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.