Friday, 15 March 2019

Supporting Success.

'The Champion' by Carrie

An 8-year-old girl who is deaf has earned raves for her performance signing along to Underwood’s song “The Champion," which the country singer recorded with Ludacris. Savannah Dahan from Frederick, Maryland, cites the Grammy-winning superstar as her favourite singer.

Savannah, who sometimes uses hearing aids, signs the lyrics while the music video plays in the background. “She asked us to record her because she likes to see herself perform,” the girl's father, Richard Dahan said. Savannah who is deaf went viral after signing to Carrie Underwood's song "The Champion" Savannah's signing to Carrie Underwood's "The Champion" has won her many fans.

Richard Dahan Savannah's parents and her two siblings are also deaf. “She was born with moderate/severe hearing loss,” Dahan said. “Because everyone is deaf in the family and uses ASL (American Sign Language) to communicate, she identifies herself as deaf. She uses hearing aids at times at school and home.” That's why Savannah has to go through a different process than most to hear the music. 

Crisis of nil support for the Hard Of Hearing in Health

Image result for freedom of information request template UKATR reading social media comments sent this one to the UK's leading charity for the deaf and HoH.

"Can AOHL research into what access and support is available to those with hearing loss who DON'T use sign language?  I am getting told none of the 7 trusts in Wales provides any established service?"

If you are from Wales NOT a sign user but using other formats, and reading this, help ATR research the NHS trusts in Wales by using an FOI request for answers to this question.  Maybe the Welsh NHS trusts will respond to you where they have NOT responded despite the law, to ATR.  We know sign users have a national and regional supportive set up for their needs, we are not seeing any such set-up for anyone else.  Don't be re-directed to the Welsh government their FOI data is an overview, not a localised source.

Be SPECIFIC in what you ask for, (no diverse mentions of 'deaf' or 'Deaf'),  not even BSL will get HoH their data specifics,  as health statistics are focused on the disability and treatment, not the social aspect, access, or rights areas, in short, the clinical aspect.  All trusts should be keeping records of what communication and language support they provide, again be specific as to what format you require data ON.  

Do not state deaf access or HoH access but e.g. lip-spoken access, text support, note-taking support (And contacts) etc in this case.  Including BSL will defeat any HoH FOI point.  Sadly many system areas think BSL and deaf and HoH are one and the same thing, awareness in Wales is as poor as elsewhere in the UK.  If they respond in that 'Deaf' 'inclusive' vein send in another FOI which is more accurate to your need.  

NOTE: Although some BSL interpreters do provide lip-spoken support, records suggest only TWO out of 49 of them are suitably qualified to do so in Wales.  Wales has over 300,000 patients with hearing loss issues.  Another note to remember is some areas may ask for a fee, albeit ATR believes there is none to be paid in this case as this isn't a medical data FOI.

Use the information below, as a start point. The seven Local Health Boards (LHBs) in Wales are:

Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board.

CONTACTS:   To submit a Freedom of Information Act request please email: or alternatively, you can contact: FOIA Team, ABMU Health Board, ABM Headquarters, 1 Talbot Gateway, Port Talbot, SA12 7BR.  

Aneurin Bevan Local Health Board.

Freedom of Information - Contacting us and submitting a request for information. If you wish to submit a Freedom of Information request, you can contact us in a variety of ways:

By Email:  Please email us at  Your emails will be opened during normal office hours, Monday to Friday.

By Post:

St Cadoc's Hospital
Lodge Road
NP18 3XQ
By Phone:
Tel: 01633 435956

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

CONTACTS: Freedom of Information Requests and Subject Access Requests can be sent by email to

Or write to:

Information Governance Office
Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board
Wrexham Maelor Hospital 
Croesnewydd Road
LL13 7TD

Cardiff & Vale University Health Board.


By Post.

Cardiff and Vale UHB Headquarters
University Hospital of Wales (UHW)
Heath Park
Cardiff CF14 4XW

Tel: 029 2074 7747  or Fax 029 2074 6406

Cwm Taf University Health Board.

To make an FOIA request. 

Freedom of Information requests can be sent via:


Post:  Freedom of Information Officer, Cwm Taf University Health Board, Ynysmeurig House, Navigation Park, Abercynon, CF45 4SN

Contact  01443 744800 if you wish to speak to a member of the team.

Hywel Dda Local Health Board.

Requests must be made in writing by letter, fax or email to the Freedom of Information Officer: 

          The Freedom of Information Officer
          Hywel Dda University Health Board
          Corporate Offices
          Ystwyth Building
          St David's Park
          Job's Well Road
          SA31 3BB       

          Tel: 01267 239730   or   Email:

Powys Teaching Health Board.

A difficult contact to locate, although there is a link to the FOI rules, ATR initially got 3 'Not FOUND' result for this trust.  Rooting about for 20 minutes (!) we found these contacts.

Please email us at or write to us:

Information Governance Team
Monnow Ward
Bronllys Hospital
Powys LD3 0LU

Tel 01874 712642/2763

Thursday, 14 March 2019

OiA and SignVideo


Black background with orange words saying where are the subtitles? Image of a telescope in background

4 things they will never know about the deaf!

Primarily because it has no captioning or subtitling, so the hearing will NOT know what this person is talking about.  Seems the main thing deaf don't know is how to provide access to get their messages and lectures over. We despair at deaf awareness we really do!

Teaching the deaf to write.

BSL and the welsh Anthem.

MEMBERS of Pembrokeshire's Sign and Share Club celebrated St David’s Day by creating their own version of the Welsh National Anthem in British Sign Language. In an event packed with craft, bara brith and Welsh history, members learnt about the meaning of the national anthem and had the opportunity to learn how it could be signed. 

 The club was supported by local interpreter Suzanne Scale who said: “It was a pleasure working with Sign and Share Club and signing some Welsh history.” New member Linda Rawlinson added: “Welsh, deaf and proud! "I absolutely loved it and I’m so proud to be able to sign my national anthem with passion and confidence."

ATR:  Great Welsh singing, unsure if BSL cuts it as a translative medium 'though.  especially as they didn't use Welsh regional signs to give more authenticity to it.  Purists will see it as yet another 'English' portrayal of Welsh culture by default by using BSL you are endorsing English..

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

DWP staff to be sanctioned for abuse of claimants.

This is a long overdue attempt to bring to book welfare agency staff who abuse claimants and cause severe hardships, loss of homes, and even premature deaths by a failure to do the job they are paid for.  But would a gaol sentence be much more effective?  

Claimants are also asking if the DWP acts against the law of the land by abusing data protection act rules so those who abuse claimants cannot be identified.  Can anyone trust an 'in house' investigation, where identification of culprits is deliberately blocked?

DWP staff get a taste of their own medicine as think tank recommends tracking the prospects of claimant compensation where benefits are paid late or training and skills courses are not delivered. With the Work and Pensions Select committee due to debate the benefit freeze, we believe it unfair that claimants are sanctioned if they failed to look for work or missed appointments, while jobcentre staff face no penalty if their errors cause claimants hardship. 

The report acknowledges widespread cynicism about the intentions of Universal Credit (UC), with many believing it had been made deliberately complicated to discourage claims. As such, the report recommends victims of DWP error or maladministration be given the right to appeal to an independent case examiner, who could award compensation equal to the sanctions levied on claimants judged to have breached rules.

Overcoming disabilities

Signed Exact English

The 'antidote' to incompatible grammars of ASL and BSL?

Deaf-Run business expands to UAE.

Providing equal access to women may prove somewhat difficult there!

A Cheshire business has opened its first international office in Dubai, after winning a contract to turn the city’s Expo 2020 exhibition into an event accessible for all, thanks to support from the Department for International Trade (DIT). 

Direct Access Consultancy, based in Nantwich, provides accessibility audits to help improve disabled access for buildings and transport systems. Each of the company’s five staff has a disability, giving them advanced insight into the potential challenges facing the 20 million visitors expected to visit Dubai for the first ever World Expo to be hosted in the Middle East. As the event’s ‘universal design consultant’, the business is advising the Expo’s planners on implementing international best practice for accessibility. 

The business is also helping the Expo meet the requirements of Dubai’s Universal Design Code – a policy introduced in 2017 to help improve accessibility across the emirate. The Expo 2020 contract comes during a period of significant export growth for Direct Access Consultancy. Between 2017 and 2018, exports grew from a standing start to become 80% of the business’ annual revenue. The company’s senior leadership are now working to build on its early success in the Middle East after DIT advisers helped the business identify the UAE as a potential market of opportunity. 

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Deaf Chef Ross!

Martti for the Deaf and.. WHO?

While it is welcome this access is there for the ASL user there seems no indication of support for the Hard of Hearing they also claim? (An issuerifee in the UK too), can Martti clarify HOW their support system is empowering and supporting NON-signing deaf and HoH? if the support is specific to sign users, then it would greatly assist those with hearing loss to know where their support is coming from.  ATR's campaign for clarity of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing remit seems to be ignored in favour of singular sign language support.

"I heard us being called names like 'the dummies'"

Shane O’Reilly: ‘As a young interpreter and also a young signer you become very comfortable with commanding attention’. Photo: Steve Humphreys
What is it like to grow up as the child of profoundly deaf parents? It might not be something you've ever given any serious thought to unless you've met one. 

But if you have, the questions will come thick and fast: 'If your parents sign, how do you learn to speak English?' 'Do you always have to interpret for them when neighbours or strangers come to the door, or relay what someone on the telephone is saying?' 'Can you make as much noise at home as you like?' 

After that might come the quick judgements: 'It must be such a drag having to help your Mammy out with stuff like booking a doctor's appointment.' 'You must have to grow up fast.' 'Hey, at least you can turn the music up full blast at home and get away with all kinds of things because your folks can't hear you!' It's surprising, then, that until now the fascinating subject of hearing children born into deaf families had never really been explored by mainstream media, but it was pure gold for the producers of a new one-off documentary on RTÉ One this Thursday. 

This hour-long film, called Mother Father Deaf, is beautifully made and shot by Sundance-nominated director Garry Keane and producer Anne Heffernan for Mind The Gap Films, features the very human stories of three adults whose upbringing has given them a unique perspective. 

VICTORY! More deaf children are to get CI's.

Diane Matthews pictured with her dad Dave Berry at the Houses of Parliament in March 2017.
‘Victory’ – Rotherham mum celebrates change in guidance on cochlear implants following campaign. Hundreds more children and adults with severe to profound hearing loss will be given the option of having cochlear implants following a campaign by a Rotherham mum. 

It comes as the NHS watchdog NICE revised its definition of severe deafness – extending the number of people who could benefit. The guidance, previously referred to as ‘the strictest in the developed world’, was changed following a petition by mum-of-one Diane Matthews. 

The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence estimates that 2,150 people in England will be eligible for cochlear implants each year by 2025, an increase from the 1,260 people who currently receive them.  Ms Matthews said: “More people will now have an opportunity to have a Cochlear Implant. How many is really an unknown, there are assumptions being made but this is a victory. 

Diane Matthews pictured with her dad Dave Berry at the Houses of Parliament in March 2017. “It’s taken over two years but we got there in the end.” 

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Simeon Hart, Campaigning to be the first Deaf BSL using MP

Standing for election representing the Green Party, the Commons needs better Deaf awareness.  Simeon is only the second Deaf BSL user to be a Parliamentary candidate and the only one standing this time around. For those of you who tuned into BDA’s General Election Question Time a few days ago, you will know that Simeon is a Green Party candidate. With a keen interest in politics since his mid-teens, Simeon found there were many barriers to Deaf people entering the political arena. 

Finding a way to gain entry, Simeon has previously put himself forward for election in the local elections in Liverpool Central in 2012 and in Princes Park in 2013. On both occasions, he missed out to the Labour candidate but with a significantly improved number of votes. Standing in this year’s General Election is down to the guiding role of David Buxton from the BDA. 

“We were discussing the BDA's General Election Question Time,” Simeon explained, “and David asked me why I wasn’t going to stand for election for the Green Party. Having joined the Green Party in 2008 and campaigned on their behalf before, I gave his comments some thought and contacted the Green Party to see if there were any vacancies within constituencies where I could stand.” “I was given the list of vacancies in the North West and then I emailed to some of those constituencies to see if they were willing to have me to stand for them. 

Oldham West and Royton was the first to contact me and asked me to apply. Since then we have communicated well and last Tuesday after hustings and votes, I was told that they were in favour of me standing as a parliamentary candidate.”

[SOURCE unincluded due to ATR's policy on biased advertising].


We are less interested in the formats deaf use and more interested in if that format limits the prospective MP from promoting access for all via lack of experience.  From reading the article there is no description of which policies/people he is for or against.  Of course, he ISN'T the first deaf person Parliament, that goes to Jack Ashley a CI using deaf person who drew no distinctions with regards to what deaf or HoH formats are used.

Updated N.I.C.E. guidance on CI's (UK)

Image result for cochlear implants UK

 This technology appraisal examined the currently available devices for cochlear implantation. No evidence was available to the committee to allow recommendations to be made for devices manufactured by Neurelec. 

1.1 Unilateral cochlear implantation is recommended as an option for people with severe to profound deafness who do not receive adequate benefit from acoustic hearing aids, as defined in 1.5. If different cochlear implant systems are considered to be equally appropriate, the least costly should be used. Assessment of cost should take into account acquisition costs, long-term reliability and the support package offered. [2009] 

1.2 Simultaneous bilateral cochlear implantation is recommended as an option for the following groups of people with severe to profound deafness who do not receive adequate benefit from acoustic hearing aids, as defined in 1.5: children adults who are blind or who have other disabilities that increase their reliance on auditory stimuli as a primary sensory mechanism for spatial awareness. Acquisition of cochlear implant systems for bilateral implantation should be at the lowest cost and include currently available discounts on list prices equivalent to 40% or more for the second implant. [2009] 

1.3 Sequential bilateral cochlear implantation is not recommended as an option for people with severe to profound deafness. [2009] 

1.4 People who had a unilateral implant before publication of this guidance, and who fall into one of the categories described in 1.2, should have the option of an additional contralateral implant only if this is considered to provide sufficient benefit by the responsible clinician after an informed discussion with the individual person and their carers. [2009] 

1.5 For the purposes of this guidance, severe to profound deafness is defined as hearing only sounds that are louder than 80 dB HL (pure-tone audiometric threshold equal to or greater than 80 dB HL) at 2 or more frequencies (500 Hz, 1,000 Hz, 2,000 Hz, 3,000 Hz and 4,000 Hz) bilaterally without acoustic hearing aids. Adequate benefit from acoustic hearing aids is defined for this guidance as: for adults, a phoneme score of 50% or greater on the Arthur Boothroyd word test presented at 70 dBA for children, speech, language and listening skills appropriate to age, developmental stage and cognitive ability. [2009, amended 2018] 

1.6 Cochlear implantation should be considered for children and adults only after an assessment by a multidisciplinary team. As part of the assessment children and adults should also have had a valid trial of an acoustic hearing aid for at least 3 months (unless contraindicated or inappropriate). [2009] 

1.7 When considering the assessment of the adequacy of acoustic hearing aids, the multidisciplinary team should be mindful of the need to ensure equality of access. Tests should take into account a person's disabilities (such as physical and cognitive impairments), or linguistic or other communication difficulties, and may need to be adapted. If it is not possible to administer tests in a language in which a person is sufficiently fluent for the tests to be appropriate, other methods of assessment should be considered. [2009] 

Deaf Chef

Image result for Saima Shafaatulla
GORDON Ramsay-style chefs have a reputation for being shouty in the kitchen but silent Saima Shafaatulla is the complete opposite. 

Born deaf and mute, the 39-year-old at first struggled to fit in when she started working in the culinary world. Saima is loving life in the kitchen but now she’s working at the prestigious Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow and, with the help of an interpreter, is cooking up a storm. 

Saima, from Glasgow, who began her career with Hilton, faced numerous challenges when she started out 20 years ago. She recalls: “When I started working I realised how hard it was to work in a kitchen area. “It was really hard with communication and really stressful.  “I was upset and there were a lot of strong emotions. It made me nervous so I went on the sick for six months.” But she didn’t give up — and was determined to get back into the kitchen with help from her employers. 

She says: “The boss wanted me to come back so I did and the chef made sure he had an interpreter to find out what the problems were. “We both learned how to work together and how to work with human resources as well. “The first year I found it really difficult. It was a really big challenge. My head chef at the time didn’t know how to work with deaf people and I didn’t really know how to work with hearing people. “After a year the barriers broke down and we understood each other and worked really well together. 

We started to bring in interpreters and the chef realised it was something we had to have. Saima is the opposite of shouty chef Gordon Ramsay.  Saima is the opposite of shouty chef Gordon Ramsay “Ever since then my communication has been great.” Saima, who was born with a genetic disorder, first became interested in working with food at school but was told by her mum it was unlikely she’d be able to pursue the career. She says: “In school, we had home economics, which was the one thing that I loved and got involved with. 

DJ for the Deaf

Whilst adjusting frequencies to compensate, the reality is the over-focus on bass and drums, since, the deaf 'follow' little else.  There seemed little attention to issues of the physical effects of too much bass on the body, which deaf rely on to follow the music.  If you can 'feel' BASS hitting your body and affecting your heart rate and making you vomit too, then this suggests some warning should be issued to deaf people.  Bass can affect internal organs by over-exposure as can drumming affect your hearing if the frequency isn't set correctly.  Most drummers have hearing loss!