Saturday, 25 January 2020

Researching deaf reading abilities.

I wonder if there is a distinct difference approach?  between DEAF and Hard of Hearing attainment, it would be an error to assume 'like with like' as even a few more decibels holds a real key to attainment (As does reliance on non-standard ASL grammar approaches).  As we are aware the USA has just a single Deaf University where such statistics can be be done with accuracy and state by state, each USA area has different approaches?

So you need TWO surveys.  One hopes a neutral survey/research is undertaken without reference to the D/d being used randomly etc and correct identification of those surveyed.  In the UK we don't usually link Hard of Hearing WITH members of the 'Deaf' community as they are two very different sectors, the old 'Deaf and HoH/HI' remit is obsolete.  

There has been contention and criticism in the UK of researchers being led by the D/d thing but declared statistics then NOT differentiating when it comes to fact/identification who they are.  The UK got 11 million stats attached to deaf people when that was a Hard Of Hearing statistic NOT a deaf one, and the official 'Deaf' stats are changed every time it is printed, anything from 15K to 150K!   It is being allowed via 'inclusion' laws who officially are not drawing lines (i.e. NOT recognising the D/d thing, only in that people can hear or they cannot), as a result.  

UK BSL activism was attacked for distortion and bias of research.  Apparently exploiting the fact there are border-line hard of hearing who are deaf and who may even use some sign to suggest they are one and the same as the 'Deaf' community and culture, not just those border-line but a statistical 'carry on' to suggest ALL the same by inference, if not open declaration.

We could suggest the facts will still reveal poor literacy of English within the 'ASL Deaf' world, which will only lead to more of the 'blame' game instead of addressing WHY it happens, which is probably down to chaotic 'hashtag and activist-led' approaches to deaf education.    There are no immersive sign approaches in the UK, some areas of the UK have no deaf schools either, there is no real evidence this has impacted on deaf literacy getting worse, indeed, it has improved considerably with mainstreaming and inclusive approaches.

There are constant challenges to BSL being an 'in' to English too or deaf sign users being really bilingual. As ATR reported recently there is still a UK reluctance to empower BSL in the classroom and this is paying off for the deaf child via increased literacy stats.

Friday, 24 January 2020

USA Census

LNKI. What are the questions regarding deaf people and sign usage? degree of skills? daily or occasional usage etc? In the UK census a simple question was do you sign and it failed to identify who did, or how effective it was for the deaf, the question was 'loaded' by signing activist language groups to omit actual usage and reliance facts.

It meant a census statistic later released showed deaf claims to be false on BSL use/need or deaf attainment of it. I am assuming USA deaf were consulted on exactly what questions are asked and with detail?

Charity moving from support to campaigning?

ATR.  A recent charity article, poorly sourced it seems, as only the NDCS actually campaigns for all children with hearing loss, NONE of the other UK charities are inclusive but 'A or B' supportive via db loss or sign usage.  In short, campaigning is pointless unless INCLUSIVE.

As regards to successfully installing a BSL GCSE we have yet to see it, and the NDCS actually is unsupportive of BSL as immersive deaf educational support because they are bound to respect parental choice by law.  The UK's leading charity on hearing loss the AOHL refused to engage in rights campaigns claiming charity law forbids it and closed down forums that advocated it on their websites social and other.  AOHL also recently offered up all their deaf care support options to privatisation opting out of deaf care, they want to concentrate on the deaf cure now.

The BDA refused to offer ANY inclusive support other than to BSL users only, and operates in secret and places legal gags on its members, it appears to be financially struggling and unable to keep trustees too.  Charity itself exists only by people throwing money at it, and joe public is reluctant to give money to areas (Like the 'Deaf'), who claim they have no issues, and Joe Public themselves are to blame for everything if they do encounter them. Few if any charities include actual deaf people as employees, AOHL offered to pay migrant resident fees for EU workers hearing.  As the NDCS has found out social media responses are not agreeing with the NDCS of late either.  Probably down to BSL areas demanding stand-alone specialist systems making inclusion and care policies difficult to formulate.  

We have to ask at ATR just what will they campaign FOR? and for WHOM?  The Hard of hearing have no campaigns and haven't for 10 years at least, so will they just go for BSL things and alienate parents of deaf and HoH children?   As long as we see a balance of campaigns it will be fine, but nobody so far has managed to engage at all with the hard of hearing, how will they manage to do what everyone else has failed to?

It is interesting reading this article from the 3rd age site, who actually withdrew feedback options on that charity site after criticisms it was an old boys network for retired or unemployed corporate hearing seeking a job and an OBE from the queen while advertising jobs deaf could not qualify for.

The Article:

"Instead of unilaterally deciding on campaigns and simply expecting people to support them, our campaigners want us to be partners and co-creators in this movement

The 2019 general election was a huge opportunity for the charity sector. It could and should have ushered in a new era of charity campaigning. We had an unprecedented ability to understand how people were engaging with us and the issues they cared about, and we had powerful digital tools ready to engage and support them.

But instead of grasping the opportunity, we pulled our punches. We played it safe. We rehashed the same old classics: single-issue “manifestos” and well-branded e-actions. We asked prospective parliamentary candidates to show their support, and they, hungry for any opportunity to gain more votes in their marginal seats, willingly obliged.

All this happened at a time when what our supporters really wanted was to share our values and be offered a place to take action on the issues that mattered to them. By doing everything the same way we always have, we missed the seismic shift happening around us.

While we were in coalition meetings, new movements formed around us, engaging and supporting fellow campaigners. The growth of the incredible grass-roots movement for disabled children and children with special educational needs, the Send Community Alliance, is a notable example. While we churned out long policy reports and bemoaned the status quo in the media, opinions were being formed in closed WhatsApp groups and by passionate parents creating new networks in private Facebook groups.

While we were knocking on the door of Number 10, policy was being made in local communities by borough councils, clinical commissioning groups and PTAs, not just in think tanks and policy units.

This can’t continue. We need an approach to campaigning fit for the times we now live in. The Victorian model of charity has evolved a lot over the years, and it’s continuing to reinvent and reshape itself.

At the National Deaf Children’s Society, we’ve been speaking to parents and young people to find out what they want from us. We’ve discovered that the people who support and campaign for our causes are starting to think differently about what they want our role to be.

Rather than unilaterally deciding on campaigns ourselves and expecting people to support them, our campaigners want us to act as a partner and a co-creator. They want to draw on our evidence, expertise and budget to help them achieve what matters to them.

Meeting this challenge means turning our organisations inside out. We need to give individual campaigners the ability to direct our resources, taking a lesson from the incredible success of Greta Thunberg – or, in our case, Daniel Jillings, the 11-year-old boy who successfully campaigned for a GCSE in British Sign Language.

Deaf who cannot sign to get Help?

Image result for Jeanette ArnoldThe London AssemblyQuestions to the Mayor.  [Peabody index 2019 (2)].
Peabody index 2019 (2)
MQT on 2020-01-16
Session date:
January 16, 2020
Question By:
Jennette Arnold OBE
Labour Group
Asked Of: The Mayor


According to Peabody’s latest report, 9.3% of disabled Londoners are unemployed, compared to 7.6% on average. What are you doing to address this?


Peabody index 2019 (2)
Answered By: The Mayor
Date:  Wednesday, 15th January 2020.

I am committed to doing what I can to help tackle London’s disability employment gap and am implementing various initiatives to achieve this.  To improve employment outcomes for disabled people I have match funded the devolved DWP London Work & Health Programme taking this £70 million government programme to £135 million.

Through the devolved Adult Education Budget, I have introduced full funding for first qualifications in British Sign Language for Deaf Londoners up to and including Level 2.  My £71 million ESF 2019-23 Programme aims to support more than 5,000 disabled people into training and employment. The next round due in the Spring will include £6.5 million of support for 16-24 years olds who are either NEET or have SEND.

The Start Up, Step Up programme, part-funded by ESF, will support 138 budding entrepreneurs who have disabilities. My Good Work Standard will also support disabled people to access and progress into better quality jobs and aligns with DWP’s Disability Confident scheme.

We are also looking at how to offer more work placements across the GLA Family for Londoners with learning disabilities through TfL’s Steps into Work programme.


ATR contacted the labour representative Ms Arnold and the Lord Mayor, and asked the question, but (A) Both failed to respond and (B) ATR was unable to identify the deaf sign illiterates this money is aimed at. Why would other disabled need to attain BSL qualifications? Social media posted the same questions:-

"Why is the Greater London Health authority and Lord Mayor having to fund sign language lessons for deaf ADULTS and other disabled (?), who haven't attained level 2 BSL? What on earth were these deaf being taught in a deaf school?"

"Do deaf actually KNOW what level their own signing is? It is stated 69% are nowhere near level 4, deaf mentors/carers only required to gain level 2, Hearing terps not required to gain any mental health specialisations. The majority of over level 4 BSL signers are hearing not deaf, they outnumber deaf people 2 to 1."

"It seems the idea is to enable a sufficient sign QUALIFICATION attained BY the deaf themselves so that their job prospects improve? but, employers say level 1/2 is basically illiteracy and a level 2 in a system his business did not use was pointless,  would they be able to utilise signed support?"  

"I attend a deaf club every week and the sign levels with deaf people there seem pretty poor.  Social signing is nowhere near the academic requirement or at a level deaf can advance employment options with, and explaining detail is a struggle, but they appear convinced it is the same thing for some reason and 'everyone should sign to them'."

"Are deaf (Children or adults), required to gain any level of sign qualification in education (Formative or Adult)? We know hearing children have numerous exams on academic attainment and marked as regards to their communication effectiveness from day one, but it seems the deaf are not having to prove they have enough sign language skills they need to utilise help.  The culture won't cut it with employers."

"London is said to contain near 20% of all UK sign users, where do the numbers exist for a sector of that 20 % unable to attain even level 1 or level 2 BSL?  The basic question not asked is how such low levels of sign and English are being identified? Is it job centres?"

"Learning level 2 would not be viable to attain a skill to do anything other than sweep floors in London lets face it!"

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Origins of Sign?

Five major lineages and a handful of minor languages (Polish, Russian, Afghan) helped produce today's variety of sign languages. Pictured, the various lineages that produced today's plethora of signing varieties
Linguists have long studied the origins of human speech, with two centuries of research dedicated to unravelling the birth and evolution of human dialogue. 

Researchers from the University of Texas claim sign language has been far less studied, despite being 'at least as ancient as speech'. Justin Power, a PhD student at the University of Texas in the US and first author on the study, said: 'While the evolution of spoken languages has been studied for more than 200 years, research on sign language evolution is still in its infancy. 'Much of what we know about the histories of contemporary sign languages has come from historical accounts of contact between deaf educational institutions and educators. 

'We wanted to know if a comparison of sign languages using contemporary and historical sources could shed light on how European sign languages have developed and spread around the world.' The study, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, assessed a total of 76 sign language 'manual alphabets'. Manual alphabets are forms which signers use to spell written words using a sequence of hand shapes. These are known to date back as far as the 17th century following the creation of educational institutions for the deaf during the European Enlightenment. 

Five major lineages and a handful of minor languages (Polish, Russian, Afghan) helped produce today's variety of sign languages. Pictured, the various lineages that produced today's plethora of signing varieties. Five major lineages and a handful of minor languages (Polish, Russian, Afghan) helped produce today's variety of sign languages. Pictured, the various lineages that produced today's plethora of signing varieties Evolutionary biology and linguistics techniques were applied to the various languages to find any similarities between them. 

These subtle similarities and relationships were then used to map out their evolutionary lineages. This allowed researchers to create a physical map of where and when sign languages spread across Europe and then around the world. For instance, the researchers found the influence of French Sign Language on deaf education and signing communities in western Europe and the Americas. In addition, the team was able to trace the dispersal of Austrian Sign Language to central and northern Europe, as well as to Russia. 

Mr Power said: 'The network methods allow us to analyse in detail the complex evolution of complete lineages, manual alphabets, and individual hand shapes. 'Integrating these methods with our research into historical manual alphabets gives us a powerful framework for understanding the evolution of sign languages.' 

This article originates via Texas USA, but isn't supported globally.  While deaf developed basic signs based on mimicry, it was HEARING people who worked at creating a bona fide 'language'. The USA also declared uni-sign did not exist nor, was sign able to carry over effectively in different countries and as explained via Martha's vineyard, it was unsustainable once closed communities developed options to move out.  Sign (In the UK anyway), still hasn't been proven, as the BSL dictionary lacks 70% of necessary signs and contains next to no academic ones.  USA 'experts' are still trying to decipher Paddy Ladd's explanations which contained no sign explanation at all because the signs aren't there..

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Porn for the HI.

Deaf Do Beethoven

The real Beethoven.  A badly-dressed slob? (Sorry no history at all of sign language and he had no time for disabled he thought inferior).

Beethoven was a very complex man and lived a very difficult life, struggling with increasing hearing loss, frequent physical ailments. strained relations with his brothers and difficulties with the care and protection of his nephew Carl and legal disputes over this. His early life was very difficult, and he may have been beaten by his demanding father, who seeing his great talent, imagined he might be another Mozart and forced him to practice the piano endlessly.

He was not the most pleasant personality you could imagine. He was gruff, irritable, and not the easiest kind of guy to get along with. He was the Oscar Madison of music; his living quarters were extremely messy and he wasn’t very prompt in emptying his chamber pot, most likely because he was so involved with his music.

Beethoven dressed so shabbily he was once arrested in a park for supposedly being a vagrant. He never married but is reported to have been involved with certain women of the Viennese aristocracy, although the exact details of his love life remain sketchy. The mystery of his “Immortal Beloved “ has never been solved. He was not exactly the kind of guy a young lady would like her parents to meet! He is said to have frequently been ill-mannered and uncouth. He had many friends, including music-loving members of the Viennese aristocracy who supported him, but he was easily angered and would give them the cold shoulder if said or did something he disliked.

Beethoven was very concerned about his money, and had frequent difficulties with music publishers over payments. Erratic, mercurial, and highly unpredictable come to mind.  The composer was afflicted with a pairing of terrible misfortunes, his traumatic upbringing and loss of hearing. Always seeking an escape from a seemingly tragic destiny, he stood in defiance against every force that threatened to tame his fiery fighting spirit, a spirit that spawned great music and a miserable man.

Charmingly charismatic one moment and boorishly arrogant the next, Beethoven lived his life as an absentminded, unkempt slob in the most squalid and abhorrent of conditions. Piles of rotting, uneaten food sat right next to his scores. His eccentric habit of pouring a bucket of water over his head did not please one of his countless landlords, who was left with no choice but to seal his floor with asphalt. Banging on his piano during night hours certainly did not help matters. His appearance was in such tatters in later life that he was mistaken by police as a tramp and arrested.

All this, of course, is a sharp antidote to the transcendental immortality of his music, arguably the crowning achievement of Western art in the early 19th century. Should we simply devour the music and overlook the man? Never, for music and man are inseparable, let us accept him as a figure of unsurpassed artistic genius whose mortal, imperfect existence is nonetheless undistinguished from that of common humankind.

Monday, 20 January 2020


According to the USA "There is no universal sign language. Different sign languages are used in different countries or regions."

A response to a recent social media plug for uni-sign with not many impressed with that.

"I don't think many UK deaf understand it at all, I was surprised people like the BDA etc actually attend the EUD as they always need another translator to follow, given we are leaving Europe what is the future of Uni-sign anyway?" 

"The UK hasn't a norm yet that's why, we are still waiting for it  the BDA has its sign and the coursework run by hearing have theirs we also see 'media signing'  not taking into account skill levels at grass root who demand what you see is 'real' sign regardless if own versions of it and such, its a mass confusion really now validated by rights. It's not really clarified via interpreters who are mostly using Signed ENGLISH not BSL."

"Which only reinforces the UK need for a proper norm and dictionary doesn't it? One that is complete enough to advance the deaf, so far academics in the deaf field have had to invent their own, the dictionary doesn't get updated and colloquialism rules rather than a set design for a norm.  While this adds to the standard English changes it doesn't assist the deaf with their incomplete references and arguments over grammar."

"True, some are suggesting this challenges the deaf perception and claims of having a 'language' after the deaf initially rubbished the first BSL dictionary as 'made up' and signs repeated to fill empty space.  Paddy Ladd wrote a whole book on it that needed and still does, translation because he used academic terms the deaf had no signs for.  USA deaf seized on it and distorted it for their own deaf 'market' in some curious attempt to make it look more clever than it was intended sadly, instead of admitting 'what is he talking about?' "

"I am reminded of that olde 'Deaf Mosiac' coverage in the USA when the deaf using BSL in the talk about sign languages in the world and with other European deaf involved needed the entire support of no less than SIX translators. Is sign universal perhaps not. I'm sure gestures can be but..."

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Astronomy has a sign problem.

We think the sign is the problem, it's 'language' and 'dictionary' lacks sufficient signs to do in-depth subjects and detail. Ask ANY deaf sign user to explain.  You might just as well ask them to explain thermonuclear dynamics in depth.  Mostly deaf were conned about how effective their language is.  Rather than understand their education and sign was poor, they blame hearing for not signing explanations no signs exist for.

ATR has already reported deaf 'scientists' having no BSL signs to do their researches and work, and geneticists having next to no signs at all, surely the 'blame' lies with the lack of appropriate signs deaf can use and understand, and the failing (Perhaps questionability), of whether the language is anywhere near sufficient for deaf people?  

Even Paddy Ladd was unable to do a signed version of his outpouring on the 'Deaf way' and the USA had to create a load of 'courses' to decipher his works, and without a 'Rosetta Stone' to help.

Why subtitles matter.

Deaf man sues for lack of porn access.

BANGKOK, THAILAND-FEBRUARY 15: Pornhub Website on the Screen on February 15 ,2018. in Bangkok Thailand.; Shutterstock ID 1025448961; Purchase Order: -
A deaf man has sued Pornhub over allegations that it does not place closed-caption subtitles on its videos. The hearing-impaired man said he couldn’t understand the dialogue in the site’s porn films and said he would subscribe to its premium membership option – if only he knew what was going on the blue movies.   (Is he blind as well?).

In his court case, the deaf man named films such as ‘Hot Step Aunt Babysits Disobedient Nephew’, ‘Sexy Cop Gets Witness to Talk’ and ‘Daddy 4K -Allison comes to Talk About Money to Her Boys’ Naughty Father’, TMZ reported. He wants Pornhub to caption the action in these films to make sure no plot nuance is missed – and is also seeking damages. In a statement, Corey Price, Pornhub VP, said: ‘We understand that Yaroslav Suris is suing Pornhub for claiming we’ve denied the deaf and hearing-impaired access to our videos. 

‘While we do not generally comment on active lawsuits, we’d like to take this opportunity to point out that we do have a closed captions category.’ The site's captioned collection includes over 1,000 top-viewed videos from the site’s straight, popular with women, gay, bi and transsexual categories. 

Friday, 17 January 2020

Accessibility Online

Corrrie gets deaf baby.

Coronation Street - Gemma Winter played by Dolly-Rose
Gemma Winter in Coronation Street to get ‘heartbreaking’ news one of her babies is deaf David 

Gemma Winter played by Dolly-Rose Gemma and Chesney face a fresh challenge New Coronation Street mum Gemma Winter will be told that baby Aled is deaf in a new storyline that aims to raise awareness of how a family can cope with the diagnosis.  

Gemma (Dolly Rose-Campbell) and Chesney Brown will be left upset when they get the news that little Aled can’t hear. Dev confronts Chesney Chesney and Gemma are trying to get used to being new parents in Coronation Street It will be a fresh challenge for the new parents, who’re trying to get used to life looking after four little ones. 

“It’s going to be heartbreaking for Gemma and Chesney to realise baby Aled has hearing problems.  “The hope is that the storyline will raise awareness of how a family can cope with the diagnosis.” MORE: Check out the latest EastEnders spoilers Trafford Deaf Children’s Society and Great Ormond Street hospital are said to have advised on the storyline to ensure its accuracy. A Coronation Street spokesperson confirmed the plot to the paper, describing it as a “very important storyline” and one they hope will “resonate with many parents who have gone through their children being diagnosed with hearing problems”.

ATR:  We wonder if promotors of sign language realise the utter negativity of the soap 'heart-breaking' headline and how the hearing view deafness?  But it seems only the Deaf themselves see it as positive and only a  select few of them. We expect the usual pro-BSL, pro-speech areas to pitch in which is the 'best way' to help a deaf child, and no doubt cultural areas will add their 10% too.  It won't pay Corrie to follow the oral route.    Corrie had a woman signer before, who the HoH criticised for launching into endless lectures on how the deaf sign doing nothing to raise hearing loss awareness, as did a signer on casualty,  The deaf tendency to make every appearance a seminar on BSL is why they don't get included as much.

EastEnders had a deaf son with a hearing aid who mostly forgot he was deaf, then miraculously self-cured himself and changed his face 4 times, not easy!  The reality appears to be little awareness gets raised because program makers are reluctant to make disabilities a permanent feature of inclusion apart from wheelchair using disabled who present few issues about communication.  The one in Corrie has been accepted as perfectly 'normal' and no different from anyone else.  The deaf laud difference.

Personally, I am against 'gritty realism' it's a soap opera not meant to be taken seriously.  Most these days seem to be assuming they are pioneers of awareness and raising real issues making the assumption we had no idea what happens anywhere else but in our own homes, it's a huge generalisation and patronisation.  Can they succeed where the charities and deaf community have failed?

Mostly, we don't want to see awareness 24/7 on our TV sets we want light relief, laughs, humour, it is what Corrie used to be good at before it followed the doom, gloom, and gritty awareness gig instigated by the social worker's favourite training program east enders, a travesty of life in London or any east end, unless murder, rapes, drug-taking, child abuse, alcoholism, and incest carried out by the ugliest and nastiest people on earth is the norm where you live.  

Rita SimonsIn real life one actor on EE WITH a deaf child who got it a CI was attacked relentlessly by sign users and called a child abuser, I trust Corrie is taking note.   If viewers want awareness they'd join a focus group and attend lectures, not watch TV.  Will they won't they get the baby a CI? go to a deaf school? use sign? etc.....  I can't wait, oh OK I can!


What is Signable?

Using cutting-edge technology, Signable provides the best way to capture an eSignature on a document between two (or more) parties.

Signable provides easy to use software to thousands of businesses using a secure online, digital process for signing documents. It’s easy to create an electronic document from scratch or upload an existing Microsoft Word document, Microsoft Excel file or PDF template to create and send:

Sales contracts
Employment contracts
Property leases
Order forms

Signable helps businesses to meet the legal requirements of electronic signing processes in legal legislation around the world and adheres to the European Union’s eIDAS regulation.

We keep your data and documents secure and record every action of the document signing process. With our audit trails, you can keep track of everything you worked on and all the different parties involved, providing a detailed overview of every step of the signing process.

Signable follow and exceed the legal requirements a document must meet to be legally accepted. These include:

Being uniquely linked to the signatory & being capable of identifying the signatory.
Using electronic signature-creation data, any change to the data is detectable and flagged up.

Forced to fund raise to communicate to own child.

Why didn't social services or the school teach the parents it?  It makes no sense to teach a deaf child a language the parents can't follow.

Parents of a toddler who is deaf hope they will finally be able to communicate with her after being forced to fundraise for sign language lessons. Ros and Josh Hannam, from Caldicot, were told after Lola was born that they would have to pay £6,000 for a British Sign Language (BSL) course.

They raised the money but said the situation was "ridiculous". It comes as an independent Welsh Government report found the provision of BSL classes in Wales was "patchy". Another problem highlighted was financial cuts to education, with the government vowing to consider the recommendations.

The Deaf Children's Society called on it to take urgent action. Parents of deaf children face funding 'postcode lottery'
Cwmbran Deaf Choir allowing isolated youngsters to be heard
There are 2,642 deaf children in Wales and 3,116 pupils with hearing impairments in Welsh schools, according to figures.

Mrs Hannam and husband Josh were shocked to discover how little help there was after Lola was diagnosed. "I couldn't believe that there was nothing available, because it seemed to me such an obvious need," said Mrs Hannam, from Caldicot, Monmouthshire.

They were told it would cost £6,000 to learn BSL and started trying to raise funds. A concert at Newport's Dolman Theatre was one idea they had to bring in the cash. Mrs Hannam added: "The expectation that a family has to raise thousands of pounds to be able to learn a new language just to be able to communicate with their own child is ridiculous."

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Wills does some finger-spelling.

Perhaps he can teach his gran now she has a hearing aid :)   He shouldn't bother with Phill 'though he stopped listening years ago.


Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Are Hearing People Destroying Deaf Education

ATR: One suspects hearing areas are trying to establish a norm regarding sign language to enable children deaf more able to integrate with hearing?  But yes, commercialisation of sign language is the norm in the UK too, the success of deaf activism in selling sign language was seen an opportunity by hearing areas to capitalise on.   Sign is a victim of its own 'success' and the deaf cannot compete with hearing sales-wise.  I would have thought such commercialisation was part of the American dream anyway?  Many DEAF ASL users have made a business of it also, some less than sticking to the script!


Mary Pat Luetke-Stahlman Callista, a teacher of the Deaf with a masters in Deaf education posted a vlog on her personal wall discussing the issues of culture appropriation when it comes to ASL items for sale. 

She met with Mary Pat from The Deaf Report to discuss some concerns she had with a situation that happened recently. According to Callista’s research, the majority of people that work on ASL resources are hearing. One of the biggest concerns is that many of the resources being developed by hearing people are not utilizing proper rules or word order/classifiers. Missing things such as order of words and what needs to be taught first. 

These errors are critical in the development of language for children and because of the tools missing these things, the language being taught can be taught inaccurately and affect the quality of education students are receiving from the teachers utilizing these same tools. This is a widespread problem Sheena Lyles does a lot of videos demonstrating how people sign things inaccurately and are teaching these signs to hearing people. Destiny Slater also discusses issues in 3D animation and hearing people designing animations signing ASL that are not fully accurate. It appears that more people were utilizing a certain type of clipart, which was developed by a hearing person. 

With the increase in demand, the owners changed their terms of use was changed. Once that happened, Callista realized that continuing to use their clipart was not feasible for her future work so she stepped back and reassessed her products. Callista decided to start utilizing her own artistic skills to develop her own characters and signs. “This is so time consuming but it is worth it because I need the conceptual signs that have multiple meanings e.g. run. Run can be applied in so many ways such as “runny nose” or “running” or “the program kept running”.” (Callista) 2 weeks ago Callista received a take down notice from someone else. This puzzled her and in an attempt to understand what was going on, she did some additional research. 

“When I did further research, there was ONE product that looks very similar but the inside resource is completely different.” (Callista) How this is different is on the cover of the template that shows a “flip book” model that has five sections. You can develop any flap book from this. Both of them had classifiers. (CL:1 CL: B Cl:A ) “Hers (the woman who sent the take down notice) had just a word definition or description in text. Mine had more visual cues such as hand shapes to demonstrate each classifier. So because she saw the cover on Pinterest, it was reported that copyright infringement occurred.” (Callista) Callista did further research and both of them had developed the tool Feb 2018. Both Callista and the person that submitted the copyright infringement statement developed their tool at the same time without knowing each other. 

“After I’ve seen hearing people teaching wrong signs and then seeing Destiny Slater’s vlog, I realized it was necessary to say something” (Callista) When asked about changing the external portion of the “flipbook”, Callista explained that the change would require a lot of things such as the jpeg, PDF, and so forth. Many steps in changing one item. When Callista found out that other people were hearing, there was this feeling that something was not right. When Callista did some more research, this person is an ASL teacher in California and is hearing. 

This is what led to the vlog that she did to discuss culture appropriation within ASL material development. Most people that demonstrate their products use English spoken language without any sign language. This woman is selling ASL products without any kind of visual language in her vlog. “This is oppressive, speaking but not signing when selling ASL Products.” (Callista)

Lip-Reading: What is that?

Protocols for accessing the hearing.

Image result for the perfect meeting humour
The perfect meeting, does it exist? I've used various technologies but hearing workers rendered them unreliable because they kept talking over each other and would not wait until I could follow properly. 

The right protocol presumably, is one person speaking at a time and nobody having a discussion amongst themselves, (so that prevents the Deaf bothering to hold one unless they have a dozen cooks making broth they don't eat).

Basically, it is ensuring each point has been followed and understood before going on to the next.  Not rocket science. One bright deaf spark said utilising technology is the way forward, but it takes no account of hearing co-workers who ignore it or tell someone else to 'Explain to him what we mean', effectively zeroing your contribution at the onset and the point of assistive technology.  You have to be able to decode what you see and evaluate/respond at the speed of light it seems to me.

Many hearing workers will assume the technology (Or an interpreter if that is your bag),  can discriminate between all this chaos going on when you struggle to follow they say 'he has the access but still can't use it, not our fault', but using a 3rd party is no guarantee either and can invite curiosity and time-wasting too. The reality is nobody really listens at a meeting and assumes everyone there is there because they know what it is all about anyway. Asking for clarification because they keep yapping amongst themselves, can suggest you aren't up to it.  Then our fabled 'Nod' of assent kicks in and we are out of it really.   NOT asking means you can't keep up.  So using pride to overlook the fact you aren't following is another killer really.

The Deaf can do the same thing, everyone jabbers on and on regardless who is saying what, and rank and file may well be talking about something else entirely regardless amid themselves.  The way they all get to understand what is going on is via some system of 'Chinese whisper' where those most able to follow detail involved tell the next person who tells... etc; unfortunately, if you are at the end of that line you probably won't have a clue why you are there in the first place, but hey, the bar is open after.

I usually find most did not care anyway as meeting other deaf to socialise is all it is really about. At most hearing meets it is obvious there is co-worker 'power play' going on too and that can disadvantage you as well. It is essential all that is being discussed is given you prior to any meetings so you can ensure you can ask questions and get answers when you attend.

I used a palantype operator at one point and she gave up after 15 minutes she said too many people were talking at once and she could not ensure I was getting what was being said. My attempts prior to the start to ensure the operator gave me an indication not only what was being said, but WHO was saying it, said "that is impossible the way these meetings are run, by the time I ID who said what 5 other people have already chipped in, and the topic has moved elsewhere, I only have one pair of hands I may as well not be here then" and left me to work it out.  Apparently it is hard enough typing what is heard without having to memorise and indicate who is saying anything it only works at very small meetings where I can actually monitor 4 or 5 people visually, but if there are 20 then no. As regards to speech to text apps forget it, they don't indicate who speaks or ID's them. It's the same as background noise negating hearing aids.

Deaf signing meets are some sort of  'organised chaos', at least that is how it is explained to me, but I tend to avoid those at all cost,   I have all the chaos I need, hardly anyone but their closet friends can follow who is speaking and visitors get ignored in favour of locals. Of course, as sign is the prime medium of what passes for communication, it is a basic requirement you use it or don't bother to attend. But mostly, deaf avoid discussions on serious stuff and leave it to others who enjoy attempting to follow what goes on, being there seems to be the prime point. 

When people meet to discuss some issue, inevitably someone there will raise a point not included and when that happens you have no way to get involved because you had no prior notice it was coming up, at that point you should suggest that is for another day. We don't 'do' spontaneous really.  It does seem any time you make a point the meeting is not actually conducive to discussing and arriving at any decision really, they don't invite you next time.

If they fund your access they will be convinced there is no need to treat you any different to someone else hearing, it's a sort of follow-on to shouting at people who don't hear thing, but technology and support may still leave gaps you have to fill yourself, but dare you suggest that is the case?

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Top 10 Deaf responses to the BBC Teletext closure.

Image result for top 10Assembled from various Social media sites and collated to give a general overview of the BBC's decision to remove Teletext options, and then cross-relating it to TV media exposure for deaf people and their sign language.

#1 I think it (Teletext), has served it purpose really. It was wonderful years ago to be able to switch on the TV and see what other deaf people had to say. It even turned out that one of the editors was someone from my old school. Small world. That is the value of having a national platform for deaf people. Once the Internet kicked in I think that most people went straight for forums and other online groups. The problem with the BBC See Hear forum is that certain people were trying to impose their opinions on the rest of us and the BBC did not moderate the forum properly.

#2  Don’t watch TV News at all too much Waffle, plus newspapers too many advertising, both always boring or bad news,  Text is good short, Sad that is going soon.

#3 I need text service for weather, travel and sport results. I don’t understand why they want to close it. Now I look on my mobile or internet instead. Teletext is the service for those don’t have access to internet or mobile phone. Why close it?

#4 What? I personally having it on so same as you, why close it? But just wonder how many people using it ?

#5 We don't know, any more than we know how many deaf watch SEE HEAR, it is irrelevant anyway as SEE HEAR is protected from removal via equality laws, it doesn't matter if a million watch it, or just 1 we cannot get rid of it.   Use it or lose simply does not apply to cultural aspects although does apply to access. The 'Deaf ID' is protected even if they cannot get their rights otherwise, its a source of contention and annoyance within the deaf world as regards to what their priorities really are and screwed up the support/care and charitable systems.  

#6 The BBC's 'inclusion' policies are ridiculously biased anyway.  Its viewer base (SH), doesn't register on the TV listings it is too low to record. They did try to change the format to be more inclusive and sensibly refused to remove subtitles despite 'Deaf' activist allegations 'English' text discriminated against the BSL user.  The BSL user, in reality, blocked HoH inclusion on cultural grounds, they and the 'Deaf' actually stopped watching, and the BBC stopped feedback after very serious rows erupted between the HoH and Deaf on their feedback site, as ATR covered, charities caught in the middle like the RNID ended up removing forums of response, after WW3 erupted there, the blame clearly identified as by aggressive BSL activists who set out to create deliberate disharmony to prevent criticism and, it succeeded forums and feedback was pulled, the onset was near every charity connected with the deaf or hearing loss removing feedback options... even on social media.  They cannot cope with contention.

#7  The BBC is aware most don't want see hear, it has served its time and purpose, but although they cannot remove it from the BBC channel, they can shift it to all manner of obscure areas and times to dump it out of sight and do. The BSL lobby demanded we all fund the twilight (Sorry BSL Zone) as well. They initially tried to more inclusive but the HoH had already voted with their feet they didn't want to be classed as 'Deaf' which would be inevitable had they taken part, the image would be all sign language and Milan or something. 

#8  Hard Of Hearing have little interest in 'Deaf' things even less than the BSL user is showing at times, it's as if these deaf feel obligated to defend the BSL position and media by default, despite misgivings and some dubious imaging.  Sign users really don't care what a meeting or campaign is really about, it is just another excuse/reason to socialise.  

#9  Disabled did it better and they got inclusion without the aggro and controversies the deaf create by default and it seems by design, they didn't present their disability as a barrier as the deaf do via sign or waved culture in people's faces, and lectured everybody on the 'right way' to talk to them.   We read money is at the root of many BSL issues with hearing and deaf alike capitalising on the selling of sign language and culture as a commodity of some sort, while that exists people will support this even if it does not produce any of the real access and support these deaf need if it can produce work for deaf people and popularise sign they will go for it and defend it even if their own input is minimal and professional hearing areas organise it their way.

#10 True, but they can't sell culture, to hearing, or to their own deaf most of the time, because there is no hereditary background to 99 out of 100 of them.  To most at the grassroots level, support and access/education is the main event, culture is a cross to bear because at the end of a very long day it is an area the law enables their campaigns with. It's a constant re-invented wheel and survives because of that.  Although as more medical and technological advances emerge maintaining that continuity may not survive as such we are seeing signs (No pun intended), sign on TV is struggling and has been for a long time, literacy is the final frontier.  It's a frontier we cannot allow misguided deaf activism to downgrade or ignore, at the expense of need and common-sense.

Monday, 13 January 2020

BBC to close their text service.

Image may contain: possible text that says 'Is the text service closing? Unfortunately, yes. From the 30th January 2020, the red button text based service will no longer be available. The text based service includes news and sport headlines and business, weather, travel and lottery updates.'

Deaf social media on the BBC's recent declaration they are removing their TV text service. 

ATR: We read this before we quite liked that service as it was essential before we all had access to the net on phones etc, but bear in mind many older deaf (Reputed to be above 60%), still don't access online and now won't have access via their TV anymore.   We appreciate apps and the net have moved on but the text access on your own TV set was a ground-breaker in access terms as was 888, sign language never was and still has issues of being viewed and complaints about content not being inclusive.  The text service also gave insights on medical, scientific and technological advances it's all in one place.  It was a one-stop Information area easily accessible to all.

The BBC used to have 'No Need To Shout', etc (A text-based feedback/letter site on the BBC), that ATR was a major contributor to, run by Chas Donaldson but later ruined by a BSL clone who drove feedback away), also a regular weekly RNID feedback social site, but the BBC's archive on deaf access omits text-based output coverage for some reason, no doubt it is political and run by atypical incoherent hashtag-based idiots now entrenched there.  Most want the licence got rid of so this appalling and biased TV channel gets sorted out and its right to raid our wallets with impunity removed, not least because it allows persistent and biased false images of a sanitised deaf and disabled community to tun riot. 

It is yet another assault on our diverse access need, by the BBC who also removed all deaf feedback to SEE HEAR on their site and installed these disabled who won't question blocked access instead so they can be some 'elite' within this deaf world they create for themselves. The RNID followed removing their open forum so we could not provide feedback publicly to them either. And as ATR posted only this week sold off its deaf care homes. It all seems silly given 90% of online output is text anyway.  

We get deaf 'luvvies' now from the smoke (London),  doing their thing which has no link to the realities of the deaf anywhere else. Proclaiming access nobody else appears to have but them.

Breaking News: Queen has a hearing aid.

A hearing aid is visible as the Queen Elizabeth II arrives to attend a morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham
Forget the Harry and Meghan roadshow, and will they? won't they? go with their dogs to Canada and then make a mint on Instagram trading on their royal status in case UK taxpayers decide to cut them off... And Meghan insisting American media will leave them alone to pursue social media money-making and the odd game of polo.

This is REAL News (For those presumably without a life that is). Let's face it the old gal is into her 90s now its a wonder she can dribble a speech these days let alone listen to the sycophants that surround her or bring unruly spoilt grandkids of dubious parentage to heel.  Apparently, she has the wrong aid in her ear..  ATR apologises for the article's lack of coherence but it appears to have been written by an 8yr old so bear with it.

Gasp! Queen spotted wearing hearing aid in public for first time

The hearing aid is visible as the Queen Elizabeth II arrives to attend a morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham. The Queen has been spotted in public wearing a hearing aid for what is believed to be the first time. The 93-year-old was pictured with a brown and red device lodged in her right ear as she arrived by car at Sandringham on Sunday wearing a camel coloured coat and hat.

It comes five years after her husband the Duke of Edinburgh was seen wearing discreet behind-the-ear hearing aids too (They are still looking for his old one after he upended his Land Rover on a  motorway believing he had right of way to everything).

We wonder if we can get hearing aids by 'Royal Appointment' now? The type used by the Queen appear to be 'in the canal' hearing aids.  The NHS England website states these "aren't usually powerful enough for people with severe hearing loss".

Guidance states hearing aids are only helpful if someone still has some hearing left and can help wearers pick up on every day sounds like doorbells, phones, and speech if their hearing is beginning to fail. Members of the public clapped as the Queen left the church after the service.

She waved from her car as it pulled away. It comes as the Queen is set to have crisis talks with Prince Harry tomorrow at the royal estate in Sandringham.

My life with hearing loss

ATR recommends this blog written by Steve Claridge, as a deserving read.  


"I’m 45 years old now, I have been steadily losing my hearing since I was 5 and have been wearing hearing aids on-and-off for most of that time. Here’s my story:

Childhood Hearing Problems.

At the age of 5 my parents took me to the local doctor because I was sometimes not responding to them when they talked to me, the doctor referred me to the ENT department of the local hospital. I was diagnosed with a sensorineural hearing loss and came away with a pair of BTE (behind the ear) hearing aids that had full-shell molds, the piece of the aid that went behind my ear was pretty big and bulky and the bit in my ear took up the whole space and pressed against the sides — I hated it and didn’t want to wear it.

Making Everything Louder.

As this was 30 or so years ago, the hearing aid was an analogue device and did not have the sound quality and speech recognition that today’s devices do, it basically just made everything louder. My parents made me wear the aids to school and I do remember wearing them in class, but my Mum said, years later, that I didn’t wear them at school for long. 

I used to wear them up to the school gate and then take them off for the day, only to put them back in at home time so Mum didn’t realise. I remember being teased by the other kids about them, not a lot though, nothing sustained or evil, just the usual level of joshing that kids do with each other — some other kids got teased for being overweight, having ginger hair or other minor reasons, I got it for my hearing loss, to be honest I don’t remember it bothering me that much.

Just Stopped Wearing Them.

So after a short while, I stopped wearing the hearing aids, I guess even though I wasn’t too bothered about teasing I still wanted to fix it, to be normal and not to stick out. At the age of 5 I had a minor hearing loss, I missed the odd word and probably didn’t hear people at times when they were not in front of me. I left education at 18 and I didn’t wear my hearing aids at all after that initial period. All through school and college I was sitting near the front of the class so I could hear the teacher.

Progressively Worse.

During those years my hearing was getting progressively worse, what started off as a minor loss became a moderate one and as each year passed it became more and more difficult to hear in noise, in groups and when people were not directly in front of me. During my early teens, my parents took me to a private hearing aid dispenser and I got a pair of small in the ear (ITE) hearing aids that were by no means invisible but were much less noticeable than the old hospital ones. 

They were also a lot better at blocking out noise and allowing me to hear. By now, I was a teenager and the need to be cool and to fit in with the group was way more powerful than the need to hear, so I didn’t wear any hearing aids, despite it starting to become a real problem to hear every day.

By the age of 17 I was missing quite a lot of what people were saying so I was trying to cope in different ways. Lip-reading and watching the body language of the speaker were two things that worked incredibly well, over the years I’ve become very adept at lip-reading and when you watch someone’s body language quite closely it is surprising how much you can understand about the meaning and intention of what they are saying.

Hiding My Hearing Loss.

I did things that were less useful, I laughed when someone finished saying something I didn’t hear, I changed the subject if someone told me something and then a while later asked me about it I would say I’d forgotten about it instead of saying I never heard it. Often, rather than asking someone to repeat themselves I would just respond to what I thought they’d said — their laughter when I said something stupid was crushing and entirely my own fault."


ATR Comment:

Experiences can vary considerably of course but an excellent, if  potted version of the anguish and mental pain that can come with hearing loss.  Interesting in that the perceived dilemmas regarding identity or culture were non-apparent.

Of course, our times were different too so issues were quite different and black and white then, and there was no avenue to fight or confront huge disadvantages laid at our door.    I get responses 'Oh, that would never happen today!' but I am still seeing that it actually does..  Like the blogger described, I put all my considerable experiences down on paper a few years ago, as a more 'putting thing behind me after 50 years thing' but clearly I haven't and probably never will, as hearing loss defined me as a person and individual but left me in a permanent 'no-man's land' in reality.  

ATR did write to a publisher who had an interest in issues of hearing loss, (And has been approached twice since), but the publisher said 'It is all about sign language now and to be honest, nobody wants to read negativity, if you could rewrite parts with a more positive slant then certainly we would consider publication..."  

I decided (A) I would not take him to task for non-awareness and (B) OK nobody was going to tell me it would be better if I jollied it up a bit.   Personally, as regards to running frustration off, the only running I do is at systems that make issues for me and mine and put myself centre stage so to speak to confront issues of poor access and awareness, it is a thankless and unappreciated task I set myself and I get kickbacks from HoH and the deaf alike because I am not an A or B person.  

That is their hang-up, not mine.  Obviously, we all have a right to tell us how it was for us, but putting it to print.   I still never consider myself really disabled despite every single clinical area trying to convince me I really am.  If it came with cash I might have gone with it since there is no mileage in hearing loss alone you have to have some 'edge' these days.  

That is not so to say I have ever joined a deaf or a HoH community since I never did that either and my hearing membership is somewhat iffy if truth be told.  I will probably curse hearing loss until I am no longer able to.