Friday, 22 March 2019

Charity 'Battle Bus' to aid deaf children.

Is nobody asking why schools are being asked to accept charity to educate and support deaf children?  I thought education was a right... ATR is pretty certain the BDA and AOHL did this too.

The National Deaf Children’s charity has received a £39,000 grant expand the reach of its mobile high tech classroom into more schools across the UK. The grant has been awarded by Scottish Power Foundation to ensure that the charity’s eight-ton purple lorry, which turns into a high-tech classroom for staging workshops for pupils and showcasing specialist new technology, can visit more schools across Scotland over the next year. 

The money will be used to train more charity staff to deliver workshops, which feature digital inclusion technology such as a vibrating alarm clock. During 2018 the high tech classroom visited 15 schools in Scotland, meeting 150 deaf children and 1,400 of their hearing peers. “This incredibly generous grant will help us to continue taking our roadshow around the UK, said Kerry Ross, who manages the Deaf Children’s charity’s Roadshow. “In the past year we have made over 100 school visits, run over 500 workshops and met nearly 2,000 deaf children around the UK. 

“This year, thanks to the support of the Scottish Power Foundation, we have ambitious plans to see even more schools and even more children. We are working harder than ever to help empower deaf children and raise awareness of deafness among their friends, family and teachers. “When a deaf child is struggling with their confidence, independence or communication, a visit from the Roadshow can make a real difference. We want to remind every deaf child that they have incredible potential and should be aiming high. “With the right support, they can do anything other children can do.” 

Among those visited by the high-tech classroom is Molly, a deaf pupil at Lochinver Primary School. “I was buzzing after the bus came to my school,” she said. “It was great for my friends to see some of the things I have to help me, like the vibrating alarm clock to get up in the morning. All my friends thought the technology was really cool.” 

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Story SIgn...

For Or Against Deaf community membership?

Image result for for or againstHard of Hearing respond to ATR...

#1 I’m one hard of hearing guy joined the Deaf Community and became a member of deaf clubs. Hearing loss is the same regardless. The issue is to understand Deaf culture. That’s the only difference. Now I’m involved in advocating for a deaf organization as well as a member of a local HLAA Chapter.

#2 I would be hesitant because I don’t think I would fully be accepted.

#3 I felt that but most deaf are really nice. The only rule is to accept their Deaf culture.

#4 I want to clarify I did to say I did not think they where nice people I just don't think I would be accepted. I wouldn't even know how to begin going to a deaf club. I also want to respond to your comment about " Not everyone will accept the deaf culture". I personally accept everyone and anyone that's a good person. Personally, since I have found out I'm hearing impaired I notice how others treat the hearing impaired & it makes me very sad they are impatient with them. I also see how the hearing impaired might tend to withdraw because of this. This is all just my humble opinion.

#5  I do not know sign language, so I do not think such clubs would accept me. But: I would if there were courses for SL, for instance. Or if those clubs were more hard of hearing, when one could discuss things together in different ways.

#6 Deaf people taught me sign language. If you are interested, there will those who love to teach only in social settings. That’s the best place to learn. Not just in the classes.

#7 I would LOVE to be in the deaf community and plan to be when I learn to sign.

#8 I’m a board member for a deaf nonprofit and I also help run Greater Columbus HLAA Chapter. I try to be involved as much as I can.

#9 Not if the only thing in common is hearing loss. I'm in this FB group. That'll do. Never had anything to do with the so-called Deaf 'culture'.

#10 My problem is I do not use sign language. It's already hard enough to adapt to the hearing world. I don't want to use more time to try to adapt to the deaf world. What we need is a group for the in-betweeners. The hard of hearing/deaf who live in hearing world culture. I've already done enough of trying to adapt. Just want to be accepted for me as I am.

#11 Same here! I’m living in the hearing world all my life. Hardly have any deaf/hard of hearing friends. All my friends are hearing and I’m happy to be part of their world

#12 Not everyone will accept the Deaf culture. That’s fine.  We all have one thing in common. The inability to hear. I can hear well with hearing aids. Without them, I’m deaf.

#13  It bugs me when I see people using is written ASL rather than English. Don't Deaf schools teach written English? If students need to submit any assignment, whether college essays or job applications, it is a skill they must have.

#14 It is always difficult to address why there are diverse areas within the hearing loss and deafness ones. Diversity means we are entitled to own choices and give reasons for those. The reality as the blog pointed out, is already a remit exists that recognises that diversity. However, the way that remit is used is not strictly adhering to that diversity concept and tends to attempt encompassing all. Of course those hard of hearing who do choose to learn sign language and enter deaf clubs will know what the price of that is, there is no such thing as something for free. If hearing loss already isolates to a huge degree then the prospect of some social interaction and community looks a welcome positive. 

#15 You are isolated already what's to lose? What needs to be taken into account is the life long members of those clubs had no options or very few others, they won't welcome those joining deaf clubs because nobody else will accept or include them, they aren't a 'consolation prize' for the failed acceptance by others!

#16 The reality is most clubs only exist in the city or concentrated areas of the population so outside of that choice is relative. Putting own cards on the table accepting hard of hearing lifestyles mean this doesn't include cultural deaf and signing areas. Should we not just accept the reality anyway and enhance own choices? It doesn't have to be part of or not of anything and it doesn't mean unacceptance, horses for courses. 

#17 The UK has no HI/Hard of Hearing system of support of any note, the USA version portrays Hard of Hearing with an ASL 'front' as being 'inclusive' HoH don't see it that way.  That was ATR's annoyance with the 'Deaf & HoH' remit, which the blogger claims was being widely abused, even the USA areas fail to clarify, suggesting a unity that isn't really proven at all.  Yes we all have hearing loss, but, there it tends to end.  There is no HoH 'community'.

#18 The die is cast already apart from the few who believe sign language is their own particular salvation.  The HoH prefer own ways of dealing with it.  Mostly, this will not mean going to deaf clubs or adopting sign language.  OK, these deaf have a culture, so? how is that relevant to us?   It's pointless suggesting this is 'anti-culture' or something.  The ATR blog tends to be contentious, I don't always agree with it, but if that's the only way to address issues I suppose you have to risk it.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Welcoming Hard of Hearing to Deaf clubs?

 John Cradden (right) signing with Amanda Mohan   at the Deaf Village Ireland. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
A common statistic quoted by organisations working for deaf and hard of hearing people is that about one in 10 of us has a hearing loss to some degree. 

That’s a lot of people. Of course, the condition of having a hearing loss can range from very mild loss to profound deafness, with far, far more people experiencing losses at the milder end of the scale. Indeed, according to Chime, (formerly Deafhear), about 300,000 adults here have a “significant” loss (meaning moderate or greater), and only half of them have ever gone for a hearing test, never mind be prescribed hearing aids. 

By contrast, it is estimated that there are about 5,000 who use Irish sign language (ISL) as their first or preferred language, and who would tend to be predominantly – but not exclusively – profoundly deaf. It’s always struck me that, of those deaf or hard of hearing people who choose to be part of any community of people who all share a similar disability, they would gravitate to either the strong, closely-knit deaf community or one of a number of hard of hearing support groups or organisations. 

ATR Comment:  "But you DO have to learn sign language.  Statistics worldwide suggest that despite deaf signers being outnumbered 100s, or 1000s to 1 by others with a hearing loss, there has been little or no attempt to integrate with them in their clubs.  The annoyance still remains of Deaf people using the 1 in 10 stat when it does not include them to gather support for their own area where HoH are not.  The article looks more like a veiled plea to save a diminishing Deaf community by opening the doors to people, who on the face of it, would prefer not to use sign language or support deaf cultural aims or directions either.  Both areas are currently polarised by the clinical v disability approaches and as a preference, and these are the primary divisions that prevent real integration, also, HoH would prefer to reintegrate with hearing.  

ATR has covered numerous debates as to "Where are the HoH now?"  as their previous campaigns to get access via their modes appears to have ceased or barely registering.  Many suggest the reason is technology has replaced access campaigns almost entirely.  Other less advertised 'contentional' views are an aversion to sign itself, and being re-identified as Deaf.   Mutual acceptance hiding a multitude of real sins by omission.

Most have already accepted polarised support, charitable and social systems too.  While there is no direct 'conflict' between the minority and majority areas, there are still skirmishes and some heated disagreements on how to approach issues of hearing loss and profound deafness, CI's and the closure of deaf schools just two of them, the 'cure' being another.  HoH etc would be asking what is in it for us? and would deaf adapt as they expect HoH to?  There is no indication deaf signers would adapt to HoH social aspects and even suggestions it isn't possible hence why they are inviting others in instead of them moving outward.

Sadly an acceptance the twain does not meet combined with a pretty pathetic 'cest la vie' attitude that accepts integration isn't currently possible or preferred, still reigns supreme.  The only level we see some partial 'integration' is via deaf clubs with predominantly aged and infirm people.  These are a struggle to maintain because they aren't managing to survive, LA's closing them down for cost purposes.  The Deaf community has lost over 376 in the last 20 years mainly due to local authorities withdrawing funding for them too, and deaf unable to pay their way to keep them open.

The deaf culture such as it was, remained very reliant on the system paying their rents and building clubs for them, and that is no longer viable.  The nature of deaf clubs led to many a downfall, because of the nomadic nature of memberships of deaf clubs, deaf would go from one to another to maintain their socialising, but the last 10 years Local authorities demanded they would only fund for deaf living within their areas and insisted other areas have to provide for their own deaf.  This exposed the reality where only a minority of deaf signers existed and were supported by deaf from other areas, meant in some case an 80% reduction in deaf people a local Authority was obliged to support.  100s of clubs closed overnight because locally there wasn't enough to maintain a club for.

HoH clubs were/are notorious for being unable to attract members at all.  Many struggled to get 10 through the door once a month.  HoH don't want clubs just for them.  Some LA's started demanding Deaf clubs  HAD to accept HoH and hearing as members, or funds would be withdrawn citing such clubs were discriminating.  It was only stopped because the culture card was used.   The HoH view fed into the reluctance to go to deaf clubs too.  It is said the HoH still do not see the value of sign language to them because the deaf area remains isolated despite its use.  The Deaf community has never managed to attract HoH, is it far too late to start now?

ATR would question if it is the hard of hearing obligation to save the deaf community."

Testing your hearing loss in the 1950s...

In this photo, psychologist Mr P C Kendall is seen banging a drum beside the ear of a young girl in a rudimentary hearing test at the Department of Education of the Deaf
A series of fascinating photographs has revealed a behind-the-scenes look at the former Department of Education of the Deaf. The department, which was in Manchester until 1955, is shown in black and white photos taken around three years before it shut. 

The pictures show children interacting with medical professionals and parents at what is believed to have been the first facility of its kind in the UK. In one strange image, a psychologist, Mr P C Kendall, bangs a drum beside the ear of a young girl in what appears to have been a rudimentary hearing test. 

Other photos show a boy playing with farm animals as he is having his hearing assessed, and a 14-month-old child being taught to lipread by her mother. Another shot shows a little girl fiercely concentrating on her wooden toy as a woman tinkers with the testing equipment in the background. The Department of Education of the Deaf was a department of the University of Manchester and the first of its kind in the UK, according to a report published in the British Journal of Educational Studies in 1956. 

It was founded by Sir James E Jones, a cotton merchant from Lancashire whose son, Ellis, was born deaf. Ellis was so well educated by a private tutor that, at a time when most deaf children were taught at poor quality special residential schools, he was able to attend the University of Oxford when he grew older. Sir James became so knowledgeable – for the time – and impassioned about the education of deaf children that he was able to set up the pioneering school. 

The department is believed to have been the first official centre of its kind in the UK. Sheila Hadfield has her hearing equipment adjusted by an audiologist at the Department of Education of the Deaf in Manchester in 1952.  Noreen Buckley, just 14 months old is taught to lipread by her mother. Lip reading involves watching a speaker's mouth and face movements to work out what they are saying without hearing them and is commonly used by people with varying levels of hearing impairments .....

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Sign it!

Image result for petitionATR today launches a petition to end charity telethons in the UK like Comic Relief and Red Nose Day.  ATR objects on 4 grounds.

(1)  Participants/celebrities are promoting personal and own political views as an agenda with no agreed assent from charity, the disabled, or its recipient members.

(2)  That such events on Television promote pity, 'heroic' images, and negative attitudes towards disabled and vulnerable people.

(3)  That such output is against the interests of vulnerable people with regards to their human rights by suggesting charity should replace that with dependency formats instead.

(4)  That participating charities are undermining disability rights.

You and the Police (Australia).

Needs of deaf children unmet and in Crisis.

Almost half of specialist teachers for deaf children feel pupils are performing worse than five years ago, a charity has said. The Deaf Children's Society claimed the system is in absolute crisis and teachers are being overwhelmed by the demands of their role. 

It warned that staff were battling stress and having to deal with spiralling workloads and excessive hours. The warning comes after a survey of 625 specialist teachers, carried out by the charity and the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf, revealed that almost half experienced stress in their role on a weekly basis, with one quarter affected every day. The charity has previously called for more specialists to be trained. 

It also wants Northern Ireland to be included in a UK bursary scheme to fund a new generation of teachers. New specialist teachers for deaf children, it warned, need to be trained now. The number of young people with hearing loss in the north is increasing while the figure for specialists is in decline. According to the latest poll, more than four in five are now working longer hours due to increasing workloads, with almost two-thirds forced to work an extra day every week just to keep up. Around six in 10 teachers surveyed said there was less support available for deaf children than in 2014. 

Almost half felt pupils were now performing worse. Susan Daniels, chief executive of the charity, said the results of the survey "show a system in absolute crisis". "Specialist teachers do an incredible job in exceptionally difficult circumstances and play a vital role in the lives of deaf children," she said. "However, they are being crushed by the demands of a role which has become simply unsustainable. Every child deserves the same chance in life, but unless specialist support services are adequately staffed and funded, teachers will remain overworked and under pressure while deaf children's futures hang in the balance." 

UK Minister for Children and Families Nadhim Zahawi said government's ambition for children with special educational needs and disabilities, including those who are deaf, was the same for any other child "It is up to local authorities to work with the schools in their area to identify the nature of specialist support services they commission, according to the needs of schools in their area," he said. 

Monday, 18 March 2019

Teaching BSL in all schools...

Triggered a social media query from a husband of a hard of hearing spouse, who asked about BSL acquisition in later life... Some responses below.

#1 "As an adult deaf person who doesn't use it as a primary means of communication, I am unsure of its benefits except to the sole users of it from day one, who tend not to mix usually. Kids adapt pretty easily and include, but all the research suggests come post 7 years of age when they move up a school, these things stop pretty rapidly as peer pressures take hold, and it isn't 'cool' to do these things etc."

#2 "I'd prefer a wider awareness program that includes a much more diverse inclusion of people with hearing loss, and the different means they use, since, the sign using area is an actual minority, it benefits the few not the most.  300,000 with hearing loss in my area would probably not see this as a benefit for them. Of course, using it in schools is one aspect, but outside? Where are they going to use it then? I can walk local streets 24/7 and never see anyone using it. The practicalities of it and the over-focus on the minority rapidly becomes an image of the majority when unchecked. E.G. no system exists in my area to support deaf or Hard of Hearing who don't sign, or even if they lip-read."

#3 Due to the cost that it will involve and school budgets at breaking point, it is very unlikely BSL will become a norm as a curriculum class... so for those who are deaf.. they will continue to be excluded from activities. 

#4 "There are various debates regarding deaf communications that get distorted via a 'right to culture' aside, of course, less access to sign means no culture so the pro and anti areas argue constantly. The drive is to encourage hearing to learn on the basis the deaf cannot reciprocate in the hearing modes.  Not much commonality of agreement sadly.  One area favours sign only approaches, another an oral approach, yet another a combination of both, or the practical approach 'which works best'.  It's all tempered with the reality mainstream hasn't gone with any to a real extent and argue signing inhibits the deaf ability to integrate or work effectively.   It all comes with a financial cost they don't want to bear."

#5 "Its clear everything hinges on their educational areas. So far the pro exclusive sign lobby is winning their point despite concerns it is enabling a deaf alternative to mainstream instead of empowering these deaf to move into the mainstream, (the only area they can really attain real equality or its simply relative.)  Its argued the Deaf approaches to integration is becoming secondary to empowering their own areas where disadvantages are far less and communication is not an issue. to that end, their socio-communicational preferences come before anything else, even education at times."

#6 "I am aware that there are different streams debating what is the right approach, my wife is hard of hearing (depending on the level of noise and I suffer from frequency loss in both ears), I would have liked to have learnt 'sign language' at a certain level. Jennie can learn lip reading, perhaps that could be something that could be encouraged more in the educational system if signing is too much of issue to teach."

#7 " The issue with sign use for others is the way it is intrinsically bound up with the Deaf social culture.  Lip-reading has its critics too, and it is a difficult mode to master because the tuition is pretty random.     Basically, it is if others like HoH/acquired deaf e.g. are prepared to adopt the social aspect with the sign, also to accept that a fair amount of reliance on others outside that area is an accepted norm for reliant signers, but a negative to HoH."

#8  "I don't know of many hard of hearing who succeeded.   The deaf have different social structures, norms, and clubs as well as charities and support, you have to buy into the whole concept or it doesn't really work well."

#9  "The ongoing theme suggests still far too many have some 'identity crisis' that inhibits wider acceptance, even inclusion with other deaf.  I suppose at the end of the day it depends on how much will there is to risk moving away from the comfort area,  HoH have the same issues, they may want the sign but not what goes with it.  In learning sign language, mastering it is only half the job for the HoH, the very difficult half is finding ways to integrate that OUTSIDE the deaf areas where HoH prefer to be."

#10 "What it tells me is they should not be teaching BSL in isolation at all and agreeing instead to a communication program instead that is more inclusive and less exclusive...."

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Red Nose and Comic Relief

Image result for red nose day
ATR posts the view charity and TV telethons like these are unsupported by the proposed beneficiaries after a  newspaper  posted of charitable and celebrity overload and hypocrisy, along with left-wing celebs promoting Jermy Corbyn chapter and verse.  Time for red nose days/comic relief to end?  They aren't funny any more.

Like most with a disability or issue, CR and Red nose days mean nothing at all to us. It is a mainstream view of benevolence/charity and do-gooding that annoys mostly. We saw in the past left-wing celebs promoting political agendas. People like Sting and Bono to Bob Geldof and decided we didn't want to be told by self-indulgent millionaires what others should be doing for us and the antics of red nose day celebs last week were carrying on in the same vein and caused people to turn off and stop donating.

It pretty much mirrors the USA approach where celebs use their exalted position to attack their systems. Of course, to suggest charity is a myth and mostly NOT supported by the people who could benefit causes much angst, how dare we! etc... its a day out for the kids to dress up etc...but it would help if they asked us first, do we want this? 

The media knows there is a groundswell of militant disabled and such and counter it instead by using children, celebs or even animals to push home the message of how deprived/disadvantaged we are, but without accepting access and inclusion requires their participation 365 days a year not twice a year and blaming someone else.  The BBC took more drastic steps and removed the disabled input on their website after considerable pressures were being put to the BBC to stop doing what they were doing on our behalf and without our consent.  They also responded by vetting their own sanitised version of disability output by installing disabled luvvies who wouldn't challenge them.

Whilst this current crop also appeared to be politically left-wing it ignores why deprivation exists and promotes instead the need for lots of money to enable charities to keep us reliant on them because the state has dumped them or removed their care. They don't see the obscurity of that idea.  If they donated the money to lawyers we can employ to ensure our rights, it might be viable and acceptable and a lot less need for charity at all.

As it stands, such celebrities/charities are going for royal recognition for themselves on the back of 'brave disabled people' (Cue vids of poor disabled kids who don't even live here, and not our own poor who don't get 3 meals a day or an education either).   Charity doesn't begin at home because we are alleged to be too wealthy for that to happen.  Tel that to 2m families on the breadline and 2.5m children in poverty.  Obviously, anyone who delves into the realities of care or support or inclusion will know they deprived get less and less of it as the days go by despite these millions being donated nothing changes. 

If celebs want to push politics let them join a political party, and IF they want to help the disadvantaged lobby for their rights instead, do not underpin the national neglect and their own moral and governmental duty by sitting in a bath of baked beans or trotting out celebs past their sell-by date to make the point.

What you may have missed.

The Google transcription app launch.

Why americans should NOT support HB 2137.

E.G does this person reflect you? Here we go again another snowflake alert, this term regarding identities and naming people. It is not for deaf groups or HoH groups or their respective representations and charities to lobby for what we should call ourselves. There is no background to the support for this idea from grassroots.

The entire 'Deaf' area continues to indulge in navel contemplation and which word or term should be or not used for everything when the reality is these lobbies are to enforce the 'Deaf' view of themselves and their cultural ID and the 'Deaf' are the arch promoters of their own stereotype (Sign equals culture etc).. 

Time to fess up why these lobbies operate as they do, and stop including people who adhere not one iota to their 'deafinitions of ID or their view on what people with hearing loss prefer to be called, which is basically a lobbying ploy to enlist hard of hearing or HOH or whatever non signing support is out there to endorse THEM.  In the end such lobbies divide people not unite them.  I don't want to be forever correcting systems who use half a dozen ID approaches to talk to me.

Services for the Deaf and HoH.

The many many youtube awareness videos we see, private and system, vary considerably in emphasis and content.  Here is a stereotypical 'inclusive' video on access in Canada that pretty much mirrors USA and some UK approaches to raising awareness.

There are many at a grassroots level that doesn't see such videos as representative of them or their area of the format of communication, and online they are in stark contrast, a segregated output on awareness based on mode, not 'ideals'.   The fact 2 or 3 formats are included apparently covers the access issue but ignores the visual one and overall image that presents, seeing is believing or is it?

It shows a lack of real understanding of how access formats actually work for us all in a  society where the image is everything.  E.G. Deaf ASL/BSL grass root areas preferring non-inclusion of modes they don't use (or prefer not to!).  It would appear a glaring breakdown of real awareness approaches being undertaken by the system and the realities as they exist.

There are those who suggest we should be recognising the realities of this and instead NOT produce 'inclusive' videos, that while they reflect the global ideal, do not reflect what actually goes on. In recognising difference we recognise what that is in real terms.   Aka sign videos for signing people and lip-spoken and captioned/subtiled videos for the other hearing loss areas etc, particularly taking into account the signing area is promoting a cultural/language approach as averse to the hard of hearing and others who simply want the basic 'English' access to reflect their perceived 'norm' and advances n cures/clinical approaches.  Where obviously there is no 'twain' to meet with cultural areas.

Should we be promoting non-inclusive realities and not a 'percieved reality' the system prefers?  If only to ensure alternative formats are portrayed properly? seen to be used in context? and awareness becomes a true reflection of who we are? As diverse as the mainstream is.  Or do we do nothing because it could be seen as 'anti-inclusion' thus leaving (In the UK at least), 10m with no contextual awareness online, and stereotyped as someone else entirely?  

ATR apologises for not really covering the deaf-blind and accepts it is as guilty of poor inclusion as are the HoH and the Deaf, but again, we accept that reality, not the reality between deaf and HoH? go figure.