Friday, 31 January 2020

Invisible no more?

Disability Sunflower Lanyard
Will the deaf wear them?

Disability sunflowers to be recognised at London Liverpool Street. From this week, passengers with hidden disabilities now have a discreet way to ask for extra help at London Liverpool Street railway station. Sunflower branded lanyards and ticket holders can be picked up from the reception on platform 10 at the station, and act as a subtle sign for staff that extra help may be required. 

Staff at London Liverpool Street station have been trained to understand what the sunflower stands for on the lanyards and ticket holders, and how they might be able to help disabled passengers with one. The sunflower lanyard and ticket holders were first launched on back in December at Manchester Piccadilly, London Euston, Liverpool Lime Street and Birmingham New Street The disability sunflowers initiative sis supported by Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) and other charities including Alzheimer’s Society, 

The National Autistic Society and Action on Hearing Loss The types of hidden disabilities that are eligible for a sunflower lanyard include: autism and Asperger’s learning disabilities dementia mobility issues (e.g arthritis, MS, ME, chronic illness) visual or hearing impairments. What did the officials say? Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, said: “Travelling by rail for passengers with additional needs can be a daunting experience and we’re always looking at ways our staff can make it easier for people. The sunflower symbol is the perfect way for passengers to discreetly identify themselves to our staff so we can do everything we can to make their journeys as smooth as possible.” 

Questions, Questions.

Image result for questions"Taking note of what grassroots in the UK is saying in regards to culture.  This question triggered responses that are worth a read. 

#1  A question for all my deaf family and friends... What does deaf culture mean to you? I want to talk to my deaf pupils about deaf culture but with advances in technology and medicine plus the closure of many deaf schools and more deaf children in mainstream schools, has deaf culture changed? If yes, what is deaf culture in 2020? I would love to know what it means to you. Thanks😊"

#2  "I doubt deaf culture has much meaning to deaf people as such about their daily lives, people tend to always associate sign with culture but it is more about communication these days and where sign actually can benefit the deaf, of course, advancements in alleviation has changed the access scene a lot, a deaf club or school, is not the only place we can go now."

#3  "We are mostly concerned with access, inclusion and support, learning about Milan in 1880 or America's Martha's Vineyard, seems an irrelevance apart from the fact that sign-based culture folded when the first bus out appeared to break the isolation, but deaf have ignored that point.  Little wonder there is a hard-core of deaf people who fear options."

#4   "Wales has no deaf schools, and the UK is losing more and more year on year, deaf clubs are virtually confined to city areas and non-extant anywhere else.  This suggests mainstreaming and more interaction for the deaf is succeeding in offering the deaf more choices, rather than harking on about the glorious deaf school past (Which deaf had no choice with anyway, and were closed because they failed to educate the deaf), we look to the future."

#5  "There is some frustration the cultural focus is downgrading the need and desire to go forward.  It's a luxury only the city deaf can afford really where 20% of all signers live.  Of course, those who most support the culture gig are the ones making money from it, via deaf 'arts', 'access advisors', or by  opening questionable 'cultural centres for the deaf' that are little more than expensive areas to learn BSL or a way for some deaf clubs to raise funds etc who include a smattering of deaf 'history', mostly cut and pasted from online USA sites,  but rather liberal with accuracy when defining what a signing culture actually is in UK terms.  Primarily it is a constant over-focus on the old deaf school/club systems and the 'good old days'."

#6  "At grass root level the struggle for more access and inclusion goes on regardless, we want to be like everyone else and don't see a future in some sort of Glorious isolation where the only people we know are other deaf and the ability to converse or be included with hearing people is viewed with reluctance or some sort of 'threat' (Mostly for whom it is too late anyway to adjust).  There are areas who see this as negative but we see inclusion as a real positive."

#7  Given less than point two per cent of everyone deaf has any deaf history, I fail to see where culture enters the argument, we need perspective, importantly, to stop playing at being martyrs and get with it."

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Smart Energy

Smart Energy. Deaf audience film from Flare/ Flare Studio on Vimeo.

There seem a few views on this including claims these meters can be hacked into and your bills altered and utility companies using or selling your data.  Mostly it is so that utility companies don't have to employ meter readers any more and saving energy is simply you seeing how much you use than switching off yourself to save energy usage.  Which presumably you can do without a meter anyway? 69% of people are refusing to have them installed despite very heavy blanket adverts sent weekly to our homes.  What part of no don't they understand?  for those using 'Token'  and card systems to pay for power, there is no point in a smart meter because if you do not top them up your power is cut off!  Such users are acutely aware already on power savings.

Deaf Society collapse: Home closed.

ONE of Blackburn's most prominent office developments has been sold off after the collapse of the East Lancashire Deaf Society. 

King's Court, in King Street, Blackburn, has been sold off following the demise of the East Lancs Deaf SocietyKing's Court was one of the was key assets held by the Heaton Street-based charity, which collapsed last June. Administrators have now confirmed that the offices, which latterly had 13 tenants, had been sold to Properties North West, on behalf of Last Seconds Manchester. "The sale completed for £925,000. 

The purchaser also paid interest totalling £1,258," said administrator Robert Colman. "The funds from the sale will be forwarded to the joint administrators shortly." Charity Bank, one of the deaf society's main creditors, is receiving £826,507 following the sale, it has been confirmed, though they may still be owed another £191,000 as a result of the deaf society's demise. And £564,000 is still owed to an East Lancashire couple who hold a fixed charge over King's Court. 

 Another £25,645 has been collected in rent for King's Court offices, conference bookings and car parking space rent over the period, says an update report. Rent debts of £6,669 have also been collected from past tenants. Other debts of £75,045 were owed to the society and £21,170 has been recouped. Administrators have also been attempting to recover paperwork from the DWP - the charity's principal reason for failure was the withdrawal of Access to Work scheme contracts with the agency. 

But Mr Colman said that despite a number of requests, the DWP had not delivered the necessary records. He says that the agency is arguing there is no money owed to the charity - and in fact they intend to make a "substantial claim" against the deaf society as part of the proceedings. Mr Colman also said that a number of investigations were still ongoing concerning transactions revealed in the deaf society's bank statements. An attempt has been made, for instance, to access a bank account held for one of the charity's associated entities, Deaf Children North West, which Santander has refused. 

An estimated £71,563 would be outstanding from unpaid employee wages and holiday pay, according to the administrators, though no claim has yet been made from the Redundancy Payments Office, and unpaid pension contributions could total £4,818.

£30,000 taxi bill to attend deaf school.

"This hugely excessive waste of taxpayers’ money is an outrage," say the Moreton family - who want to move. Southwark Council spends more than £30,000 a year just on taxis to get a profoundly deaf girl to school in St Albans because her family cannot get council housing there. 

Mum-of-two, Sophie, lives in council housing in Bermondsey with her partner and children, nine-year-old Daisy and two-year-old Frazer. All four are profoundly deaf. Since last February, taxpayers have been forking out nearly £3,000 a month in taxi fares for Daisy to go to school, despite the family’s many efforts to move closer to St Alban's. 

The bill could also increase if no solution is found as Frazer is due to attend the school later this year. Because his school day would be at different times to Daisy’s, he too could need a taxi to take him to school. Frazer would attend the school until he is sixteen. The fed-up Moreton family have attempted to move council housing to St Alban's and save Southwark taxpayers’ money but to no avail. 

Officials at Southwark town hall are now locked in discussions with their counterparts in St Albans in a bid to reduce the hefty bill. Daisy struggled in mainstream education but is now flourishing at the specialist school Daughter Daisy first attended mainstream school in Greenwich, but was unhappy and fell far behind her peers, said Sophie. “She struggled with English and Maths, she didn’t understand the teachers,” the BSL user told the News. “She had very few friends, she felt stressed and moody.” 

The family applied for the specialist school 40 miles away when Daisy fell behind in mainstream education, with a reading level of someone half her age. Southwark initially refused the application, but it was overturned at a tribunal, and Daisy has been attending the school since February. “Her education in under a year has improved beyond belief,” said Sophie. “She has good friends and has become a confident happy and well-adjusted child.” But taxpayers shelling out so much on taxis for the daily 80-mile round trip, because they cannot move closer, simply defies common sense, say the family. 

The council’s offices on Tooley Street “There have been countless reasons and excuses to not move us to Hertfordshire council housing,” said Sophie. “I feel this hugely excessive waste of taxpayers’ money to transport my child to school is an outrage and that basic common sense appears to have been thrown out of the window. “I am utterly exhausted emotionally and have no idea of where to turn to, surely there has to be some reasonable outcome that would save Southwark a vast quantity of money a year by just working out a house exchange.” Southwark offered a council housing swap with St Albans, but it declined, according to Cllr Kieron Williams. 

“Firstly, I am really sorry for the inconvenience and stress that Ms Moreton and her children are faced with in this situation – it’s far from ideal, but I’m confident that we can collectively come up with more options to hopefully resolve the situation and I am more than happy to meet with Ms Moreton to discuss it further,” he said. “We have supported the Moreton family with their application for a mutual exchange to a home in St Albans, and have offered a reciprocal arrangement with St Albans Council, but unfortunately they have declined this option so far. 

“We have also offered the family the option of private rented accommodation in St Albans, but this would mean that they have a less secure and affordable home than one managed by the local authority. “We have written to St Albans Council again to ask that we meet or to discuss this and see if there are any further options open to this family and I sincerely hope we can find a more practical and less expensive solution very soon.” 

A St Albans spokesperson told the News that discussions were ongoing with Southwark Council and that it hoped to get the situation resolved soon.

Is sign language worth learning?

Image result for why sign?
The perennial question Hard of hearing keep asking themselves, but is the answer in the fact they are asking?

#1  I did level 1 last year (want to continue but couldn't find course during daytime locally); I just really enjoyed it and found it a great way of meeting people. I didn't do it because of the hearing loss but just because it was something I'd always wanted to do; it was coincidental that my hearing got a lot worse at the same time.

#2 I learnt it and found no use for it outside the home, the thing about HoH acquiring it, is they aren't aware that those who rely/live or thrive on it are apart from the social areas we inhabit, and deaf socialising is where it works. 

#3 That is because there is no support by systems to empower sign using people outside access TO those systems, so no social support for it.  Hard of hearing are also reluctant to attend or integrate into areas where it is the sole means of communication, those that do tend to sit apart even then.

#4  In learning sign you need to understand your social avenues will have to change and decide if you are prepared to change your entire social approaches, our dilemma is we don't, most of us want to access what we had before so a conflict of choice always exists. 

#5   There is a lack of proper and realistic advice. We should be told in real terms what reliance on sign language really involves.  Hard of hearing who look on it as a 'fun' thing or novelty, tend not to take it seriously, and rely on aids etc, but for the deaf it is a way of life they don't flit in and out of that communication approach, it is all and that's the issue with sign.

#6 As stated, the lack of vocabulary, lack of daily support for it and a reluctance to empower its usage in work or play, means most of us will not find a ready use for it. 12m with hearing loss, a few 1,000 who rely on 300 sign interpreters, the statistic speaks for itself. The fact there are no academic-based signs also mean the child with hearing loss can be limited in how far they can advance themselves given the world does not revolve around sign usage. 

#7  Sign has a very seductive approach and appeal born deaf readily embrace, they claim it is a natural means for the deaf on the basis they cannot hear anyway, and it is entirely visual, so it then replaces any desire or will to use that sign for access to non-deaf vocal environments. 

#8  So it is why they demand everyone else acquires it? they are unable to adapt themselves? I thought oral schools and lip-reading were options too?

#9  Worldwide there is no real attempt to create a deaf communication environment that bridges divides, activism and rights has made demands for everyone else to adapt but not them.  Many areas of the deaf feel understanding speech approaches is a form of discrimination.

#10  I think that needs a challenge if these deaf are ever to move outside their own closed areas. HoH have never really adapted to them either, there is some sort of 'standoff' or apathetic acceptance as I can see, where the more outgoing attempt to attend deaf clubs and other deaf areas,  but there is a very visible 'barrier' and like, tend to socialise with like.  HoH are tolerated visitors in most part.

#11  Hard of Hearing are hearing people waiting for the cure, so accepting the reality of deafness and all that goes with it, never really happens, sign language will never be a system they embrace.

#12  Why has nobody included lip-reading? 

#13  Probably because Hard of Hearing are desperate to accept it as a real option but finding it impossible to master?

#14 When you cut through the hype and waffle about sign language and view the realities, fewer and fewer deaf in the western world are following it blindly any more.  In the past it was assumed no other options existed, that is no longer the case.


Sunday, 26 January 2020

CCG's, CQC and the true result of UK care.

Image result for how many CCGs are there?ATR picked up this recently online from the UK's largest hearing loss charity (Who failed to mention it is selling off all their own care homes for the deaf).  It also fails to clarify devolved areas use differing health options too, so we should not read this as an 'UK-wide' thing.

"Vital hearing aid services across England could be at risk because an overwhelming majority of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), the local bodies responsible for commissioning and paying for NHS services, do not have the “bare minimum” information needed to be effective, according to new research conducted by charity Action on Hearing Loss. The report also highlights the vast disparities in hearing aid provision across England.

The report, launched today and entitled Valuing Audiology: NHS Hearing Aid Services in England, was compiled using data from Freedom of Information (FOI) requests the charity sent to all 195 CCGs in England. Of those who responded in full, just 1 in 20 (5%) knew how much they are spending on audiology, how many hearing aids they are fitting, and whether patients are satisfied with what they are receiving.

Dr. Roger Wicks said: “These results demonstrate an alarming lack of oversight and accountability on the part of CCGs, which are entrusted with providing healthcare local populations across England need.

“Without what seems to be the very fundamentals of evidence-based healthcare commissioning – the most obvious of which is rigorous data collection – 94.6% of CCGs are displaying a grave failure in basic budgetary and service management. Without data on how many people are being treated for hearing loss or on the quality of services, commissioning for audiology in many parts of England is being done through apparent guesswork, and we fear that under pressure CCGs may well continue to see hearing aid services as a soft target for cuts.”

The charity actively campaigns against cuts to NHS hearing aid provision, and has successfully persuaded 14 out of 15 CCGs not to go ahead with proposed restrictions. The new report, however, has identified three CCGs that are currently deliberately choosing to restrict access to hearing aids. North Staffordshire CCG, Dorset CCG and Cambridgeshire & Peterborough CCG all require a high threshold of hearing loss before hearing aids are provided, which means that hearing aids are not provided to all those who would benefit from them. This is contrary to NICE guidance which states that provision of hearing aids should be based on need, not threshold alone.

Roger continued: “Such a systemic lack of oversight on hearing aid services sadly seems to demonstrate that CCGs are still not taking hearing loss and its wider health implications seriously. Hearing loss is linked to a significantly increased risk of dementia, isolation and other mental health problems.

“Hearing aids are a lifeline for people who use them and are prohibitively expensive for the vast majority of people when bought privately. NHS hearing aids enable people with hearing loss to remain engaged with their families and their work-life, and it’s vital that they remain available. Until CCGs take steps to collect fundamentally important data on the services they are commissioning, these services remain exposed to the risk of cuts and rationing.”  The charity’s report lists a number of recommendations for CCGs, including at minimum collecting accurate data on audiology spend, access rates, number of hearing aid fittings, waiting times and outcome measures. It also calls on NHS England to stipulate that this data should be consistently collected and centrally published."

ATR:  England has nearly 200 CCG's all vying for the cheapest form of care they can get away with, Wales has 11, all attempting to provide localised provision for a national issue and acute shortage of funding. of the 12m alleged to have hearing loss e.g, 3 million who need hearing aids won't even wear them. 

The article is an emphasis on Hearing Aids because this charity is focused on hearing aids advice and the ultimate cure of hearing loss via research funding, but there are alternative monitoring bodies e.g. in Wales and other devolved regions provision varies there too.  Staffordshire has 3 times attempted to cease provision of TWO hearing aids insisting on just one, and even then only if the db readings were pretty dire, regardless if clinical advice suggests two are needed, and a lot earlier, in essence they were trying to focus provision to those too late to benefit from them and leaving others with loss to get worse before acting.   In part, it was attempting to persevere hearing in one ear by sacrificing the other also.

Reading recently of the scandals in Bury where deaf and HoH Mental Health patients were treated in appalling neglect and manner, it was explained that in fact, the CCG's/CQC had no authority to insist on the level of trained help mental health patients with hearing loss were entitled to, it was left to LA's struggling to find people, maximise cost-saving priorities, or simply left to private care providers themselves to sort out what they could find.  

E.G. no sign language interpreters in Bury could be used without Level 4 BSL but there was no such requirement to sign at all for their daily care help. Daycare welfare ignores sign use.  When the CQC and CCG's were asked about sufficiently trained deaf support they said it wasn't their area of concern. No BSL terp needed any skill IN mental Health support, primarily because no such specialist training exists, any skills picked up by terps were quickly lost via huge turnovers of interpreters and changes, continuity didn't exist, specialism is lost.  There are few if any specialist trained health communicators in the NHS as we can see just those with BSL skills alone whom everyone insists can do anything regardless of any special skills required, the random nature of BSL provision just adds to the issue, its a part-time and free-lance mess.

We found the CQC  and CCG's frustrating in that they mostly they have no real authority.desire or back up to monitor 70% of what they provide, [very much mirroring recent huge issues of prisoners released into the community without supervision, no staff to monitor], more cuts just take away more means of ensuring people's safety.  They are only seen to act AFTER situations get so bad someone else informs them.  

With regards to hearing loss, it is time those with it stopped assuming a CI or hearing aid or even a text or a bit of sign, addresses the real effects of it, PTSD applies to those with hearing loss too, their war is 24/7 every day of their lives.  The system of LA monitoring or care provision is a huge reliance on whoever runs that provision to keep records themselves, and then send them regularly to the relative SS depts but, little or NO checkups that is sent is true or even accurate, mostly because clamping down on poor care with those would mean they have to seek out more staff they cannot afford, and better care provision that costs more, so there is a 'blind eye' turned to most of it, the system moving to cover themselves.

It is one thing allocating provision but quite another it seems in ensuring it is fit for purpose or even monitored after.  Mostly they never bother or check-up to find out because they have cut social workers, also to limit criticism when the brown stuff hits the fan.   Apart from LINK (HearingLink) few services really exist for those with hearing loss problems and charity is moving away from care because they are now getting criticised. 

Provision is sketchy and of course expensive, so LA's are avoiding recommending more monitoring of their bad decision-making.  Areas see huge cuts to social services and it is not unusual those needing one can see 3 or 4 different every year as they go on 'leave' and never return.  Curiously my area has seen half a dozen heading for Canada?  Apart from wanting to follow Harry why are they heading there?  

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!


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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)