Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Testing your hearing loss in the 1950s...


In this photo, psychologist Mr P C Kendall is seen banging a drum beside the ear of a young girl in a rudimentary hearing test at the Department of Education of the Deaf
A series of fascinating photographs has revealed a behind-the-scenes look at the former Department of Education of the Deaf. The department, which was in Manchester until 1955, is shown in black and white photos taken around three years before it shut. 


The pictures show children interacting with medical professionals and parents at what is believed to have been the first facility of its kind in the UK. In one strange image, a psychologist, Mr P C Kendall, bangs a drum beside the ear of a young girl in what appears to have been a rudimentary hearing test. 

Other photos show a boy playing with farm animals as he is having his hearing assessed, and a 14-month-old child being taught to lipread by her mother. Another shot shows a little girl fiercely concentrating on her wooden toy as a woman tinkers with the testing equipment in the background. The Department of Education of the Deaf was a department of the University of Manchester and the first of its kind in the UK, according to a report published in the British Journal of Educational Studies in 1956. 

It was founded by Sir James E Jones, a cotton merchant from Lancashire whose son, Ellis, was born deaf. Ellis was so well educated by a private tutor that, at a time when most deaf children were taught at poor quality special residential schools, he was able to attend the University of Oxford when he grew older. Sir James became so knowledgeable – for the time – and impassioned about the education of deaf children that he was able to set up the pioneering school. 

The department is believed to have been the first official centre of its kind in the UK. Sheila Hadfield has her hearing equipment adjusted by an audiologist at the Department of Education of the Deaf in Manchester in 1952.  Noreen Buckley, just 14 months old is taught to lipread by her mother. Lip reading involves watching a speaker's mouth and face movements to work out what they are saying without hearing them and is commonly used by people with varying levels of hearing impairments .....

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Sign it!

Image result for petitionATR today launches a petition to end charity telethons in the UK like Comic Relief and Red Nose Day.  ATR objects on 4 grounds.

(1)  Participants/celebrities are promoting personal and own political views as an agenda with no agreed assent from charity, the disabled, or its recipient members.

(2)  That such events on Television promote pity, 'heroic' images, and negative attitudes towards disabled and vulnerable people.

(3)  That such output is against the interests of vulnerable people with regards to their human rights by suggesting charity should replace that with dependency formats instead.

(4)  That participating charities are undermining disability rights.

You and the Police (Australia).

Needs of deaf children unmet and in Crisis.



Almost half of specialist teachers for deaf children feel pupils are performing worse than five years ago, a charity has said. The Deaf Children's Society claimed the system is in absolute crisis and teachers are being overwhelmed by the demands of their role. 

It warned that staff were battling stress and having to deal with spiralling workloads and excessive hours. The warning comes after a survey of 625 specialist teachers, carried out by the charity and the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf, revealed that almost half experienced stress in their role on a weekly basis, with one quarter affected every day. The charity has previously called for more specialists to be trained. 

It also wants Northern Ireland to be included in a UK bursary scheme to fund a new generation of teachers. New specialist teachers for deaf children, it warned, need to be trained now. The number of young people with hearing loss in the north is increasing while the figure for specialists is in decline. According to the latest poll, more than four in five are now working longer hours due to increasing workloads, with almost two-thirds forced to work an extra day every week just to keep up. Around six in 10 teachers surveyed said there was less support available for deaf children than in 2014. 

Almost half felt pupils were now performing worse. Susan Daniels, chief executive of the charity, said the results of the survey "show a system in absolute crisis". "Specialist teachers do an incredible job in exceptionally difficult circumstances and play a vital role in the lives of deaf children," she said. "However, they are being crushed by the demands of a role which has become simply unsustainable. Every child deserves the same chance in life, but unless specialist support services are adequately staffed and funded, teachers will remain overworked and under pressure while deaf children's futures hang in the balance." 

UK Minister for Children and Families Nadhim Zahawi said government's ambition for children with special educational needs and disabilities, including those who are deaf, was the same for any other child "It is up to local authorities to work with the schools in their area to identify the nature of specialist support services they commission, according to the needs of schools in their area," he said. 

Monday, 18 March 2019

Teaching BSL in all schools...

Triggered a social media query from a husband of a hard of hearing spouse, who asked about BSL acquisition in later life... Some responses below.

#1 "As an adult deaf person who doesn't use it as a primary means of communication, I am unsure of its benefits except to the sole users of it from day one, who tend not to mix usually. Kids adapt pretty easily and include, but all the research suggests come post 7 years of age when they move up a school, these things stop pretty rapidly as peer pressures take hold, and it isn't 'cool' to do these things etc."

#2 "I'd prefer a wider awareness program that includes a much more diverse inclusion of people with hearing loss, and the different means they use, since, the sign using area is an actual minority, it benefits the few not the most.  300,000 with hearing loss in my area would probably not see this as a benefit for them. Of course, using it in schools is one aspect, but outside? Where are they going to use it then? I can walk local streets 24/7 and never see anyone using it. The practicalities of it and the over-focus on the minority rapidly becomes an image of the majority when unchecked. E.G. no system exists in my area to support deaf or Hard of Hearing who don't sign, or even if they lip-read."

#3 Due to the cost that it will involve and school budgets at breaking point, it is very unlikely BSL will become a norm as a curriculum class... so for those who are deaf.. they will continue to be excluded from activities. 

#4 "There are various debates regarding deaf communications that get distorted via a 'right to culture' aside, of course, less access to sign means no culture so the pro and anti areas argue constantly. The drive is to encourage hearing to learn on the basis the deaf cannot reciprocate in the hearing modes.  Not much commonality of agreement sadly.  One area favours sign only approaches, another an oral approach, yet another a combination of both, or the practical approach 'which works best'.  It's all tempered with the reality mainstream hasn't gone with any to a real extent and argue signing inhibits the deaf ability to integrate or work effectively.   It all comes with a financial cost they don't want to bear."

#5 "Its clear everything hinges on their educational areas. So far the pro exclusive sign lobby is winning their point despite concerns it is enabling a deaf alternative to mainstream instead of empowering these deaf to move into the mainstream, (the only area they can really attain real equality or its simply relative.)  Its argued the Deaf approaches to integration is becoming secondary to empowering their own areas where disadvantages are far less and communication is not an issue. to that end, their socio-communicational preferences come before anything else, even education at times."

#6 "I am aware that there are different streams debating what is the right approach, my wife is hard of hearing (depending on the level of noise and I suffer from frequency loss in both ears), I would have liked to have learnt 'sign language' at a certain level. Jennie can learn lip reading, perhaps that could be something that could be encouraged more in the educational system if signing is too much of issue to teach."

#7 " The issue with sign use for others is the way it is intrinsically bound up with the Deaf social culture.  Lip-reading has its critics too, and it is a difficult mode to master because the tuition is pretty random.     Basically, it is if others like HoH/acquired deaf e.g. are prepared to adopt the social aspect with the sign, also to accept that a fair amount of reliance on others outside that area is an accepted norm for reliant signers, but a negative to HoH."

#8  "I don't know of many hard of hearing who succeeded.   The deaf have different social structures, norms, and clubs as well as charities and support, you have to buy into the whole concept or it doesn't really work well."

#9  "The ongoing theme suggests still far too many have some 'identity crisis' that inhibits wider acceptance, even inclusion with other deaf.  I suppose at the end of the day it depends on how much will there is to risk moving away from the comfort area,  HoH have the same issues, they may want the sign but not what goes with it.  In learning sign language, mastering it is only half the job for the HoH, the very difficult half is finding ways to integrate that OUTSIDE the deaf areas where HoH prefer to be."

#10 "What it tells me is they should not be teaching BSL in isolation at all and agreeing instead to a communication program instead that is more inclusive and less exclusive...."

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Red Nose and Comic Relief


Image result for red nose day
ATR posts the view charity and TV telethons like these are unsupported by the proposed beneficiaries after a  newspaper  posted of charitable and celebrity overload and hypocrisy, along with left-wing celebs promoting Jermy Corbyn chapter and verse.  Time for red nose days/comic relief to end?  They aren't funny any more.


Like most with a disability or issue, CR and Red nose days mean nothing at all to us. It is a mainstream view of benevolence/charity and do-gooding that annoys mostly. We saw in the past left-wing celebs promoting political agendas. People like Sting and Bono to Bob Geldof and decided we didn't want to be told by self-indulgent millionaires what others should be doing for us and the antics of red nose day celebs last week were carrying on in the same vein and caused people to turn off and stop donating.

It pretty much mirrors the USA approach where celebs use their exalted position to attack their systems. Of course, to suggest charity is a myth and mostly NOT supported by the people who could benefit causes much angst, how dare we! etc... its a day out for the kids to dress up etc...but it would help if they asked us first, do we want this? 

The media knows there is a groundswell of militant disabled and such and counter it instead by using children, celebs or even animals to push home the message of how deprived/disadvantaged we are, but without accepting access and inclusion requires their participation 365 days a year not twice a year and blaming someone else.  The BBC took more drastic steps and removed the disabled input on their website after considerable pressures were being put to the BBC to stop doing what they were doing on our behalf and without our consent.  They also responded by vetting their own sanitised version of disability output by installing disabled luvvies who wouldn't challenge them.

Whilst this current crop also appeared to be politically left-wing it ignores why deprivation exists and promotes instead the need for lots of money to enable charities to keep us reliant on them because the state has dumped them or removed their care. They don't see the obscurity of that idea.  If they donated the money to lawyers we can employ to ensure our rights, it might be viable and acceptable and a lot less need for charity at all.

As it stands, such celebrities/charities are going for royal recognition for themselves on the back of 'brave disabled people' (Cue vids of poor disabled kids who don't even live here, and not our own poor who don't get 3 meals a day or an education either).   Charity doesn't begin at home because we are alleged to be too wealthy for that to happen.  Tel that to 2m families on the breadline and 2.5m children in poverty.  Obviously, anyone who delves into the realities of care or support or inclusion will know they deprived get less and less of it as the days go by despite these millions being donated nothing changes. 

If celebs want to push politics let them join a political party, and IF they want to help the disadvantaged lobby for their rights instead, do not underpin the national neglect and their own moral and governmental duty by sitting in a bath of baked beans or trotting out celebs past their sell-by date to make the point.

What you may have missed.

The Google transcription app launch.

Why americans should NOT support HB 2137.



E.G does this person reflect you? Here we go again another snowflake alert, this term regarding identities and naming people. It is not for deaf groups or HoH groups or their respective representations and charities to lobby for what we should call ourselves. There is no background to the support for this idea from grassroots.

The entire 'Deaf' area continues to indulge in navel contemplation and which word or term should be or not used for everything when the reality is these lobbies are to enforce the 'Deaf' view of themselves and their cultural ID and the 'Deaf' are the arch promoters of their own stereotype (Sign equals culture etc).. 

Time to fess up why these lobbies operate as they do, and stop including people who adhere not one iota to their 'deafinitions of ID or their view on what people with hearing loss prefer to be called, which is basically a lobbying ploy to enlist hard of hearing or HOH or whatever non signing support is out there to endorse THEM.  In the end such lobbies divide people not unite them.  I don't want to be forever correcting systems who use half a dozen ID approaches to talk to me.

Services for the Deaf and HoH.




The many many youtube awareness videos we see, private and system, vary considerably in emphasis and content.  Here is a stereotypical 'inclusive' video on access in Canada that pretty much mirrors USA and some UK approaches to raising awareness.

There are many at a grassroots level that doesn't see such videos as representative of them or their area of the format of communication, and online they are in stark contrast, a segregated output on awareness based on mode, not 'ideals'.   The fact 2 or 3 formats are included apparently covers the access issue but ignores the visual one and overall image that presents, seeing is believing or is it?

It shows a lack of real understanding of how access formats actually work for us all in a  society where the image is everything.  E.G. Deaf ASL/BSL grass root areas preferring non-inclusion of modes they don't use (or prefer not to!).  It would appear a glaring breakdown of real awareness approaches being undertaken by the system and the realities as they exist.

There are those who suggest we should be recognising the realities of this and instead NOT produce 'inclusive' videos, that while they reflect the global ideal, do not reflect what actually goes on. In recognising difference we recognise what that is in real terms.   Aka sign videos for signing people and lip-spoken and captioned/subtiled videos for the other hearing loss areas etc, particularly taking into account the signing area is promoting a cultural/language approach as averse to the hard of hearing and others who simply want the basic 'English' access to reflect their perceived 'norm' and advances n cures/clinical approaches.  Where obviously there is no 'twain' to meet with cultural areas.

Should we be promoting non-inclusive realities and not a 'percieved reality' the system prefers?  If only to ensure alternative formats are portrayed properly? seen to be used in context? and awareness becomes a true reflection of who we are? As diverse as the mainstream is.  Or do we do nothing because it could be seen as 'anti-inclusion' thus leaving (In the UK at least), 10m with no contextual awareness online, and stereotyped as someone else entirely?  

ATR apologises for not really covering the deaf-blind and accepts it is as guilty of poor inclusion as are the HoH and the Deaf, but again, we accept that reality, not the reality between deaf and HoH? go figure.

Friday, 15 March 2019

Supporting Success.

'The Champion' by Carrie


An 8-year-old girl who is deaf has earned raves for her performance signing along to Underwood’s song “The Champion," which the country singer recorded with Ludacris. Savannah Dahan from Frederick, Maryland, cites the Grammy-winning superstar as her favourite singer.

Savannah, who sometimes uses hearing aids, signs the lyrics while the music video plays in the background. “She asked us to record her because she likes to see herself perform,” the girl's father, Richard Dahan said. Savannah who is deaf went viral after signing to Carrie Underwood's song "The Champion" Savannah's signing to Carrie Underwood's "The Champion" has won her many fans.

Richard Dahan Savannah's parents and her two siblings are also deaf. “She was born with moderate/severe hearing loss,” Dahan said. “Because everyone is deaf in the family and uses ASL (American Sign Language) to communicate, she identifies herself as deaf. She uses hearing aids at times at school and home.” That's why Savannah has to go through a different process than most to hear the music. 

Crisis of nil support for the Hard Of Hearing in Health

Image result for freedom of information request template UKATR reading social media comments sent this one to the UK's leading charity for the deaf and HoH.

"Can AOHL research into what access and support is available to those with hearing loss who DON'T use sign language?  I am getting told none of the 7 trusts in Wales provides any established service?"

If you are from Wales NOT a sign user but using other formats, and reading this, help ATR research the NHS trusts in Wales by using an FOI request for answers to this question.  Maybe the Welsh NHS trusts will respond to you where they have NOT responded despite the law, to ATR.  We know sign users have a national and regional supportive set up for their needs, we are not seeing any such set-up for anyone else.  Don't be re-directed to the Welsh government their FOI data is an overview, not a localised source.

Be SPECIFIC in what you ask for, (no diverse mentions of 'deaf' or 'Deaf'),  not even BSL will get HoH their data specifics,  as health statistics are focused on the disability and treatment, not the social aspect, access, or rights areas, in short, the clinical aspect.  All trusts should be keeping records of what communication and language support they provide, again be specific as to what format you require data ON.  

Do not state deaf access or HoH access but e.g. lip-spoken access, text support, note-taking support (And contacts) etc in this case.  Including BSL will defeat any HoH FOI point.  Sadly many system areas think BSL and deaf and HoH are one and the same thing, awareness in Wales is as poor as elsewhere in the UK.  If they respond in that 'Deaf' 'inclusive' vein send in another FOI which is more accurate to your need.  

NOTE: Although some BSL interpreters do provide lip-spoken support, records suggest only TWO out of 49 of them are suitably qualified to do so in Wales.  Wales has over 300,000 patients with hearing loss issues.  Another note to remember is some areas may ask for a fee, albeit ATR believes there is none to be paid in this case as this isn't a medical data FOI.

Use the information below, as a start point. The seven Local Health Boards (LHBs) in Wales are:

Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board.

CONTACTS:   To submit a Freedom of Information Act request please email: FOIA.Requests@wales.nhs.uk or alternatively, you can contact: FOIA Team, ABMU Health Board, ABM Headquarters, 1 Talbot Gateway, Port Talbot, SA12 7BR.  


Aneurin Bevan Local Health Board.

Freedom of Information - Contacting us and submitting a request for information. If you wish to submit a Freedom of Information request, you can contact us in a variety of ways:

By Email:  Please email us at FOI.ABB@wales.nhs.uk.  Your emails will be opened during normal office hours, Monday to Friday.

By Post:

Headquarters
St Cadoc's Hospital
Lodge Road
Caerleon
Newport
NP18 3XQ
By Phone:
Tel: 01633 435956

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

CONTACTS: Freedom of Information Requests and Subject Access Requests can be sent by email to bcu.foi@wales.nhs.uk

Or write to:

Information Governance Office
Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board
Wrexham Maelor Hospital 
Croesnewydd Road
Wrexham
LL13 7TD

Cardiff & Vale University Health Board.

CONTACTS:

By Post.

Cardiff and Vale UHB Headquarters
University Hospital of Wales (UHW)
Heath Park
Cardiff CF14 4XW

Tel: 029 2074 7747  or Fax 029 2074 6406

Cwm Taf University Health Board.

To make an FOIA request. 

Freedom of Information requests can be sent via:

E-mail: freedomofinformation@wales.nhs.uk

Post:  Freedom of Information Officer, Cwm Taf University Health Board, Ynysmeurig House, Navigation Park, Abercynon, CF45 4SN

Contact  01443 744800 if you wish to speak to a member of the team.

Hywel Dda Local Health Board.

Requests must be made in writing by letter, fax or email to the Freedom of Information Officer: 

          The Freedom of Information Officer
          Hywel Dda University Health Board
          Corporate Offices
          Ystwyth Building
          St David's Park
          Job's Well Road
          Carmarthen
          Carmarthenshire
          SA31 3BB       

          Tel: 01267 239730   or   Email: FOI.HywelDda@wales.nhs.uk

Powys Teaching Health Board.

A difficult contact to locate, although there is a link to the FOI rules, ATR initially got 3 'Not FOUND' result for this trust.  Rooting about for 20 minutes (!) we found these contacts.

Please email us at foi.foi@wales.nhs.uk or write to us:

Information Governance Team
Monnow Ward
Bronllys Hospital
Bronllys
Brecon
Powys LD3 0LU

Tel 01874 712642/2763

Thursday, 14 March 2019

OiA and SignVideo

F.A.O........

Black background with orange words saying where are the subtitles? Image of a telescope in background

4 things they will never know about the deaf!



Primarily because it has no captioning or subtitling, so the hearing will NOT know what this person is talking about.  Seems the main thing deaf don't know is how to provide access to get their messages and lectures over. We despair at deaf awareness we really do!

Teaching the deaf to write.

BSL and the welsh Anthem.

MEMBERS of Pembrokeshire's Sign and Share Club celebrated St David’s Day by creating their own version of the Welsh National Anthem in British Sign Language. In an event packed with craft, bara brith and Welsh history, members learnt about the meaning of the national anthem and had the opportunity to learn how it could be signed. 

 The club was supported by local interpreter Suzanne Scale who said: “It was a pleasure working with Sign and Share Club and signing some Welsh history.” New member Linda Rawlinson added: “Welsh, deaf and proud! "I absolutely loved it and I’m so proud to be able to sign my national anthem with passion and confidence."

ATR:  Great Welsh singing, unsure if BSL cuts it as a translative medium 'though.  especially as they didn't use Welsh regional signs to give more authenticity to it.  Purists will see it as yet another 'English' portrayal of Welsh culture by default by using BSL you are endorsing English..

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

DWP staff to be sanctioned for abuse of claimants.


Jobcentre-plus-
This is a long overdue attempt to bring to book welfare agency staff who abuse claimants and cause severe hardships, loss of homes, and even premature deaths by a failure to do the job they are paid for.  But would a gaol sentence be much more effective?  

Claimants are also asking if the DWP acts against the law of the land by abusing data protection act rules so those who abuse claimants cannot be identified.  Can anyone trust an 'in house' investigation, where identification of culprits is deliberately blocked?


DWP staff get a taste of their own medicine as think tank recommends tracking the prospects of claimant compensation where benefits are paid late or training and skills courses are not delivered. With the Work and Pensions Select committee due to debate the benefit freeze, we believe it unfair that claimants are sanctioned if they failed to look for work or missed appointments, while jobcentre staff face no penalty if their errors cause claimants hardship. 

The report acknowledges widespread cynicism about the intentions of Universal Credit (UC), with many believing it had been made deliberately complicated to discourage claims. As such, the report recommends victims of DWP error or maladministration be given the right to appeal to an independent case examiner, who could award compensation equal to the sanctions levied on claimants judged to have breached rules.

Overcoming disabilities

Signed Exact English



The 'antidote' to incompatible grammars of ASL and BSL?

Deaf-Run business expands to UAE.



Providing equal access to women may prove somewhat difficult there!

A Cheshire business has opened its first international office in Dubai, after winning a contract to turn the city’s Expo 2020 exhibition into an event accessible for all, thanks to support from the Department for International Trade (DIT). 


Direct Access Consultancy, based in Nantwich, provides accessibility audits to help improve disabled access for buildings and transport systems. Each of the company’s five staff has a disability, giving them advanced insight into the potential challenges facing the 20 million visitors expected to visit Dubai for the first ever World Expo to be hosted in the Middle East. As the event’s ‘universal design consultant’, the business is advising the Expo’s planners on implementing international best practice for accessibility. 

The business is also helping the Expo meet the requirements of Dubai’s Universal Design Code – a policy introduced in 2017 to help improve accessibility across the emirate. The Expo 2020 contract comes during a period of significant export growth for Direct Access Consultancy. Between 2017 and 2018, exports grew from a standing start to become 80% of the business’ annual revenue. The company’s senior leadership are now working to build on its early success in the Middle East after DIT advisers helped the business identify the UAE as a potential market of opportunity. 

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Deaf Chef Ross!

Martti for the Deaf and.. WHO?



While it is welcome this access is there for the ASL user there seems no indication of support for the Hard of Hearing they also claim? (An issuerifee in the UK too), can Martti clarify HOW their support system is empowering and supporting NON-signing deaf and HoH? if the support is specific to sign users, then it would greatly assist those with hearing loss to know where their support is coming from.  ATR's campaign for clarity of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing remit seems to be ignored in favour of singular sign language support.

"I heard us being called names like 'the dummies'"


Shane O’Reilly: ‘As a young interpreter and also a young signer you become very comfortable with commanding attention’. Photo: Steve Humphreys
What is it like to grow up as the child of profoundly deaf parents? It might not be something you've ever given any serious thought to unless you've met one. 

But if you have, the questions will come thick and fast: 'If your parents sign, how do you learn to speak English?' 'Do you always have to interpret for them when neighbours or strangers come to the door, or relay what someone on the telephone is saying?' 'Can you make as much noise at home as you like?' 

After that might come the quick judgements: 'It must be such a drag having to help your Mammy out with stuff like booking a doctor's appointment.' 'You must have to grow up fast.' 'Hey, at least you can turn the music up full blast at home and get away with all kinds of things because your folks can't hear you!' It's surprising, then, that until now the fascinating subject of hearing children born into deaf families had never really been explored by mainstream media, but it was pure gold for the producers of a new one-off documentary on RTÉ One this Thursday. 

This hour-long film, called Mother Father Deaf, is beautifully made and shot by Sundance-nominated director Garry Keane and producer Anne Heffernan for Mind The Gap Films, features the very human stories of three adults whose upbringing has given them a unique perspective. 

VICTORY! More deaf children are to get CI's.


Diane Matthews pictured with her dad Dave Berry at the Houses of Parliament in March 2017.
‘Victory’ – Rotherham mum celebrates change in guidance on cochlear implants following campaign. Hundreds more children and adults with severe to profound hearing loss will be given the option of having cochlear implants following a campaign by a Rotherham mum. 


It comes as the NHS watchdog NICE revised its definition of severe deafness – extending the number of people who could benefit. The guidance, previously referred to as ‘the strictest in the developed world’, was changed following a petition by mum-of-one Diane Matthews. 

The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence estimates that 2,150 people in England will be eligible for cochlear implants each year by 2025, an increase from the 1,260 people who currently receive them.  Ms Matthews said: “More people will now have an opportunity to have a Cochlear Implant. How many is really an unknown, there are assumptions being made but this is a victory. 

Diane Matthews pictured with her dad Dave Berry at the Houses of Parliament in March 2017. “It’s taken over two years but we got there in the end.” 

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Simeon Hart, Campaigning to be the first Deaf BSL using MP



Standing for election representing the Green Party, the Commons needs better Deaf awareness.  Simeon is only the second Deaf BSL user to be a Parliamentary candidate and the only one standing this time around. For those of you who tuned into BDA’s General Election Question Time a few days ago, you will know that Simeon is a Green Party candidate. With a keen interest in politics since his mid-teens, Simeon found there were many barriers to Deaf people entering the political arena. 


Finding a way to gain entry, Simeon has previously put himself forward for election in the local elections in Liverpool Central in 2012 and in Princes Park in 2013. On both occasions, he missed out to the Labour candidate but with a significantly improved number of votes. Standing in this year’s General Election is down to the guiding role of David Buxton from the BDA. 

“We were discussing the BDA's General Election Question Time,” Simeon explained, “and David asked me why I wasn’t going to stand for election for the Green Party. Having joined the Green Party in 2008 and campaigned on their behalf before, I gave his comments some thought and contacted the Green Party to see if there were any vacancies within constituencies where I could stand.” “I was given the list of vacancies in the North West and then I emailed to some of those constituencies to see if they were willing to have me to stand for them. 

Oldham West and Royton was the first to contact me and asked me to apply. Since then we have communicated well and last Tuesday after hustings and votes, I was told that they were in favour of me standing as a parliamentary candidate.”

[SOURCE unincluded due to ATR's policy on biased advertising].

ATR COMMENT:

We are less interested in the formats deaf use and more interested in if that format limits the prospective MP from promoting access for all via lack of experience.  From reading the article there is no description of which policies/people he is for or against.  Of course, he ISN'T the first deaf person Parliament, that goes to Jack Ashley a CI using deaf person who drew no distinctions with regards to what deaf or HoH formats are used.

Updated N.I.C.E. guidance on CI's (UK)


Image result for cochlear implants UK
Recommendations:


 This technology appraisal examined the currently available devices for cochlear implantation. No evidence was available to the committee to allow recommendations to be made for devices manufactured by Neurelec. 

1.1 Unilateral cochlear implantation is recommended as an option for people with severe to profound deafness who do not receive adequate benefit from acoustic hearing aids, as defined in 1.5. If different cochlear implant systems are considered to be equally appropriate, the least costly should be used. Assessment of cost should take into account acquisition costs, long-term reliability and the support package offered. [2009] 

1.2 Simultaneous bilateral cochlear implantation is recommended as an option for the following groups of people with severe to profound deafness who do not receive adequate benefit from acoustic hearing aids, as defined in 1.5: children adults who are blind or who have other disabilities that increase their reliance on auditory stimuli as a primary sensory mechanism for spatial awareness. Acquisition of cochlear implant systems for bilateral implantation should be at the lowest cost and include currently available discounts on list prices equivalent to 40% or more for the second implant. [2009] 

1.3 Sequential bilateral cochlear implantation is not recommended as an option for people with severe to profound deafness. [2009] 

1.4 People who had a unilateral implant before publication of this guidance, and who fall into one of the categories described in 1.2, should have the option of an additional contralateral implant only if this is considered to provide sufficient benefit by the responsible clinician after an informed discussion with the individual person and their carers. [2009] 

1.5 For the purposes of this guidance, severe to profound deafness is defined as hearing only sounds that are louder than 80 dB HL (pure-tone audiometric threshold equal to or greater than 80 dB HL) at 2 or more frequencies (500 Hz, 1,000 Hz, 2,000 Hz, 3,000 Hz and 4,000 Hz) bilaterally without acoustic hearing aids. Adequate benefit from acoustic hearing aids is defined for this guidance as: for adults, a phoneme score of 50% or greater on the Arthur Boothroyd word test presented at 70 dBA for children, speech, language and listening skills appropriate to age, developmental stage and cognitive ability. [2009, amended 2018] 

1.6 Cochlear implantation should be considered for children and adults only after an assessment by a multidisciplinary team. As part of the assessment children and adults should also have had a valid trial of an acoustic hearing aid for at least 3 months (unless contraindicated or inappropriate). [2009] 

1.7 When considering the assessment of the adequacy of acoustic hearing aids, the multidisciplinary team should be mindful of the need to ensure equality of access. Tests should take into account a person's disabilities (such as physical and cognitive impairments), or linguistic or other communication difficulties, and may need to be adapted. If it is not possible to administer tests in a language in which a person is sufficiently fluent for the tests to be appropriate, other methods of assessment should be considered. [2009] 

Deaf Chef


Image result for Saima Shafaatulla
GORDON Ramsay-style chefs have a reputation for being shouty in the kitchen but silent Saima Shafaatulla is the complete opposite. 

Born deaf and mute, the 39-year-old at first struggled to fit in when she started working in the culinary world. Saima is loving life in the kitchen but now she’s working at the prestigious Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow and, with the help of an interpreter, is cooking up a storm. 

Saima, from Glasgow, who began her career with Hilton, faced numerous challenges when she started out 20 years ago. She recalls: “When I started working I realised how hard it was to work in a kitchen area. “It was really hard with communication and really stressful.  “I was upset and there were a lot of strong emotions. It made me nervous so I went on the sick for six months.” But she didn’t give up — and was determined to get back into the kitchen with help from her employers. 

She says: “The boss wanted me to come back so I did and the chef made sure he had an interpreter to find out what the problems were. “We both learned how to work together and how to work with human resources as well. “The first year I found it really difficult. It was a really big challenge. My head chef at the time didn’t know how to work with deaf people and I didn’t really know how to work with hearing people. “After a year the barriers broke down and we understood each other and worked really well together. 

We started to bring in interpreters and the chef realised it was something we had to have. Saima is the opposite of shouty chef Gordon Ramsay.  Saima is the opposite of shouty chef Gordon Ramsay “Ever since then my communication has been great.” Saima, who was born with a genetic disorder, first became interested in working with food at school but was told by her mum it was unlikely she’d be able to pursue the career. She says: “In school, we had home economics, which was the one thing that I loved and got involved with. 

DJ for the Deaf


Whilst adjusting frequencies to compensate, the reality is the over-focus on bass and drums, since, the deaf 'follow' little else.  There seemed little attention to issues of the physical effects of too much bass on the body, which deaf rely on to follow the music.  If you can 'feel' BASS hitting your body and affecting your heart rate and making you vomit too, then this suggests some warning should be issued to deaf people.  Bass can affect internal organs by over-exposure as can drumming affect your hearing if the frequency isn't set correctly.  Most drummers have hearing loss!

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Police negative signing? are Deaf to blame themselves?


Police people using offensive signs? No, my partner born deaf still uses these signs as do her deaf club peers, it's about context not everything is about discrimination.  He is targeting the wrong people, the signs originate WITH the deaf. 

Note: black sign colloquial usage use a 'negative white' sign format also, should we not call that discrimination too?  

Politically correct signs or, those newly created to replace perceived racial negativity etc ignore where the signs originate aka with the deaf themselves, and whilst new signs are replacing old ones, older deaf are not using them and still using the signs they know.  It won't help the police going at these deaf too which is what the poster is asking for.

SOURCE

South Wales deaf choir.


choir
Meet the deaf choir giving people a voice through sign language choir The choir performs for the public regularly. 


A choir based in Cwmbran is giving young deaf people an opportunity to practice their love of music by performing through sign language. Cwmbran Deaf Choir conveys their songs through British Sign Language (BSL). Their members rehearse once a week and allow those who are hard of hearing to showcase their passion for signing and songs. 

The choir, which originally formed in 2011, auditioned for Britain's Got Talent twice and got through the first two rounds. They have also performed at the Royal Albert Hall and the Principality Stadium. choir in the stadium The choir has performed at the Principality Stadium Credit: Louise Chris Heirene To see them in a classroom situation, they may appear nervous, withdrawn. To then see them perform, you would never think any of them have any confidence issues. 

They recently sang in Cardiff's John Lewis store for shoppers. 

Born deaf twins now bilingual and hearing.

Who needs Deaflympics?

Friday, 8 March 2019

Including the unincluded

Image result for deafblind formatsCharity media unable to respond to concerns deaf-blind e.g. are unable almost totally to access deaf or HoH media. As one poster put it.....


"I'm inclined to agree deaf-blind and deaf with vision impairments must be struggling to follow this website.  I suspect the reason is a wider acceptance deaf-blind go to own sites and areas, just like deaf signers or HoH do, its an issue often brought up here about inclusion being a myth in that regard.  

Most minorities don't understand inclusion in its basic reality, or what is required from mainstream or from them.  Whilst different and dedicated areas exist then inclusion cannot because mainstream or even the same people with different formats won't expect to see wider inclusion with own or mainstream areas if that access format isn't theirs.  A perfectly accessible site would they say, be unviewable too.  

This particular forum hasn't the tools to alter visual formats that's another issue. (Changing background and foreground colours text size etc), or even adding signed accompaniment to text postings for those deaf who use that because 98% of posters don't actually sign and the sheer cost of translating the forum is prohibitive.

Note: ATR uses black background/lighter text, but not all deafblind want or need that.  Signers want sign and nil captions, others want no sign and captions only, lip-readers abandoned the entire concept of accessible speech.

It's all very well minorities angry they aren't included, but, they demand own areas at the same time, which undermine the point.  Whole areas of the Internet are dedicated, singular, minority areas, albeit most of those AREN'T in the formats they actually prefer, it is text mostly. And utilising singular formats pushes others away from it as they struggle to follow.  There is no one size fits all, albeit text is the nearest to it."

4 deaf-blind resources that we can all use.

Assistive technology iconSome products used by blind and deaf or hard-of-hearing (HOH) customers are specifically designed for such use, a class of deaf-blind resources commonly called “assistive technology.” Others, generally called “accessible technologies,” provide value for all customers, including those with visual and hearing impairments. In either case, businesses that build or use products useful to the deaf and blind are engaging a smart business practice, one that increases inclusivity and builds inroads to a larger market than they could have reached otherwise. Read on for examples of accessible technologies that offer a compelling mix of mass-market appeal and utility for deaf or blind customers.

1. Transformative Power in Your Pocket.

Text-to-speech and speech-to-text technologies are better and more accurate than ever. This continued improvement has particularly benefited deaf/HOH and blind customers, who can access these powerful tools on their smartphones without having to haul specialized tools to work, the classroom, and other places they frequent.

Deaf/HOH customers can harness speech-to-text in a few surprising ways. Imagine the difficulty a person who relies on lip-reading might have following a group conversation, for instance. Numerous apps use speech-to-text APIs to provide automated transcription, displaying each participant’s name in a different color to ensure the user doesn’t lose information or context. Adaptations like these go hand-in-hand with visual voicemail and other tools that turn audible data into a text-based format.

On the other hand, blind customers may naturally find more value in text-to-speech solutions. For these customers, screen-reading tools make everything from text-based communication (SMS, email) to basic navigation easier. With text-to-speech in place, the phone can read options aloud, and the user can access them with vocal command. Optical character recognition (OCR) takes this idea even further, reading the text on any printed material, from a street sign to a handwritten note, and converting it to audio format, according to the American Foundation for the Blind.

2. Mass-Market Blockbusters Become Deaf-Blind Resources.

Home assistants have become technological mainstays, and their speech-recognition and -playback capabilities make them a helpful tool for the blind community. This technology removes steps from everyday processes. Previous resources also helped the visually impaired perform unit conversions in the kitchen or navigate complex media libraries, but newer models require only a quick vocal command.

Home assistants are becoming more helpful for the deaf/HOH as well. Screens on higher-end models from Amazon and Google, for instance, can now display the devices’ spoken replies on a visual medium. Additionally, third-party workarounds allow users to hold full-text conversations with their home-assistant devices. Though not an official solution, this workaround can help devices better understand hearing-impaired people’s vocal commands.

3. Bringing Comms Everywhere.

Cloud-communications tools such as voice over IP (VoIP) and video conferencing came onto the scene and immediately began creating new markets with their unique offerings. Their benefits as deaf-blind resources can be grouped into two high-level categories: access and adaptability.

First, consider how a call can originate. Smartphones, laptops, tablets, and PCs can call over cellular and traditional data networks, and other comms can be held over internal business networks and the like. This variety of options helps deaf/HOH users — who may have relied on dedicated text telephone (TTY) hardware in the past — take their critical communications anywhere they go for important business and personal use.

VoIP and video conferencing offer similar flexibility on the software side through their ability to integrate with other solutions. As deaf-blind resources, they can effectively be fitted to whatever function a hearing- or visually-impaired user may need, paving the way for companies to create accessible tools without building a communications platform to go with it. In this sense, cloud-communications tools aren’t impressive because of one function; they’re impressive because almost anything — including an array of deaf- and blind-focused improvements — can be built on top of the communications they provide.

4. Wearables: Good Now, Great Later.

Whereas the other items on this list provide value now, wearables such as smartwatches are a few years away from realizing their full potential. When they do, expect their diverse combination of hard and soft tools to provide a groundbreaking consumer-market experience for deaf and blind users.

A lot of the utility of wearables will stem from their ability to simplify navigational tasks other users may take for granted. For example, blind users will soon be able to use a “smart necklace” that reads the room in front of it and reports its findings in speech format, according to Google’s blog, The Keyword. This function complements the functionality of smartwatch-based tools blind consumers already rely on, such as spoken-word, turn-by-turn directions. Solutions for deaf users will follow a similar trend. A watch that automatically registers various noises and vibrates with a text-based alert could signal ringing doorbells, chirping oven timers, and crying children, for example.

These examples only scratch the surface of what wearables will soon be able to do. As internal hardware grows more powerful and user-facing capabilities become more sophisticated, deaf and blind users will undoubtedly become a core user segment for device manufacturers and software makers alike — reflecting the tech world’s evolving commitment to disabled customers and the impressive list of tasks their creations can perform.

Tweet laughs

For the uninitiated, Titania Gethsemane McGrath is a radical vegan, woke poet committed to feminism, social justice and armed, peaceful protest
Enjoy while you can, Twitter is not usually known as a source of humour!  Here, left-wingers get duped by a fake snowflake posting.



The 'woke' tweets that duped so many.

I have always stood up for minorities. As such, it is essential that we respect the wishes of the minority of UK voters and overturn Brexit.

So what if Shamima Begum joined ISIS when she was 15? My sister got caught stealing a croissant on her gap year in Marseille. TEENAGERS MAKE MISTAKES.

I’ve been accused of living in a woke ‘echo chamber’ and that my opinions are out of touch with regular people. But I’ve asked around my close friends and they all agree this isn’t the case.

I’ve been forced to muzzle my dog, because although it identifies as a cat it keeps bloody barking.

White people: stop trying to help destitute Africans. I’m sure they’d rather starve than perpetuate negative racial stereotypes.

Dieting is fat-shaming yourself.

Straight men should be in a zoo.

The media’s coverage of ISIS is underpinned by deep-seated Islamophobia. If it isn’t, how come they never say anything nice about them? 

Sign Language for drugs.

Marijuana for the Deaf – Cannabis Sign Language from CannabisNet on Vimeo.

It should be pointed out ATR is anti ALL Drug usage, and the post is in no way intended to promote the use of them or to make young deaf look 'cool' using the signs, as this could contribute to own usage.   They are simply intended to include more modern signs to the deaf signing vocabulary. 

Thank YOU ATR..

A word from the WISE.

Books: Need for more deaf inclusion?


jpeg-rachel-shenton-fingerspelling-bsl-new-web
The Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson and Oscar-winning actress Rachel Shenton are using World Book Day to highlight the need to include more disabilities in children’s stories. 

 Rachel Shenton, who last year won an Oscar for The Silent Child, a film about a deaf girl, is calling on authors and publishers to feature disabilities in children's books The pair said it was incredibly important that disabilities like deafness are featured in children’s books. They have joined together to launch the National Deaf Children’s Society competition, open to the 18,000 deaf children in the UK aged 7-11, for a story including a deaf character. 

Julia Donaldson, who is hard of hearing herself, has written a book featuring lip-reading called Freddie and the Fairy and when she was Children’s Laureate worked with a group of deaf children on What the Jackdaw Saw, a book about sign language. The children’s author said, ‘I loved working on that story, and now I’m delighted to be involved in this writing competition. I can’t wait to see the stories that deaf children across the country come up with.’

 Rachel Shenton won an Oscar for best live action short film in 2018 The Silent Child, which tells the story of a four-year-old girl who struggles to communicate until she learns sign language. ‘Making The Silent Child, and from my work in the deaf community, I’ve met so many amazing deaf children up and down the country. I’ve learnt just how important it is for these children to see themselves in the programmes and movies they watch and in the books they read. 

Never seeing themselves can be so demoralising, and make their experiences seem invisible. ‘For World Book Day, which is such an exciting time for kids across the country to think about the stories they love, we need to remind everyone involved in the industry of how important disability inclusion is. From children’s authors to book publishers, featuring disabled characters and the experiences they go through couldn’t be more important.’ 

PPIE Panel Training (BSL).

Thursday, 7 March 2019

World Book Day: Teaching deaf kids to read.

tips to teach your deaf child to read
Whilst signing is useful, reading is essential, one set of ideas that may help your child to read better. Remember, poor literacy is a far worse disability than being deaf.

The key to teaching reading to any child is to make it FUN! Learning to read doesn’t have to be a dreaded process for you or your child. 

Start early. Your infant can begin to enjoy picture books as early as six weeks–which is about when their vision sharpens. Keep in mind, books need to be held no more than 10 inches away during the first three months. As soon as each of my babies were a few weeks old, I brought out picture books with simple objects and just one to a page. Before my kids could even sit up, they would become excited at seeing the same books over and over. 

Often, my husband and I would team up to read, with one of us holding the kid and the other reading and signing. When our kids were a bit older, one of us would read out loud while the other held the book and followed along pointing at each word. We often alternated our methods in a variety of ways depending on each child’s development and skill. Not only did we strive to develop their language skills, we worked on auditory skills with whatever auditory ability they had. 

Even kids with profound losses can appreciate books that focus on sound–using drums, vibrations, visual lights flashing, etc. Be as creative as you can in showing your child the visual and auditory world around you. In the Tub One of the best places to teach reading is in the tub. This is the perfect place to keep your child in one place for a while and have some fun learning to read. Occasionally I would also bring in treats like ice cream bars or popsicles (you can make healthy ones!) The best reading tool is a set of foam letters. Yes, that’s right. A cheap set of foam letters. I taught all three of my kids to read during bath time. Start by teaching them to recognize each letter. 

Once they know the alphabet, play “Hunt for the Letter” by tossing all of them into the tub at once. “Where’s the A?” “Where’s the P?” You can use cueing, fingerspelling, or flashcards to show the letters you’re looking for. Have your child put each letter up on the bathroom wall as they find them. The next step is to start spelling out short words. Cat. Dog. Mom. Dad. Pig. And so on. I had a whole collection of plastic animals that we used in the tub. Here’s a way to vary the activity and encourage kids to think. Put up the word “Cat.” Then hold up an “M” and a “H.” Now ask your child, “Which letter would turn this word into “Hat?” If your child has some difficulty, then use visual cues, props, flashcards, cueing, or fingerspelling. 

Do this with a variety of easy words. Around the House Grab a 100-pack of index cards and a marker. Label things around the house. Once your child has mastered the words, substitute the cards with more complex words or similar words. This works great for families with multiple languages. Yes, deaf and hard of hearing kids can learn more than one language. The key is to provide access in a way that the child can comprehend, process, and understand language. Use Books with Pictures for Wordstips to teach your deaf child to read One of my kids’ favorite books was “Picky Nicky.” 

This book was a bit more advanced for the beginner reader, but the beauty of this book was each sentence had one or two pictures in place of words. I would read the words and pause at the pictures. This gave my child the opportunity to fill in the word by looking at the picture. It was a great way to involve them in reading longer books and allowing them to participate in the reading. Read more: Tips for establishing a bedtime routine for deaf children Cooking + Readingtips to teach your deaf child to read If you have a kid who won’t sit still long enough to get through a book, another way to teach reading is through cooking. Yup, that’s right, cooking! Use the back of a brownie or cake mix to teach reading. Most box mixes have pictures as well–showing eggs, a measuring cup, etc. Ask questions like, “Can you find the word, ‘Pan?’” “What temperature should I turn the oven on?” “How many minutes do we need to bake the muffins?”

Let your child scan the box to find the answers. On the Road tips to teach your deaf child to read One of the first signs my kids learned to read was the “stop” sign. “Oh look, there’s the stop sign,” you say as you come to a stop. “S. T. O. P. Yup, that means stop. So I’ll need to stop here.” Yes, that sounds cheesy when you say it, but hey, you’re teaching your kid to read everything, everywhere you go. As they get older, you ask for help in finding certain exits. “I need to watch for the exit for Lawrence,” you say. “Can you help me find the exit that begins with the letter, L?” Do this within a mile or two at first. 

For more fun, start out on a trip with a list of words to find and cross them off as you pass them by. Other Reading Tips:tips to teach your deaf child to read When your child begins to learn to read and knows a few words from a favorite book, read along by pointing to each word and then stopping in puzzlement at a word that your child knows. Give them a chance to recognize and read the word–kids love to help adults and share what they know! When your child has a comprehensive understanding of a book, you can also have some fun by misreading a word and waiting to see if your child catches your mistake. This is also a way to test your child’s understanding. 

Another fun reading activity: alternate sentences when reading familiar books. You read one, your kid reads the next one. Pick books that fit your child’s language development at the time. If you notice your child has a passion for a certain sport or activity, select books around those topics. Don’t be afraid to read books that are above your child’s reading level. The more words you expose your child to, the better!