Wednesday, 30 October 2019

10 reasons Why the BDA fails.

Image result for where did it go wrong#1  'The BDA has failed us. BSL still isn't legalised as we need it.'

So goes on the anger of BDA members still being denied the truth of the BDA's shortcomings, and as reported, still not able to get enough trustees in to do their daily job.

Where did it go wrong?

(1)  The BDA initially misreported the pre-2005 EU declaration on sign language. Insisting it meant BSL 'rule', but all the EU did was recognise it as a language for the deaf along with a dozen other minority languages, the devil was in the detail. For it to work, the host country (The UK), had to enshrine it in law, the UK didn't, deaf got access to terps that was about it. 

(2)  As regards to usage in education and immersion use of BSL, the DoE has consistently done nothing to endorse it but pay it lip-service, and leave it all 'on the table',    (as they recently did with a demand for a BSL national class in the curriculum submitted by a deaf teen).

What does it mean to leave something on the table?
To leave (something) on the table v. phr. to refrain from taking the utmost advantage of something; to not address every aspect of a situation; in the form leave issues on the table, to negotiate a deal that is less beneficial than is expected or possible or just leave it for another day. Generally, it is a method of placating or meeting a demand without actually acting on, or endorsing it.
The NDCS didn't endorse BSL in education on an official level because they have to respect the parental choice. 

(3) At the time of the EU BSL thing, the BDA was on the skids, had lost 100s of members and was riddled with controversy by a threat from the hard-line 'Fed' to take them over. They were desperate to rally members, so they made a meal of the EU declaration.  As deaf know, recognition and empowerment are two very different things. If it was law today it would still take 20 years to work, since the staff and systems would have to be re-trained again, as in the last 30 years the entire deaf school educational set up has been decimated and their professionals retired or scattered to the four winds.

(4)   There are said to be near 100,000 deaf in the UK but only a few 100 terps at most to serve them, the whole thing about the demand for BSL interpreters is unrealistic and piecemeal, virtually none are being trained as we write.  You cannot elect a law on demand because the support isn't there to make it work.  Also, we don't know what the demand is, nobody knows.  There may or may not be as many deaf as they claim, no statistic exists to support the premise they are all BSL using either.

(5)  There is little state desire to maintain deaf schools, since, the state directive is inclusion.  E.G. Wales no longer has any deaf schools.   The BDA is bound to include but we know it specialises instead. Specialism and Inclusion are incompatible concepts in BDA deaf terms.

(6)  The BDA has always used emotional campaigns run by fear, and never addressed the practicality of what they are demanding. It's like demanding a place on a ferry to cross a river when the ferry hasn't even been built yet, even if it was, the river too shallow for it to float on. 

(7)  What we've seen is the BDA deaf exec enjoying junkets to the obscure World CD in Europe, ta very much, but just legends in their own bathtime really, and the BDA is in debt too.

(8)   I do know my local deaf club the thrust of support there is not the BDA but the AOHL who are supporting signers.  No doubt because the BDA has other fish to fry.

(9)   When PIP came out, the BDA in Wales had NOBODY trained to help the BSL user claim, it was left to the RNIB or we were told to commute to England and pay someone there to help us claim, 61% of deaf lost all ability to claim, the shortage of BSL terps also disempowered the deaf from claiming, there just weren't enough to support deaf welfare claimants and the daily 'bread and butter' work BSL terps already did.  Terps just didn't turn up when the DWP hired them.  The nature of BSL interpreting is they are a law to themselves not the deaf.   Deaf are over a barrel and they are the sole support.

(10)   If the BDA was any further out of touch we would need a satellite to communicate to them. Basically, the BDA isn't supporting deaf people just 'playing the cultural game' instead while deaf go without.  If deaf raise concern they are 'attacking deaf people' to kill off their antics being scrutinised.

No wonder they don't want deaf to know what is going on there perhaps because NOTHING actually is.  They use BSL and culture to hide the fact they are a spent force, sadly Deaf are buying into the politics of fear and it is left to the deaf outside to Identify why the Deaf signer is being let down instead.

Apple: New Emoji's.

Apple releases new emojis including Deaf and blind people (ASL - 10.29.19) from Sign1News Admin on Vimeo.

But, no captioning...... ASL users still insisting their deaf can't read?

British Deaf Association unable to do business?

Image result for BDA deafRecent update on the EGM of the BDA to debate the serious loss of 7 trustees, and allegations of bullying by the BDA executive.  The declaration appears to state they have been unable to decide anything but to remove the person who called for the EGM (!) and the allegations not yet discussed.  Apparently, the BDA is looking for another  'yes' person (Trustee), who will allow the business to continue (and the same old closed shop too).  Anyone prepared to put their head on that block? [Preferably a BSL user who does as he or she is told.]

"The EGM of the BDA took place last Saturday, 26th of October 2019.  Board members Agnes FDyab and Dawn Marshall have now replaced Gloria Pullen and Linda Richards.  However, the new board still does not have a quorum, and therefore is unable to do any business.  It would need to co-opt or appoint one more trustee of their own choice.  Hopefully, they are able to hold early elections for a totally new board and Chair."

How deaf do you have to be?

DPA Deaf Poker Australia
The criteria has nothing to do with deafness but is a platform for signers?  Are they going to test deaf people to see what level of proficiency their sign is? and, what will that level be?  It could well invalidate the deaf who can play good poker but not sign well.  What if the deaf person is a lip-reader?  This is the second time deaf have tried to insist on sign-only sport participation, they did this in a Deaflympics trying to bar CI users and after Americans complained a Hard of hearing participant was allowed to compete.

How Deaf is Deaf Enough? Deaf Poker Australia – was established more than a decade ago to give deaf and hard-of-hearing players a chance to play poker using sign language. The tournament series caters to members of the deaf community and provides a comfortable environment outside of traditional poker tournaments. 

 A controversy this month put Deaf Poker Australia to the test. A player who is deaf in one ear and doesn’t do sign language won a tournament, but outrage ensued. An investigation finally verified the winner’s condition and allowed him to keep his trophy. But it brought up an interesting scenario. 

How deaf is deaf enough to play on with Deaf Poker Australia?  Established as a nonprofit organization in 2008, Deaf Poker Australia (DPA) wanted to promote poker and gather deaf and hear-of-hearing players. This was just after the height of the poker boom, and poker was everywhere. DPA then became the unofficial governing body of deaf poker groups in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and Victoria, not to mention New Zealand. Each group organizes home games and small tournaments throughout the years, but they all come together for the national DPA Championship. Deaf and hard-of-hearing players are able to communicate using Auslan, which is Australian Sign Language, and English at the tables.  

Voice to Text on Mobile Devices

Current overview of speech to text technologies.

Mobile electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets are rapidly overtaking the desktop, laptop computers as the primary computing devices for more than 50% of the worldwide customers. Users are increasingly getting used to access the web, read and write messages and interact on social networks. 

The input of text on mobile devices is popular despite the fact that it is significantly more difficult by using an on-screen keyboard. Automatic speech recognition (ASR) is a solution to the text input on mobile devices which is gaining popularity as an alternative to typing on mobile services. 

Google offers the ability to search by voice on Android, iOS, and Chrome while Apple’s iOS mobile devices come with Siri, similar to a conversation assistant. On both Android and iOS mobile devices, users can also speak to fill in any text field where they can type, a feature used to dictate SMS messages and e-mail. Voice to text on mobile devices capabilities enhance the missed-call and voicemail offerings across VAS (value-added service) and network services. 

Voice-to-text on mobile devices improves customer satisfaction and generates revenue for various mobile network providers. A major limitation of the global voice to text mobile devices is that speech recognition is performed on a server. Mobile network connections are often slow which further limits the penetration of the voice to text mobile devices. The global voice to text mobile devices market has opportunities to invent techniques for building an accurate, small-footprint speech recognition system that can run in real-time on modern mobile devices. Download sample copy of this report.

Splitting the Gene.

Human gene editing sounds like a big deal. Is it? These genetic tools pose fraught biological and ethical questions—but how much call for them is there anyway? 

Gene editing of human embryos for reproductive purposes—a medical technology often said to promise (or threaten) “designer babies”—is more or less upon us already. It has arrived far sooner than many researchers imagined, and sooner than many wanted. And recent developments show that there may be more just around the corner. To edit the genome of an embryo, biochemical tools snip out a section of its DNA (typically a gene or part thereof) before implantation, and an altered segment is inserted in its place. 

This was first done to human embryos in 2015, but not for reproductive purposes via IVF. Most scientists in the field had assumed the latter was still a long way off—until Chinese biologist He Jiankui announced in November last year that he had used a gene-editing technique called Crispr to modify the genes of twin baby girls born by IVF, in an attempt to give them resistance to infection by HIV. Notwithstanding the shock and condemnation that greeted this announcement by most other researchers in the field, Russian biologist Denis Rebrikov now says he hopes soon to get approval to use Crispr to modify embryos for IVF, to change a gene mutation that would otherwise cause deafness. Meanwhile, a new gene editing technique has just been unveiled by a team from the Broad Institute of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that seems to overcome much of the imprecision incurred by Crispr—a key reason why Crispr is widely considered still too risky for use in human reproduction. 

With better gene-editing tools potentially on hand, the safety objections to using it in this context might lose some of their force. *** The main premise of gene editing for human embryos is that it could correct genetic mutations that cause disease. Rebrikov is planning to use Crispr to target one of these in a gene called GJB2, where the mutant form leads to severe hearing impairment. As with many impairment- or disease-linked genes, the defective form of GJB2 is recessive, meaning that only if a person has it in both copies of their genome (inherited from the biological mother and father) will they suffer the consequences—in this case, deafness that requires a cochlear implant or hearing aid. If at least one parent has a “healthy” copy of the gene, it is possible in principle to select an IVF embryo for implantation that also possesses it, an approach called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. Then no gene editing would be required. 

But Rebrikov says he is in discussion with several hearing-impaired couples where both partners have double copies of the mutant form of the gene. They would then certainly pass the condition to their offspring—unless the defective gene is repaired by editing. Despite that benefit, many researchers consider Rebrikov’s plans irresponsible because not enough is known about the safety of Crispr to offset its use for a condition that is not life-threatening. 

Because the editing would be done in the very early stages of embryo development, any changes to the genome—including possible harmful ones—will be passed on to future offspring of children born this way: they are in the “germline.” (In contrast, gene therapies involving editing in the tissues of fully-developed children or adults would induce non-inheritable changes.) Besides, some people in the deaf community challenge the notion that their condition needs “correcting,” regarding that as a form of eugenics that could harm the status of hearing-impaired people in society.


While hearing loss may not be viewed life-threatening (Some can argue against that premise),  quality of life-threat is without a doubt. The only response to that from the 'Deaf' community, has been to blame everyone hearing for not doing what they do.   Is the question to leave things as they are and let deaf children/adults live a life of struggle? or remove the issue/gene that creates that struggle?  With the best will/law/campaign in the world, mainstream is never going to treat us much differently, and the deaf lifestyle is one of almost complete dependence on support of one kind or another.  

Read any single cause/campaign launched, it is about that support, that specialisation, that different educational approach, that demand for 'help' etc.  It's not an image of an independent deaf person or a stand-alone culture, but a hearing dependent and disabled one.

As with all issues, it is parents who will decide which is the optimum approach that will help their child succeed and be happy.  The article writer in trying to hold the middle ground and failing, should be aware current gene editing is nowhere near doing what is claimed regarding hearing loss which has 46 different genes to address.   While they can identify most of them they cannot isolate them to remove/edit them, there is no effective way as yet, to target effectively the single gene. A 'scatter-gun' approach to gene editing could produce unforeseen effects that are unwelcome and dangerous.

That is not to say different researchers in different countries with far fewer scruples or ethics like China/Russia (or even the UK that is a leader in gene research), won't try anyway.  Experiments on rats/mice/gerbils have been ongoing for years.  The race for the cure goes on.  The USA who lauds freedom of choice are probably the people who would try to sell gene therapy first, (and not always with adequate safety protocols if their health dispensation is anything to go by).   Any 'success' in removing a gene that follows such approaches would then be offered worldwide.  What parent would not take up that option then, if, it was declared safe?

One issue mooted was the suggestion insurance companies in the USA would refuse to cover support costs for the hearing impaired, if, a cure was there but refused.  So anything likely to emerge regarding gene issues is going to be in the USA.  Deaf demanding deaf children is not going to get much support, it doesn't now.