Tuesday, 30 July 2019

For deaf struggling with Literacy

Silent Voices

Hearing Loops

Signed TV and Deaflix

An area doing the online rounds in the UK regarding a signed TV channel, but not everyone agrees with that.

Ergo: #1 We will be producing content in sign languages around the world. Yes all the languages make it more challenging, but it is something we've been considering

#2 "Our countries have different sign language. The English wouldn't share it when the Americans came to visit. They considered it a money maker. So we went to France and have developed a hybrid. You are explaining nothing in your ads. 

#3 We are launching a full television network which will have shows in many sign languages of the world. There are so many talented deaf entertainers around the world who deserve a platform.

#4 You need to explain when you advertise. Captioning? In English and the language of the signer? Most people know nothing so u must start from scratch.

ATR:    We would not support signed output without proper access and item inclusion.  I don't watch SEE HEAR or the BSL Zone in the UK for those reasons. That's for deaf minorities and I don't view myself as one of those but part of a deaf and HoH MAJORITY who does not see any inclusion of our issues or content on these signed things, also, there appears a lot of 'indoctrination' bias, and distortion under the banner of 'equality' I am not happy with.

I understand areas of business who rely on signers for a living have to toe the line of culture, but cultural deaf (And sign users), are a minority and there is a lot of concern of others with deafness and hearing loss not included at all by access, or by item inclusion.  The drive for 'equality' is top-heavy and many are uncomfortable it is being viewed as 'image promotion'.    This is what kills SEE HEAR in the UK, the non-inclusion and endless plugs for BSL and culture.   BSL Zone started off being more 'with it' but soon fell back to tried and tested cultural demands losing viewers in the process. as many as 76% of deaf did not know they even existed let alone watched it.

Many feel very excluded and angry at BSL bias and frustrated they aren't being allowed to air that frustration. It got very heavy indeed and e.g. the BBC ended up banning all feedback to its SEE HEAR and disability program after those with hearing loss swamped the BBC site with complaints about SH being allowed to get funds and TV access via anti-inclusive formats.   The BBC responded by offering work only to those who don't challenge their status quo.  Their recent demands to force over 75yr olds to pay to watch them has created a furore especially as they promptly assigned £75m to build a TV set for a failed soap opera.  Would anyone in America put up with that?

I  do wonder if there is conflict in that commercial areas are using charitable/disability status and its people to get funds and TV access too.  Equal rights and access laws were not designed to bolster minority causes this way, they are about including everyone and what formats they all use.   
Why would I watch a Ukrainian deaf juggler e.g. BECAUSE they sign ?? Why is access, campaigning, and funding being spent on ONE area of hearing loss to the detriment of others?  Apparently, because BSL people are able to use the 'trump' card of culture forcing TV areas to back off. Abuse of the law in our view.

There are 10m with hearing loss, less than 70K alleged (And as yet unproven), daily or reliant BSL users, and the audience viewing figures for signed output is not registering at all, so they are existing on 'rights', not demand.  Those 'rights' however do not seem to include anyone else, and online output is very much against captions, subtitling, alleviation, research, English grammar,  and education.   None of that is inclusive.

The actual and recorded viewer count was unable to register how many deaf actually watched their own dedicated programs, it was too low to register, IF there are 75-150K BSL people, they aren't watching signed TV at all. The OFCOM ruling re the BBC is that those programs that fall below a minimum figure face being axed.  Deaf stepped in with cultural rights and now, if just ONE deaf person watched signed output it would be enough to justify.  Leaving near 10m other out of it is unfathomable.  Disabled people DON'T have a right to a program for them.  TV Inequality and bias are rife.

If this Deaflix area did a series of programs challenging that cultural approach with, those who are being excluded (Via abuse of the 'Deaf & HoH' remit etc), it might well get an audience for that. There is nothing stopping them doing it online.  Personally, I am against ANYONE making a living at the expense of my deafness, even other deaf people. I'm a person, not a 'commodity' to be sold.  Ask us all DO we want to watch deaf in other countries? most do not.  Politically the USA/UK and Europe would block a lot of them!  I gather the USA is very edgy as regards to deaf posters including Islamic deaf e.g.  When did anyone last see that?  Or Israel including Palestinian deaf?

All deaf do not sign and all deaf do not belong to a culture or a deaf community either, a recent survey suggested deaf still cannot accept own diversity.   When will the disinformation be addressed?   You can be sure any commercial TV channel dedicated to sign will not operate for signed areas with zilch viewers or very low figures without a subsidy. Only the western world has the potential for such a channel to operate.  As stated,  we don't have the proof of audience need for more signed TV output that is all about the 'Deaf' and nobody else.

ATR is against the commercialisation of what is, a very serious sensory disability for profit. Or,  'jobs for the deaf boys and girls' too.  The UK already has its own luvvie network as it is and they all chant the same mantras and doing very nicely thank you.....   

Monday, 29 July 2019

Harlan Lane dead.

Dr. Harlan Lane in 2011 at Northeastern University, where he was a professor of psychology and was instrumental in starting an American Sign Language program.
Harlan Lane, Vigorous Advocate for Deaf Culture, Dies at 82.

Dr Harlan Lane in 2011 at Northeastern University, where he was a professor of psychology and was instrumental in starting an American Sign Language program.  Harlan Lane, a psychologist whose immersion in the world of deaf people led him to become a leading champion of the position that people born unable to hear are not disabled but are part of a distinct ethnic group with their own vibrant culture, died on July 13 at his home in Roquefort-Les-Pins, France, near Nice. 

He was 82. Dr Richard Pillard, a friend and collaborator, said the cause had been Parkinson’s disease. Dr Lane also had a home in Boston. Dr Lane was a hearing person whose work in psychology and linguistics was transformed in the early 1970s when he was introduced to deaf students communicating in American Sign Language at the University of California, San Diego, where he was a visiting professor. “I became quite excited because I realized there was a whole new way to look at the psychology of language,” he recalled in an article in 2011 about him on the website of Northeastern University in Boston, where he taught for many years until retiring in 2012. 

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Hearing Aids and Speech

Image result for struggling with hearing aidsA quick look at one issue being talked about on UK Social media.

#1 I find myself speaking much louder when I don’t have hearing aids, or so my kids say.  The fact that I can hear myself with hearing aids regulates the loudness and tone of speech for me, I think.

#2 That's true, the level of hearing affects your spoken level of response.  I have no hearing at all but, my level of speech is perfectly acceptable and viable in mixed company, I've trained myself to do that, by watching closely other people to notice their body language and responses, if you see 'puzzlement' when you speak to people no matter how subtle it appears, then you know you are shouting or mumbling, or not understood at all, you can train yourself that way.  

HOWEVER (There is always some unavoidable issue!), I cannot monitor background noise so get caught out then.  I don't avoid such areas that is self-defeating but via a bit of humour or simply saying I cannot make you out because of that noise it's not so bad people will understand.  I do think over-confidence with a hearing aid is an issue too it means you make less effort to follow assuming the aid has captured it all.  

#3 Same with learning to lip-read, you need the aids switched OFF to manage that properly.  Of course, UK classes insist you keep them ON, which I think is the wrong way to do it.  There is no 'level playing field' between students either, so the those who can maximise their aids benefit more than those that cannot, even then, they can suffer if unfortunately, their aids are no longer of use to them, they have not attained the other skills they need to follow better, they left that to the aid..  Then and curiously, its a race to buy bigger, better or stronger hearing aids because they cannot cope with silence... and there are no areas to help them.

The Future of the Deaf Communities.

They didn't actually say WHAT that future is, only what some deaf feel it 'could be'. Whilst they debate the way forward, they still struggle with inclusion and access, some of it mainstream fault, some their own. They need to accept inclusion comes at a price, and be prepared to pay that price. As someone stated, there is a lack of inclusion and even some hostility within deaf areas in accepting other deaf e.g. oralists, and the diversity that is the people within it and there was an issue with the more able deaf failing to include the lesser able and leaving them behind.  The deaf aren't a unified area, exposing perhaps the fact sign is the ONLY unifying factor, and believing that is enough.

It was clear, some system areas feel the cultural aspect is a drive to take over deaf education and indoctrinate.  Overall, the drive from those on the video is to maintain the isolatory status quo and encourage independence of the mainstream not include themselves within it.  Mainly because they feel as a 'linguistic minority' that will lose that.  Around the world, such areas that pursue such directions, without compromise fail or become secular and more isolated.

Areas in the 'third world' look like areas in the old world before better education and acceptances were created, today advances in communications mean that will change more rapidly than it did before.  From 1880 to the 1950s the UK deaf community was huge, but access and better health support has pretty much eliminated all that.  We doubt modern deaf with all that is becoming available want a return to the old ways of doing things or, the old ways of communicating either.  Clubs/deaf schools are in rapid decline, and they are the 'community'.  The third world is apparently trying to recreate that can it succeed?  Maybe for a while by sheer numbers but....

Deaf man in Bomb Hoax against US/UK/Canada.

A deaf man has appeared in court accused of conducting a campaign of bomb hoaxes against targets in the US, Canada and the UK, including the Houses of Parliament, the Super Bowl and dozens of schools
A deaf man has appeared in court accused of conducting a campaign of bomb hoaxes against targets in the US, Canada and the UK, including the Houses of Parliament, the Super Bowl and dozens of schools. 

Andreas Dowling (23) faces 30 counts of communicating false information with intent between October 2014 and February 2016. The majority of the threats were against schools, but some were also made to US police stations, the court heard. At a preliminary hearing at the Old Bailey yesterday, prosecutor Simon Laws QC said the hoaxes caused "disruption and panic". 

The threats were made both online and by phone, the court heard. Dowling, of Torpoint, Cornwall, appeared at the hearing via video link from Exeter Crown Court and was assisted in the dock by a lip speaker. He is accused of making the threat to the Super Bowl - one of the biggest events in America's sporting calendar - on February 1, 2015. Dowling allegedly threatened the Houses of Parliament on February 8, 2016. He faces an additional charge of "encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence believing it would be committed" under the Protection of Children Act 1978. 

He is accused of threatening to "ruin the life" of a 17-year-old girl in the US unless she sent him nude photographs of herself. Dowling was arrested in June of this year following an investigation by Counter Terrorism Policing South West. Avon and Somerset Police said later that officers were satisfied the alleged bomb threats "were not an act of terrorism". Mr Justice Sweeney listed the case for a plea and trial preparation hearing on November 8 at a location yet to be set.

Friday, 26 July 2019

Mistress Marvellous...

I don’t want Marvel to make a big deal of Makkari’s deafness or to highlight one mode or another as being 'right' or 'wrong'.  I just think current obsessions in how minority areas are represented just marginalises them more or projects a stereotype nobody will agree with anyway.  Mainstream is damned if it does, damned if it doesn't.   All this hand-wringing (No pun intended), and hair-pulling (No offence meant to baldies),  about who or how we are portrayed.  

It's buying into the whole hype thing anyway by vested interest to plug their particular version.  A signer won't be representative of the deaf and a lip-reader opposed by sign dependents.  You can only hope she speaks in caption bubbles instead...  I think inclusion is going to be a bugger...

It’s not only the amount of deaf representation in the media which can be an issue but also how the condition is portrayed  Marvel’s Cinematic Universe of superheroes just got a lot more human. 

In a series of announcements at this year’s San Diego Comic Con, the movie studio unveiled its first Asian-led film, LGBTQ+ heroine and deaf superhero – the latter played by The Walking Dead star Lauren Ridloff. Ridloff’s upcoming portrayal of Makkari in The Eternals – scheduled for release in November 2020 – offers up a brand new backstory for the character. 

The decision, albeit long overdue, places a talented deaf actress in the spotlight when all eyes are on Marvel after its record-breaking epic, Avengers: Endgame. Much like young girls are now looking up to Captain Marvel, deaf children and young people now have Makkari, at a time when deaf role models in film and television continue to be few and far between. 

Like with many other disabilities, hearing loss or deafness – with a few exceptions such as Ridloff’s aforementioned appearance in The Walking Dead and the Oscar-winning short film The Silent Child – is either painted as an incredibly negative burden or a source of wonder and amazement. ‘Inspiration porn’, as the disability advocate Stella Young described in a TEDx talk in 2014. Superhero movies give human beings extraordinary abilities, and so I did, at first, fear that Makkari’s deafness could well be grouped with her superpowers – namely super strength and speed. 

Something incredibly ordinary could be seen as unnecessarily superhuman. All of this could sound endearing and as a charming celebration of disability, but aspects of deaf culture have already been met with over-the-top fascination. Lipreading and British Sign Language are still seen as gimmicks and party tricks by some people, and some members of the community still have to deal with the occasional backhanded compliment – ‘you speak well for a deaf person’ being one of them. We need the mainstream media to display deafness with honesty and humanity, and as weird as it sounds, a Marvel superhero film may be the answer. 

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Interpreters form a co-operative..

What seems interesting here is no deaf people are actually involved.  

Basically, its an attempt at terp unity because systems/agencies are trying to establish a fee norm and do what BSL Interpreters are refusing to do, set up an accountable and visibly monitored system of Interpreter work practices and make them accountable.  The random nature of BSL support is because of the 'freelance' nature of it,, this is not adequate to establish a proper deaf support system or identifiable sign support area, systems and the deaf can easily access or control. It has meant rural deaf etc left with no help at all as terps gravitate to 'where the money is..' It is essential to note BSL Interpreters are still refusing to be accountable to anyone, least of all their clients.  

This is all about money and the systems demanding a more identifiable support network that they can access when a deaf client requests help.  It would appear the systems and agencies are trying to establish a wage norm too, which terps claim will make their job unviable.  Via these shenanigans and rows over wages and booking, BSL users are being held to ransom, is it not time the deaf had some input?  

By having control over who they book, this will establish real demand too.  A BSL terp said 'I would oppose clients holding the wage cards... my job in their hands would be unacceptable..  I would stop interpreting.'  The system is saying 'We need to establish a visible and reliable area to book from, at present, WE are being held to ransom by the nature of BSL support..'  This appears to be backed up via areas like the DWP too, who say that the recent changes to welfare allowances and assessments meant as many as 46% of clients were unable to be assessed because the 'BSL System' could not meet the demand.'  BSL terps are the sole support deaf use but deaf are being used as pawns in some power game that allows Interpreters to fix own wages, please themselves who they help, or when they turn up...  Quite rightly, 'this is no way to run an essential support system.'

All this is taking place as deaf activism is demanding more and more BSL usage, education, and access, they are going to find there is nobody to enable that to happen.  Ergo, the BDA currently claim 150,000 BSL users, the UK has just about 300 or so BSL terps, if nobody can see the problem here...

The Item.

A new platform co-op, SignCo, is being formed for BSL English interpreters and translators, in a hid to halt a “race to the bottom” in the profession.

The team behind the Merseyside venture says agencies have been dictating fees, terms and conditions in recent years, and wants to “change contract culture in favour of end suppliers (translators), end-users and health professionals”.

As a result, said SignCo, “health services have struggled to make their services accessible due to the poor provision created by the current procurement model”.

The co-op will be run democratically by its members, who will include service users as well as interpreters and translators. It will consult with all users to co-create a service that works for health staff, users and workers.

Members will co-design an online booking platform and hold discussions over how it should work. Once the platform is up and running, SignCo says it will “use it to get NHS contracts and provide a better service for all”.

SignCo’s founders – Jen Smith, Wes Mehaffy, Kate Boddy and Nicky Evans – have already surveyed NHS staff and service users in Merseyside and are being helped by Co-operatives UK and co-op support programme the Hive.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

BREXIT UK... Why we must leave.

A new Prime Minister and a new hope?

Why a new referendum or 'people's vote' is pointless, they are both viewed as trying to overturn an already made majority and democratic decision. For those of us around when the decision to join was made, we were not given real background or details on that, but there was no move made then to challenge, even when the decision to join was based on us just joining SIX other countries. 

Since then 22 others have joined the bandwagon despite no consultations to the UK agreeing to it, because the idea was for the 6 'richest' countries to hand them freebies to join. The USA was, and still IS, forking out billions of $$$s because they cannot be bothered to even defend themselves.  The UK sends them £14B a year so they can continue ripping us off and render our own government pointless too, in case we said enough was enough, now, we ARE saying that's it.

Of those 22 federal 'states' of the EU, 21 are still standing there with hands out or have been bankrupted and held to ransom by Germany and France, Ask Greece, the eastern bloc who joined, or Spain etc... how much they have 'gained' from it all?  

Even as we went for a new PM the EU negotiation team were ignored in favour of Merkle and Mini-me, and a blatant brown-envelope was being passed around to ensure the new EU boss does what Germany/France tells them to do, despite 5 member states trying to block it happening, clear proof if any was needed, who calls the real shots in Europe. 

In essence, the UK CANNOT afford to now remain and still be Britain, it would be a satellite of the EU and milked to bankruptcy the same as Greece was. The 4 major 'tenets' and red lines of the EU are stacked against the UK, against democracy, and a danger to us all, we have no other option but to ditch those to protect our borders and security. 

The USA also stated the UN was dead, the Human Rights set up corrupt, and Europe was too close to Russia for anyone's well-being, being as it is, reliant to a huge 40% on Russian oil and gas.  The EU also allowed China to flood Europe with cheap steel imports designed to decimate European and British competition, by selling it well below the cost of its manufacture.

The EU has lost control over its own security and put us at risk as a result, by not erecting or protecting IT'S own borders. Then allowed dubious and well-meaning people to ferry in illegal immigrants actively aiding and abetting illegal immigration and assisting people smugglers, and then hand them free visas as 'Europeans' enabling them to go where they wanted.  The result? IS, AL Queda, and every other loony, racist and murdering terror group gets a EU welcome mat... worse genuine asylum seekers dumped in their favour...

Brexit isn't about racism or abuse it is about common sense and reality of this European 'free for all' that puts the UK and the western world at huge risk.  We MUST leave Europe on October 31st or face the demise of Britain.

Mary Hare: Boardroom Final.

Why a deaf oral education is superior to any sign-based one. (So why wasn't this presented to parliament when the BSL people lobbied parliament for deaf education access?).  Here, is visible proof our deaf children CAN speak and manage without sign language.  And its the top deaf school in the UK too.  There are alternatives, the activists just don't want your deaf children to have them.

Our future via technology...

HoH Clubs (UK)

But no captions... Oooops! (You SURE it is a HoH club?)

Why ELDS failed...

The former offices of East Lancashire Deaf Society Ltd, in Heaton Street, Blackburn
Lancashire Telegraph Demise of deaf charity and 76 jobs 'sparked by funding withdrawal'

A charity which looked after the needs of hundreds of people with hearing difficulties went under after a fall-out with benefit bosses, it has emerged. East Lancashire Deaf Society (ELDS), in Heaton Street, Blackburn, was placed into administration last month, forcing 76 staff out of work. 

But the Telegraph can now reveal the beginning of the end for the 142-year-old charity came when the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) is said to have withheld payments due to one of their offshoots, Signs Communication NW, under their Access to Work scheme last November. 

Administrators have put the outstanding figure at £286,521 after examining ELDS’ own accounting systems. But directors, who include former Royal National Institute for the Deaf chairman Doug Alker, say the accounts were not up-to-date and the total is closer to £400,000. Loans of £975,000 plus are owed to the Charity Bank Ltd and £567,488 is held as a fixed charge over their Kings Court offices by Christopher Holgate, a former Barnfield director. If the building is eventually sold then one or both of the parties may benefit. 

Their offices in Heaton Street, and Burnley’s Keirby Walk and Cannon Street, in Preston, were leasehold. But staff have been informed any outstanding wages, holiday pay or pension contributions, said to total £71,563 between them, are not expected to be recovered. Joint administrator Megan Singleton, in a report just filed with Companies House, said the company fell into arrears when the DWP withheld funds last November. “As such, the company was unable to pay expenses such as staff salaries,” she added. ELDS directors sought advice from the Charity Bank (CBL) and an initial approach was made to administrators Leonard Curtis. In the interim, a £100,000 loan was secured from CBL but arrears built up and the administrators were called in again. 

An unsuccessful effort was made to market ELDS and related services, like interpreting firm Sign Communications NW, Sound Solutions, Kings Nursery and the Parthenon Greek restaurant before the insolvency was finalised. The administrators have stressed Kings Court, which has 16 tenants, has continued to trade during the insolvency process. 

A DWP spokesman confirmed their Access to Work contract was with Sign Communications NW. She added: “The support for ELDS staff was delivered by Signs Communications North West and we are currently reviewing that relationship.”

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

All Our Yesterdays...

A look at the last 'War' between oralists and Signers.  When a UK hearing Loss charity sent the police around to deaf activists, a Deaf CEO was ousted by Hard Of Hearing, and then gagged for 2 years....  

Image result for Doug Alker

Britain's leading deaf charity riven by warring factions

Wed 5 Jul 2000:  Several thousand deaf people are expected to march in London on Saturday to promote awareness of British sign language (BSL) and call for its official recognition as the equivalent of a spoken tongue. The Federation of Deaf People, which is organising the march, says BSL is in more common use than Welsh, Cornish and Scottish Gaelic combined.

The federation has been set up by Doug Alker, former chief executive of the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID), who this week also publishes a book setting out his version of the momentous events surrounding his departure from the charity in 1997.

At the time, the charity said he "wanted the freedom and time to tackle issues close to his heart". But Alker, whose severance deal included a two-year vow of silence on events, now says this was far from the truth. In a bitter and outspoken attack on the RNID leadership - in particular, chair David Livermore - he claims he was victim of a palace coup for moving too far and too fast towards a deaf people's agenda. The significance of this is that Alker was the first deaf chief executive of the RNID. 

His appointment in 1994 was hailed as a watershed in the world of disability charities. But, according to his account, he soon became mired in the long-running feud between "oralists" (those who believe deaf children should be exposed to the conversation and discouraged from signing) and advocates, like himself, of BSL.

In the book, Really Not Interested in the Deaf? Livermore is portrayed as sympathetic to the oralists. He is accused of manoeuvring to oust Alker and replace him with James Strachan, the current chief executive, who is also deaf but comes from a very different background to Alker.

Alker's departure in 1997 triggered outrage on the part of some deaf activists, who forced an extraordinary general meeting of the charity but failed to defeat the leadership. Many activists are said then to have drifted away from the organisation.

One of the saddest episodes in the saga, as the book recalls, was the involvement of police at the apparent instigation of the leadership. Officers visited a house being used as a mailing address by a self-styled "RNID action group", collecting support for the emergency meeting, and seized correspondence that was allegedly then handed over to the charity. Alker writes: "The RNID's involvement of the police against its own deaf members had a chilling effect."

Alker, 59, is now based in Lancashire, where he is working to attract young deaf people to the federation's rights agenda. The RNID says it is unable to comment on his book without seeing it, but points out that he worked for the charity for 10 years in all and that it shares his goal of official recognition of BSL.


We don't want to 'fit in'....

deaf babies from Eliza Crossley on Vimeo.

Complete rubbish basically, as she described the medical people suggested things a deaf child can USE to advance her access in life, there was no suggestion they told parents not to sign etc.... her tirade was rather silly, uninformative, and biased.  As for 'fitting into society' doesn't every one of us want to be included?  frankly, I think she blew any options she might have had... 

BSL in Education? NDCS says No.

Image result for educationThere is a fair amount of publicity recently re education and sign, with demands for BSL on the curriculum for all deaf and Hearing.  The Government response seems to be standing back and leaving it to schools themselves, on the understanding no other lesson on the curriculum suffers as a result, and more importantly for schools, the government are NOT going to provide funding for it, read below a recent transcript of a debate in parliament.  With the NDCS stating BSL ISN'T a primary requirement.  

"I, therefore, need to ask the Minister what discussions he has had with his ministerial colleagues at the DWP about the prospects for a British Sign Language GCSE. As he knows, the DFE has already piloted a GCSE and has it ready to go, but the Government will not give it the green light. One has to ask why not. Perhaps the Minister will explain in the wind-ups whether that is a DWP decision or a DFE one.

Scotland has led the way with the passing of the British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015. In 2016 Northern Ireland launched its consultation, and now the Welsh Government are consulting on introducing BSL into their curriculum. England seems to be lagging behind. In 2003, in UK terms, BSL was officially recognised as a language in its own right by the Department for Work and Pensions. In 2009 the UK Government ratified the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, which states, among other things, that we should uphold such rights by:

“Recognizing and promoting the use of sign languages.”

Having said that, however, I think there is a small conflict between the title of the petition and what people were being asked to sign. The title states, “Make British Sign Language part of the National Curriculum”, but the wording asks why BSL is not taught in schools. The National Deaf Children’s Society has reiterated its position on a BSL GCSE: the society does not believe that it needs to be a mandatory part of the national curriculum, but that it might be easier for the DFE simply to approve the GCSE in British Sign Language that has already been piloted. That would make it an option for schools, should they deem it appropriate, but the DFE appears to be refusing to give the go-ahead due to a blanket policy on no new GCSEs.​"

UK Special Needs system in meltdown.

Deaf boy and teacher.
Indeed!   But the TYPE of educational format is still undecided, they are still highly reluctant to adopt BSL as any primary means of language access for the deaf child and given oral tuition is proving more successful in academic terms.  Here, a deaf charity uses the  topical issue of a new PM in the UK to urge more investment, given the last 10 years I doubt it will happen, my own local educational areas is trying to  cease supporting SEND e.g.  The UK has no money it seems to invest in the disabled or the poor or elderly any more, and the welfare arm of the DWP is removing daily, care/support and financial assistance.

The issue with the Deaf is they are not promoting/support/access on the right grounds if they did, there 'might' be more funding going towards them.  E.G. mi££ions are going towards sign promotion and cultural art awareness and little or none into basic education of the deaf child,  all that is happening there are hard-line deaf activists demanding BSL for everything.  What will happen is an impoverished community, at a huge disadvantage, not a vital or thriving one... and the state won't OK a signing educational approach.  Not least because it affects parental choice, but essentially,  there is no infrastructure, deaf schools, or trained people to make it happen.  From what we read the deaf charity hasn't understood that yet...

"A new PM must help children with special educational needs They’ll have to find a way of reversing cuts to staff and repairing the damage caused by years of underinvestment, says Steve Haines of a children's deaf charity.

It’s heartbreaking to see that children with special educational needs are being left without the support they so desperately need (Special needs education is breaking our budgets, say councils, 19 July). Every child in this country has been promised a world-class education. Instead, they’re being constantly held back because of a chronic lack of funding. The responsibility to fix it now falls to the incoming prime minister. 

They’ll inherit a broken system that is failing disabled children. They’ll have to find a way of reversing cuts to staff and repairing the damage caused by years of underinvestment. But they’ll also get the chance to have a lasting impact on the lives of over a million children. Whether they choose to take it, and how quickly they act, will show exactly what kind of leader they want to be."

Monday, 22 July 2019

BSL and Autism (UK)

Rachel Shenton tying the first ribbon to mark the launch of a campaign to get sign language added to the national curriculumAs a parent OF an autistic child, I have to respond to the claim BSL is beneficial to them.  My child's autistic education and communication support only ever used Makaton, sparingly, with only those with Autism who are felt capable of learning it.    Most was supplemented with PECS cards.. both approaches appear to have failed.

I  recently attended one of the UK's largest colleges providing Autism educational support and saw no sign language, captioning, or subtitling used.  Where do BSL people get their 'facts' from?

The prevalence of the view, and considered opinion, is, that sign 'enhances silence' and means BSL is pretty much a no-no in language support terms for Autistics who struggle with communication quite differently to someone with hearing loss.  Maybe these promoters of BSL need to read recent posts where BSL hasn't the basic dictionary or signs to teach science in a classroom let alone address communication issues with Autistics.    I Just think the BSL/culture claims are off in a world of fantasising really, they haven't got own house in order yet.  The UK government has expressed no real desire to introduce sign to deaf children, let alone hearing.  It's all random approaches.

For the record, my child was brought up IN a home signing environment and was still unable to master anything but the most basics of 'toilet', and 'food'.   Even attempts to get him included IN BSL classes failed because those classes lack any tutor with experiences of autism, and teach predominantly adult hearing people.  Perhaps promoters of  BSL can explain their way around that?  Basically, you don't teach hearing children sign, it affects speech learning in them. (As it does in deafened adults), do we really want to add another disability to the one the autistic already has? We don't.

As regards to a BSL curriculum or class, the Government has resisted even talking about it, its been 'on the table' for years, we doubt it will happen with hearing children on any level at all.  Parents also expressed concern there are too many areas trying to get their cause into their child's school curriculum already to the determined of learning what they need to know the 3 R's.  Given BSL has no norm has not enough signs to teach children with, and concerns over indoctrination' via culture too, we doubt it will happen...

Would parents of Autistics feel the deaf community can accept or support them, we don't.  Hard of Hearing won't even go there.


Campaigners calling for sign language to be added to the national curriculum are creating a ‘silent shout’ out of thousands of ribbons. The colourful art installation – featuring personal messages from the deaf community – is taking shape outside dDeaflinks Staffordshire’s Ellis Centre in Shelton. 

Oscar-winner Rachel Shenton helped launch the campaign on Saturday by attaching the first ribbon to a fence. The art ‘wall’ will act as a visual representation of supporters’ voices. The Caverswall-born actress and screenwriter explored the isolation felt by some deaf pupils in her film, The Silent Child. It showed how the main character’s world was opened up after being taught sign language. 

Honorary degree recipients revealed Rachel, who is a patron of dDeaflinks Staffordshire, said: “We started what felt like a national conversation about sign language. Now so many people want to learn it. “Children already learn different languages in school. If they were taught British sign language (BSL), it wouldn’t just be beneficial for deaf children. There are also children who are non-verbal or autistic.”  

Sunday, 21 July 2019

The Impossible dream

Image result for to dream the impossible dream lyricsTo dream the impossible dream

To fight the unbeatable foe

To bear with unbearable sorrow

To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong

To love pure and chaste from afar

To try when your arms are too weary

To reach the unreachable star
Not all happy on the disability social site front it appears..  One poster insisting making ourselves invisible is why 'Invisible disabilities' stay that way after another responded suggesting some disabled contribute to, and actually enjoy being a 'victim', then all hades broke loose.

"I'm sorry if I gave the impression simply gritting your teeth and facing people down was the way I went, and the way everyone else can succeed.  I tend to assume disabled/deaf whatever, know the background to things and so less requirement to explain, we are supposed to be self-aware.  Ironically we are the least... so much for awareness...

It took me 11 years in the wilderness first, mainly to realise I was the architect of my own isolation.    I  went deaf sat at home, for days, weeks, and months on my own, and yes, I blamed everyone else for that too.   You have to analyse yourself, face your limitations, and not front it out, suggesting you have none... or your issue is not going to be recognised at all... Be quite brutal really, e.g. IS this my fault for not dealing with my own issue? accept it's also quite logical to blame others. 

You need to ID your strengths, dump the guilt, decide what you want/need and go for it.  I don't think you can win on the 'invisible' thing unless you MAKE yourself visible, none of us, least of all me, is going to walk around with it tattooed on my forehead.   People cannot make adjustments unless you make it clear what those adjustments are, and perhaps explain what will suit you, but it may well NOT suit the next person who 'appears' to be like me.    First impressions count? Erm  NOT!  You have to actually engage too, not expect others to do it for you.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, meme and textDisabled and others are pretty obsessed with the terminology, it takes their mind off dealing with what goes on mostly, YAY! its 'THEIR' fault not mine... they can turn on you for saying the term 'we', which cannot ever under pain of death be used.  Then they post statistics to bolster the cause celeb quoting everyone else!  Disability campaigning isn't based on logic.  Better if 1,000s are the same as us, as one or two won't cut it, they don't see the conundrum at all.

The problem is a challenge to the status disability quo, we aren't all the same and the powers to be can struggle if there is no 'uniform approach' or one size that fits all, it makes planning difficult, and supply and demand don't gel.  I know similar areas to my own with hearing loss, there are so many different alternative demands going in, only THE most visible are going to get the access they need.  The rest are squabbling to get their particular need in,  it's chaos at present.  

In essence, the idea of a unified disability movement is an impossible dream. To be frank I don't WANT the support offered now, primarily because it is (A)  not what I want, and (B) because of the dependency reliance factor, and (C) I would have to justify it every time...  Ask ourselves the question do we WANT to rely on someone else to care/help/translate us, wipe our bum? We all approach inclusion/support or non-inclusion/access our own way.  

I posted on a recent hearing loss blog, 'The next person that includes either a pair of hands or an ear,  will get short shrift from me..'  I am not my issue, I am me.  Of course, access is a postcode lottery,  e.g. unless you live in a large town or city where numbers can be seen and campaigns supported, you simply don't get it.  The 'trend' such as it is these days is to drop support, charities and most campaigns from what I see, and go online hoping some random system rep actually reads about it or acts on it.  They won't.    Their employers decide what they can afford, not what you need.

We have to face up to things ourselves, is it hard? of course, it is...  I don't think we have any choice.  Anger and being 'prickly' is the first reaction to any disability, but the trick I think is not to make a 'career' of it and blame everyone else for NOT seeing an invisible issue, or perhaps not highlighting it yourself.  Making yourself a victim or martyr isn't attractive...

There will be some saying 'Why is this poster saying WE? he doesn't speak for me...' etc.    It is why disability unity is a myth, they are a crazy mixed-up bunch really, who recently thought it fun to endorse 43 emojis labelling them all... and opposing every other term applied to them by themselves or by others.  'Labels are for JARS' but adopting emojis or inventing your own is different apparently... The hearing loss area went  6 or7  times better by capitalising individual words and inventing a dozen other terms for not hearing well or at all...  and attacking the rest... Of course, the system (And US), have stopped giving a S.H.*.T.  basically..."

USA: Deaf Mentor Training

DEAF MENTOR TRAINING VIDEO (FINAL) from Summit Studios on Vimeo.

3 days, how to be a deafie... doesn't look any more organised than the chaotic 'whatever' approach the UK uses!  (I thought brain-washing/indoctrination was illegal...)  3 days is ridiculous as a basis for being a mentor.  It isn't about seeing another deaf person signing, its about the role of Mentoring and client privacy and other issues also.  Are they checked out by police first etc?  As social workers for the deaf here have to be as do carers...  It would appear a dangerous loophole exists via 'cultural support'.  The set up 'looks' professional but...

BSL not good enough for Science.

Image result for Liam Mcmulkin
What's deoxyribonucleotide in sign language?  (Or, how the BSL dictionary faked it?). Explains 'Why Paddy Ladd decided sign was not the medium for his opus either.'...  

Why won't the 'Deaf'  use Signed English?  To keep deaf in the dark?  As he explains there AREN'T any BSL equivalents and he has to make them up himself...  Will that help if they still aren't in the dictionary? Finger-spelling 'DNA' won't cut it, when detail is important.  How can they train deaf to be scientists via BSL?

Liam was so frustrated by the lack of signs for scientific words, he created his own Frustrated at the lack of complex scientific terms in British Sign Language, a Dundee student has created more than 100 new signs to help deaf people express themselves when talking about science. For any new student, coming into a lecture theatre or a laboratory can be nerve-wracking - especially if you can't hear. 

That was the reality Liam Mcmulkin faced when he began studying life sciences at the University of Dundee in 2015. Born deaf, Liam was the first person in his family to go to university, after receiving an undergraduate scholarship from The Robertson Trust. He admitted having fears about what life as a student would be like, particularly when it came to lectures: "When I applied to university, I was worried about two things,"

"Firstly, I was at school with 10 other deaf people but now at university, I was the only deaf person. How could I communicate? "Secondly, English at university is at a higher level, would I be able to cope? "I thought I would just apply anyway."  Liam previously had to spell out scientific terms using fingerspelling Frustrated at the lack of complex scientific terms in British Sign Language (BSL) during classes, Liam decided to take matters into his own hands. "Watching the interpreters for a one hour lecture is very tiring," he said. "There are a lot of new words and scientific words are often very long, like 'deoxyribonucleotide' and 'deoxyribonucleoside'. 

"Sometimes the interpreter would be fingerspelling for ages and I was having to watch it. "We would make up new signs which meant it was easier next time, but it also meant I had to learn new signs which was very tiring."

Trustees leaving BDA over concerns about its direction.

Image result for ashley Kendall deaf
Tale of the tape....

February David Buxton leaves the BDA, 

May, Robert Adam, and Alex Dury leave.  

July, Ashley Kendall has.   

View Ashley's reasons here.    Just what IS going on at the British Deaf Association? (Apart from them still rooted in the 19th and 20thc!).  Has dogmatic cultural pursuit done if for the BDA?  Bad financial management? or oppressive and bullying leadership?  If they cannot hold their dynamic youth its all over for them isn't it?

Feedback (More on the site):

#1  "Thanks Ashley there is a law that allows people to speak out ‘whistle blowing’ this protects people who have to speak out. I’m afraid I personally lost faith in the BDA a long time ago over other issues but that was then ., now is now. If the charity is failing it it’s charitable object .. if it is not performing its duties. If trustees have no faith in the trustees the chair to function then it has a duty to report it .. well done for speaking out ... let’s hope something happens to save it , to unite deaf people and to become fit for today’s and the future needs times are a-changing."

#2  "What a dreadful state of affairs. Thank you Ashley for your honesty and integrity. You did the right thing in stepping down - there is no need to apologise because it’s clear from your vlog that the situation was beyond your control. I am a new-ish Member, and I don’t feel duly informed from the current Chair or the remaining Board about what’s happened. I’m not happy about that because it shows a lack of transparency and accountability. That is very serious. So I truly appreciate, so far, you and Abi giving your reasons as best you could. Thank you for that, and for all your hard work and commitment over the years. I’m incredibly sad too - things were looking so bright for the BDA and its new Board only a few years ago. But if we members have no confidence in the existing governance, then a vote of no confidence it shall be. 😢"

Saturday, 20 July 2019

What the Disabled are up against...

Image result for tweeting
Ignorance and arrogance combined with poor awareness mostly.  A recent Tweet from the 'elite' deaf area.

When you say you’re deaf and they put you in a disabled hotel room... 🤦‍♀️ I’m able bodied, just can’t hear, feel another disabled person would be losing out! Oh and the tv has no #subtitles ! 👍🏻

I don't think such views help us to be inclusive much, we aren't 'more able' than anyone else, just check on the amount of 'support' deaf need (Including subtitling!),  THEN say deaf aren't disabled. Or even nobody there understanding sign... As regards to nil subtitling,  most of us check before booking a room not complain after, when hotel staff were not informed you need them.

The deaf also claim the highest welfare/disability benefits in the UK.   They are acknowledged as severely disabled by the UK's primary assessment areas, the Health Service, and the DWP.   For those who don 't know go look at 'Sensory disabled' definitions or even own BSL campaigns for deaf access...

The assumption that if everyone learns BSL, then problem solved, is naive as well as uninformative and basically false.  Isolation, poor mental health (Also a disability), communication issues, different assistive needs, educational and learning issues.  So OK, we can walk on two legs but....... its where lack of hearing takes us, not them.

It's just another pointless rant to promote... what exactly?  It makes us look arrogant towards others... when we have no grounds at all for adopting that attitude.

VISOR? That will do nicely thanks...

Related image

'I will never hear my father's voice'

Ilya Kaminsky
Ilya Kaminsky on deafness and escaping the Soviet Union. Until his family migrated to the US when he was 16, the Ukrainian-born poet lived without sound. He discusses his family’s persecution and his first collection in a decade. ‘My childhood and adolescence were spent watching the Soviet Union fall apart’ … Kaminsky has only published two poetry collections in 15 years, but his second, Deaf Republic, has been hailed as “a contemporary epic”, “a perfectly extraordinary book” from a poet described by the writer Garth Greenwell as “the most brilliant of his generation, one of the world’s few geniuses”. 

The man who has attracted all this hyperbole has a wraparound smile, and responds to a photographer’s demand to look more animated by reciting poetry in Russian and English. “Here is some Mandelstam,” he says. “Now I am going to give you some Emily Dickinson.” His speech drags slightly and he is apologetic about his accent: “After all this time, it should really be better,” he says, “but I only hear what the hearing aids give me.” For Kaminsky is hard of hearing – so, if you count sign language alongside Russian and Ukrainian, he is speaking in his fourth language. 

Deaf Republic is an investigation into “what happens to language in a time of crisis, how we carry on and how we try to remain human,” he explains. “It’s something I’m trying to find out in my book and in my life.” In just under 60 lyric poems, some only two lines long, it tells the story of a fictional town whose inhabitants react to the murder of a deaf child by shutting their ears. Little Petya’s crime is to spit at an army sergeant who has arrived to break up a public gathering in a time of martial law. “Deafness passes through us like a police whistle,” say the townspeople of Vasenka, who are described by the author as “the ‘we’ who tell the story”. The best recent poetry – review roundup Read more Kaminsky himself lost most of his hearing after contracting mumps aged four in the Ukrainian city of Odessa. 

“The Soviet doctor said it was just a cold and sent us away,” he says, without self-pity. This life-changing medical misjudgment would connect him with history in ways that he is still processing. “It is on the day Brezhnev dies that my mother learns of my deafness, and the odyssey of doctors and hospitals begins,” he wrote recently. “My mother shouts at senior citizens in public transport to promptly get up please and give her sick child a seat; my father, embarrassed, hides on the other side of the trolley. I cannot hear a word … Brezhnev is dead. Strangers wear black clothes in public. 

Thus begins the history of my deafness.” Advertisement It was only after he arrived in the US at the age of 16 that he was fitted with hearing aids. “When I came to the west I saw that there was this otherness that I didn’t perceive before,” he says. “Pretty much all my childhood and adolescence was spent watching the Soviet Union fall apart, but I couldn’t hear, so I followed the century with my eyes. I didn’t know anything different, but now I understand that I was seeing in a language of images.”

COUNTDOWN: In 6 yrs perfect hearing is ours.

Around 11million people in the UK – one in six – are deaf or have a hearing loss and about 1,200 are fitted with cochlear implants  each year (stock image of a boy with a cochlear implant)
Deaf people could get 'almost perfect' quality hearing from a cochlear implant which deconstructs sounds as it hears them. Researchers are developing a device which they say could significantly improve the quality of what people hear through the hearing aids. 

In the UK around 1,200 people have cochlear implants – which essentially connect a microphone directly to the brain to recreate hearing – fitted each year. But the current technology 'sounds metallic' and needs a 'significant' amount of brain training to use, according to scientists who claim their device will be better. Around 11million people in the UK – one in six – are deaf or have a hearing loss and about 1,200 are fitted with cochlear implants each year.

Around 11million people in the UK – one in six – are deaf or have a hearing loss and about 1,200 are fitted with cochlear implants each year (stock image of a boy with a cochlear implant) Researchers at the University of Greenwich say they're developing a device which, instead of directly magnifying outside noises, rebuilds it to pick out key parts. 

It records multiple layers of sound in order to create something which sounds 90 to 100 per cent like what a normal ear would hear, they said. This would protect against bits being missed if the technology is overpowered – for example by background noises drowning out speech. 'The signals created by current hearing implants sound very metallic to the user because they only a provide part of the full audio wave to the brain,' said Dr Wim Melis. 

'This prevents a full reconstruction of the original signal. 'We developed a method that breaks down the input signal in its analogue components while introducing multiple versions in storage. 'This means we can reconstruct the signal with very high accuracy, even if part of the system drops out.' Dr Wim Melis (pictured) said: 'Our system could be available commercially within about six years' Dr Wim Melis said: 'Our system could be available commercially within about six years' Current systems cannot distinguish between background noise and the speech people actually want to hear, Dr Melis said, because they amplify everything.  But using technology to separate the different sounds, pick out the most important parts and put them together into something which sounds fine-tuned could overcome this. 

Friday, 19 July 2019

Getting real with hearing loss.

Image result for communication skillsStill agonising online about aid usage, lip-reading, degrees of loss and how it affects communications and support.   Hearing aids and lip-reading not cutting it?  Read on...

How I approached it, was REMOVING the hearing aid about a third of the time, to enhance observation ability, and try to hone lip-reading skills.  Wearing the aid 24/7 (or near as), prevents that happening and you don't realise that the lip-reading ability you do have, or limited ability to follow, is very much reliant on the aid, and what you can HEAR, so when your hearing or aid fails, the 'skill set' you acquired in a class,  can be exposed to our detriment....

It explains those aid wearers who then have panic attacks e.g. if a battery or aid fails for some reason, they are unprepared for it.   An aid-removal approach under supportive conditions can and does tend to challenge current class tuition, and UK lip-reading class approaches, but I feel most classes are a bit of a con job really and more to encourage 'like with like' socialising,  assuming, of course, there are peers who can follow the same level as you can.  It's the belief socialising regardless of limitation is the only 'cure' and key to it all.

Most people insist socialising is the main event, teachers promote that, but it isn't, being able to follow OTHERS is, (unless meeting the same people day in and day out, happens despite the classes, which mostly, do not run more than once a week for a few months).  This is not socialising as we understand it,  i.e. it's by appointment only and restictive....  Lip-reading classes by following this stat format, tend to limit or debar those for whom aids are already failing them.  There is no agreed 'level' where the class and approach becomes real or ineffective.  It is a simple but painful realisation your useful hearing no longer is and there is nowhere else to go.

The issue of sometimes 63% dropping out after a new class starts during the first months, is a clear indication of why classes need aids turned off to hone skills.  Taking them OFF in lip-reading class forces more to understand what is going on as well, and, how good or bad their hearing really is and makes them understand they may need to plan ahead, not wait until a cure emerges.  This also means the random nature of lip-reading class tuition in the UK has to change radically and include more one on one time.  Being one of a dozen means you get 11 times less help and attention than the rest.  

No other area of disability would ever use this approach to support....  Why wait until an aid or all your hearing fails you to discover your reliance on text or lip-reading has put you in your own corner? That is what is lacking in approaching hearing loss issues, getting REAL at day one.  The reality that most who learn sign language are hearing so don't have that same degree of need as someone with a serious or profound loss also exposes issues in that tuition too, it's no surprise few WITH hearing loss ever approach sign classes.  This also applies to captions and subtitling to a large degree when teaching sign language

Now you know why the sign users is highly reluctant to caption signed output, they KNOW 9 out of 10 will read the captions and thus fail to follow the sign properly, they also know the literacy of other users makes for difficulty reading too.  'Edited Highlights' are pretty much order of their day.  

All in all, communication support for the deaf and hard of hearing is completely random in nature unless you are a child in school... and surprisingly, it shows great ignorance of what our issues are, yet they are still demanding access for systems they were too poorly taught at day one.

It is why Hearing aid users struggle to panic stations when a battery dies, no fallback.  So, they Just run...

A good 'Cause'?

Image result for lottery
Or an original con act by the UK state? we are talking the lottery of course!   I know with regards to the lottery if the ticket buyer could choose who gets funds from it, I don't think most minority causes would get a bean nor London focus groups who appear to get the Lion's share of it all. 

We should have an option on the ticket to tick off WHO we want to benefit from funds raised, I could suggest the disabled the abused, children, the NHS would get most of it. I'd also like to see this funding as ADDITIONAL to state funding, and not as now, being used to supplement it while the state removes their contribution. Its clear the government's idea of a 'good cause' is completely biased and not ours.   No funds should be going to ANY politically motivated area either. 

Image result for lottery tickets
We can get rid of the ludicrous 'causes' that aren't.  Some charities are getting funds who provide little of value at all or, provide support to areas we certainly would NOT support if we were asked ourselves. I understand we are gambling but there are huge sums now involved and being spent in funding areas we DON'T feel are a priority.  

The reality, is that most FAIL anyway need to be looked at, as does the people and expertise behind running areas demanding free money.  We could also address the role of the charity commission, another area with a state majority who are aiding and assisting dubious claims to avoid providing the provision itself.  When it fails, off-loading responsibility too.

There are bi££ions at stake, and it needs public scrutiny and, public choice included.  We want a LIST of 'worthy' causes shown every week and an option to select who gets ON those lists, to hone support down to really worthy causes the public feel need it.  The business area being involved should be banned tooCorporate charities should be ineligible to benefit.  Do you want your contribution to go to loony fringe causes, or, to health areas that save lives, you choose.