Monday, 14 January 2019

Lip-reading + CI equals success!

Ryan Lu was diagnosed with profound hearing loss in both ears at birth and had to undergo surgery to insert a cochlear implant when he was two years old to help him hear.
At the age of four, when most of his peers were learning to read and write, Ryan Lu was learning to read lips. 

Ryan was diagnosed with profound hearing loss in both ears at birth and had to undergo surgery to insert a cochlear implant when he was two years old to help him hear. 

But even then, his hearing was impaired - so he taught himself to read lips to make sense of the world around him. Besides his hearing loss, he also has low muscle tone around his jaw, which affects his speech articulation. On Monday (Jan 14), he was one of 26,750 students across the country who received their O-level results. The Hai Sing Catholic School student did well enough that he should be able to get into his dream school this year, Anglo-Chinese Junior College, according to his teacher Mrs Wong Shu Xian. Now 16, Ryan has come a long way since failing his exams as a Primary 1 pupil at St Stephen's School, when he did not know how to read. 

He said: "My mother sent me for a lot of phonetics lessons so I could learn to read and speak better. It was a few times a week." His mother works as a financial consultant while his father, who works in real estate, is based in China. Hai Sing Catholic School students reacting as they collect their O Level results in the school hall on Jan 14, 2019.

As he grew older, Ryan studied on his own at home. When he was preparing for the O levels, he also attended tuition class for physics and mathematics. He is able to learn in a regular environment, although Hai Sing Catholic did make arrangements for him to have fewer changes in teachers so he can get used to how they speak. He also used a frequency modulation (FM) wireless assistive listening device. It consists of a transmitter, worn by the teacher, and a receiver that he wears. Ryan also sat near the front of his classroom so he could read his teachers' lips. He was exempted from Chinese due to his articulation problems, as well as English oral and listening comprehension. 

Microsoft releases Live Caption and Subtitles for PowerPoint

Microsoft added the Live Caption and Subtitles feature to Office Insider Build 1920 (build 11231.20066) of PowerPoint late last week. The Live Captions and Subtitles feature transcribes the presenter’s speech to subtitles real-time using AI, translate them to other languages, and adapt to recognize technical terms and names according to the slideshow’s content. 

 The new feature is available within the latest Insider build of PowerPoint for Mac, Windows PCs, and PowerPoint Online. It can be enabled for all presentations through the Slide Show tab, or during the presentation in Presenter View. At launch, Live captions and subtitles will support 12 spoken languages and display them in more than 60 languages. 

“Live captions & subtitles in PowerPoint supports the deaf and hard of hearing community by giving them the ability to read what is being spoken in real-time,” Said Microsoft in its blog post. Since it the AI function is likely uses cloud computing for translation and speech recognition, it’s unclear if it would need a constant internet connection in order to work. And because the presenter’s voice is recorded and uploaded to the cloud, Microsoft says that the feature is compliant with industry privacy standards and certifications in a December blog post. 

Take whatever we can get?

Recent comments and blogs centered over social media queries on deaf and HoH support continue...

"I've never taken a handout in my life.  I make my own way best I can because once you start reliance on others it is difficult to make impetus on your own.  It becomes a reliance... the fatalistic view being deaf means there aren't other options, ably supported by adding 'culture' to the mix just mask the reality."

"The 'Deaf' have made a lifestyle out of demanding 'help' and then rebranding it as a right when it is solely dependant on charity to make it work, it's not an empowered right only in as much as systems would pay for a BSL terp or something, but that entirely depends on those terps being there."

"The UK state has no program of training deaf support other than the 'special needs' in education and charities, and deaf schools are being decimated in the UK by inclusive approaches.  In many respects, the 'old guard' of wanting a return to the past, but with a modern cultural 'twist' is pointless to the extreme.

"Sign support is still dependent on individuals taking it up, and their random training systems are a mess proving very expensive for learners, no two training approaches either on the street or in the colleges as an afterthought, are the same. There should be a state-sponsored vocational system to ensure care and support for those with hearing loss trains the professionals they need."

"Unviable ! the 'Deaf' don't want this type of inclusive approach, they want to sign, fund own community, have own educational approaches and schools, reject the current educational curriculums, and encourage the pursuit of an as yet, an undefined culture, and not really interested in including HoH who want something else entirely or may view deafness (The root of culture, sign nor culture isn't), as a medical issue to be addressed..  It's a head in the sand approach that can only cause deaf young more hardship and uncertainty."

" It's the 'Big Sell' but, who is buying it?"

"There is no deaf culture without deafness.  It is why they are angry at alleviations and implantations as well as genetic approaches.  They often campaign against, its those with no choices trying to make choices for others..."

"It's a myth to think charities will always provide as more and more people become deaf, and, DON'T sign etc, there is a complete imbalance of awareness of need and a free-for-all.  Deaf TNG is going to be a shock to the cultural systems, as they are already having to include CI's. or lose members."

"Just because society is more accepting of sign use, doesn't mean they are more inclusive of those using it.  It legitimises their own isolation.  If the Big Sell then fails then it causes hardship and resentment and more martyrs."

"There are clear differences of approach and lifestyles between the UK and USA.  There is no 'like for like'.  I can follow 'I will take what I can get' when there is nothing else, but, it doesn't address the causes, erect a viable support system, or suggest the cure.  Awareness is an abysmal failure."