Friday, 28 February 2020

Better late than never?

Image result for who cares for the deaf with mental health?It would appear only now have some deaf realised their care options are dwindling and under the cosh with one deaf blog complaining the AOHL is dumping the deaf care.  Although ATR published the CEO view some weeks ago.

It was on the cards last year, deaf care was/is costing them too much, and basically, the deaf are not even members of AOHL it's a puzzle they are only now complaining.  End of January this year the AOHL was in debt/deficit mode, unless it got rid of its loss-making operations, deaf care is just one of them, more areas are to follow, and given the pro-Brexit vote, the AOHL has had to drop a scheme where it wanted to go European-wide as well.  Along with that deaf care/cut statement was a change in remit, they are moving away from all care and support and investing in the deaf cure and research.   They put money into Australian CI research too. 

Frankly increased demands for more specialisation with deaf care areas and the fact there is no program of specialisation for the Deaf, meant the sell-off was inevitable, the AOHL could not fund the specialisation that just isn't there.  It could not fund deaf interns to challenge the glass ceiling at the AOHL itself. Going private could be a plus for deaf care, the deaf could never hold the AOHL to account or any charities connected with deaf care as they were immune from FOI's or deaf demands.  There was a banket assumption they knew best.

This potential closure follows the recent closures of deaf care by the BDA charity also who were inept financially and left 100s needing care in Limbo, and staff with no wages too.  The whole area of deaf care was/is badly managed by charity whose role if any now, is to campaign and leave care to people able to do that.  It means going back to lobby the state to put up and to admit they cannot do this themselves.

The CQC (Care Quality Commission), also had few powers to insist deaf care can only be provided by those experienced in deafness and its issues, as no training schemes exist to act as a baseline.  As ATR posted prior, none of the major BSL organisations could name who was experienced in mental health care, undertook training, or, how many psychiatrist/psychologists even understood BSL.    

Much was made of one clinic in Bury boasting minimum level 4 BSL support but that BSL level was NOT a health or care qualification. A lot of secondary care is undertaken by people with little or no signing experience at all, transient, with very basic 'care' skills which at root are just cleaning jobs.

At least if the private area takes over we can monitor them and take them to task if issues arise.  Primarily the charitable approach to deaf care was amateur and rarely monitored, carers did not need a signing ability, BSL is/was all but not enough.  

Clinical diagnosis areas are primarily hearing, so relied on interpreters, there were/are major issues there too because a qualification in BSL is NOT a care qualification in deaf mental health and given learning and other communication issues deaf face diagnosis was suspect as well.  BSL interpreter continuity did not exist either.  There was a conflict on deaf care approaches from the AOHL (who follow the clinical approaches), and, from the BDA (who preferred a cultural approach).    The disagreements and differences also meant no training could even be started on specialisation until some norm could be agreed, it's still up in the air.

Deaf care will suffer obviously but as the Deaf have demanded the specialisations based on BSL, then only if a training set-up is agreed can it work.  The problem is that UK BSL interpreting itself is in flux and fewer are taking that up.  Local authorities are taking carers off the street even trying to attract learners from BSL classes and none of it works.   In the ATR area there are deaf  'mentors' offered work caring for autistics who are hearing, with no basic experiences whatever.  Apparently the fact some autistics signed a bit was the excuse.  And others with no experience offered work to care for dementia patients.

The UK care areas have collapsed for all types of people requiring care from the born deaf/disabled to the elderly.  Those needing specialist care usually are removed from their locale again because specialisation simply does no exist, but as we read with the AOHL and BDA not there either.  Chemical care seems to be on the increase too.

Deaf and disabled were sold a pup when care in the community and the deaf Social Services folded, as rights activists and systems suggested let those areas be served by own charities who understood them, and, these charities were simply unable to do that as the system systematically cut their funding making that impossible, you cannot run specialist care via the begging bowl and now we are seeing charities admitting it.  expect more deaf care closures and charities folding too.

One sobering statistic is 25% of the UK population has an MH issue, but, 40% of deaf children do.  There is no cultural cure for that you need experts.

Life as a deaf and hearing couple.

First Deaf Seanad nominee (Ireland).

Dr. John Bosco Conama, a lifelong Deaf rights activist, Academic and leading light in the Deaf community, made history last week after he was nominated to the Seanad by both the Irish Deaf Society (the National Association of the Deaf) and Chime (the National Charity for Deafness and Hearing Loss). 

He has Cavan links too, with Dr. John Bosco's sister Eileen Gormley having lived in the county for the past 30-years. Both are Roscommon-natives, and in 2019 Dr John Bosco was appointed to serve on the first statutory advisory committee in Ireland to support monitoring of Ireland’s implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). He played an integral role in helping campaign for the Irish Sign Language Act which was passed in 2017, recognising ISL as the third official language of Ireland. 

Lianne Quigley, Chairperson of the Irish Deaf Society said that since the signing of the Act, the organisation has seen Deaf candidates come forward to stand in the local elections and now in 2020, Dr. John Bosco Conama is standing for election on the National stage. “This is a clear sign that our community wants to participate in political life,” she said, adding that the nomination marked an “historic day” for the deaf community in Ireland. 

She believed too that Dr John Bosco will prove to be an “inspiration” for Deaf communities throughout the world. “If elected John Bosco will champion the rights of minorities in Ireland and will be an advocate for accessibility and Irish Sign Language.”

World Hearing Day

World Hearing Day: A smarter way towards more inclusive education
March 3 is World Hearing Day, an initiative by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to raise awareness to prevent deafness and hearing loss and promote ear and hearing care across the world. The motto this year is “Don’t let hearing loss limit you”, focusing on how people with hearing impairments can achieve their full potential.

This is a vital message: According to the WHO, 466m people – 6.1 of the world’s population – are estimated to be living with hearing loss [1]. Too often, hearing impairment can result in being excluded from full participation in society – with education being a key area where this exclusion can begin. In the wider context of disability, UNICEF notes that “nearly 50 per cent of children with disabilities are not in school, compared to just 13 per cent of their peers without disabilities" [2]. This situation continues into higher education, where many deaf and hearing-impaired students struggle to fully achieve their potential due to the lack of support.

However, there are also opportunities to close the gaps through inclusive education that teaches people with diverse abilities side by side. This is a complex challenge, requiring solutions that combine advocacy, policy and training, but surprisingly it is also an area where smartphone technology is helping to play a role.

The accessibility of smartphones has become an increasingly hot topic over recent years, with recent iterations of iOS and Android making it easier for users with limited visual, hearing or mobility to operate devices themselves. Yet, as personal devices that are always on, always available, smartphones are increasingly also offering a way for users to take more control of how they interact with the outside world. At the simplest level, the transition of more services online, is making it easier for those with hearing impairments to navigate the world: from engaging with companies through online chat to shopping online, smart devices are making digital access ever more convenient.

Additionally, dedicated solutions and apps are increasingly available to make the information available in the audio world more accessible. For example, apps are now available that can transcribe speech in real time or detect important sounds and flash visible on screen alerts, and even translate speech into sign language. What unites such mobile solutions is the unprecedented combination of user-friendliness, connectivity and computing power that smartphones place in the hands of users. And these very same qualities are also proving transformational in education.

Thursday, 27 February 2020

Communication tips for the lip-reading deaf.

I wonder how many signing deaf attend health areas without a BSL communicator? or, if they lip-read, ask for a lip-speaker? It's not entirely clear these tips are effective.  ATR never attends any area without ensuring communication is going to work, do not all deaf plan well ahead?  We usually contact the area first and if no assistance is there then ensure a text response will or similar.  Also, most deaf people make it clear on attendance what they need so they won't miss out.  

Ironically, all the suggestions were sign based and the areas they attended provided none??  This helps the NHS to save money by NOT providing professional support but unsure it helps the deaf much.   There was lots of one on one contact seen but the reality is that it won't be the case usually, with comings and goings, so if you take your eye off the ball you can still lose out.  My surgery GP and nurse come to me and ensure I am aware within the crowd.

It took the riot act being read first via a legal threat!  But it was OK after.

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

A new Deaf Hope..

5 struggles with my hearing aid.

Aled is deaf

Which is a blessing in disguise given the captions and he cannot read.

Who created the deaf sterotype?

Image result for deaf arts BSL
They did it themselves, now trying to backtrack it seems via social media, using arguments against a hearing actor playing a deaf one.  Generally, deaf acting advocates are getting a real bashing on social media as certain realities come home to roost.  There are a number of responses ATR has collected randomly, so not all from just one site, one or two dedicated BSL sites.

1.  There is no reason why deaf people have to be played by deaf actors.  David Jason has never sold stuff off a barrow, he has never been a policeman, he has never worked in a shop yet he has played all those roles. What is different about a hearing actor playing a deaf person?

2.  Perhaps the sore point the Deaf actor cannot reciprocate?

3.  With the best will in the world and a plethora of equality laws, the deaf signer CANNOT emulate/act as anything but what he or she is, they are typecast by default the same as someone with no legs has little chance to play a long-distance runner. It's sheer practicality and common sense, not exclusion.  Unless they film from the waist up and put someone else's legs doing the running, (even then purists will claim this is an unviable and unrepresentative inclusion).

4.  And the Deaf encourage exclusive BSL-Only arts and media output as well, do they even know what they want? 

5.  Good lip-readers and HoH have more options because they don't have to express themselves so visually and have hearing nous. There is always a danger of the sign use distracting from the scene and the story, there are still major objections to signed support on TV programs by hearing viewers, even to the news.  It's an open secret TV wants these 'accessible' areas moved OUT of mainstream view.  Hence they are handed free funded programs if they go elsewhere with them.

6.  Harsh, but true sadly. There was a film a few years ago where a deaf actor relied totally on lip-reading and won acclaim, but not from other deaf people, who complained she was 'unrepresentative' of deaf people because 'Deaf' sign and don't do that. This meant one deaf area was attempting to push their own 'stereotype' as the deaf norm.  I doubt the 'community' can put up the people.

7.  We are as diverse in communications as we are in degrees of hearing loss, so it is really time the die-hards of the BSL minority started to accept what is actually the equality law bottom line and the reality. They are perfectly entitled to do own thing, they are not entitled to say it is anyone else's norm or that other areas have to conform to theirs and those who don't are 'doing it wrong' when their own acting area cannot put up.

8.  They aren't doing their own thing are they?  The duality of BSL art/media, is that it is all funded by the Hard of Hearing, deaf, and deafened taxpayers but few if any of them are included, e.g. via BSL Zone, BSL SEE HEAR, BSL theatre, BSL arts, it is all discriminating, art funding endorses this discriminatory approach, and it is all done from the 'cover', of cultural right, or even 'disability', which appears in direct conflict to equality and real inclusion and to the Deaf view they aren't disabled. 

9.  Yes it would be far better ALL areas of hearing loss had direct access to this 'BSL art' thing, it would at least then reflect our diversity and inclusion, which should start with us, and not just them asking mainstream to endorse segregational output as some weird form of human right encompassing us all.

10.  The signing deaf can never move outside their own communication area, so are entitled to own media, others should stop attacking them.

11.  I don't think it is attacking their reliance on sign language it is the claims that this can enable them to portray hearing, and it is discrimination to allow hearing actors to play them when the issue can well be they cannot read the script!  Deaf can do everything but hear? not true, deafness provides limitations they cannot overcome, it's a reality, not a criticism, and as they are still not included in society they lack the essential knowledge and experience they need.  There are still areas that don't want that inclusion except on the terms they demand.

12.  Deaf actors develop their skills through BSL roles,  this is no help to them whatever to move out of that comfort zone and play something that is in essence, alien to them.  As deaf use sign language and hearing can use it too it seems logical to allow that to happen. After all, they are throwing out sign lessons on social media 24/7.  Now they don't want hearing to use it in their area?  

13.  Film and theatre creators cannot make all their output to suit the sign user on and off stage.  There are dozens of other hearing loss areas, and literally, 100s of other minorities and disabled,  who will want the same inclusion. Minority Media is here to stay.

14.  Perhaps deaf need to lip-read and speak more and get out into the hearing world a lot more to gain the real experiences they need? They won't get in any BSL area, arts or not.  

15.  Dedicated BSL art is their undoing...  The deaf actor becomes a one-trick pony and constantly recreates BSL as a minority output.  

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Soap operas go for the deaf angle... Again.

It won't be awareness because we haven't cracked that ourselves, as it becomes a contention usually.  Social media are split between the 'what a great idea!' to 'Oh no are we to go through all this again?' as differing areas argue the pros and con's of signing or CI's etc, do we really care?  

Read on they are engaging already...

1 There is a report in The Sun that Eastenders is going to introduce a profoundly deaf character. Will be interesting to see how that plays out.

2 They are not introducing a new character, just RE-introducing Ben who was near deaf and wore a hearing aid when he first appeared on EE as a child, he then disappeared and re-emerged with a different face a few times and without a hearing aid (His hearing returned or something), now he has gone deaf again.

3  It is to counter Coronation Street who have gone for a deaf baby topic and to agonise over a CI or sign language etc, I'm dreading it personally, last time Corrie had a deaf signer in it, it became a bit of a lecture rather than a storyline, Deaf people playing deaf people? typecasting it won't be, will they be the D or d variety? 

4  Here we go, here we go, here we go again. It will be real acting when nobody notices they are deaf.   Signers can't act because they sign.  They could never pass as hearing so typecast every time.  Playing yourself is no real effort is it? And they will be coached on what to say even then.

Rita Simons5  I recall the woman in EE (ATR photo). who really did have a deaf child and opted for a CI, she got hate messaging for 8 months from the Deaf loony fringe who accused her of child abuse. I don't think asking those deaf or their charities for advice is a great idea either.  Just awareness by numbers from them.

6 I think TV should leave 'gritty realism' to people who understand it and not insert every other minority or sect they read about on hashtag sites.  East Enders have included every awful area of the human race it can find and hardly any are white or British.  

7  Isn't one the cast a white person new convert to Islam? a murderer who killed his sister?  Great casting lol  The current new deafie Ben murdered someone as well  DOH!!! enough already.    What next? they all go down with coronavirus?

8  I like my soap operas with a laugh and not to be taken seriously, TV is dour enough without constant 'token inclusions' to screw it all up.  If I want awareness I'll attend a seminar.  EE has run out of ideas it did 24 years ago.  I'm disappointed Corrie has opted for it too.  

9  They are hoping it raises awareness but realistically it will just provoke heated debate amidst deaf people getting nowhere, because 'Deaf' don't want inclusion they just want to be 'special' and do own thing just let them do it not suggest on a TV set they want something else, is there such a thing as 'fake inclusion'?  Deaf access campaigns are pretty near that.  Inclusion being only on their own terms.

Saturday, 22 February 2020

Lip-Reading is it too hard?

I think most agree it is a modus too far.

What deaf should NOT do.

Image result for be like dad keepReading a jokey vlog in the UK from a BSL signer who mocked hearing annoyed at aspects of hearing loss, 'what hearing do, what deaf do', a reader once hearing hit back.

'I have been hearing and deaf and everything else in between for 50 YEARS, the vlogger does not know what she is talking about, perhaps this fabled 'intuition' they claim visually doesn't really exist.  Born deaf do not know there are things hearing do and do not like about the deaf way of life, that has less to do with loss or discriminations, but deaf ignorance of the 'hearing way.' 

What I did find on going profound deaf myself, (Apart from the fact I was in the top 5% who really were deaf in a deaf club!), was deaf people completely unaware that invading hearing people's 'space' was a no-no, much the same as hearing should not step between deaf people talking etc.  Also, deaf signing is an issue, being too widely accessible to other signers.  Obviously, despite the fact I am deaf, I am not 'Deaf' or cultural.

Deaf people had little or no privacy of conversation from what I could see.  Topics of conversation were quite limited, and without a life-long background of deafness and schooling, it became difficult to widen conversations to interests I had, as I had no background at all to anything like that.  They also displayed little interest, in interests I pursued as an ex hearing person, they were quite dismissive at times. 'That's what hearing do, we do...' etc I also found deaf topics quite repetitive from one week to the next.  I became quite bored. 

I found it restricted my social interaction even within the deaf club circuit.  I made deaf friends but was not really 'socialising' WITH them.  E.G. If you want to 'talk' to another deaf person privately then, you have to leave the room or move away from other deaf visually or they all know your business.  I did turn my back once or twice to avoid others 'reading' what I was saying and was accused of being disrespectful, they did not understand it was for privacy reasons.  They said I was ignoring people.

I found this as an ex-hearing person very off-putting and it made me uncomfortable, absolutely anything you sign is seen or watched by other deaf and is around the club or social area in minutes, even to deaf you had never met.  I hated that.  Even meeting up with deaf friends outside a club, was no real guarantee of any privacy, back at the clubs after everyone knew what went on because talking about what you do and who were with is a deaf 'norm' of some kind.    It's OK to a point, but NOT to discuss what was said.  If I want deaf to know I'd stand on a platform and tell them.

Hearing discuss what they do also but they don't 'distribute' widely after, if they do it causes very real problems, and 'listening in' to other people's discussion is asking for trouble.  It would seem even the deaf interpreter or carer/mentor did much the same thing so quite personal issues are being widely discussed about you and apparently to a large degree is acceptable, I think you can forget the official secrets act within deaf support!

I was actually shocked at the level of personal information deaf tell each other too, anything from their sex lives to their friend's sex lives, to own parents and family issues, and without ensuring only real friends knew and respected that.   Trust became an issue of how much do you say? even to 'friends'. 

Deaf don't 'do' privacy and it is a huge drawback.  Since I realised how the deaf operated socially, I took active steps to keep a private conversation private.   I can slip into the speech-only mode or turn away my face from them, and stop signing, so they cannot keep up.  

Very few signers are decent lip-readers so I can talk without being watched all the time, and I know which deaf can lip-read.  I've even used my phone to text my partner when I want to say something privately.  Deaf need to respect hearing etiquette.  We don't like being watched and talked about, it is your norm but it is not ours. The level of knowledge about other people without the privacy respected is a worry and I have to keep self-monitoring what I say all the time, it is draining, it creates issues of socialising, but the only real answer would be to avoid other deaf people.'

Friday, 21 February 2020


No photo description available.Complaints by deaf and HoH they have no access to the taxi services.

(1) My area some taxis are text accessible and take emails already. Signed access is unnecessary and impossible really, only makes access more difficult there are no signed services to facilitate it.  

(2) Access for access sake, TEXT it!

ATR:  A lot of poor access is/was because of HEARING people (idiots basically), who abused this access to create false requests, they also made 999 text access a problem for us. Years ago minicom access was withdrawn from the police for that same reason, it offered hackers a way into the police system and minicom calls could be made from mobile phones and computers as could fax. 

Deaf people can get a 'code' given to them so that the Taxi service knows it is a genuine call and with 999 you can register, but it seems deaf haven't understood this and are demanding direct access without registering or understanding why. They are simply assuming it is discrimination and creating more problems for themselves.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

I'm not deaf!

Like so many, JENNI MURRAY refused to accept she was losing her hearing but since getting help realises it's daft that the subject is such a taboo.

Jenni Murray explains how she refused even to think that she might be going deaf. She wasn't old, she was only in my 60sCurled up on the sofa one Saturday night, I was watching a TV drama with my family. 'Watching' being the right word, as most of what was being said escaped me. Being someone who prides herself on her immaculate diction, I complained loudly, and in a slightly snooty manner, about: 'These young actors. They mumble away. No one's ever taught them how to speak properly. They don't articulate correctly. Why don't they speak up?' Yet no one else in the room — my husband, David, and sons, Ed and Charlie — appeared to be having any difficulty following the plot. 

They were all gripped by the story and ignored my whingeing. In the end I got up in a huff, left the room to make a coffee, then stomped upstairs to read. I refused even to think that I might be going deaf. I wasn't old, I was only in my 60s. Everyone always told me how young I looked. Jenni Murray explains how she refused even to think that she might be going deaf. She wasn't old, she was only in my 60s.

Jenni Murray explains how she refused even to think that she might be going deaf. She wasn't old, she was only in my 60s The idea of needing a hearing aid was preposterous and I wasn't going there. I would just turn up the sound on the TV and radio and, at work, the headphones I wear in the studio could be as loud as I needed. I convinced myself there was no problem. I would just carry on as usual. 

Fast forward another four years and my son, Charlie, popped round for dinner. It was just the two of us and, as he was clearing the table and loading the dishwasher, I went through to the sitting room to switch on the TV.  'Crikey, Mum!' came a shriek from the kitchen. 'Are you trying to entertain the entire street? That's so loud!' He bounded into the room, snatched the remote control from my hand and checked the sound level. 'Mum, you've got it on level 56. It shouldn't be more than 25 — 30 at the most. It's ridiculous. You can't hear properly. You are now definitely going to get your hearing checked.' 

Why DON'T deaf know English?

Indeed and the USA version of our language leaves a lot to be desired too.  They seem to be dropping vowels at random, and the USA grammar is in a structure of its own too.  Other than justifying sign language why not challenge the declaration ASL/BSL is an 'IN' to English?  or, that cultural demands are opposing the acquisition of English and its grammar?  Or acknowledge the existence of a signed English version? This is academic excuses really.  Many deaf have learning issues, another issue ignored.  The question to be asked is why it is necessary for deaf to acquire a different grammatical structure and 'language' to the country they live in, when signing alternatives exist to enable them to follow?

Deaf inclusive Gym.

Deaf oxymoron's of the world unite...

You have nothing to lose but your sign, and everything to gain including speech. [On being an oxymoron in communication.]

Sarah Elizabeth Moreman Born deaf, Sarah Moreman used Cued Speech to learn independence. 

I turned 40 this month, which made me particularly reflective of the twists and turns of my journey as an oxymoron. This perception of my being oxymoronic stems from having been diagnosed at 10 months of age as born bi-sensorineural profoundly deaf. Upon confirming this diagnosis, my parents determined how it would be possible for me to take responsibility to communicate with others. Rather than taking the well-grooved path of learning sign language, they researched other options and met with Dr. Richard Orin Cornett. 

He was the founder of Cued Speech. Drawing from his physics and applied mathematics background, Dr. Cornett developed this phonemic system to visually teach the hearing impaired to pronounce words correctly and lipread better by using their residual hearing. 

I did not let my hearing impairment stop me from becoming a college teacher and a public speaker. Cued Speech taught me more than lipreading and proper pronunciation; I learned independence. Once I got the hang of lipreading, I stubbornly insisted that others no longer needed to cue to me. After having used a Cued Speech transliterator throughout K-12, I decided in college to change accommodations to emailed transcription and remote captioning before dropping accommodations altogether in graduate school. I learned to ask professors and classmates good questions about the course content. 

I learned to be the first to answer the question that the professor posed rather than let the class discussion drift by with my trying to catch up and yet losing participation points. I did the same at family dinners and friend gatherings by giving as much input as I could without putting too much burden on others to include me. To be an oxymoron means to go against the perceived and unquestioned acceptance of there being only one or even only two ways for a person with a disability to get by in the world. After having learned that I could ace classes and write papers that make sense, I refused to accept that I could not be a speaker.  

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

And the band played on..

Image result for the impossible dreamLip-reading, is it worth it?   Pretty much the answer is negative, but no Hard of Hearing support for sign language either. Yet more angst from HoH social media...

'Has anyone else tried lip-reading classes and given up? I have tried 3 different terms now and am useless at it. I also found the classes quite tedious despite the nice tutor. I think one problem is I sat there thinking I would rather be learning Spanish! That was my plan - no chance now.'

'Lip-reading is unviable for well over 87% of all people who attend, and, they HAVE hearing aids to assist. It should not be advertised as a viable 'tuitional class', or medium, the class setups are not geared for that. They (students), have no level to attain or exam to follow after, if you learnt Spanish in a class you would have to do it to prove proficiency. There are no assessments undertaken of the suitability of the student/client to benefit either, or classes undertaking 'street' work so realism is part of the course.  Spending 6 months trying to understand someone next to you with the same issue in a class is hardly equipping you to cope alone on those streets with people not going to give you that leeway.'

'Its primary aim (According to the lip-reading association themselves), is to encourage socialising, and if you learn some lip-reading that is an unexpected bonus, and if your ears fail you or your aid does, you are back to square one, but they don't tell you that lip-reading is almost totally reliant on what you can still HEAR hence why 99% of students can.'

'I totally despair these LR or BSL classes have any real point for us at the business end. I'd want both re-assessed and a proper communication class replacing them both with clinical support and a real aim to it and to commence on a diagnosis of hearing loss. Too many HoH pursue this 'holy grail' of lip-reading and believe they can be 'born-again' hearing or something, and such classes encourage the myth.'

'Well, denial plays a major role, as do hearing aid manufacturers unrealistic claims, and encouragements to hide the fact you have a hearing aid or a hearing loss. ergo 'invisible hearing' 'they cannot see your aid.' etc it all panders to hearing loss fear.'

'Yes, and all combined with the charitable view hearing loss is just an old people's inevitability, but hearing loss covers all people and all age ranges, so a system of real communication support is a real need, honesty would help.  BSL is for hearing and to a large extent lip-reading is for the very very few, so where do HoH or the deaf actually fit in class wise?'

'I did a 8 week course about 4 years ago, I found it very hard!!'

'8 weeks is pretty pointless as you found out, and when you are having to compete with a dozen others with better residual hearing than you have, I'm surprised you lasted 8 weeks and given the course is usually 6 MONTHS. For most, it would take YEARS to master and with 1 on 1 support too, neither exist. Only then would you be able to adapt (Assuming you have the ability).'

'Age, infirmity, degree of loss, time spent with no communication support, these all have a bearing on LR viability, hence the suggestion you need an assessment to see if LR is viable in your case or sign language, and/or assistive technology is more suitable. There is a lot of professional bllx being aired but few are actually professional except in clinical diagnosis not what happens after..'

'There are numerous health and age reasons why neither classes as they stand will work for you. Communication support has to be taken seriously, all we are seeing is the hard sell for sign language and half-hearted attempts to help the HoH who are now overwhelmingly text reliant. A concern giving there are claimed to be 10m of them pretty much unsupported that way.'

The sound of bass.

I think we should be wary of suggesting that appreciation of heavily inclusive bass and percussion actually enhances music appreciation. Deaf are just experiencing the physical pressures Bass and percussions produce, they are still unable to appreciate many instruments or indeed, the singing voice and all the permutations that exist with those, of course, 'pop' music is strictly a young person's area isn't it?  

From the medical area this advice:  Loud bass can cause damage to your body, mostly your ears. But, loud treble (and especially distorted treble) is more likely to cause permanent damage and is probably what you should pay the closest attention to if you don't want to suffer damage to your body.  High bass levels can be too much for your body too, causing it to make you feel nauseous, it can also produce issues with the heart rate. 

It is factual many musicians end up with poor hearing and deafness being constantly exposed to these issues.  Just because you are already deaf does not mean you are immune to other issues, such volumes and pressures can affect your body too.

FHSR supporting the deaf/HoH child.

Rehab and no sign language?

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."