties can also have a backlash effect on a business├ó€™ productivity.
A follow-on from the 'Role Model' posting by ATR. For those who felt ATR was negative, read below the realities, deaf are ill-equipped to function in many workplaces, and it isn't just lack of support, but lack of role models who succeed in such environments.

The Article:

Hearing specialists say people with hearing loss across the UK are being forced to quit their jobs while many others are left feeling isolated in the workplace. Often referred to as a ‘hidden’ disability, medical experts say more needs to be done to ensure that they are given the right kind of backing and support within their working environments. 

“Hearing loss has been shown to have a profound impact on people’s views and experiences of the workplace,” said Farah Kiani, who is an audiologist at Hidden Hearing. Even with hearing aids, people with hearing difficulties say it is not always possible to hear what is being said in a busy office or staffroom. Even with hearing aids, people with hearing difficulties say it is not always possible to hear what is being said in a busy office or staffroom. 

Figures from a study by charity group, show that a massive 42% of respondents in the survey actually stepped down from their jobs or retired early as a result of their hearing difficulties.  That sad statistic only goes to show that hearing loss not only forces people to leave their places of employment but also hinders others when it comes to fulfilling their potential. “That, in turn, has led to many people feeling isolated at work.” Some of those struggles in the workplace include fulfilling day-to-day tasks such as using the phone or engaging in conversations with colleagues under challenging or noisy conditions. 

Employees being forced to exit their jobs due to hearing difficulties can also have a backlash effect on a business’ productivity. Employees being forced to exit their jobs due to hearing difficulties can also have a backlash effect on a business’ productivity. Approximately two-thirds (68%) of the respondents in the same study agreed that they sometimes felt shut out at work while 70% of respondents say their conditions prevented them from fully maximising their duty capabilities. “It’s not right when somebody has to quit their job because their hearing loss is causing them stress or depression in the workplace,” 


Monday, 25 February 2019

Role Modelling a dated concept?

Image result for role modelsWe often read online the many concerns deaf schools are in a distinct downward direction and young deaf are losing role models.  But what IS a deaf role model?  Or the Deaf one? or even a model image for other areas with hearing loss.  

USA deaf were quoting Helen Keller who was deaf-blind, not a definitive 'Deaf ASL' role model.  Beethoven, who certainly never signed at all.  More modern signing icons are 'pop stars' and dancers, actors etc.  The type of jobs reserved for the few extroverts.  Near all the role models had ways of adapting without sign use too.  They don't appear in media with a terp in tow.

UK role models e.g. included Jack Ashley a CI using deaf MP, and Evelyn Glennie who is not known to be a sign user but a very good lip-reader of world musical renown.  There are hardly any sign using deaf who have attained similar status excepting Doug Alker who attained CEO status at the UK's largest Hard of Hearing charity,  a first for a BSL user, but was unable to display he was inclusive.  It was claimed his deaf school and community sign-based background left him without the tools to do it.   Unable to equate with people who could not sign like he did.  HoH felt excluded by him.

ASL people in the USA continue to attack A G Bell because he promoted oralism, there is little mutual acceptance going on. Live and let live, has been replaced by you do your thing I will do mine. The 'D' suggesting division, masked as a 'choice' or a right.  Modern role models on TV/The arts usually need to display more communication skills than BSL, having that ability to adapt was/is essential.  Others who stay with the BSL couldn't show flexibility, and inhabit such areas as an 'example of token inclusion' showing a signing deaf person (Quite wrongly we aren't all like that), and uncomfortably, as people reliant on others while giving out lectures 'This is what Deaf do.' or rather what most of us did not.

Most unhappy the old ways are going, need to understand what they are asking for, is it a 'back to the future' system? based on the old concepts that led to the demise of deaf clubs and schools?   They weren't actually 'good old days' in terms of academic achievement, and were institutionalising deaf people.   There aren't enough of them to fill a class in many areas and parents wanted them with own friends and hearing siblings, and local, not many miles away in some remote boarding school where they can lose family cohesion and communication approaches are different and alienating. 

The system had found that whilst the deaf loved these areas it was barely conducive to getting a start in life to work and live amidst people not the same as they were or, even equate with deaf who didn't use the same formats they did.  Specialised education isolates and still does,  80% of deaf do not need that specialised type of education, that is not to stay they don't need that support in the mainstream they do. Annexe's we feel are a half-hearted cheap-skate measure, and token inclusion.  Pupils there too, go straight to their own as adults unable to mix.

Mainstreaming has its critics, ATR agrees with a lot of them, what we need to take into account is that it wasn't planned properly with the right back up in place and the issue or sole signing approaches not addressed in respect of the realities in adulthood.   They are falling out of academic advances as we write and has less and less in-class support is there as we write.  If that isn't addressed the future for young deaf is bleak indeed.   

What isn't agreed are the formats to offer deaf children their best hope of advancement as pro-culture and pro-inclusive education areas aren't in agreement.  It's time education was put first.

Closing the deaf schools to attempt integrating the deaf was done without ensuring the support was there.   Deaf had been accustomed to living in an 24/7 supported environment where all peers signed (Or struggled), the same as them, thus deaf emerging into a predominantly hearing world and struggling with that too.  Such deaf are then prior candidates for resenting hearing people and inclusion without back up, it was inevitable they would want back to the old ways, where at least a lack of education was acceptable so long as the community continued to thrive. 

Does BSL kill speech and isolate deaf people? NO it doesn't, but deaf who prefer to sign prefer mostly not to speak, giving that impression, and keeps the myth a visual/oral reality.  More deaf speak than sign, more are now adopting CI's and addressing mainstream more positively.  The fact an increasing majority do not attend what deaf clubs or schools that still exist, may be choice too, unhappy as it makes people like the BDA.  As regards to young deaf they dropped out of deaf clubs 25+ years ago, they wanted independence from attending clubs where older people and aged deaf were predominant, they wanted the same as hearing were getting.  This is an absolute norm for all youth. We should all be happy today's youth have more choices. For people to state, it isn't a real choice is unhelpful. 

As with all forms of hearing loss, db limitations are not the primary issue, confidence is, and you don't gain confidence by staying apart from the rest of society and making occasional 'visits' to them.  It need not isolate the deaf if the inclusive process is entered into in the spirit of making it a real success, and not an annoyance until they can leave school and seek out others like them instead, because they were primed to fail, it creates resentful and disadvantaged people. It is not essential even hearing must sign first, just display a willingness for them to adapt too.  They cannot integrate by remote, they have to be 'in it, to win it'. Demanding inclusion from the relative 'sanctuary/buffer' of the deaf school/club/community, it won't work, the hearing will see that, not any real desire behind it.  Deaf will see they don't get demand made on them and stay where they are too.

Role modelling seems to be a very singular-centric image within some areas and doesn't reflect inclusion at all.  The world is hearing it isn't deaf and many young deaf desire the same as their hearing peer, they know the sign is only part access to attaining that.  Mainstreaming gives them an experience they cannot ever attain within their community alone. That means sitting alongside hearing peers, being seen by them and socialising with them too. 

If hearing see that 'Deaf' prefer to be with 'their own' they are going to leave them to it, and deaf will suffer lack of education, acceptance, and progress, because of that desire.  Social attitudes need to be widened, there is more to life than being only with other deaf people, and there are many examples where deaf who never attended a deaf school or a club still manage to live their lives just the same, and they certainly won't relate to being inhibited again.  We know sign is a right but practicalities exist to be addressed, the world isn't going to sign for them. 60% cannot get a job, reality has to be faced, and changes made to deaf education in the light of that.  Hearing children are taught skills they know are needed when they leave school, this does not seem to be the same approach used in deaf educational areas.  

Recent work surveys show us that employers don't want the hassle a deaf signer exhibits, or the costs that go with it, they are convinced we are a liability.   Yes we can and do go at them but deaf are not showing adaptability where they can and complaining hearing peers don't sign like they do. they don't believe any onus is on them to go half-way.  Their own support is killing their advance.  Employers don't want 3rd parties.  3rd parties exist because deaf using sign have few other strings to their bow, indeed demand they shouldn't have to acquire any.    Everything then becomes a confrontation and stress situation. Pride has meant a huge fall in advancing their adult lives.  We don't say all deaf can adapt but the view they should not be trying to prevails, and that is very bad news indeed.

The ability of deaf being able to adapt to work situations is questionable too, yet, constant change and adapting is how it all works job-wise, constant re-training and learning new skills.  Deaf seem to avoid most of that or cannot get into it.  Result they are left behind further still.  The issue with role modelling is they can fail to relate to those who don't sign or don't attend such clubs and schools and/or who struggle to communicate with other deaf, hearing, deaf-blind, oral deaf, or hard of hearing, lip-readers etc.  Role modelling has to move to the 21stc. Most deaf youth already have, you are not going to find them in a 'community'  demanding deaf schools or clubs back, they have already voted with their feet. They have options older deaf don't.    By all means, empower deaf in education but address why that education is not empowering them as it should be doing.

#metoo CI implantees who sign.

Hearing aid types.

Only 8% with special needs are getting help.

School - PencilSchool - PencilSchool - Pencil
Teacher / School
ATR's area just saw their LA pull out of SEND.

Just 8% of the children with special needs in Buckinghamshire are getting the support they need. That's according to the latest figures, with one group calling for teachers to have access to more resources to help those struggling. 

Mandy Williams is a special needs teaching assistant. She said: "It's not fair. "We should have a fair education system. "Every child has the right to have the same opportunities as the next child. "It's our fault if we are not making sure teaching is targeted towards them." Teacher / School There's a call for teachers to have more resources Figures show 11 per cent of children have special needs, but just a small fraction of that get the support they need. 

Mandy says these things could help: "It could be having something as simple as resources which have been adapted. "It could be the support of a teaching assistant or emotional support. "It's about knowing that child and what works for them." A lack of educational support, as well as local authorities facing financial pressures, means that those with difficulties aren't achieving as well as their peers in school. Children of compulsory school age who have SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) are defined as having significantly greater difficulty learning than the majority of others who are of the same age. 

If a child has SEND then their needs will fall into one or more of the following: communication and interaction; cognition and learning; social, emotional and mental health difficulties; sensory and/or physical needs.  There are currently 45,000 children in the UK who are deaf, as well as an estimated 1 in 100 children who have autism. 17% of autistic children have been suspended from school, whilst 63% of autistic children are not in a school that is best able to support their needs. For those children who are deaf, only 30.6% will achieve a GCSE strong pass - Grade 5 or above - (when compared to 48.3% of children with no special needs) and alongside this 57% of these children will fail to reach expected reading, writing and maths levels for their SATs by the end of their primary education. 

Those with SEND may need extra help and support so that they can be provided with the same opportunities as others. However, there aren't sufficient special placements for students with SEND in specialist schools, therefore mainstream schools have to accommodate the child's needs, often without extra funding. Education content providers, who offer teacher-guided interactive resources across the curriculum, are a potential solution to this. Those who have used these alongside their studies find that attainment improved by an average of 153%. Ensuring that educational resources are accessible to all students is paramount to creating an indiscriminate and inclusive teaching environment. 

Technological advancements have meant that education content providers, such as EdPlace, have been able to create online learning spaces, accessible for children who have these difficulties; so that equal education can be provided for everyone. 

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Wales defeats England.

A great day to be Welsh after England loses to the Welsh side they had written off. 21-13 eat my shorts lol

Friday, 22 February 2019

Round up.

Deaf Arts,is it worth it?

Image result for deaf artsReading recent concerns by deaf artists they aren't getting their own way. Deaf Theatre is not reflecting deaf or other people with hearing loss and appear to have own spin on what culture is by redefining it themselves.

Just look at the image shown at the start, 'The Deaf Identity'!  Just how many areas are these deaf involved with to gain funds for 'Deaf Culture'?  Some examples below.

Candoco –  dance group that integrates able and disabled dancers.

Graeae – champions accessibility and provides a platform for new generations of Deaf and disabled talent through the creation of trail-blazing theatre

DASH Arts – a disability arts organisation in Shropshire.

Disability Arts Cymru – disability arts organisation for Wales

Deafinitely Theatre – a Deaf-led theatre company gaining extensive funding from:-

Arts Council, England
Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants
Autograph Sound Recording
Children in Need
City Lit
Edwardian Hotels London
Global's Make Some Noise
New Diorama Theatre
Old Diorama Arts Centre
Regent's Place
The Royal Court Theatre 
Wellcome Trust
White light Ltd
29th May 1961 Charitable Trust

The National Lottery, and 15 others!

Cash they ain't short of!  What is the 'complaint' regarding 'others' defining the 'Deaf' arts?  They take lots of funding to promote exclusively signed output and much more funding to promote deafness and sign through disability funding too.  They heavily campaigned against caps on ESA despite well over £46K a year being claimed for their participation in it, and got near a 50% increase.

What really seems to irk those involved with Deaf Arts is the fact the funding comes with strings, these 'strings' being inclusion and other access as well as suggestions they appeal to wider areas to justify output and work alongside disabled too.  

Some Deaf involved in the arts are pretty much doing their own thing with no bottom line to include most with a hearing loss except adding captions occasionally to comply with inclusive remits, whilst still developing output that is irrelevant to them and singular to signing areas. Our very own Deaf Elitists. Whilst art is subjective anyway, they are a one trick signing pony using culture to prevent everyone from ignoring the imbalance of it.  At the same time, it is only accessible to those living in major cities leaving most Deaf with no way of seeing it.

Notwithstanding and despite a minority within the hearing loss worlds, they are funded far too much without checks on the accessible output of it all.  It's excessive in proportion to actual grass root support even and despite 2 primary TV programs funded for gratis, yet, when did the majority OF deaf really take any viable interest?  They still complain about how their ability to 'control' how deafness and the image, is being limited by access and inclusion rules.  'Deaf do this, deaf do that..' of course is their mantra, and never the Hard of Hearing twain should meet.

As one social media poster stated:

The biggest exploiters, are those running the Deaf arts which consist of a select band of over-privileged deafie luvvies managing the whole thing for their own benefit and getting far too much funding for exclusion and irrelevant output.

Why Bilingualism is Best.

And why futures and deaf outcomes are being stunted by an inability to acquire it and vested interests opposing it.  There is also an issue of deaf claiming bilingualism yet having little abilities to display it, except in sign use, and requiring support to use it, just when is Bilinguality a false claim by these deaf?  The true bilinguals are their support.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Dropping the D/d thing

I've found one solution. (As recommended by Paddy Ladd).

Promises, Promises..

Image result for promises promises humor(1)  I promise to not let anyone wind me up online this year, I've mined the comment slot, with more Trojans than the ancient Greeks can handle.....

(2)  I Promise to learn at least one sign a day in ASL and BSL, in order to break down communication barriers, today's sign is "shut it...!",  tomorrow's is "Talk to the hand.."

(3) I promise to read every word of Understanding Deafhood, and worship Paddy Ladd as the coming Messiah... After that perhaps War and Peace in Hindi, and understanding thermonuclear Dynamics, and hyper-critical proton technology for beginners handbook, for some light relief and more sense.

(4)  I promise to abstain from lip-reading for the coming year, I'm going to learn phrenology and do mind-reading instead...

(5)  I Promise NEVER to join an awareness group and ban deaf awareness from all my blogs. As IF anyone takes a blind bit of notice anyway.

(6)  I Promise to continue to abuse charity workers for their own good, they need a proper job.  Volunteers DON'T get paid, their CEO's are coining it, so it's a waste of time. Rewards are made in heaven, but they don't pay the rent here.

(7)   I Promise NEVER to plug the latest electronic gizmo/app/iphone for deaf people, they bore us rigid already, most are obsolete before we see them, and I don't want to know anyway, too many on the other end of them are a bit simple.

(8)  I Promise to poke fun at anyone deaf who quotes 'Facebook', 'social site' 'Instagram', 'Pinterest' or 'Twitter' on my blog, and to direct them to a psychiatrist for intensive shock treatment (Like meeting real people and utilising that hole under their nose..). 

(9)  I Promise to never take any notice of people who quote Wikipedia, I'd direct them to a proper source of information, (but they probably can't read, so its probably not relevant).

(10)  I Promise to annoy support service workers, and ridicule 'communication' classes based on who has the cash to be enrolled in them, and those most easily convinced all deaf sign.  They create more problems being de-commissioned than IS supporters.

SEE HEAR on Tour.

See Hear On Tour from Chris Hall on Vimeo.

Getting in now before the EU bans us lol

Virtual sign access in hospitals (UK)

Derek Fitchett using SignLive on one of the Trust's new iPads
HoH would not be users if SignLive access, at best they would benefit from speech to text system being on ipads. Media is over-fond of adding 'Hard of Hearing' tags on access systems designed for signing DEAF people, it has to be addressed because HoH don't utilise such systems and being told by health areas they do!   We really do need an access system that is inclusive, not EXclusive. 'deaf community' doesn't exist, maybe a 'Deaf' one does, so two primary misleading bloomers at day one.

New 'virtual sign language' service helps deaf patients at GWH. DEAF patients visiting Great Western Hospital will receive extra help through a new virtual service. The trust has invested in new iPads and a subscription to a British Sign Language service SignLive to improve the care deaf people receive. 

SignLive provides an online interpreting service to help staff communicate with patients using sign language. Deborah Tapley, head of patient advice liaison at the hospital, said: “We're so thrilled to have the ability to share this service with our deaf patients. “Often, for somebody who is hard of hearing, hospital visits can be distressing or worrying. 

“With the help of SignLive, we are hoping to reduce this anxiety and make the journey through the hospital as easy as possible.” But the hospital still offers face-to-face interpreters for longer or serious appointments. “If they want to talk to someone for any reason, they can ask for a face-to-face interpreter. The iPads will be used for quicker appointments. “Sometimes patients want to check the time of a meeting and they will have to come directly to the hospital only for one question. With SignLive, they can register online and get their answers without the need to travel to the hospital.” 

There are four iPads available to assist patients. They can also bring their own iPads if needed. “We have one iPad on a stand and three ipads can be carried around with the patients. If a deaf patient is in an ambulance, he or she can communicate with the staff and then we would be able to set up the iPad for when they arrive.” The service has already been given the thumbs up by patients. Derek Fitchett said: “I love SignLive. It such a good service that really needs to be promoted to the deaf community in Swindon.” 

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Overdosing on Awareness?

Related imageAre we putting far too much pressure on our children?   It seems everything from sign and deaf awareness, to transgender, sex, drugs, mental health, religion, politics, emotional attitudes, abuse, Gay awareness, and ecological dire warnings to name just a few, are being relentlessly targeted at children from 4 yr old onwards.  Is it time to clamp down on minority causes and many awareness classes in schools?

In perspective, the many demands for awareness inclusion in our schools is undermining their basic education. Awareness is vital, but there are so many areas demanding it. We feel alternative areas are needed before our kids get swamped by these classes, also that such areas should be limited to older children and not aimed at those under 11, with some best left till age 16.

Primarily because emotionally and intellectually they don't really have the wherewithal to understand it all.  Giving children adult experiences is not an ideal situation given their brains are still evolving, and they aren't even legally responsible till 16. Perhaps an hour Friday afternoon and rotate awareness? Leaving the rest of the time for kids to play and to learn what they need to. 

All too soon they are put in the adult firing line but they need schools as a refuge to build resilience first as many parents seem to have abandoned that role. It smacks in retrospect of social engineering driven by minorities, and hashtag culture, while a number of minorities do not enjoy support for their issues and even have differences of what 'real' awareness is, from within own areas.   The hearing loss world is riddled with multi-approaches to access and need requirements e.g. so need 4 different class approaches because of lack of united awareness approaches.

Multiply that by the many many other areas, it rapidly exposes the school class approach as unhelpful, even misleading and encouraging biased awareness.   Minorities have yet to get their own housing in order.  The additional problem of overriding parental opinion is also a recipe for more confusion.  I thank goodness I had none of these classes when I was at school other than the 3R's. We're teaching them paranoia, making them insecure, and making demands on children we should not be doing. 

An end to hashtag culture would be most welcome too, it is fast becoming a norm to hashtag everything rendering it pointless.

Job Club for the HoH and deaf.

Its more welcome a video than the previous ones which failed to provide any in-vision text or captioning.  Until that is a norm they should refrain from using the 'deaf and HoH' claim of their access support.  Now, caption all the rest too.

8yr old wins deaf idea award.

An eight-year-old Lymm girl has won a top prize in a worldwide competition for children to design something to make deaf people’s lives easier. Betty Seabrook, a pupil at Ravenbank Primary School was the UK winner in the Ideas4Ears competition organised by hearing implant makers Med-el. 

Together with nine other winners – from nine different countries – she has won a trip to Innsbruck, Austria, where Med-el’s headquarters are. While there she will meet other young inventors from all over the world and also the experts who design various types of hearing implants A total of 341 children from 19 countries entered the competition. Betty’s father, Tom, has a cochlear implant himself and cannot wear a cycle helmet as the band would go right where the implant sits. 

The bright youngster designed a cycle helmet with lift-out foam panels on either side. These were adjustable, as not everyone’s implant is in the same place. It could also be adapted for use by motor cyclists, as a ski-helmet or even for hard hats for builders. Betty said: “”I can’t explain how it feels, I am so happy. I didn’t expect to win. 

I’m really excited about the trip because it is the first time I will have been on a plane and I am really looking forward to seeing Austria. I want my dad to wear a bike helmet but he can’t without taking his processor off which would be more dangerous. My bike helmet has a foam lining and I just thought why can’t we make one with space for an implant?” She will go on her dream trip in June.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Unplanned Pregnancy support

For-profit funeral homes should provide sign language interpreters?

Image result for for profit funerals USA deafHearing in a deaf world affords me a front-row seat to witness the injustices imposed on the Deaf community. 

Although I consider myself fortunate to not be directly impacted by these acts of disservice, there is something infuriating about watching friends and loved ones face unnecessary obstacles in the name of convenience and bottom line for the hearing world. One such atrocity is the hearing world’s disregard for equal access to language, especially in the for-profit funeral service industry.

Before I elaborate, I would like to express my belief that providing interpreters for any language is important. Our country is a melting pot of diversity and, along with it, comes the responsibility to nurture a variety of languages and dialects. The reason I feel it’s important to prioritize interpreter access for the deaf population is this: A deaf person can never learn to hear the English language and it’s inhumane to withhold the opportunity to understand what is being said around them.

The federal government agrees with this inherent right of language access. Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires all public businesses to provide accommodations for deaf individuals, including interpretation. This regulation goes into much greater depth, but let’s focus on the person’s right to an interpreter.

Statewide, the deaf community has been battling for their right to interpreters for decades. Many businesses are either unfamiliar with ADA law or fight tooth-and-nail to try to get around it. Let me be clear, a deaf person should never be asked to pay for an interpreter. The infrequency of interpreter requests a business faces paired with their profit margins and tax incentives for providing the service makes their unwillingness to comply with this federally-mandated law ridiculous. Ironically, the cost of hiring an interpreter is far less than the time and resources needed to defend an ADA lawsuit.

New 'Hidden Disabilities' Scheme.

The pin badge and document that indicate to Virgin Atlantic staff that a passenger has a hidden disability
Virgin Atlantic has launched a Hidden Disabilities scheme across its networks. 

The initiative aims to make flying easier and less stressful for those who may face additional challenges when travelling. Virgin staff have undertaken specialist training to ensure they are fully informed about and able to assist passengers with hidden disabilities, such as autism or Asperger’s. 

A specially designed symbol, which can be discretely tucked away in a passport or worn as a pin badge, signals to Virgin Atlantic crew that additional assistance may be required.  The scheme, which is available at no extra cost, can also extend to staff working with passengers before and after a flight in an effort to minimise the impact of what can be a stressful experience. 

Staff can accompany passengers through the airport, arrange priority boarding and reserve seating where necessary. Onboard, staff can also arrange in-flight entertainment for blind passengers, while some crew members have had sign language training to assist deaf travellers (although this must be pre-arranged). 

Geraldine Lundy, passenger accessibility manager at Virgin Atlantic, says: “We are committed to giving all customers easier access to travel. The Hidden Disabilities scheme is one of a series of initiatives that Virgin Atlantic is planning on introducing over the coming years, to help those with disabilities overcome any key challenges they may face.” 

How to get funding

Image result for not plain english
Stating the obvious and using long words. A recent advert for a new publication on deaf and mainstream/support attitudes.  

It would help if they stopped using the term 'Hearing' as if it is a swear word or form of abuse.  

There is no us and them, just me and you. Mainstream sees deaf thought their support, they do, how else can they see it when there is always a 3rd party there?  and the client is barely looking at them?  It's not a 'natural' state to talk to someone else instead of the person are trying to talk to.  The hearing background will out just as a deaf one will.

Interpreter/hearing attitudes as regards to their work are not going to show (Officially), anything more than they will support the people and politics of those who pay their wages, probably add criticism to systems that don't sign direct, but not too many in case their services are no longer required! Let's NOT overdue the access thing. 

It's more to the point to address deaf concerns a number of terps are acting as unqualified social workers and advisors in defiance of their job remit and the attitude of deaf clients who encourage it.  Also the lack of independent regulation of BSL interpreters with the power to remove terps who don't maintain the proper distance required of their work.  An end to freelance would also provide a more effective support base for these BSL users.  As would a ban on family support create real demand, given 60% of deaf rely on them, thus reducing demand for trained and neutral help, do Deaf NOT want independence?

Another article doomed together dust somewhere.  Far better more investigation and research was given as to the need for funding these things when the money could be better used to educate deaf people.  It's not all bad news, flogging BSL awareness is a real money spinner.  I would be uncomfortable with that.  

Can't these people write in plain English so the deaf can read it?  It's a collection of obscure dictionary terms thrown together to look like an academic opus.  Where Paddy Ladd leads they all follow apparently!  Always using 5 words where one would do.  When in doubt create another obscure term.  It's an assault on readability.  In part, appears to be a Deaf drive to legitimise deafness as an academic pursuit, instead of the god-awful disability it is, except for the few who view deaf ignorance is bliss.

Hearing people perceiving deaf people through sign language interpreters at work: on the loss of self through interpreted communication by Alys Young Rosemary Oram Jemina Napier.

"This article addresses the impact on occupational relations of mediated communication through a sign language interpreter from the perspective of hearing people who do not sign but who work alongside deaf signers in the workplace. 

Based on a phenomenological analysis of eight semi-structured interviews, findings address the influence of phonocentrism on working practice between deaf and hearing people. In particular, the implications of the inscription of identity and presence through an embodied language are discussed. The consequences of failing to acknowledge the interpreter as a contingent practice for all, not just the deaf person, are examined. 

The findings have implications for the recognition and promotion of deaf agency and talent in the ‘hearing’ workplace and extend understandings of structural influences on workplace discriminations to include those of interpreted communication."


Note some translation if it will help, I suspect it won't! Clear as mud innit.

Phenomenology is the study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view. The central structure of an experience is its intentionality, its being directed toward something, as it is an experience of or about some object.

Phonocentrism is the belief that sounds and speech are inherently superior to, or more primary than, written language. Those who espouse phonocentric views maintain that spoken language is the primary and most fundamental method of communication whereas writing is merely a derived method of capturing speech.

Monday, 18 February 2019

How to make a Million with BSL...

Ms Redstar set up her own business from home, offering sign language training to companies
I bet she welcomed an increase in A2W funding!  Of course, BSL awareness isn't hearing loss awareness, so you have to ask if the sales pitch is inclusive at all.

A deaf woman has claimed she will soon be a millionaire after setting up a sign language school from her own home. Katie Redstar, from Leeds, Yorkshire, became deaf after meningitis at the age of three and struggled to find work as an adult. 

She hit rock bottom when Job Centre advisers said she would never be employed. But refusing to live life without any ambitions, she set up a business in 2017, and said she signed contracts with six-figure companies and is, therefore, set to become a millionaire by April.  The entrepreneur, who has been visually impaired since birth and will soon be blind, has also signed a book deal. 

Among those who survive meningitis, approximately one in five will have permanent disabilities, such as brain damage, hearing loss, loss of kidney function or limb amputations, with hearing loss being the most common. Ms Redstar has also suffered from a rare degenerative disease that impaired her sight from birth, but said it is not clear what this disease is. 

Ms Redstar claims job centres told her she couldn't work and would have to stay on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for the rest of her life. She said: 'I was working in a charity shop, but I didn't feel appreciated. 'I told the Job Centre I wanted to work but they told me I couldn't because of my disabilities. 'A friend asked me if I was prepared to accept that, and I said no. 

'I had a vision for companies around the world to be accessible for deaf people.' After learning sign language at four years old, Ms Redstar said the special form of communication became one of her passions. Ms Redstar set up her own business from home, offering sign language training to companies including EE, in a bid to tear down barriers for other deaf people needing employment. 

Cuts to BSL make me ANGRY!!!

One way to  preserve support setups is to cease the over specialisation on particular modes, there are many deaf people who don't sign, many many others with hearing loss and needing alternatives, this suggests if a collective approach to support was in operation, areas would be more likely to fund that approach, mainly because sign is so minor an area regular help and usage can never be guaranteed.  

You can see much funding being poured into systems that aren't long-term viable and have too few deaf using them.  The writer fails to identify BSL users are virtually the ONLY deaf area with a national support extant.

They are costing us all too much money frankly and too many other areas are being ignored.  This can be offset by widening 'Deaf' awareness to people who don't just sign, winding up BSL charities, and replacing them with proper and inclusive support staff. 

Then there is more regular work available to maintain such a support system, and more inclusive too.  This suggestion is very widely supported by emergency systems e.g. who feel we and they would benefit from a 'one-stop' support area they can access and kill off complaints such systems are denying support to most with hearing loss.

At present, there are virtually NO dedicated support systems for Hard of Hearing, deafened, lip-readers, or text dependents,  a huge and potentially unmet need that could and should be addressed.  Less of the BSL hard-luck outbursts and start developing an inclusive support area instead.

Reading the said article the writer has already identified why such huge support for BSL is needed, maybe addressing that issue should come first? Mostly, it's shutting the door after the proverbial horse has already bolted... continually justifying areas that make access more and more difficult.   Deaf education is failing deaf people, and they want more failures as a right.

The Article:

I’m angry. In fact, I am incandescent. It’s said that the measure of a civilised society is how it treats its members with different needs. 

And today, in Worcester, we are failing to be civilised. Imagine getting a letter from your GP asking you to book an appointment by phone. Not so easy, as we know.  How many of us have waited and waited to speak to someone at the doctor’s surgery, patiently going through the indecipherable number of options: “Press 17 if you want to talk about your varicose veins!”. Now imagine that you live alone and are Deaf. 

Your main language is BSL (British Sign Language) and you can’t use the phone. So how do you book an appointment? It's even harder (or in fact, impossible). You see how the things we take for granted become barriers for those with specific needs. I’ve even heard cases of friends or interpreters phoning on the persons behalf only to be told that they cannot give the information because of confidentiality! 

But imagine it is even worse than that. Imagine you need to go to Accident and Emergency. Or someone needs to explain to you the complexities of your operation. Or that your benefits are being threatened and you need to fill out a form that is not in your language (just as BSL is different from English). 

Shhhh! It's a secret.

Related image
"Why don't Hard of Hearing unite to further their cause for access and inclusion?"  More heartfelt (But apparently unsupported), demands for Hard of Hearing to take up access and support lobbying in earnest.

A cry in the deserted wilderness sadly, I don't know about the USA but the UK has no HoH campaigning area, no community, no inclusive approach to communication, and just one national charity even the deaf don't want to know about.   Any image is mostly about ear wax YUK!!

I'm coming round to the view HoH have cracked their issue with technology so access is hardly a problem for them anymore, the only underlying question is what (If any), social life do they have?  How does it function?  as they don't like deaf people, gravitate 'like with like', and HoH clubs are a rarity and poorly attended, and no such thing as a HoH 'community' exists, online versions are pointless, even the profile and lip-reading 'HoH flagship' classes are very poorly attended and the HoH don't persevere with them.  

Perhaps those who have  overcome hearing loss can tell us who they did it? let us all in on the cure?  I read complaints, I don't read anyone doing anything about them.    More importantly why the HoH don't feel it is necessary to lobby for better access for themselves? 10m people have cracked it and we don't know how.  Do tell!

Boarding School Syndrome.

Image result for boarding schools mary hare
Another reason to shut down those for the Deaf?  Although the article appears to focus on the over-privileged or those incapable of mainstream, it ignores the huge damage caused to deaf children and their future outlook, but much 'admired' and supported a format by deaf cultural supporters.  Looks like their background took its toll on them too....

Boarding School Syndrome is increasingly recognized as a specific syndrome by psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors. Many adults are suffering long-term emotional or behavioural difficulties, which stem from having lost normal family life through being sent away to boarding school as children.

In the British Journal of Psychotherapy, Dr Joy Schaverien identified a set of symptoms common among early boarders that she calls “Boarding School Syndrome”.   “Early rupture with home has a lasting influence on attachment patterns. When a child is brought up at home, the family adapts to accommodate it: growing up involves a constant negotiation between parents and children. But an institution cannot rebuild itself around one child. Instead, the child must adapt to the system. 

Combined with the sudden and repeated loss of parents, siblings, pets and toys, this causes the child to shut itself off from the need for intimacy. This can cause major problems in adulthood: depression, an inability to talk about or understand emotions, the urge to escape from or to destroy intimate relationships. These symptoms mostly affect early boarders: those who start when they are older are less likely to be harmed.”

Sufferers' symptoms are often hidden behind a brittle fa├žade of competence.  Shame from having had - what others perceive as a privileged start - can prevent them from acknowledging their distress. Such adults have difficulty asking for help and can experience all manner of intimate issues in relationships. They are frequently emotionally cut-off as a result of living in an atmosphere where it was normal to keep silent about emotional stress.

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."