Saturday, 9 March 2019

Police negative signing? are Deaf to blame themselves?

Police people using offensive signs? No, my partner born deaf still uses these signs as do her deaf club peers, it's about context not everything is about discrimination.  He is targeting the wrong people, the signs originate WITH the deaf. 

Note: black sign colloquial usage use a 'negative white' sign format also, should we not call that discrimination too?  

Politically correct signs or, those newly created to replace perceived racial negativity etc ignore where the signs originate aka with the deaf themselves, and whilst new signs are replacing old ones, older deaf are not using them and still using the signs they know.  It won't help the police going at these deaf too which is what the poster is asking for.


South Wales deaf choir.

Meet the deaf choir giving people a voice through sign language choir The choir performs for the public regularly. 

A choir based in Cwmbran is giving young deaf people an opportunity to practice their love of music by performing through sign language. Cwmbran Deaf Choir conveys their songs through British Sign Language (BSL). Their members rehearse once a week and allow those who are hard of hearing to showcase their passion for signing and songs. 

The choir, which originally formed in 2011, auditioned for Britain's Got Talent twice and got through the first two rounds. They have also performed at the Royal Albert Hall and the Principality Stadium. choir in the stadium The choir has performed at the Principality Stadium Credit: Louise Chris Heirene To see them in a classroom situation, they may appear nervous, withdrawn. To then see them perform, you would never think any of them have any confidence issues. 

They recently sang in Cardiff's John Lewis store for shoppers. 

Born deaf twins now bilingual and hearing.

Who needs Deaflympics?

Friday, 8 March 2019

Including the unincluded

Image result for deafblind formatsCharity media unable to respond to concerns deaf-blind e.g. are unable almost totally to access deaf or HoH media. As one poster put it.....

"I'm inclined to agree deaf-blind and deaf with vision impairments must be struggling to follow this website.  I suspect the reason is a wider acceptance deaf-blind go to own sites and areas, just like deaf signers or HoH do, its an issue often brought up here about inclusion being a myth in that regard.  

Most minorities don't understand inclusion in its basic reality, or what is required from mainstream or from them.  Whilst different and dedicated areas exist then inclusion cannot because mainstream or even the same people with different formats won't expect to see wider inclusion with own or mainstream areas if that access format isn't theirs.  A perfectly accessible site would they say, be unviewable too.  

This particular forum hasn't the tools to alter visual formats that's another issue. (Changing background and foreground colours text size etc), or even adding signed accompaniment to text postings for those deaf who use that because 98% of posters don't actually sign and the sheer cost of translating the forum is prohibitive.

Note: ATR uses black background/lighter text, but not all deafblind want or need that.  Signers want sign and nil captions, others want no sign and captions only, lip-readers abandoned the entire concept of accessible speech.

It's all very well minorities angry they aren't included, but, they demand own areas at the same time, which undermine the point.  Whole areas of the Internet are dedicated, singular, minority areas, albeit most of those AREN'T in the formats they actually prefer, it is text mostly. And utilising singular formats pushes others away from it as they struggle to follow.  There is no one size fits all, albeit text is the nearest to it."

4 deaf-blind resources that we can all use.

Assistive technology iconSome products used by blind and deaf or hard-of-hearing (HOH) customers are specifically designed for such use, a class of deaf-blind resources commonly called “assistive technology.” Others, generally called “accessible technologies,” provide value for all customers, including those with visual and hearing impairments. In either case, businesses that build or use products useful to the deaf and blind are engaging a smart business practice, one that increases inclusivity and builds inroads to a larger market than they could have reached otherwise. Read on for examples of accessible technologies that offer a compelling mix of mass-market appeal and utility for deaf or blind customers.

1. Transformative Power in Your Pocket.

Text-to-speech and speech-to-text technologies are better and more accurate than ever. This continued improvement has particularly benefited deaf/HOH and blind customers, who can access these powerful tools on their smartphones without having to haul specialized tools to work, the classroom, and other places they frequent.

Deaf/HOH customers can harness speech-to-text in a few surprising ways. Imagine the difficulty a person who relies on lip-reading might have following a group conversation, for instance. Numerous apps use speech-to-text APIs to provide automated transcription, displaying each participant’s name in a different color to ensure the user doesn’t lose information or context. Adaptations like these go hand-in-hand with visual voicemail and other tools that turn audible data into a text-based format.

On the other hand, blind customers may naturally find more value in text-to-speech solutions. For these customers, screen-reading tools make everything from text-based communication (SMS, email) to basic navigation easier. With text-to-speech in place, the phone can read options aloud, and the user can access them with vocal command. Optical character recognition (OCR) takes this idea even further, reading the text on any printed material, from a street sign to a handwritten note, and converting it to audio format, according to the American Foundation for the Blind.

2. Mass-Market Blockbusters Become Deaf-Blind Resources.

Home assistants have become technological mainstays, and their speech-recognition and -playback capabilities make them a helpful tool for the blind community. This technology removes steps from everyday processes. Previous resources also helped the visually impaired perform unit conversions in the kitchen or navigate complex media libraries, but newer models require only a quick vocal command.

Home assistants are becoming more helpful for the deaf/HOH as well. Screens on higher-end models from Amazon and Google, for instance, can now display the devices’ spoken replies on a visual medium. Additionally, third-party workarounds allow users to hold full-text conversations with their home-assistant devices. Though not an official solution, this workaround can help devices better understand hearing-impaired people’s vocal commands.

3. Bringing Comms Everywhere.

Cloud-communications tools such as voice over IP (VoIP) and video conferencing came onto the scene and immediately began creating new markets with their unique offerings. Their benefits as deaf-blind resources can be grouped into two high-level categories: access and adaptability.

First, consider how a call can originate. Smartphones, laptops, tablets, and PCs can call over cellular and traditional data networks, and other comms can be held over internal business networks and the like. This variety of options helps deaf/HOH users — who may have relied on dedicated text telephone (TTY) hardware in the past — take their critical communications anywhere they go for important business and personal use.

VoIP and video conferencing offer similar flexibility on the software side through their ability to integrate with other solutions. As deaf-blind resources, they can effectively be fitted to whatever function a hearing- or visually-impaired user may need, paving the way for companies to create accessible tools without building a communications platform to go with it. In this sense, cloud-communications tools aren’t impressive because of one function; they’re impressive because almost anything — including an array of deaf- and blind-focused improvements — can be built on top of the communications they provide.

4. Wearables: Good Now, Great Later.

Whereas the other items on this list provide value now, wearables such as smartwatches are a few years away from realizing their full potential. When they do, expect their diverse combination of hard and soft tools to provide a groundbreaking consumer-market experience for deaf and blind users.

A lot of the utility of wearables will stem from their ability to simplify navigational tasks other users may take for granted. For example, blind users will soon be able to use a “smart necklace” that reads the room in front of it and reports its findings in speech format, according to Google’s blog, The Keyword. This function complements the functionality of smartwatch-based tools blind consumers already rely on, such as spoken-word, turn-by-turn directions. Solutions for deaf users will follow a similar trend. A watch that automatically registers various noises and vibrates with a text-based alert could signal ringing doorbells, chirping oven timers, and crying children, for example.

These examples only scratch the surface of what wearables will soon be able to do. As internal hardware grows more powerful and user-facing capabilities become more sophisticated, deaf and blind users will undoubtedly become a core user segment for device manufacturers and software makers alike — reflecting the tech world’s evolving commitment to disabled customers and the impressive list of tasks their creations can perform.

Tweet laughs

For the uninitiated, Titania Gethsemane McGrath is a radical vegan, woke poet committed to feminism, social justice and armed, peaceful protest
Enjoy while you can, Twitter is not usually known as a source of humour!  Here, left-wingers get duped by a fake snowflake posting.

The 'woke' tweets that duped so many.

I have always stood up for minorities. As such, it is essential that we respect the wishes of the minority of UK voters and overturn Brexit.

So what if Shamima Begum joined ISIS when she was 15? My sister got caught stealing a croissant on her gap year in Marseille. TEENAGERS MAKE MISTAKES.

I’ve been accused of living in a woke ‘echo chamber’ and that my opinions are out of touch with regular people. But I’ve asked around my close friends and they all agree this isn’t the case.

I’ve been forced to muzzle my dog, because although it identifies as a cat it keeps bloody barking.

White people: stop trying to help destitute Africans. I’m sure they’d rather starve than perpetuate negative racial stereotypes.

Dieting is fat-shaming yourself.

Straight men should be in a zoo.

The media’s coverage of ISIS is underpinned by deep-seated Islamophobia. If it isn’t, how come they never say anything nice about them? 

Sign Language for drugs.

Marijuana for the Deaf – Cannabis Sign Language from CannabisNet on Vimeo.

It should be pointed out ATR is anti ALL Drug usage, and the post is in no way intended to promote the use of them or to make young deaf look 'cool' using the signs, as this could contribute to own usage.   They are simply intended to include more modern signs to the deaf signing vocabulary. 

Thank YOU ATR..

A word from the WISE.

Books: Need for more deaf inclusion?

The Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson and Oscar-winning actress Rachel Shenton are using World Book Day to highlight the need to include more disabilities in children’s stories. 

 Rachel Shenton, who last year won an Oscar for The Silent Child, a film about a deaf girl, is calling on authors and publishers to feature disabilities in children's books The pair said it was incredibly important that disabilities like deafness are featured in children’s books. They have joined together to launch the National Deaf Children’s Society competition, open to the 18,000 deaf children in the UK aged 7-11, for a story including a deaf character. 

Julia Donaldson, who is hard of hearing herself, has written a book featuring lip-reading called Freddie and the Fairy and when she was Children’s Laureate worked with a group of deaf children on What the Jackdaw Saw, a book about sign language. The children’s author said, ‘I loved working on that story, and now I’m delighted to be involved in this writing competition. I can’t wait to see the stories that deaf children across the country come up with.’

 Rachel Shenton won an Oscar for best live action short film in 2018 The Silent Child, which tells the story of a four-year-old girl who struggles to communicate until she learns sign language. ‘Making The Silent Child, and from my work in the deaf community, I’ve met so many amazing deaf children up and down the country. I’ve learnt just how important it is for these children to see themselves in the programmes and movies they watch and in the books they read. 

Never seeing themselves can be so demoralising, and make their experiences seem invisible. ‘For World Book Day, which is such an exciting time for kids across the country to think about the stories they love, we need to remind everyone involved in the industry of how important disability inclusion is. From children’s authors to book publishers, featuring disabled characters and the experiences they go through couldn’t be more important.’ 

PPIE Panel Training (BSL).

Thursday, 7 March 2019

World Book Day: Teaching deaf kids to read.

tips to teach your deaf child to read
Whilst signing is useful, reading is essential, one set of ideas that may help your child to read better. Remember, poor literacy is a far worse disability than being deaf.

The key to teaching reading to any child is to make it FUN! Learning to read doesn’t have to be a dreaded process for you or your child. 

Start early. Your infant can begin to enjoy picture books as early as six weeks–which is about when their vision sharpens. Keep in mind, books need to be held no more than 10 inches away during the first three months. As soon as each of my babies were a few weeks old, I brought out picture books with simple objects and just one to a page. Before my kids could even sit up, they would become excited at seeing the same books over and over. 

Often, my husband and I would team up to read, with one of us holding the kid and the other reading and signing. When our kids were a bit older, one of us would read out loud while the other held the book and followed along pointing at each word. We often alternated our methods in a variety of ways depending on each child’s development and skill. Not only did we strive to develop their language skills, we worked on auditory skills with whatever auditory ability they had. 

Even kids with profound losses can appreciate books that focus on sound–using drums, vibrations, visual lights flashing, etc. Be as creative as you can in showing your child the visual and auditory world around you. In the Tub One of the best places to teach reading is in the tub. This is the perfect place to keep your child in one place for a while and have some fun learning to read. Occasionally I would also bring in treats like ice cream bars or popsicles (you can make healthy ones!) The best reading tool is a set of foam letters. Yes, that’s right. A cheap set of foam letters. I taught all three of my kids to read during bath time. Start by teaching them to recognize each letter. 

Once they know the alphabet, play “Hunt for the Letter” by tossing all of them into the tub at once. “Where’s the A?” “Where’s the P?” You can use cueing, fingerspelling, or flashcards to show the letters you’re looking for. Have your child put each letter up on the bathroom wall as they find them. The next step is to start spelling out short words. Cat. Dog. Mom. Dad. Pig. And so on. I had a whole collection of plastic animals that we used in the tub. Here’s a way to vary the activity and encourage kids to think. Put up the word “Cat.” Then hold up an “M” and a “H.” Now ask your child, “Which letter would turn this word into “Hat?” If your child has some difficulty, then use visual cues, props, flashcards, cueing, or fingerspelling. 

Do this with a variety of easy words. Around the House Grab a 100-pack of index cards and a marker. Label things around the house. Once your child has mastered the words, substitute the cards with more complex words or similar words. This works great for families with multiple languages. Yes, deaf and hard of hearing kids can learn more than one language. The key is to provide access in a way that the child can comprehend, process, and understand language. Use Books with Pictures for Wordstips to teach your deaf child to read One of my kids’ favorite books was “Picky Nicky.” 

This book was a bit more advanced for the beginner reader, but the beauty of this book was each sentence had one or two pictures in place of words. I would read the words and pause at the pictures. This gave my child the opportunity to fill in the word by looking at the picture. It was a great way to involve them in reading longer books and allowing them to participate in the reading. Read more: Tips for establishing a bedtime routine for deaf children Cooking + Readingtips to teach your deaf child to read If you have a kid who won’t sit still long enough to get through a book, another way to teach reading is through cooking. Yup, that’s right, cooking! Use the back of a brownie or cake mix to teach reading. Most box mixes have pictures as well–showing eggs, a measuring cup, etc. Ask questions like, “Can you find the word, ‘Pan?’” “What temperature should I turn the oven on?” “How many minutes do we need to bake the muffins?”

Let your child scan the box to find the answers. On the Road tips to teach your deaf child to read One of the first signs my kids learned to read was the “stop” sign. “Oh look, there’s the stop sign,” you say as you come to a stop. “S. T. O. P. Yup, that means stop. So I’ll need to stop here.” Yes, that sounds cheesy when you say it, but hey, you’re teaching your kid to read everything, everywhere you go. As they get older, you ask for help in finding certain exits. “I need to watch for the exit for Lawrence,” you say. “Can you help me find the exit that begins with the letter, L?” Do this within a mile or two at first. 

For more fun, start out on a trip with a list of words to find and cross them off as you pass them by. Other Reading Tips:tips to teach your deaf child to read When your child begins to learn to read and knows a few words from a favorite book, read along by pointing to each word and then stopping in puzzlement at a word that your child knows. Give them a chance to recognize and read the word–kids love to help adults and share what they know! When your child has a comprehensive understanding of a book, you can also have some fun by misreading a word and waiting to see if your child catches your mistake. This is also a way to test your child’s understanding. 

Another fun reading activity: alternate sentences when reading familiar books. You read one, your kid reads the next one. Pick books that fit your child’s language development at the time. If you notice your child has a passion for a certain sport or activity, select books around those topics. Don’t be afraid to read books that are above your child’s reading level. The more words you expose your child to, the better!

Sister launches vlog in Makaton to aid brother

BSL app for deaf signing shoppers.

This access only applies to BSL users, not to all deaf people. Sign Solutions is a BSL dedicated area.

Bromsgrove District Council has paid £1,500 so town centre businesses can access British Sign Language Interpretation services through an app to help deaf shoppers, writes Kirsty Card. 

The council is working in partnership with Alvechurch-based Sign Solutions on the project which will be done on a 12-month trial. The app will include a video call feature to a sign language interpreter who will help the customer and trader to communicate more effectively. 

Sign Solutions’ managing director Clare Vale said she was delighted the district council was implementing the services which would be of huge benefit to the town. “Making communication for deaf people accessible on the high street is no longer the sole province of banks and building societies. “We are finding there is an increasing awareness from major retailers and independents who want to ensure there is a level playing field for all their customers to find out about and access their products and services.” 

Sign Solutions is working with consortiums of retailers, Business Improvement Districts (BIDS), town centre managers and local councils. The scheme launched in the town on Wednesday and some local businesses have already signed up, including Bayleys of Bromsgrove, Giinger Boutique and Decanter Spirit. Coun Karen May, the council’s portfolio holder for economic development, said: “There are always more reasons to shop in Bromsgrove as the town continues to grow and develop. “This latest initiative means even more people can access our wonderful array of shops, cafes, restaurants and service providers like banks and building societies.” 

100s more deaf children to get CI's.

Benjamin's life has changed since receiving his implants (Joanna Wayne/ PA)
Hundreds of deaf children and adults will receive hearing implants on the NHS after changes to official guidelines. A review of eligibility criteria by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) means many more will now benefit from the technology. 

The mother of a four-year-old boy who was refused cochlear implants by the NHS said she was “delighted” by the announcement. Joanna Wayne, from Carshalton in South London, launched a campaign which raised £80,000 to fund her son’s “magic ears”. 

Since undergoing an operation last April and having his hearing “switched on” in May, Benjamin’s speech has improved significantly. Benjamin's life has changed since receiving his implants (Joanna Wayne/ PA)Benjamin’s implants mean he can now hear music (Joanna Wayne/PA) “I am delighted at the news of the updated criteria from NICE,” Ms Wayne told the Press Association. “Since being switched on, Benji’s life has changed so much. “With hard work and specialist speech therapy his speech understanding and production has improved dramatically. 

 “He can hear music, songs and is learning phonics in a mainstream school with hearing classmates. “I am so happy for all the other children that will now benefit from this life-changing technology.” Benjamin's mum Joanna is delighted that more children will now benefit (Joanna Wayne/ PA)Benjamin’s mum Joanna is delighted that more children will now benefit (Joanna Wayne/PA) Ms Wayne believes her son Benjamin might have been eligible for implants on the NHS under the new guidelines. Severe to profound deafness, used to identify if a cochlear implant might be appropriate, was previously defined as only hearing sounds louder than 90 decibels without hearing aids. 

 The updated guidance recognises it as only hearing sounds louder than 80 decibels without hearing aids, at two or more frequencies. It is estimated that around 1,260 people in England receive cochlear implants each year. NICE said that this number could increase by 70% to 2,150 by 2025, as a result of the updated guidance.

Sensorineural Loss cure in sight?

There are currently no drugs available that treat hearing loss. At present, patients have to opt for hearing aids or cochlear implants, which don’t address the root cause of hearing loss. Damage to the sensory hair cells in the cochlea – known as sensorineural hearing loss – is a major cause of hearing loss acquired later in life: 90% of cases of hearing loss are sensorineural. 

Overall, 1 in 6 people in the UK – and around half a billion people worldwide and over 360 million people worldwide – have hearing loss. Hair cell loss has long been thought to be irreversible, but various earlier studies in animals indicate that functioning inner ear sensory hair cells may be regenerated through the use of a small molecule substance called a gamma-secretase inhibitor. 

Now, researchers at UCLH’s Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital (RNTNEH) and UCL Ear Institute are leading a trial – being undertaken by the REGAIN (Regeneration of inner ear hair cells with gamma-secretase inhibitors) consortium made up of partners in the Netherlands, UK, Greece, Germany and Denmark – to test a drug in patients with hearing loss based on these studies.

Professor Anne Schilder, director of evidENT at the UCL Ear Institute and NIHR Research Professor, who is supported by the National Institute for Health Research UCLH Biomedical Research Centre and is leading the design and delivery of the REGAIN clinical trial, said: “We are proud to be part of the REGAIN consortium and to be leading on translating this scientific breakthrough into a treatment that may improve people’s hearing and lives.” 

For ‘phase 1’ of the REGAIN trial, which took place throughout 2018, the clinical research team at RNTNEH gave the drug via injections to the ear to 15 patients with mild to moderate sensorineural hearing loss, to test the safety and tolerability of the drug. Researchers at UCLH and UCL – along with sites in Germany and Greece – are now moving on to the next stage of the REGAIN clinical trial: a ‘Phase 2 study’ which will test the efficacy of the drug in 40 adults with mild to moderate adult-onset sensorineural hearing loss. 

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

How to Handle Hearing Loss in the Workplace

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog
It was my first meeting with the new CEO of a large retail company and he was clearly under the weather. His eyes were watery, he was coughing and his voice was weaker than usual. “I’ll sit across the table from you,” he said, “so I don’t get you sick.” This was a thoughtful gesture, but as I sized up the large conference table now lying between us, I worried I wouldn’t be able to hear him. 

As he began to answer my first question, my fears were realized — I couldn’t understand a word he said. I hadn’t yet begun to disclose my hearing loss to people, preferring to fake it when I couldn’t hear, rather than reveal what I still considered my shameful secret. How was I going to handle this critical meeting? 

Having no choice, I came clean. “I don’t hear very well so it would be better if we sat closer to one another,” I said. “I will have to take my chances with your cold,” I added with a smile. Laughing, he moved closer, making it much easier for me to hear. The meeting was a success, yet, I still chose not to discuss my hearing loss more broadly. A few years later, I moved into a management role. I was excited about my new responsibilities, but what I hadn’t realized was that when you are a manager, a big part of your job is listening to other people’s secrets. 

Trouble with your colleagues? Talk to management. Disappointed with your year-end bonus? Talk to management. Need time off to care for your ailing parent? Talk to management. All day long, I had people in my office sharing confidential information with me. Can you ask people to repeat their secrets — only louder this time? Luckily my office was quiet and I could ask clarifying questions, but being open about my hearing issues would have made my job much easier. 

Should You Disclose Your Hearing Loss at Work? 

Why was I so worried about disclosing my hearing loss? For all the years I worked at the company, I wore hearing aids, yet I performed well at my job and even got promoted. Was I afraid that my previous achievements would be erased by revealing a “weakness” — that I needed hearing aids to hear? With hindsight, this all seems rather silly. Disclosing my hearing issues would not have changed my track record of performance or reputation for hard work. Instead, it could have saved me a lot of unnecessary stress and wasted time. 

Perhaps I could have forged deeper relationships with coworkers or even asked for accommodations like an enhanced phone or a better seat at the conference table. I wish I had been more open about my hearing loss at work. Does this mean that everyone should disclose their hearing loss at work? In most cases, I believe the answer is “Yes.” 

Here are some reasons why. 

1. Strong performance speaks for itself. If you have an existing track record of good performance in your role, disclosing your hearing issues will not change your hard-won reputation.  Assuming your hearing issues are not new, your strong work will continue and perhaps improve with the added benefit of disclosure. 

2. Possibility of easy fixes. Disclosing your hearing loss allows for accommodation. A different seating arrangement at meetings or a better conference room speakerphone might make you an even more productive worker. Coming clean allows you to ask for the assistance you need and to be less fearful when asking for a repeat or clarification. 

3. Authenticity is rewarded. After I came out of my hearing loss closet and began disclosing my hearing issues, I was amazed how many people responded to my admission of hearing loss with a confession of their own. Sharing my vulnerabilities fostered an environment where others could share their struggles too.  This boosted morale for everyone involved. 

4. Less stress. Depending on the degree of your hearing loss, your co-workers may already suspect you have a hearing problem or worse, they think you are not smart or are a poor listener. When people know you have a hearing loss, it takes the pressure off of having to hear everything perfectly, and what a relief that is. 

5. Times are changing. Millennials and subsequent generations are more comfortable with disabilities since they were exposed to them in school. Many of my children’s peers received accommodations on tests for learning differences. This was not stigmatized but viewed as a normal pattern of behaviour. They have carried this view into the workplace.  When one millennial joins a new team, he emails them his “hearing bio” with suggested communication tips so they will know how to work best with him. This emerging openness bodes well for all of us, even if we are not millennials. 

6. The law is on our side. Under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) employers must provide “reasonable accommodations” for employees with hearing loss, as long as it does not cause “undue hardship” which is defined as significant difficulty or expense. Reasonable accommodations could include things like captioned phones, assistive listening devices, or work area adjustments like a change in seating location. Readers, do you disclose your hearing loss at work? 


How to Complain.

Early CI implantation key to speech learning.

Image result for CI's deaf childrenResearchers from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago present further evidence that deaf children who received cochlear implants (implanted electronic hearing device) before 12 months of age learn to more rapidly understand spoken language and are more likely to develop spoken language as their exclusive form of communication. 

In their study, published in Otology and Neurotology, this was true even for children with additional conditions often associated with language delay, such as significantly premature birth. Researchers also showed that implantation surgery and anaesthesia were safe in young children, including infants.

"Our results clearly show that kids who received cochlear implants in infancy make progress more rapidly and are more likely to use spoken language as their sole means of communication," says lead author Stephen Hoff, MD, from Lurie Children's, who is also Associate Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "More than 90% of deaf children have hearing parents. Most parents hope that a cochlear implant will enable their child to talk. However, early implantation is not a public policy priority. For this reason, many children are not evaluated for cochlear implantation until they are over age 12 months."

Currently, every state has a newborn hearing screening requirement, which has resulted in earlier diagnosis of hearing loss and fitting of hearing aids. However, no public policy promotes early identification of deaf infants whose hearing would be much improved with cochlear implantation in comparison to hearing aids.

"Cochlear implants are remarkable in that they enable children to hear the high pitch consonants such as "s". These are the sounds that hearing aids cannot make audible to deaf children. The sooner children are able to hear through an implant, the more likely they will understand when others talk, and learn to speak clearly," says senior author Nancy Young, MD, Medical Director of Audiology and Cochlear Implant Programs at Lurie Children's and Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "Infants should be evaluated to determine if cochlear implantation would provide superior hearing. The procedure is safe and the results can be transformative."

In the study, researchers reviewed Lurie Children's experience with 219 children who underwent cochlear implantation before they were three years old, including a group of 39 children who were implanted when younger than 12 months of age. The mean age at last follow-up was 7.5 years. They found that implanted infants developed word understanding ability one year earlier than those implanted as toddlers and were more likely to use spoken language alone to communicate. Children who were implanted after 2 years of age were much less likely to use spoken language exclusively.

Airport staff learn sign language to help passengers

More than 70 staff working at Newquay Airport have been having lessons in the sign language Makaton to help disabled passengers.

Makaton is a form of communication that uses signing and symbols to support speech.  It is believed that Newquay is first Makaton-friendly airport in the UK. The Makaton Charity, which promotes the language, said it hoped other airports would follow Newquay's lead.

New Welsh sign language app.

Wales Council for Deaf People are delighted to announce that our new sign language dictionary app. has now gone live on the Google Play store.

Based on our existing printed dictionary showing signs commonly used in Wales, the new app. also contains video clips of the signs being performed plus additional back-up material explaining some of the principles involved in signing. This is an ongoing project and the app will be regularly updated.

All proceeds go to support the work of Wales Council for Deaf People.

Monday, 4 March 2019

Reasonable adjustment Passports!

Image result for reasonable adjustment passportA help? or an own goal that sets one disabled area against another by stating no disabled person (regardless of the degree of disablement), has any more right of access than any other?  Looks like a recipe for 'me first'.  

Would it not just end up as a 'confrontational document' like the green cards of old UK disabled had that basically meant employers see you as an issue again?  If you are going to apply for a job waving these in their faces its a cert the job won't be offered to you.  It's not about access or even inclusion, but if you can show you have the skills employers can use.  

Perhaps better CV's better training, higher education, more skill sets, real work experiences, and more independence being shown are more the issue?  Then less need to justify your support.  As with all PC edicts, quoting models of disability are unhelpful and an annoyance that will go over employers heads.  It's not just 'What employers must do for you', but, 'What skills can you offer them?'

'Reasonable adjustments' are a minefield, mainly because of who has to pay for it and what IS 'reasonable' is vaguely defined.  Both the state and the Business areas have been reluctant to foot the bill, despite the 'Deaf' needing sign support in the UK being able (allegedly),  to claim upward of £60K ($79k), per year, a figure few if any employer is going to want to pay for employing us, or even a  percentage of.    Disabled are claiming they are just employed short-term and when cost sharing kicks in, employers hire someone else thus avoiding any contribution to disabled employee access altogether.

E.G.  The Access to Work grant will pay for 100% of the approved costs if you:

(1) Are about to start paid employment
(2) Have been in the job less than 6 weeks

For those employed for longer than 6 weeks the employer may have to pay a proportion of the costs. How much depends on the size of the company.

Employers with less than 50 staff: Access to Work can pay 100% of the approved costs. 

Employers with 50 to 249 staff:  Employer will have to pay the first £500 and Access to Work can then pay 80% of the approved costs up to * £10,000.  

* Deaf are claiming much more than that, £46K was a norm until recently and Deaf said it wasn't enough.. 

What is the employer costs share of support?

When cost sharing applies, Access to Work will refund up to 80% of the approved costs between a threshold and £10,000. As the employer, you will contribute 100% of costs up to the threshold level and 20% of the costs between the threshold and £10,000. The amount of the threshold is determined by the number of employees you have.

The GMB/TUC declaration:

The GMB’s motion at the TUC’s Disabled Workers Conference in 2018 called for the creation of reasonable adjustments disability passports.

The TUC has worked with its Disabled Workers Committee and the GMB and its disabled workers and activists to create this document. Feedback from affiliates and the Equality and Human Rights Commission has also been sought to ensure that the passports meet the needs of disabled members.

The social model of disability:

The TUC has adopted the social model of disability.  The social model of disability focuses on the ways in which society is organised and the social and institutional barriers which restrict disabled people’s opportunities. The social model sees the person first and argues that the barriers they face, in combination with their impairments, are what disables them.

Barriers can make it impossible or very difficult to access jobs, buildings or services, but the biggest barrier of all is the problem of people’s attitude to disability. Removing the barriers is the best way to include millions of disabled people in our society.

The duty to make reasonable adjustments:

All employers have a legal duty under the Equality Act 2010 to proactively make reasonable adjustments to remove, reduce or prevent any disadvantages that disabled workers face.

The law recognises that to secure equality for disabled people work may need to be structured differently, support given, and barriers removed. It means that in certain circumstances disabled people may be treated more favourably than non-disabled people to ensure equality, but one disabled person cannot be treated more favourably than another disabled person.

An employer who fails to meet their legal duty under the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments is in breach of the law and could be taken to an employment tribunal.

Public sector employers have an additional legal duty to consider or think about how their policies or decisions affect people who are protected under the Equality Act. This public sector equality duty will include public authorities considering how their policies affect disabled employees and taking steps to mitigate any adverse impact.

Coming toTerms with hearing loss

Issues of the HI in Health settings.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

History repeating?

Apart from the appaling references and very poorly researched 'Links' regarding Native Americans and Deaf issues.  This blog was dire reading bordering on USA 'colonialism' and justifying the genocide of the native population. The real price of 'civilising' native Americans was the wholesale slaughter of them.

Native Americans paid heavily for being 'civilised'.   Indigenous people north and south were displaced, died of disease, and were killed by Europeans through slavery, rape, and war. In 1491, about 145 million people lived in the western hemisphere. By 1691, the population of indigenous Americans had declined by 90-95 per cent, or by around 130 million people." 

One could suggest audism was the least deaf have to worry about.

Weekly Round up...

Irish deaf candidate unsupported to run for office.

Interesting in that deaf support is still only via system areas alone, and wanting to be a LA representative is being classed as a 'social' area, and there are no funds available to empower deaf socially with hearing people.  

A major aspect was concern deaf being insular to their own area lacked the local knowledge and contacts needed to challenge hearing on their own terms, it wasn't just an issue of own support.  Albeit he can claim its a catch 22 system.  He has started on the wrong foot by localising the issue to deaf access, hearing won't see that as a priority, they will want to know if he understands THEIR issues and concerns.  Deaf can be involved locally, by being willing to step outside their comfort zone, even without signed access it can be done.  There are alternatives.

NOTE: The article incorrectly noted his area was part of the UK, it isn't, it's in the Irish Republic, Northern Ireland is in the UK.

MICHEƁL KELLIHER is the first Deaf person to run for election in Ireland. Although the Deaf community is active in campaigning, there are obstacles when it comes to running for a seat on a council or in the Houses of the Oireachtas. Kelliher said he is hoping to break down some of the barriers in his local election campaign and encourage more Deaf people to take the chance and throw their hats into the ring. 

“Canvassing requires a lot of time and without any funding, hiring interpreters is a huge financial strain on any campaign. Attending meetings can be more challenging as well. I wanted to attend a small political party’s public meeting and had requested an interpreter. However they were struggling to pay for rent, never mind paying for an interpreter. The same happens with grassroots campaigns, where they don’t have any funding for interpreters. Canvassing will be the biggest challenge. 

I’m fortunate that I have a great team of interpreters willing to volunteer with me. “And that’s only the challenges I’m aware of as a Deaf person, there are many more for people with different disabilities like wheelchair access etc. It can all feel daunting and discourage people from participating,” 

Deaf Direct Funding Withdrawn.

A DEAF charity has said some of its most important services will suffer after the county council ended its £45,000 contract. 

Deaf Direct, based in Lowesmoor, has been dealt a significant blow after cash-strapped Worcestershire County Council withdrew all of its £44,750 funding to the city-based charity. The huge cut means the charity's telephone and translation service and its information and guidance service will be affected. 

Deaf Direct has maintained it will still be able to provide some services despite the “challenging” cuts. A spokesman for Deaf Direct said: “Deaf Direct management is concerned that the cuts will have a serious impact and detrimental effect on the deaf and hard of hearing communities. “Deaf Direct appreciates, and are in support of, Reverend David Southall’s recent blog and the aspirations of the Worcestershire Deaf Rights Group whose aim is to oppose the cuts imposed by Worcestershire County Council which will affect the provision of both information and advice and telephone and translation services that benefit deaf and hard of hearing people.” 

The contract between Worcestershire County Council and Deaf Direct comes to an end on March 31. The council said Worcester Citizens Advice Bureau would continue providing information and advice as well as interpreter services to those that need it.