Saturday, 3 August 2019


BAMM Deaf and Hard of Hearing Promo from Company Films on Vimeo.

I see a lot of sign language and discussions about Deaf access, where is the Hard of Hearing? 98% of whom do not sign at all?

Pros of closed captioning


Ishtiaq (L) and Kerry (R) Hussain
So why didn't this dedicated deaf charity support them itself? 

A deaf couple who struggled to fit in while growing up have launched a website to break down barriers and provide the support they lacked. Kerry and Ishtiaq Hussain, from Stourbridge, said they often felt lonely and isolated in their youth. 

"I felt like I was the only deaf person in the whole world," Kerry said. They now run Deafscope - a site shaped by their early personal experience that shares inclusive activities and opportunities. Hoping to combat feelings of exclusion that can remain in adult years, they say their website acts as a search engine for deaf people; connecting them with deaf-friendly businesses, places, services and events - assistance they have found lacking, despite social media's ability to be a connecting force. Kerry was born deaf after her mother contracted German measles during pregnancy and was sent to mainstream school "to help me with my speech". 

 As the only deaf pupil, she said there was "not much information or guidance" in the classroom. "My world felt very lonely and isolated. I didn't like big crowds and always stayed away from them just in case they started to speak to me and I wouldn't know what they were saying." Ishtiaq and Kerry Hussain were the only deaf children in their schools A british deaf charity says feelings of social isolation mean deaf people are almost twice as likely than hearing people to experience mental health issues. 

 Difficulties at school are also common, with an estimation deaf pupils are 42% less likely to achieve five or more GCSEs at grade C or above compared to hearing classmates. It was not until Kerry went to Derby College for the Deaf that she finally felt she fitted in. "I was then proud to be deaf," she said. She met Ishtiaq - with whom she has been in a partnership for 21 years - and bonded over shared experiences. Her husband - deaf since the age of three - was also the only deaf pupil in his school. "I was never involved, I didn't understand any conversation and was taught nothing," he said.  

Friday, 2 August 2019

Labelling the issue not the person.

I still don't think disabled people or people with a disability have got it yet. Their systems are developing new labels as we write, more logos to define us, more 'emoji's',  more awareness of our issue focusing ON that not us. The reality is awareness has totally failed and the various areas and systems we use or encourage HAVE to highlight the issue and the person with it, including how it affects them, which kills any social model of course. 

So in direct conflict with the suggestion of this poster.  No one offers help, support or money to people with a positive outlook it suggests you don't NEED help.  Misery sells ask any of their charity fundraisers.   The conflict of social and medical images rambles on within disability and deaf communities. To raise awareness they need to highlight the negativity of much of it, and challenge those deaf and disabled who want that focus removed.  No deaf I know approves of fundraising in their name for 'support' they do approve if it means their strive for culture sign or community gets it.  The deaf are not beggars no matter how it is hyped up, they are, however, first-rate opportunists and know the culture and sign sells.  The reality remains mainstream won't fund areas they  'see' as managing fine thanks without it and making that point determinedly.

The deaf and disabled also realise the help and support they DO need, also requires them sitting on the fence in many respects.  Disabled for this, not disabled for the other etc.  Mostly centred around finances and funding. Cleverly the deaf state 'this is to support our culture, it is NOT to address our hearing loss, (which isn't an issue with us, you are the problem.).'  It's a matter of time before mainstream realises this suggests the funding they get is not being used for its primary purpose, alleviation and inclusion.  The fact the vlog uses a disability image also undermines any message within it.   It's just one logo replaced with another, NO labels of any kind mean success.

Disabled par se, don't HAVE a real community as such, they do have a loosely defined campaigning direction.  The deaf suggest they do.  Lots of diversity, lots of multiculturalism and dedicated areas,  but, no community as deaf understand it.  The whole thing is one long confusion.  If you are a person first and not your issue, then stick to the script.  For the record, the deaf RELY on their stereotype and labelling, indeed re-invent them, again and again, to fit in with current inclusive trends, but not really following the inclusion itself.  This would mean much lower profile being attached to culture.

Deaf Community Day (Maidstone)

Pretending to hear saved my life..

pretending to hear
I know the way it feels when a hearing aid shatters between your teeth. The crunch of plastic shell. 

Gritty springs and screws rolling across the molars. Standing in the privacy of my bedroom, the pre-teen version of myself spat the remnants into a sock and tucked them into my chest of drawers. I don’t remember my exact age. Maybe 10, or 11. But old enough to recognize the complexities of being hard of hearing in a world split between the hearing and the deaf. 

That was the day I began pretending to hear. Seeking a cure My mom rejected overtures to send me to the Oklahoma School for the Deaf, even though it was quite close to where we lived. She said I would grow up in a hearing world, and I needed to learn how to live in one. I think she made the decision because she couldn’t bear the thought of being separated from me. 

Life with disability not a linear path by Tiara Blue Mom, not yet diagnosed for bipolar disorder with psychotic tendencies, already had issues with paranoia. She viewed my diagnosis as a threat, an excuse for others to take her baby from her arms. A deeply religious woman, she tried to cure me. “The power of Christ compels you!” she’d cry out. Then she’d hock and spit on her fingertips and wedge them in my ears. This was supposed to mimic Jesus’s miraculous healing of the blind man. My younger sister, Starlet, called it, “Christ’s wet willy.” 

Mom tried variations of the spit cure. Plain old spit. Spit mixed with olive oil. (I drew the line at her more literal translation of the Bible’s text, mixing spit with dirt.) And each time she poked her wet fingers in my ears, I remember praying, Let me stay just the way I am. Being deaf made me special. On a school playground where I had been invisible, it made me seen. At 10 years old, when I had bit into my hearing aids and destroyed them, I wasn’t motivated by shame, but rather, practicality. 

I had gotten glasses for near-sightedness. (Starlet, ever the acerbic 6-year-old, loved to call me the “knock-off Helen Keller”.) The combination of the glasses and the piggyback hearing aids pinched my ears, making the skin raw. So I chewed up my hearing aids. I didn’t resent my deafness. I resented the remedy. The magic bullet I wouldn’t get another pair of hearing aids until I was 15 years old. Dad’s Tricare paid for them, which the audiologist labelled as “state-of-the-art machinery.” 

I wish the audiologist had just skipped the whole “state-of-the-art” pitch, because that second time around, everyone expected a magic bullet. Suddenly, I was expected to hear every God-blessed word uttered even though I hadn’t heard complete language over half my life. Even with the addition of hearing aids, I felt like a cryptographer trying to cypher a code, absent a key. Imagine speaking to a person, but every third letter is removed from the conversation: “I d_ no_ kn_w w_at _o d_ ab_ut _hi_ jo_. I r_al_y ne_d t_e m_ne_, bu_ I ca_no_ af_or_ th_ ga_ un_il _he _he_k c_me_.” This is my life. 

Every frigging sentence, a puzzle. I try to identify the missing pieces. Click them in place. Make some semblance of a coherent picture. The result? I can never relax. Every interaction is a series of mental gymnastics, in which I am always one beam jump from smashing into my face. But, as a young person, I didn’t know how to explain this. 

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

For deaf struggling with Literacy

Silent Voices

Hearing Loops

Signed TV and Deaflix

An area doing the online rounds in the UK regarding a signed TV channel, but not everyone agrees with that.

Ergo: #1 We will be producing content in sign languages around the world. Yes all the languages make it more challenging, but it is something we've been considering

#2 "Our countries have different sign language. The English wouldn't share it when the Americans came to visit. They considered it a money maker. So we went to France and have developed a hybrid. You are explaining nothing in your ads. 

#3 We are launching a full television network which will have shows in many sign languages of the world. There are so many talented deaf entertainers around the world who deserve a platform.

#4 You need to explain when you advertise. Captioning? In English and the language of the signer? Most people know nothing so u must start from scratch.

ATR:    We would not support signed output without proper access and item inclusion.  I don't watch SEE HEAR or the BSL Zone in the UK for those reasons. That's for deaf minorities and I don't view myself as one of those but part of a deaf and HoH MAJORITY who does not see any inclusion of our issues or content on these signed things, also, there appears a lot of 'indoctrination' bias, and distortion under the banner of 'equality' I am not happy with.

I understand areas of business who rely on signers for a living have to toe the line of culture, but cultural deaf (And sign users), are a minority and there is a lot of concern of others with deafness and hearing loss not included at all by access, or by item inclusion.  The drive for 'equality' is top-heavy and many are uncomfortable it is being viewed as 'image promotion'.    This is what kills SEE HEAR in the UK, the non-inclusion and endless plugs for BSL and culture.   BSL Zone started off being more 'with it' but soon fell back to tried and tested cultural demands losing viewers in the process. as many as 76% of deaf did not know they even existed let alone watched it.

Many feel very excluded and angry at BSL bias and frustrated they aren't being allowed to air that frustration. It got very heavy indeed and e.g. the BBC ended up banning all feedback to its SEE HEAR and disability program after those with hearing loss swamped the BBC site with complaints about SH being allowed to get funds and TV access via anti-inclusive formats.   The BBC responded by offering work only to those who don't challenge their status quo.  Their recent demands to force over 75yr olds to pay to watch them has created a furore especially as they promptly assigned £75m to build a TV set for a failed soap opera.  Would anyone in America put up with that?

I  do wonder if there is conflict in that commercial areas are using charitable/disability status and its people to get funds and TV access too.  Equal rights and access laws were not designed to bolster minority causes this way, they are about including everyone and what formats they all use.   
Why would I watch a Ukrainian deaf juggler e.g. BECAUSE they sign ?? Why is access, campaigning, and funding being spent on ONE area of hearing loss to the detriment of others?  Apparently, because BSL people are able to use the 'trump' card of culture forcing TV areas to back off. Abuse of the law in our view.

There are 10m with hearing loss, less than 70K alleged (And as yet unproven), daily or reliant BSL users, and the audience viewing figures for signed output is not registering at all, so they are existing on 'rights', not demand.  Those 'rights' however do not seem to include anyone else, and online output is very much against captions, subtitling, alleviation, research, English grammar,  and education.   None of that is inclusive.

The actual and recorded viewer count was unable to register how many deaf actually watched their own dedicated programs, it was too low to register, IF there are 75-150K BSL people, they aren't watching signed TV at all. The OFCOM ruling re the BBC is that those programs that fall below a minimum figure face being axed.  Deaf stepped in with cultural rights and now, if just ONE deaf person watched signed output it would be enough to justify.  Leaving near 10m other out of it is unfathomable.  Disabled people DON'T have a right to a program for them.  TV Inequality and bias are rife.

If this Deaflix area did a series of programs challenging that cultural approach with, those who are being excluded (Via abuse of the 'Deaf & HoH' remit etc), it might well get an audience for that. There is nothing stopping them doing it online.  Personally, I am against ANYONE making a living at the expense of my deafness, even other deaf people. I'm a person, not a 'commodity' to be sold.  Ask us all DO we want to watch deaf in other countries? most do not.  Politically the USA/UK and Europe would block a lot of them!  I gather the USA is very edgy as regards to deaf posters including Islamic deaf e.g.  When did anyone last see that?  Or Israel including Palestinian deaf?

All deaf do not sign and all deaf do not belong to a culture or a deaf community either, a recent survey suggested deaf still cannot accept own diversity.   When will the disinformation be addressed?   You can be sure any commercial TV channel dedicated to sign will not operate for signed areas with zilch viewers or very low figures without a subsidy. Only the western world has the potential for such a channel to operate.  As stated,  we don't have the proof of audience need for more signed TV output that is all about the 'Deaf' and nobody else.

ATR is against the commercialisation of what is, a very serious sensory disability for profit. Or,  'jobs for the deaf boys and girls' too.  The UK already has its own luvvie network as it is and they all chant the same mantras and doing very nicely thank you.....   

Monday, 29 July 2019

Harlan Lane dead.

Dr. Harlan Lane in 2011 at Northeastern University, where he was a professor of psychology and was instrumental in starting an American Sign Language program.
Harlan Lane, Vigorous Advocate for Deaf Culture, Dies at 82.

Dr Harlan Lane in 2011 at Northeastern University, where he was a professor of psychology and was instrumental in starting an American Sign Language program.  Harlan Lane, a psychologist whose immersion in the world of deaf people led him to become a leading champion of the position that people born unable to hear are not disabled but are part of a distinct ethnic group with their own vibrant culture, died on July 13 at his home in Roquefort-Les-Pins, France, near Nice. 

He was 82. Dr Richard Pillard, a friend and collaborator, said the cause had been Parkinson’s disease. Dr Lane also had a home in Boston. Dr Lane was a hearing person whose work in psychology and linguistics was transformed in the early 1970s when he was introduced to deaf students communicating in American Sign Language at the University of California, San Diego, where he was a visiting professor. “I became quite excited because I realized there was a whole new way to look at the psychology of language,” he recalled in an article in 2011 about him on the website of Northeastern University in Boston, where he taught for many years until retiring in 2012. 

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Hearing Aids and Speech

Image result for struggling with hearing aidsA quick look at one issue being talked about on UK Social media.

#1 I find myself speaking much louder when I don’t have hearing aids, or so my kids say.  The fact that I can hear myself with hearing aids regulates the loudness and tone of speech for me, I think.

#2 That's true, the level of hearing affects your spoken level of response.  I have no hearing at all but, my level of speech is perfectly acceptable and viable in mixed company, I've trained myself to do that, by watching closely other people to notice their body language and responses, if you see 'puzzlement' when you speak to people no matter how subtle it appears, then you know you are shouting or mumbling, or not understood at all, you can train yourself that way.  

HOWEVER (There is always some unavoidable issue!), I cannot monitor background noise so get caught out then.  I don't avoid such areas that is self-defeating but via a bit of humour or simply saying I cannot make you out because of that noise it's not so bad people will understand.  I do think over-confidence with a hearing aid is an issue too it means you make less effort to follow assuming the aid has captured it all.  

#3 Same with learning to lip-read, you need the aids switched OFF to manage that properly.  Of course, UK classes insist you keep them ON, which I think is the wrong way to do it.  There is no 'level playing field' between students either, so the those who can maximise their aids benefit more than those that cannot, even then, they can suffer if unfortunately, their aids are no longer of use to them, they have not attained the other skills they need to follow better, they left that to the aid..  Then and curiously, its a race to buy bigger, better or stronger hearing aids because they cannot cope with silence... and there are no areas to help them.

The Future of the Deaf Communities.

They didn't actually say WHAT that future is, only what some deaf feel it 'could be'. Whilst they debate the way forward, they still struggle with inclusion and access, some of it mainstream fault, some their own. They need to accept inclusion comes at a price, and be prepared to pay that price. As someone stated, there is a lack of inclusion and even some hostility within deaf areas in accepting other deaf e.g. oralists, and the diversity that is the people within it and there was an issue with the more able deaf failing to include the lesser able and leaving them behind.  The deaf aren't a unified area, exposing perhaps the fact sign is the ONLY unifying factor, and believing that is enough.

It was clear, some system areas feel the cultural aspect is a drive to take over deaf education and indoctrinate.  Overall, the drive from those on the video is to maintain the isolatory status quo and encourage independence of the mainstream not include themselves within it.  Mainly because they feel as a 'linguistic minority' that will lose that.  Around the world, such areas that pursue such directions, without compromise fail or become secular and more isolated.

Areas in the 'third world' look like areas in the old world before better education and acceptances were created, today advances in communications mean that will change more rapidly than it did before.  From 1880 to the 1950s the UK deaf community was huge, but access and better health support has pretty much eliminated all that.  We doubt modern deaf with all that is becoming available want a return to the old ways of doing things or, the old ways of communicating either.  Clubs/deaf schools are in rapid decline, and they are the 'community'.  The third world is apparently trying to recreate that can it succeed?  Maybe for a while by sheer numbers but....

Deaf man in Bomb Hoax against US/UK/Canada.

A deaf man has appeared in court accused of conducting a campaign of bomb hoaxes against targets in the US, Canada and the UK, including the Houses of Parliament, the Super Bowl and dozens of schools
A deaf man has appeared in court accused of conducting a campaign of bomb hoaxes against targets in the US, Canada and the UK, including the Houses of Parliament, the Super Bowl and dozens of schools. 

Andreas Dowling (23) faces 30 counts of communicating false information with intent between October 2014 and February 2016. The majority of the threats were against schools, but some were also made to US police stations, the court heard. At a preliminary hearing at the Old Bailey yesterday, prosecutor Simon Laws QC said the hoaxes caused "disruption and panic". 

The threats were made both online and by phone, the court heard. Dowling, of Torpoint, Cornwall, appeared at the hearing via video link from Exeter Crown Court and was assisted in the dock by a lip speaker. He is accused of making the threat to the Super Bowl - one of the biggest events in America's sporting calendar - on February 1, 2015. Dowling allegedly threatened the Houses of Parliament on February 8, 2016. He faces an additional charge of "encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence believing it would be committed" under the Protection of Children Act 1978. 

He is accused of threatening to "ruin the life" of a 17-year-old girl in the US unless she sent him nude photographs of herself. Dowling was arrested in June of this year following an investigation by Counter Terrorism Policing South West. Avon and Somerset Police said later that officers were satisfied the alleged bomb threats "were not an act of terrorism". Mr Justice Sweeney listed the case for a plea and trial preparation hearing on November 8 at a location yet to be set.