Friday, 28 August 2020

Getting the PIP!

All 1.6 million Personal Independence Payment benefit claims to be reviewed  - BLB Chronic PainRegarding the recent petition on fair access to welfare claims by the deaf and the blind.   Posters stating an inability to read forms or understand them and asking friends to help out.

#1 I done signed as future no social worker service to help us (deaf people) need help with this PIP forms as it is so harder to explain on write forms.

#2 Clearly, the poster exhibits some major issues following the printed word!

#3  I noticed some deaf still asking friends and relatives to fill in their PIP forms. Please DON'T! always consult professionals or the CAB or a deaf charity who know what to say. Don't be reliant on video access unless you are fully confident you can deal with the DWP on your own and manage a 3-way system. The DWP has own interpreters who perhaps will put questions in a way your usual BSL terp would not, and they won't help you either.  You can ask the DWP to come to your home with an Interpreter and they will help you fill in the forms.

#4 Yes probably the best way. They can then see for themselves what the problem is.  

#5 You can have a friend or relative with you as personal support if you want that but NOT to do your talking.  Don't use children [hearing or not], they won't know what is going on, again, once you abdicate responsibility to someone else you pay for their mistakes too.   [It's actually illegal for the DWP or the deaf person to use a child under 16 as support of any kind or, for systems to demand they do.].  The social services can look at it as child abuse.   

#6 Last PIP issue 46% of deaf asked relatives and they all failed to claim anything because they made a complete mess of the forms.  The forms are quite complicated and ambiguous even for people who can follow all the questioning.  If you can't read the forms tell the DWP not ask someone else.  Once you pass over responsibility for form filling any mistakes YOU pay for.  

#7  You can RECORD any interview with the DWP at your home, [first ensuring the DWP know and given a copy, or, it cannot be used as evidence if a mistake is made].  

#8 Be AWARE! most home interviews will NOT be via the DWP at all, but their subcontractors, the DWP do very few face to face interviews themselves.  Also, ask if the interviewer is qualified to assess deaf issues.  It's important you are assessed by people who know what issues we deaf face.  

#9 Ideally going it alone is better (if more stressful option), because that then forces the interviewer to face up to the issues you face directly, why make it easier for THEM?  Making it easier for the interviewer can suggest you can mange OK as well. Using support from family or using someone else (Who can be quoted as your carer thence, you get ignored as well), your own help can be given as a reason for NOT being able to claim help from the DWP.  It's all about what the see.

#10 If you record proceedings send the  same day TO the DWP [There are issues subcontractors do not ask the right questions or, added a few you never knew about after!], so notifying the DWP prevents that being used to disbar your claim.

#11 I need a deaf social worker to help and there aren't any...

#12 Social Services are gone mostly, and if that is something deaf want back, they need to understand it was a massive deaf campaign that got RID of dedicated deaf social workers when deaf decided they wanted more personal freedom of choice and personal control a Social Worker couldn't give them. You ended up at home and ignored whilst systems just connected to a social worker who had different rules to follow and perhaps made decisions for you, that you didn't agree with.  

#13 It was a throwback to the bad old days of deaf schools and a social worker for life for deaf people.  It made the deaf very lazy too, they even allowed social workers to read or redirect all mail to them.  It was younger deaf who decided they didn't want that any more.

#14 Own goal by the deaf. Social workers started acting as interpreters instead which gave them more freedom and a higher wage but without the aggravation.

#15 A lot didn't! At the time less than 35% of 'deaf' social workers had any sign qualifications, that was part of the demand to disband that system.  There were no real 'levels' and systems that were reliable.  Disbanding the archaic SW system forced an improvement. It was what made the present system of BSL support extant where a deaf person can ask for a BSL terp to assist with the system for free and without the shackles of the 'terp' being a social worker too.

#16 There was a meeting of the social worker directorate where they voted to stop supporting a dedicated deaf sign-based support system because most social workers would fail to qualify under new rules of professional qualifications in BSL.  The whole thing went down the swanee.

Sign it again Sam...

Or, how deaf enjoy 'some' types of music.  Experience suggests deaf rely on vibration and 'feeling' not hearing to follow the music, so limited to music that predominantly is loud or has strong bass or percussion content. The age of the video producer bears that out.

Most musical instruments and the singing voice are not available to deaf people.  I think there is a mixed message going on when the deaf claim to 'hear' music and produce it when clearly most of it is unavailable to them, can they tell by just listening to the difference between Elvis or Pavarotti?  Their claims are based on their own interpretation of what the music is.

Opera is an area rarely if ever deaf people engage with or classical music much (Apart from percussionists like Evelyn Glennie), but again it's an example of a deaf person using vibration to follow or create (And considerable training and memory recall it is how Beethoven did it, albeit he had hearing first to recall).  It's a conundrum in that loud or heavily bass music is something no hearing loss awareness charity or Dr would advise you to follow.  E.G. loud and persistent listening(!) to such bass patterns can induce vomiting, and affect the heart.

There is an assumption we are deaf already so it has no effect, that would be a wrong assumption as bass can affect the stomach and other organs, as well as living tissues with over-exposure. Basically (!) it would be incorrect to suggest deaf can appreciate all music, they are quite restricted by default as to what they can appreciate e.g. other musical instruments can be beyond their ability to detect producing less or lower vibrations the body can 'feel', it is why deaf opt for bass and drums etc.

Could they discriminate between one pianist or another e.g? or one violinist from another? or even as stated one singer from another?  Not by listening alone.  All the examples shown in the video were based on the deaf ability to feel the music, NOT, hear it.  For hearing the singing voice has many aspects you can appreciate (Or hate!), the deaf won't be able to discriminate that way.  For young people loud is good anyway, but to follow all types of music is a limited if not impossible option.

Many attempts by the deaf to emulate others hearing tend to fail really as this is a 'copy' of what is sung or danced and simply by adding sign becomes 'deaf art' which we think is invalid it's simply an interpretation.  Music is subjective too and deaf suffer by default in that area too.

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

It's a PETITION (Not a declaration of intent).

No more PIP reassessments for people with Lifelong disability or conditions? What was posted online:

No more PIP reassessments for people with Lifelong disability or conditions"When a disabled person has a lifelong disability, or condition that will not change and will not diminish, they should not have to go through Light Touch Reviews at 10 years. If someone cannot self-advocate, they can be taken advantage of and can be manipulated. Medical Consultants give enough evidence through their reports that 10 year Light Touch Reviews, or indeed ANY reviews shouldn't be necessary. 

Our daughter Holly is Certified Sight Impaired, On the DeafBlind Register, cannot use phones or fill in forms, yet we are still being told she will need a Light Touch Review at the 10-year mark, HOW? Unfortunately, we've already had an horrific PIP assessment when she turned 16 that we do not want to be repeated."

ATR response: As stated it isn't a declaration of accepting that deafness or blindness is for life by the DWP but a petition to hopefully do that.  However, validation is still an issue, as is defining deafness because grassroots are at odds with definitions.  Whether the DWP will then accept it as a lifelong reason for a disability allowance isn't so clear, the validity of financial support is defined on the ability to manage your issue.  

I'm wondering if the increasing use of technology and such as well as relentless campaigns against being labeled AS disabled are undermining the support we need with our deafness?  Deaf are campaigning on the grounds of culture/language, so maybe the DWP is taking them at their claims and so not validating deafness and hearing loss support as a result? be careful what you ask for perhaps?   Recent 'new' video access to the DWP could well be used to suggest deaf don't need financial support as they already get free BSL support, the highest disability rate of Access to work help in the UK, reduced entrance fees to public areas, and free public transport on buses etc.

It's become an increasing 'problem' determining a lack of help is there or, support.  Whilst hearing with issues can claim help to facilitate social deprivation issues, the deaf can't, mostly because the 'Deaf' have own social setups and given any choice would stick with that.  Human rights are being used in cultural terms not disabled terms. The DWP allowances cover issues of disability in regards to hearing loss. LOSS is a prime factor as well as the ability to cope with it, Deaf are blaming lack of access, not lack of ability. 

Nothing is for life at the DWP and can be reviewed at ANY time.  The only certainties in life are taxes and death.

Yes, we are deaf for life but if we claim deafness is NOT the problem we can expect that to have an effect, it then becomes a rights issue outside the remit of the DWP being political. When I first applied for an allowance they said being deaf was not an  'excuse', it took 6 attempts and 3 YEARS before I got the old DLA now that is gone again. I am profoundly deaf in both ears and have been for 50 YEARS. When I got DLA the DSS (as it was then), kept asking me when my hearing was coming back. I said never, they kept asking.


It would be a false assumption to suggest the deaf 'made' the DWP provide access this way.  Memories are pretty short. E.G. the DWP provided text access when we all started to use Minicoms. 2016 there was THIS.  A deaf charity offered to mediate.  That changed recently because the DWP wanted to retain all control over claimant applications and wasn't confident a BSL run area was neutral, being 'in-house' they could determine claimant approaches more effectively. (Bad news for claimants who are deaf). 

In reality, the deaf only utilized video for their own social usage. Just as they do now with video apps etc. They are NOT being used to access the DWP or other systems much at all.  The DWP are also hiring own BSL terps so that deaf cannot rely on or use, terps they know.


There were also issues coming from the then 'Deaf' social services, (a dedicated area for the deaf sign user now defunct).  The Social services opposed Minicom use because they did not want to (A) fund them for the deaf, or (B) fund a telephone line as well, they also denigrated the deaf by stating there was no point, the deaf couldn't use a phone or read and write text, 'who would they telephone?'  Deaf were screwed by their own support.

Those statements empowered the DWP to withdraw access deaf campaigners had already got installed. In part it was to keep deaf reliant on social services who systems preferred to deal with.  When minicoms became obsolete the DWP withdrew the option, in reality, some Minicoms had less than 7 calls in 4 months, some had no calls at all. 100s all installed in regional DWP offices were mothballed.  Deaf started using faxes too these were also withdrawn and again deaf used the technology for themselves not interacting with the DWP or anyone else.  

DWP also provided video access a few years ago. Campaigning deaf had reservations and still wanted face to face interaction with support, well, some did, but a lot didn't.  Part of the problem was deaf not using the options of access as each new technology presented itself to DIY. Minicom usage to police also became obsolete, where again the Deaf SS insisted there was little point in deaf terms for that, even suggesting Minicoms offered a way into police systems for hackers and spoilers. ATR campaigned against social services for 11 months to get a phone number deaf could use to THEM and convince the police direct access was viable.  So apart from getting a Minicom you had to get a number too.

I distinctly recall deaf refusing to use e.g. the police dedicated access and a lot still do. In the last few years, the DWP has started changing contact numbers and closing offices too, that in a few areas of Wales meant the CAB e.g. was unable to help the deaf because the DWP did not tell them of changes. The DWP has always been legally obligated to include the deaf and disabled, its not a black and white situation because 63% of ALL deaf are simply using family and friends to make those oral calls.  Demand has to be seen to be used.

During the last major benefit changes (PIP e.g.), BSL access, video access, and support were again established as a right then.  Part of the difficulties was the BSL user, who hadn't the support available they demanded, the BSL terps were swamped and couldn't meet the need of supporting EVERY deaf claimant the numbers just aren't there.  Offering video access is still an issue that deaf are advised NOT to use themselves without professional advice, because of difficulties understanding questions asked etc, so video access would be for the very few deaf confident of holding their own with a system like the DWP whose primary aim is to stop claimants from getting benefits.  Deaf complained the forms made no sense to them, they couldn't read most of it.

Many hearing also, havehad extreme difficulties wading through what is a very complex and negatively-run system.  In reality the deaf would be better off NOT attempting to use video access to the DWP alone, but seeking professional advice and letting them do the applications for allowances or sort out issues.   Deaf would have to record video interaction with the DWP too, and the DWP permission to do so would have to be agreed, or, an issue following would be invalidated.   Copies of video interactions have to be sent to the DWP also. 

A TTY phone for the deaf with a voice phone on it to help ...
Sadly in areas of the UK there are still no adequate BSL - oriented DWP claim support areas they can turn to.  BDA advisors in Wales e.g. were approached and none were found qualified to help. Personally, I don't think 70% of the deaf are capable of using video effectively, it's one thing to sign to family and friends quite another to deal with the state arm of the DWP whose sole aim is to  PREVENT deaf claiming anything.

Via PIP one thing we learned was the DWP constantly moving goalposts continually and putting time limits on responses etc a lot of deaf people struggling to get advice ran out of time and out of claim eligibility.  The DWP like the NHS has ALWAYS been legally obliged to include deaf people, but barriers exist often with the inability of the deaf themselves to pursue their claim without help.  Its like deaf people having a visual doorbell, it works fine, you answer the door then....?

Obviously using a 3-way approach with a translator involved is a help, but, BSL interpreters are NOT DWP savvy and cannot help you on points of claiming allowances, they are there to translate what hearing people say, nothing else, the response has to be your own, so if you use video you better ensure you have ALL the avenues covered yourself first.  I don't think the DWP offering all sorts of access can help deaf with that issue.

I suspect this 'access' will be as difficult to utilize as all the other means being offered.  Obtaining video access is just.... the START.

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Hearing loss awareness. What they don't tell you.

How To Pronounce Aware - Pronunciation Academy - YouTubeA BAME contributor (As if people have enough to manage without more bloody labels),  wrote about anger and stress having to cope with that, hearing loss, as well as COVID, and people getting angry because we need stuff repeated, which promoted some candid response. Race and colour is NOT the issue.

Deafness is the ultimate democrat it doesn't care what colour you are or what ethnicity you belong to. Ditto COVID. As regards to being left out, there are few answers to it, you cannot force inclusion so the onus is always going to be on you to adapt. The system (such as it is), can be made to adapt 'to a degree' but the public cannot. It requires a fair degree of cooperation from us and a thicker skin basically. 

The only way to making it clear to people what works for you is for YOU to tell them. It takes grit and it involves a lot of stress I have to say, you need to stay with that, and not just step back and let it leave you behind. They don't need us, but we do need them. What you mustn't do is get too angry about it, there are people who won't include you no matter what colour you are, or what disability you have, but you don't need them anyway. I found most will include if you go the right way about it. Awareness of what you need can only come from you. 

Prioritise! It took me 11 YEARS to establish my need and approach and stick with it, and it's easier today to make your point I think regardless of social media claiming differently and charities pouring out endless misery on our behalf, which I don't think helps and doesn't really educate us about coping. They are fond of telling everyone without hearing loss or deafness what they need to do, but not educate us in how we manage it ourselves.  

Most areas are just selling us a lifestyle, a language, or an amplifier.  Our hearing loss became a commodity to be sold.  I suspect wearing the T-Shirt is already big business.

You have to understand yourself pretty well, a lot of deaf people and HoH don't actually know how deaf they are or what works for them, maybe make choices that don't work for them either, then expect the e.g. the state to comply and the public, because the law says they must, in the real world that doesn't happen. 

Not understanding your issue leads to depression, poor mental health and trauma. That can negate your ability to follow as well. Various random communication 'classes' are chaos and really none to be recommended until we understand our own loss first.  

When we challenge discrimination we can forget we are deaf too and sometimes we have to choose which is the most important. For me communication not colour is. There are only so many battles you can fight at any one time and it all adds more stress.

A lot of annoyance in demanding others make themselves clear are issues arising from (A) Our stressed impatient response and (B) Not understanding the way we follow maybe doesn't really work for us. or (C) Our own panic. 'fight or flight' kicks in.  I'm not saying make excuses for not hearing, just accept you AREN'T following.  3m hearing aids are not even worn e.g. I had to plan every single outing and encounter initially, and find a system that worked pretty much regardless where I went or who I met.  There is always one way that will do that.  Technology today makes it so much easier than in my time when it simply wasn't an option, and I was the village idiot.  

AOHL and indeed other loss charities still publish our awareness as 'face me speak clearly..' or suggest we carry cards with us that don't really indicate how communication will work for us.  It actually suggests we can all lip-read really and again we can't all do that. Mask issues apart, joe public are poor speakers. I noticed very early on that when others see a hearing aid they assume you can hear, of course that is not always the case because of other factors that inhibit that, as said before, and assuming ourselves we can with an aid! We are usually the last to be aware it isn't the whole answer or making that assumption is creating more issues.

Ask people to repeat and they do that 2 or 3 times and you still can't follow suggests we are fooling ourselves mostly. Given that HA makers encourage us all to hide aids making them 'invisible' is pandering to our own insecurities and making things worse, it means people won't even see them and then suspect you are some sort of crazy person.  'Turn your bloody hearing on!' can be a typical response, when it already is.

If you have to resort to e.g. text then do it not get angry and more upset. Anger is a first and natural response to hearing loss, why me? etc then developing blame issues on others instead of addressing the source, which quite simply, is the fact our hearing is at the root of it, or rather the lack of it. So why blame others?

Do not blame those who already tried 3 times and you still don't get it. We have hearing loss and it goes with the territory. Our greatest asset (Well mine anyway), is my voice and I try to use it wisely. I don't make excuses for being deaf, just state please communicate this way, or I won't follow. Bluffing it out rarely works and just pisses other people off.

Imagine if you ask someone to do things a particular way, and they try to oblige and you still haven't a clue, then this logically suggests your approach isn't working.

Friday, 21 August 2020

DWP 'Not' new access services.

Here's one they did earlier, 4 YEARS ago (And from the ATR site at the time).  What we read this week, a 'new service'.  It's not a new service just includes a new BENEFIT. DWP just decided to DIY and not pay SignVideo.

From: Department for Work and Pensions and Justin Tomlinson MP.   The service can be used to help make a new claim or for those already claiming Universal Credit. This supports a package of measures put in place to provide quicker and easier access to benefits during the Coronavirus outbreak. British Sign Language users can now easily access Universal Credit through a video relay service provided by the Department for Work and Pensions. 

The move will support many of the 87,000 Deaf BSL users currently living in the UK. The Video Relay Service (VRS), allows users to make BSL interpreted video calls via their tablet, smartphone, computer or laptop. A professional interpreter then relays the call in English to a member of DWP staff. Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Justin Tomlinson said: With more than 1.4 million people accessing Universal Credit in these unprecedented times, this technology will provide vital and equal accessibility for Deaf people and those with hearing loss. 

It is fantastic to see concern for increasing accessibility going right to the top and I am delighted that we are championing this cause for people accessing the welfare safety net. The service, which is already available for people accessing other disability benefits and the Access to Work scheme, will be available through GOV.UK. DWP staff won’t see the caller or the interpreter but will receive a phone call from the interpreter who will translate into BSL. There is no need to book the service in advance which allows the conversation to take place in real-time.

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Please lower your mask for me..

A deaf woman from Dumfries says she feels isolated from the world because she can't lip read while people are wearing face coverings. Eileen Cassells says some retail workers have refused to pull down their masks when she's tried to communicate with them - despite government guidelines saying it is allowed. 

Eileen said: "We feel threatened when wearing a mask because we're not able to lip read them which is very depressing." Every time Eileen wants to speak to somebody - she has to try and navigate a way around this new barrier, which isn't always successful. 

On several occasions, retail staff have refused to lower their maks, despite her explaining that she's deaf and needs to lipread. She continued: "Some of them will not take it down but they're mumbling away to themselves. "My sister asked me to return something and I said to the girl could you pull your mask down because she had a shield and she was mumbling away. "But then she called another member of staff and again she's talking away and I went could you remove your mask and the two of them were mumbling away.

ATR:  Scottish advice is just that, it may be 'allowed' but the individual can still refuse to do that if they believe a risk of infection is possible.  ATR believes mask removal requests are dangerous and silly demands, masks are there for a purpose and that purpose is not to discriminate against the Deaf or the deaf lip-readers.  There are deaf who would not remove theirs.

What is conveniently missing from this demand and sad tale of woe,  is the fact deaf people have a number of alternatives they can also use, which suggests the campaigns are less than forthcoming at explaining what alternatives are also possible and viable.  The curiosity being hardcore sign users are NOT asking for signed support and suddenly all became lip-readers after COVID, which is not a symptom as far as I am aware, and it's basically untrue.  The item suggests deaf are unable to adapt which is not true either.

Obviously, some deaf are refusing to adapt and claiming they can't.

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Helpful Apps (USA).


Hard Of Hearing Charities must supply BSL access?

Support Quotes - lovequotesmessagesPosters are challenging the UK's leading HoH charities recent stance on offering BSL access to its output, not everyone agrees this has a real point.  One poster said why do HoH WANT to learn BSL anyway? and received an angry response from someone presumably who was a BSL user saying why shouldn't people with hearing loss learn BSL?

#1  My response,  was based on the experience of having hearing loss and going deaf myself, learning sign is not taught with the reality of how it works, you need an interpreter or to immerse yourself within that 'community' of born deaf for it to be viable, sadly, this is not possible even IF you learn sign language, because HoH don't adapt well to other people's social norms, languages and culture, which makes sign work, whilst also dealing with the loss itself.

Unless your family and friends also manage to sign your social circle is quite limited. HoH would prefer Signed English if anything as this mirrors the language they already know. The BDA e.g. people would not accept that. We are social people that's our biggest worry. Nobody in the BSL world will tell you what you must accept to make it actually work, of course, translators don't support social activity either. As I am aware that is the primary negative of it.

I would want to maintain the social circle I have already not adopt someone else's. I think most HoH would agree. Why else do we show desperation to lip-read? A system hardly any of us can master? Because we don't want to be 'seen' as deaf? Why do we 'hide' our hearing aids, and pretend its a fashion statement? Why do 3 MILLION of us refuse to even wear one?  AOHL understands these things and cannot find a way to deal with it, at least not without appearing to challenge the BSL set up.

AOHL relies on 'supporting' people so has to play the game whose rules change before they can act on them. There are a lot of 'rules' and 'rights' being thrown in our/their way by way of excuses, and not accepting what is already a reality in that deaf and HoH are already doing their own thing. As such AOHL is wasting time, energy and developing a rift with its core membership. It has to accept the realities that HoH don't want the messages of BSL they keep putting out,and wondering why the AOHL is plugging the BDA. (And even by BDA members having dual membership at the AOHL).

To all intents and purposes HoH have already found their own alternatives to sign, to AOHL and the BDA, in that technology has given them a way of dealing without hearing loss support charities.  I think a recent blurb by AOHL praising its own support to 90yr old Hearing aid pensioners was telling, and of course, the AOHL 'clinical' approach to hearing loss is abhorred by the BDA people, whose members have attacked CI's in the past opposed research into hearing loss 'cures' even opposing the tuition of speech to children.  All that is tied up with learning BSL, if courses made this clear I suspect far less would be deciding BSL is for them.  Behind the promo is the reality and they try to hide that.

#2 Charity should be supporting ALL areas of deaf, not just oral ones!

#3 This is AOHL charity, it is not the UN. As I can see it is already 'supporting' BSL users via this topic asking for their input.  It also ran deaf mental health care homes until recently. Its remit is to meet those most in NEED not run a human rights campaign for every area in the UK, and a recent attempt to include BLM was a mistake, if they supported such areas why wait until now to do it? It just seems they are responding via a knee-jerk and don't want to be left out or vulnerable to a negative response.  I'm sure BLM would see it that way too. They claim oppression of 100s of YEARS not this last 3 months.  

Rights is ultimately the government's job or ours, (As is access). AOHL's remit is actually supporting disabled THE AOHL REMIT.  Disability is not a term born deaf want to see used in regards to their area. Clearly, whilst we have been engaging on BSL the AOHL has altered its remits which didn't actually mention deafness or hearing loss last year.  AOHL has been an HoH charity for as long as I can remember. As stated earlier Deaf left some time ago. 

When the AOHL was asked to support rights campaigns in the past it responded with a NO, because they said their charitable status 'prevents them being involved in 'political' issues' and, rights are political issues.  At the basis of all this hypocrisy is the fact COVID has exposed it all and AOHL has offered little support to the BSL user until now and not much to the HoH either.  Too little too late, the BSL users have already own setups they use.

Saturday, 15 August 2020

Deaf Education with Subtitles

Being Deaf Friendly.

Video: What is "Deaf-friendly"?
And wearing a badge to prove it?  Latest topic for discussion being as we are bored senseless with clear mask and lip-reading demands.  An area online selling 'Deaf Aware' badges and 'Deaf Friendly'? ones not meeting with complete support. 15 alternative views here.

#1 Why would I want someone with a badge?  I just get on with it. It is a pandemic, so normal rules do not apply any more and being friendly won't mean they should risk COVID for you, and I would not ask them to, would you risk it for them? 

#2 Deaf friendly? what on earth does that mean? We have to look for people willing to help? Are the ones without a badge the ones to avoid?
Image may contain: text that says "DEAF AWARE D"
#3 It is too dependent on where you go to meet people, mostly I don't move in deaf circles but pursue the life as per hearing on the street, I found with few exceptions near most would assist if I explained I couldn't hear, a lot of deaf refuse to admit they can't and blag it, get caught out get angry after, or ask if others to sign instead, pointless 9 out of 10 hearing won't be able to do that. 

#4 Deaf awareness has never worked because it's unrealistic to make it a demand even as a right. You can demand via the systems but to demand of the public, not going to happen. That requires YOU to make an equal effort.  So you only get back as much as you are prepared to give yourself.  It's probably the only way awareness can work.

#5  People respond better if you ask and try to meet them half-way, some won't? move on.  Just don't give up. 

#6 I've never seen a badge or awareness gig that ever worked and the lip-reading thing is a non-event, most of us CAN'T and we need to be honest about it. it's a 'tool' in our means to follow but works in tandem with other things, and those aren't always there.  

Deaf Awareness Training - Royal Association for Deaf people
#7  Assuming someone wears a badge saying 'deaf-friendly' or 'deaf aware', would we approach them for assistance? I would want a good lip-speaker, others would want someone who signs, but would we get either? most people cannot speak clearly, and sign users would want a lot more than a bit of fingerspelling.

#8  9 out of 10 deaf awareness courses/seminars or lessons do not contain enough to be of use to us. It's a cushy number for a few deaf charities or individuals to run them but they aren't enough to make awareness work for most.

#9 The sole advice is speak clearly and as normal or write things down because sign users would want a professional they aren't going to approach strangers with a badge. 

Deaf and hard of hearing badge pinback button |
#10 It would help if the badges said to what proficiency can they help. I've seen AOHL teach business and even local government awareness to their staff then found the people they taught struggled when faced with us, or couldn't be found when asked for.   There is no way of identifying who is aware.

#11 ABC fingerspelling and colour signs are really NOT enough to assist a deaf person who needs a conversation and explanation of something. The BDA awareness e.g. refutes speech and lip-reading and just do sign, with a bit of culture thrown in, which basically ignores 80% of us all.   I suspect 99% of hearing have no idea of the D/d thing either.

Print out helps deaf, hard of hearing drivers communicate | News ...
#12 Why would they? I don't give a shit for it either!  The only people capable of teaching our awareness is ourselves.  Others are just going to suggest what is best for them.

#13 It requires a 'norm', those with hearing loss just don't have one. For those who need an interpreter, nothing will change.

#14 We've been there done that. Deaf aren't really interested, its an HI thing.

#15 Yep, like HoH cards etc, Deaf never took them up.

Thursday, 13 August 2020

Deaf Inclusivity the Myths and the Lies.

From social media comment that actually does not rabbit on about clear masks, lip-reading, but if the aim really IS to include deaf people?

#1 As long as I can remember the deaf world has been plagued by do-gooders who want to change things by inventing new names. The deaf world and particularly the Deaf world tend to be manipulated by hearing social workers who want to sort it all out. 

One of the ways they do this is to keep changing the language. 

That's where all these things like partially hearing and hearing-impaired come from. Instead of using plain old fashioned "deaf" they invent new and "better" ways of expressing it. This needs to stop. Years ago people with a noticeable hearing loss would call themselves partially deaf. This was not good enough for the do-gooders and they decided to change it to partially hearing. Most deaf people were quite definite about it. 

We're deaf. We want to be called deaf. It's what we are. But still the social workers kept saying partially hearing. It's disrespectful, that's wot it is. So why do all these people keep trying to change things? We should tell them to eff off. Deafness is OURS not theirs. Every name change creates another discriminated against area."

I am not a number. I am a free man! The Prisoner | Cool posters ...
#2 "Our worlds such as they are, contain, Deaf, deaf, HI, HoH, deaf-blind, deafened, and I gather half a dozen others... including cultural and non-cultural deaf, all based really not on the degree of loss or access but what format to communicate you are using, this was a system we vowed never to support, a division by decibel, race, culture, loss degree or communication used, even how you live or were educated gets defined and often with no consultations or permissions being given, and since nobody uses just one means defining people this way isolates unfairly. 

Any more labels on our back we won't need to worry about being an invisible disability area, but it will still not make anyone aware of the need.  Perhaps it IS a charity, social worker, deaf awareness focus group, and interpreter backed job-creating scheme. If so none of it is working for us which is a worry. Horses for courses has become a mantra for discrimination being validated, and the discriminators are....... US because we go along with it.  Don't we have names any more?"

Thursday, 6 August 2020

The NHS promise to Deaf people.

Deafblind Bravery award

A Cardiff student training to become the UK's first deaf and blind doctor has been shortlisted for a national bravery award. Alexandra Adams from Cardiff is like any other student and has just entered her fourth year of medical school at Cardiff University. 

But the 25-year-old, originally from Kent, was born completely deaf and has just 5% vision and is on her way to becoming the UK's first deaf and blind doctor. And now she is one of the 10 people across the UK shortlisted for Brave Britons 2020 awards in the Against All Odds category. Alexandra is one of the 10 people across the UK shortlisted for Brave Britons 2020 awards Speaking to WalesOnline last year, Alexandra, who also suffers a muscular condition, said: "I think my experiences have shown me what makes a good doctor and what makes a bad doctor. 

"As I like to say, ‘I may not have as much eyesight as most, but I have more insight than many’ “No disability, background, ethnicity etc should stop you from being an NHS doctor. An NHS doctor can be all of those things.”

New op restores hearing.

Surgeons at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis made history on July 15 when they completed the first case in a clinical trial to restore hearing in patients with vestibular schwannomas, also known as acoustic neuromas. 

The July operation at Barnes-Jewish Hospital marked the first use of the MED-EL Auditory Nerve Test System (ANTS) in North America, allowing simultaneous removal of a vestibular schwannoma and placement of a cochlear implant. Conceived by Department of Otolaryngology Chair Craig Buchman, MD, and neurotologist Cameron Wick, MD, the clinical trial received FDA-approval for use of the ANTS under an investigator-initiated investigational device exemption (IDE) from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

The MED-EL system allows monitoring of the auditory nerve during tumour removal, opening the door to preserving that nerve and potential hearing rehabilitation with a cochlear implant for these patients. Since that historic case, the department’s skull base team has completed two more successful operations and has two more patients awaiting the procedure. Cameron Wick, MD Chair Craig Buchman MD Craig Buchman, MD, Lindburg Chair, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery “Identifying the auditory nerve during vestibular schwannoma surgery can be challenging because part of the nerve is distorted by the tumour,” said Wick, principal investigator on the trial. Wick, together with Neurotology Chief Jacques Herzog, MD, and neurosurgeon and Department of Neurosurgery Chair Greg Zipfel, MD, participated in the novel surgery. 

“Using the ANTS gives us feedback that helps ensure the auditory nerve is healthy during tumour resection and hopefully will be able to carry the cochlear implant signal,” said Wick. “This has the potential to cure the single-sided deafness (SSD) caused by vestibular schwannomas and their treatment.” For the vast majority of patients with a vestibular schwannoma, hearing gradually declines regardless of whether their benign tumour is observed, radiated, or surgically removed. Current hearing rehabilitation options, like CROS hearing aids or osseointegrated implants, fail to restore hearing in the affected ear. The new procedure offers hope that hearing can be restored through the preservation of the auditory nerve and the use of cochlear implants.

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

UIOLI Deaf lost it.

YouTube plans to discontinue its community captions feature, which allowed viewers to add subtitles to videos, because it was “rarely used and had problems with spam/abuse,” the company announced. 

It says it’s removing the captions and will “focus on other creator tools.” The feature will be removed as of September 28th. “You can still use your own captions, automatic captions and third-party tools and services,” YouTube said in an update on its help page. But deaf and hard-of-hearing creators say removing the community captions feature will stifle accessibility, and they want to see the company try to fix the issues with volunteer-created captions, rather than doing away with them entirely.

Clearly, the Deaf-deaf differences have driven Youtube to this decision with ASL and BSL users refusing to caption?  It's rather ironic to read they are now complaining YouTube is dropping an option they never used!   ATR has raised concern for YEARS regarding the dogged refusal by signing areas to adopt captioning/subtitles WITH sign and been attacked for opposing 'preference', and choice.  Use it or lose it, they lost it!

So we WON'T now see any complaints from them that YouTube has opted to stop offering them that access option?  Already we are seeing in the UK self-righteous deaf 'incensed' YT is going to drop this option. Like clear maks it's another excuse to.... make a meal out of nothing really, because they contributed to non-use of it.  

Funny?!  if we make output with no signed access they get annoyed for some reason.  If it is a legal requirement online to offer equal access how have these Deaf people got an exemption to refuse?  It is not as if they cannot read, is it?

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

The case against the BBC.

BBC accused of arrogance as Ross's return is announced before ...Heated exchanges on ATR's social media (But not BBC social media they remove all complaints!).  

A number of posters objected to old people being forced to pay for BBC output which they believe is not value for money, and offers them no choices either.  They can watch ITV for free but are charged for the BBC they don't watch.

A number of complaints are very irate BLM e.g. were being handed a £100m to produce own output directed at attacking white people, and the BBC building expensive sets for a soap opera that few people are actually watching to the tune of £85m, and facing demands from millionaire presenters for higher wages... 

All at a time when the BBC is stating they need the money because they want to produce more of the same, the 8 channels with (6 non-viable), and all producing in excess of 63% repeated output on every channel.  With one producing 81% of repeats.  To top it all off, are sending all this ancient crap to 'Britbox' so they can charge you a second or third time to watch it. (if anyone is daft enough to do that).

"Yes media has been exposed by COVID as have a lot of areas been exposed for the duality of content etc.  People have more time to look at things in more depth and not liking what they are seeing."

"Social media is no exception but with COVID forcing a lot more people to use online sources and actually talking to each other seriously for a change instead of talking bollox and exchanging doctored photos of each other, and acting the goat on video, a lot more challenges are being made by people who would otherwise not care all that much."

"People probably able to afford all sorts of BBC alternatives and still happy to pay for the privilege of being able to avoid it.  Such people are not 75yr old pensioners!"

"We have seen the best and worst of it.  But media has come out pretty poor it has to be said.  Journalism appears to have disappeared as a vocation or as a skill.  Even basic spelling has gone.  Just cut and paste from social media, any idiot can do that. It's hit rock-bottom when we assume the Americans can read and write English better than we can.  They wouldn't know a vowel if it bit them in the bum."

"Lol speech to text with a lithsp."

"Stanley Unwin eat your heart out..."

"The myth that the BBC can do no wrong and is a 'superior 'answer to advertising sponsored output, doesn't seem to have been proven.  Rather than proving superior, the BBC has dropped standards lower than their competition, and been arrogant about it, the answer? 'Let's screw the old people get a few more millions to waste."  

"It's 'public broadcasting' remit has been hijacked by every weird and petty minority grouping that exists, under the guise of 'inclusion', hence why we are now seeing more BAME people presenting, more ethnic and gender-challenged, at the BBC abuse our hard-earned cash thrown at them so they can rant at us all.  I'm just waiting for David Attenborough to come on-screen about the plight of gay lemurs... or transphobic elephants."

"I'd watch it lol has to be funnier than what is currently on.. why not put it as a suggestion for their next program haha.."

"Maybe not lol their legal departments would have to work for a living, instead of ordering program makers to submit to the 3rd degree first.  I'm surprised the credits get aired."

"We can and do ignore it, but why are we forced to pay for it?"

"If you are ignoring it, they are wasting their time, aren't they?  I suppose as a job creation scheme for the boys and gals, and their focus groups, it's lovely jubbly.  You still pay."

"Nobody asked why the BBC had decided the last 50 years they shouldn't be seen or heard have they?  All of a sudden minorities are running the BBC show.  Suddenly minorities are majorities, you couldn't script it."

"If the BBC offered licence payers a choice then we would soon clear the BBC of output nobody wants to see, it is NOT the BBC's 'job' to lecture us on inclusion or content we should be seeing.  I don't pay for that. If you want that,  go and attend whatever awareness course they are running, god knows there are enough of them."

"What you need is a helpline to manage your frustration at the BBC.. why not ask them for  a spot lol"

"Stick these areas on their own  'BBC' 'Weird minorities' channel so the rest of us can move on."

"Not the answer, they are still spending your money. In retrospect they tried it with e.g. the deaf people who have not one but two dedicated areas, but, with next to NO viewers, not even by their own designated audience, but the BBC dumped the disabled version for that reason, or perhaps because the disabled went at them and slammed the hypocrisy, whilst the deaf kept schtum about the fact they were actually being sidelined and patronised.."

"Who ARE  these people at the BBC deciding what we should accept and what we should not? and then refusing to give us a choice about it?"

"We probably will never know and if we do ask, get called racist or something!  Chances are they blank you. Next question...."

"If I see 007 or any film older than 5 years, or any 'best of..' or 'another chance to see..' repeat, one more time my foot goes through the screen, give us all a break BBC and stop all the repeats, if you DON'T produce enough content to fill 8 channels then get rid of a few of them and thus save real money."

"There is UK Gold, if you want to watch all that stuff from years ago.  To be honest still the only channel worth watching."

"Cut the deadwood. Let us see a cull of pointless output, educate and entertain my arse, who is laughing? we haven't done that at the BBC since 1970.."

"They aren't bothered,  the government is still giving them the freedom to raid our wallets whenever they like, and to  put out whatever content they like..  If the Independent channels did that, sponsors would take them off air.."


Monday, 3 August 2020

YouTube Chaos

How to Pick the Right Search EnginePerusing the news for hard of hearing output on youtube, I found some rather unsettling statistics. At the time of the search, there were 467 posts labelled 'Hard of Hearing'.

80% had NO hard of hearing content.

48% were signed only in ASL.

Less than 31% were captioned.

46% were adverts that had nothing to do with any form of hearing loss, sign-language,  culture or deafness content.

Issues YouTube presented are via the search options, it appears the equation used for searching, can not differentiate between the deaf or the hard of hearing, or indeed Nova Scotia weather reports.  Another issue was enabling the search option to split up the definition search, aka 'Hearing', opened up links to meetings by hearing people none of to do with the deaf, political ads, even gardening tips (?), etc. and 'Hard' threw up pornographic links, and Stratigraphy.

Requests to google and youtube to offer up reliable and accurate searches have been ignored.  Also, requests to ASL areas to stop using errant 'tags' on their posts designed to mislead searches were ignored by them too. ASL users adding 'Hard of Hearing' tags to their own posts deliberately, and this apparently enables wider coverage, but, only for ASL because HoH content simply isn't there or the access FOR hard of hearing people.

The 'Deaf' also managed to obscure the actual terminology by changing the capitalisation, this meant it almost impossible to search for non-'Deaf' output, Google was circumvented it has no way to differentiate between Deaf and deaf, it then could not offer search choice. 'deaf' was 'Deaf' etc and hard of hearing too. 

Whilst there are deaf who claim to be hard of hearing (!), there are also hard of hearing claiming to be deaf as well (!), this has meant YouTube/Google et al are being rendered powerless to assist.  If 'Deaf' want a clear identity they are not going to do it, by blurring their own definitions.  Hard of hearing and hearing are simply switching out BSL and ASL output in frustration.  

Making them the minority they really are, and with no ability to get out of the corner they pasted themselves into. They succeeded in sidelining the majority, but has it helped them?  It hasn't made more supporters for their cause.

Sunday, 2 August 2020

Sticking to the rules.

Published on Facebook how the complaints process works re signing/translation professionals.  ATR decided to put a few questions to them. A number trying to validate in legal situations.

Q1  Is it true none of your accredit professionals will testify what we say is valid or not?  

Q2 Is there NO retrospect validation of the work you carry out? 

Q3 You cannot be called as a witness e.g.? and to all intents and purposes are NOT then 'legal support' to deaf people? 

Q4  Is everything you translate just 'hearsay' and cannot be relied or acted on, as 'proof'?  Is it not a complete lottery if an issue arises between what a deaf person claims he or she said, and what the translator believed was said?  

Q5 Who actually dismisses a translator who doesn't fit the requirements and breaks the rules?  Does your organisation HAVE legal power to do that?

Q6 Are free-lance interpreters immune from your complaints processes?  

Q7 Should complaint or concern differences be facilitated by an INDEPENDENT body, and not you judging your own? to ensure impartiality?

Q8 Should BSL professionals who have NO speciality in medical and legal areas be allowed to assist deaf in those situations?

Unless deaf get a guarantee WITH their support it's a lottery isn't it? And, they are still vulnerable?  

All that may happen is your system will erase them from your lists but they can still carry on surely?    There has been no real discussion taking place with deaf so they can inform professional help what is legally required of them, it is far too simplistic to just declare 'we translate for the deaf', there are life-changing issues involved and they are not being addressed and deaf aren't covered, but then have to rely on the very support they may have an issue with.

NOTES: E.G. The unseemly rows between W.I.T.S. and freelance etc left deaf struggling to get support as your group and others argued about fees.  Also, professionals deserting rural areas because 'there is not enough work or money in it..' DWP demands recently regarding changes to welfare claims found your professionals unable to meet that demand and many deaf suffered as a result. Deaf in Wales had to rely on text support from the RNIB after BSL support you and their charities folded.   These may be questions more aimed AT deaf but a number of issues of BSL support are a complete lottery.  As we all know deaf are failing to USE professional support in favour of complete amateurs or family, you could offer challenges to that and explain how that affects the help they need, calling you in after their family has made a mess of things is an issue.  Also, lobby the NHS and others to offer a BAN on such untrained support being allowed, we know the NHS is colluding with amateurism to save money, but it risks deaf lives. But no demand for your services is valid until we receive a solid base and reassurance on that support provision being actual 'Proof'.

Should video/text recording ALSO be provided and available alongside BSL help to prevent misunderstandings from which a deaf person could suffer unfairly?  And time delays allowed AFTER support has taken place so deaf can verify for themselves?

The DWP has allowed this why are BSL terps working with deaf in the systems not?  It would appear speech to text support where it exists, does not always give the deaf copy either, which suggest they too, are not taking the 'risk' of it being used in any legal sense.  Thus leaving deaf on their own to sort it out.  This means the presence of an Interpreter is not really helpful in a legal situation and may well be an issue.  Deaf people labour under many misconceptions of their support and telling them you decide on whether your own people are guilty or not does not inspire confidence.  

I'd like to see your professionals NOT fraternising with deaf people either, we all know what familiarity breeds.  Rotating BSL support will also prevent that familiarity making issues for your professionals.  We know some deaf would 'prefer' the same terp every time because they follow easier and more comfortable, but this is not going to help them when a situation arises, then, a terp is going to stand back.

Deaf ARE still treating them as 'friends' when clearly that is AGAINST your organisational rules?  To say no professional is allowed to advise is always not true either, it is a NORM when a deaf person is having difficult following, to ask and to then receive advice from a BSL terp.  You explain what you cannot do, but in practice... The lines do not seem clear as to how much 'explanation' constitutes advice.  Should you not say 'Sorry I can not help?' 

The issue would raise serious coverage and identification of what professionalism is in deaf terms, allowing someone qualified to translate BSL with no other checks seems questionable, and independent areas would be asking for a more in-depth description of what BSL support entails.  Nobody is training the deaf to manage their support.  Their work is akin to that of a social worker but with none of their rules.  Worse for the deaf, none of that protection either.

Professionals are saying these are impaired communication individuals and often with poor literacy and understanding so they cannot put themselves on the line at all for them, and to the area most requiring help (not just BSL which is less effective than text if truth be told).

Such support also attends their clubs and homes as well, to say privacy exists as per the professional is not true in those environments at all.  All signers watch each other and the professionals so fully aware what is being said, indeed privacy does NOT exist in a deaf club, because deaf discuss their issues with friends and say 'The interpreter said...'   and invite them to clarify, so should not your professionals be avoiding such areas?


Saturday, 1 August 2020

How I learnt to stop worrying about deaf things

Evelyn Glennie Percussive Genius! from Drum Talk TV on Vimeo.

Never signed, and hit stuff instead.

Call me Deaf.

But what does it suggest others actually DO? Sign to you? lip-speak to you? wear clear masks? wear NO masks?  Speak into this app on my phone? Write it down? Do them ALL? 

Given no two deaf people communicate the same way I don't see how this works, and 30 years ago when HoH printed similar cards, deaf panned and opposed them, and countered with handing hearing people the BSL alphabet. 'We aren't hard of hearing we are deaf.' etc. An approach still going on and an approach that has yet to show any results, because over time deaf took advantage of technology, or used free BSL interpreters instead.  Then, COVID set them back 30 years.

Little of the demand was realistic or practicable but received considerable profile.  If campaigners ever have to prove their case they are screwed.  The Deaf did not really want to be identified, many are still reluctant, usually, those who mostly struggle and who need help,  then the Deaf refused to register with police so they could get help quicker, and a lot STILL refuse today.  It's far from clear they are even using BSL access provision the 999 gives them currently.

Campaigners are still saying it isn't here when it is.  We don't know what is going on with these people, they must exist in a vacuum.  Now every one of them they say is a walking advert for deafness (with a capital D of course), and we have 1,000s of deafies all communicating their own way who want things done the way THEY prefer it, you have to feel sorry for hearing trying to accommodate all that, if they accommodate you, they won't be able to accommodate me, will they?  Bit of an own goal in access terms as this means everyone regardless of ability has to fight their own corner, tough if they can't.  Survival of the fittest and most able innit?

So much for 'community'.  Too little too late and no norm to give access TO.  That is before regional signers pitch in with 'We don't sign it this way, and we need this, that, and the other as well...'  I suppose it keeps these randoms of the deaf awareness in business but no awareness seems to be happening.  Probably because there is no norm to offer up to the systems.  The one unifying factor appears to be the very things they are opposing, Oral approaches, English, and text.  

The 'all deaf sign' thing is opposed everywhere but within the system and this has led to many with hearing loss getting zero support at all and HoH being ignored or opposed by BSL purists with the bit between their teeth.

It's good individuals are starting to make their own access more clear and defined, but, the charities and their own campaigners are doing something very different and pushing a 'norm' that doesn't exist.  'If we push for individual access, then it is never going to happen..' was one leading charity CEO stated, 'we have to concentrate on what we can SEE..'  Which means the BSL user, you cannot see hearing loss geddit?  

Now with the BSL users claiming sign is secondary via COVID and have switched to lip-reading campaigning instead, yet not a single one of them attends a lip-reading class, and as ATR reported, few able to prove they actually could and determined to oppose any sort of test or validating.