Saturday, 31 October 2020

How deaf chldren can manage at home.

I think the fact many children deaf are spending more time at home is a positive.  It creates a situation whereby parents who have mostly left communication to schools and others have had to adapt and make more effort themselves which can only be a positive.

For years deaf education and its community aspects created a sense of inclusion with deaf peers rather than hearing ones, and who became the 'family' of the deaf and as such encouraged a divide.  This reinforced the deaf community in a negative rather than a positive sense in that the belief became 'hearing do this, and deaf do that..' etc rendering inclusion relative or even unnecessary as the 'community will provide'

It has to be said hearing parents accepted this too readily buying into various claims and campaigns this is the cultural right and only way for the deaf.  But it meant opposition to the communication means to manage mainstream, adapt to further education, and to advance that way as hearing peers did.  Rather than address that activists insisted inclusion was discrimination and against the deaf right and language thus hammering home deaf isolation was preferrable because hearing are against them.

The reality is despite many advances to deaf support and other attempts at inclusion deaf are treading water getting more paranoid and left out.  Which feeds the activists message of paranoia and fear.  If the deaf are still languishing in the belief they leave education barely at a stage an 11-year-old could achieve, then surely the answer is the cultural messages and language demands are all redundant?

It's been exposed many times that the language these deaf use is incomplete in itself to be used as a teaching aid, and even if it was, the immense support and of Interpreters they are going to need to make it work simply does not exist, because they aren't being trained, neither are ASL or BSL teachers who at best are insisting English (Or whatever host language they are used to), is off the list of requirements they are expected to teach.  Priming deaf children for a hearing world that doesn't use sign language has to be addressed. In reality, there is no desire to do it anyway just 'how to use help' instead. 

It would certainly exclude the deaf teachers themselves who lack qualifications to teach a curriculum based on that. Dumbing down is surely no answer to deaf empowerment?  University levels in ASL or BSL won't count in a hearing job market. If deaf want to know why they cannot progress or communicate then perhaps the answer is to stop listening to their own doom-mongers.

Saturday, 24 October 2020

I'm deaf not rude.

When Kelli Adrienne Duncan, a Tampa, Fla.-based paramedic specializing in occupational health, was boarding a Delta flight to Hartford earlier this month, she wore a mask that read “Just Deaf, Not Rude.” The 43-year-old, who is deaf and uses sign language while speaking to others, wears the mask to let others know about her disability.

“My friend and I were visit family.  I was so excited to see them and introduce her, I was on cloud nine,” Duncan tells Yahoo Life. Unfortunately, that feeling was short lived — at least, temporarily. As the pair boarded, Duncan says they were greeted by two flight attendants.

“I wanted to make sure that my best friend and I sat together and since it was a double aisle flight, I needed assistance from one of the attendants,” Duncan says. “As my friend was looking to see which aisle we should go down, she heard the flight attendant who was behind me rudely say, ‘Are you really deaf?’”

Duncan recalls that her friend looked over at the attendant with disgust and assured her that Duncan was, indeed, deaf. The friend, who was visibly upset, told Duncan to just keep moving and eventually explained to her the rudeness of the staff member. While the paramedic was upset, she says she held her head up high, determined not to let it ruin her trip. “I was very glad that my best friend was there because I usually travel alone and frequently struggle with communication due to the masks. I was very hurt to know someone would insult a disabled person who has had to deal with this my whole life,” she explains.

Indeed, being deaf or hard of hearing has proven to be especially challenging with the rise of mask use, which further hampers communication. While clear masks have been presented as a more accessible workaround, they have not yet become the standard. Moreover, clear masks are not free of their own problems (some individuals in the deaf community counter that there are still issues regarding these styles of masks fogging up, and point to the greater issues of the disability community being “routinely excluded in disaster preparedness plans”). 

Duncan’s story finally caught the attention of the airline after her sister, ESPN sports commentator Lauren “Elle” Duncan, posted a tweet about the incident and tagged the airline.  “My sister, who is one of my biggest advocates and my rock, was quite upset and mentioned the incident on Twitter. Delta contacted her almost immediately and said they would investigate the incident,” says Kelly. She adds that the airline did a great job of reaching out, apologizing for the incident and expressing a desire to further discuss what a positive solution might look like.

“They told her they will have the crew attend sensitivity training and will look into providing masks that show the mouth so deaf and hard of hearing folks can read lips,” says Duncan.


Friday, 23 October 2020

AOHL ditches Welsh site

AOHL Cymru dies. 'Join their growing community'?  It didn't grow in Wales that is why they are closing.  Welsh deaf told to use the English main site instead.  This is old news as all responses went to England anyway, we doubt the site was ever manned in Wales and their refusal at the Assembly to include grassroots feedback and the Welsh assembly refusing to offer communication support to deaf charity reps pretty much killed off its 'all-party' group on deafness that hasn't met for 3 years. 

Wales (like Ireland, and Scotland), are devolved nations, and the AOHL never recognised this fact, they refused to set up a genuine welsh-run annexe of the AOHL. Grassroots were annoyed charities were just using the representation for funding for themselves and deaf inclusion was secondary. This is the second major charity to accept welsh deaf and Hard of Hearing don't support them so have pulled the plug.  Recent BDA interferences in the Welsh (and unsupported campaign for a BSL Act there), led to accusations the welsh campaign was being manipulated and actually run by the Northern English BDA membership (ATR traced contribution to Newcastle).  They are all cutting Wales loose for lack of support for BSL and their lack of deaf schools.  What they said today:-

We will stop using this account from 30 October. Please follow our main account Action on Hearing Loss and join our growing community from around the UK. 🙂

Erm, don't call us we won't be calling you... charity is dead.  Just a query, there is no AOHL is there? they just reverted to the RNID.

STOP PRESS:  AOHL/RNID is closing ALL its regional FB and Twitter sites, has sold off its Deaf care arm and environmental aids set up, are they on the skids?  Or are we to be assailed with yet another 're-brand'?

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Soap inclusion doesn't wash.

I think the complainers don't understand it is a soap opera and not 'real-life'.   It's ridiculous claim to be inclusive of every minority in London, and a few new ones they invented themselves except they call them actors, soon expose their claims they are anything but opportunists and amateurs at that.  Being the BBC it is expected of them.  There are many dissenting voices who want the BBC unsupported by a licence and complaints their news is hashtag based and twitter fed as well as biased.  They just spent £85m on a new set for this televised farce losing viewers.  They have a licence to print money from the UK taxpayer and we want that stopped.  No TV channel in the USA would ever get off the ground with their attitude.

The actor portraying Ben is the 3rd re-incarnation as I am aware of 3 different people, one incarnation was wearing glasses for years until he was gaoled for killing someone, then emerging from prison gay.    Who also wore a hearing aid then didn't then did again and then went for a CI after failing to do the sign thing by using a signer that didn't really who mostly lip-read everything.  

The penny still did not drop it was a soap opera. Eastenders leaves itself wide open as a sitting target because they make unsubstantiated claims of 'gritty realism', any area reflecting 'Walford' would be under Tier 3 and then some ages ago.  After overdosing on inclusion with Autistics, trans, gays, murderers, rapists, alcoholics, gangsters, lesbians, and enough BAME inclusion to counter BLM as a concept, and with paedo's etc, realism left the party about 15 years ago and it became a home-made training video for social workers and the police. As we read the anti-CI brigade soon saw a cause celeb. As they did with the inclusion of Autism and with hearing aids.  I can assure readers parents have suffered even worse reactions then go to the bottle.  That isn't denigrating the disabled individual at all it is reflecting and reacting to the sheer stress of lack of support or empathy.  Those who think caring for seriously disabled children is a well-supported doddle obviously never had any.

Not everyone gets the support to manage and can cope. There is some grand assumption they are all 'rain men' which is untrue. There are problems with consulting disabled and deaf areas, they aren't mutually inclusive themselves and today, everyone has a view of what is a 'correct portrayal' of their issue.  deaf V Deaf v disability V HI versus.... are recurring themes even on this aggregate. And they ALWAYS start and end with 'Deaf do this, you need to to do that, face me and...'  Quite obviously the storyline vanishes and its an awareness vid for someone's own idea of what awareness is, but only if it reflects what THEY think, because no awareness consensus exists.

"When EastEnders returned from its three month, Covid-imposed break, the storyline about Ben Mitchell’s hearing loss was abruptly brought to an end. He simply switched on a cochlear implant.  

In the real world, though, months of tuning sessions and speech/hearing lessons are needed to help people get used to a cochlear implant. Even then, people with implants are still D/deaf (a term used to cover all forms of deafness) and often use lip reading and sign language as part of their everyday lives.  

Yet from the moment Ben’s implant was switched on, his hearing appeared to be “fixed”. He directly described his hearing as “back” in at least two episodes. We saw Ben easily hear people who were facing away from him, including in a busy street and in a café with music playing, and speaking with a phone pressed to his deaf ear. The integration of sign language alongside spoken language in his scenes with other characters disappeared. 

This is medically inaccurate. Framing cochlear implants as a “cure” for deafness is a dangerous myth that causes real harm. The D/deaf community has been pushing back against it for years. Morgan Leahy, a deaf writer and cochlear implant user, writes: “Romanticising cochlear implant technology puts further pressure onto deaf people to conform.” The myth of a “cure” can also lead to D/deaf children being denied access to sign language.  

Jumping from despair, where we left Ben pre-pandemic, directly to cure also fuels a dangerous narrative that people who acquire disabilities cannot develop their disabled identity and live happily with that disability. “The end of the story just devastated me,” says Evie, a deaf EastEnders fan. “Hearing people started asking me when I was getting surgery to get my hearing back. The notion that without my hearing ‘back’, I was less of a person, that I needed to be fixed, undid years of developing my deaf identity.”

This is not the first time that EastEnders has failed the D/deaf and disabled community. They have traditionally either ignored disability, failed to give the few disabled actors proper storylines, or depicted disability as a tragedy to be neatly packed away once the storyline moves on.  

As an autistic person, I had to suffer through this last year when Ollie Carter’s autism diagnosis was used as a catalyst for his mother’s alcoholism. Seeing myself depicted as a tragic burden forced me to wrestle with feelings and perceptions that have helped create a mental health crisis in the autistic community.  

Autistic people are nine times more likely to die by suicide, and autistic children are 28 times more likely to think about or attempt suicide. If autistic people had been at the writers’ table, the dangerous ripples of this story would have been highlighted. But instead, the “tragic burden” narrative was reinforced. This is why it’s crucial to include disabled people at every step of the creative process.

A consultation with D/deaf and disabled people would have allowed the writers to come up with realistic ways to include Ben’s deafness (with or without his implant) accurately, without interrupting new stories: whether making it clear that he is lip-reading, continuing to integrate sign language, or using Ben’s recent police questioning as an opportunity to address his need for adjustments.

Disability isn’t something that goes away when it’s no longer the main story. And no one knows this better than us – the disabled people who live those stories.


Campaign for where is the Interpreter?


I'm half inclined to support part of the above campaign especially real research into deaf need, instead of the completely random and biased attempts to mislead we keep seeing. However, I would want research done independently and not by deaf groups or charities so we can respect the results. 

The deaf need is not specifically sign language.  The BDA, RNID, and NDCS stats are all from own sources and 'think of a number' in basis. All 3 are stand-alone charities either for or anti specialising in hearing loss support. The real need is still undefined for deaf or hard of hearing people, until we actually know what is needed, it's a lottery and guesswork. 

The problem is deaf politics interfere with finding out what those needs are and no area except the NHS has ever published a viable statistic to quote and that is clinically db-based.. 

The fact find the terp is at base suggests to me it is a very closed area of deaf people this campaign is aimed at? and virtually only one format is used or promoted which isn't reflecting the widest deaf need is it?  As covered elsewhere there have been issues of BSL Interpreters refusing to do face to face translation especially in medical areas for fear of infection so all is done by remote.  A number of BSL interpreters have said they have a right to refuse to support a deaf sign user who is demanding they take masks off, they say that deaf 'right' exposes them and they reserve their right to not comply.

All the current campaign about are because Boris hasn't a terp in downing street updates whilst all other UK regions do provide one.  Although all updates are subtitled, and all issues covered in-depth online, these deaf are saying its no use to them, and/or they want a signed version. ATR challenged the concept these short signed updates actually provide all the information deaf need on the basis of time limits, multi questions being asked and a barrage of graphs and statistics that change daily the deaf find very difficult to follow anyway.  Signed updates that exist tend not to explain them either but 'keep it simple'.

To that end ATR suggests their charities and dedicated BSLTV channels do that instead.  We are seeing deaf campaigners targeting a single area that doesn't inform them of details anyway they are making a point of access, not a point of detailed information access.  There are 'Tiers' of restrictions, local restrictions and a lot don't mirror what we actually see with Boris as 4 regions have 4 approaches.  

Logic suggests dedicated BSL areas and local authorities are the real people to lobby, LA's know you and your area and near, and legally obliged to provide information in the manner you require.  Equally deaf charities who promote sign access should be backing this up anyway.

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

My Hearing Loss Story

In Memoriam.


54 years ago the world was unaware of a small little mining village that would change the lives of so many people not just in Wales but around the world ... Aberfan, 116 small children and 28 adults lost forever we will always Remember.

8 of the best speech to text software

Although not designed for specific deaf use but USA business, some amazing software is available deaf could really use.

 Best Overall: Dragon Anywhere

Available for Android and iOS devices, Dragon Anywhere is a premium professional tool that’s a big deal in the world of dictation apps. It’s 99% accurate and comes with voice editing and formatting. Over time, it becomes faster and more accurate as it adapts to your voice. You can use the app for as long as you need — there are no word limits. For supported versions, you can synchronize Dragon Anywhere with your desktop and do voice work on your computer as well. The application costs $15 per month and $150 per year. For groups, you can contact Nuance’s customer support team for a quote. 

Best Assistant: Google Assistant.

Google Assistant does a lot, including playing music and opening maps. One of its best features? Voice recognition. You can use voice command to look up information and tell Google Assistant to do certain things. But the app can also convert speech to text. It sends messages, drafts emails, manages tasks, and adds events to your calendar. While it’s not a speech to text app in the purest sense, it will still help organize your ideas and notes with voice recognition.

Best for Transcription: Transcribe - Speech to Text

Journalists or secretaries who have a lot of conversations to track may find this app useful. Using A.I., Transcribe can turn any voice or video memo into a transcription in over 80 different languages and dialects.  Keep in mind that Transcribe is only available for Apple products with Voice Memo and video since there’s no direct in-app dictation. Transcribe can also get pricey. (That said, it costs less than human transcriber rates, though is more prone to error with a 90% accuracy rate.) Users receive a free trial for 15 minutes of transcription. For every hour extra, you pay $5. For ten hours, you can pay $30.

Best for Long Recordings: Speechnotes - Speech to Text

Writers who think faster than they can type will appreciate this app. Speechnotes is excellent for organizing long notes thanks to two special features. First of all, it doesn't stop recording — even if you pause to think or breathe, so you can keep the recording open for as long as needed. Second, you can tap a button or use a verbal command to insert punctuation marks into your work so they won't become too unwieldy. The free app has a small ad banner, but you can upgrade to a premium version to get rid of it. Other perks: It won't clog up your phone space at 4 MB, plus it saves all your recordings as TXT files. Keep in mind that Speechnotes is only available on your browser and Android. 

Best for Notes: Voice Notes

If you have an idea, but no pen or paper on hand, you can always use your voice. Voice Notes has speech recognition that allows you to create notes efficiently. You can then organize your notes into categories and create reminders by customizing alerts synced with your phone calendar. The interface is intuitive and easy to use; you press the microphone button and speak to record. You’ll even be able to make your notes with the phone screen turned off. The app can recognize up to 119 languages, just in case you need to record notes in something other than English. The app is free, though you can subscribe to a premium plan to support the developer. Voice Notes is a popular app, but the one major limitation is that it's only available on Android phones. Plus, you need to have Google voice search installed to use it, which will take up more space on your phone.

Best for Messages: SpeechTexter - Speech to Text

Need to send a quick message but find your hands occupied? Here’s a quick solution. Using Google’s backend, SpeechTexter allows you to create SMS messages, text notes, emails, and tweets with your own voice. The easy-to-use app supports over 60 languages and has a 95% accuracy rate. You can customize your own commands for punctuation as well. It's possible to use the app when you're not connected to the Internet, though keep in mind that the accuracy lowers in offline mode and the recognition speed depends on your Internet connectivity. To use the app offline, make sure that you install language packs of your preference. Keep in mind that this option is limited when it comes to languages, as you’ll only be able to choose from a dozen major tongues as opposed to over 60.

Best for Translation: iTranslate Converse

Brought to you by the same developers behind the popular iTranslate app, iTranslate Converse is as close to real-time translation as you’ll get, which is convenient if you need to communicate with clients who don’t speak the same language as you or if you’re travelling abroad. All you have to do is set the two languages. Then tap, hold, and speak into your phone. The app will pick up on the language that you’re speaking, then issue out a translation — even in noisy environments. The app is capable of recognizing 38 languages. After your conversation is done, you can download full transcriptions. It’s not always perfect, but it’s faster than going through a personal assistant app to look up translations for you. While it has a subscription fee, iTranslate won't stretch your budget significantly. When you download it, you'll receive a seven-day free trial. After that runs out, you'll need to upgrade to the pro version for $5 per month or $40 per year. 

Best for Niche Industry Terms: Braina

Braina is a personal A.I. that you can use to communicate with your computer through your Android or IOS device. The program can convert your voice into text for any website or software program, including word processing ones. It recognizes most medical, legal, and scientific terms, which makes it ideal if you work in a niche industry with technical jargon. You can also teach Braina uncommon names and vocabulary with ease.  Other than learning niche industry terms, Braina also has other helpful voice recognition features. For example, it can recognize over 100 different languages so that it can serve non-English users just as well. The free “lite” version comes with a few dictation offerings, but for full access, you’ll want to upgrade either to Pro ($49) for one year, or Pro Lifetime ($139) for unlimited access.

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

The Deaf Elite

Deaf elitism exists simply because there are deaf who acquired ENGLISH and so are more capable of advancing than lesser educated peers.  There is strong evidence this more able/elite deaf then set themselves up as campaigners, mentors, awareness teachers, open up charities and such to promote DEPENDENCY for their lesser-able peers and guess who provides it?  Money for old rope.

These are very adept deaf people, not to be underestimated, they can counter and even zero huge support charities as well. Mostly they are people who have very real and viable alternatives TO sign language.  One school for the deaf in the UK provides 60% of ALL UK leading campaigners on sign language, yet, it is an oral one.  Paddy Ladd was oral e.g. but became a 'born again' signer after his opus got read and there was mileage to be made in the USA.  The ASL/BSL community has not enabled deaf to move outward indeed the drive is to cement this alternative to real inclusion.   You have to be in it to win it basically. 

It is true the 'community' can be unwelcoming to the deaf who don't adopt the position, the elite are determining who is deaf and who isn't, mostly based on to what degree this elite can control them, not grassroots, who are too disadvantaged to raise the issue with it and reliant as they are on sign cannot communicate with non-signers anyway.  Unless the deaf 'visitor' has the wherewithal to learn sign themselves it is a waste of time.  

Relentless campaigns for 'help', support, rights etc fuelled by dire warning 'everyone is against the deaf', 'they are against sign language', 'want to undermine the community', 'trying to make us hearing',  tend to suggest that deaf are left out, ignored, deprived discriminated against etc when the very essence of the rights drive is to maintain its alternative community which this elite controls. 

Advance, further education, real inclusion, are not really on the community agenda, the elite doesn't want too much acceptance their power is gone.  The UK hasn't really a base for advance via the community any more, deaf clubs have gone to the wall, deaf schools have closed, all the negativity (And ego-fed self-promotion of this elite), has been online let's all have more deaf schools again, this time sign only ones etc, so they can create another generation who feel even more deprived and next time no English at all. The message carries because grassroots don't engage or cannot. All they know is they sign and are isolated. We are supposed to have in the UK 100K deaf, but less than 24K actually rely on sign language to what degree nobody knows.

The deaf community may well discover they have been confined to isolation by their own leadership.  I don't buy the bilingual debates, they use this to suggest ASL or BSL allows English in, but, we all know differently don't we?  Many deaf cannot follow anything BUT sign language and a lot aren't interested or capable of changing that or acquiring other essential skills.  

We can be thankful the young deaf are no longer engaging with this elite and see through it all, they want what hearing have and they know what they need, to get that, and it isn't some glorious isolation in a deaf club forever complaining where is the help? Deaf are doing it for themselves.  Having a community doesn't mean inclusion is unwelcome unless the deaf lack any confidence outside it.  

Maybe making a welcome haven for such people isn't really the way forward.  There is no impetus for any change is there?

Sunday, 18 October 2020

+angry Deaf

Where a deaf actor has the necessary skills they should be considered.  Unfortunately, most films are not there just to promote various areas or raise direct awareness,  inclusion isn't a reason to insert a deaf awareness campaign and offering lectures etc on how to do that, which sadly seems to be vogue for those deaf who do get included in media, it near always turns into 'deaf do this, or Deaf do that' etc, which may have no point to the actual story being related.  Inclusion isn't an excuse to launch into an awareness campaign and disrupt the point of the story.

As it usually is, it is the sign using deaf who complain most about these issues.  They complain if a CI user is included who doesn't sign, or a lip-reader who doesn't, via the 'Deaf do this..' approach, which isn't inclusive, what they mean is SIGNING deaf do this but other deaf actually don't. Which a film maker won't feel has anything to do with his or her tale.

Raising the temperature somewhat! there are issues of education and experience, while a deaf actor may be well versed in the deaf community and culture etc, to participate in an area where it doesn't, raises issues of relating to other actors.  So many deaf only relate to other deaf, so the first hurdle to overcome is to use deaf actors who can live/work equally and without issue with hearing etc.

Deaf acting will 'arrive' only when nobody notices they stand out to anyone else.  I rather fear the Signing area sets 'rules' that make their hiring problematic, they aren't really hired or paid to tell people they are deaf or to highlight sign language, [except in areas dedicated to that].  There is, of course, a box office reason to hire hearing to do deaf jobs, especially if they are profile actors who can 'bring in the money' because they are more widely recognised. 

Media isn't a charity. The root of it all is a lack of deaf-hearing experience and, it tells.  We know 'Deaf do this..' etc but hearing, DON'T, so we need to fit in.  Also hearing constitute the majority of paying audience.  Deaf are a minority, it is, how it is.

Saturday, 17 October 2020

Where is the Interpreter?

He's behind you (Oh yes he is, oh no she isn't). Joking aside, No, it's not a new game for Christmas for the kids, but a current campaign and lobby to get Boris with a BSL interpreter so we i.e. the English 'we', can follow what he is saying (Good luck with that the rest of us haven't a clue and not really interested either!).

The latest welsh advice.

Because of how the UK is addressing COVID, which is targetting northern England rather unfairly, the deaf have started lobbying for more BSL and insisting COVID infects us all the same way deaf and hearing, DEAF POWER!   Now, the latest wheeze is instigating a 'tiered' system of lockdowns with varying severity, depending upon various individual statics area via area, and dependant on if the buses are still running,  (Try to keep up). God help the terp trying to make that as clear as mud to deaf people via sign language, and those who think graphs are something inside a pencil.

The 'Tiered' system is in 3 parts (Allegedly but), it goes 

Tier 1

Take care, its out there.  Wear a mask and don't touch anyone without a 2-metre bargepole that hasn't been smeared to buggery with dettol.

Tier 2

 It gets worse, gym classes are closing, no more nooky with the neighbours. Or travelling to Nova Scotia on the pretence they sell better apples.

Tier 3

You are in the S.H.I.T and then some, we did tell you, but you didn't listen, now pay up, lock up the elderly in prisons,  and quit the partying.

ATR has been at DEAF Tier 2 for years. To be serious... (Albeit covid madness does spare us some of the mental pain of trying to understand UK hieroglyphs), I think the deciphered runes will say we're screwed basically.  Is there a real point in getting miffed with Boris when fair play, he is in the dark as much as we are?  Would a BSL interpreter standing there make it all that clearer?  ATR suggests for COVID information the random nature of signed explanation is not helping anyone really and emanating from respective devolved areas 'looks' like access but apart from that image, those for whom nothing gets through unless it is signed (There must be some like that), they still aren't getting any in-depth detail are they?

It is more important local authorities explain the rules as it applies to you. What Boris says doesn't really apply to Wales/Scotland or N Ireland who can follow or ignore what he advises etc Wales just banned the English from going there. I don't watch him anyway as the devolved government here has BSL every time and titles even some welsh language if that is your forte. 

We could probably do without the constant adverts for Armageddon 'though. Scotland and N Ireland also ignore that bloke who doesn't own a comb in London.  It appears Northern England is starting to ignore him too, you touch their pubs at your peril obviously.  Democracy means you can be as bloody-minded as you please (BLM and 563 other hashtag issues permitting).

It follows then the responsibility for signed support rests with your council?  (You know those people who empty your bins now and then or you pay council tax to), and with every area in England doing different things that is the logical area to lobby for signed support not Boris, who says in the room he gets with 2 others, a Terp is one person too far, social distancing and all that, or a concern BSL is infectious too. He explains the overall government view but localised issues and implementations rest with the local authority itself. 

Like Boris they are saying use the app, go online etc or even watch the BBC, which is considered quite contentious advice as most presenters are running around our streets yelling the end of the world is nigh. 18% of the population isn't online and consider the internet a tool of the devil.  In some deaf surveys, 38% of those thought the internet was for catching butterflies or newts.

The online BSL channel BSL Zone lost all those viewers overnight, but, who is counting anyway? Thye could try SEE HEAR but it would be cruel to disturb their sleep, they are getting on you know.  One question campaigners never ask, is why did neither of these dedicated BSL channels do the updates? after all it is what they are paid for, not following deaf bicycle riders around etc..    They could have come into their own but decided access is for hearing to provide not them.

Sadly it seems some local areas are defying Boris, so again local support seems essential and will raise awareness a lot quicker too.  Where is the terp?  ask your councillor.  Sadly mine is still in glorious isolation in the Bahamas somewhere waiting for the whole thing to be over.

Friday, 16 October 2020

Deaf Academy closed by COVID


Exmouth Deaf Academy closes after pupils and staff test positive for coronavirus

The Exmouth Deaf Academy has closed its doors and moved its teaching online after four students and three staff tested positive for Covid-19. The academy said it had been informed of a confirmed case of the coronavirus among its staff and pupils over the weekend, and immediately closed the school and college as a precaution. A total of three staff and four students have been confirmed as having Covid-19, and a number of adults and children are also self-isolating as part of measures to control the virus.

The academy said no date has been set for reopening the site. Sylvan Dewing, Deaf Academy principal, said: “We are working closely with parents to ensure the temporary closure does not have an impact on teaching. “We established a successful online academy during lockdown which is in place and has resumed. “As ever, education and student and staff wellbeing remain our utmost priority.

“We will continue to be in communication with our parents as we receive the latest updates from Public Health England.” The academy liaised with Public Health England and school governors on learning of the initial positive Covid test. Its day pupils, and the residential students, will now be taught online while the academy is closed.



It's not acceptance alone, the reality is we DON'T HEAR, it is also a sensory loss.  While there is an increase of educated deaf people both the USA and UK still suffer considerable issues following the country's language.  In an 'ideal' world for some areas if everyone uses sign language that's the aim.  In practice, it won't happen because the ASL and BSL signer doesn't want inclusion, i.e. except in limited and own terms, and mainstream/society (Indeed inclusion), doesn't work that way.

As explained HERE inclusion cannot work, and acceptance is relative, we are still viewed as a disabled area by virtue of the fact we need support and welfare help, these tend to suggest to everyone else deafness is a disability else why the demands for so much physical and financial support?  To accept we need that support is a valid point, but to then suggest actually we don't if everyone hearing signs or something equally impossible to achieve.

Most deaf are neither signing or lip-reading much as the years go on, technology has freed them to a large extent.  Again this doesn't mean we can now 'hear' and mange easily without it, or other help, or indeed keep the deaf culture alive without 'Disability' funding, which also gave the UK no less than 2 dedicated BSL TV programs for free, both of which incidentally, failed to utilise that medium to offer the deaf COVID updates! Every time we see able deaf communicating with speech and subtitles, but promoting sign it tends to confuse the message too.

Of course most deaf DO communicate this way, Deaf campaigners used the term 'empowerment' instead of 'support' but, the UK e.g. has over 900 charities helping them out, and 954 BSL interpreters until all that ceases others are sceptical acceptance alone is going to work, it demands by default everyone signs too.  I don't see an acceptance of deaf except as a seriously disabled area, again the UK welfare state supports that financially and on that basis.  They don't pay money to keep the culture going but to help deaf cope with the disabling effect of deafness, and perhaps sign reliance?

Last year e.g. 68% of hard of hearing failed to qualify for welfare help, despite them having no support system extant.  By comparison, the welfare agency gave some deaf signers near £900 per WEEK because that was the cost of their signed support to work. What have the deaf got against the disabled anyway? they are always negative about them.  But they continue to claim disability funding.  If they have a principle then let's see it. Stop claiming help.

The USA like the UK is still at a plateau whereby literacy is still around a 9yr old and illiteracy IS a greater disability than being deaf.

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Deaf , Disabled or Hybrid neither?

'Deaf people are not disabled, they are simply disempowered and oppressed by hearing.'  There is no disability register etc... Oh dear here we go again, I blame COVID personally and deaf bored at home.   There is registration by deaf people if they utilise social services e.g. This is total distortion, initially, many deaf ARE disabled, the fact they don't 'think' they are is immaterial, special education, interpreter support, an inability to communicate in mainstream alone etc, the image of help and support is one the deaf community itself trolls out 24/7 and 365 days a year.  A seriously disabled area is the Hearing loss one, comprising of 10m of whom have (Unlike the  'Deaf'),  no support system nationally.

Ergo HERE is a list of 132 areas. The UK charity commision lists over 900 more.  Obviously, the deaf don't have problems! Being deaf is clinically registered as a sensory loss, your hearing failed.  With virtually no exception, hearing didn't cause it. The fact (As yet unproven), that many have overcome that doesn't mean everyone else has or is able. Calling support 'empowerment' has fooled nobody but the deaf themselves.  In essence, they are stating other deaf aren't disabled either, so speaking FOR the disabled and others without their consent.  

Like many other deaf, I was asked to register to get a reduced train ticket, and, a free bus pass, so did near 100% of my deaf peers, I nearly got trampled underfoot, also the old DLA allowance which deaf students in Derby on SEE HEAR said 'lovely jubbly a few more pints for free!'  The arrogance and attitude towards genuine welfare help and support were astounding. I also saw deaf peers who claimed reduced fees to Zoos, stately homes etc because 'they can't hear.'  That DLA allowance was to allow deaf people more help to get around.  I was also asked to register with the police so that in any issue I could use a dedicated line to get help.  They had published openly a deaf contact number after lobbies for that.

Like others I asked "Why do I have to register and hearing others don't?'  It was explained to me hearing people and even some CODA's had abused the public and published contact and sent spurious posts and false alarms to them, so by registering they knew the call was only coming from a genuine deaf person (who got a different number only after they registered), and they had the details (including communication support then), hearing people had also abused Minicom access too and tried to hack into police emergency systems.  It is far different now, where no issues really present themselves for deaf needing 999 help, the issue is still lack of awareness as to where that help is and activists insisting there isn't any.

The ONLY people, not 'deaf/disabled' are those who can manage with no support at all, (Or make 'scatter-gun' statements no deaf are disabled at all), how many of those are there? And, they are hardly showing a real example, are they? Some, are still claiming welfare help.  It's a right?  discuss!!  As stated if you have a bus pass, welfare payments, any concessions at all because you cannot hear, then you claimed to have a disability, did you lie?

If you aren't disabled then your support/concession/interpreters/arts funding etc are being claimed under false pretence surely?  Since being disabled is the criteria for eligibility.

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

A for Accessibility.


This is SignHealth using a 10m statistic to describe an access issue for a few 1,000 'Deaf'.  No figures were declared who they asked or how via their PDF downloads, nobody I know was consulted for a view.  Their own website listed just 93 contributors in support.  How the mighty have fallen from 24-85K to just 93.  But printed as 'deaf people.

There is plenty of signed access all you need to do is look for it, only one region of the UK does not have a BSL terp 'in view', that is England, all the other regions do, however, England does provide BSL access to its deaf but on a different channel (BBC News),  and Boris Johnson whom the 'Deaf' are going at was actually the very first politician to use an interpreter in March 2020, it was only when Downing Street updates commenced it became a health and safety, and practical issue to include one in person, so a dedciated BSL access slot was provide on the BBC News channel.

By far signed access is not an issue, but the difficulty, of an interpreter, being able to keep up with the complex details in the short time allowed.  As its stands with in-vision BSL access 65% of all detail is not signed, the terp hasn't the time, and the deaf audience varies far too much in comprehension, to satisfy all of them, or indeed most.  Just like your usual day to day support for BSL a Terp has to adjust to the person in front of them, obviously an impossibility for someone on a TV program.  So you will never satisfy all the people all the time, or even most of them.

Hence why the English access area took the option to put detail on a channel at length so deaf had that time to follow.  Which in retrospect seems the best option.  The issue as always isn't just when the access is there, but IF it can be followed effectively, at the time, or later in detail.  As always subtitling is there and extensive.   

Like most deaf (Or hearing in the UK), the problem currently is wading through the detail, and mind-boggling graphs and statistics, and here, deaf are at a complete disadvantage they haven't the ability to do it and rely on peers explaining, or, edited 'highlights' then they follow the herd view.  Just like clear masks and such are no use FOR a deaf person, it needs others to wear them, even then comprehension relies on the individual's skill.

It is not as simplistic as putting up an Interpreter for the deaf, that campaign is to profile sign rather than make a point it is sufficient access, as detail requires the length of time to follow and the media doesn't give anyone that time, politicians refer them to websites etc for that.  Perhaps a case for BSL websites, but there are to our knowledge already 9 dedicated charities already doing that.  ATR published them 6 months ago.  Which also included the same charity that published this 'survey'?

I'm pretty astounded they provide a BSL explanation themselves and get funding for that and then omitted to say so!  Obviously older deaf are struggling as many are not online and a number struggling to read titles etc, but we could suggest even signed detail is not going to go a long way in sorting those issues out as they are lifelong ones.

Accessing Radio

The World’s First Radio Channel for the Hearing Impaired - Frequen-See - BIGFM from ENTRY on Vimeo.

Monday, 12 October 2020


And does ASL provide better access to American English than BSL does to its own?  Social media talks about it...

#1  Did you know American deaf more wise than British deaf cos reason they learn more spelling with hand than we does...

ATR: Sadly an example!  Average USA deaf reading ability is their '5.9' 5th-grade norm which is roughly on par with children 9-10.  Much the same as UK deaf results.

#2 I tired to search for this but didn't really find anything except a recommendation of this paper which I'm reading now!

#3 According to the WFD "approximately 80 % of the world’s 70 million Deaf people do not have any access to education."

#4 This isn't covering USA or UK attainment!

#5 USA literacy rate is much higher but it depends on a lot of factors including how you define literacy. As another user suggested, try doing better searches or use better databases. 

#6  USA defines literacy differently? The UK used to use similar (one-handed), signs, views/examples of the old BDDA (British Deaf & Dumb Association now the BDA), would also see extensive fingerspelling and sole hand signing was used far more than expressive signs later included, because the UK insisted on teaching deaf the way they taught hearing children there was no system that encouraged a differing grammar etc only after the 1950s was there a deaf view that it was a 'system of oppression'. 

#7 It would appear when the deaf adopted the BSL dictionary and extensive two-handed signing, it went downhill from there. I have old photos of deaf handwriting too in perfect copperplate font e.g, today the printed grammar of BSL looks quite poor, to be honest, and the grammar quite awful. It seems rather than accept it is poor some deaf are making the excuse its perfect BSL which again it isn't. 16 years at deaf school? what for?

#8 In reality, the USA tend on the whole to be more inclusive than the British, despite it having their own ASL extremists too. The manual dexterity is astonishing in part, but they still have huge access issues, which they manage better because their education approaches are better than ours too. The way the USA works is a lot more simplistic than ours in that if you have literacy issues you are in real trouble, so they make more effort than UK deaf to address it, unlike the Brits who stop acquiring FE after their 5-16 norms. 

#9 That is because the USA does not provide opt-outs or welfare support to the degree we do in the UK, which gives some deaf the 'luxury' of doing not much about it but blaming hearing and deafness being a disabling factor instead. The USA deaf schools demand results and adopt lower assumption, deafness IS such a disabling factor, so poor schools can get closed down, their teachers sacked etc, the expectation is much higher than the UK is, its also 'pay by result', although their flagship Gallaudet does show quite adept deaf students it can also show quite aggressive deaf-politico extremes that hinder too, so USA approaches are still pretty random, or cash-driven, and they also suffer an 'overdose of democracy'. 

#10 It is essential deaf acquire a grounding in English there is no place for politics in education really, so the UK ought to be following the USA example of enforcing a deaf educational system that is result-driven also.  Why reward failure when they have already have (Deaf schools etc), 12 years to get it right?

#11 This is obvious to most sadly, but the deaf child is being hindered by BSL negatives who want to make teaching singular and even less useful to them. Their priority is culture, not literacy.  

#12 Even getting a BSL immersive education means after 16 the deaf can't go anywhere because the entire FE/UNI system is not based on sign language, there is no signed reference material and no signed support either. Further education doesn't get pursued by UK deaf either.

#13 The access isn't there!

#14 The real issue is the systems accepting the cultural arguments and the BSL charities trying to cash in it, with 'mentors' equally lacking in literacy, school is for learning it isn't a base to promote culture as such, even migrants know they learn our language or they cannot progress, 

#15 I doubt many deaf are happy BSL is being used as a cop-out, illiteracy is a greater disability than being deaf is.

#16 I recall someone who took over the secretarial post of the old BDDA and was handed the past secretaries' minutes book. He started to read from the very first pages of the early days of the BDDA and was hugely impressed with the grammar & English but as he went on through the pages, the language deteriorated at an alarming rate, ending with ink blots, scribbling out of so many words, evidence of multiple attempts at erasures. What has happened here? Are schools/colleges/ universities to blame? Consider this, trainee teachers wishing to become such and to work in Deaf schools, do an extra year to college/university before they can qualify as fully-fledged teachers of the Deaf, actually have a very low success rate working with Deaf pupils who leave school at the end of their term.

#17 An issue with further education (FE), for the deaf is the lack of academic tuition material, the BSL dictionary covers very basic things, there is no scientific, higher educational, advanced English, or medical e.g. material in BSL so the deaf even with interpreters helping in FE cannot refer to that as an access medium, as such cannot advance obviously.  Give the deaf a BSL interpreter each it won't help as the basic 'language and grounding, isn't there to start with.

#18 As is the entire direction of deaf education, which is pretty random and being influenced by areas who oppose aspects of mainstream education being applied to the deaf child.  Deaf teachers are 'buying into' cultural demands and rights etc instead of ensuring a grounding in English is necessary for basic progress and not some 'attack' on the deaf 'language and its accepted poor grammatical approach, which provides nothing but conflict for the deaf who have enough on their plate as it is.

#19  I don't know what the approaches need to be, I do know the current ones don't work, you need changes at day one, not AFTER the first 16 years of failure, that is shutting the stable doors after the horse has already gone.


A Pink Nightmare...

Action On Hearing Loss here. You might know us better as RNID. And today we’re pleased to announce that we’re returning to our original, much-loved name.  The return to the household name, which dates back to 1911, is part of our ambitious plans to reach more of the 1 in 5 people in the UK who are deaf or have hearing loss and the 1 in 8 who have tinnitus. The focus on the daily issues deaf people have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the barriers to communication caused by face coverings, has highlighted the need for us to be a stronger brand.

We carried out research with 6,000 people which led to our new strategy and brand purpose, which is that “Together, we will make life fully inclusive for deaf people and those with hearing loss or tinnitus.” The research found that RNID was still more popular and more trusted by you, despite the name not being used since 2011. You told us that the current brand did not reflect the charity’s history or communicate the amazing work we do.

Here’s a message from Mark Atkinson, our Chief Executive:

“Returning to RNID and redefining our purpose is a critically important step in our journey to make life more inclusive for deaf people and those with hearing loss and tinnitus. RNID continues to be a well-known and much-loved charity and I am proud that we have the confidence to make bold and radical changes which are crucial to our ambition to grow our audience reach and impact.

RNID will be a stronger voice for deaf awareness and invest in campaigning for change. We will connect people to the information and advice they need. And we will continue to fund new treatments for hearing loss and tinnitus.  Our new purpose, name and identity is about making it clearer who we are for and why we exist. Because now, more than ever, it’s vital that people across society understand the challenges deaf people and those with hearing loss and tinnitus face.” 

We’re really excited to start this new journey with you on 2 November when we launch the new brand. (Our registered name remains The Royal National Institute for Deaf People but you can call us RNID.)

ATR:  It's PR team is desperately hoping nobody checks the facts of ye olde AOHL.  E.G. The Fiasco of its re-brand:-

The Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) will undergo a full rebrand and name change to Action on Hearing Loss effective from June 2011, when it celebrates its 100th anniversary.   Following extensive brand research with focus groups including staff, supporters and service-users, the charity decided the new name "better describes the breadth of help and support we provide for people with all types of hearing loss – from people who are profoundly deaf, to people who are losing their hearing".

RNID chief executive, Jackie Ballard, said: "For 100 years RNID has been working to change the world for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. During this time we have achieved a lot, but we still have a lot more to do to reach everyone that needs our help - 'Action on Hearing Loss' will help us do just that."

In August, a Civil Society report on the cost of the name change - £260,000 - received mixed responses from the sector, with one charity chairman, who rebranded his charity ten years ago for £1,500, proclaiming the cost of the RNID rebrand was "absurdly profligate".

In reality, they refused an offer of a FREE re-brand from a member of its old forum, and then proceeded with an awful disaster in pink instead at cost (Then closed down forum members and the feedback forum, who had complained it wasted money.)  They had only just recovered from BSL activists bringing down all feedback on their forum.  Earlier this year they also decided to sell off its assisted device area, then followed that up with a sell-off of its Deaf care division.

The blurb suggests it consulted 6,000 people, (Which is one-SEVENTH of its actual membership).  The reality is that the RNID/AOHL or whatever (!) is a  business run as a tax-free charity, and they were losing funding and support hand over fist, pre-COVID, (sell-offs were stated in January 2020.)  There are areas of BSL activism who will claim their opposition has brought the RNID down to its knees, the reality is it got too big for its boots and neglected to take any notice or inclusion of the very people it claimed to represent, the hard of Hearing as BSL membership was non-extant.  Now it languishes and relies on mending OAP's hearing aids, but still uses high profile events at posh hotels where fundraising rather than awareness is being carried out, after chugging failed to get them any money.

Recent attempts to suggest they are referring back to its original remit to support the deaf has not worked for them, and the 'Deaf' had with little or no resources the AOHL can call on wiped the floor with them, and replaced not only the AOHL/RNID but its own BDA too as any sort of voice. They rejected the charitable approach to awareness and opted for a rights approach, or did they?  One prime UK deaf blog still advertises its 32 charitable sponsors!  However, the activists are still not the ones holding the money or, have the voice where it counts. (As the RNID was today keen to point out).

The RNID feel they have to fall back to tried and tested ways of getting money by offering corporate areas 'Awards for awareness', and a thinly-veiled promise Her Majesty may well throw a medal in their direction as a result, as corporate sponsors want to know what is in it for them.   They recently suggested they may even recognise the Deaf approach of rights, which they had opposed so far as 'Political campaigning charities are not allowed to support.'  It never stopped the NDCS, SCOPE or the BDA.

AOHL had dropped the Royal 'link' so shot themselves in the foot, a back to the future approach they hope will encourage corporate money again.  It had failed to engage WITH deaf people, and the HoH members are to be seen but not heard. Who can forget the total farce of the RNID at the palace being made fun of by Prince Philip?  

One royal source quoted their CEO as grovelling sycophant, who later left the RNID for another charity,  the background she came to the RNID with, was a cat and dog charity. LIke the BDA and others having an actual person with deafness or loss was not an image they wanted to portray.  

Many BSL deaf had already left the old RNID because its first signing CEO Was rather unceremoniously dumped after claims he was failing to include or recognise the RNID's core membership of the hard of hearing in favour of 'Deaf-Only' which he believed was the reason for the RNID's existence.  He was told to leave, legally gagged for years,  and left to write a book, after joining, then again having to leave a newly established  National Disability group for doing the same thing he did at the RNID, this time ignoring core disability issues in favour of BSL.

BSL people will look at that as discrimination, others that said the CEO was actually unqualified for the positions he gained and did not understand inclusivity as a concept.  Today many deaf still do not understand that concept and still off in a 'Deaf world' of its own. His disregard of other deaf and hard of hearing members led to his demise, or rather 'Deaf' obscurity preaching to the already converted.  However Deaf cultural support charities have mostly failed to be viable, and a number of high profile charities gone bankrupt.

What is the future of the 'New' RNID? a new slimmed-down model? but who still don't rate grassroots?  Sadly charity will still exist because grassroots of HoH or deaf remain a rabble un-united and with diametrically opposed purpose, which means the systems we all need to impress, are only going to listen the RNID's and BDA's of this world anyway.  Those celebrating the RNID on the backfoot are still no match for a corporate RNID.  All is not rosy at the NDCS and UKCoD either, they may blame COVID, but we all know differently the writing has been on the wall a few years.

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Environmental hints for the HI.

Android Sound Notifications Can Help Those with Hearing Loss

Google announced an interesting Android accessibility feature that provides push notifications when it detects sounds around you that might need attention. This feature is obviously ideal for those with hearing loss, but it can also be used by people wearing headphones who might otherwise miss nearby sounds.

"Sound Notifications is a new feature on Android that provides push notifications for critical sounds around you,” Google revealed. “Designed for the estimated 466 million people in the world with hearing loss, Sound Notifications makes important and critical household sounds more accessible with push notifications, a flash from your camera light, or vibrations on your Android phone. This feature can also be helpful if someone is unable to hear temporarily as a result of an injury, wearing earplugs or headphones.”

These important and critical sounds can include such things as baby sounds, smoke and fire alarms, appliances beeping, water running, door knocking, dogs barking, and more, Google notes. And Sound Notifications works with other compatible devices, including Google’s Wear OS. “You can get text notifications with vibrations on your wrist when there is important noise detected by your phone,” the firm notes. “That way you can continue to get alerts about critical sounds even when you are asleep, a concern shared by many in the deaf and hard of hearing community.”

There’s also a timeline view so that you can get a snapshot of sounds over the previous few hours and help understand what led to a sound event. For example, an alarm might go off, causing a dog to start barking.

If you don’t have Sound Notifications in Android already—it’s in Settings> Accessibility > Sound Notifications—then you can download both Live Transcribe and Sound Notifications from the Google Play Store, and then return to Settings to enable this feature.


Speech to Text Apps.

Friday, 9 October 2020

Deaf Mental Health

Claims (Albeit unsubstantiated) that a third of all deaf people have suffered increased poor mental health due to COVID, what are the causes behind high incidences of poor mental health with deaf people and others with hearing loss?  The blog by UK's  SignHealth charity used the term 'deaf' people to describe an area that is acknowledged as a 'Cultural Deaf' one, which SignHealth is supporting, so misleading, we cannot then accept the statistics they quote as accurate.  The reality as ever, is no charity in the UK is able to survey the deaf/Deaf man, woman or child, at best the sole stats quotable are clinically diagnosed ones, there are no statistics regarding support/education either.  Even the census never asked those questions.

Obviously, COVID has put a block on the social interaction of deaf people i.e. face to face interaction, is there a case that promoting the inter-dependency of the deaf on each other, needs to be addressed?  Or as one person posted sorting out the 'The blind leading the blind'? (A Metaphor to show example), that simply perpetuates it?

The plight of the deaf child e,g,  The NDCS suggests a huge 40% of all deaf children have such issues already.  That can translate to 40 of adults too?  The  ACAMH survey only covered 144 so we don't really know how widespread the cause is.  They do state two primary areas that may contribute to the lack of deaf self-esteem, inclusion options, and confidence.  But not the answer. This is their result.

"The most recent study of mental health in deaf children in England showed that 26% in a sample of 144 signing deaf children and young people not currently accessing child mental health services had a probable mental health problem and 57% had a possible mental health problem. This is much higher than the general population of 11-16 year olds, where approximately 14% are thought to have a mental disorder. 

Developing an understanding or a model for why these rates are so much higher would be very helpful for two main reasons. The first is specific to developing an understanding of the needs of the deaf child population so that we can begin to think more about service planning and particularly understanding social, emotional and mental health needs. The second is that when we consider the stressors that different groups of deaf children are placed under and why it is that deaf children have higher rates of mental health problems it may give us a much richer understanding of the multiple routes to mental health problems.

What is it like to be a deaf child in a hearing community?  We know from research that deaf children are more likely to be isolated, bullied or abused, which can impact upon mental health. There is a large literature on prejudice towards deaf children and their families and experiences of feeling stigmatised.

Over 90% of deaf children are born within hearing families and most of them are not expecting a deaf child. This leads to difficulties in adjusting to the new challenges of parenting and educational choices and can be complicated by very different views and/or advice about what the best approach to take is.  Parents are almost always dedicated to their children, but may also struggle with anxiety, depression, over-protection, challenges with relationship and attachment, and rarely rejection of their child. All of these have mental health consequences for the child.

We also know that the government’s inclusion policy means that most deaf children are in mainstream schools and they are often the only deaf child in their class. This makes the likelihood of them having a deaf peer group in any meaningful day to day way very limited. It also means that large numbers of mainstream teachers, often with limited training have to make sure that the curriculum is available to those children. A large proportion of deaf children have single gene causes for being deaf and no intellectual, neurological or congenital problems but these children do not do as well as hearing children at all examination test stages, suggesting that the education system may struggle to meet fully the needs of many deaf children.

Another factor relates to communication. There is a tendency for the research literature to consider all deaf children together as if they are the same. In fact, they all have very different life trajectories with different causes for being deaf, occurring at different times, in different families who make different and sometimes changing educational and communication choices. Some deaf children communicate through spoken English, especially those who are mildly deaf. 

Some children communicate completely in British Sign Language (BSL) with no spoken English. BSL is a fully recognised UK language, but despite this it is not always readily available in our education or workplace systems.  BSL has a different word order, grammar and syntax to spoken English and does not map easily on to spoken or written English. The UK system is not well prepared for this variability. This creates a number of challenges for deaf children and their families that include high levels of stress, communication problems and social and emotional challenges. 

Some children are being educated in bilingual ways and are being taught spoken and written English, as well as BSL or sign, supported English (using the English word order with adjunctive signs). Attempting to learn multiple communication modalities can be very challenging for children, especially for that subgroup of deaf children with additional complex problems or intellectual disabilities. This can create its own problems. Deaf children sometimes have less exposure to language learning and may have language deprivation and/or delay, which can, in turn, lead to delays in theory of mind (empathy-related) skills, compounding problems in social settings.

Some deaf children may be deaf as a result of a neurological insult or a more complex genetic problem that leads to multiple difficulties including intellectual disability and/or a range of possible physical problems such as visual problems, balance problems or other organ damage (e.g. heart, kidney etc.) These all carry their own increased mental health risks.

This landscape helps us understand the multiple myriad pathways to mental health problems. This population of young people has much to commend it. Meeting deaf children and young people it is clear to see their joys and enthusiasms, their hopes for the future and their numerous strengths and abilities, as well as the multiple challenges that they face. It would be instructive to understand this group better in order to be able to provide better community-based services, education services, health services and mental health services for deaf children and their families, but also as a learning experience to help us as professionals to develop innovative therapeutic strategies that can engage with the multiple pathways to mental health problems."

We notice that the academic view is not suggesting Immersive signing approaches and putting valid reasons why not.  Ergo no two deaf children are the same. We are unsure what 'community' approaches they are supporting, Deaf clubs? or groups where inclusion can be fostered?



Wi-Fi Down? Repeat as above....

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Being an apologist.

So suffering from the slings and arrows of outrageous terminology? I think free speech is important if you form a view on how the 'Deaf' systems work for, or against the common good, an awareness show etc is inaccurate or non-inclusive e.g. then you should be allowed to say it. 

NEVER apologise, NEVER back off if you think you are right, NEVER clarify if they didn't get it the first time they will be trying to distort it the second.  These areas want you to doubt yourself to 'prove' they are always right. There ARE elitist deaf, there ARE campaigns run for less than purposes that provide real awareness or ongoing essential information.  There are TV and films that bear no relevance to our reality too.   Most are propaganda. E.G. Via COVID some of the advice given to deaf people was downright dangerous which was re-enforced as a deaf right too.   Aka suggesting medical staff discriminate by wearing PPE.   Most deaf statistically do not rely on sign language, but why spoil a great gig?

Deaf are very adept at social media, they can manipulate too, they can use closed sites to keep different viewpoints and people out, they do it all the time.  There are virtually NO open deaf sites online. If you have a view and want to stay with it, you have to go it alone. Many are run as some feudal system like old deaf clubs were.  Mostly, it is about control. The common excuse is to protect deaf people from abuse, however, this does not stop them from piling abuse and disdain on others.  It also prevents the deaf from seeing two sides to every story.

Too many deaf online exist in a vacuum, a lot are sitting in the dark and like mushrooms being fed BS as well, mostly via fear their social and other aspects and them personally,  are being undermined by hearing people, hearing systems, and hearing Health advice yadda yadda.  Paranoia central.

I've yet to see an ASL or BSL public awareness gig that actually included all with hearing loss, they do provide captions occasionally as justification, but the content is near always completely irrelevant to anyone but them.  Just one way they can exploit the inclusive remit. Their representation is polarised too.  It's a joke but sadly at the expense of the majority with a hearing loss,  They can justify this discrimination via their 'rights' as a culture with their own language, and the systems humour them, but they are still leaving others out, still making dubious claims, still publishing stats they make up themselves, and still running campaigns that will only benefit them and nobody else.

Of course, EXclusion isn't discrimination is it? Woe betide you if you make that point.   That can launch a  torrent of claims you are abusing deaf people (They mean Deaf people, but the mainstream doesn't see that difference), are attacking their culture, them, their language whatever, result? you can get shut down, banned online from sites, and if that fails, carry the label of a hater/homophobic/ racist,  they can pile any 'ist' in to make their point.  Some rights are rights too far and some Deaf are making the most of those grey areas.

Once you make a decision you are stuck with it online, you cannot backpedal, and why would you? if you believe it was right the first time?

Monday, 5 October 2020

Having Hearing Loss in a Hearing World


Do you ever wonder where you and your hearing loss belong?

When trying to adjust to life with hearing loss, many people say they feel caught between two worlds – the Deaf world and the Hearing world. They feel they don’t fit in with either the world of people who don’t hear anything or in the world of people who hear everything.

They’re stuck in a nameless zone, an undefined space (that feels like the picture above) between hearing and deaf that they were inadequately prepared to deal with. They don’t understand sign language and even with the best hearing technology, they still can’t hear well enough to consider themselves a hearing person.

It is a fact that the world operates on the needs of the majority, which in this case is people with normal hearing, but it doesn’t work as well for people with hearing loss. 

People who are new to hearing loss wonder if they should learn sign language, partly out of fear that they will eventually lose all of their hearing, and partly because they feel dislocated. Yet knowledge of signed language doesn’t automatically enrol someone into Deaf Culture which is a way of life, with distinguished values and language and where deafness is not considered a disability.

On the other hand, if you ask a hearing person if they appreciate being part of the hearing world, they would say what are you talking about! Hearing people don’t consciously embrace their hearing as defining who they are. (If they did, maybe they would take better care of the hearing they’ve got!) Hearing people do what they always do – they hear naturally, without thinking about it. Whereas a Deaf person would proudly self-identify as deaf, a hearing person would not likely introduce themselves as Hi, I’m Susan, a hearing person.

I look at it differently. How well we hear (or don’t hear) is not a hard border between separate worlds. Our language has not changed – in most cases, we continue to use the spoken word in any of the upwards of 7,000 languages that exist today. What changes is how we communicate. Hearing loss doesn’t eject us from our world; it alters the world we already live in. Our comfortable way of communication has gone, leaving challenges behind for us to grapple with. The worst of these is that it disconnects us, in a million small ways, from other people – people we love, people we work with, random people we meet through daily living.

In spite of this, our hearing loss doesn’t mean we’ve fallen through a crack in the world. It just means that on the list of attributes that make a Perfect Person, you’ve had to uncheck the box that says Impeccable Hearing. Do you know anyone who can tick off every box on this list? A Perfect Person who is undamaged, unflawed, who excels in every aspect of being a human being? Dealing with hearing loss simply places us in a new area of our humanness, where something has changed, something we don’t like, something that causes difficulty.

While science has conquered many of the organic dark forces attacking our health, hearing loss and tinnitus are still waiting for the breakthroughs. In the meantime, we have ever-improving, brilliant technology that has brought our people back to the table. Hearing aids, cochlear implants, speech-to-text, Bluetooth, telecoils and looping and unlimited apps-for-that! The negative stigma is disappearing as we learn more about hearing loss and its powerful on ever-increasing numbers of people. This is a huge game-changer.

An important self-help trick is to shift our thinking from hard-core worlds to inclusive communities of people with similar issues and interests. That’s the point where we understand that we are members of the hearing loss community, sometimes referred to as “hard of hearing people”. Whatever you want to call it, it’s a very, very large group of people who use the spoken language, assistive technology, and who take advantage of all forms of visual information, including speech-to-text such as captioning. Some even use sign language as an expressive aid to comprehension.

Everything looks and sounds different when we develop hearing loss. But it’s the same world and the same people – most of whom are waiting for us to reconnect and are willing to help us do it.