Thursday, 14 February 2019

Teaching strategies.

GP's learning awareness

A course teaching medical students how to interact with deaf patients has returned. 

The University of Liverpool GP Society has organised sign language classes to be taught by Nicola McCabe, the owner of Talking Hands Academy, which offers signing and deaf awareness sessions across Merseyside. The course kicked off its first week for the third year running last Wednesday and will be held on every Wednesday for five weeks. The aim of the course is to improve communication skills and to kickstart trainee doctors into thinking about deaf patients and how they can support them. 

Ms McCabe told JMU Journalism: “I think everyone should be able to communicate with each other, that includes deaf people as well. Deaf people are often left out due to communication. It’s things like when you go for an appointment and your name has been called behind a wall, or even a door sometimes – very simple basic things. It’s all about planting a seed in trainee doctors minds.  

Deaf children: A lost generation?

New research has found deaf children are falling a whole grade behind their hearing peers at GCSE level, research finds it will take 21 years for deaf children to catch up with their peers Ann Jilling shares her fears as a parent to a deaf 12 year-old boy 

Ann is constantly anxious that her son, Daniel, will fall behind the rest of his classmates. Unlike many other parents, this isn’t just her wanting the best for her child – it’s because he was diagnosed as deaf in 2006. These children have been called the lost generation by researchers. 

‘Constant vigilance’ Ms Jillings said the reality of being a parent of a deaf child meant there is a constant vigilance around their education. She said she was always worried about whether her son was keeping up with his friends and making the progress he needed to. “At the time you’re told your child is deaf, the biggest fear you have is really how is that going to affect their lifelong opportunities, their education and their future,”  

“Really, that sort of worry never really goes away; it’s a sort of underlying anxiety. “I think all parents of deaf children would all report the same thing.” Daniel, 12, is a user of British Sign Language in his classrooms (Photo: Ann Jillings) At the same time, seeing the statistics in front of her was galling. “When you read the statistics in black and white, it does make you quite fearful for the future.” She said observing service cuts across the country and a drop in specialist teachers for deaf children has led her to think the “gap is widening, not getting smaller”. 

Perhaps linked to this response on social media, regarding a recent parental demand for £6,000 to learn BSL for their deaf child, that suggests BSL is holding up parity too?

#1  "This item has been discussed at length via dedicated deaf only sites. There are pros and distinct cons about these parental demands. One area feels charging parents to attain the ability to communicate with their deaf children is against their human right, practically no LA we know of has ever agreed to pay for that. They suggest there are a number of BSL classes in Gwent and near where these people live, but they are usually 2hr a week 6-month duration, (the cost used to be a nominal £40). 

On a practical level the child currently does NOT have the wherewithal to understand BSL at that age, and, there are no deaf schools in South Wales the child can attend where BSL is the language solely used to educate them, the nearest being Bristol, and less than 5 deaf children in Wales go there, and they are at the more extreme level of deafness with additional needs. The issue may be later on parents using sign and the child not comfortable with it. Free flow sign usage demands inclusion away from hearing people, it works best with other deaf they become a community this way. 

There aren't as we are aware any immersive BSL schools in England, i.e. BSL being used as a sole means of communication in education because inclusive policies ensure the deaf child gets the same education as a hearing child would, this is called 'mainstreaming'. It's not ideal there is a conflict of language and grammar used that confuse the child, BSL and English grammar is different, and the system is not sorted, but it was widely felt deaf schools were adding to the problems deaf faced, and not helping them. 

Wales shut them all down. In most part, parents welcome the children being included with their peers, same schools with siblings, instead of being sent off to boarding schools in the middle of nowhere, then after that, having considerable issue re-aligning with family and siblings and areas after, they became part of a deaf world with little interaction with hearing. integration/mainstreaming is to address that. Parents usually want the best for their child they don't want their child limited if they can help it. BSL education is catch 22, deaf love it, but hearing will go on without them and that's the problem, advance is limited for life. 

The BEST deaf school in the UK, is the Mary Hare Grammar school, but, that is a school dedicated NOT to sign usage but with considerable emphasis on oral/lip reading approaches as they feel this enables the deaf student far better at adulthood, takes away most need for support, and enhances more independence, but deaf culture supporters hate it! One rather suspects the parents in seeking advice to help their deaf child may be listening to the wrong people. What school will do, is determine properly what works best for the child, and perhaps that will NOT be what the hearing parent thinks is the best now. 

It comes down to ability, in the end, some are better signing some are better lip-reading some comfortable with both and many who simply do not sign at all. The basic reality is access, the deaf don't have it, and it is viewed as an issue with jobs health etc as the cost is amid the highest for any disabled area in the UK. We just read it needs for a deaf adult to stay in a job additional support fees of near £60K a year obviously the system is looking to not pay those costs and deterring sign use too. Practicality suggests total sign reliance if it can be addressed should be. There are after all alternatives."

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Deaf to benefit by increased A2W money...

Department for Work and Pensions image
Well those reliant on BSL will....

Announced by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Sarah Newton MP on the 11th of February, disabled employees will be able to claim almost £60,000 a year to aid them at work. From the 1st of April 2019, people will be able to claim up to £59,200 annually to help pay for additional support that they may need in the workplace through the Government’s Access to Work scheme. 

This can include workplace adaptations, assistive technology, transport and interpreters. Prioritising disability in the workplace has gained considerable momentum in the media recently, as a recent Wildgoose survey highlighted that employees feel as though disability inclusion is most important at work. It comes after the government increased the cap by almost a third last year. Now, more people will be able to benefit, especially those from the deaf community who can get BSL interpreters through the scheme. 

Access to Work provides financial support to ensure someone’s disability or health condition doesn’t hinder them in the workplace and, last year, more than 27,000 people received support. This included adjustable desks, special IT equipment and voice-recognition software. The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Sarah Newton, commented: “Access to Work provides tailored support to thousands across the country, ensuring a disability or health condition is not a barrier to achieve someone’s career aspirations. 

“By extending this grant even more people can benefit from this personalised scheme, and more disabled people can thrive in the workplace.”

Live Music: UK Venues to provide ear plugs on demand?

Hear hear!: Pub operators agree that earplugs should be more readily available at the UK's live entertainment venues
If only a ban on phones existed too!

Landlords in the seaside town of Weymouth, Dorset, have received a letter from the local council asking them to carry out a risk assessment on noise levels. If bar staff are frequently exposed to high noise levels, publicans have been advised that they should make "ear defenders" available to prevent employees from going deaf. 

If licensees do not observe the warning they could leave themselves open to future legal action by their staff, they have been warned. Some landlords described the warning as another example of "nanny state interference", and further bureaucracy that had to be overcome. They also expressed concern that staff would not be able to hear which drinks customers were ordering if they had to wear ear plugs. Mark South, landlord of the Cove House Inn on Chesil Beach, the setting for Ian McEwan's best-selling novel, said he was visited by a licensing officer on April 1. 

"When I mentioned it to the staff afterwards they thought it was an April Fools Day joke," he said. He added: "The risk assessment equates how often you have live music, the rotation of bar staff, and how often they are exposed to the noise. 

Kids acting up?

Image may contain: 2 people, text

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Are we all Racists? (II)

Image result for racists
The perennial query about respecting difference.   Albeit including 'Audism' isn't helping it much! 

Are we all racists?  Yes we are ALL racist, and all manner of 'ists', 'ism's', and 'ics' too, most is fuelled by diversity demand and human nature.  

Is this inherently bad, or just the way we are?  One man's meat etc, it doesn't mean we are bad people, just expressing a choice what we like, and what we don't, the only criteria being no-one suffers by your hand. Reluctance to accept others can be primal, and the selecting of your mate for life e.g. is based on that, the primal response is also vital to suggestions of danger.  Instinct?  Can we block that and still feel safe?

But choice is everyone's, there are people I don't want to know, issues I don't agree with, religions I can do without, deaf people who I feel really need a dose of hearing to get some balance in their lives, and a fool is still a fool regardless of what colour they are, and I am sure many out there who disagree with that too. You can respect the view but you cannot force agreement with it. Not even a law can enforce an agreement, it would simply mean people would move the goal posts and leave 'minorities' and the 'different' to own devices, and in the process, probably create a reluctance to engage and annoyance. 'Cest La Vie' being the ultimate assassin of real access.  Pure Apathy.

Which defeats the whole point or equality, acceptance, or inclusion.  The more we demand respect of difference, the more marginalised, stereotypical we become, and the more labelled, 'different', and isolated because it affects inclusion as pure concept.  Some groupings you just will not join.  Hence the Deaf are Deaf and the deaf/HoH are deaf/HoH and the deaf-blind are......  Anyone who suggests this is the real image of unison would raise a few eyebrows. Co-existing isn't inclusion.

You would be constantly seeking some norm that isn't everyone else's.  Something has to give.  We will end up with 6B minorities all demanding own thing.  Perhaps a message to  'be careful what you wish for'I don't know anyone who wants to be the same as everyone else, do you?  Contention is life.

New integrated support for Vision and hearing loss areas.

Cheshire East Council has launched a new integrated service for people who experience vision and hearing loss. Cheshire East Council is working with the charity Deafness Support Network to provide the new ‘one-stop shop’. 

The service is available for adults, children and young people with sensory impairments, this includes those who are visually impaired, are deaf or have hearing loss, are deafblind – sometimes known as dual sensory loss – and those with a significant combination of hearing and sight loss.

In Cheshire East there are 48,334 adults with a moderate or severe hearing impairment. This is predicted to increase to 63,774 by 2030; 7,490 adults aged 65 plus have a moderate or severe visual impairment. The number of people aged 75 plus with registrable eye conditions is 2,522, and 1,993 people are on the visual impairment register (although people are not obliged to register). The support available from the new service will be based on individual need and may include help in increasing life skills, promoting independence, working with conflicts of interest and relationships, as well as coping strategies. 

People using the service will be encouraged to learn new skills and support will be provided for those with a sensory loss to allow them to participate in group activities. Help with loss and bereavement will also be provided. CCllr Liz Wardlawouncillor Liz Wardlaw, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for health, said: “This is excellent news for residents. The new service will enable those experiencing hearing and/or sight loss to learn new life skills, meet with other people/children with the same conditions and form a new network of support.” 

Deafness Support Network chief executive Bob Birchall said: “Our combined service for residents of all ages, who suffer from both vision and hearing loss, will be easier to access. We’re proud of our team, our volunteers and other supporters who offer a first-class service for children, young people and adults with sensory impairments” Deafness Support Network is a charity which has been operating in Cheshire for more than 40 years. It has a team of more than 70 staff, including highly-skilled interpreters and support workers. 

The charity provides services for a population of around 200,000 people in Cheshire, Flintshire, Wrexham and the surrounding areas. 

There is a signed video on this site, but ATR is unsure deaf-blind can actually view it, let us know How can improve on such access

Blind Guide Dog owner attacked 6 times.

Carolyn with her guide dog Ally, who was attacked six times before she had to stop work as a guide dog Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN
Police in Suffolk are to receive specialist training on guide dog attacks in the first scheme of its kind in Britain. More than 1,000 Suffolk officers are to take part in the project thanks to a cash injection of nearly £10,000 from police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore. 

News of the investment has delighted Carolyn Allum, from Claydon, whose guide dog Ally had to be retired early after repeated attacks. “Over the last 12 months I’ve experienced the devastating consequences of these horrific attacks when my own beloved guide dog had to be withdrawn from service,” she said. 

Carolyn with her guide dog Ally, who was attacked six times before she had to stop work as a guide dog.  The impact on my independence and emotional wellbeing has been overwhelming and I am hoping to once again experience the liberation and freedom these amazing dogs give.” This new project – a partnership between Guide Dogs UK, Deafblind UK and the force’s learning and development team – could be rolled out nationally if the Suffolk pilot is successful. As part of the initiative, video and online learning tools will be developed for the force. These will help to build knowledge and understanding of the impact an attack on a guide dog has on someone with sight loss. 

Monday, 11 February 2019

A day at the BDA.

Warning,  (Paddy Ladd alert).  A real eye-opener into the chaotic working of the UK's premier sign language and culture-based charity.  With the first 42 mins a total blank screen and silence, and the incoherent rambling of the architect of Deafhood, who needed translation himself trying to fly a very limp flag of UK deaf culture there.

ATR noted a deaf questioner angry the BDA was over-focusing on its funded support areas and not enhancing its member base at all, via a BDA vlog that hardly included the deaf membership whilst advertising for more to join, and despite the charity being in debt like the AOHL is.  Less than 9% of all funds were directed at members or potential members. The Deaf still don't understand charity in the 21stc, where members are no longer the force charities need to drive them and takes second place to raising the money to exist.   Charities are no longer grassroots driven.  They don't need members except as the stat image in campaigns..

E.G. Whilst many deaf abandoned the RNID in the past because of their downgrading of the Deaf support areas, and the dubious sacking of the only signing CEO ever, the Deaf did not then migrate to their own culture charity in defiance but abandoned the concept of deaf charity to pursue rights agendas, only to find there was no unity of approach, and divisions over diversity and inclusive processes.  

Charity is a business and it is all about applying for grants and funding, that's it.  You could count the amount of deaf supporting them at this AGM, which should (but doesn't), cause concern about viability, then again the AOHL didn't make attending any easier by holding AGM's in London either, and their foray into social media access live (Which in retrospect was welcome from the BDA even if huge amounts of access failed to emerge), was a lesson they learned by them not to do again, because access means real questions are asked.  We saw despite streaming no real questions asked, apathy rules, or maybe no-one KNEW about the streaming!

They don't deserve to exist on the basis of what we saw.

The breakthrough of the 21st century

The clip on device is small and light.
Lisa Hayes has had a debilitating illness since birth, but a small device she got for free has changed everything. 

For most of us, receiving junk mail is an annoyance. For Sydney woman Lisa Hayes, it’s a thrill. She was born completely blind and has never known what it’s like to scan through the items in unsolicited catalogues that get stuffed into her letter box. 

That was until last September when she received a small device that clips onto a pair of glasses and uses sophisticated artificial intelligence technology to recognise faces and read text for her. “It’s one of the best things I’ve ever had,” Ms Hayes, 50, and says the device has transformed her life. “It has got be the breakthrough of the 21st century as far as I’m concerned.” 

The product, called MyEye 2, is the second version of the assistive wearable technology made by Israeli company OrCam. Designed for the blind and visually impaired, the device clips on to the side of a pair of glasses. On the front is a camera with real-time visual recognition technology and on the back is a small speaker that discreetly relays the information into the ear of the user — and comes in 23 different languages. Ms Hayes has been proficient in braille from an early age but she now relishes being able to read a book or magazine article recommended to her by friends. 

“Being totally blind since birth, I’ve never been able to read a print book,” she said. “I can now actually read.

Cuts to deaf educational support completely unacceptable...

Emma Heaysman with her son Lewis, who she fears could suffer at school if Hampshire councillors approve 700,000 savings to its Specialist Teacher Advisory Service. Picture: Duncan Shepherd
FAMILIES and charities have branded county council plans to reduce education support for thousands of children and young adults with disabilities ‘completely unacceptable’. 

A Hampshire County Council consultation is proposing changes to its Specialist Teacher Advisory Service, which provides support in schools for children who have hearing or visual impairments, physical disabilities or speech, language and communication needs. Emma Heaysman with her son Lewis, who she fears could suffer at school if Hampshire councillors approve 700,000 savings to its Specialist Teacher Advisory Service.

The changes could see fewer visits, reductions in trained staff, an increased workload for teachers and less continuity among the special teachers who still visit Hampshire schools. Mum Emma Heaysman from Portchester was angered after receiving a letter about the plans, which will affect her son Lewis, 10, who is deaf. She said: ‘I think it is awful because this support has really helped my son and many like him from a young age be able to get the most out of school. ‘His adviser has made sure his teachers, many of whom have not worked with a deaf child before, understand how they can help – ensuring they don’t turn round while speaking so he can lip read and he is sat at the front.’ 

Emma believes the council should be thinking about providing more services and ensuring there is continuity with advisers making visits. She said: ‘Deafness should not affect someone’s learning ability but many don’t pass five GCSEs at A to C, so they are under-represented already. If anything there needs to be more help and certainly not less. ‘Lewis has known his adviser since he was four and I think its a bad idea to have different ones as kids may then not be able to open up about the problems they are having.’ The National Deaf Children’s Society has branded the proposals ‘completely unacceptable’. 

Still unemployed after 1,000 rejections... Why?

CHANCE: Kellie Wilson believes she has not been offered jobs because she is deaf
Why do we feel there HAS to be more to this than the applicant being deaf?  ATR took ANY job rather than be unemployed, including stacking shelves in a supermarket and cleaning the road, why can't she?  Is there any point slagging of CI's as an excuse? other than scoring kudo points with the sign-using die-hards?  

The reality is a CI would not initially enhance her chances, she shows a lot of ignorance of the CI processes.  As ever the world revolves around hearing, and once you adapt to that things get a little easier.  

One suggests she has the wherewithal to complain, maybe if she was left with a more stark choice she could lower her sights a bit and get on the work ladder and prove the point.  Nobody is going to hire you just because you are deaf, you have to show a skill set and adaptability.  It looks like being adaptable is considered undermining her deafness.  So its principles before practicality.  Sadly that doesn't pay the rent.

Pointing out telephonic access isn't an issue would help, but demanding sign support and playing the deaf card will be a barrier.  It would be more relevant if we were to ask employers why they turned her down, it may not be because she was deaf.  It is about the person and willingness to adapt and also to show the potential, employers aren't there to enforce deaf rights.

"Kellie Wilson believes she has not been offered jobs because she is deaf. Kellie Wilson believes she has not been offered jobs because she is deaf  An IT worker is calling on employers to give her a chance after applying for 1,000 jobs in the past 18-months and being offered not one - she believes because she is deaf. Kellie Wilson, 32, is now considering going through an operation she is scared to have and which may not work just to give herself a chance in life. 

She has worked in the past in the court and prison services and in student loans but every application she has made since the summer of 2017 has failed. Her last job was with a temporary contract for the court service. Ms Wilson, from Middleton Tyas, near Richmond, is totally confident she can do the mostly administrative jobs she’s applied for, although she has also gone for pub, housekeeping and pot washing jobs. She said: “The only thing I cannot do is hear. My mind is sharp and I can lip read really well. 

“I am currently being assessed for a cochlear implant in the hopes of improving my situation. “I feel as though I have to change who I am in the face of ignorance. “I am contacted by companies saying they are happy with my CV and can I call them to chat or for a phone interview. “I explain why I cannot and offer to chat via email or Skype or text relay and either don’t hear back or am told that they do not have the facilities to chat in my suggested methods. “In interviews, if I struggle to understand what’s being said, I explain my disability. 

Then I get the reply ‘there’s a lot of phone work in this role’ or ‘we don’t think this role is the right fit for you’. She added: “I can easily do the jobs I apply for and wouldn’t apply if I could not. “I am just asking employers to give me a chance and treat me like other people.” 

Comment (Not by ATR):

While I feel sorry for her, you have to understand that businesses have requirements. If a business needs someone to take phone calls, why should they hire someone who can't hear? The army wouldn't recruit someone with no legs for obvious reasons. It's sad, but business are allowed to choose the best fit. 


But the Army does take deaf people.... and those with mobility issues, HoH too, away from front line duties that is.  Diversity doesn't just mean deaf people.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

To Emoji or not, why the question?

Would we or disabled USE them? The concept doesn't appear to relate to inclusion in a real sense, just another tier of 'labelling' to add to the plethora of stereotypes we already see (Like the deaf obsession with hands, and the wheelchair logo).  Adding different icons to ID individual issues is getting ridiculous.  It all plays into the 'diversity' thing that is creating more issues than it solves.    

Proper inclusion means nobody is identified as different.  It becomes an albatross around your neck if you play into it too much.  It also plays into the 'who am I?' scenarios creating more stress and isolation as you seek like with like and find.... there aren't any like you because you are an individual, just embrace it.  Wonder if they have a logo for 'I'm NOTHING like these people!'

Good Neighbours.

There’s being a good neighbor, and then there’s going the extra mile. And in one Massachusetts neighborhood, the neighbors are pulling out all the stops. 

Two years ago, about a week after Samantha was born, Glenda and Raphael Savitz learned their daughter was deaf. “She was the first deaf person my husband and I had known,” Glenda, 33, told the Boston Globe. 

“So it’s a surprise. Unexpected. But I think I’m someone who’s like: OK. What do we do? She’s a week old. We’re going to be learning sign language. There was no question that was going to be important to her development and her growth.’’ But the Savitz family weren’t the only ones who learned how to sign. Over 20 residents of their neighborhood in the town of Newton are learning sign language too. The residents hired an instructor on their own and regularly gather together in a living room to learn the language. The neighbors’ desire to learn to communicate with Samantha is something that the Savitz family finds extremely touching. 

“One of the most emotional experiences having her is that I really learned about how much support and how much love there is here,’’ Glenda said. “People are putting in so much time and energy to learn a foreign language because they’re dying to talk to my little girl. I don’t have words for that.’’ Baby Sam already has friends all over the neighborhood. 

Henry Marshall, a 19-year-old Harvard freshman, told the Globe that Sam plays with her child-size basketball hoop as he shoots hoops on his adult-size one. While he plays, she mimics his movements and signs the words for “play” and “friend.”

Old Chestnuts

girl with cochlear implants
Amazing the press are still supporting 'Deaf' reservations regarding CI's.  There aren't any, another crucial point via the links to their stories clearly show that no choices have been impinged upon and playing the deafie is simple, you just disconnect the CI if that is your want, and sign if that is what you choose to communicate with. As regards to 'risks' every operation from an ingrowing toenail to setting a broken leg contains risk.

By far the real value of CI's (We know they aren't the same as ears they are aids to hearing not replacement ears), is the support it offers to enable learning, why anyone would object to that defies rationale'.  Or, that 'Deaf' are quite prepared to wear glasses or have eye implants, have appendix out, or take supplements to prevent disabilities in children (Which could be seen as denigrating disability too by our ridiculous hashtag/snowflake culture), yer pays yer money and choices/perspective are not part of the equation.

It's as if some Deaf areas (Mainly those who don't have CI's anyway), feel the dependency nature of sign which underpins their culture, would cease if the CI enables less sign reliance, so the opposition appears mainly some desperate 'rear-guard' action to preserve the status quo of others.  Of course, CI implantees sign too.  So, it is the issue they aren't part of ye olde deaf school setups that irk anti-Ci people?  It's time CI media coverage stopped playing the D/d cards and endorsing what increasingly appears to be some sort of 'Deaf' paranoia aimed at opposing choice.  There is very clear evidence of very real benefits to the deaf child, and, deaf adults too.  They come first, culture doesn't enter into it.

The Item:

Image result for an old chestnutMy niece lost her hearing. This is a story about how technology brought it back girl with cochlear implants Simon Hill/Digital Trends It wasn’t until my brother told me they were concerned that I noticed my niece couldn’t hear like other kids. When children are very young it can be extremely difficult to determine their level of hearing. “Around her first birthday, we realized she wasn’t responding normally to sound,” Steven Hill told Digital Trends. 

“She didn’t react to a lot of sounds, and when she was sleeping it was very difficult to wake her.” Because Maddie still had some hearing, it was a long struggle for her parents to get her diagnosed properly. Poor results in hearing tests are sometimes attributed to fidgety kids, and she was smart enough to compensate for her lack of hearing. They tried hearing aids for a while, but they just amplify sound. If you can’t fundamentally hear certain frequency ranges, then a hearing aid can’t do anything for you. They taught her some sign language to make it easier for her to communicate. 

But once it became clear the hearing aids, even at the highest volume, weren’t helping, Maddie was finally diagnosed with profound hearing loss. “If we didn’t implant when we did, it would have been removing a choice from her.” The next step suggested was a cochlear implant, and because of the delay in her diagnosis, the doctors wanted to proceed with it as quickly as possible. If the brain’s auditory pathways aren’t stimulated in the first three to four years, then the capacity to hear and learn to speak normally can be dramatically reduced, because the brain focuses on other functions. 

“We didn’t get as much time as we’d have liked to find out everything we wanted to,” Hill said. “Our overriding rationale was that if she decides later in life she doesn’t want to hear, and instead use sign, then she can remove them. But if we didn’t implant when we did, it would have been removing a choice from her.”