Saturday, 17 August 2019

The BDA Saga: A petition to sack the board.

Image result for gagging clauseOn this social media the truth is slowly emerging. An open message to what remains of the BDA membership.  Calls for the entire removal of the executive.  

It is a pity the person organising the petition didn't feel confident enough to air the contents of it herself, and the petition actually fails to include WHY the petitioners want the board removed.

When you request the removal of people you include a reason don't you?  A consensus online at least appears to state alleged bullying at many levels of the BDA is a norm.  The BDA 'gagging clause' seems to be preventing democracy, these clauses are increasingly being used by charities to silence dissent.  A complete change of the BDA executive and a new charitable aim seems essential if it is not to fail or be discredited entirely.  

Dear friend

I trust you are well. I am fine, although very busy at work!  I would really appreciate if you could please read and support BDA board removal. 



BDA - Proposal to call an EGM.

Remove the remaining members of the Board and install an interim Board who will serve up to and no longer than 30th April 2021.

If you are a member of the BDA and support this proposal, please copy the wording below and email to 

Dear Company Secretary,

As a member of the British Deaf Association (BDA), I call for an EGM to:

Remove the Chair and remaining members of the current Board of the BDA and replace them with an interim Board who will serve up to, and no longer than, 30th April 2021.


In respect of GDPR, I give permission for Linda Richards to use my name and email address to verify my status as a member of the BDA and therefore eligible to make this call for an EGM. By sending this email, I also confirm that I give the BDA consent to communicate with me via email. My details are not to be used for any other reason nor shared with any third party.

From (Name):

Arts: BSL plan for next 6 years

Delivering our British Sign Language (BSL) Plan 2018-2024 from The Glasgow School of Art on Vimeo.

'Shared values of disruption?' that would be about right!  Do they never check their own titling?  Should not inclusion include all deaf people? or is the equality law only for BSL people in Scotland?

9 Useful apps for people who are deaf or have hearing loss.

Google's recent release Live Transcribe uses ASR technology to offer real-time transcription of speech into text. The spoken text is picked up by a phone microphone and delivered to an android phone screen using wifi or another network connection.

This can be useful for people who are deaf and attending conferences or lectures, for example. The words spoken will appear on the phone of the person who has the app. The tech works for 70 different languages.

Lip reading can be harder in a group of people and this is one of the main reasons AVA was created. If a person who is deaf or who has hearing loss is with a group of friends, they can get those friends to connect to the app - then the person(s) who has hearing loss will see live transcriptions of the group conversation.

The speech is picked up using the phone’s microphone and on screen the name of the person talking is displayed in front of what that person says.

Rogervoice is an app which produces live transcription during phone calls in more than 100 different languages. People who are deaf and those who have hearing loss, or someone who has difficulty speaking can use the phone to have a conversation with someone, and receive a typed text (on their phone) of what the other person is saying.

Voxsci is a speech-to-text app which translates voicemail messages into texts and emails which can be saved, searched and shared. Costs start at £5 a month for 30 voicemail texts or emails.

This highly useful app won last year’s AbilityNet Tech4Good Digital Health Award. It offers a way for people who are deaf and those who have hearing loss to communicate with emergency services without needing to speak or listen. TapSOS is very visual and works by the user tapping the screen to select which options they need.

While originally designed for people who are deaf, it is also useful for people with breathing difficulties or those in situations being held against their will when contacting the emergency services, such as the police. 

TapSOS stores the individual’s medical history and pertinent personal information on their device, delivering this directly to the selected emergency service. It also uses GPS to pinpoint the user’s exact location.

Braci Sound Alert app lets you record the sounds in your environment and then gives you visual and vibrational alerts on your smartphone when it recognises them. For example, it can alert you when an alarm goes off or when a doorbell rings.

It might be assumed that written information is the best way to communicate with people who are deaf. It’s not always understood by the general population that learning to read means connecting what a word looks like to how it sounds and so reading can be more difficult for people who are born deaf, particularly when that person is still a child.

The Signly app was set up to offer people who are deaf, or who have hearing loss another option for understanding written or visual information. The app was first used at the Roald Dahl museum in the UK. Visitors to the museum point their phone at exhibits and are offered videos on their smartphone which display sign language descriptions of the exhibitions. The app is also used by Network Rail and has had trials with Lloyds Banking Group to offer those companies’ deaf customers more information on awareness-raising campaigns or leaflet content, for example.

Signly also has an audio layer which is useful for people with sight loss.

TV and cinema subtitles

A simple website and app which lets you know films at your local cinemas which are showing with subtitles and audio description options. Search for local film options with subtitles and audio description, here. 

Using your phone microphone, the Subtitles Viewer app enables you to view subtitles in various languages on your iOS device. The app synchronises with television or movies on your TV or at the cinema. There are other similar options on Android available.

How hearing and deaf process info differently

Friday, 16 August 2019

Maddy, striving for accessibility.

Hearing loss. The new Norm?

Trustees wanted RSVP here...

Seems the BDA mass trustee resignations fiasco and the Lancashire deaf charity closure, has at least focused this BSL area in declaring 'It's ok to disagree'.  Be good if it happens, but who SELECTS the trustees?  the people who don't want criticism?  Charities for the deaf have never been in such disarray.  Is this the result of culture before support?

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Myths on deaf culture

Word to the wise, don't use predictive/google text e.g. 'death culture' lol

Deaf employment & the workplace

SSHL left me deaf in a day.

Nicki Magrath
Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL) affects one in six people every year but is often misdiagnosed - when this occurs the effects can be irreversible. Nicki Magrath Nikki Magrath (55) from Amersham has suffered from hearing problems since early childhood but her life changed entirely when she lost her hearing in a single day. 

“I had childhood conductive hearing loss which left me virtually deaf in one ear, but my other ear was fully functioning, and I managed for 40 years until suddenly in July 2000 I woke up one morning to find I was totally deaf in my good, hearing ear, leaving me with just 25% hearing in my already deafened ear. After a full hearing investigation took place three weeks later, it was confirmed Nikki had Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL) but because it had not been diagnosed early enough it was too late to treat and her hearing would never recover in that ear. 

“I was living in USA at the time and I became a hearing aid wearer straight away to maximise what little hearing I had left in my other ear which already had poor hearing. It took me a while to get used to and in 2004, four years later, we moved back to the UK and I sought the advice from my audiologists. They were able to match me with the best possible hearing aid for everything that I needed and I was amazed by the hearing aid technology that now exists so I can live my life with practically no restrictions. 

“They also taught me a lot about SSHL and how it should be treated just in case it ever reoccurred; although I never dreamt that it would.” However, in 2016 Nikki was struck by sudden hearing loss again which took all her remaining hearing away leaving her completely deaf, changing her life in an instant. “The childhood hearing loss didn’t affect me as much growing up as I adapted to only hearing properly with one ear and that became my ‘normal’ hearing. When my good ear became deaf with SSHL it was a lot harder to adjust. I had to become a hearing aid wearer 24/7. 

The most important thing for me was to be able to always hear my two young children. But then when I had my second SSHL loss my life changed again. I was terrified. This time audiologists were able to help me immediately which meant my hearing loss wasn’t permanent this time. “With the quick action and support, I was lucky to get the right treatment and to save some of my hearing. I realised how precious the voices of my family are to me and how much I would miss them if this were to ever reoccur. It is important for people to be aware of any sort of sudden hearing loss as this could happen to anyone.” 

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Lip-reading II: Video learning.

Hard of Hearing poster suggesting they don't work, at least in the UK.

"Online videos are useless. They suggest learning in situations that are never real to us. A lot of videos use TEXT to explain what was spoken to assist learners, I was never sure if that helped or not, as I waited for the text explanation because initially, you don't read 85% of what is said, I suppose it becomes catch 22 after and the brain switches off and waits for the easier text explanation maybe there is someone out there that can explain why our brains do this?   It is a debate with BSL people too who are very wary of using text with sign language.

I suppose if the video was totally silent and did NOT tell you what the lips were 'saying' most would switch off in frustration.  stick your hand over the text access on the above video then tell me what is said e.g.  It tends to show it is not as simple as attending a class or, watching a training video. Where we want to lip read is on the street, I don't know about USA methods but here there is little or no 'on the street' testing and skill honing except what you attempt yourself, and you need a lot of confidence you won't have, most of what you did have only got you to a class of  empathisers (Or not!).  

It should be part and parcel of the coursework. But again, the UK has no real norm or approach to the skill. I doubt a definitive class exists.

Generally speaking, courses are about once a week, with approx 8 to 12 pupils and 1 tutor, I saw major flaws in that system, it doesn't really suggest how they cover the many loss degrees, ages, and abilities, or the ability for the tutor to adapt to one pupil without neglecting the rest. 

There were obviously gender differences too, the ladies far more successful than the men were, it was males who dropped out first.   Probably males who won't attend a lip-reading class too.  I suppose women are better communicators anyway and men less willing to admit they struggle, so staying away or leaving prevents that struggle being seen or addressed.

There were disagreements those struggling were being asked to leave classes because they 'hold others up', and to go to a welfare service instead, tutors clearly unable to hold the class if there were 1 or 2 who demanded a lot more tuition and help than the rest did, the needs of the many etc then kicked in.  In essence, the most in need were told to leave the class, because tutors told them 'We cannot meet that need, if you are struggling you need social/welfare help etc..'  That was the desertion of duty and care in my view, stats suggest these people never seek any more help after.  Such classes have a duty and I don't think they have the capability.

Systems simply referred them BACK to the classes they were asked to leave or told them to learn to sign instead or something.  Both classes have no ability to assess psychological/age, or other issues connected with hearing loss, the UK system operates in a fragmented and solitary fashion and the twain rarely meets. Up until recently, sign classes refused text use in lessons, and lip-reading class teachers opposed signs being used.  Struggling with hearing loss you have to then fight the ridiculous politics of it too.  The needy are giving up the struggle.

The more able with hearing aids will prosper, the rest will probably fail, and the teachers I WOULD challenge, can teach such a difficult skill to 12 people at a time with all the issues involved, it's naive. Logic (And fairness), suggests you inform the more able to go elsewhere.   I am sure they mean well but mean-wells aren't helping.  The class duration once a week, for perhaps 1 maybe 2 hrs, is woefully insufficient to teach anything much, the idea seems to be to put 'like with like' so they can form a mini 'social system' themselves and hope that improves their lives since social interaction is what most is about.  I don't think statistics bear that out at all.

It doesn't work, the more able will gravitate to their like. Sod's law.  I do not believe anyone who says 'I picked this up easily and can lip-read now without problems'. Statistics suggest less than 5% will actually succeed to gain even a basic degree of lip-reading ability, I don't think it is helped by teachers pretty much doing own thing in these classes, there has to be some 'proof' of success, a proper and organised approach, an assessment of pupil system, a real appreciation of the mental/depressive effects of losing hearing etc. Its all in the lap of the gods isn't it? 

Is that the way to teach an alternative communication format? If you want to learn French or German you need to pass an exam don't you?  The hype generally, is that LR does NOT work, at best is only 30% effective, it is TOO HARD to learn, and the classes do not seem to be best placed to counter that.  If lip-reading tuition isn't being taken seriously and just treated like some hobby course only for those WITH useful and still effective hearing, instead, aka you learn OK, if you don't that is OK too. What is the point of that? 5% are better off? the rest?  There is no  goal and no reward either."

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Signing Avatars to make a come back?

Under-Achieving deaf in the UK.

Deaf children across England are struggling at every stage of their education because of ‘a lifetime of being left behind’, according to a Deaf Children’s Society. 

The charity issued the warning after its new analysis of the Department for Education’s 2018 exam results for pupils up to the age of 19. It showed that just 44% of deaf pupils achieve two A-levels or equivalent, compared to 63% of hearing pupils. On average, deaf children also fall an entire grade behind their hearing classmates at GCSE. In addition, less than three quarters of them (73%) will gain five GCSEs or equivalent by age 19, compared to 88% of hearing children. 

The situation is even worse for English and Maths, which are often both required to progress in education. Half (52%) of deaf pupils gain five GCSE passes or equivalent when English and Maths are included. This rises to three quarters (76%) for hearing pupils. The Deaf Children’s Society says that the problem affects deaf children throughout their education, as they arrive at secondary school having already fallen behind. Less than half (43%) reach the expected standard for reading, writing and maths at Key Stage 2, compared to three quarters (74%) of other children. There are similar concerns at Key Stage 1, with just over half (53%) of deaf children reaching the expected standard compared to 84% of their classmates. 

The Deaf Children’s Society says that deafness isn’t a learning disability and with the right support, deaf children can achieve the same as their hearing classmates. However, it says the figures clearly show that deaf children are being failed at every turn by an education system that should be supporting them, with cuts to support services and key staff leaving the special educational needs system in crisis.


The issue is not so much education failing them as the lack of professionals to enable and teach them, since deaf schools closed down, and since the mainstreaming of deaf children was initiated, then professionals retiring or unable to go where the 'inclusion' is. There appears no real or dedicated policy to train more with deaf schools going.  The old system only worked by putting all deaf in one place.  There is also issue with the Deaf themselves who want mainstreaming halted and a return to that special schooling in far-flung fields where their culture can prosper better.  However, the dire lack of professionals today would fail to enable that and continuing issues with BSL Interpreter shortages and rows mean it doesn't look too good for deaf adults either.  

The enduring problem is that 'specialisation' with the deaf means they are far less likely to manage inclusion and the focus on sign language (The deaf children's charity doesn't support in education),  tends to disadvantage options at adulthood.  The only response to that seems to mean endless rights arguments and a blame culture thriving, neither addressing the real issues of a lack of professional staff to TEACH deaf children, or professional support when they are adult.  

Thus sending the young deaf without that support to higher education to the vagaries of  'assistants', 'mentors', and 'helpers' etc means deaf students cannot follow effectively. Some Uni's complaining they often lack basic literacy and should not be in a Univesity without that, they are overruled by deaf rights, but the deaf still don't have the means to follow effectively even with a terp, because few terps specialise in educational support, they have no central structure or organisation themselves as most are freelance.    

It's a myth a terp can translate anything and everything, e.g. deaf need terps specialising in health, at higher mathematics etc, these,  the deaf don't have and terp training doesn't cover, it s choice left to the terp.  In essence, the deaf student won't be able to find one.

The deaf child gets used to supportive specialist deaf education early years, they then find it difficult to adapt to a Uni or higher hearing area approach where they may be the only deaf student there.  The issues appear to begin at specialisation support day one, as yet, nobody can see an alternative way of offering a deaf child wider communication options and their campaigners are against it.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Differences between Auslan and BSL

Wonder HOW they communicate via using their first language only.... and to those who don't sign? Do they use their second language then? I'd want real proof of bilingualism.  New Zealand e.g. has a variation of Auslan which has ASL influences in it. Perhaps the genuine signing is coming from native Australians and Maoris?  The rest is influenced from elsewhere...

Interviews with deaf experts.

I thought only we were experts on our own issue...  How can the WFD support sign language advocates in western areas like the United Kingdom where such areas are very poorly supported BY deaf sign users and who cannot keep Deaf trustees to advocate for them?  Obviously, the lesser included deaf in areas like India and the southern Americas, Asia, are breeding grounds for such projects by virtue of lack of inclusion education or health support.  By comparison, the USA and UK/Europe don't have that demand.

The UK does not yet recognise a sign language based educational system.  Recognised as one amidst 100s of European minority languages that is all.  A lot is on the grounds sign is a social-cultural format that doesn't assist education or employment positively thus actually disadvantaging the deaf.  It may well be the be-all and end-all of deaf socialising, but at the end of the day, they too have to work and earn a wage and the communication isn't there.    The deaf Achille's heel is their lack of bilingualism, over-focus on sign language, and the inflexibility on learning alternatives, perhaps there should be more focus on that so fewer disadvantages can occur?  For deaf to be included via sign only, they would need a new professional support system they won't have for another 25 years even if they commit to training the professionals today.

Deaf schools, clubs, interpreters etc are all areas diminishing in the UK. Rights without these very obvious professionals they need to practice them, isn't viable. So what is the direction by the WFD? just complain about signed access that cannot be made workable?

Di Marco wrong? And biased?

Image result for facebookWeekly round-up on HoH social media.  This item was critical of Nyle Di Marco's recent video about deaf discrimination.

#1 "This man is deaf and uses sign language. This is not the same as HOH or a cochlear implant recipient. Without workable aids, communication with hearing people is way more difficult. I have a profound loss and underwent CI surgery but it didn't take. Most people I've encountered on the service side have been very gracious. The greater challenges I've encountered have been in my workplace, where the roles are flipped. There were a couple of supportive co-workers, but when key people, such as the manager, or the customer are impatient or inflexible, it's next to impossible to do my job. The typical viewpoints I ran across was that communication is way more difficult for others to handle then it is for me."

#2 "While hearing people may genuinely desire to please, they often panic and get defensive because they don't know how to deal with it, especially on the first experience. The general expectation at my work was that the person with hearing challenges should be doing all the 'adapting'. I also realized that hearing loss is not quite viewed in the same way as other disabilities. When people became aware that I couldn't hear, and were not being provided with a workable coping strategy, they tended to treat me as if I were invisible. So there are really two sides to the challenge. We can ALL work more strategically at helping each other communicate better. It takes two to tango."

#3 "It annoys me that this is about deaf discrimination yet there are no subtitles."

#4 ATR. "This is the 'cultural' approach, to discriminate by 'preferred' access demands.  Basically, it is a fear, a fear captions kill sign language awareness,  viewers will always gravitate to the text, and sign cannot compete.  However, via this deaf protectionist approach, it seriously undermines access for HoH, not only online, but in creating access and awareness of HoH issues with their systems of support, currently, HoH in the UK do not HAVE a support system, they have a hearing aid or CI and pray it helps.  There are no 'communication/language' classes run to help them in the UK, the lip-reading ones failed years ago.  

Most is aided and abetted by vested interests e.g. BSL interpreters themselves (to keep the work flowing), and BSL people 'selling' the signing dream to hearing people creating work for themselves.  Colleges also cash in on the novelty of learning sign by running courses.  The conundrum is why with all this effort, BSL is still hugely unsupported?  We just feel when we see output like this thinly-veiled as awareness but in essence a direct plug for the sign language user only, then we have object to it as being anti-inclusive.  

A lot of the problem is the apathy of the HoH and their reluctance to challenge 'Deaf and HI' remits, or the sign user, despite the deaf activists and their charities abusing it on a daily basis, in case 'discrimination' is a charge hurled at the hard of hearing.  HoH have now backed off and left these deaf to distort the issue entirely.  The Deaf claim we need to work together, but campaign apart entirely via own need.  They want our numbers but they don't want us because we don't use or really support sign and support clinical definitions of loss challenging the social model of deafness.

I was reading yesterday in the UK, of a BSL charity media campaign declaring there were no less than 10m deaf (aka BSL using people) here.  The statistic they used was an HoH one pertaining to clinical hearing health registers, but there are only about 30-50K who are assumed deaf and declared sign using.  If we were to examine that statistic, the BSL stat has never been surveyed or proven.  

The only resource FOR statistics comes from own dedicated charities, not research and fact.  They can claim any figure they can get away with.  Systems say only ONE statistic is viable that which registers people asking for support.  Then we see stats in their 100s, not, 1,000s. 

A UK census put BSL users as low as 15K in England.   First, they insist deaf sign, then ALL deaf sign, then all HoH sign too, it's a 'numbers' and hype approach, the more the issue is seen, the more support and awareness presumably goes the BSL way, it is a pity it works via our unsolicited support.  Hearing loss equals deafness, deafness equals sign language equals culture.  Worse systems buy this blatant lie.

Hard Of Hearing sadly, have abandoned their campaigns and left the deaf a free run at the systems, then find when they need access themselves all they are being offered is sign language, not a lip-speaker, not a loop, not text support.  There is a view that Hard of hearing have cracked their access issues mainly by simply embracing text and technology approaches, so don't care what the signers do.  In real terms Hard of Hearing can be more stressed, more isolated than any deaf signer is and, less supported in jobs or education too.  Buying into social media as an alternative lifestyle still means they are isolated...

For people like Di Marco who express anger because they walk into a cafe or something and sign away and find people don't understand them, and, then blame others for not understanding then, would the same argument be true if e.g. someone walked into that same area talking Cantonese? should they expect to be easily understood?  As regards to being abused, there is no statistic I can find in the USA that says this is a real issue, most reports are isolated cases, in the UK we find most try to assist, I'm deaf I do NOT expect everyone I meet to be able to sign, or feel it discrimination because they can't, I don't carry my deafness like an albatross around my neck.. there are people a LOT worse off!  As one poster stated, it 'takes two to tango' yes, and that SHOULD include us too."

Sunday, 11 August 2019

An eyeful of psychology

The issue is the still-mooted myth that deaf people are bilingual when very few actually are, or, at best only bilingual on basics of speech. The other issue is a lack of actual technical signs, or, deaf people's ability to understand those.  People deaf who demand access to videos containing technical data and difficult terminology will be au fait with that anyway.  E.G. few of us would log in and watch a treatise on thermonuclear dynamics etc for obvious reasons.  We would not expect it even 'dumbed down' to be more understandable as detail gets lost, and detail is the Achilles heel of deaf communications and language.  

Finding another sign for a difficulty-spelt term would not make it any easier to follow you would need the academic background in the language text.  The determined demands for 'ASL/BSL' type grammar etc is an issue in that academic output is not geared to that.  The access the video provides is fine, but, do the same thing again describing some academic issue and then see the deaf audience fall off.  The UK hasn't the technical signs to use, ATR did a recent blog where it was left to one deaf academic to invent his own, no way really to run a railroad.

I think Gallaudet talks the talk but is still learning to do the walk.  I'm unimpressed with their attempts to make hearing loss or deafness an academic/cultural thing.  If they want a real challenge I defy them to translate Paddy Ladd...  The man who created a real and living person out of a fairy tale, he IS the Emporer without new clothing!  

Translation:  The emperor's new clothes, this expression is often used to describe a situation in which people are afraid to criticize something because everyone else seems to think it is good or important.

Not only did the Deaf fail to criticise the fact it wasn't even in their signed format, contained terminology none of them had ever heard of, they lauded it, simply because it was written by a deaf person (Brought up orally),  they then (The USA, the UK ignored it), made a living out of trying to translate it, convinced it was or is something it really isn't.

Apps that support the deaf

Have they one that slows down the banner text?