Monday, 17 June 2019

I'm deaf, but hearing too.

Cinema subtiling campaign hits wall.

Do cinema owners have a point,?when she isn't showing a demand for them?   My local cinema could only attract 3 deaf people with their access offer.  Should hearing wishes for no subtitling be respected too?

A deaf blogger from Wymondham has been told by cinema bosses it is her responsibility to show the demand is there for subtitled movies amid a passionate campaign. Ellie Parfitt has started a campaign for films to show more films using subtitles. 

Her online petition has gained more than 11,000 signatures but she feels the cinemas are ignoring her. Ellie Parfitt, 22, started the #SubtitledCinema campaign two years ago, for more films to be shown using subtitles, especially during opening weeks and during peak times. An online petition launched by Miss Parfitt gained more than 11,000 signatures and she even bagged a meeting with the UK Cinema Association last year. But now Miss Parfitt, who is profoundly deaf, feels like she has hit a brick wall with the campaign as major cinema chains Odeon, Cineworld, and Vue only agreed to a small increase - and said it was up to her to prove the demand was there for more screenings. 

Miss Parfitt said at one point she was even told hearing people did not want subtitles on films as they were distracting. Ellie Parfitt has started #subtiltledcinema campaign for films to show more films using subtitles. Her online petition has gained more than 11,000 signatures but she feels the cinemas are ignoring her. She said: "They have 100pc choice of which film they see, deaf people don't. If you explained that if this film wasn't subtitled due to them complaining, it means that this group of deaf people cannot go - hopefully, they'd understand but there is no awareness. How is that fair that hearing people get to dictate when we can go?" 

 "I love watching films and social outings with family and friends and the fact that they get to go the cinema without me is upsetting, isolating and I feel treated unequally as I don't have the choice to go because there are no subtitles." "All I want to do is go to the cinema on a regular basis, see the new films - especially in the opening week - with subtitles at a reasonable time, especially Friday/Saturday nights. 

It breaks my heart when my friends go without me and they're all talking about the latest release and I have to wait months for the DVD to come out." Miss Parfitt said this was just the latest example of where deaf people faced a disadvantage, and cited audio announcements - especially on public transport - and people not being aware of how to communicate with deaf people as other issues. She said: "Deafness is one of the biggest disabilities, but the least understood. Hearing people wouldn't like it if films were shown without sound, so why do they think it's okay to show with very few subtitles?"

Sunday, 16 June 2019

A respone to ATR's Political post.

Image result for who cares about politics
An Online View by William K? (Posters are saying they aren't able to comment here?  ATR will print any reasonable response let us know why you can't.).  The response was too lengthy to include in the comment spot anyway.  Try a PM to the ATR social site if all else fails.


ATR is covering political representation by BSL users, but the UK actually couldn't put up any of note.  I follow ATR not always certain he approves of the deaf community as such but he raises a good point occasionally.  I put this query myself to an AOHL CEO and he didn't answer, that was after he lauded BSL representation in politics on his twitter account, ATR pointed out the lists did not include ANY actual UK BSL people.  Probably because they covered only those who were visible in the political area in 'politics' and not just those as lobbyists.

What they do is lobby hearing areas about how BSL users suffer a lack of support, it's a worthy cause, but it isn't 'deaf' representation as such, a minority cause would be more accurate a description, but we won't see BSL MP's or MEP's because the deaf show no interest in those issues they are 'hearing ones' not about sign, not about culture, not about deaf schools, not about deaf clubs etc, and there is a hardcore of deaf who take themselves far too seriously to be eligible.

Deaf online sites don't really exist for real politics they are fragmented complaint/closed areas about the lack of BSL access, none of it based on real inclusion.  There isn't a single political meet in my area I feel excludes me, and that is because if I want to go I will and ask for help to follow, if you don't present as a demand they won't see any so that isn't discrimination.  Use it or lose it applies there too.  It's like demanding a car and then showing no interest in driving it or passing the necessary test. Everyone has a car so why shouldn't I have one? it shouldn't be a rule I have to drive it properly..

I take interest in non-deaf issues which is the only way really to get any respect for turning up.  No-one wants to listen about BSL till their eyes bleed to the exclusion of everything else. It is instantly marginalising yourself, and, ignoring other deaf people's need too. BSL is still a minority cause.  If you want access you have to front up and get involved using it.  Online deaf sites are anathema to democracy they don't really understand what is involved or their part in it, and aren't able to cope with challenges to views party politics involved, topical issues, but I do wonder who apart from me (Or ATR Site), takes an interest in them anyway.

Infographics: Sign Language in Politics

Find out in this timeline Deaf people around the world who have held political responsibilities and who communicate in Sign Language in the exercise of their functions.[ATR] Try to avoid UK Deaf political sites they have no idea how to attain representation because they refuse to get involved outside the deaf area themselves, they use excuses e.g. we don't have access, the real question is what do they use present access for?  

Image result for european deaf politicsGiven 60% don't even use BSL interpreters, and their campaigns are about improving the cultural profile, not inclusion, there is little or no proof they are getting into hearing politics or even hearing debates and areas to be more aware of what they need to be aware of.    Hearing are not going to sit there listening to the trials and tribulations of BSL users day in, day out, they want to know you care about their issues too.

Until the deaf understand they need the hearing vote to represent because there aren't enough deaf to swing it, they are NEVER going to be a political representation, just another deprived area ad infinitum, they need to know what hearing want/need to.  Their only current aim is to represent themselves in own charities and adopt the martyrdom approach it seems.  It's about cultural preservation, not inclusion.

This current list of successes by signers did not appear to include a single BSL user from the UK or NI, 2 leading areas for access provision in Europe (At least until October perhaps!), even New Zealand had some.  A lot are European, but the distribution of European updates for the deaf are in a format BSL users claim they don't know or isn't their preferred option.  It's text not sign.  The only sign is 'uni-sign' a format British deaf doesn't know or care about.  When did the UK 'Deaf' area last read up on European deaf inclusion? or representation? 

The List

1990, Gary Malkowski (Canada): member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario between 1990 and 1995. Party: New Democratic Party (centre-left).

1992, Stefano Bottini (Italia): member of the Social Affairs Committee of the Italian Parliament from 1992 to 1994. Party: Italian Socialist Party (centre-left).

1996, Alex Ndeezi (Uganda): member of the Parliament of Uganda since 1996 in representation of persons with disabilities. Party: National Resistance Movement (right).

1999, Wilma Newhoudt-Druchen (Sudáfrica): member of the Parliament of South Africa between 1999 and 2014. Party: African National Congress (centre-left).

2003, Sigurlín Margrét (Iceland): member of the National Parliament of Iceland (Alþingi) from 2003 to 2007. Party: Icelandic Liberal Party (centre).

2004, Helga Stevens (Belgium): Member of the Flemish Parliament between 2004-2014, member of the Senate of Belgium between 2007 and 2014 and European Parliament since 2014. New Flemish Alliance (right).

2007,  Dimitra Arapoglou (Greece): Member of the Hellenic Parliament between 2007 and 2009. Party: Orthodox Popular Concentration (right).

2008, Raghav Bir Joshi (Nepal): member of the Parliament of Nepal from 2008 to 2013. Party: National Democratic Party (centre-right).

2009, Ádám Kósa (Hungary): Member of the European Parliament since 2009. Party: Fidesz - Hungarian Civic Union (right).

2009, Helene Jarmer (Austria): Member of the Parliament at the National Council of Austria between 2009 and 2017. Party: The Greens, Die Grünen (centre left).

2010, Gergely Tapolczai (Hungary): Member of the Parliament of Hungary since 2010. Party: Fidesz - Hungarian Civic Union (right).

2011, Martin Vahemäe-Zierold (Germany): member of the Berlin-Mitte District Assembly between 2011 and 2016. Party: Alliance 90/The Greens (centre-left).

2015, Pilar Lima (Spain): Senator in the Cortes Generales since 2015. Party: Podemos (left).

2015, Camila Ramírez (Uruguay): member of the Parliament of Uruguay in 2015. However, the Chamber does not allow access to Uruguayan Sign Language interpreters. National Party (right).

2016, Thierry Klein (France): Mayor of Chambrey (Grand Est) since 2016.
2018, Amanda Folendorf (United States): Mayor of Angels Camp (State of California) since 2018.

Hearing Brother, Deaf sister.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Hearing loss recovery guide.

It’s Perfectly OK To Call A Disabled Person ‘Disabled,’

Many disabled people consider their disabilities to be a core part of their
We are defined by our sensory loss, there are no two trains of thought on this since with viable hearing we would not sign, not attend 'special' schools, not require 'support staff' etc... hence no culture would exist surrounding it.  The annoyance is with those who we accepted may never have had any experiences of hearing to adopt this is a norm approach, where it falls down is a further statement made its a right their culture etc, which apart from being completely wrong and is polarising deaf people.  

Even born deaf can acquire CI's etc which can disprove the statements.  Identifying the fact deaf people can sign too doesn't remove the reason they ARE deaf.  And all deaf sign isn't true anyway.  If deaf refute the suggestion of disability then, they disbar their right to the support they get FOR a disability, which includes financial/interpreter support and legal help, we haven't seen their principle stretch that far yet.  You cannot be 'disabled for support purposes only'.

The Article:

We've been taught to refer to people with disabilities using person-first language, but that might be doing more harm than good. 

Many disabled people consider their disabilities to be a core part of their identities. Shayla Maas is disabled. No, she doesn’t mind if you call her that. “I am actually disabled. I have multiple disability conditions, including Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, so it’s OK,” said Maas, who hosts the podcast “Tips and Tricks on How to Be Sick.” 

“I am equally fine with you calling me ‘person with a disability,’ but don’t be afraid to say the word ’disabled.” In fact, Maas said it only gets weird when people dance around the word “disabled” with euphemisms like “handicapable” or “differently abled.” As she put it, “If someone feels like labelling me as ‘disabled’ makes me less of a person in some way, that’s really saying a lot about them, isn’t it?” The way Maas chooses to identify herself as a disabled woman despite other people’s discomfort with the word highlights an interesting cultural divide: While more and more disabled people are embracing the word “disability” and urging others to do the same with viral social media campaigns like #SayTheWord, nondisabled people are slow to catch on. 

That’s in part because schools, medical professionals and human resources training have long advocated for “person-first language,” in which you identify the person before their disability, such as “student with autism or person with cerebral palsy. Person-first language is meant to emphasize that the person isn’t defined by their disability. But as actually disabled people will you, their disabilities are a vital part of who they are. 

That’s why many prefer “identity-first language,” in which the disability is put front and centre in the terms we use. Examples include terms like “disabled people” or “Deaf person” rather than “person with a disability.” I use identity-first language because disability is inextricably linked to who I am. Emily Ladau, a disabled writer from Long Island, New York By leading with the disability rather than tacking it onto the end, you’re affirming and validating the person and their disability. 

 “I use identity-first language because disability is inextricably linked to who I am,” said Emily Ladau, a disabled writer from Long Island, New York. “Disability is part of what makes me me, and you shouldn’t have to go out of your way to emphasize that I’m a person first in order to be reminded of my humanity.” 

You don't need to know sign language to work with deaf clients, but it helps

Related imageSo ASL doesn't have enough signs to effectively communicate?  James Rooney hadn't planned on carving out a niche working with deaf clients. But nearly 30 years after his first encounter with a deaf client, he has become Morgan Stanley's go-to adviser for this unique community of clients. "The firm has given me a special designation and if a deaf client were to walk into any Morgan Stanley office anywhere in the country, they will find me," he said.

Mr. Rooney, who is based in West Hartford, Conn., and has been an adviser at Morgan Stanley for 20 years, was with Merrill Lynch in Long Island, N. Y., in the early 1990s when he noticed the receptionist struggling to communicate with a deaf client. "I walked over and started talking to the person in sign language," Mr. Rooney recalls. "Within six months, I probably got a dozen or more unsolicited walk-in deaf clients."

Mr. Rooney, who now has 225 deaf clients, learned sign language as a child growing up in a household with two deaf parents. Even though he and his team also work with about 1,000 other clients without hearing impairments, he considers his work with deaf clients as a "way to honour my parents." "I have grown my client base of deaf people every year and it's mostly word-of-mouth referrals," he said.

There are an estimated 2.2 million deaf people living in the United States, a number that is shrinking as a result of medical and technological advancements. But financial advisers who work with one or several deaf clients uniformly agree that it is an underserved market.

It was less than two years ago that wealth adviser Matthew Phillips had his first encounter with a deaf prospective client who emailed him at Trilogy Financial and closed with the explanation, "we are deaf."

Mr. Phillips, who had studied sign language in college but didn't consider himself fluent, wasn't sure how to proceed. "I reached out to our team to ask how we should handle this, and nobody had any idea," he said. "I started to realize no one at Trilogy [which has 250 advisers in 10 offices] has dealt with this before."  Mr. Phillips, who now works with 20 deaf clients, contacted his former sign language instructor at California Baptist University for some advice. The instructor, W. Daniel Blair, organized a tutorial for a half dozen Trilogy advisers. And on June 20, Mr. Phillips and Mr. Blair are hosting a workshop for deaf families at the college.

One of the challenges when it comes to providing financial advice to a deaf person is clear communication. With technology and creative determination, the communication can be managed even if the adviser isn't fluent in sign language. But even being fluent is sign language doesn't guarantee perfect communication. "There's so much in the financial world that doesn't exist in sign language," Mr. Blair said.  Not only does sign language differ by region, similar to regional accents, but he said some words just don't exist in sign language.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Why deaf charities prosper..

And perhaps why many should not?  There is no mention of qualifications for the people that run them.   There is no coverage of the degree of staff viability, background, or experience.   This appears to be the opposite of how employers hire staff, in that there is an essental qualification to do the job. The deaf are a vulnerable and disabled area with a high degree of need for trained support too.  Nowhere else would the amateur be allowed to set up or run, such a support system.  

It would seem the whole ethos of the charity commission is to assist an uncaring government to offload its legal and ethical/moral duty, to its most vulnerable, by selling them the image best they sort themselves out, 'you know best', perhaps being the greatest hype/spin of all, and, it costs the state nothing, making deaf beggars by default and reliant on handouts, when they are legally entitled to support anyway.  Sadly the deaf are not listening and see it as a way to create own jobs instead, i.e. until the handouts stop, or the unqualified deaf run it into the ground.

A cursory glance at the charity Commission legal site also suggests many deaf groups are openly flouting equality and inclusion rules.

30 yrs old This week!

[Pity Captions are missing...].  Did you know that the Auslan Dictionary was released 30 years ago? Auslan has been used by Deaf Australians for many years possibly 100 years or more. But, 30 years ago Trevor Johnston, whose parents are deaf, had the idea of bringing people together to research and write the Auslan Dictionary. 

This book was a significant step in recognizing Auslan as a language and a growing awareness of Auslan. The book has since been used in courses, workshops and schools to support people learning Auslan all across Australia. To celebrate the anniversary, we’ve asked people to share a few words, have a look.

Deaf Charity folds and under Investigation by Charity Commision

Most of these cases are down to people who lack sufficient qualifications to run a 'business' for the deaf, by far, the Charity Commission does not check sufficiently if many such appeals for charity status are viable or can be run properly.  Anyone can set up a charity and it shows.  The fact you are deaf also isn't enough qualification to run a charity supplying support.

A charity to support deaf people in Preston has gone into administration. Lancashire Deaf Service, in Cannon Street, offered advice, advocacy and information for people with hearing difficulties. 

But after falling into difficulty paying staff wages the charity – which also has branches in Blackburn and Burnley went into administration last week. Around 70 staff across the three branches have lost their jobs. A spokesman for the charity said: “Lancashire Deaf Service has ceased to operate from Cannon Street, Preston, Keirby Walk, Burnley and Heaton Street, Blackburn. “The reason for this was a shortage of funds for staff wages. Inevitably, this resulted in the organisation going into administration on 3rd June. 

 “Understandably, it has been a difficult time where over 70 staff were made redundant and more importantly the support services have been cut to Deaf people across the county.” A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission confirmed they had opened an investigation into the charity and its governance. She told Blog Preston: “We are aware of concerns relating to the governance and finances of the East Lancashire Deaf Society Ltd and we have opened a regulatory compliance case to examine matters further. “In order to avoid prejudicing the outcome of this work we cannot comment further at this time.” 

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Deaf Students abandoning courses through lack of support?

Annie Cuckson, 23, says her university's failure to support her deafness has resulted in her feeling anxious
Lack of support in universities drives deaf students to consider leaving degrees Undergraduates feel they are wasting £9,250-a-year tuition fees amid long waits for help. 

Annie Cuckson, 23, says her university's failure to support her deafness has resulted in her feeling anxious Annie Cuckson, 23, says her university's failure to support her deafness has resulted in her feeling anxious.  A chronic shortage of vital support in universities is driving deaf students to consider abandoning their degrees. 

Waits of up to a year for assistance such as interpreters, specialist tutors and note-taking in lectures are leaving hundreds of undergraduates feeling ostracised, stressed and as though they are wasting their fees of up to £9,250 a year.  A poll, carried out by the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS), suggests nearly half of those who needed help at university were still waiting for support when their degree began. Of those, nearly three in five (59 per cent) experienced delays of more than two months for the support to be in place – and more than a quarter (28 per cent) waited six months or more, the research finds. 

One student, who was entitled to a specialist note-taker, was left without support for her entire first year which made it difficult for her to revise for exams. “I felt let down and slightly lost,” she says.  Habiba Bernier, an Essex university student who is profoundly deaf, added: “I was turning up to lectures half understanding what was being said, which made me feel I didn’t belong there.” She was only found a specialist note-taker when she threatened to leave the university after her first year. Sophia Watkins, 22, who is studying at Sheffield Hallam University, also had to wait for months after starting her course for interpreters to be sorted. 

She considered dropping out amid a lack of support. “Without the support I need, I feel depressed, worried, stressed and struggle to follow criteria to achieve high marks.”

Let your fingers do the listening.

In an effort to make world an easier place for deaf and help them, scientists have made a device that might allow the deaf to ‘hear through their fingertips’. An international team of researchers have created a new device, known as a ‘Vibrating Auditory Stimulator’, which could help people with hearing disability by buzzing two of their fingers. 

The team started with 12 test subjects, aged an average of 29 years old, though none of them had any reported hearing problems. They were tasked with listening to 25 groups of 10 short, simple sentences, all of which were spoken in English in make voice. Also, distracting, background-conversation-like noise was added to the audio, detailed New Atlas. Mind-controlled hearing aid identifies sounds wearer wants to hear When the test subjects listened to the recordings, they found it difficult to understand. 

However, their understanding was improved greatly when they listened while also holding their index and middle fingers against the Vibrating Auditory Stimulator. The inexpensive device converted low-frequency speech audio signals into vibrations. The team believes that it helped the volunteers by letting them use two of their senses – hearing and touch – to interpret what was being said. It produced a 6-decibel improvement in perceived loudness. “The ability to ‘hear through one’s fingers’ can significantly help hearing,” said co-author Tomasz Wolak. 

“Our approach suggests that multisensory stimulations providing the same type of information (in this case spoken language conveyed through touch in addition to hearing) should be processed in the same brain region (in this case spoken language centres), ultimately then predicting that multisensory stimulations (both sounds and touch) should enhance perception.”

Bring back deaf dependency on the system.

Lancashire Deaf Rights Group (L-R) Ian Funnell, Len Hodson, Ann Spencer, Sarah Button, Mark Heaton
This seems to directly oppose the view and aim of current BSL users under 60.

Integration is decimating the deaf community ethos and isolating the older deaf claims this group.  For many older deaf who grew up almost totally reliant on a dedicated signing service now find that since youth rejected the concept and demanded access to Interpreters instead, this has left them with les options of support being unable via background to move out into the mainstream as young deaf are now doing as their background was never geared to enable them to do that.

The present system requires 2 people every time now, an interpreter, and a social worker.  Prior, there was only 1 a social service worker who signed also.    The issue of young deaf rejecting this set up was based on the stigma of always having to use a social worker, and demands for independence and more access controlled by the users of BSL, an end to the 'birth to death' deaf support system which deaf found intrusive and against their best interests.  

In the past, such systems read your mail for you, did your banking, took many life-changing decisions on your behalf, took your children to school, attended births,  deaths, and all between.    We still see many deaf today who rely to a considerable extent on others, who have switched from the system support or just carried on using family help.  Attending job interviews (Which the article supported),  with you etc is still a contentious point because employers see you as dependent on others, and it takes away the onus OF employers to provide your entitlement TO access.  It is a contradiction to deaf right of access and equality.

Elderly deaf are unfamiliar with technologies too so often at a loss as to how to call for the support they need.  Those in homes are just left to it as deaf clubs and deaf schools, their sole means of socialising suffer the domino effect of inclusive aspects.

A survey was undertaken in the late 1950s and 1960s, that exposed the fact less than 35% of all dedicated social workers were qualified in BSL to an acceptable level needed to support the BSL user.  [We use the term BSL but at that time no BSL dictionary existed or 'BSL' as we know it today].  Subtitling nor captions were a norm either.  Deaf were incensed at the poor level of signing and personal interference they underwent via the dedicated system, got angry and demanded 'neutral' Interpreters qualified instead, the SS Directorate held meetings, agreed with the demands, and then systematically disbanded the dedicated system for the deaf leaving the older generation in limbo.  

Many older deaf simply assumed that interpreters were still the same as a social worker and treated them that way.  Today the issue of degree of neutrality raises some questions with more aware deaf people who think the fact Interpreters are reliant on deaf for work need to 'keep them onside'.   It is true to say the BSL users ARE worse off than before, an issue ATR has reiterated itself for years, as more and more deaf have a proxy community online instead to suggest the old community ethos still exists but has moved forward, but the basic reality deaf need face to face interaction more than  many other social areas do, is being ignored.  

As stated older deaf weren't using online.  E.G. The 'BSL Zone' TV program did a club to club awareness survey and found many deaf over 50 had never heard or seen their program on a TV set or knew about it, deaf had the technology but apart from texts or some video calling hardly used phones for anything else and where they were isolated from family never made calls.  Social online media was an area they never accessed either to any greater degree.

It seems rather sad the deaf community of sign users don't support their own older deaf and will face the same issues when they are older too.  In the scheme of things defeating their own access aims.  The lack of any real input from older deaf over 50 should be ringing community alarm bells but isn't.    These people created that community.

The Article.

It seems unlikely that there are many public services whose users would proclaim that they were better off 50 years ago than they are today. But the more senior members of the deaf community in Lancashire say that is often how they feel as they try to negotiate the challenges of living in a silent world with increasingly limited support. ...and cartoonist ...and cartoonist Len Hodson, 80, recalls a time when people who, like him, were born deaf and rely on British Sign Language (BSL), benefited from social care staff dedicated to helping them with every aspect of their lives. 

 “There was really good support in the 1950s and 60s – social workers were there to help you with things like understanding documents and even to go to job interviews with you,” remembers Len, a founding member of the Lancashire Deaf Rights Group (LDRG). “Nowadays, deaf people are integrating more, but there’s still a lot of isolation and many people who are left unable to engage [in society].” 

Friday, 7 June 2019

Deaf Literacy Project

The suggestion ASL isn't helping the deaf student/potential employee must raise some questions... Has the USA a signed equivalent of English they can use? It's clear the differing ASL grammar/language aspect is a brake on inclusion, as is the UK's BSL equivalent.  Deaf pride isn't paying the mortgage.  Deaf should retain their preferences for social intercourse, and learn a signed equivalent that more easily allows them to follow what mainstream uses, e.g. if they can master ASL then, they can master the English version of sign too, it just needs priorities set.  Be truly bilingual not pay 'lip-service' to the concept.  Even a master degree in ASL or BSL is not going to be much of an advantage in a hearing world sadly.

Tackling Invisible Disabilities.

Newport West MP Ruth Jones giving her maiden speech in Parliament.
You cannot help feeling the well-meaning amongst us still do not understand the issues of having a disability that cannot be immediately seen, its why we see the endless logo of wheelchairs etc because it something immediately recognisable as something connected with a disabled person.

The 'Ear/Hand' logos are just plain contentious or confusing because seeing such logos still don't identify properly and given so many disagreements still exist who they apply to, the 'Deaf' area preferring to not be associated with hearing loss par se, so they haven't really worked.  If we take the example of the 'Loop' logo,  then this hasn't worked at all basically.  Perhaps this responder to the news article is more realistic, but, do the deaf want to be easily identifiable when there is no consensus as to what identification process would be acceptable to all?  Most only function face to face.

#1 "Well my area of hearing loss struggles 90% of the time, mostly because it IS invisible, we would welcome suggestions on HOW to make it visible. We've had everything from putting labels on our back, to tattooing it on our forehead. People get confused they think it is easy to ID because a sector of deaf people use their hands all the time, but they represent only 2-4% of us all. Those with mental health issues would probably NOT want a lot of attention given to them, by definition it can make things worse in some cases. 

It's not a clear cut issue. All you can do is respect what they need. 'Coming Out' as having an invisible disability, isn't a subject we really think about. People in my sector deaf can only take recognition to an extent because the stress of following others can be too much. We take inclusion piecemeal depending on how much stress that entails. We can return home after the day exhausted with the sheer effort of communicating outside it."

Reference (1).

Reference (2).

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Being deaf and useless...

Hear through your fingertips

A diagram of the Vibrating Auditory Stimulator, which required no training to use
Amongst the challenges faced by the deaf is what's known as the "cocktail party effect," in which they have difficulty discerning one speaker's voice from others in crowded, noisy environments. A new device could help, however – by buzzing two of their fingers. Led by The Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Dr Amir Amedi, an international research team started with 12 test subjects (both male and female), aged an average of 29 years old. All of them spoke English, although not as their first language, and none of them had any reported hearing problems. 

The volunteers were tasked with listening to 25 groups of 10 short, simple sentences, all of which were spoken in English in a male voice. Distracting, background-conversation-like noise was added to the audio. When the test subjects initially listened to the sentences using headphones only, they found it quite difficult to understand what the speaker was saying. Their understanding improved considerably, however, when they listened while also holding their index and middle fingers against an inexpensive tactile feedback device. 

Known as a Vibrating Auditory Stimulator, that device converted low-frequency speech audio signals into vibrations. The scientists believe that it helped the participants by allowing them to use two of their senses – hearing and touch – to interpret what was being said. All told, it produced a 6-decibel improvement in perceived loudness. For reference, 10 db represents a doubling of loudness. 

"Our approach suggests that multisensory stimulations providing the same type of information (in this case spoken language conveyed through touch in addition to hearing) should be processed in the same brain region (in this case spoken language centres), ultimately then predicting that multisensory stimulations (both sounds and touch) should enhance perception."  

Welsh Charity awards for the BSL-Friendly.

Is BSL awareness, deaf awareness?  It isn't.  We still do not get a breakdown of what the course of BSL awareness, is.  The irony being the AOHL is a Hard Of Hearing charity the BSL user deserted many years ago for repression of the sign user and the brutal sacking of the one (and still only), BSL CEO by Hard of Hearing members and hearing AOHL staff.  

One area * awarded, was an area where women feared to go to have their babies and were the subject of an NHS investigation.  The Welsh ambulance area they have just managed to get 5 people to stage 1 BSL which isn't even conversational level.  Is 5 a success?  What this is all about, is the corporate AOHL awarding just about anyone who can sign a bit some recognition, in the hope, such areas will give them funding.  To that end, much will be spent hosting a junket in a posh Cardiff Hotel.  One doubts ANY deaf or HoH will be there.  There are current concerns the AOHL website has again attempted to remove grass root feedback via their forum.  Last time it was pulled for years as criticism rose.  Also restructuring as donations fall.

Wales’ most deaf friendly organisations announced Guest Contributor, News from Wales Five Welsh organisations that go above and beyond to make their services and workplaces accessible to the one in six people in Wales with hearing loss have been recognised at the prestigious Action on Hearing Loss Cymru Excellence Awards. 

The organisations, which include construction firms, health boards and arts initiatives, were presented awards for their continuous and inspiring efforts to create a deaf-friendly Wales. Awarded the Excellence in Health Award, Cwm Taf University Health Board was recognised for its commitment to improving communication methods for deaf patients when wishing to change an appointment, confirm personal details or check treatment information. 

The Health Board, which covers Rhondda Cynon Taf and Bridgend, also boasts a new accessible buildings policy which means the needs of people with hearing loss will be taken into account when planning new builds and refurbishments; from contracting to completion. Peter Jenkins, Jack Griffiths and Paul Cachia of Cardiff-based Willis Construction won the award of Best Employer – PC by Matthew Horwood Cardiff based Willis Construction was awarded the Best Employer accolade for the support it’s provided to a profoundly deaf member of staff over the last three years. 

The firm adapted its recruitment process, utilised a BSL (British Sign Language) interpreter for the interview and implemented a buddy system to support him from a communication and health and safety point of view once he secured the position. Staff members were also invited to attend a ‘BSL at work’ training course in order to remove communication barriers when working together. Now flourishing in the role, Willis Construction actively promote the many benefits of creating an accessible workplace and the importance of being deaf aware in the construction industry. Action on Hearing Loss Cymru launched the awards in 2015 to celebrate businesses and organisations that take steps to support the 575,000 people in Wales who have varying degrees of hearing loss. 

The 2019 Excellence Awards were open to all public services, private companies and voluntary organisations providing services in Wales. The charity has been supporting people who are deaf or have hearing loss since 1911 and statistics show that deafness and hearing loss is on the rise and that by 2035, one-fifth of people in Wales will be affected, often with significant effects to their daily lives. Nine Welsh organisations were shortlisted in total and all shortlisted entries were judged by a panel of people who are deaf or have hearing loss. The awards were presented at a ceremony that took place last month (17 May) at St David’s Hotel, Cardiff Bay. 

ITV Wales correspondent, Siôn Jenkins, hosted the awards, while charity volunteers, donors and previous award winners attended to celebrate this year’s cohort of winners. Western Power Distribution, winners of last year’s overall Excellence in Service award and this year’s winner of the coveted Ambassador Award, are supporting this year’s event. Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust won the People’s Choice Award which was voted for by the public, they also scooped this year’s Excellence in Service Award. The organisation was praised for its continuous engagement with the deaf community to understand the areas of improvement required by those with hearing loss. Over the past year alone, 100 members of staff have been trained in BSL and the organisation is already seeing the benefits of staff undertaking such training. 

The five Welsh companies recognised at the ceremony were: Artes Mundi, Cardiff Willis Construction,  * CardiffCwm Taf University Health Board Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust Western Power Distribution.

Speaking at Friday’s award ceremony, Liz Jenkins, Equality Manager at Cwm Taf University Health Board, said: “Being able to communicate with people whether they’re booking hospital appointments or receiving medical treatment is incredibly important. We want all of our patients to feel confident in the knowledge that they can contact the hospital when needed and that the correct level of support will be provided. We know our work has made a huge difference to staff and patients alike so we’re over the moon to have had our efforts recognised by Action on Hearing Loss Cymru.”

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

ENT Caption generating

newsroom with Telepromter
I can agree with the issue live captioning is still an issue with some deaf. In the UK it appears we get the USA created software involved in our captioning and subtitling, (A la Google it seems!), and the standard of spelling and grammar suffers because USA English is a type of its own. 

Some of we can ignore, some just make no sense at all.  Accents seem to throw USA material a curve as do most speech to text applications.  Good suggestions here so no excuse for poor captions on pre-recorded stuff. Whether the system will still work without adequate UK/English-sourced grammar and spelling input... after all it was our language :)  (Even if ASL and BSL deaf cannot read it apparently).

How is the quality of ENT-generated captions?

Consumer groups have argued that the use of ENT for captioning prevents DHOH viewers from fully accessing news broadcasts, especially in instances of non-scripted news, with viewers missing out on live interviews, breaking news reports, and weather updates. In response, the FCC strengthened its requirements around ENT captioning in 2014, and added additional requirements for programmers outside the top 25 DMAs.

The FCC’s ENT Best Practices dictate that:

● In-studio produced programming (news, sports, weather, and entertainment) should be scripted.

● Pre-produced programming should be scripted to the best extent possible.

● If live interviews, live on-the-scene and/or breaking news segments are not scripted, stations should supplement them with screen crawls, textual information, or other means.

● Stations should train all news staff on scripting for improved ENT.

● Stations should appoint an ENT coordinator to oversee compliance.

Ambulance staff learn sign language

The Patient Experience and Community Engagement team collecting the awards. Picture: Wales Ambulance Service.
Ambulance staff learn sign language in an effort to help patients with hearing loss The Welsh Ambulance Service has been recognised for its efforts to become more accessible for those with hearing loss. 

Following the introduction of a scheme which encourages staff to learn how to speak the British Sign Language (BSL), the service picked up the Service Excellence and People’s Choice awards at the Excellence Wales Awards 2019. These awards conclude the year-long effort from the Welsh Ambulance Service to address the issue of making its services more accessible for those who cannot rely on a ‘traditional’ 999 call. 

100 Welsh Ambulance staff signed up for a year-long online course, supplemented by live practice sessions with a tutor. So far, five members of staff have passed the Level One BSL exam.

Level one is laudable, but most would need Level 3/4 to establish confidence with the deaf.  Of course any certainty such learners are on YOUR ambulance isn't there. We are concerned at areas teaching very basic signs to people, and then deaf (Or other medical staff), not being able to identify who they are.  One Gwent hospital had nobody who knew sign at all and there were 6 deaf and HoH patients in the hospital, in the end they found a floor cleaner who knew some to aid the Dr on the rounds.  None of the medical staff knew any.  Mostly she understood the deaf wanted their family called in.

Captions turning a negative to a positive.

A negative experience has turned into an opportunity for change for Melbourne’s deaf community. In April a group of about 40 deaf people attended an advertised open captions screening of The Avengers at Village Cinemas at the Sunshine Marketplace. 

The group quickly realised that something had gone wrong and there were no captions. One member of the group, Alexandra McKenzie, unsatisfied with resolution of the problem on the day, took to Facebook to express her disappointment. The post was shared almost 400 times. Ms McKenzie said the opportunity to highlight the situation had resulted in significant change. “All the noise we made has resulted in about triple the amount of captioned screenings and regular times for seven Village cinema locations across Victoria,” she said. 

 “I was so grateful people were willing to take the time to care about the issue. I hope it can bring about lasting change. “There’s a long way to go, but this kind of response shows the world is ready to listen to this particular issue.” Ms McKenzie said it was encouraging that Village Cinemas management was willing to listen. “Village were really receptive,” she said. “We met with them and it was really positive. They’re the only major chain in Australia that I know of that are making attempts to do this.” Ms McKenzie said she would like to see the company add an accessibility page to their website with further information for those who need it and session times. And she said she would like to see regular deaf-friendly screenings at more venues become a reality.

The BSL Dream

Photograph by Ian Georgeson Pic: Kirsty McEwen try's out some sign language.   Secondary school pupils from schools across Edinburgh the Lothians, Borders and Fife will take part in a British Sign Language (BSL) workshop at Heriot-Watt University's Brightest Watts summer week.  A highly interactive session pupil's will experience what it's like to communicate without using spoken words, and to focus on visual modes of communication. They will have the opportunity to learn and practice some BSL.   When?                 Tuesday 16 July, 10.30am to 12.30pm   Where?                Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh Campus, BEC Lecture Theatre, Esmee Fairbairn Building   Who?                    19 pupils due to go on to fifth year after the summer will join this workshop being led by Gary Quinn, BSL Teaching Fellow, Heriot-Watt University
ATR made these points to the deaf community 15 YEARS ago, that to initiate any BSL act you had to have the infrastructure and demand proven to enable it.  Instead, BSL lobbies rambled endlessly on about culture and sign and, relied on Untrained help and families instead.  

When asked to properly explain WHERE they get their statistics and demand from? they revert to rights/preferences not a need or demand basis.  E.G. There are NOT 87,000 deaf who prefer BSL to other avenues of communication in Scotland, and in this case, the statistic certainly does NOT relate to Scotland, it is an alleged but unproven UK inclusive stat.  In fact, based on clinical identification of people with hearing loss who are deaf, clinicians do not ask what modes they use.   In esence, the BSL lobby then said all those deaf signed in or 'preferred' BSL, because they know establishing it true or false isn't possible.  It is unproven because the question is blocked from inclusion on 'privacy' and legal (Data Protection Act), grounds.

Census returns in the UK found only 15,000 in England e.g. who 'knew about sign language.'  Wales has less than 1500, where the additional numbers emerge from is not stated other than it must be Scotland and Northern Ireland who have all these BSL deaf, however, their own deaf stats don't appear to justify or identify the communication differences.  Hard of Hearing, deaf, deafened etc are NOT BSL deaf.  Deaf lobbies posted this as wrong because the census question about sign use wasn't 'Asked the right way..' Yet, the British deaf lobbies had the question put in themselves.  Knowing some BSL and daily usage and demand, are entirely different questions and weren't asked.  There is only one statistic that is true, and that is current take-up of present resources which would identify demand.

However the fly in the proverbial are the interpreters themselves, if Scotland is anything like the rest of the UK, most are freelance and please themselves who they support and where they work, there is no unified or reliable BSL support UK system in that respect.  Respecting terps aren't a charity and are highly trained, they require regular work and the wage to reflect that.  They cannot earn a living outside a sizeable town or city without a significant deaf community.

We aren't aware of how BSL Scottish terps are 'tested' to gain their levels we do know learners pay a high financial price to take such exams and getting issues with regional judges that deter them.  Also that Interpreters are against receiving a standard wage and organising themselves so resources are more effective.  40% were reported as refusing to work for W.I.T.S. because the system wanted that as a standard and norm, the system was frustrated having to rely on freelance help and enduring endless delays.  There was a collapse in wales of BSL support when the DWP decided to introduce PIP e.g.  It wasn't possible to support the deaf there, and terps were refusing to enable the DWP assessments because 'bread and butter' work would suffer, they didn't want to be seen by their clients helping the DWP either.  The DWP cuts to the deaf were blamed then squarely on their support, as the DWP told deaf we have asked BSL terps 2 or 3 times to support you and they aren't turning up.

Interpreter support, like educational support demands trained people, we aren't seeing DEMAND for that because deaf are still by-passing trained help for family support e.g. still taking up 64% of all deaf support for free. Integrating deaf children into the mainstream pretty much removed what trained deaf teachers and special schools there were.   It starts off as all BSL lobbies do, using 'preference' as a need demand, instead of identifying what works and basic NEED.  Worse it distorts Stats to gain higher figures to create what is still not a clearly identified need or area.  Until we get a proper survey of ALL deaf we will never know, but this seems to suit BSL lobbyists who can 'think of a number, double/treble it..' then challenge you to prove it wrong, rather than them having to prove it right.  A lot of people are deaf a lot never sign either.  Maybe demanding the return of specialised social services for the deaf is an option, albeit deaf got rid of them years ago on the grounds they patronised deaf people.  That specialisation also created state dependencies on the deaf.

This appears the 2nd time this week reality has been omitted in BSL campaigns in Scotland. we have a number of rights/access laws but none currently function because neither the staff or the demand is identified properly.  Of course 'Use it or lose it..' is still the bottom line.  Deaf are notorious for asking for things then not using them.  Just as systems are saying use it or else because there is no money to waste.

What Scots Said:

British Sign Language (BSL) is the preferred language for more than 87,000 deaf people in the UK, according to the British Deaf ­Association, and to comply with new ­legislation introduced under the British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015, ­Scotland must now rise to the ­challenge of promoting its use and understanding. 

The Scottish Government has ­boldly set out 70 actions in its BSL National Plan, designed to help ­Scotland become the best place for BSL users to live, work and ­visit. The National Plan is a welcome ­document, recognising the need for interpreters to attain skills in ­specialist fields of work such as healthcare and the judiciary system where BSL users frequently face inequalities, and to be employed effectively across the country. However, the reality of the ­interpreting landscape in Scotland is that there are limited human resources available for the actions on the National Plan to be achieved. Joined up thinking and decision-making at a strategic level is going to be essential.


Monday, 3 June 2019

Overcoming Hearing aid Aversion and Loss attitudes..

Family-centred Care Addressing potential barriers to hearing aid uptake in a structured and transparent way An extended version of the FOCAS tool, the FOCAS–ME, has the potential to address the emotional impact of hearing loss on both clients and their families, removing barriers to hearing aid adoption Shareno comments Sabaa Tahir writes: ‘Your emotions make you human. Even the unpleasant ones have a purpose. 

Don’t lock them away. If you ignore them, they just get louder and angrier’. (Sabaa Tahir, A Torch Against the Night). So too can be the case for the emotional impacts of hearing loss experienced by both the individual and their family. Acknowledging and openly discussing these emotions and impacts can help promote a better understanding of all affected parties, and the development of shared goals that contribute to better outcomes seen with family-centred care (FCC) approach.

Recognizing this importance of both family and emotions in managing hearing loss, the FOCAS (Family Oriented Communication Assessment and Solutions)4 tool was developed for every clinician’s FCC resource kit. It addresses the needs of families by providing a clear structure to involve them and looks beyond hearing aids alone to meet those needs. It was developed to assist clinicians to more efficiently implement FCC in adult audiology appointments and to more thoroughly address the far-field hearing needs of people with hearing loss. 

Additionally, the FOCAS aims to provide a useful way for clinicians to address the emotional impact of their clients hearing loss on them and their families. Since its creation, the FOCAS has been translated into over 20 languages to support use by hearing healthcare professionals around the world. An adapted version of the FOCAS – The FOCAS-ME Recently, a new version of this resource was created, the FOCAS-ME (Family Oriented Communication Assessment and Solutions – Motivation and Experience) tool.5 It expands on the original FOCAS tool to include a third section than assess Motivation and Experience regarding hearing loss and rehabilitation interventions. 

Specifically, there are 5 questions that address some common barriers to uptake of rehabilitation interventions, such as the client’s prior experience of hearing aids (HAs), and their level of motivation regarding improving their hearing, as well as the cost of HAs, which can be another barrier to hearing aid uptake.6 The questions in this section aid the clinician to address these potential barriers to rehabilitation in a structured and transparent way. How does the FOCAS-ME Tool compare to current practice? 

Elizabeth Collins, a recent graduate of the University of Auckland Master of Audiology program, conducted a qualitative analysis of the FOCAS-ME tool for her Master’s thesis.7 Fig 1. Elizabeth Collins, Author of the study: Family Oriented Communication Assessment and Solutions–Motivation and Experience (FOCAS-ME): A Qualitative Analysis of a Family-Centred Tool. Specifically, she investigated the clinical application of the FOCAS-ME tool as compared to current standard audiological practice, in terms of whether this tool can help promote active inclusion of the family, which is reportedly low in the literature,4,8 exploration of the emotional impacts of hearing loss, consideration of both near- and far-field hearing needs as well determination of motivation and experience. Digging deeper with a random sample… 

A sample of 20 conventional hearing aid discussions (HADs) randomly selected from case notes relating to 52 client appointments conducted at the University of Auckland Hearing and Tinnitus clinic underwent qualitative analysis. Data analysis was framed by seven key elements which were classified as themes, based on the key sections of the FOCAS-ME tool. These included the emotional impact of hearing loss, the client’s perspective on their family member’s experience and vice versa, the family member’s perspective on their own experience, shared goal setting, and the exploration of hearing needs as being near- or far-field, and the components of motivation and experience. 

Additionally, 12 anonymized FOCAS-ME forms completed by hearing healthcare professionals (HCPs) in clinical appointments during a pilot of FOCAS-ME in Australia underwent theme analysis to determine any differences compared to a convention HAD approach. What did the results show? The preliminary results of this study showed that the FOCAS and FOCAS-ME tools have the potential to elicit the information intended towards achieving the aims of these tools, especially with regards to the emotional impact of hearing loss and the impact of third-party disability through incorporating a FCC approach. The FOCAS-ME data showed evidence of the negative emotional impact that hearing loss can have on family members as well as clients, and exhibited the empathy family members can feel for the person with hearing loss.


Research has found that Guinness can help prevent hearing loss
A pint of Guinness each day can help stop you going deaf, new research shows. Long thought to have medicinal properties, Guinness, thanks to its high iron content, may also combat hearing loss. 

It's official, Guinness is good for you Up until recently, Guinness was given to patients in recovery to build up their strength and now, apparently, it replaces lost iron, which helps patients with hearing difficulties. The new research was published in the Journal of American Medicine. 

It seems Guinness has a beneficial impact when drunk, providing much-needed iron that may help to prevent deafness. The research conducted at Pennsylvania State University found that high levels of iron help stop hearing loss. The study of more than 300,000 people found a link between iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) and hearing loss. More than 30 per cent of the world’s population is anaemic and needs more iron and is in danger of hearing loss.

Messages from the Alternative Deaf Universe.

Goldthorpe PCSO builds confidence in deaf community
Having had the access for 26 years in  S. Wales, these deaf say they haven't had, you have to wonder what on earth goes on via 'awareness'.  Our own area provided a first direct text/Minicom service to the police, DWP, and the Job Centres.  We installed 42 Minicoms there despite Social Services opposing them.

It also had a dedicated and direct line to the Hospital and a person to deal with any and all enquiries or support you needed.  So what has happened in the last 25 years of raising access awareness and getting a Disability Act... erm nothing! and what we did have has gone.  Given ATR was the sole deaf person in the UK to attend the actual launch of the original Disability Act with other disabled, because 'Deaf assumed it was about disabled people not them, and preferred to go sightseeing (After claiming attendance expenses), instead.' should we be surprised?   So now they are using a charity relay system to be paid for instead?  Far be it from ATR to suggest it is 'Jobs for the deaf boys and gals..' at the root of it.

Why are deaf still unable to contact 999?  Maybe we should look at the fact 87% of them refused outright to register their number or validity with the police?  Who needed that verification to prevent hackers and spoilers abusing the number.  Or, deaf simply asking family/friends who can hear to do it instead? Deaf are 'deafinitely', their own worst access enemy.  Their approaches create more issues than they solve.

Goldthorpe PCSO builds confidence in deaf community By Chloe West | 03/06/2019 Goldthorpe PCSO builds confidence in deaf community PCSO Tom Berry, pictured presenting on how to contact the police. 

A PCSO from Goldthorpe has delivered educational sessions to the local deaf community to increase their awareness and confidence in the police. PCSO Tom Berry delivered his first session to the charity ‘Deafinitions’ last Wednesday. The session covered an understanding of reporting hate crime, protecting vulnerable people and how to contact the police in an emergency and non-emergency situation. 

Deafinitions are a charity based in Goldthorpe, which supports the deaf community in relation to health, employment and youth development, as well as hosting regular community events where members from across South Yorkshire come together and socialise. The charity contacted PCSO Berry earlier this year and he was later invited along to meet their members. The community explained how they had a lack of faith in the police, would often leave crimes unreported and were unclear on how to make contact. 

PCSO Berry explained how people who are unable to call 999 and speak down the phone can use a SMS text messaging service. The emergency SMS service lets deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired people in the UK send an SMS text message to the UK 999 service, where it will be passed to the police, ambulance, fire service or coastguard.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Those Dreadful Deaf people.

Fifi Garfield and Nadeem Islam in Horrible Histories: Dreadful Deaf
Who is oppressed?   I'm not.  Those who live in the past tend to remain there.  Will the deaf community ever move forward while making a celebration of oppression that took place via the Egyptians 1,000s of years ago? or attacking a man who has been dead for years because he dared to promote speaking?  We urge deaf to enter the 20th even 21stc for the real good of our future deaf.

It should come as a surprise to no one that the latest Horrible Histories, Dreadful Deaf is another triumph; after all, Birmingham Stage Company has cornered the market in the stage versions of a franchise that mixes facts with a heavy dose of flagellants and flatulence. Here, teaming up with Deafinitely Theatre, they have produced an hour's trawl through the history of Deafness, pairing fascinating tales with giggles aplenty.

Did you know that in 1000 BC Egyptian Hebrew law denied deaf people rights to be married or have children? Or that their attempted cure involved goat's urine being poured directly into the ear? How about that Greek philosopher and all-around modern thinker Aristotle, who claimed that ‘"Deaf are born incapable of reason". On and on it goes, Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, campaigned for banning sign language and promoting oralism but signed his dying words. Horrible Histories has always enjoyed telling the bleak, but what this shows is that those born deaf have faced centuries of being oppressed. 

Thankfully as we begin to shift into more modern history, heroes do begin to emerge. There is Thomas Brainwood, founder of the first school for deaf children in Edinburgh in the 1760s or Helen Watts, a suffragette who campaigned so fervently from a gaol cell in Reading that she was released early for fear of fatality. In a nice touch in Paul Burgess' compact set, modern heroes from the deaf community are projected before and after, a mix of sportsmen and women, doctors and teachers. It's a sign of how far things have come and also a telling indictment of how much further things still need to shift. After all, there were very few instantly recognisable faces on the list, a sign that barriers are still up for this community to rise to the very top.