Thursday, 31 October 2019

See-Show something.

Blink you wll miss it.

Still the UK's leading independent deaf blogger. (And without Facebook or charities too!).

Self-Employment in Germany.

Self Employed Experiences of the Deaf Community in Germany from Interesource Group on Vimeo.

I wonder if the reason many deaf go self-employed is that the barriers are still there for deaf people?   Most seem 'coals to Newcastle' in approach in that they are doing the only thing they know (Sign), with the only people they know (Other signers), I am unsure that is inclusion or even access.  To be fair the Europeans are more versatile than our deaf, who are content with singular deaf arts things, setting themselves up as sign teachers,  and running own deaf charities into the ground.

Selective Hearing

Meet the Parents.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

10 reasons Why the BDA fails.

Image result for where did it go wrong#1  'The BDA has failed us. BSL still isn't legalised as we need it.'

So goes on the anger of BDA members still being denied the truth of the BDA's shortcomings, and as reported, still not able to get enough trustees in to do their daily job.

Where did it go wrong?

(1)  The BDA initially misreported the pre-2005 EU declaration on sign language. Insisting it meant BSL 'rule', but all the EU did was recognise it as a language for the deaf along with a dozen other minority languages, the devil was in the detail. For it to work, the host country (The UK), had to enshrine it in law, the UK didn't, deaf got access to terps that was about it. 

(2)  As regards to usage in education and immersion use of BSL, the DoE has consistently done nothing to endorse it but pay it lip-service, and leave it all 'on the table',    (as they recently did with a demand for a BSL national class in the curriculum submitted by a deaf teen).

What does it mean to leave something on the table?
To leave (something) on the table v. phr. to refrain from taking the utmost advantage of something; to not address every aspect of a situation; in the form leave issues on the table, to negotiate a deal that is less beneficial than is expected or possible or just leave it for another day. Generally, it is a method of placating or meeting a demand without actually acting on, or endorsing it.
The NDCS didn't endorse BSL in education on an official level because they have to respect the parental choice. 

(3) At the time of the EU BSL thing, the BDA was on the skids, had lost 100s of members and was riddled with controversy by a threat from the hard-line 'Fed' to take them over. They were desperate to rally members, so they made a meal of the EU declaration.  As deaf know, recognition and empowerment are two very different things. If it was law today it would still take 20 years to work, since the staff and systems would have to be re-trained again, as in the last 30 years the entire deaf school educational set up has been decimated and their professionals retired or scattered to the four winds.

(4)   There are said to be near 100,000 deaf in the UK but only a few 100 terps at most to serve them, the whole thing about the demand for BSL interpreters is unrealistic and piecemeal, virtually none are being trained as we write.  You cannot elect a law on demand because the support isn't there to make it work.  Also, we don't know what the demand is, nobody knows.  There may or may not be as many deaf as they claim, no statistic exists to support the premise they are all BSL using either.

(5)  There is little state desire to maintain deaf schools, since, the state directive is inclusion.  E.G. Wales no longer has any deaf schools.   The BDA is bound to include but we know it specialises instead. Specialism and Inclusion are incompatible concepts in BDA deaf terms.

(6)  The BDA has always used emotional campaigns run by fear, and never addressed the practicality of what they are demanding. It's like demanding a place on a ferry to cross a river when the ferry hasn't even been built yet, even if it was, the river too shallow for it to float on. 

(7)  What we've seen is the BDA deaf exec enjoying junkets to the obscure World CD in Europe, ta very much, but just legends in their own bathtime really, and the BDA is in debt too.

(8)   I do know my local deaf club the thrust of support there is not the BDA but the AOHL who are supporting signers.  No doubt because the BDA has other fish to fry.

(9)   When PIP came out, the BDA in Wales had NOBODY trained to help the BSL user claim, it was left to the RNIB or we were told to commute to England and pay someone there to help us claim, 61% of deaf lost all ability to claim, the shortage of BSL terps also disempowered the deaf from claiming, there just weren't enough to support deaf welfare claimants and the daily 'bread and butter' work BSL terps already did.  Terps just didn't turn up when the DWP hired them.  The nature of BSL interpreting is they are a law to themselves not the deaf.   Deaf are over a barrel and they are the sole support.

(10)   If the BDA was any further out of touch we would need a satellite to communicate to them. Basically, the BDA isn't supporting deaf people just 'playing the cultural game' instead while deaf go without.  If deaf raise concern they are 'attacking deaf people' to kill off their antics being scrutinised.

No wonder they don't want deaf to know what is going on there perhaps because NOTHING actually is.  They use BSL and culture to hide the fact they are a spent force, sadly Deaf are buying into the politics of fear and it is left to the deaf outside to Identify why the Deaf signer is being let down instead.

Apple: New Emoji's.

Apple releases new emojis including Deaf and blind people (ASL - 10.29.19) from Sign1News Admin on Vimeo.

But, no captioning...... ASL users still insisting their deaf can't read?

British Deaf Association unable to do business?

Image result for BDA deafRecent update on the EGM of the BDA to debate the serious loss of 7 trustees, and allegations of bullying by the BDA executive.  The declaration appears to state they have been unable to decide anything but to remove the person who called for the EGM (!) and the allegations not yet discussed.  Apparently, the BDA is looking for another  'yes' person (Trustee), who will allow the business to continue (and the same old closed shop too).  Anyone prepared to put their head on that block? [Preferably a BSL user who does as he or she is told.]

"The EGM of the BDA took place last Saturday, 26th of October 2019.  Board members Agnes FDyab and Dawn Marshall have now replaced Gloria Pullen and Linda Richards.  However, the new board still does not have a quorum, and therefore is unable to do any business.  It would need to co-opt or appoint one more trustee of their own choice.  Hopefully, they are able to hold early elections for a totally new board and Chair."

How deaf do you have to be?

DPA Deaf Poker Australia
The criteria has nothing to do with deafness but is a platform for signers?  Are they going to test deaf people to see what level of proficiency their sign is? and, what will that level be?  It could well invalidate the deaf who can play good poker but not sign well.  What if the deaf person is a lip-reader?  This is the second time deaf have tried to insist on sign-only sport participation, they did this in a Deaflympics trying to bar CI users and after Americans complained a Hard of hearing participant was allowed to compete.

How Deaf is Deaf Enough? Deaf Poker Australia – was established more than a decade ago to give deaf and hard-of-hearing players a chance to play poker using sign language. The tournament series caters to members of the deaf community and provides a comfortable environment outside of traditional poker tournaments. 

 A controversy this month put Deaf Poker Australia to the test. A player who is deaf in one ear and doesn’t do sign language won a tournament, but outrage ensued. An investigation finally verified the winner’s condition and allowed him to keep his trophy. But it brought up an interesting scenario. 

How deaf is deaf enough to play on with Deaf Poker Australia?  Established as a nonprofit organization in 2008, Deaf Poker Australia (DPA) wanted to promote poker and gather deaf and hear-of-hearing players. This was just after the height of the poker boom, and poker was everywhere. DPA then became the unofficial governing body of deaf poker groups in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and Victoria, not to mention New Zealand. Each group organizes home games and small tournaments throughout the years, but they all come together for the national DPA Championship. Deaf and hard-of-hearing players are able to communicate using Auslan, which is Australian Sign Language, and English at the tables.  

Voice to Text on Mobile Devices

Current overview of speech to text technologies.

Mobile electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets are rapidly overtaking the desktop, laptop computers as the primary computing devices for more than 50% of the worldwide customers. Users are increasingly getting used to access the web, read and write messages and interact on social networks. 

The input of text on mobile devices is popular despite the fact that it is significantly more difficult by using an on-screen keyboard. Automatic speech recognition (ASR) is a solution to the text input on mobile devices which is gaining popularity as an alternative to typing on mobile services. 

Google offers the ability to search by voice on Android, iOS, and Chrome while Apple’s iOS mobile devices come with Siri, similar to a conversation assistant. On both Android and iOS mobile devices, users can also speak to fill in any text field where they can type, a feature used to dictate SMS messages and e-mail. Voice to text on mobile devices capabilities enhance the missed-call and voicemail offerings across VAS (value-added service) and network services. 

Voice-to-text on mobile devices improves customer satisfaction and generates revenue for various mobile network providers. A major limitation of the global voice to text mobile devices is that speech recognition is performed on a server. Mobile network connections are often slow which further limits the penetration of the voice to text mobile devices. The global voice to text mobile devices market has opportunities to invent techniques for building an accurate, small-footprint speech recognition system that can run in real-time on modern mobile devices. Download sample copy of this report.

Splitting the Gene.

Human gene editing sounds like a big deal. Is it? These genetic tools pose fraught biological and ethical questions—but how much call for them is there anyway? 

Gene editing of human embryos for reproductive purposes—a medical technology often said to promise (or threaten) “designer babies”—is more or less upon us already. It has arrived far sooner than many researchers imagined, and sooner than many wanted. And recent developments show that there may be more just around the corner. To edit the genome of an embryo, biochemical tools snip out a section of its DNA (typically a gene or part thereof) before implantation, and an altered segment is inserted in its place. 

This was first done to human embryos in 2015, but not for reproductive purposes via IVF. Most scientists in the field had assumed the latter was still a long way off—until Chinese biologist He Jiankui announced in November last year that he had used a gene-editing technique called Crispr to modify the genes of twin baby girls born by IVF, in an attempt to give them resistance to infection by HIV. Notwithstanding the shock and condemnation that greeted this announcement by most other researchers in the field, Russian biologist Denis Rebrikov now says he hopes soon to get approval to use Crispr to modify embryos for IVF, to change a gene mutation that would otherwise cause deafness. Meanwhile, a new gene editing technique has just been unveiled by a team from the Broad Institute of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that seems to overcome much of the imprecision incurred by Crispr—a key reason why Crispr is widely considered still too risky for use in human reproduction. 

With better gene-editing tools potentially on hand, the safety objections to using it in this context might lose some of their force. *** The main premise of gene editing for human embryos is that it could correct genetic mutations that cause disease. Rebrikov is planning to use Crispr to target one of these in a gene called GJB2, where the mutant form leads to severe hearing impairment. As with many impairment- or disease-linked genes, the defective form of GJB2 is recessive, meaning that only if a person has it in both copies of their genome (inherited from the biological mother and father) will they suffer the consequences—in this case, deafness that requires a cochlear implant or hearing aid. If at least one parent has a “healthy” copy of the gene, it is possible in principle to select an IVF embryo for implantation that also possesses it, an approach called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. Then no gene editing would be required. 

But Rebrikov says he is in discussion with several hearing-impaired couples where both partners have double copies of the mutant form of the gene. They would then certainly pass the condition to their offspring—unless the defective gene is repaired by editing. Despite that benefit, many researchers consider Rebrikov’s plans irresponsible because not enough is known about the safety of Crispr to offset its use for a condition that is not life-threatening. 

Because the editing would be done in the very early stages of embryo development, any changes to the genome—including possible harmful ones—will be passed on to future offspring of children born this way: they are in the “germline.” (In contrast, gene therapies involving editing in the tissues of fully-developed children or adults would induce non-inheritable changes.) Besides, some people in the deaf community challenge the notion that their condition needs “correcting,” regarding that as a form of eugenics that could harm the status of hearing-impaired people in society.


While hearing loss may not be viewed life-threatening (Some can argue against that premise),  quality of life-threat is without a doubt. The only response to that from the 'Deaf' community, has been to blame everyone hearing for not doing what they do.   Is the question to leave things as they are and let deaf children/adults live a life of struggle? or remove the issue/gene that creates that struggle?  With the best will/law/campaign in the world, mainstream is never going to treat us much differently, and the deaf lifestyle is one of almost complete dependence on support of one kind or another.  

Read any single cause/campaign launched, it is about that support, that specialisation, that different educational approach, that demand for 'help' etc.  It's not an image of an independent deaf person or a stand-alone culture, but a hearing dependent and disabled one.

As with all issues, it is parents who will decide which is the optimum approach that will help their child succeed and be happy.  The article writer in trying to hold the middle ground and failing, should be aware current gene editing is nowhere near doing what is claimed regarding hearing loss which has 46 different genes to address.   While they can identify most of them they cannot isolate them to remove/edit them, there is no effective way as yet, to target effectively the single gene. A 'scatter-gun' approach to gene editing could produce unforeseen effects that are unwelcome and dangerous.

That is not to say different researchers in different countries with far fewer scruples or ethics like China/Russia (or even the UK that is a leader in gene research), won't try anyway.  Experiments on rats/mice/gerbils have been ongoing for years.  The race for the cure goes on.  The USA who lauds freedom of choice are probably the people who would try to sell gene therapy first, (and not always with adequate safety protocols if their health dispensation is anything to go by).   Any 'success' in removing a gene that follows such approaches would then be offered worldwide.  What parent would not take up that option then, if, it was declared safe?

One issue mooted was the suggestion insurance companies in the USA would refuse to cover support costs for the hearing impaired, if, a cure was there but refused.  So anything likely to emerge regarding gene issues is going to be in the USA.  Deaf demanding deaf children is not going to get much support, it doesn't now.

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

ATR has dropped Facebook.

Image result for no to facebook!
Regular readers will have noted there is no longer any Facebook link to ATR. ATR feels directing fellow deaf there opens them up to abuses, and Facebook has repeatedly refused to take deaf abusers to task despite ATR complaints, so, ATR has voted with its feet and no longer directs deaf at that social media. 

Glory to Hong Kong.

DfE wants British sign language GCSE ‘as soon as possible’

DfE wants British sign language GCSE 'as soon as possible'
Ministers are aiming to introduce a British sign language GCSE “as soon as possible” – and have pledged to consult on draft content next year. Nick Gibb, the schools minister, has confirmed Department for Education officials are now “working with subject experts to develop draft subject content” for the GCSE. 

The government relaxed its position on the creation of a BSL GCSE in 2018 following threats of a legal challenge by the family of a 12-year-old deaf pupil. Last May, Gibb said the government was “open to considering” a BSL GCSE “for possible introduction in the longer term”, but insisted there were no plans to do so until after the next election, at that point scheduled for 2022, “to allow schools a period of stability”. 

 But in August last year, Gibb said the government could make “an exception” to its moratorium on new qualifications. Now, with a general election expected in the coming months, Gibb has given the strongest signal yet that the new qualification could become a reality. “The government is aiming to introduce a GCSE in British sign language as soon as possible, so long as it proves possible to develop a qualification that meets the rigorous requirements that apply to all GCSEs,” he said in an answer to a Parliamentary written question. 

 “We are currently working with subject experts to develop draft subject content. “The department will be working with Ofqual to ensure that the subject content can be assessed appropriately and will be working with stakeholders to ensure a wide range of views are reflected. “We are aiming to consult publicly on draft content next year. Once final subject content has been published, it will be a matter for individual awarding organisations to decide whether to develop a specification and have this accredited by Ofqual.”  

Sunday, 27 October 2019

BDA still moving to silence members.

Never mind Brexit follow this!  How to ensure Deaf people know their place, a prime example of how an overbearing elitist charity is determined to show them who is boss, 7 trustees resigning, followed by gagging orders, demands for member silence, refusals to allow open debate, read it here! (We've been asked to withdraw names to protect concerned BDA members against hostile feedback if they break the secrecy demands or seen expressing concern.)

#1 i proxy vote, what was result?

#2 Wait a minute ... move on to what? How can we support the BDA if we don't know what they intend to do? Why is there all this secrecy and can't talk about it? If you want people to support the BDA you must change policies to ones that are more popular. Einstein once said that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, is madness. A change is needed.

#3 No no no it’s confidential to members only! Will be announced by BDA themselves so please be patient! If you are member, you will know - not member nothing we could be honest

#2 Who do you think you are? The Mafia? It's a public charity financed by public donations. It is discrimination to exclude other deaf people.

#4  I have to agree, It's regrettable the die-hards of the BDA are still defending secrecy, the whole idea of an EGM was to make public an explanation as to why 7 trustees felt the BDA was no longer a viable option for them. 'Members Only' I find it incredible the BDA is ABLE to silence all of them and prevent anyone knowing what is going on, it's rather uncomfortable to know they have an ability to do that. What it WON'T do is encourage people to join the BDA, I envisage a mass exodus of members unless this is sorted properly. I disagree non-members have to mind their own business, (Which is what is being stated), its laudable you want to protect your BSL charity but there are bigger issues at stake here, democracy and being open just two of them. the BDA is a UK national charity and responsible to the government as well as using deaf people to gain funding, should we not have a view on what the BDA does in our name? If I join today they will gag me? I'm obliged to be offered a view, sadly his organisation the BDA has refused outright.

#2 It is especially relevant when the BDA goes to the Government and speaks on behalf of Deaf people. They are certainly not representative of anyone but the BDA.

#5  At the beginning Deaf community heard the rumours about BDA then they arranged EGM. Deaf community were relieved to hear but still worried what will the outcome be at the end of the play 26/10/2019. Now you cannot share the outcomes with Deaf Community?

#3  If I join the BDA they will take my money then tell me I cannot say anything?  Is it all funny handshakes and rolled-up trouser legs!

#4 Well charities all use these shut it approaches, say nothing, respond never, and hope it will all go away, but for a few concerned voices online that is exactly what would happen. The irony is the only thing keeping the BDA extant is they fly the flag of BSL but for that, they would have vanished years ago because of they no longer represent deaf people their membership is proof. If we read concerned comment little or NONE is being allowed by BDA members.

#2 That is exactly the point. The BDA wants the Government to think the BDA represents 100,000 Deaf people. Where are all these Deaf people hiding?


ATR:  Maybe they don't exist? Not all deaf BSL users?  we know they AREN'T members of the BDA, we are back to blurred explanations of who is deaf who isn't who is cultural who isn't, the D/d debacles, who uses BSL and who doesn't?  the BDA are masters of this distortion.   They are a cultural backwater, but for the image only THEY are promoting BSL they would have disappeared long ago.  I think deaf people need to understand what is going on in their name and not just rubber-stamp all this BDA nonsense because they fear nobody else will support sign, that's rubbish, deaf people have already voted with their feet against the BDA.  It hasn't stopped the deaf using it!  Deaf want in out of the cold.  The BDA sells only ice.

Deaf Children's teacher turns back on them and speaks instead..

A teacher for the deaf comes under criticism for turning her back on deaf children when in a pre-school class, as usual, BSL campaigners are angry about this.    ATR attempts to cut through the hysteria about sign to suggest the realities of teaching deaf children and the misconceptions over the signing approach.

"There does seem issues with the deaf child.  A lot is down to what deaf ADULTS want and what the state and 'society' feels deaf children need in the way of communication support.  It looks like a wrong approach here, some teachers in wanting the deaf child enable to follow SPEECH, use that approach disproportionally, they do fear that a total BSL/Sign approach will enable further isolation later on because the mainstream doesn't work that way. 

A teacher turning her back on a deaf child has no place in a classroom of deaf children or indeed those with any hearing loss.  

There is no doubt a singular BSL approach to learning sets up that child for life regardless of what other skills they might learn.  It then becomes difficult to get them to adapt as adults and I don't see ANY deaf adults improving their ability to communicate to hearing post-school.  If we accept sign is a right, we also have a duty to enable our children to be bilingual in the true form of the word. Sign isn't an inevitable and sole means a deaf child can attain, much depends on parental support, teaching approaches and the individual ability of the child itself, there is no one size fits all.

The right to sign has to be taken in that context.

An ability to read is vital more so than speaking or signing, but an INability (Or unwillingness) to develop that ability to communicate with hearing is the real issue.  You can have a culture and a language and still manage OK, welsh people do it.  The campaign for culture seems to be running on the fear factor, the fear it cannot sustain itself alongside an equal accessible hearing platform.  We should not be using the deaf child to make a deaf adult point.

The 'Deaf' approach is to aim for a total BSL environment despite no deaf schools e.g. Wales at ALL, and deaf clubs you can count on one hand. Dis-abling the deaf child the training, or empowering the ability to cross cultures, is going to be very bad for them in the future.  We simply create child martyrs to whatever cause celeb campaigners are running.  

Parents need to concentrate on how best to enable their child to succeed in what is a predominantly HEARING environment not pursue immersive sign approaches when in reality the support for that to function or be TAUGHT properly, is NOT there.  BSL interpreting is in 100s, deaf signers allegedly (Not proven because there is no system to collate figures), are in many 1,000s.  You don't need a degree in mathematics to work out BSL isn't enabled to function, and deafness under the 'cosh' of medical advance and alleviations too.

It should be noted the NDCS is NOT behind a BSL immersive approach, they have said so, also that while recent profile campaigns aimed at politicians for a BSL option in all schools, it has not got off the table, neither, has the 2004/5 declaration by the EU of the acceptance of BSL in education, the BDA misreported or misunderstood that, what the EU said, was it 'recognised' deaf people using sign language, (along with 37 other minority language approaches), but empowerment of that use was/is still the duty of the host government, ours in the UK has chosen not to do that, mainly because many hearing parents wanted to choose themselves what approach was used and were not confident sign was that approach.  

They (parents), were also concerned sign was being seen as some 'novelty' approach and supporters od 'learn the A, B, C of sgn', were not really understanding the implications of lifetime use or dependence on it or the deaf politic that drives it all.  Supporters were looking at the sign and ignoring the cultural elements of it, including its extreme areas.   The issue with children (and cute animals), is that emotion replaces logic and getting down to basics then becomes impossible. 

We doubt the shenanigans and rows and various crusades against speech/Cochlear Implants/Oral approaches etc has swayed parents towards sign either.  Last year we saw vicious attacks by deaf signers against a mother who wanted her child to have an implant accusing her of child abuse.  Social media e.g. has just enhanced these more extreme elements.  It's a perennial issue online and everywhere else, culture versus access and need etc, I expect it will ramble on for years and years, but in the end free choice will defeat the negative and lack of the holistic approach to supporting the deaf child, who isn't just 'Fodder for deaf culture' to exploit."

Friday, 25 October 2019

Silent No More.

New UI hearing aid technology allows users to connect to wireless devices

Despite silly statements like these! “We are happy living without the sense of sound. Not all deaf or hard of hearing people are the same,”  All HoH are.  YOU aren't HoH, you are deaf and don't even use them, you are also unauthorised to offer comment too. Do we tell you how to sign?

Two University of Iowa researchers and their colleagues at Gallaudet University received a grant to study the possible creation of smart hearing aids that can be integrated into what they call a “wireless ecosystem.” The five-year grant is one part of a larger project by the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Technology Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center, led by Christian Vogler. Vogler is a professor and director of the Technology Access Program at Gallaudet University — the nation’s preeminent deaf university. “… 

Currently, if you are looking at the hearing aid technology, hearing aid platforms are operating in isolation,” said Octav Chipara, UI associate professor and researcher. According to numbers from Chipara and UI Associate Professor and researcher Yu-Hsiang Wu, current hearing aids are inadequate. So much so that as many as 50 percent of hearing aid users do not use their hearing aids, and 40 percent of those who do report dissatisfaction with them. RELATED: Signing in to Deaf Awareness Week Chipara said the pair’s research will utilize devices like iCloud and Microsoft Edge to better the system that hearing aids run on. The goal would be to create a hearing aid that would process and amplify sound within the device, and it would send an alert from a smart device to the hearing aid when sound occurs. 

“Currently, hearing aids can connect to some devices like smartphones, but all the signal processing of the sounds is done within the hearing aid itself,” Wu said. “This grant will help us develop a tool kit for our research and better the use of Edge and Cloud resources to make a better hearing aid.” The researchers said their new hearing aid would allow for users to hear more clearly in noisy environments due to the greater Cloud or Edge processing power at its disposal. “[Chipara] was a partner on the previous iteration of this grant from 2014 to 2019,” Vogler said. “He did a project on collecting real-world data from hearing aids and smartphones. 
We were happy with his work, and it gave him the experience for the current project. The current one is a logical step up.” Vogler said he was excited by the prospect of Chipara and Wu’s research because current hearing devices are limited by both size and processing power. RELATED: Team co-led by UI biologists discover gene key to human hearing “I’d say the primary impact is much-improved ability to communicate through listening,” Vogler said. “You can do all kinds of advanced audio processing if you don’t have to worry about power and limited computing in hearing aids.” 

UI American Sign Language Undergraduate program Director Bob Vizzini said in an email to The Daily Iowan that he’s not sure how these new hearing aids could affect the deaf and hard of hearing communities — especially as a deaf person himself who does not use any hearing aid or assistant devices. “We are happy living without the sense of sound. Not all deaf or hard of hearing people are the same,” Vizzini said. “Many of them wish they had the ability to hear like the general population … so this kind of work may benefit them. 

It can contribute to a portion of deaf/hard of hearing people.” These hearing aids will allow users to hear a better quality of sound than has ever been possible before, Wu said. “It’s not about inventing new hearing aids, but more about opening the door for hearing aids to transcend their limitations,” Vogler said. 

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Captioning Service to be scrapped.

Deaf Couple May Edit Embryo’s DNA to Correct Hearing Mutation

Image by Richard Wheeler/Creative Commons. United Kingdom, 2019.We sit at a corner table in an empty upstairs section of the restaurant while live Georgian music plays downstairs. Yevgenievna, in her late 20s, cannot hear it—or any music. She has been deaf since birth. But with the help of a hearing aid that’s linked to a wireless microphone, which she places on the table, she can hear some sounds, and she is adept at reading lips. She speaks to me primarily in Russian, through a translator, but she is also conversant in English.

Yevgenievna and her husband, who is partially deaf, want to have children who will not inherit hearing problems. There is nothing illicit about our discussion: Russia has no clear regulations prohibiting Rebrikov’s plan to correct the deafness mutation in an in vitro fertilization (IVF) embryo. But Yevgenievna is uneasy about publicity. “We were told if we become the first couple to do this experiment we’ll become famous, and HBO already tried to reach me,” Yevgenievna says. “I don’t want to be well known like an actor and have people bother me.” She is also deeply ambivalent about the procedure itself, a pioneering and potentially risky use of the CRISPR genome editor.

The couple met on, a Russian Facebook of sorts, in a chat room for people who are hearing impaired. Her husband could hear until he was 15 years old, and still gets by with hearing aids. They have a daughter—Yevgenievna asks me not to reveal her age—who failed a hearing test at birth. Doctors initially believed it was likely a temporary problem produced by having a cesarean section, but 1 month later, her parents took her to a specialized hearing clinic. “We were told our daughter had zero hearing,” Yevgenievna says. “I was shocked, and we cried.”

Their daughter could have received a cochlear implant, an electronic device that uses surgically implanted electrodes to directly stimulate the auditory nerve. People with such implants can understand speech, but typically can’t hear music. But Yevgenievna and her husband weren’t interested in the device for their child because friends in the Russian deaf community had bad experiences with it—likely because they didn’t receive the proper rehabilitation after the surgery to deal with flood of new signals to the brain.

Later, they learned the cause of their daughter’s hearing loss was genetic. Testing showed she had the same mutation in both of her copies of a gene called GJB2. The mutation, known as 35delG, is one of the most common genetic causes of hearing loss. People homozygous for 35delG, like Yevgenievna’s daughter, will inevitably have hearing loss, albeit to varying degrees. At the time, neither parent had ever had their genes tested—or even thought they had inherited their hearing problems.

Discrimination against deafened people is institutional.

Image result for deafenedIt's not as if we have to spend most of our time being called cultural and signing to fend off all the time, but the total lack of support in the UK for deafened people is creating huge anger and despair at being ignored entirely.  

With local authorities, and the DWP refusing point-blank access to support unless we sign or are blind as well. Social media complains that the NADP a charity set up FOR deafened people is not just pointless, but failing in its purpose. BSL users get interpreters HoH and deafened get nothing, WHY weren't they making the case for our support?

"To National Association of Deafened People:  Reading the news today, there was an item covering 'Direct Payment' in Wales. 6,000 disabled claimants were complaining local authorities were not paying them enough to cover their support need (Which was rejected by LA's). We also noted the 'Deaf' area was also refused control over hiring and firing BSL terps too by refusing them the means to hire who they want, (primarily their own BSL interpreters opposed it, they didn't want 'clients' as their 'employers'.)

Direct Payments seemed to me as a deafened person an ideal avenue to claim that allowance so I could employ the text or lip-reading support I needed as a deafened person, and in the process, set precedent for others and create demand where Wales had less than FIVE text support listed staff for 300,000 with hearing loss, two of those were BSL terps, with questionable lip speaking skills using BSL most of the time.  but Wales had NO established system of support for HoH or deafened people because LA's/DWP were refusing to cover the costs of it demanded by qualified people, unless we learn to sign, tough. 

I duly made a claim to my local authority explaining that as the DWP had blocked deafened people and in many areas removed even the sole basic DLA allowance which was nowhere near paying for ONE hour of support a month let alone as and when, or getting any other allowance for that support despite acknowledging I was profoundly deaf and text-dependent they said 'Sorry being deaf is not enough, you have to be blind as well' (Pass me a sharp stick and a guide dog someone !).

Perhaps the NADP could address this issue?  If a claim was successful in enabling deafened people to claim DP, that can create demand, then a viable system not extant at all now could be developed. I queried the DP issue and the DWP/Government said nothing to do with them its a local authority 'discretionary' benefit.  I said it was more a 'discrimination' benefit. The site criteria clearly suggested deafened people were identified as an area needing and qualifying for that support, it was LA's deciding to use their 'discretion' to refuse. So discrimination, there is no mention that only deaf-blind qualify.  LA's were using 'discretional' options to operate wholesale cuts to support by targetting us.

It was further compounded by the fact my partner born deaf and a sign language user is enabled with her support but I am denied mine. Is this not discrimination (Discuss!). If the DWP AND the Local authorities/health services are also failing to provide text/lip-speaking support why hasn't the NADP raised this issue for us?   Is the NHS using IT'S discretion to deny us too?  Being asked to bring relatives or a 'carer' is an insult (As well as lawbreaking).

Other blocks for help were based on 'Wales controls the NHS there so again nothing to do with anyone else take it up with them'. I did just that,  and there were NO RECORDs extant the welsh NHS had a system of deafened support at all to access. Very obviously asking the social services was a waste of time because you would need support to follow them and the SS had already refused that. 

All I am reading at the NADP is lip-spoken tours of stately homes in middle-class areas of England. Please explain your relevance to me. Not a member, so you don't care?  I suggest you don't ask me to join."

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

BSL in London.

talk more about hearing loss, Centre for Deaf Education
We are encouraging debate around understanding and knowledge of hearing loss and acknowledgement of how it can unnecessarily exclude people from activities which many would consider a fundamental right. 

[Hearing loss and profound deafness are not viewed the same thing by cultural and signing DEAF.]

Activities such as accessing healthcare at a time and place which is convenient for them or carrying out their civic duty by serving on a Jury in a crown court. Research conducted by the NHS (2) has shown that almost three-quarters of deaf people (74%) felt that their employment opportunities were limited because of their deafness and over two thirds (68%) have felt isolated at work. 

[Limitations can also be down to poor literacy and sign language reliance, unfortunately, the mainstream of employment does not utilise sign language as a primary or even secondary medium of basic communication, its empowerment needs third parties which also affects deaf opportunity via access.]

A lack of education and access to training is helping to keep barriers to communication in place. Our research has revealed that: 

• 94% of people surveyed don’t know more than two signs in BSL. 

[really? 94% of hearing, or deaf?]

• 60% of people would like to learn to communicate better with deaf people and those with hearing loss, which is positive news we need to build upon. 

[We don't see that borne out via applications to sign classes.  No surveys are validated.]

• 61% of people feel that those who are deaf, or who have some level of hearing loss, are marginalised in society because not enough people know how to communicate with them effectively.

[Or deaf people taught how to communicate to hearing effectively either! If they are waiting for hearing people to sign at them they are in for a lengthy wait.   Deaf education is a waste of time if that's happening, in that the deaf are never taught ways of communicating to others.  Do they expect they can do their own thing instead?    The lack of clarity on what hearing loss and deafness entails, formats used and support available to make them effective, combined with the bias of awareness, only adds to the issue, mainstream don't know what we need unless we inform them personally, and campaigns are for A and B defined hearing loss areas, lip-reading for HoH, and sign for deaf, that misleads, in short, 'deaf awareness' only ever highlights sign awareness, NOT hearing loss awareness, charities have been polarised this way for 25 years, deaf campaigns have never lobbied on any other basis.]

We can change this. Generally speaking, BSL, lipreading and managing hearing loss courses provide students with an incredible range of tools, indeed they can use in both their professional and personal lives. Further, deaf awareness training for friends and family members and organisations is important in improving communication with deaf and hard of hearing people. We strive to influence the UK Government and policymakers about the importance of BSL education and we welcomed the then Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds MP’s, announcement in November 2018 that the Department for Education and Ofqual were in the process of reviewing proposals for a BSL GCSE. 

[This isn't explained properly, although demands for a BSL based education system have been highlighted, nothing happened about it, and the NDCS has voiced against, and despite BSL recognition pre 2005 by Europe the British educational system has not introduced sign as a primary educational medium for the deaf child, there is a multi-layered, holistic approach to give the deaf child the widest options.]

Equally, we have welcomed the London Mayor’s commitment to fully fund BSL Level 1 and 2 for deaf adults.

[I wonder how many deaf adults would even attend/need such a class?  BSL classes only encourage hearing people so far. Lip-reading classes attracting NO deaf adults who sign already.   Level 1 and 2 would barely gain them entrance to a deaf club.  It looks like the article writer is pro-BSL and that's fine, but a deaf adult would not be in difficulty if he or she managed to get to adulthood without sign, they would have already acquired alternatives.  Such low levels are not approved by Deaf charities as valid enough to support a qualification, when we take into account BSL Interpreters need level 6 and above.  Its beginner stuff colours and numbers.  As stated level 1/2 would not enable them to support each other.]

I'm staggered at the low level of the awareness displayed by the article writer.


No room at the top.

Image result for elitismThat is room for inclusive policies and transparency of running what is mooted to be the UK's number one signing and cultural charity, the BDA.  Social media is now openly expressing concern at the British Deaf Association, asking why 7 trustees felt they could not work alongside the signing executive and concerns there were suggestions they could go into liquidation, they are already running at a loss. Further concerns a 'hearing' interpreter was being opportunistic and displaying unease a hearing person was going to disrupt this ancient charity.  The news for those people is that hearing are empowering them via interpreters, biting the hand that feeds seems negative.  Anti-hearing politics have to stop, we are looking paranoid and insular to others.

Many concerns and various demands for the BDA to cease using sign language and culture, as a blunt tool to proceed in a direction the majority of deaf people don't support and followed that through by resigning as members.  The scandal of 'What really goes on in secret with the upper hierarchy at the BDA?'  is developing conspiracy theories.  The strange view online of deaf very very reluctant to question what goes on is the community supporting its own despite very unhappy at what is emerging with few members willing to go public and ask there.  Laudable but ensuring nothing changes for the better.  The comment below was a posted answer in response to a BDA member who expressed concern he could not openly put his view online because of pressures from the BDA.  It is left to ex BDA members and others to ask the real questions.

"BDA Members aren't running scared of the executive, are they? I thought that was what caused 7 trustees to resign? and Ms Richards seeing a vacuum to fill, another opportunist. The BDA is no longer fit for deaf purposes, it relies totally on BSL and culture and is not addressing the realities of either in regards to advancing the opportunities or support for deaf people, it's turning into some sort of sect at the top, anyone that expresses a concern is labelled and attacked as 'attacking deaf people' well ATR IS deaf! and it is a bad image for deaf people to support, the politics of fear. 

Deaf children need access and support to the outside world, the BDA is determined to keep them all in some 'closed shop', signing away and getting nowhere. Few if any of their campaigns are about integrating deaf people or inclusion. It started out demanding inclusion but now thrives on EX-cluding people who don't fit whatever their 'image' is supposed to be. It is great more people are looking to help the deaf but the conditions the BDA sets is counterproductive and the loss of so many members is ample proof it isn't working. I left the BDA because they told me they only wanted deaf who supported culture and used sign language, I said 'Where have you been the last 40 years? and how does that help deaf people?' 

Inclusion, usually means a fair amount of determination to be included, the BDA has never supported that, only paid 'lip-service' to it, the sham has been exposed, and I doubt the BDA will succeed by maintaining this ridiculous dogma at the same times using the culture and sign, to discriminate against what is, the MAJORITY of deaf people and others with hearing loss.  No one is fooled by the blatant practice of 'going it alone' and failing to help others who don't 'fit in'. What next for the BDA? rolled-up trouser legs and funny handshakes! Join the 21stc, please. Who knows I might even re-apply to join then."

Monday, 21 October 2019

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Listening and Spoken Language.

What is right (And what cultural deaf refuse to accept), is our deaf children are capable of learning and advancing not just relying on sign language but by adapting to alternatives that will enhance their advance and access far better than pigeon-holing deaf children.

The deaf world is not enough for deaf children and neither is sign language on its own.  Deaf children need options, not limitations.  While not all will learn to speak properly or lip-read proficiently,  (Not all will sign effectively either), many will if you start early enough, and with CI's etc those options get better and better.  At the end of the day, culture is not the priority, it's a bonus, access via the ability to adapt is.

For those who say that is unfair, hearing children (And adults), constantly have to re-learn new options and new work skills or THEY cannot get a job, the defiance of certain areas of the deaf community is restricting deaf children, and tuition of the deaf child is geared to enable them to sign and join the community not to work, not to read properly, not to write effectively, but sign in a club or pub somewhere.

Ludricously, some are saying deaf create deaf areas so employ themselves, but the absolute limit on advance is seen with that approach.  Deaf serving deaf and opting OUT of inclusion or access, Deaf arts is one area, but the amount of 'Deaf' coffee shops wanting to employ deaf signers must be minimal surely!  and deaf charities/schools/clubs in the UK are collapsing.  Without literacy deaf will never advance anywhere. BSL is the wrong tool to use to access that with the cultural drive to constantly challenge the grammar and induce politics into learning etc.

Its as if this 'Deaf' sector is anti-inclusion not pro, more concerned with the sign use than the actual dearth of access it enables.  It's setting up the deaf child to fail.  Deaf schools are dated concepts and don't enable inclusion either.

Friday, 18 October 2019

Lifeline. (Australia).

A billion at risk of hearing loss

1st Deaf Leadership Summit (UK).

First UK Deaf Leadership Summit 2019 from Action Deafness on Vimeo.

ATR is wondering why deaf are being excluded via lack of captioning?  it seems there are deaf and non-deaf according to these people.  If you don't use sign exclusively then you aren't deaf?  If there is ever to be a unity in the deaf world they will have to cease creating and building these divisions and operating what is discrimination against peers by default.  All deaf DON'T sign.

Hearing aid support via Android

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Adopting the Holistic approach.

Archived webinar from October 09, 2019 with Dr. Nicola Grove.

As professionals planning and delivering interventions with children with disabilities, we all surely subscribe to the philosophy of Total Communication - the value of all modalities and resources harnessed to support communication development. But what does this mean in practice? Are all modalities regarded as important? Do we really take account of children’s skills and preferences when we allocate resources? 

What do we know about the affordances of particular modalities for functional communication purposes? Manual signing is used worldwide by millions of Deaf people for whom it is a first or preferred language and with hundreds of thousands of individuals who have communication disabilities. The last half of the 20th century saw numerous research papers and practical resources dedicated to issues of how to teach, use and develop signing within the framework of Augmentative and Alternative Communication, but currently, these have been superseded by an almost exclusive focus on aided systems and devices. 

There are still remarkably few studies of signing development over time, or of everyday use. As a result, speech /pathologists and educators have limited resources on which they can draw to support the evidence-based practice to which they are committed. A second critical issue is that there is increasing evidence of deaf children who have additional needs and disabilities, whose signing is delayed or disordered. 

For these children, even with the support of cochlear implants, sign remains the primary communication system. There are also many hearing children with disabilities born to native signing Deaf parents. Teachers and therapists are in need of information about how best to plan intervention for these children. The webinar will be based on the research and practice drawn together in the first-ever text dedicated to this topic - Manual Sign Acquisition in Children with Developmental Disabilities, edited by Nicola Grove and Kaisa Launonen (Nova, 2019). 

This book integrates findings from both sign language and Key Word Sign; considers practical issues of intelligibility, vocabulary and semantics, grammar and pragmatics; and provides evidence of sign development in different clinical populations. You are invited to participate in this webinar by bringing your own experiences and questions for discussion. Here are a few reoccurring questions that will be addressed in this webinar. 

-What is the role of manual sign and gesture in AAC?

 - Is there really any evidence that the effort involved in teaching signs to children with disabilities is worth it? 

- Are aided systems or signs the best way to promote communication for children with various disabilities (eg. autism, cerebral palsy)? 

- Are there prerequisite skills that should be taught before introducing children to manual sign? 

- How can we encourage children to generalize their use of taught signs? 
- Do signs increase stigma for children with disabilities by making them more conspicuous? 

- Should we be promoting sign language or keyword sign systems with deaf children who have additional disabilities? 

-Do children have a human right to use signs?

Deaf Roots (Scotland).

The problem with the BDA (Apart from the danger of a total meltdown at their next EGM where executive bullying is alleged to have forced 7 trustees to quit one after another, and the charity was issuing gagging orders to members, and operating in secrecy), is the over-focus on the culture at the expense of support. A charity that is not free and offers open scrutiny to all and apparently not adhering to charitable rules either.  A charity that uses paranoia and fear of discrimination to ensure the vulnerable Deaf don't think or act for themselves.  They use sign language to exclude others too.

No doubt the deaf club fraternity welcome the continuing indoctrination of the cultural gig but the type of support our young deaf need, is more effective and practical approaches to communication, so they aren't catered for exclusively as a hearing-dependent minority group on the fringe of everything blaming nasty hearing people for everything.  The very people enabling them.

The constant desire to create martyrs to the cultural cause is ridiculous and holding back deaf people.   In reality, the BDA is out of touch WITH the deaf, it has few members and continues to exist virtually in name only riding on its past successes, currently, it runs at a loss too.

The BDA is a dated charity, created when deaf had nothing else, today that is no longer true and the BSL-deaf amid the best-served hearing loss area in the UK, (in direct contrast to the hard of hearing majority, yet to have a national support set up). Another issue is what happens to the BDA if Scotland decides on independence?  near all their BDA  support is funded from central government in London. This area would be unlikely to continue funding for free if that or Brexit happens, and there is an issue of the BDA itself unwilling to fund an independent state in the UK.  Scotland would have to develop own charity and get funding from own government. 

Like the AOHL, BDA deaf and hearing loss charities have refused so far to recognise regional developments, even the Scottish one, keeping all moneys and influence and HQ's concentrated in or around London. 78% of all HQ's of charities are there.  Wales annex's of the BDA and AOHL refused point-blank to give any autonomy to its offices, ensuring English dominance, so locals cannot decide when and where support is given, or to whom, in fact, regional deaf and HoH have little or no say at all. Mainly because no charity is able to consult us. 

This current advert is yet another attempt to prevent young deaf going away from culture and BSL to integrate, spoon-feeding young deaf to suggest only by all deaf staying together will they ever be treated as equals, and the gullible deaf buying into that conundrum, but, you cannot be in it and out of it. It is of concern funding is not being used exclusively for integrational purposes but promoting parallel approaches instead.  

This suggests to deaf they are NEVER going to be accepted, and the BDA and others stating it is because they sign, and hearing won't, it beggars belief deaf would buy that argument while at the same time demanding inclusion and equality, either they want it, or they don't, and if they do then they have to get rid of dinosaurs like the BDA, hanging desperately onto the past. 

Integration and acceptance mean deaf have to be out there, not confined 'In there' where only deaf people congregate and they all sign in defiance of what the rest of the country does elsewhere.  Young deaf don't want that isolation and singular approach.  It suggests BDA inclusive policies are a sham in Deaf terms and they really have no will to integrate but prefer to utilise funding to reinforce their own separatist aims.  They don't call the separation as isolation but a right of culture, deaf, are the masters of not saying what they really mean.  Let's call their bluff.

Young deaf having nothing to lose and most are doing their own thing anyway.

International Deaf Week

Just how many do the deaf need to raise awareness? Given that each deaf individual has own defined need, how does the collective approach function?  How does an international approach work in just one country?  Incidentally, the Hard Of Hearing the majority with deafness and loss have never felt the need for one... It rather suggests the signing deaf are far more disabled than the hype they put out... which says they aren't.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019



BBC weather presenter Carol Kirkwood's gale warning was lost in translation to 'there will be severe disruption to fairies' instead of 'ferries' 

Deaf at Work.

It's Audiology Month.


The first product is a web plugin that translates website content to Sign Language, its main purpose is to make information accessible for Deaf people. The second product is a mobile app that aims to facilitate communication between Deaf and hearing people, making easier to remember vocabulary and shortened the learning process.

Monday, 14 October 2019

Healthcare Rights: Australia

The UK and USA have them too, the trick is to enforce them, so far the UK has seen a drastic reduction of what was once there, and the USA system is a free for all of bias, but at least they have an effective sue legal system.  

The elephant in the room is Charity, the UK state unloaded the onus of care and support to them and, you cannot sue charity for not coming up to scratch, why ? because they 'mean-well' and rely on handouts?   Sadly we support charity, so get the blame ourselves when support is lacking, perhaps time we abandoned this 'have a stab at it' approach, and got real.

After all, UK deaf/HoH Charity is a corporate 'business' these days with a turnover of many £millions, we can sue business if there are shortcomings, so we should be able to sue them, so why don't we?  It would focus on the issue of 'Who is responsible for care and support'? at least.  The government takes taxpayers money to pay for healthcare and support but keeps it for themselves and doles out peanuts to charities to do it whilst cutting support to local authorities and care areas to make provision unviable.

Disabled and vulnerable are already dropping dead through lack of care and the cull goes on.  The next idiot that suggests we sit in a  bath of baked beans to help the poor deafie is likely to get far more than they ask for, it would be a two-word response starting with F and ending that way.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Hearing but not as you know it.

Touching documentary about Helen Willis who is totally deaf following a meningitis infection at the age of 2. She was one of the first in the UK to receive a cochlear implant, allowing her to hear the world around her albeit through impoverished sounds. Now she is flourishing at Oxford University, and despite difficulties in everyday tasks, she hopes to continue into research into the science of hearing. 

Helen's story began in the early days of the cochlear implant technology. Surgical techniques have now changed such that stitches and hair shaving are no longer required, and technology has improved to such an extent that people who received cochlear implants more recently are now able to perceive sound much more accurately (with some children being able to sing in tune and acquire local accents). Helen also received her implant relatively late in life, and outcomes are much improved if the operation is performed earlier. 

 We hope that this will help people understand what it is like to have a cochlear implant, particularly for families affected by deafness. If you know anyone who may benefit from watching this documentary, please share this to them using the links above. We also hope that the documentary will encourage everyone with a cochlear implant to pursue their dreams and not be demoralised when they are faced with obstacles because of their deafness.

Deaf at Work

Deaf Employees At Work from Sign Solutions on Vimeo.

Seems to debunk the myth Deaf are not getting support, it's just a postcode lottery.  All you have to do is move to London.