Saturday, 14 December 2019

BT Helps Deaf People with Free Relay UK App

BT’s Next Generation Text Service (NGTS), which since 2014 has been run on behalf of all UK landline or mobile phone providers and helps people with hearing and speech difficulties to communicate over the phone, has today been rebranded to Relay UK and upgraded to provide new functionality for users. 

The Ofcom regulated service simply translates text to speech and vice versa with the help of a specially trained Relay Assistant based in one of BT’s contact centres around the country. The new Relay UK app similarly enables a user to easily make a call based on their own accessibility needs. The user can connect to a call by selecting one of three options: Type and Read, Speak and Read, or Type and Hear. 

As before the new app is free to use and is available to UK mobile customers, although users will still be charged the standard rate to make a call as determined by their call plan. Relay UK supports Android v6 upwards and iOS 10 (iPhones etc.) upwards. A desktop version to replace the NGT Lite app for Windows PCs and Macs will be available during 2020. Relay UK is available in English only. Katherine Ainley, MD BT Ventures, said: “How we use technology to connect with each other has changed rapidly in recent decades, and this simple service transforms the calling experience for the estimated 12 million deaf people in the UK. 

We know from conversations with the community that bad telephone experiences are putting people off from using the phone to contact businesses, which can make certain services inaccessible. We’re urging businesses to alert frontline staff to the service and download our helpful Relay UK Business Toolkit, which includes educational content about the service – and what to expect when taking a call from one of our Relay Assistants. We hope that by downloading the toolkit, businesses will be able to provide a seamless call experience for their deaf customers.”

Get the App HERE.

Angelina Jolie Stole deaf superhero idea from me!

Angelina Jolie's deaf former employee claims that the A-list actress stole a movie idea from her, and that she was treated 'like a second class citizen' during her three years of employment.

Jolie, 44, employed Antoinette Abbamonte to teach American Sign Language (ASL) to two of her six children between 2016 and 2019 in California. Abbamonte, 53, who also works as a film producer/actress, tells DailyMailTV that the Maleficent star 'looked down on her' and stole her idea of creating the first ever deaf superhero for the upcoming movie Eternals, set to release November 2020. 

'I thought that [Jolie] was stealing my ideas to paint herself like she is helping the world,' Abbamonte said.   Angelina Jolie, employed Antoinette Abbamonte to teach American Sign Language (ASL) to two of her six children between 2016 and 2019. Abbamonte now claims Jolie stole her creative ideas 

On September 13, 2019, Abbamonte's attorney Michael Ahmadshahi, PhD, sent an official demand letter to Jolie's legal team, claiming intellectual property theft. The demand letter states: 'It appears that you expressly solicited the idea of the Deaf Superhero from Antoinette and commercialized it together with Marvel Studios and Disney without compensating Antoinette.'

The letter also calls for Abbamonte to be given credit as well as be compensated for her idea, which she submitted to Jolie, seen in emails obtained by DailyMailTV.  In a telephone conversation conducted through an ASL translator, Abbamonte, who now resides in California, said: 'She [Jolie] treated me like a second class citizen.'

Friday, 13 December 2019

Why aren't we told what hearing loss really means?

Image result for why am I the last to know?#1  I'm feeling a little lost I see all these posts about equipment people can get ? They just shoved me my hearing aids and off I got sent 🤷‍♀️. I told them I'm finding it really hard with the phone and hearing on it they weren't bothered said this is all they can do 🤷‍♀️.

#2  I agree, all of the support and information I have received has come from being part of this group, thanks, everyone.

#3  This is at the root of all HoH issues, isn't it? 'You have hearing loss, off you go with a hearing aid..' then when the aid is no longer able to effectively allow you to hear properly, that's it. There is no advice day one, your hearing could and probably will get worse to the point the aid is mere decoration, so you should start learning how to cope with that inevitability.  But no awareness or support exists designed for that.

Instead, we tend to breathe a sigh of relief the aid enables us at least to a point where we are just about comfortable with it, and noting an occasional sound here and there, then when it doesn't we ask about CI's, or text option/assistive devices AFTER having spent years not bothering. If we aren't in total denial, we are naive as to future possibilities and not equipped ourself if/when it happens.

Its no use when we finally admit to ourselves, that's it, I am to all intents and purposes deaf now, and THEN complaining there are no systems in place to help us 'move on' Moving on starts when you are diagnosed as needing a hearing aid, NOT, after it is no longer any use to you. You would think we learn but we never do. We live in hope mostly and hang in there for the faintest of sounds we can still manage. To then attempt sign language, change of lifestyle, and social areas, or take a stab at lip-reading is too late, our die is cast.  over 86%+ fail.

Neither sign/lip-reading systems are designed for the loss experiences you have, we should have demanded proper systems at day one, then, coping and managing would be far less an issue. I don't know anyone who has spent half a lifetime HA dependent and then losing that, who has then successfully managed any coping transition after that works, either you do it day one or not at all. 

I Just wish I had taken my own advice then. You get lulled into a false sense of coping and then the reality kicks in and there is nothing there basically.  Today we live for the technology to communicate as none of the traditional approaches of sign or lip-reading work if they ever did.

Technology and the deaf community.

Kudo gains Kudos.

Image result for kudo VIDEO CONFERENCING
KUDO has just made the web conferencing space more inclusive. 

The Manhattan-based startup now offers real-time sign language interpretation for web conferences or video conferences. At the click of a button, deaf participants to a meeting can get a pop-up window of an interpreter signing into the appropriate language. Image quality is crisp, with a negligible latency of 200ms. 

The solution works as well on computers as it does on smartphones. The cloud-based web conferencing platform already allowed users to add language interpretation to meetings small and large. With KUDO, participants are free to express themselves in their mother tongue, with human interpreters doing the translation live from remote hubs throughout the world. KUDO’s sign language release is a laudable push for more inclusion in corporate meetings. Their release coincides with the thirteenth anniversary of the enactment of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 

Over the years, the resolution has been adopted by more than 170 governments, which have committed to protecting and upholding the dignity of those living with disabilities. But the corporate world has been slow in catching up. Sign language is a broad and wild universe. It encompasses many different languages, with each country developing its own set of signs. For English alone, there is British Sign Language (BSL), American Sign Language, Australian Sign Language (Auslan), and a few more. 

There are also variants in Spanish, Portuguese and French. KUDO accommodates all of them. And it does so quite affordably, as interpreters don’t have to travel. Disseminating the use of sign language is a major milestone in inclusion. It empowers the deaf to fully participate in meetings in a language they can understand. “KUDO is all about inclusion,“ explains KUDO’s CEO Fardad Zabetian, himself an immigrant. “We are very happy to include the deaf community. 

No other video conferencing platform does that.”

Labour routed, Corbyn out.

The British public have delivered a resounding rebuff to the hard left in and around London, and to Europe, who have tried for 3 years to defeat British democracy.  London-centric media of all types also shown up for being so out of touch with the rest of the UK they did not see it all coming. We saw BBC presenters grovelling at their mistakes and bias too.

So the EU remainers are now trudging home, bedraggled and soaked through dragging their blue flags behind them. We  ARE leaving the European Union, perhaps the biggest shock of all was the Labour party unable to capitalise on the issues of the NHS, an issue they believed was a vote-winner to prevent nasty Americans buying it all up and making a mint in the process.  Of course, the USA is ONLY Interested in an area they can make a profit from like any investor, and the British NHS was never designed to ever make a profit.

Boris Johnson boxes with a trainerThe 'Score on the Doors' was pretty damming of the wishy-washy lefties, the labour party's Russian-backed Momentum group,  and extremes of a minority London focus groups, all left with enough egg on their faces to make an omelette for most of Islington.  

Image result for european flag destroyedThe UK has now spoken twice, we want out of the European superstate and their ridiculous and discriminatory arrogance of law-making.  We encourage other European members to follow our lead and dump the German-French monopoly over the other countries and allow them to re-erect borders that WORK for the safety of all and re-elect laws that protect the victims of crime and not empower the criminal, the terrorist or the fake asylum seeker.

Will the now obsolete 'Deaf-UK' and pro-EU BSL site now shut shop, and get a life in the process?  We can but hope.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Scared to remove my hearing aids.

In a nutshell why the 'Deaf' will never understand our issues. And, why it is time for a clean break from the unity 'Deaf & Hard of Hearing'  con-act and remit.  It's time for real awareness how we see it.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

The loneliness of the deaf pensioner.

Where is the 'Deaf Community'?  The 'Deaf BSL' charities who claim to be supporting them?  No doubt rambling on about BSL rights and culture and still not supporting deaf who need more help than a dream.  They need to get back to practical support, not ideology-chasing.  

So far this year BSL groups in total have been handed over £16m+ in grants and funding that we know of and in addition to free help with health provisions etc.  AOHL an HoH charity near £40m a year, So where are they spending it?  Creating BSL shows for people in London?  Holding awareness days in posh hotels for corporate hand outs?

Human Rights Day 2019.

There is neglect to mention the rights of parents to choose also. Neatly avoided here to not suggest their demands oppose those choices, or mention od Deaf activists calling hearing parents child abusers!

ASL support from Comcast

Image result for comcast
Comcast and Connect Direct, a subsidiary of Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD), have launched customer service support via American Sign Language (ASL) for Internet Essentials, Xfinity Internet, and general Xfinity billing questions, called ASL Now, the company said. 

With the combined expertise of both companies, Internet Essentials and Xfinity customers can now connect with customer service agents in their native language, ASL — the fourth most-used language in the United States. This is a first for the cable industry and it helps to further address the digital divide for Americans with disabilities by ensuring that members of the deaf community can get connected to the Internet at home without barriers. The announcement was made at a digital inclusion rally at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (PSD) to celebrate Comcast´s Internet Essentials program, which is the nation´s largest, most comprehensive, and most successful Internet adoption program for low-income households. 

The launch of ASL Comcast customer support is a continuation of Comcast´s commitment to the disability community. It follows on the heels of the largest eligibility expansion in the history of the Internet Essentials program, announced earlier this year, to include all qualified low-income households, including people with disabilities. According to Pew Research Center, the need to address the digital divide for people with disabilities is clear. The study found that 23 percent of people with disabilities say they never go online, and 57 percent say they do not even have a home broadband subscription. In line with Comcast´s commitment to make products, services, and experiences accessible to the widest possible audience including people with disabilities, Comcast also has announced that it created an landing page, with direct links to the new ASL Now chat function, the ability to order collateral materials in Braille and large print, and an accessibility-specific FAQ. 

Connect Direct, a division of CSD, is business and technology solutions for contact centre programs, specifically geared for deaf and hard of hearing consumers while creating employment opportunities for the deaf community. Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) is the largest deaf-led social impact organization in the world. For more than four decades, CSD has been a provider of creating and providing accessible technology solutions for the deaf community. For more information about CSD and Connect Direct 

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

BSL and the UK Election.

GDA does occasional good things, pity they did not address online deaf sites who have spent the last year deliberating lying to deaf people to push a pro-labour and anti-Brexit view. 

Informing is the last thing those people are doing, nobody has tackled downright disinformation emanating from those sites, or in-house bullying of pro-Brexit posters.  Most hosted by biased remainer deaf people living in London pretending to be a truthful and informative site for their deaf, when like others in London have defied a majority vote and opposed democracy to support a Marxist, racist, and a communist representing a constituency with more focus groups, more minority activists and more immigrants than local residents, and who used Russian hackers twice to hack into government filing systems to discredit opposition (Where have we heard THAT before!).

Whose sole policy is to bankrupt the rest of the UK to feed the black hole of need, support, business and investments that is being sucked in by London and bleeding the rest of the UK dry.

The latest attempt, a 4yr old left on the hospital floor?

Hard Of Hearing?

Immediately sub-headed to Hard ON hearing, hosted by an ASL user, and then the usual plugs for ASL and culture, a vlog designed to mislead.  To comply with the ADA they wheel out a HoH person who 'might' consider sign.  Fraud!

Abysmal and biased vlogging. Titling the output 'Hard of Hearing' then using ASl and promoting a culture that has nothing to do with Hard Of Hearing people, or, their communication or their basic need and support.  Is there no clause in the USA's ADA that states fraudulent awareness and deliberately misleading output is not allowed?

Caption Call.

The CaptionCall process. 

When you make or receive a call using CaptionCall, a live captioning agent is automatically connected to the call. This person uses voice-recognition technology and manual corrections to turn the audio into captions. This combination of technology and human involvement helps CaptionCall deliver the most accurate captions possible. We follow strict privacy regulations and none of your conversation is recorded. 

ATR:  So basically it is another relay service correcting poor speech to text technology?

Monday, 9 December 2019

Travelling whilst deaf at the BBC.

The End Of Deafness...

Image result for Dr Syed Akbar Abbas, a consultant ENT surgeon and faculty member at the Aga Khan University Hospital
A Cochlear implant can enable even profoundly deaf people to hear, says expert. 

At least two in one thousand children in Pakistan are profoundly deaf, which means they have zero sensitivity to any sound. Even this ratio is just an approximate as the government has neither updated data about people with such disability nor has it initiated any programme for the cure of such people. Dr Syed Akbar Abbas, a consultant ENT surgeon and faculty member at the Aga Khan University Hospital, gave a well researched and comprehensive talk on Saturday titled ‘End of Deafness: The Role of Cochlear Implants’ at The Circle – Caring for Children, a therapy centre for children suffering from autism, speech and language impairment and other learning deficiencies. 

Dr Abbas, who is one of few certified cochlear implant surgeons in Pakistan, informed the gathering that even profoundly deaf people can hear – with the aid of a cochlear implant. This neuroprosthetic technology has been in use in the world since the late 1970s but Pakistan first used this in 1998. So far, over 3,000 people have received cochlear implants in the country, of whom children make up the majority. However, this cure is available only to the small affluent segment of society or to those who have access to some philanthropist, because of the fairly exorbitant cost - each implant costs around 10 to 15 thousand US dollars. 

The audience included parents of children with disabilities, caregivers, audiologists, potential donors and concerned citizens. It was said that since the cochlear device is too expensive and a majority of the people in the country cannot afford it, 70 to 80 per cent of the surgeries performed here were sponsored by individuals, including the surgeons themselves and philanthropists, due to which there was a dire need for a state-run programme that could provide funds for cochlear implant. “If a child is diagnosed with deafness before the age of two, there are excellent chances of his full recovery but the chances keep reducing as the child gets older,” Dr Abbas explained in his presentation. 

"The implants are the last resort to revive hearing sensation and are recommended only if every other option has failed. If a person has even a little bit of sense of sound, they are strictly recommended to stick to hearing aids.” The speaker took pains to explain that the Cochlear Implant was not an automatic panacea, but required a considerable amount of post-surgery work and was dependant on mapping and therapy following the implant. He spoke about some cases in which the implant was inserted in children but their parents did not bring their children to the speech rehab centres because either there were no such centres in their localities or they were simply unaware of the post-implant needs. 

There were cases where some parents even wanted to remove the CI incorrectly thinking that it was no good. He said often deaf people are reluctant to undergo any such cure that can make them start hearing because they are at ease with their disability and have close bonds with other people having the same problem. They think if they start hearing - and speaking - they would no longer be part of the ‘deaf community’, so strong is the bond amongst them, Dr Abbas remarked. He informed at the event that only in the United States, the deaf community comprised seven million people and they received special grants from the state. 

 He said the public was not well aware of the cochlear implant and the federal and provincial governments seemed less bothered about the deaf people.

Conference on quality education for deaf

Image result for Haryana Welfare Society for Persons with Speech and Hearing Impairment (HWSPHI)In a first-of-its-kind initiative, a two-day international conference on providing quality education for the deaf which is organised and led by educators who themselves are hearing impaired will be held in Haryana''s Rohtak from December 10. The conference is being organised by the Haryana Welfare Society for Persons with Speech and Hearing Impairment (HWSPHI) in association with the University of Central Lancashire, UK. The State University of Performing and Visual Arts is partnering in the event.

"This is the first-of-its-kind conference organised in India which is completely deaf-led and focuses on identifying the key challenges and coming up with solutions towards quality education," HWSPHI Vice-President and Chairman Sharanjeet Kaur said.

Experts on education for the hearing-impaired from India, the UK, the USA, Uganda and Canada will attend the conference. Approximately 150 people from across the nation are expected to a be part of this conference, she said adding, the event was recognised by the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI). Kaur further said, "Experts in education for the hearing impaired who themselves are suffering from such disability will train sign language trainers. I think no one can better describe and explain sign language than them."

Pallavi, who is a project planning manager at HWSPHI, said every country has their own sign language which is based on that nation''s tradition and it will be for the first time that so many sign languages of the different countries will be expressed and interpreted in a conference in India. There will be many stimulating brainstorming sessions and panel discussions in the conference, she said, adding it also carries Continuous Rehabilitation Education (CRE) points which are mandatory for special educators and rehabilitation professionals.

The Haryana Welfare Society for Persons with Speech and Hearing Impairment is perhaps one of the largest and oldest organisation in the country working for development of children with hearing impairment.  It has been working since 1971 in Haryana and neighbouring states towards education, skill development and rehabilitation of persons with speech and hearing impairment. 

[The British input will be interesting given sign language is not a priority here in deaf education and deaf schools are disappearing.  Maybe they will suggest inclusion in the mainstream a far better option than any deaf school? We do wonder if using such terms as rehabilitation helps the cause much.  Wasn't Lancashire the deaf area that had its major support charity collapsing in financial disarray because of OVER-focus on BSL?   Inclusion did it for them.]