Tuesday, 18 February 2020

SPD new communication Cards

It is rather accepting the police are being told we cannot speak and they need not bother to learn sign either isn't it?  Is all the deaf can do is point and mime?  I don't think this is awareness or access personally I would find it patronising and demeaning.  Most deaf can speak, if they choose not to that's silly.

Rights trump need?

Image result for pharmacy
Social media round-up what the Hard of Hearing were talking about.

(1) Last year my local Boots had a poster stating 'BSL' customers welcome in-shop support. It was the first time ever I saw any shop doing that. They had the sign poster up and the loop/ear logo. I went in the loop wasn't switched on nobody knew how to  do it. As regards to the sign access none of that either because it relied on a few staff who attended a free 'learn the ABC of sign' class and, they no longer worked there, ridiculous. 

The government also said don't pressure your GP, but to ask the chemist for diagnosis help, but no effective loop or sign there either. AOHL charity awarded the welsh assembly staff kudos for deaf awareness success with staff, on entering the building we could find not a single member of staff who knew what the AOHL was talking about and identifying staff was a no-no. Do you think awareness is just NOT working at all?  I should add after I complained they took down the access posters.

(2) Yes, its all just PR with companies eagerly ticking boxes in order to comply with the Equality Act but not actually understanding or complying. Hearing loop signs seem to pop up everywhere but they are very rarely working, either because they are not switched on, or because they have been installed by a loop installer that does not know what they are doing or doesn't care or a combination of both. I have seen numerous loops installed where they simply won't be able to work eg certain surfaces can block the signal, placed too low, too high. Also with the microphone facing the wrong way! But until there is legal obligation and, more importantly, enforcement nothing will change. Other than a few prosecutions of taxi drivers for not allowing assistance dogs in the car (on which the law is clear) I have not heard of any other legal cases involving access for deaf/hoh people. 

(3) Boots told me after I complained 'nobody asks us to switch it on really...' If that is true no wonder they get apathetic about it. Shops have the highest turnover of staff, so that was one excuse I got in that 'Tracy' (who did some sign), left here months ago. I know of shops GP's, and chemists with the loop logo and poster but, that is ALL they have, not the equipment! Seems nobody is complaining enough.

(4) We all need to complain more.

(5) I rather suspect the system is 'use it or lose it', training people up and purchasing equipment is wasted time if demand is seen as pretty non-extant. we have to ask ourselves what are the priority demands we want met? Offering and demanding access to everything then using next to none of it puts us on the backfoot, it also wasted access provision.

(6) Perhaps we should just prioritise essential areas and forget the rest? 

(7)  Yes, of course, a right of access to everything others have is the law, but the reality is what will we USE? and not just demand stuff we really are not going to use much at all. 

(8)  For my money access demands should be concentrated solely at this time on health, education, safety and support. I'm appaled the NHS is a no-go area for the lip-reader or the HoH e.g. I have few issues at all really now worrying the local shop has a signer or a loop.   It's cheap shots at profile areas by activists and campaigners who need to concentrate on specifics.  Support to buy a bunch of bananas while we still cannot get help in a clinical situation is beyond logic.  Do some of these 'campaigners' really understand need at all?  Maybe they need to attend classes!

(9) In the case of Boots it is a bit different as they dispense prescriptions and, we are told, able to advise us on health issues too, clearly this isn't happening, legal, or is viable. My local chemist was banned offering advice by the BMA, they said pharmacists are not Dr's so not qualified to offer medical advice except on what commercial cold cure they believe is best! One area they can help with is in checking which medication is dispensed and if other medicines can negatively interact with them as Dr's don't always check that themselves. But again NOT qualified to DIAGNOSE.

New Video Tests for deaf and disabled drivers.

Video clips are to replace written scenarios in UK driving theory tests to make them more accessible. 

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) announced that, from April 14, learners will be asked three questions after watching a driving clip of up to 30 seconds. The change follows research which found that learners with reading difficulties and disabilities felt more comfortable with video scenarios than written ones. DVSA chief driving examiner Mark Winn said: “Being able to drive can be life-changing and the DVSA is committed to helping everyone access the opportunities driving can offer. 

17 million Theory tests taken in the UK over the past 10 years DVSA “We have worked closely with road safety experts and learners to create a theory test which fully tests a candidate’s knowledge of the rules of the road and is more accessible.” A scenario could show a car being driven through a town centre or on a country road, with three multiple-choice questions on issues such as safe overtaking or why motorcyclists are considered vulnerable road users. The bid to improve access to driving comes after the Department for Transport launched its inclusive transport strategy in July 2018. 

The DVSA worked with the National Autistic Society, and the British Dyslexia Association to develop the change. John Rogers, of community interest company Disability Driving Instructors, said: “A picture paints a thousand words, especially for candidates with special educational needs. Video scenarios should prove much easier to follow and the questions will hopefully appear more relevant John Rogers, Disability Driving Instructors “Having to go back and forth between the text in the written scenario and the written questions and answers was a big obstacle to understanding what was required. 

“Video scenarios should prove much easier to follow and the questions will hopefully appear more relevant.” Some 17 million theory tests have been conducted in the UK over the past 10 years. 

Sunday, 16 February 2020

There are no Deaf and no Hard of Hearing

Image result for I am not deaf!There are only statistics.  This is a well-trodden area by ATR who has pursued the truth and the real statistics about hearing loss for years with little success.

E.G. The NHS does NOT keep records of the deaf in regards to their communication usage so there are none to be quoted, clinical records of deafness exist but again degree is recorded randomly and devolved areas of the UK see stats recorded differntly.  Deaf in Wales can be recorded 11 different ways, with disabled, with the blind, as Hard of hearing, as sensory impaired, with the mental health stats etc, so presumably charities are putting 2 and 2 together to create 6 or 8 by aggregating all of them as being different when they are one and the same.

It hasn't prevented the BDA et al suggesting everyone deaf signs.  While records list people with hearing loss, it rarely if ever mentioned degree or impact.  3m need hearing aids never wear them or ask for support.  The only way to validate numbers (And support needs of course),  is by actually assessing people/asking them basically,  but, ensuring the right questions are being asked.  The last UK census was a pig's ear of a 'survey' it asked a loaded question without any accuracy or detail.  

Now the UK is dropping the census and relying on NHS/DWP or social media.  The USA recent census never asked the 'Deaf' question.  In essence, the UK deaf did NOT even use the D/d criteria but reverted to hearing loss and 'adding' sign use, then, listed signers only who had declared after who could not be identified including 1,000s of hearing who said they signed.  What ATR found was the BDA, the AOHL, and the NHS/DWP saying no stats are recorded because to do that would put them in breach of the Data protection act.  

They cannot ask a deaf or HoH person for the details to clarify either their degree of loss, the impact of it, or the communication approaches they use, either on a daily, or occasional basis, or, to what degree support was needed or asked for as this would mean actual identification. 

If AOHL claims 11m with hearing loss that may be accurate as regards to people clinically recorded with a hearing loss, but inaccurate in that they all require support they aren't getting, that can only be defined by Social Services/NHS/Educational areas etc who have lists of people who are claiming help and need support with it, but, it may well NOT list the type of support or regularity of it and if a child or adult, identification is illegal.

The BDA can make no claims as regards to BSL use as this doesn't come under NHS criteria only in as much as those who have asked for BSL help.  What stats emerge suggested 86% of deaf need no BSL support. ATR asked social services for stats of local deaf, they sent me a basic list of 300 as a number with no other detail, further checks brought that down to 80 because people had either died or moved away and the SS DBASE isn't geared for recording it, or it is never reviewed and updated.  Of the 80 they said only 16 asked for support. 

Until compulsory assessments are required for all only those who ask exist.  The DWP demands such an assessment in clear breach of the DP Act and decides who is deaf or not on that assessment and has names and records but is refusing to give anyone the results. 

Social media hearsay response suggested 63% of all deaf and HoH thus assessed, failed to qualify at all for welfare support.  Deaf or disabled ? not even that sorry.  We wouldn't claim there is no demand for deaf help or little demand for HoH support, but what facts exist, suggest they simply are not requesting it, or unable to qualify for it as a need, there are few if any records of increased demand either.

No No Rikki

Rikki gets sniffy about captioning, but let us examine her own vlog which has captioning errors too and is a pretty obvious vlog using deaf awareness to make money itself.   A few countries outside the USA are actively opposing advertising in certain areas (Celebs etc), capitalising on its fan base, but Rikki does the same.  As to her 'celeb' status that is up to others. In offering up criticism on captioning she advertises too so her own imaging seems as important as the deaf issues she opines.

Yes it is annoying those who start captioning then stop again, we suspect that is mostly commercial areas looking for deaf customers, and finding out the deaf customer base doesn't warrant the expense of giving that access, cruel I know but a commercial decision, use it or lose it springs to mind.  We have two TV programs for the deaf in the UK hardly anyone watches.  

Expecting every area to caption (Or even offer sign language), is unrealistic anyway, we only have 24hrs in a day to peruse them all.  Access has to be justified and a need and not just a right to be had, (then ignored after), or as Rikki states it gets removed again.  Too late to moan after.

Many ASL deaf it has to be said actually oppose captioning entirely and remove speech from their output also, on cultural grounds, but mostly it is fear-based and a recognition ASL/BSL et al cannot compete with text.   Some deaf that will caption may well have limited English grammar academically or use crap google captions that are littered with errors.  Criticising them not a good idea.  

ATR was at the start of deaf doing own captioning on youtube and own signing output in the UK, but was under constant attack from purists of the BSL variety who (A) Said some signs were wrong, and (B) Deaf don't read so they didn't want captions included (I became puzzled as to what deaf watched or how!) times have changed but some attitudes still haven't, ATR then stopped producing any individual accessible youtube output for them.  Life is too short for deflecting petty criticisms, these people are driving access away.

Most deaf will take what they can get, but I would want access directed where it counts and priorities set.  Statistics suggest most older deaf aren't even online so accessing their TV or phoning their friends is all they want.  Many areas of support and need urgently want this access and personally, I don't give a damn if some commercial areas caption or not until that is sorted and a norm.  

Rikki never challenges cultural opposition to captions, or the ASL/BSL extreme view, she could claim a moral high ground if she did.  Do as we ask and not as we do etc  ...  has to be confronted. There can be no excuse for deliberating blocking access by us or the mainstream.  The commercialism of the deaf and hard of hearing people and their communications (and them being sold as some commodity!), is not a good image or direction either, as regards to it being awareness, only time can tell.  Online I would suggest is not an accurate reflection or representation of us on the ground, just the more extreme elements. Access and inclusion is now worse than it was 25 years ago, despite all these online claims to the contrary or the leading deaf campaigns.

Interpreters are getting less, education is still a mess of Culture versus hearing loss, and deaf schools continue to close...  The reality is sign is losing (Lost really), the battle against text and always will.   I would not miss signed access at all, but text certainly.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Inspirational Porn

'Inspirational porn' is not really understood in that disabled/deaf/mental health individuals can vary considerably via personal responses themselves. In part, IP exists to counter trauma and misconceptions about how issues affect people.  There is further confusion that relates to certain areas of deafness and disability that despise online expressions of succeeding despite the odds etc and others that for deaf-politico reasons hate youtube vlogs that extol how people respond positively to implants or such, which they feel reflects badly on people who do not see an issue being deaf at all.  

To be 'devil's advocate' the 'Deaf' area continually puts out content about us against them, and succeeding despite the odds, online is full of such content, which in turn may well upset deaf who are not coping with deafness or those with severe loss who might see 'positive' deaf imaging as refusing to accept there is any negative side and feel under pressure to confirm when they are struggling.  

If Inspirational Porn is being criticised then perhaps some criticism should be levelled at areas who are criticising those who are not coping well at all with deafness and loss, a number of whom, are being called whiners and moaners by the more aggressive activists who feel their 'negativity' undermines their 'positive' messages, indeed can be actively discouraged to talk about it on certain sites where deaf are.   We are all for positivity but the downside still exists.

It mainly manifests itself via 'social versus medical modelling' where the suggestion is no problem exists with US, it's someone else's fault for trying to cure the issue.  If an individual is totally traumatised via having deafness or hearing loss and has clinical issues, then they are entitled to say so, as is their support for people who have managed it or had alleviations that work it holds out hope, should we criticise that?  Equally, those who never heard can be forgiven for not understanding what the fuss is all about, at least in the past, today perhaps they don't have that excuse.  It is about accepting reality, and not pushing an image that suggests that this reality does not exist or we would rather not know about it.

The issue seems quite different, e.g. Disabled do not 'downgrade' the physical or mental fact of the issue they have, but the deaf do.

Avatar-based support.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Top marks to this vlog for offering up the accurate descriptions of people with hearing loss. Aka deaf are people that cannot hear, and Hard of hearing are people with various levels of hearing loss, and none of your cultural/sign excuses or diversion.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

More deaf charity mergers.

It would seem Australia is yet another country that is being forced to merge its charities with others to survive, as deaf and Hard of Hearing alike, stop being members and supporters of charitable institutions and are instead pursuing a rights-led approach to support and access, with little success.

Already this has forced the UK's BDA and AOHL to downgrade levels of care they operated too, The AOHL selling off deaf care homes, and the BDA and other sign-based charities struggling to survive and in the red financially mainly because they abandoned need for culture. Charities are creaking at the seams as a result.  Northern England saw many deaf who were being cared for and supported left high and dry, with none, as charity collapsed no longer viable.  Deaf schools continue to close down.

It is clear only the fittest charities are going to survive, and even mergers do not mean a more solid foundation but, more cuts to consolidate and survive, obviously aspirations are going to suffer as a result.  Unfortunately, rights-based campaigns are not inclusive which is fragmenting the support systems as each area goes for own needs ignoring the other.  By definition have divided themselves making tthem more vulnerable to discrimination and lesser support.  Only uniting for the common good is going to save UK charity that means the BSL and HoH areas have to work together or face the entire hearing loss support areas to fold like a pack of cards.

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Deaf denied internet access.


A Deaf man from J&K travelled all alone to Punjab just to use the internet. Let me tell you about his story. On 5th August 2019, when the Indian government divided J&K into the two territories all communication lines in J&K were cut off. Although the postpaid mobile phones sprang back to life more than two months later, the internet continues to remain off. 

He cannot speak or hear. He uses sign language to communicate with his family and friends. Tajamul's father said, "He was extremely fed up with the internet ban as he could hardly connect to any of his deaf friends". "He would frequently make video calls to his friends and chat with them", He added that the long-drawn-out internet ban has made him, and many other Deaf people feel very isolated.” Tajamul knows very basic sign language and has completed his education in various institutes in Kashmir. He would spend a lot of time on the internet to learn the language but the internet ban has also disrupted his learning process. For almost 6 months, the internet has been down in J&K. 

Many petitions were in Supreme Court about this. On January 10 the SC said that all Indians have a right to Freedom of Speech and conduct any form of business through the internet. This is why on 14th January the government restored the internet in all government institutions. The ban, however, continued for the general public. Tajamul was desperate to use the internet. He had not communicated with his Deaf friends for so many months and felt very lonely. This is why he decided to convince his father to allow him to go to Amritsar. As soon as Tajamul reached Amritsar, he checked into the hotel and connected his phone to Wi-fi. 

Within seconds he began receiving the messages at fairly good speed from his outstation friends. He responded to their messages and also made video calls to some of them. Tajamul said, "They felt so happy to see my face after so many months. Even we shed tears of joy," Saleem Pathan(16), another deaf boy from Bemina, Srinagar. He would use the internet to make video calls to his deaf friends. But when the internet shut down he became very frustrated.

Another Deaf boy in J&K is forcing his family to leave the state as he is unable to communicate with his friend in Delhi & Chandigarh. Many other deaf-mute persons have said that the internet ban has been gnawing at their minds and spirits. Umar Ashraf Beig, General Secretary All Jammu and Kashmir Association for the Deaf, has sought the immediate lifting of internet service in J&K because the ban has caused a lot of suffering and trouble to the local Deaf people.

Here, there, and everywhere

Welcome the dual captioning, unsure what the point is?  They appear to be getting more professional at stating the obvious.  But the UK contribution seems lacking somewhat.

Croeso i'r pennawd deuol, yn ansicr beth yw'r pwynt? Mae'n ymddangos eu bod yn dod yn fwy proffesiynol wrth nodi'r amlwg. Ond mae'n ymddangos bod cyfraniad y UK yn brin rhywfaint.

SignHealth campaign suspect?

Image result for sign healthSignHealth's latest campaign on deaf mental health support suffered a drawback when ATR pointed out that the charity itself had not the BSL specialisation to support the deaf themselves.  In a reply to an ATR request for proof, they stated they were not aware of any BSL interpreter system where specialisation in deaf mental heal existed or a system set up to train them, the ASLI also confirmed they know of no BSL interpreters with a specialisation in Deaf mental health.  

If you needed brain surgery would you use the local butcher?  85% of medical staff who diagnose deaf mental health issues and decide on treatment are hearing who don't sign so rely on terps without the background needed.   It's appealing they assume a knowledge of BSL is all you need to treat a mental health issue when the nature of the illness affects the ability TO sign or understand.

At present 'any old terp' will do at present as there is no training scheme for BSL specialisation.  Lip-speakers do specialise in court issues, health areas there is almost a non-extance of BSL interpreters with any specialisation other than BSL.  Despite Level 4 terps at Bury Hospital e.g. terps were criticised for failing to convey issues adequately to hearing psychiatrists and throwing cultural excuses at them instead.  Its also a scandal in that the CQC (Care quality commission), has no power to insist on trained BSL terps OR carers for the BSL deaf (Also confirmed to ATR by the CQC).  

Mental health is a huge issue, 1 in 4 hearing and  40% in deaf children.  The lack of adequate diagnosis and support gets amplified with those who have issues of understanding basic communication without help, let alone having to cope with poor mental health a well.

Wales were using part-time carers often with no sign at all to support deaf e.g. with Alzheimer's, 2 of whom died of neglect because Social services could not support them 24/7 one drowned himself and the other died of the freezing cold after wandering the streets half-naked, his home had the stairs blocked off so he could not fall down them, but the part-time carer only went to the house 2 hours a day and the doors were left open so the otherwise unsupported deaf patient could come and go at will. 

SignHealth are demanding a support system that doesn't exist or is being created.  Apparently relying on some BSL relay system instead, which only suggests there is lack even of basic BSL interpreters.  They haven't established the basics are yet. Most deaf diagnosed are 'deported' miles away from home, family or peer support to be cared for. Now that AOHL is pulling out of deaf care you have to fear these deaf are not going to get the support or monitoring they need.  It was far from clear charities were being monitored themselves.

Private carers are far less regulated, local authorities are cutting care fees, a perfect storm and a recipe for deaf abuse. In mitigation, one charity said they felt 'free-lance' interpreting was primarily to blame, they could never rely on a terp turning up when needed in an emergency etc, and that a 24/7 system has never existed or can be established as it stands. There was little continuation of support, and terps were pleasing themselves when and where they worked, causing uncertainty and unreliability of support.  Terps said most were only able to work part-time as they had families to work around.

Their ongoing rows with WITS were also causing mayhem as they are opposing a regulated and a reliable BSL support set up, even the ASLI has no power to ensure compliance membership being voluntary, but the main issue was systems wanting to set up a proper pay and regional/national structure and set of regulations to ensure BSL/Deaf support reliability, which obviously challenged the free-lance aspect.  

It is amazing in 2020 there is still no dedicated set up for people who cannot hear or follow basic English, but who totally rely on a support system that itself is random.  Their almost total confidence in BSL seems hugely misplaced.

The (USA), police and the deaf.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

New rules for Finland subtitling standards.

Finland Introduces Subtitling Standards for Consistency Across Platforms
Finland is the latest European country to roll out a new set of quality requirements for subtitles in television programs. The quality recommendations comprise two sets of guidelines; one for Finnish subtitles and another for Swedish subtitles. (Finland has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish.) 

The AV Translation Center published the recommendations on January 27, 2020, and the Institute for the Languages of Finland (also known as Kotus) endorsed them in a January 29, 2020 website post. The guidelines are the culmination of efforts by a working group that included language professionals from organizations such as the Finnish Association of Translators and Interpreters (SKTL), the Association of Language Experts, and Kotus. Eivor Konttinen, a translator and editor for Finland’s national public broadcasting company, Yle, explained in an April 2019 interview with Sprakbruk magazine that the Finnish initiative was inspired by quality criteria developed in Norway in 2018.

Denmark’s own guidelines soon followed. According to SKTL, the recommendations are meant to create consistent subtitling practices, set quality standards for subtitles, and consolidate vocabulary used in the field. The working group also hopes that the recommendations will help subtitlers avoid negative influence from practices in other countries, especially the US. Anna-Maija Ihander, a participant in the working group and a subtitler for Yle, said in a January 2020 interview that the recommendations are meant to be used by different channels and streaming companies. 

Apart from sounding natural in Finnish, the recommendations focus on readability and legibility: line segmentation, rendering, time coding and scheduling, and tips for using punctuation and italics. The recommendations touch on linguistic quality to emphasize that translations should follow Finnish grammar and spelling conventions for sentence structures, and should only deviate if absolutely necessary. Recommendations state that translations should avoid anglicisms and false cognates and should not replace original cultural references to Finnish equivalents unless appropriate and necessary. Among the back-to-basics guidelines for translators, the recommendations state that translations should avoid anglicisms and false cognates (a more common problem for novice linguists) and should not replace original cultural references to Finnish equivalents unless appropriate and necessary. 

Maintaining original cultural references prevents “over-integration,” which takes the viewer out of the immersive world of the program. A number of organizations have already signed on to the quality standards, including Yle, MTV, and Alfa-TV, as well as language service providers BTI (IYUNO), Pre-Text, Saga Vera, and Rosmer. Others are expected to follow. Although Netflix has not yet signed on, Ihander said that a Netflix representative participated in the working group. She added that Netflix has recently updated its Finnish Timed Text Style Guide. SKTL said the working group plans to make recommendations for same-language captioning, again for Finnish and Swedish, later in 2020.

Make 'em Laugh, Make 'em Laugh.

ADULT humour, topicality, and the deaf, can interpreters hack it?  And can the deaf take a joke themselves? What you don't want is to change the dialogue to suit the deaf. We should be against anything that has a hashtag in front of it.  If you have to explain a joke no point.  It seems deaf want inclusion but not the ribbing they could get with it the same as hearing do. People like Robbie Williams were really funny guys, so OK he walked the edge now and then.  That is the best kind of humour and indeed very pro-active in making nonsense of bigots, and bringing the stuck up themselves down to heel.  Interpreters are there to translate and need to stick to that.  Deaf don't need prompting when to laugh!

What they said:

"Once he noticed an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter parked close to him, Robin Williams, like many other comedians, had a habit of getting crude with them. In one performance posted to YouTube, Williams addresses the interpreter as though he is an exotic carnival act. After the interpreter dutifully signs something Williams spoke, the comedian feigns marvel and says to the audience, “How cool is that?” Facing the interpreter in anticipation of his inevitable next sign, Williams burps, “Blow me.” 

The interpreter does his job, and the audience laughs — at the interpreter, constrained under lingual subjugation. Then, Williams gratuitously adds, “What a great fucking night,” imitating the interpreter’s hand gestures. He says the interaction is fast becoming “like Deliverance with Helen Keller.” Such a bit, caked with condescension, might play well with many showgoers, particularly the hearing ones. But ASL interpreters themselves may not be so charmed by a comedian breaking the deaf audience’s fourth wall. “I’ve had to educate so many comics on that,” says Emilia Lorenti-Wann, an ASL interpreter who’s worked comedy shows for the past 25 years. 

“It’s the worst thing because it’s like you are just throwing my job out the window, and your job out the window, to get this cheap laugh.” Prior to showtime, Lorenti-Wann pleads with stand-ups she’s working with not to interact with her during their set. “They’ll just [say], ‘How do you say ***? How do you say ***? How do you say motherfucking ***?’” she says. “Everybody thinks it’s funny except the interpreter.” 

She remembers one comedian who went so far as to lick the bald head of an interpreter she knows. These gags often upset the interpreter, disrupt the service they provide for the hearing-impaired attendees and call attention to the presence of those special-needs individuals who, for a change of pace, may just be looking for a relaxing night out in anonymity. Like most interpreters, Lorenti-Wann believes the comic should take care of the hearing showgoers, while the interpreter produces as close to an identical performance for the deaf audience members as possible. That requires hours of dedicated preparation beyond baseline sign-language fluency. 

“You’ve got to give them an experience; you can’t just give them ‘access,’” she explains. Denise Herrera, an associate interpreter at the Rochester Institute of Technology, a New York school that often books comedy shows and has 1,200 deaf individuals among its roughly 16,000-person student body, thoroughly researches the stand-ups she signs for. (Her ASL comedy interpreting résumé includes John Mulaney, Leslie Jones, and Sebastian Maniscalco.) Even if the performer’s routine is new to her, she says, “I’ll have an idea of what they’re talking about because I read their whole Wikipedia page, or I read a book that they wrote, or I’ll have notes on what they’ve been working on or what they worked on in the past.” 

She’ll also run a set in front of campus tutors ahead of time, signing along to a video performance of a comic she’s set to work with. Her colleagues may flag certain bits that need work, which allows her “more time to dissect how we can bring this joke or this concept into another language, in ASL, that will make it funny.” Fast-talking comedians like Kevin Hart mean the ASL interpreter has to be conditioned to keep pace while signing, Lorenti-Wann says, adding that interpreters coupled with stand-ups who favour timely material should catch up on the news. And if a comic relies heavily on callbacks, the ASL interpreter must be hyper-vigilant with their signs — if an item’s first reference doesn’t ring true enough for the deaf audience, the second certainly won’t hit as hard."

Monday, 10 February 2020

The real cost of deafness...

Deafness World Medical Education from OCB Media on Vimeo.

Not all sign, community,  and culture then?  Just a huge $750b dependency system suggesting they DON'T have any problems except hearing people.

Seeing Music

International Cochlear Implant Day!

International Cochlear Implant Day 2020
Tuesday 25th February 2020, is International Cochlear Implant Day which celebrates the life-changing impact of cochlear implants for deaf and hearing-impaired people around the world. The Sunshine Coast CICADA ( Cochlear Implant Club and Advisory Association Queensland ) group is a growing group on the Sunny Coast supporting all who have a Cochlear Implant or are considering getting a Cochlear Implant. 

We will be celebrating this special day, this year, at our Meet up at the Sunshine Castle Bli Bli from 10.00am to 12.00pm. Come along and join us and tell us 'What does your CI mean to you ' and enjoy a cuppa and a chat to celebrate how lucky we are.

Saturday, 8 February 2020

The BSL driving school

Transport for Wales sign App.

Transport for Wales launches new sign language app to help deaf passengers
Transport for Wales has announced that a new sign language app has been launched to help passengers from the deaf community to travel more easily. The new app, called Interpreter Now, uses a video call system to make communication easier between the passenger and railway staff. 

Passengers can download the free app and sign to an interpreter via the app through a video call, who will then relay the customer query to the member of staff. Transport for Wales launches new app to help deaf passengers Credit: Transport for Wales The Interpreter will then be able to sign the answer back to the customer. The app has already been a success on the ScotRail network, but Transport for Wales is the first transport operator to introduce this type of technology in Wales. 

The app was developed by Interpreter Now, who Transport for Wales are partnering with on this project. Passengers can download the Interpreter Now app for free on Android or iOS by searching Interpreter Now – or by clicking the following links: 

Friday, 7 February 2020

Perfomance Interperting.

Sometimes social media actually tries to understand the deaf, but they don't like answering questions much, seems a typical example of UK BSL deaf utilising sign to defeat debate and to kill searching questioning.  If all else fails claim they are attacking deaf?  Will there ever be a neutral platform online that address this?  The video above WHO are the deaf watching?

"Hmm interesting - have you see any of those ‘Performance Interpreters’ that been signing songs at festivals? Are they good enough?"

"Most are ASL terps from what we see online. I am thinking if I go to see an artist at a show I never understood how it works at all in performance art like opera where the VOICE is the thing."

"Terps don't do opera! Can any terp convey that anyway?  Pop music is easy it is beat, and noise,  and lyrics (even singing),  are secondary. The exaggerated face pulling and ridiculous movements interpreters do make deaf look silly. Some terps should stick to interpreting that is their day job! "

"Nope - Performance Interpreters are full of qualified interpreters that interpret the songs at live music shows, concert and festivals so us BSL users can enjoy music watching them signing away. They are based in UK. "

"Who are the deaf there to see? The artist or the terp? I thought all the 'attention' would be on the signer (Interpreter)? It is how I would visually see it. I don't see a conflict with stage captions because we adapt to that easier there is no 'person' in the middle to distract let alone one overdosing on own ego..."

"You are saying Deaf can 'ignore' the terp? and are still able to focus on the artist just the same? That would mean there is no need for 'performing' terps, wouldn't it?"

"That harsh coming from you - obviously you are behind with everything as now things are changing becoming more equality. There are many Deaf people would love to see the artist and also the interpreter are there to sign along so you can watch both same time. Interpeter always stand in best place for us to watch and same time watch the artist. Performance Interpreters are worth it so us Deaf can have access to music and shows. Are you telling me that you haven’t try out yet? Cos it is all in your imagination and would you try out?"

"Somebody trying to tell us what to do, again."

"No offence meant. I was just wanting you to explain to me how it works. If deaf want to stand in a corner and watch an interpreter trying to convey an artist in flow on a stage alongside, by all means, but I think taking it a 'stage' further and terps trying to be the BSL version of the artist or doing their own 'thing' doesn't work, the dynamics have changed maybe even the format of the lyrics changed to suit BSL. It is the terps view or even their own, of what the artists is doing. I don't think it gels when those terps go ON the stage and try to 'compete' because own ego comes into play. Access becomes relative."

"Have a look at this video and would like your perspective on this ok? you can sit anywhere to get a better view of the artist and interpreter - your choice." 

"Well I gave a view but she said it was in English and she did not want to or could not read English, she was a BSL user. That was a lie basically because her first response was in text English when asked to explain said unless I signed it, it was going to be ignored, what point putting a view to those deaf people? She copped out of justifying her point because she signed. I would suggest these deaf don't attend Shakespeare or something where the word is the thing!"

"There is nothing wrong with getting an 'impression' of what is going on, and having fun, good luck to them, but it is a wide stretch to suggest they are getting much but the edited highlights and even less of the actual music. If they need interpreters to act the fool too, why not?  Pop music is not to be taken seriously."

Deaf in a Hearing world.

Not so much being ignored but walking away from inclusion. OK you can't hear get stuck in, don't walk away!  Her issue isn't being deaf it is a lack of confidence. Inclusion demands participation and a will to engage, the actor here just walked away suggesting she wanted no part of it.  

Inclusion is a 50/50 deal if you are waiting for a rights campaign and an interpreter it is going to be a very long wait.  Even if you get one you have changed the entire dynamics of inclusion and it is no longer a person to person thing.

Deaf need hearing lessons! (I suppose the point is about hearing excluding deaf, it hasn't been a point made).  The vlog is rather amateur to be honest.

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Supporting your young D/deaf person's journey to university

Image result for young deaf support in universities UK"
UCL HomeAccess and Widening ParticipationParentsSupporting your young D/deaf person's journey to university.  

Supporting your young D/deaf person's journey to university Join us on Tuesday 7 April, 4pm-7.30pm at UCL for an evening information session which will provide a valuable insight into how to ensure your young person can access university, and to understand the support on offer once they arrive. 

The programme is being delivered in collaboration with The Deafness Cognition and Language Centre (DCAL), based at UCL. You can find out more about DCAL on the UCL website. We will host a panel discussion with a Q&A, including current and former D/deaf students from UCL and we will have presentations on key information including UCAS applications, student finance and disability support. The event is free to attend and suitable for parents/carers of young D/deaf people aged between 14-19. BSL-English interpreting and speech-to-text reporting will be available.   

ATR:  We recall a young deaf man in London who had full support in training up in law at university via sign language, it cost near £200K for one year in note-taking and BSL support, a staggering amount of money. He failed to pass.   More recently, the A-2-Work allowance has been upped to a near-maximum of £1,000 a week for deaf seeking a job. 

It's rather a worry all this money and support is being put out with little or no tangible benefit. The debate is not so much about support in Uni, but if levels of entry qualification are sufficient to identify if a student can actually progress with that support.

Universities are saying that student applications they received, displayed a lack of sufficient literacy by deaf and HoH students to follow courses adequately and it was making tuition difficult and they wanted entry papers more stringent but were being blocked by rights groups/politicians etc calling it discriminatory, especially the sign users who say they are demanding English not BSL qualifications.

ATR attended a FE college with no support at ALL as a deaf adult. But for support from classmates, I would have left after 2 weeks, instead, I stayed the full course and passed with that help the classmates took notes for me.  While the activists are repeating rights demands they are ignoring some realism in that the established special need pre-educational approaches to the University, fail to arm them with the basic means to benefit from a university education.  In essence, a basic issue of reading or understanding the coursework.

In those respects even support to follow was problematic, universities had to create literacy courses to help enable, and even there rights groups objected to the formats, and the languageThe sole activist response was to cry foul.

British Sign Language trial for PMQs

05 February 2020. The House of Commons is to trial live British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation of Prime Minister’s Questions starting with today's PMQs. 

This is a pilot trial building on previous work with BSL interpreters, including providing live BSL interpretation for Westminster Hall debates and a select committee evidence session in 2019. Parliament TV Live BSL interpretation will be available for PMQs on parliamentlive.tv.

How the UK's Largest loss charity nearly collapsed.

"We have put significant financial controls in place" – Mark Atkinson, photographed by Colin Stout.
Apologies this is a long post, because we have included an entire article from AOHL.  ATR response is included to save another blog doing that.

Mark Atkinson: It's staggering that a 108-year-old charity came that close to running out of cash 03 February 2020 Having overseen a radical transformation of the disability charity Scope, Atkinson is now charged with sorting out the finances of Action on Hearing Loss - and the prescription is similar, as he tells Andy Hillier "We have put significant financial controls in place" 

[He told them to sell off 'Deaf' Care homes, a loss-loser].

Refurbished at great expense only three years ago, the Action on Hearing Loss headquarters in Highbury and Islington, north London, are in many ways the ideal offices for a national disability charity.  Located just moments away from the tube station, they are packed full of the latest disability technology. Yet, just before Christmas, the offices were sold, becoming the latest cost-saving measure as the organisation seeks to balance the books after one of the most challenging periods in its 109-year history. 

After several years of its spending outstripping its income, the almost unthinkable happened to Action on Hearing Loss: it nearly ran out of money as it teetered on the brink of exhausting its £3m credit limit with the bank. "We were within weeks, if not days, of running out of cash," says Mark Atkinson, who was brought on board as chief executive in October 2018 to turn around the financial situation. 

[So, for 2 years he was part of the problem too?].

"We would have been unable to pay our creditors, unable to pay our staff, unable to continue as a going concern. It’s quite staggering that a 108-year-old charity came that close to running out of cash." The financial situation was so bad that its auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers, went so far as to question the charity’s ability to carry on in its annual accounts in 2018. Fast-forward a year and the situation is looking considerably brighter. Its new auditors, Crowe UK, have given it a clean bill of health in its latest accounts and the cash-flow situation has "got a whole lot better", says Atkinson, who has a track record in delivering the radical transformation of charities after a three-year stint as chief executive of the disability charity Scope, during which it sold its regulated day-care services. 

[So his approach was selling off disability and deaf care to private areas instead, ergo charity first, customers second.]

Atkinson says there have been two main parts to the financial recovery plan. Part one has been about following that age-old piece of financial advice, not spending more than you earn. "We’ve put significant financial controls in place throughout the charity," he says, pointing out that much of the overspend in recent years has been in delivering "good charitable stuff" to service users. 

[Stuff?  What is that?]

"We have really challenged ourselves to ensure that we’re getting maximum value for every pound that we spend. "We have also relocated our finance function from London to Peterborough and are looking to relocate more out of London in a managed way," says Atkinson. Saying goodbye to Prince Andrew At the end of last year, Action on Hearing Loss was among a number of charities that parted company with patron Prince Andrew after media allegations of impropriety with young women. Atkinson describes it as "big decision" for the charity to end the relationship: the prince had been a patron since 2013. 

[AOHL's relationships with the great and good has been questionable for years. Prince Phillip mocked the deaf and he had a deaf aunt, and had no idea what an ear defender was.  Princess Di managed to finger-spell her name but preferred pop concerts instead.]

Going forward, he says, the charity is having conversations about what it means to be a patron now. "If you have a patron, it has to be someone with whom there’s a real fit," says Atkinson, using the example of the adventurer Bear Grylls and his support of the Scouts. "It can’t just be one of 300 or 400 patronages. We’re going to have a debate about what that might look like for the organisation." 

[Presumably meaning the mainstream are more likely to cough up for poor deafies if a celeb asks for it, or has a remote relative who is hard of hearing.]

New policies have been implemented for hiring staff as well. "We don’t have a recruitment freeze in place, but we do have some rules around hiring new people," he adds. 

[That policy has excluded deaf applicants from any executive or management position, less than 10% have any hearing loss and in menial positions, AOHL  won't train up grassroots applicants with hearing loss for management opportunities, they only want them as volunteers, his own job came via the old boys' job network of the THIRD AGE job centre, for a bunch or retired or corporate unemployed nere do well executives desperately seeking a gong.  They also offered to pay visa fees for hearing European staff too.]

Part two has required selling some of the charity’s biggest assets, most notably its head office, to pay its creditors and generate additional cash. Its recently published annual accounts showed the charity had a deficit of £4.3m on an income of £39.6m at the end of March 2019. The sale of the head office will generate about £8m, which will help it to clear its £3m revolving credit facility with Lloyds Bank, pay off any outstanding mortgages and repay its creditors and suppliers. "In 2018/2019, we were paying our suppliers typically within 70 to 75 days – that’s not a sustainable position," says Atkinson. 

[Considerable expense is also made hiring rooms at posh hotels to spread the AOHL world, again few if any the AOHL claims to support ever attend them, focus on funding is not meaning more focus on care.]

"It meant that not only did our suppliers have to make decisions about whether or not they wanted to work with the charity, but it was also deeply inefficient because our staff were spending a lot of time on the phone dealing with suppliers who quite legitimately wanted to be paid for goods and services provided." A deal has been struck with the new buyer that allows the charity to remain in the building until September. It then intends to rent a smaller office somewhere in either north or east London. 

[Why only London?  the most expensive area in the UK, that is not watching the pennies is it? and, annual AGM's held in London mean few if any representatives/members from elsewhere in the UK can even attend them.]

In the intervening period, Atkinson says, he plans to spend some time asking which roles and functions need to be based in London. "We now have 50 staff in Peterborough and we think there’s an opportunity to relocate more out of London," he says. "Our ability to recruit and retain skilled financial staff in Peterborough has gone really, really well." ‘Difficult time’ So what have the staff made of all the upheaval? Such big changes can often breed resentment between staff and senior management. 

[Never responded to complaints AOHL was offering to fund visa applicants for hearing staff from Europe. So London staff don't want to  go to the sticks, though, isn't hearing loss the prime issue here? And why is AOHL refusing regional autonomy? ignoring devolvement?  This is AOHL in the London 'bubble' reluctant to relinquish 'power' to regions and its website is still managed from there.  If he wants to save money he can offer regions their own AOHL version and let them fund themselves.]

Atkinson concedes that it has been a "difficult time". "We have been through a period of constantly trying to reduce cost, often through salami slicing away," he says. "That takes its toll on people. Our overall staff turnover is currently about 31 per cent, which is too high. I want to reduce this significantly over the course of the year." But he believes the fact that the charity has grasped the nettle and made some big decisions on strategy and future direction has given staff confidence in the future, and the organisation has not shied away from having frank conversations with them. 

[His job is safe, and if not he can always go save another charity by cutting off their care options too.]

"One of the things I was quick to prioritise was having an open and honest relationship with staff," says Atkinson, who has spent most of his career working in charity communications. "In the early part of 2019, we did lots of communication with staff about the financial recovery plan and the new strategy, and tried to change the culture so that people could speak up and share ideas, spot risks and opportunities and tell us what we focus on. Staff and volunteers have responded brilliantly." 

[That explains the 31% staff turnover then.]

Despite being open about the organisational challenges he has faced, Atkinson is quick to point out that his first year at the helm hasn’t been all about cutting costs and selling off the family silver. 

[Yes it has unless they don't value deaf care as essential.]

The charity has also worked hard on its income generation. In April, Tim Willett, formerly a senior fundraiser at the lifeboat charity the RNLI, was brought on board to oversee fundraising and comms. The move has gone well. Atkinson says that Action on Hearing Loss is on course to have its best-ever fundraising year and is currently on track to post a £500,000 surplus in the coming financial year. "That will be the first time in about 10 years that the charity will have made an operating surplus, and I think that it’s important as part of our financial recovery plan," he says.  However, he’s acutely aware that it needs to do more. 

[Indeed, London prices are unlikely to go lower are they?].

"Like lots of other organisations, we’re heavily reliant on certain types of income," he says. "There’s a challenge to diversify our voluntary fundraised income. We are on course for our best legacy performance in a decade, but we are also too dependent on that income." Now, Atkinson says, the charity wants to invest in long-term relationships with supporters who believe in its vision and purpose, and who want to support it through their own ways and means. 

[That would be a revelation (allowing grassroots to have a say, given they closed down all feedback to themselves on social media and on their own website).]

"There has been an emphasis on volume rather than quality of support," he says. "What I’m keen to do is make sure we have a really compelling reason for people across the country to support this charity in whatever way they choose: by volunteering for us, for example, and by raising money or by supporting our campaigns." 

[Volunteering mostly as this cost them nothing but HE doesn't work for free.]

Crucial to the future will be the organisation viewing itself as more of a mass-market brand. 

[Those with deafness and loss are a 'brand' to be sold now?  Or is he talking about the horrific pink mess that was the last re-brand the AOHL did? the one that cost £100s of £1,000s and then back-peddled because it suggested they were abandoning the royals?  Is it the AOHL? or is the RNID?]

There are about 12 million people in the UK with some form of hearing loss or tinnitus, and Atkinson believes it needs to be reaching more of them. The strategic challenge, he says, is to channel more energy into activities that reach a larger number of people. In essence, this means Action on Hearing Loss plans to focus on three key areas. First, campaigning for improvements, which includes holding policymakers to account, influencing public attitudes and making sure markets work better for people who have hearing loss. Second, it wants to be a place people can turn to for advice and information about hearing loss, deafness or tinnitus. And, third, it wants to invest in treatments to help those with hearing-related conditions Transferring services Controversially, it will also follow the lead of Atkinson’s previous employer, Scope, by moving the charity away from being a direct provider of social care by transferring services to another provider in 2020. 

[And maintaining a neutral issue in regards to confronting areas that offer discriminations at us all, including some of its major corporate donors.]

Action on Hearing Loss’s social care services currently support about 560 people and employ some 600 staff, about two-thirds of its current overall headcount. They also account for £17.5m – almost 45 per cent – of its current annual income. "We did something similar when I was at Scope, and the disability charity Leonard Cheshire has done something similar recently too," says Atkinson. "It’s significant for us because we started providing residential care services for people who are deaf in 1929. We do it exceptionally well." But although the charity recognises the difference these services make to those who use them, he says, they support only 560 people. 

[They had been cutting real support for years, the AOHL seems tobe adopting an image approach as averse to a supportive one, despite the deaf leaving this charity many years ago in disgust.]

"In order to make this organisation have greater reach, we came to the conclusion that we should move out of being a direct provider of care services so we could focus our efforts on campaigning, advising and connecting deaf people," says Atkinson. 

[Perhaps the biggest lie he is telling, AOHL has never been happy or willing in confronting the system as it relies on them for the work it does get and the kudos and voice it brings.  It's pathetic 'rewards' system to donor areas is cringeworthy e.g.]

Traditionally, large disability charities have chased organisational growth, arguing that the bigger they become the more impact they can have on those they support. However, Atkinson believes this approach has done a "huge" amount of damage to the disability movement, leading it to focus on scale and trying to "hoover up contracts", often from smaller, local charities. 

[Yes other charities twigged, that the AOHL's involvement was to 'hoover up' profitable aspects of other charities and do it themselves, and also by head-hunting the more able from smaller charities so they folded, in essence, AOHL was/is a charitable asset-stripping machine.  The ones that  failed to realise they were being set up failed.  AOHL continues today to dominate meetings and relationships with other loss charities and continues to undermine them too.]

He wants Action on Hearing Loss to have a different type of relationship with other charities that support those with hearing loss. "I’m not driven by turnover," says Atkinson. "I’m driven by reach and impact. If that means acting as a collaborator with organisations so that we can achieve our purpose in a quicker or better way, then I’m up for that." Atkinson is rapidly forging a reputation as an organisational change specialist after his exploits at both Scope and now Action on Hearing Loss. 

He acknowledges that he enjoys working with organisations "where there’s an appetite for change and doing things differently", but that doesn’t necessarily mean he is motivated only by big turnarounds, or that he plans to jump ship once the big decisions have been made. "I’ve been here for 14 months," he says. "We’re now in a much stronger financial position, we’re launching a new strategy and moving head office. 

"Towards the end of my time at Scope, I felt that the next phase of its journey required a different leader and different style of leadership. We’ll get to a similar situation here. But I feel like I have several more years here before then." Nevertheless, he says, he does challenge himself on whether he wants to oversee another radical transformation. "It is exhausting," he concedes. "Not just for me but the people around me. "I do wonder whether I want to join a more stable platform in the future."

[He is advertising, if this goes belly up then I'm available.. so is he telling it all?]

ATR:  AOHL's real strength is in that the systems and indeed other charities concerned with loss rely on the statistics AOHL provides they all quote the same ones, also said systems listen when AOHL talks because AOHL moves in the 'right circles', but this is a double-edged sword, in that using that influence to make it clear HoH support issues and deaf rights are non-negotiable, puts them at odds with their funders, only when they bite the bullet will any of us with hearing loss respect anything the AOHL says or does.  

Unfortunately in all the article coverage, we have reprinted here has he actually mentioned in any depth, US.  The irony is in his time at SCOPE he was part of a quite contentional media approach that actually forced people to confront their disabled prejudice, but it is not an approach he will take at AOHL to make mainstream aware their prejudice is still with the deaf and others with hearing loss.  He needs to confront deaf areas on their sales pitch too, that is the strength of AOHL, people would have to listen.

All he is concerned with is his bean-counting and saving money, and protecting the 'image', an image increasingly NOT based on its involvement with grassroots and over-focused in ensuring they stay in London, if they want to save money move out, they have invented all sorts of alternatives now, computers, cars, buses, trains, networking, streaming online etc... you don't actually need to live there.  After Brexit London needs to learn the lesson.

They won't get the  Deaf support back, cutting loose care homes has put another nail in that coffin.  HoH are the most membership-wise but in regards to their support and rights AOHL hasn't moved that forward in 30 years there has been no campaign of any note coming from AOHL or, from the HoH themselves.  Currently, progress is non-extant unless obsession with ear wax is your bag.  We have all moved away from the random care via charity approaches to a more rights-based demand set up and AOHL stands in the way now.

It is a puzzle why it has taken so long for them to realise charity isn't some sort of grassroot-run and  hearing-loss friendly 'NHS alternative' and they were duped by the system, who offloaded expense (And thus blame!),  onto them, now AOHL like others is dumping that care like a hot potato.  Initially, AOHL made a killing being the largest receptor of the funding, but the good times ended as they were bound to do.  But guess who is really struggling now?  It isn't the AOHL is it? 

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

How to fart in public (A deaf guide).

The right way.

NFBUK forces a pause to 'Red Button' removal at the BBC.

Image result for bBC red button text service"The NFBUK has begun an urgent petition to help save this vital service. 

STOP PRESS: The BBC was going to withdraw/close the red button service on 30th January 2020.  We’ve successfully campaigned for the BBC to suspend closure pending further enquiries and discussions with affected groups.  BBC director general Tony Hall said he would examine the concerns and make "a fresh decision" in the spring.

The BBC Red Button Teletext service is vital for visually impaired, deaf, disabled and older people, as well as many other people who want to find out information independently in an easy, convenient and accessible format, who are not online. 

The NFBUK is concerned that by withdrawing the Red Button Teletext service, it will leave many people, who are already vulnerable, further isolated and marginalised from society. The NFBUK cannot understand how the BBC can meet its obligations set out in the Royal Charter (1) for public broadcast, if the Red Button Teletext service is withdrawn. The NFBUK has undertaken an internet search and cannot find any reference to a recent Public Interest Test being undertaken on the withdrawal of the BBC Red Button Teletext Service. 

This is required for any significant changes in the provision of services provided by the BBC. NFBUK believes that a ‘Public Interest Test’ is undertaken in collaboration and consultation with disabled peoples organisations, charities and organisations for and of disabled and older people and all other affected groups. The aim of the petition is: The NFBUK wants to petition to pause the switch off of the Red Button Teletext service, for public scrutiny on how this decision was made, ensure all required assessments that were not undertaken to now be done with the aim of keeping the BBC Red Button Teletext service switched on and enhanced, with the addition of a speech element so that it is inclusive. 

The petition wording is: 

An immediate pause on the withdrawal of the BBC Red Button Teletext service planned for 30 January 2020. Immediate clarification and public scrutiny on how the BBC came to the decision to switch off the BBC Red Button Teletext in relation to: The BBC’s Mission and five Public Purposes outlined in the Royal Charter (1); BBC Broadcast Agreement with Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport December 2016 (2); BBC’s Public Sector Equality Duties under the Equality Act 2010 – has an Equality Impact Assessment been undertaken? The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Articles 9 on Accessibility and 21 Freedom of Expression and Opinion, and Access to Information. Request all assessments that may not have been undertaken in reaching the decision to switch off the Red Button Teletext Service and ensure these are undertaken, and for these to be performed in an inclusive and accessible manner, to ensure hard to reach users of the service are fully engaged in this process. 

This is to include full collaboration, engagement and consultation with disabled people’s organisations, charities and organisations for and of disabled, older and vulnerable people, who are not online, or do not use the internet much and other groups of people who are important for these assessments. Retain the BBC Red Button Teletext Service and ensure the service becomes fully accessible with a speech option added to ensure that the BBC can fulfil its Mission, Public Purposes and its Public Sector Equality Duty under the Equality Act 2010.

Hearies create own signing

And annoy the purists.  ATR: If they criticise hearing attempts then it will discourage them from trying.  Most of the negativity of sign language is the deaf being hyper-critical of how it is signed, everything about sign 'awareness' is a LECTURE, e.g. Deaf do this, Deaf do that, this isn't 'real' sign, the 'right' way to talk to us, the wrong way, 5/10/15 things hearing do to get up our nose,  5/10/15 things they should be doing so they don't, the messages are a turn-off.   I wonder do deaf even read what they put out?  When you put all these things together and include criticism of hearing aids, CI's whatever, you see a very confused and random negative sort of awareness based on fear really.

People will just assume deaf are too picky and critical and back off.  Deaf do this Deaf do that, fine go do your own thing just don't include us, we respect you need to be left alone, but I thought you did not want that?  If hearing are using signed English that is fine too.  We don't need the albatross of culture or 'real' BSL/ASL, we just need to be able to follow what people are saying.    Simple I know but...

When campaigns started about sign language it was ALL about enabling deaf to be included and able to understand others, sign was created to bridge divides, this seems to have got lost as the main point, and sign creation was enabled by hearing people who still are primary enablers of it.  Not that it has been appreciated much.  Sadly born deaf interpreters aren't up to it unless they have an effective alternative TO sign language.

I doubt anyone cared at all then about Milan 200 years ago, so the message is back to basics, we live in a hearing world so we have to find a bridge to get that equality working real-time, I despair at campaigns the BSL/ASL people are running, few are about true access and there is an arrogance with some that is completely misplaced.  

I understand there are some deaf who don't care about being included so long as their deaf 'world' is still around for them, but anyone with half an ear (!) will see that is getting less and less an option every day.  The battle for inclusion has been undermined by cultural campaigning.  Many cultures can find real inclusion and not lose who they are, but the deaf are struggling because of an unwillingness to accept realities, it suggests they lack confidence in their own culture which 99% do not have anyway given our parents and siblings are all hearing and we are sole people deaf in our families, so many in hearing families who are struggling with this concept of culture when there is no need.

Saturday, 1 February 2020

The USA Census and the 'Deaf'

The census is important for all with hearing loss as it allows identification of need and support, The UK made a mess of forcing through a question to identify deaf and cultural people, because they were non-specific about WHO they wanted to Identify. 

The result was huge negative for the sign users as prior to the census it was claimed at that time by sign charities over 50,000 deaf used sign language in the UK, the census results did not agree, it revealed less than 15,000 and even that was challenged because the question asked was not specific to daily usage or reliance just 'do you know sign language?' This meant hearing terps were allowed, family members, friends,  and learners to be included alongside actual deaf users and the question wide-open to misrepresentation. 

Of course, as the state was concerned it suggested there was no great demand for it, and charities suffered lower funding! Opponents of BSL suggested the 'Deaf' had deliberately 'loaded' the question on the census by inferring by default, 'deaf' and 'Deaf' were one and the same,  assured in the state's ignorance of the D/d thing, or the challenges made to it by various other hearing loss and deaf areas. 

It failed spectacularly because BSL is not a feature of HoH communication, and relative BSL activist areas were determined to make the point, so it was a real own goal for the UK BSL people.  The true test of sign language need is to identify reliant and daily users, many many attempts have been made by activists (By ATR itself),  and by charities dedicated to hearing loss to do this, and we all have failed, defeated by the UK's data protection act which bans any identification of the BSL user this way.  

The current situation is 'think of a number' double it etc, because nobody knows, so nobody can challenge. Currently, 12m have a hearing loss here and 150,000 use BSL are being claimed, we are in the realms of fantasy in many respects which supports areas that want funds, but the funding is not coming through too many have cried wolf too often.