Saturday, 9 February 2019

The Live Transcription App (II).

So, you want to be an Interpreter?

They will have to learn how to make themselves accessible first!

A device that converts iPhone screen into braille

Melbourne woman Heather Lawson is both deaf and blind; to participate in an interview she requires support from two interpreters.

She places her hands over those of the first interpreter and feels via touch as he signs my questions to her. A second interpreter translates her Auslan responses back to me. But despite the multilayered conversation, this remarkable and independent woman's great sense of humour shines through. Ms Lawson was born without hearing and grew up communicating via sign language.

By the time she reached her 20s, she gradually began losing her sight as well. "It really did affect my life," she said. The small device has given Ms Lawson, and the wider deaf-blind community, the opportunity to connect with the world. In recent years a small display which fits in her handbag has become vital as it converts the words on her phone screen into braille.

"It's just fantastic, that technology, and I love it. It has made my life a lot easier and I've been able to achieve things." The braille display connects to the phone via Bluetooth, allowing her to access emails, SMS, Facebook, apps and the internet. It also makes banking and navigating public transport much easier. "I live an independent life, and I have for a number of years, but the technology that's available now has allowed me to remain independent," Ms Lawson said.

Useful in an emergency.

The machine also allows her to write notes in the phone which can be useful for communicating with taxi drivers.

She once used it to communicate with firefighters who had broken into her home to respond to a fire alarm. "I didn't realise the firemen had broken into my house to turn it off," she said. "We were able to communicate on my computer using the braille display. "I get goosebumps just thinking about it. It was a great experience."

The device has 14 braille cells which change with the touch of a button to reflect the next passage of text.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Hearing Technology

Part Four: Hearing Technology from Chime on Vimeo.

By an area that offers no captioning access, subtitling access, or narrative and relies on sign for it. Surely the primary users of such technology are NOT sign-using people, but others who need alternatives to sign use?

This seems some half-arsed semi-cultural 'support' system  (There has to be a cash angle somewhere else why play this 'Deaf Card' approach?), that flies in the face of basic access requirements, for goodness sake STOP listening to a minority of people who actually DON'T want any other access but sign.  Such output is just spreading disinformation on access/need for the majority with hearing loss.

The output is unjustified on cultural grounds too!

A deaf Take on Technology.

Deaf actress has to learn regional sign for role.

If she as a deaf signer cannot follow the regional accents, how accessible is the sign outside Glasgow to other deaf?

Deaf actress learns to sign in Glaswegian for hit BBC comedy Two Doors Down Actress Sophie Stone, 38, said British Sign Language differs from region to region, just like an accent. 

Deaf actress Sophie Stone had to learn to sign like a Glaswegian for her role in hit BBC comedy Two Doors Down. She plays Louise, an old friend of Joy McAvoy’s character Michelle, and appears in Monday’s episode – which is the last in the series. 

Sophie admitted she wanted to get the right regional dialect sign language for the show. Sophie, 38, who’s originally from London, said British Sign Language – BSL – has dialect influence, slang and phrases of its own from region to region, just like an accent. There were experts on set and a friend even gave her some Glaswegian insults he’d picked up from deaf clubs as a teenager. 

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Deaf Children

deaf children from lauren schlander on Vimeo.

No sign, no captions, no subtitles and no narrative.


Two new mobile apps being rolled out today, Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier, are aimed at the 466 million people—more than 5 per cent of the world’s population—who are deaf or hard of hearing. The Live Transcribe app uses Google’s cloud-based, speech-to-text intelligence to offer text representations of spoken conversations as they’re happening, while Sound Amplifier relies on an Android-based dynamic audio processing effect to make speech and other sounds easier to hear.

During a demonstration with the press last month, a group of Google product managers showed how their presentations could be transcribed into text in near real-time by Live Transcribe. In another corner of the room, Google had engineered a hearing loss simulator as part of the demo of Sound Amplifier. Slip on a set of headphones, and a Google employee cranked the simulator to reduce your hearing abilities. By using the new app, testers could swipe on a series of sliders to adjust volume, ambient noise, voice clarity, and the distribution of sound to the left and right ears.

It’s easy to imagine a not-so-distant future when accessibility apps like these are increasingly aware of a person’s needs and become self-adjusting. Google research scientist Dimitri Kanevsky, who has been deaf since age one, had a conversation with a colleague about an upcoming party while using Live Transcribe on his personal phone.

SEE HEAR Backlash at ATR

Image result for sign language or not?The ailing BBC/UK Deaf program feedback slot angry at ATR's suggestion BSL use is unhelpful for some deaf children.  But then the SH feedback slot was erased on the BBC site because SEE HEAR couldn't cope with the criticism it got from the HoH and deafened who felt excluded, and the BBC then dumped feedback on social media, (They dumped the disabled too!).

They are now annoyed the criticism has followed them there.  They can run, they can't hide.  Sadly innocents like the parents get the flak.  The program hasn't reflected diversity in the deaf world in years. Is 'egg-bound' in cultural nonsense.  It's a cushy number for a select few deaf luvvies and still exists via public handouts.  It's clear too, the SH program utilised these parents for cultural gain too.

An important thing to realise is that the couple live in Wales, which, has NO DEAF SCHOOL for the child to attend.  They could face having to send their child to England to sign at a deaf school. 2 or 3 every year end up travelling to Bristol.  Mainstreamed welsh deaf/HoH education is not predominantly sign based either.  I'm sure the parents have considered this, but SH made no mention of it.

Initially on the ATR blog: Why hasn't the BDA or AOHL stepped in to provide free BSL? or is it charities want cash upfront too? I was confused by the demand for BSL given the child appears to have not even started education yet, is there some assumption that child will only sign? or has no other capability? It's not as clear cut as SEE HEAR makes out, and SEE HEAR is minority deaf viewing with an axe to grind as well being paid for nothing much at all.

@ATR: I'm sorry but Do you not talk to children before they go to school?? Is a deaf child not supposed to have any communication before they go to school? I'm assuming you've never learnt a second language? Or are you one of the lucky ones that you don't need to learn because it comes to you overnight? Of course, you don't need to learn BSL, because the parents will just know how to sign, just when they need to talk to their child , which according to you is when they go to school omg! My child is deaf, he cannot vocalise, so we sign with him, and incidentally, we wanted to communicate from birth, strange concept I know.

ATR:  I asked because I could not see how a child would understand BSL at that age.  I would assume it was more simplistic and basic manuals. Also Signed English is far more useful than BSL is, BSL is in decline, deaf schools, clubs, and social areas that use it are too because that is how UK education is (And everything else really), SE or SSE is still signing but more aligned to what we all use. Also, lip-reading/speaking etc is more widely used. Personally, I would use speech as well, it is an issue if you sign and don't speak to a child, they will assume speaking is not their norm, first impressions etc. 

I noticed a hearing aid, which suggests there is some residual hearing there, another reason. I do think it important the child comes first so the widest possible varied input would be any norm, never restrict it to just one mode, it limits child options. Many deaf children taught varied approaches that way gain a considerable advantage over those for whom the sign is all they have. Don 't listen to those deaf for whom nothing can or has ever changed, because each child is different in need, and, the child is yours, not theirs. Obviously its a personal view it is not meant to upset parents, for whom 'Deaf' advice is random, biased and unhelpful in the main part. They are fighting a losing battle, we don't want deaf children being collateral damage.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Parents forced to pay £6,000 to learn to BSL.

Ros, Josh and Lola Hannam
The huge costs of teaching sign language, not only to children but their parents. Why doesn't the welsh BDA help them?  They appear advocates of sign and culture but unwilling to help the parents with a deaf child unless they get paid too.

Why the assumption their child will only be able to sign?  There ARE other options and assists.  Parents of a deaf four-month-old have to pay £6,000 for sign language classes if they want to communicate with her. 

 Ros and Josh Hannam's daughter Lola was diagnosed shortly after she was born. Although they had some support from Monmouthshire council, the couple from Caldicot will have to pay for British Sign Language (BSL) classes themselves. 

Mrs Hannam said people found it "ridiculous" when she told them they had to pay. The Welsh Government said it would review BSL funding. "I think the first thing we felt [after Lola was diagnosed] was probably devastation," Mrs Hannam said. "She was going to have extra requirements and extra needs that we weren't anticipating. 

"I think once we got over the initial devastation, it was about what can we do to make this good?" The couple got some basic language support through the council's Sensory Communication Service, but how much parents have to pay towards BSL classes depends on where they live. Some get it for free, but others have to foot the full cost themselves.

AVT. What is it?

By George (I think she's got it!).

Not!! Far easier would be to simply NOT draw any attention to whatever 'issue' they have and address them the same as everyone else and treat them the same, this is just creating and cementing labels. A rose by any other name is still a rose.

Deaf Children need English.

Image result for ENglish
Undeniable proof English is the primary way forward for the deaf.  What is surprising are claims it wasn't being used to educate our deaf children, what on earth have they been educating these kids with?  A millstone?  It's time these linguistic isolationists considered the futures of deaf children.  Whose bright idea was it to invent an alternative that would just handicap the deaf child for life?  Culture doesn't create jobs (Except for hearing interpreters, hearing teachers, hearing carers),  it doesn't even equip the deaf to do them.

Around 6,500 deaf children in the UK use English as an additional language. Without the right support, they can face a number of challenges which affect their development, confidence, school work and happiness. A new booklet and video are being launched with practical advice and strategies for teachers and education professionals to help children overcome these challenges and learn at the same pace as their hearing classmates.

These resources are free of charge and the National Deaf Children’s Society is urging all schools who work with these deaf children to use them. 20% of deaf children using English as an additional language achieved a grade 5 in both English and Maths in 2017. This compares to 29% of deaf children generally and 47% of all English as additional language users. Thousands of deaf children using English as an additional language are set to benefit from two new resources aimed at improving learning and overcoming exclusion.

The number of children using English as an additional language has more than doubled in the last decade to over 1.5 million, around 6,500 of whom are deaf.

Dear Diary...

An 11-year-old girl who is profoundly deaf has shared her diary, giving a moving insight into her world and the difficulties she faces every day.

Lily Murray, 11, from Workington, Cumbria, wears bright pink hearing aids but has been picked on by both classmates and adults as a result of her condition. She was approached by the Deaf Children's Society to front a campaign about her experiences and has so far raised almost £24,000 for the charity. Some of the diary entries reveal how she feels left out in school or embarrassed when she doesn't hear what someone has said.

Her mum Nicki said "Lily was bullied a bit last year over being deaf and missing out on things really. "It's difficult for anyone going to secondary school but she says in her diaries about how if she doesn't hear something she's the butt of a joke. "Her school have been doing deaf awareness workshops and we're hoping to get in a few sign language classes as well for the children who want them.

"She's just so proud to have raised so much money to help other people." Lily wrote in her diary about how her hearing disability leaves her feeling left out at school.  She wrote: "Dear Diary, really fed up today. Everyone was laughing and joking at lunchtime, but I missed out on lots of what they were saying."