Saturday, 24 August 2019

Suicide prevention research.

5 things you DON'T say to CI users.

Deaf Census

Seems deaf in Africa were caught out with their deaf census just as the UK was.  The primary issue is asking the right questions regarding the deaf/disabled/hard of hearing etc.  Actually, NO question was asked regarding hearing loss and nobody defined deafness.

The UK approach was obviously,  an utter and biased shambles with BSL campaigners insisting on just one basic question which was 'do you use BSL?'.  Apart from anything else the question ignored 10m Hard of Hearing and 1,000s of 'deaf', when you add in, that daily usage, reliance, primary use of sign language, and 7 other essential questions needed to get any sort of reliable statistic, the end result was a culture shock to the BSL using people in the UK.

It would appear even with the biased, loaded, and the obscure question being asked, actual census responses cut charitable statistics by 60% overnight.   People who responded to the simplistic question of sign use did not ask even if the respondee was deaf or hearing, or even if BSL was their primary means of communication.  Filling in a census form was pointless, there is no validation system. Like the above response, Deaf responded by attacking the census instead when the result appeared to show their claims unsubstantiated. An own goal for cultural deaf campaigns.

The 'fight back' by charities of the deaf resulted in an ever-increasing and rising claim of BSL usage beyond the realm of fantasy and none of them validated.  E.G. The English assumption of BSL deaf was 30,000 at that time the census who did not identify use or degree cut that in half.  Today the claim is 150,000, or as in one case on the BDA site 10m!  The reality is nobody really knows or ever will.

What we do know is deaf schools on their way out, clubs closing down, and fewer people taking up sign language or interpreting.  Interpreter demand seems to be paper or internet-based rather than need-based as approximately only 300 exist to 'serve' these 150,000 alleged users. ATR contacted primary areas in the UK to ascertain if real statistics existed to quote, by asking Interpreter bodies and welfare support systems, what ATR got in response, was zero.

'We are sorry we do not keep any records of BSL usage via individuals, there may be some records kept by auditors of local authorities. welfare agencies or those claiming interpreter support via payment records.  However, and as you are probably aware we cannot give you the information you ask for via freedom of information laws, because the Data Protection Act makes it illegal for us to provide you with the details you ask.  

So one law is 'trumped' by another preventing you from knowing?

You could approach the RNID, or the British Deaf Association, obviously, we cannot confirm if their statistics are correct or not as you asked, they appear to gather stats from NHS areas of hearing loss and disabilities, you would have to ask them how they differentiate to gather sign language information.  I would further add we noticed your area (Wales), is a devolved health area of the United Kingdom, so again, you would need to approach the Welsh Assembly for the information you need.  As we are aware there are no specific national records kept for what you are asking."

The state arm of welfare, (the DWP), initially refused to offer up any information at all, claiming the FOI law did not apply to them.   When pushed then demanded a £600 'search fee' area by area, (which would have cost ATR many £1,000s, even then stated it would not provide me with what I want to know because 'We don't keep records of that.'  Of course, they do, because in order to assess deaf claimants, BSL provision would have to be provided, ergo a record of those costs and provision has to exist.  There may be some truth in deaf claims they are simply refusing to provide that access in many cases, or simply deaf aren't asking for it.

On the grounds of responses so far,  it would appear (A) Nobody has any idea how many people use sign language,  (B) The sole 'sources' come from charities who themselves cannot validate or (C) There is no real data gathering done on BSL. Nobody really knows BSL areas can state any number they want, how would you challenge when you cannot prove anything either?  

Logic suggests, that those seeking active support for sign language are the true figures to quote, although gathering that statistic is difficult too, the indication is a very much lower demand for BSL than any of the current claims to the contrary.  Probably TWO THIRDS lower than activism and charity is claiming.

Friday, 23 August 2019

Videophone Counseling: Who Benefits?

Videophone Counseling: Who Benefits? featuring Sharon introducing the concept of online/virtual counselling. 

It’s hard to believe 16 years have flown by since we brought online counselling sessions to the Deaf community for the first time in 2003. Thanks to Sorenson for distributing the first videophones to the Deaf community, which made this possible. Transcript: For some time now, people have been asking if it’s possible to use the videophone (VP) for psychological services. We’ve been using this new modality of counselling for a while here at ASC. When most people think of counseling, they envision the counsellor and client sitting down together in the same room. VP counselling is different. 

It’s actually not a new idea though. Starting in the 1950s, the military used telehealth technology to provide counselling services to remote bases where there were no counsellors available. So, the idea of telehealth counselling is not new, but it is somewhat new in the Deaf community. We’re seeing it slowly being made more available. My experience with VP counselling has been very positive. It’s a nice option for many people. One example is people who live far away, or in another state where there are no good Deaf services available, can benefit from VP counselling. 

Second, other people may live far away, but prefer not to see their local Deaf counsellor because they already know the counsellor or don’t feel comfortable with that counsellor or they just prefer to work with someone outside their community. VP counselling is a nice option. A third example is people who can’t drive or who don’t have a car, who may be sick or too weak to travel, or who can’t afford to buy gas. They can also benefit from VP access to counselling. Fourth, people who may feel anxious or uncomfortable about going into a counsellor’s office, but who do want to start counselling, can do VP sessions to start with, then perhaps go to the office for sessions. Finally, many people are very busy these days and find it hard to fit an appointment into their schedules, due to time conflicts or wanting to spend evenings with their families. 

They can set up VP counselling sessions during their lunch or break times at work. There are some differences between in-office counselling sessions and VP sessions. In the former, the counsellor can see the client’s full-body, how they walk, if they are limping, if they have vision issues or a limited range of vision. Body language is obvious. With VP counselling, it’s possible for the counsellor to overlook or not realize some things. A client might have Usher Syndrome, for instance, but see well enough to communicate easily via VP, and never share this with the counsellor. Someone might have difficulty walking, but it’s not apparent to the counsellor through the VP. That’s why it’s especially important to share information with the counsellor. 

 Overall, I’ve found VP counselling to be such a nice option. It’s perfect for people who have no local options for in-office counselling sessions. Thank you. (video description: Sharon is sitting in an armchair and signing.)

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Auditory-Verbal centre

Auditory Verbal Center from Harry Hayes on Vimeo.

Teaching the deaf to hear.  Captioning would have helped.

Deaf 'too old' to get Interpreter help.

Hundreds of deaf Australians are being denied thousands of dollars to pay for sign language interpreters because they’re too old to qualify for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. 

So-called ‘deaf elders’ claim it’s a clear case of age discrimination and say it’s contributing to worsening loneliness and depression within their community. “She’s worried about her friends over 65, their health. Their mental health is deteriorating,” Tina Stuart told 10 News First while also interpreting for her mother Elizabeth Karn. “I just feel like they’re the forgotten ones.” Tina takes Thursdays off work each week so she can drive two hours to see her parents, Elizabeth and Walter. Both are deaf and are excluded from the NDIS because they were older than 65 when the scheme was rolled out in the NSW Illawarra region, where they live. 

Elizabeth had initially been excited about the long-awaited NDIS but was devastated to learn she’d miss out because of its age limit. The scheme provides recipients thousands of dollars each year to pay for Auslan interpreters, who can charge up to $200 per hour. Auslan is the language of the deaf community in Australia. The average annual pay-out under the NDIS is $5,300 per person and there is little restriction on what the interpreter may be asked to do: visit a bank, a supermarket, a lawyer, or even a protest.

'Hearing Glasses'

Being Hard of Hearing in School

Deaf man saves 7 lives by listening.

Deaf man David Russell says he's saved seven people from killing themselves at Worthing beach
A deaf man says he has stopped seven people killing themselves by listening like no one else can. 

David Russell, 49, roams the streets of Worthing at night taking pictures and looking for people to help. He used to be homeless but turned his life around with photography six years ago. One night, he was walking along the promenade in the West Sussex town when he saw a woman running down the beach towards the sea. He said ‘I knew something was up and I ran down and shouted to her. ‘She said, “Leave me alone, I just want to die”. David Russell said he’s saved seven people at Worthing beach.

‘I said, “Please just give me one chance and if you still feel like there’s nothing I can do to stop you, I will leave.” ‘She said her son had died and she just couldn’t cope. ‘I told her your son wouldn’t want you to feel like this, he’d want you to be happy and start a fresh life. ‘It was 1am and I left her at about seven in the morning. ‘She had been drinking and had driven from Horsham. I wanted to make sure she sobered up before she left.’ David is deaf in both ears but has residual hearing and comes into his own in one-to-one situations. 

NOTE: No wonder awareness doesn't work, 'deaf but still has residual hearing', either you are deaf, or you are not surely? you cannot be deaf AND hearing.   Deaf in both ears too?  No wonder confusion and inequality reigns!

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Hard of Hearing get ITV apprentice jobs

Safyan Iqbal, an apprentice at ITV Cymru Wales, is encouraging pupils leaving education this summer to consider apprenticeships as a route into a successful career. 

The 22-year-old creative apprentice from Cardiff was selected from hundreds of applicants for a full-time apprenticeship role at ITV Cymru Wales’ waterfront HQ in Cardiff Bay last summer, and, since beginning his course, says his apprenticeship has been the best experience of his life. Safyan was born with poor hearing, which worsened over time until he had surgery aged 11 to fit a cochlear implant which helped him to hear more clearly. He said: “Communication is the most difficult thing when you have hearing loss. 

I love talking with people - it’s the best thing about the job. I’ve always wanted to work in TV and I was worried that being deaf might be a barrier to that – but I’m proving that it’s not the case.” Safyan studied for a level 3 BTEC diploma in creative media production at Bridgend College before moving on to work at ITV Cymru Wales to undertake a level 3 apprenticeship in creative and digital media. He’s now on his way to completing his apprenticeship, during which he’s learnt a variety of skills, including how to operate cameras and shoot and edit as part of his ambition to become a camera operator or filmmaker. 

“Every person with a hearing impairment is different but when I started work, I wanted to give my colleagues some suggestions that worked for me, so that nobody felt awkward asking,” said Safyan, who lives in Cyncoed, Cardiff.

Google sign language AI turns hand gestures into speech

Graphs are mapped over pictures of hands

The tech firm has not made an app of its own but has published algorithms which it hopes developers will use to make their own apps. Until now, this type of software has only worked on PCs. Campaigners from the hearing-impaired community have welcomed the move, but say the tech might struggle to fully grasp some conversations. 

In an AI blog, Google research engineers Valentin Bazarevsky and Fan Zhang said the intention of the freely published technology was to serve as "the basis for sign language understanding". It was created in partnership with image software company MediaPipe. "We're excited to see what people come up with. For our part, we will continue our research to make the technology more robust and to stabilise tracking, increasing the number of gestures we can reliably detect," a spokeswoman for Google told the BBC. 

Google acknowledges this is a first step. Campaigners say an app that produced audio from hand signals alone would miss any facial expressions or speed of signing and these can change the meaning of what is being discussed. Also, any regionalisms which exist in a local area would not be included.


A (lengthy), postscript to a plea on social media for more Hard of Hearing awareness, and concerns those areas are being sidelined by deaf culture.  What are HoH to do to counter? or even to highlight their needs?  Some suggestions emerge....

Counter fake news from deaf cultural activists?

"We don 't know what the answer is or if the HoH has one to ask.  The overall acceptance is chalk and cheese and campaigns, groups and charities who all do own thing which is fine by me, my only niggle is when they quote sector issues that aren't relevant to them to bump up figures etc or even to stick a label on us as being someone else.  I aspire to the 'I am myself' area if others want to run with the herd that's up to them, lemmings do that too."

Remove the 'Deaf & Hearing loss' remit?

"This remit is no longer applicable, as it suggests unity and a mutual inclusive set of people, we know that is NOT true.  The issue is if we complain or challenge some campaign regarding sign language or culture because they quoted us, we are pilloried, online you can be abused for it by the more purist sign user as someone attacking the deaf and their culture.  I would want 'Deaf ' taken out of Hard of hearing remit as that suggests we are one and the same area".

Prevent statistical abuses by HoH and Deaf groups?

"The deaf must stop quoting the UK's 1 in 6/7 hearing loss statistics, and indeed be taken into account when they insert 'hearing loss' too since universally this does NOT apply to those without a loss at all, i.e. DEAF people, I don't subscribe to different degrees of being deaf, you are, or you are not.  The blurred lines have destroyed need identification.  The HoH failing is to 'live and let live' we should NOT do that. Our lives can be nothing like a reasonable life as a result of hearing loss.  HoH outnumbers sign using people 100/1000s to one and have many unmet needs too if we do not state those needs or take to issue, those that distort them even accidentally, then only we lose. 

The British Deaf News e.g. this month allowed an article stating there were 10m deaf people in the UK, they have quoted in the last 5 yrs 15,000, 50,000, 90,000 and currently 150,000 BSL deaf.  The statistics are out of control.  Just think of a number, double it whatever who can challenge? seems to be the mantra.  This media is an accepted cultural deaf and signing charity but using the RNID/AOHL's statistic for all people with hearing a loss to infer the HoH are actually someone else.  It's time the continued opportunists and distorters of need fessed up to it all.  The deaf activists are clever people not to be underestimated, they can claim clinically hearing loss covers them and the issues of who is deaf and who isn't, was lost years ago. Add on half a dozen HoH doing some sign the circle is then squared."

Make a case to the charity commissions regarding the distortion of fact?

"The only way given the culture thing is on the rise and very visible these days, is to make a case to the UK charity commission that actually many more areas exist within the term of clinical hearing loss so charities should be A or B  or even a whole plethora of other letters, and not via a remit  claiming to be both and being neither.  This only fair and right.  It doesn't mean as people we don't want anything to do with deaf culture or sign language, only, that clarity is seen so that the ridiculous situation whereby the MAJORITY of UK people with a hearing loss are identified as carrying the flag for someone else sacrificing their own want.   Since when did we all become martyrs to other people's causes?

Curb charity?

"Charities ARE the biggest problem, they are all about funding, so will claim to help just about every aspect of hearing loss to get it and quote whatever they can get away with in hearing loss terms since THEY are the sole source of them, who is to challenge?  Even politicians rely on their stats.  There is less than honesty or truth going on there.  True identification should be based on the stats of people needing help and claiming it, this would then suggest those struggling need to start claiming it too and not just sitting there demanding it, and going without in some forlorn hope the system are mind readers or even their representatives are lobbying for that. 

The charitable rewards can mean many £illions in funding, funding is NOT 'chicken feed.'  the hearing loss and combined disability funding and support area is many £Billions a year, so a lot of vested interest and pretty blatant bias is apparent. The eye is on the financial prize, so the hearing loss area is a corporate affair and runs that way, they employ professional IT experts to milk every aspect of loss to get that funding, in reality, we become the victims with issues they create, there is no bottom line on empowerment in any deaf or HoH charity, it is all 'lip-service' because they are convinced deafness and its people will never get 'liberated', so let's support them as a minority and keep it that way,  they wouldn't know inclusion if you promoted it, and HoH do OK with an aid so..... just concentrate on clearing the wax out of their ears."

"Primary UK national charitable areas like the BDA or the RNID/AOHL are thus ambiguous, vague and opportunistic too, as both vie to supply/train/support/empower/enable (Add your own cliche'),  'people with hearing loss'.   The UK Charity commission labels 500 or more 'official' UK charities all claiming the same remit and 1500 others who are below registering guidelines for real inclusion too, those don't even have to send any details or audits to justify what they do (Or maybe don't at all).  

There are zero checks on applications that those applying have the means to carry out their aims.  You can get 3 or 4 people that 'mean well' who get charitable status, apply and get funding, then never heard of again.  So long as the basic 'income' is at a minimum level on the application that is it.  It's a free for all, and nobody has to really state beyond 'helping deaf or hard of hearing people' to get charitable status by default.  The real losers are the people they don't help or just claim to support fraudulently.  It is only very recently the Charity Commission has taken its head out of its arse to start investigating certain deaf charity trustee mass resignations, that was only triggered because some members had the guts to complain about it, and the social media highlighted it.  

Another deaf charity folded making 70 staff unemployed via gross incompetencies and an inability to run a group, clarify its aim, or manage its finances.  The Charity Commission itself being a state arm run effort, tends to ignore it, they don't want to pick up the tab.  You can apply for charity status via setting up 'research into local deaf or HoH need.'  One in Wales did that got £17,000 and did nothing at all to research, there were no checks.  The funding was never identified as being used for the purpose of any research done. 'Culture' or 'language' seems to get automatic recognition without query for some reason.  

There are questions to be asked about involvement in e.g. arts funding and potential misuse of Access to Work grants, which in the deaf aspect,  can mean a lot of money, the BSL deaf being amidst the highest claimants of A2W in the work area by default. When you begin to understand, that these grants can go up to a maximum of near £1,000 per week, more testing and investigation needs to go into its application, is it for work e.g or just free funding to pursue culture for the few?  Is it used to include the deaf person with others (Not just the disabled), or just to fund 'own thing'? It's very vague what it all actually means in 'support' terms or even if funding is being used for that to include, which is what funding is for.

All this seems enabled by state default, they are more than happy to offload state responsibility to charity instead, this means they are not brought to book for failing in their human rights duty to support their most vulnerable, currently the state wages a war on deaf and disabled, their support, and welfare, to remove both and take away financial help.  A 'bonus' is poor support or help gets blamed not on them but on the charities who are not working together and signing forms declaring they won't oppose state instituted discrimination in case funding dries up. 

Charities actively collude with the state because they are in a business and want that to continue.    The excuse is to protect support, but support is not being delivered despite all this money going into it  We fear greed has taken over and funding is going elsewhere.  In retrospect, nobody really knows how much money that is, other than it is in astronomical figures, with hard of hearing groups virtually unrepresented, or extant, they certainly are NOT getting funds and welfare has been removed from 60% of them.   Politicians talk to charity and ignore the people they purport to help.  We could question is if  such 'support' is just a way to keep recreating reliance on charity itself, to keep THEM in business."

Accept the twain doesn't meet or wants to?

"E.G. Today the BDA solely exists to support sign language and the cultural aspect of deaf people brought up within specialised deaf schooling etc or deaf from birth, we, however, acquire loss at different stages in our lives to different degrees, might have useful, or poor hearing or more than likely,  a dozen issues or more between, we can be disabled or blind with it, which may or may not be alleviated by technology.  We are fast approaching the statistic whereby as many as 25% of the entire population has some issue with hearing, and poor mental health too.  It's incredible they are all sidelined by a very small minority of sign using deaf people who happen to be more successful campaigners." 

The Hard Sell.

"It is all down to saleability, you cannot sell hearing loss to anyone, and unless we are children or have fur and four paws, there isn't enough visibility of it, sign using deaf are highly visible by default, they are all walking adverts for it.  It is taken for granted HoH are all old codgers and its some 'natural' progression, it isn't, only a minor area is.  Under 18 hearing youth are having real issues now and they aren't in 'deaf schools', 20 somethings also are having issues acquiring increased hearing loss,  over 40s/50s already well on the way to real deafness, almost certainly they will end up deaf or near as.   The 'cupped ear' and doddering old pensioner being their primary image.

Few if any of them will be a la culture, join a 'community' a 'deaf club',  or even use sign language, they will be too old or tired to bother.  They will, however, be very isolated or sitting alone with an iPhone texting till they fall asleep so at least some semblance of still being in it exists.  Is this where we are all heading?  If those with hearing loss can come up with a viable sales pitch PLEASE tell us.  Bear in mind 'famous HoH people' don't exist really, just those who try to be 'deaf for a day' who shoot themselves in the ID foot every time.  Dispense with the cards badges etc or crap awareness they don't work, have never worked, most is plain patronising or silly and unviable anyway. Face me, talk slowly etc does anyone go with any of that?"

Remove current Hearing loss systems and regroup?

"This has to start at education, it's clear deaf education is setting up the deaf to fail they are a recruiting area for culture with no real aim to empower the deaf to survive a hearing world, this means the language approach has to be more realistic in application to facilitate that.  Culture may be a novelty it isn't paying the rent or getting deaf or HoH people to work or advancement, let alone inclusion.  These areas cannot keep claiming discrimination and then doing nothing to ensure the deaf have the tools to communicate effectively.

Hard of hearing in education seem to totally revolve around a loop or a hearing aid, neither are often supplied or workable, note-taking random and text support ineffectively supplied (If they are lucky).  The issue within both areas is a lack of professional support being trained.

As far as random BSL and Lip-reading classes are concerned they both have to go in reality,  access isn't an 'us or them' thing.  The irony also being no deaf or those in real need can use either.    A whole re-think has to take place to develop a 'communication' support class network to meet what is a growing need of many 1,000s with hearing loss.  This means forcing the sign user element and the HoH to work together to supply a communication system that has the best chance of really helping the most.  'Culture' should be a later choice option and not a basis of learning.  Should there be a reluctance to do this then the state take over and run it themselves, it is about empowerment and inclusion and an area you can not leave to random activism and very biased and vested interests.  It needs more parents speaking about and not buying short-term hype for long-term isolation as a reward.

Clinical areas need to do more than measure a degree of loss and then leave the individual to find own way of coping with that. Trauma is stopping support and preventing help working.  There needs to be an inclusive approach to hearing loss, not ignored because they have supplied a CI or a hearing aid so, 'done their part'.  There is no joined-up approach at all to the aftermath or even the lead up to it.  The result is what we see, many 1,000s of deaf and hard of hearing people experiencing isolation, lack of opportunity, of training, work, and just misery, we can't just carry on blaming everyone and everything else, we have to be pro-active in addressing it.  Working in unison can do that, is the will there?  No, it isn't."

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Ye--haaaaa ! (Monthly round up).

Social Media views contd...

Hearing Impaired Badges & Pins.

"I never saw a valid reason for advertising my hearing loss with badges and cards etc. In the UK a hearing loss group created the 'I am hard of hearing please face me, speak clearly..' cards and badges, the deaf community panned it. They said 'this makes us targets and doesn't include sign language..'. this lack of inclusion and unity is decimating real awareness."

"So let me get this clear with the terminology ... (btw, I'm on the fence with badges and cards myself - never have used them myself, but occasionally wish I did, and thought it might be something for the OP to consider for those occasions) ... "a HEARING LOSS group created the 'I am hard of hearing please face me, speak clearly..' cards and badges, the DEAF community panned it." . Is that correct? The Deaf shut down something the hearing impaired wanted?"

"Not shut down as such, just refused to endorse it. The UK 'Deaf' community does not work with the hearing loss ones here in the UK, except to claim funding, THEN they become 'people with a sensory loss', otherwise, they are a 'culture' and a persecuted 'community'. I suspect this is the USA case too in many respects although their remits seem more inclusive than ours do. Is that a con job too?  They need to claim deafness as a disability otherwise they don't get funding or welfare of course."

"I wonder if this all feeds into the issue of 'hidden disability' problems?  You have one side suggesting we need to be identified to get the empathy we need, whilst the other doesn't need to identify, as their communication usage does that for them?"

"I doubt there is an answer to the hidden disability problem, basic and individual insecurity prevents most being identified, once they declare their issue openly, they also have to 'front up' and make a lot more effort facilitating that empathy, most don't possess those skills."

"The deaf are not exactly playing fair as funding is not being seen applied to alleviate communication issues but to promote cultural output and campaigns instead. Either they are disabled or they aren't.  Hard of Hearing generally, tend to agree it is a disabling condition but get little or no funding or support for that."

"We don't really know WHAT the hard of hearing are doing any more, they aren't campaigning, they aren't challenging inequalities or questionable claims from sign users etc. It was suggested they all use technology now and don't need 'support' or want a system whereby translators/minders are involved. Of course the deaf accept all these things, it is all they know.  They are pretty adept at calling it something else too."

"Hard of hearing were accused of only being deaf when it suits them, the deaf are accused of only having hearing loss when it suits them.  The UK's welfare arm appears to suggest none of them has any at all.  I don't think the hearing loss area ever makes sense, there is too much confusion about it."

"Unless individuals fight their corner there is no UK set up as I know that would champion those. Charity is dead and unsupported, run by people with no loss, and perhaps because they exist as 'carers' for us and we don't like that presumption."

UK's Corbyn pleads for selection.

A letter sent to fellow MP's and to different political parties, begging them to elect him as UK Prime Minister because his own party and the Electorate won't vote for him.  His dates are wrong too.