Thursday, 24 December 2020

Amen to that


   Who would true signing see,

Let him come hither;

BSL will our constant be,

Come wind, come weather

There's no discouragement

Shall make the BDA relent

It's first avowed intent

To worship Paddy.

Who so beset us round

With signed English stories

Do but themselves confound;

BSL the more is.

No orals can us fright,

We'll sign with giants might,

We will demand a right

To be a culture.

Lip reading nor foul fiend

Can daunt our spirit,

We know we at the end

Shall sign inherit.

When fancies fly away,

We'll care not what they say,

We'll labour night and day

To be a signer.

Today's Songs Of Praise comes today from the pretty little church of St Dug on the Mount in Looky likely, near Yorkshire, which is celebrating it's centenary this year.  The congregation is made up of over 16 deaf club memberships from in and around the North of England and random learners dragged in off the street.  We are gathered here today not only to celebrate the centenary 30 years early, but to pay homage to our patron saint St Dug, who lived in nearby Alrek-on-the Marsh, and after whom the church is named, who was himself deaf, he certainly wasn't able to listen much.

The service today is led by Bishop Meldrew.

"Good evening to you..... I'm going  to start by telling you the same thing Elizabeth  Taylor told all her husbands, and that is - I won't keep you long!''.  let us thank the Lord whoever he may be to you, for being here today, my sermon text for this  year concerns humour and how it helps us all to reflect, that life isn't all misery, boring relations, endless helpings of Brussel sprouts, and being so out of spirit, you consider Eastenders the highlight of the TV Xmas day viewing, and a few horrific deaths the icing on the cake.   Was it not our very own St Dug who said "Eeeh but owt tis nowt..."  

Consider for instance,  When my daughter was about three I put her to bed and asked what she would like  to  pray about.  Promptly she answered: "onions."  We prayed about onions and the next morning I asked why she wanted to pray about onions.  "Because you said in your sermon that we should pray for things we dont like, I don't like bananas either....", it is the simplicity of the child that makes for innocence lost.

Once  I was invited to preach at a day centre for a Christmas Service as a young layman starting out in the world.  Seeing that it was very crowded and sensitive to the time issue, I asked the proprietor, 'How long do I have for the sermon?". He replied, You can preach for about an hour".   I was wondering how I could stretch my meagre manuscript, I soon found out that I was not the only preacher, and the preacher before me also preached for an hour. How long should a good sermon be?  It should be like a woman's skirt, long enough to cover the essentials but short enough to keep you interested. 

From children comes real enlightenment, one asked me, father,  how long is a million years to God?  I replied "it is but a second to God", "How much is a million pounds to God ?", I replied "it is but a penny to him...", the boy then asked, "can I  have a penny ?", I replied " Of course,  just a second....".  

I have first good news and then the bad news. The good news is we now have enough money to retire the mortgage on the church, and repair the stained glass window at last,"The bad news is the money is still in your pocket."

I recall last year I was called away for an emergency. Not wanting to leave the confessional unattended, I called this rabbi friend from across the street and asked him to cover for me. He told me he wouldn't know what to say, but I told him to come on over and I'd stay with him for a little bit and show him what to do.  My rabbi friend comes, and he and the I are in the confessional.  A few minutes, a woman comes in and says, 'Father, forgive me for I have sinned.' so I ask, 'What did you do?' The woman says, 'I committed adultery.' so I said, 'How many times?'  And the woman replies, 'Three.'  'Say two Hail Mary’s, put £5 in the box, and go and sin no more.'

A few minutes later a man enters the confessional. He says, 'Father forgive me for I have sinned.' So again I asked 'What did you do?' ‘I committed adultery.' 'How many times?' 'Three times.'  So I said, 'Say two Hail Mary’s, put £5 in the box and go and sin no more.' My rabbi friend tells me OK, I think I've got it,  so I leave him to it.  A few minutes later another woman enters and says, 'Father, forgive me for I have sinned.' The rabbi says, 'What did you  do?' The woman replies, 'I committed adultery.'  The rabbi, getting it off pat, says, 'How many times?' The woman replies,  'Once.' The rabbi said, 'Go and do it two more times, We have a special this week, three for £5.'

A ray of hope flickers in the sky 

A tiny star lights up way up high 

All across the land, dawns a brand new morn 

This comes to pass when a child is born 

Silent wish sails the seven seas 

The winds of change whisper in the trees 

And the walls of doubt crumble, tossed and torn 

This comes to pass when a child is born 

A rosy hue settles all around 

You've got the feel you're on solid ground 

For a spell or two, no-one seems forlorn 

This comes to pass when a child is born 

And all of this happens because the world is waiting 

Waiting for one child 

Black, white, yellow, no-one knows 

But a child that will grow up and turn tears to laughter 

Hate to love, war to peace and everyone to everyone's neighbour 

And misery and suffering will be words to be forgotten, forever 

It's all a dream, an illusion now 

It must come true, sometime soon somehow 

All across the land, dawns a brand new morn 

This comes to pass when a child is born

We thank thee lord, for the signs we use, the clubs we attend, the miracle of digital aids, our culture, and for the gift of having a laff no matter how often the BDA tries to spoil it all for us... we also pray for the hearing aid battery makers, that they develop a really long-lasting one...  Paddy Ladd finds out finally, where the barbershop is located and before he trips over himself.  That Deaf activism discovers their own front door, so they can discover things happen outside as well.  We also earnestly pray that God learns to sign properly and stops trying to cure us all...


Scientists develop new gene therapy for deafness.


A new study from Tel Aviv University (TAU) presents an innovative treatment for deafness, based on the delivery of genetic material into the cells of the inner ear. The genetic material "replaces" the genetic defect and enables the cells to continue functioning normally.

The scientists were able to prevent the gradual deterioration of hearing in mice that had a genetic mutation for deafness. They maintain that this novel therapy could lead to a breakthrough in treating children born with various mutations that eventually cause deafness.


Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Deaf taking a 'STAND'

The thing about demanding realism is that it also requires an image of people will pay to see, and the suitability for the part offered.  I'm deaf but obviously cannot apply for an actor's job because I am unqualified for it.  The consensus of opinion is diversity and rights WON'T automatically mean you can get a job beyond your capability, but it has always been this way.  

Deaf people want acceptances and work on merit not just because they are deaf or it's patronisation and tokenism.  Hollywood is profit/image-driven and won't enable deaf people for no reason they have to be able to sold as a commodity, they aren't a charity.  The reality is hearing can portray deaf people but deaf cannot do the reverse.  Deaf have to up their game that's the reality.  Forever playing to own audiences are limiting their capabilities to appeal elsewhere.  There are huge areas of hearing life and lifestyles deaf have no access to, or, uninterested in, nor understand, so they should start there.  Deaf are not topical or versatile, and not aware enough to offer a full range of options to a filmmaker, deaf playing deaf is simply typecasting.

The danger is inclusion by rote, and not ability, and joe public won't go and see such films. As we know signed output is still too minority to appeal to the general public and usually ends up patronised as disability output, or even a 'foreign' film. What goes out tends to be titled too so the signed aspect is lost.   Via various inclusions on UK-TV we can see it is token mostly, and the deaf actors delivering the sermon on the mount of 'How to speak to or include deaf people who sign..'  Which is a worthy aim if you are in a focus group, but audiences don't want lectures, they want escapism, deaf have to appeal to hearing not just to their own.  Such token output is better suited for charities than mass viewing as 'awareness', albeit singular to one type of deaf person so not really inclusive as that.

I've no doubt inclusion areas in the USA cam make waves but I don't really see much change happening.  As we know no deaf signer has 'made it' since COALG, but was an exception to the rule.  I'm all for inclusion by merit, not inclusion because I am deaf too.

Monday, 21 December 2020

Beyond the 'Hive'

Oops ATR on the defensive as Deaf defending their ID insist being deaf is all and there is no individual just a 'HIVE' of some kind?  Obviously 'Just' being deaf isn't enough.... you have to play follow the leader as well.  So OK WHO do I have to talk to?

#1 Doesn't the person come first not the disability? I'm myself first and foremost deafness is just one reality that's all. It's a bit disconcerting this worship of deafness while we are all trying to overcome it.

We shall overcome

We shall overcome

We shall overcome some day


Oh, deep in my heart

I do believe

                              We shall overcome some day

#2 Overcome?!? Where have you been? Many of us aren’t even trying to ‘overcome’ it, we’ve embraced it and it’s our identity. It’s not worshipping it, it’s ACCEPTING it and embracing it.

#1 Good for you. It does seem rather obsessive to those of us not born with it, but then we are the ones truly disabled by it so know what real hearing loss is, and the effect it has on those who lose it unless you do you are coming from the wrong direction. I accept I am deaf because there is no option but I am not rolling over for it.  

Being deaf isn't sign, culture, or community exclusive or I would be hearing. We obviously do what we can to support alleviation or even a cure (if that is ever possible), so that others who acquire it can have some hope. 

Without hope captions nor signed access supported would ever have happened or would have been asked for and 'Deaf' would be happy enough with a terp in tow, relying on family, or a social worker doing your talking like some latter-day ventriloquist, since reliance is the only 'ID' most see. We DO accept it as a disability perhaps we don't accept there is nothing to be done about it. 

Deaf see it that way too if the welfare allowance claims are anything to go by!  Culture gets you no welfare payment, deafness and sign use does. Nobody is demanding you get hearing even if possible, it's your choice. Those happy being deaf and isolated that is up to them, it would not do for me or for 12m others.   I thought deaf campaigners were for access and inclusion?  the road OUT of that setup?

Nothing is written until we all write it. I just feel it sad there are people who struggle to have their own ID, and have to change their name with a capital letter to be seen. Its never been a problem to me as I have seen both sides of the fence and know what I prefer. I rather suspect if or when any 'cure' emerges, we will be trampled underfoot by those wanting it. That is a real choice.  I'm pretty certain parents will agree too.  Why would they want kids to struggle if they didn't need to?  You would defy parents too?  Dodgy ground!

Sunday, 20 December 2020

Did Boris really stop BSL being used?

In a response [published below] apparently not.  Regular readers will know ATR published a link to BSL signed coronavirus proceedings during the very first public announcements on TV in March/April this year, (See the proof above), subsequently publishing links to other sources, but charities chose to not look, and ignore the evidence.  ATR offered the BDA social media the links to the access and they were refused and removed from their social media.

What was missing initially, wasn't BSL but the link to where the BSL  interpreting was (BBC NEWS channel), but this was later corrected when pointed out.  Where access has been ever since. Boris also gave funding to deaf charities to help them explain details they couldn't follow.  The reality is the tier declarations confused everyone, not just deaf people and continues to do so... 

If the UK Government wants to check out their claim of 80,000 deprived sign users best of luck, nobody is able to prove either way if that figure actually exists as fact. As this week showed the national Census who asked everyone, got no stats of use either.

Note: Ireland had TWO interpreters, Wales and Scotland also have in-vision BSL signers, neither updates are done in first minister homes. As stated, Boris at Number 10 could not guarantee social distancing there so offered it on the BBC channel instead.  Given the urgency and questioning, interpreters could not really be briefed as to what was going to be said.  Devolved areas usually do not have 3 people every time either.  Deaf BSL users choose the subtitling mostly so not really deprived, and titles give far more detail than sign does.  

The legal case is based on 'deprivation' of BSL, not, deprivation of access.  I suspect the case won't go in BSL favour, but the idea is really to promote BSL.  Hence why the legal case prefers NOT to mention deaf can and do use alternatives already provided for them e.g.

Lip-reading, titling, captions, subtitles, 4 dedicated deaf charities and even TWO BSL channels, neither of which have offered their own community that access but happy to take funding for doing not much at all but flattering themselves..

A government spokesperson also said: “We are committed to supporting disabled people through every stage of this pandemic and have established BSL interpretation at the No 10 press conferences via the BBC News channel and iPlayer, available on all TV packages as part of Freeview.

“The BBC has also made their video feed for the BSL interpreter available to all other broadcasters and for use on No 10 social channels.  “We continue to work across government to ensure that information and guidance is fully accessible.”  


Saturday, 19 December 2020

Deafies complain about hearing actors

Playing deaf people.... not everyone agrees.

#1 In the book when Nick meets Mother Abigail in his dreams he can talk and hear fine so a deaf actor would not work. Funny though as well how Larry Underwood is white in the book but black in this version yet no uproar from anyone about that.

#2 I think it would be easier for the director to convey his wishes to a hearing actor.     Let’s get off our high horse for one second and breathe.

#3 A deaf person does NOT have automatic rights to all acting jobs involving a deaf character.

Friday, 18 December 2020

Veni, Vedi, Vici!

 (A bit of the Latin to make this blog look more educated than it actually is).  It is based on a  recent Xmas letter response sent to a long suffering relative.

Hola fellow sibling! As you rightly pointed out on your recent recycled Xmas missive,  Wales is in the doo-doo at present, but as you will know welsh people tend to not be told anything so we have enough covid to supply any country in the world with if they run a bit short.   We've even got a new strain of it, and Avian Flu as well, so our cup runneth over really.  

I'm just waiting for an outbreak of the black death to round off the year or a dose of bubonic plague to provide the icing on the cake.  Boxing day we are all on total lockdown until god knows when with no end date. Merthyr Tydfil is painting red crosses on the door there, so those who think the plagues of Egypt were the ultimate in defying him upstairs, need to understand we are fast overtaking that and with 21stc technology.  Spot the people who DON'T have covid is the current vogue now.   Apparently, I stand a fair chance of a vaccination assuming I get that far, in April next year, (sooner if my peers succumb before me), so the only way is up.

Hospitals are not taking any customers unless at death's door with covid, so e.g. if you have cancer in S Wales, tough titty, you need covid to get by the door, remember the rule get the virus get one other issue treatment for free.    Patients subject to strokes or heart attacks are advised to undertake them in their own home, but there is a helpline mostly manned by bored students trying to earn a quid whilst being locked up in Uni for the duration to prevent them infecting everyone else, (at least until Xmas eve then they can infect whoever they want legally).  The helpline isn't a 999, but a costly premium private line of some kind to prevent people really ill, messing them about, the call centre has now been resited in Nigeria, so UK students can go home and kill their oldies, so some experience of  Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Fula, and English Creole would be helpful if you need to make a pointless call for help

The good news is that crematoriums WILL stay open around the clock so there is no hanging about, and you can toast your marshmallows free for the duration while crumpets can be purchased at a very reasonable price alongside the chapel. There are few if any hospital operations and check-ups either, ambulances won't come unless there is a danger the patient can die, even then, they can wait up to 19hrs outside the hospital in the ambulance until they get treated or until they do cark it, so think before you call, is your life really of use to anyone else?  The local hospital is a mile from us, (or a kilomingle and a bit as we are still in the EU for the next few weeks), and taking no patients in at all and has closed A&E depts everything is an emergency. 

The last thing the NHS need is more sick people clogging the place up, but that is all immaterial at present as the biggest and most serious issue dominating Wales, is the closure of the pubs unless you buy scotch eggs with your wine, but because we objected to the eggs they decided to stop the booze. We insisted getting paralytic at home isn't as much fun as doing it in the gutter in the city centre face down in a regurgitated pizza or a second-hand takeaway, the pub ban is a direct assault on our freedoms, and on our right to be as idiotic as we please.

The right to get pissed and to round it all off with a stabbing or two or a punch up is the corner-stone of welsh life, I can go with renaming welsh place names after obscure slaves like Dai Akabuto now and then but....  What next? will we all have to speak welsh or  Urdu or something?  Our young people are getting a bit miffed by it all, i.e. the ones not drugged out of it, and can spell miffed, or not sticking laughing gas up their nose for fun.  Our youth insist it is only old farts like us who can die of covid so why not just get rid of them? so life can go on for what passes as sociality for people under 50?  Which is a moot point I suppose.  

After all, old people have had it any way they don't work or pay taxes, and it can save the country loads of dosh by not having to pay them pensions, so it is logical to finish them all off early really, given making them work till they are 90 or have shuffled off what mortal coils they had left hasn't done the job. They say most of us are senile or have dementia so we won't even know if we have covid, why bother to vaccinate them?  Methinks our caring society has taken a bit of a knock really.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, but it won't be the one that connects us to Europe, as Boris is deciding how best to flood it again to keep the burghers of Brussels out, it looks like the EU 40yr long war (Led by the Neo-Vichy), to overrun the U of K has failed, as we are deciding to fcuk it all up on our own, it is after all, what we Brits are best at.  We told the French any attempt to nick a few cod from our bit of water means the navy is going to sink a few french trawlers to concentrate their minds and an outright ban on sparrow burgers and snail exports, they want to play hardball that is what they are going to get.  

The Germans are objecting to Brits ruling themselves, claiming a few panzers can do the job a lot more effectively citing Poland as a prime example.  The French still want a right to pillage our territorial waters, the other EU members (mostly ex Russian states in the eastern bloc), are demanding their right to come here and use our NHS, our schools, beg on our streets, send 100s of prostitutes here, and operate paedophile rings just as they do at home, where it is a right enshrined by the EU, while the French insist on flogging illegal immigrants leaky boats to come here and claim us leaving, is killing that trade in France leading to mass unemployment,  so bleating 'Non' at everyone within hearing reach is de rigour.   

UK employers are also insisting armageddon is due on  January 1st 2021 and leaving Europe will have a huge debilitating effect on UK business, forcing them to abandon the slave trade which made Great Britain a major power, (More like a 15 watts bulb really). The welsh parliament/government/assembly/Senedd whatever, decided when we voted to leave the EU, that welsh voters needed to be sectioned and covid has proved a valuable ally in them doing that.  They also managed to delay a new election in case we decide to have mass street hangings of politicians, or insist they take a competency test.  However the much-warned threat of paying out £5B quid to trade with them backfired a bit, we pay them £15B at present so we will save by leaving and still get the trade.

Rumours abound that Facebook is inserting computer chips in the vaccine are unfounded (It's Mr Putin and that funny french bloke with a limp).  The Senedd also insists that the queen of England and her entire family are really lizards from Neptune, so at least we are still getting the facts.  The only chips welsh welcome are the ones with Cod. Since Wales is now leading the way with covid infection, more sour grapes have emerged from Europe which has seen Germany and France responding in kind with, 'our lockdowns are bigger than yours..' and even 'Italy has more dead than you..ya boo!'

Anyone wondering WHY the U of K, or the principality of Wales voted out, that can be no longer wondered about. Are we downhearted about covid? not really, but the closing of our pubs and the limits on our obese and drug addicted, won't be tolerated.

Tuesday, 15 December 2020

The Census (UK) can't count?

ATR contacted the national census recently via a request for suggestions and inclusions, ATR sent them this:

"After reading and contributing to the last census (And recently being asked to contribute pre census again), I was concerned at the inclusion of the question regarding sign language (BSL) usage, as there was no question or clarity as to whom the question was aimed at or pertained to.

You will know stats better than I do, and see the total abuse of statistics online and charity-wise re various campaigns, but during the last census many claimed to be users of BSL who actually were not, and did not have hearing loss either, they were heavily lobbied by various focus groups to suggest higher usage than was actual.   In short, an attempt was made to create demand to promote their cultural point, should there not be more scrutiny on how topics and questions are included?  As it emerged, they complained after not enough people said they signed.

We suspect the National state census was probably hijacked via cultural pressure. Questions like are you deaf? do you know sign language? will offer no viable feedback to the census, because it does not define if it is daily or only means, nor does it require an answer to the user proficiency of it, it relies on the individual self assumption and own assessment that may not be medically, statistically, or support validated or recorded anywhere. E.G. 9 out of 10 do not KNOW how deaf they are, let alone what really is most effective communication for them.  No assessments of that are ever done, only db loss is definable.    

Whilst clinical identification of hearing loss and deafness IS validated, nothing else is as regards to community, culture or communication used as the law via the Data Protection Act prevents anyone being thus identified. If we are going by (As the state apparently still is), by what charities state themselves is the figure then where is the actual stat to be found? or the needs defined?   After all, the census designs the questions with regards to identifying present and future need provision.  Under current assumptions a complete lottery as it stands.  If we wanted to define need then surely gathering support provision statistics is the only way to know?  E.G. how many have requested help with BSL?  I quote your own output:

"Everyone benefits from the census. It informs decisions nationally and locally on vital services and issues like diversity. Ultimately it ensures millions of pounds are invested in emergency services, mental health care, school places, hospital beds, houses, roads, GP’s and dentists’ services based on the information people give. We’ve made it easier for people to complete the census online on any device, with help and paper questionnaires for those that need them."

If true then the decision to enter a 'loaded' question 'Do you use sign language' in the last census did not identify those in need, or indeed those who use or have proficiency or reliance on BSL, as those identifying questions were not included.

We can all quote meaningless charity statistics which bear no relation to accuracy because they create them themselves and do not require validated proof and because there is no way to prove them.  There may be e.g. 12m with a hearing loss, but not 12m using sign language, or 12m lip-reading, or 12m deaf.  Claims there are 95/109,000 daily using sign language in the UK the census has not validated that simply because they did not demand actual proof of it.  They rely on the user response but fail to identify that user.

What is the point of the question inclusion if you accept you are not going to get anything like an accurate answer to identify the point of the census which is to identify the need?  Is it not a guesstimate?

I would be obliged if you can clarify how the next census intends to pose the BSL question and if it is being hamstrung by other demands of culture to confuse the issue of hearing loss?  As it stands anyone can quote any statistic, should not the census be leading the way on this as a government agency?

Census Response:   Everyone benefits from the census. It informs decisions nationally and locally on vital services and issues like diversity. Ultimately it ensures millions of pounds are invested in emergency services, mental health care, school places, hospital beds, houses, roads, GP’s and dentists’ services based on the information people give. We’ve made it easier for people to complete the census online on any device, with help and paper questionnaires for those that need them.

The next census will be held on 21st March 2021 in England and Wales and results will be available the following year. However personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations.

About the Office for National Statistics (ONS)

The Office for National Statistics produces the numbers that matter most– on the economy and business, people, population and communities. Operating impartially and free of political control, we are mobilising the power of data to help Britain make better decisions and improve lives.

Obviously, deaf cultural promotion IS political (It's a rights campaign), to suggest the Census is free of that pressure is false, the very inclusion of BSL and including deaf as a cultural minority not disabled e.g. defies those claims. If deaf BSL users are deprived and do have over 100,000 users then, the obvious statistic of less than 900 part-time interpreters to serve them would indicate intense deprivation but, this isn't the case.  It is also factual less then 20 deaf schools exist and no will by the state to create a BSL curriculum either,  Is the campaign to create an artificial demand to bolster the 'Deaf' cause?

As it stands I am unable to complete your census form until I receive clarification on the question.

Sunday, 13 December 2020

Should you try to sign to Deaf people?

Online is full of deafies and deaf wannabees, do-gooders, charities, and plain private enterprise hoping to pick up customers, flooding the place with the deaf ABC of sign etc, but, has it much hope of any success without the cooperation OF deaf sign users?  The carrot with the stick approach lead, is no way to facilitate communication.  Deaf need to lighten up.

E.G the main response has been "Don't sign at deaf people unless you are proficient, deaf expect people who sign to be able to converse fluently and many hearing rapidly run out of signs to that, you need to understand also, that deaf don't welcome hearing  into the 'deaf space', without an invite first, no matter how well-meaning, they need to respect deaf protocols on privacy and community norms..."

Why not just tell people to go away!  So a pretty dire 'warning' before you even attempt it on the street.  However, if deaf maintain this stance then it will deter hearing people learning to communicate with them, they will instead respect that deaf space to your ultimate deaf exclusion, be careful what you 'demand' seems the order of the day here.  We know the real reason is the deaf have nil confidence or experience or training on how to facilitate others, they're just taught everyone must adapt to them because they can't adapt to anyone else, which totally undermines any campaign for inclusion and makes it a non-starter...

The Deaf signer needs to allow the hearing to sign to them as it is the only way to break down communication barriers, we all have to start somewhere and from a position of suspicion and demands first, it is not going to happen.  You cannot expect they will know how the deaf do it, if that way works with hearing anyway.  

If hearing are told don't do that, don't 'invade' deaf spaces and must follow deaf 'protocol' then the only people who will sign to them or go on to learn it properly will be care providers, charity workers and interpreters,  not the man or woman in the street, who are the ONLY people to make deaf inclusion work.

What is 'deaf protocol' anyway, but a means to deter involvement with others? or some sort of 'protection' from hearing invovement?  Not everyone who tries to communicate is an enemy of some kind!  Deaf awareness is never aimed at the people who need to be aware, that is the deaf themselves.

Saturday, 12 December 2020

EU last handout to promote signed access.


The issue is really will they use the access it may provide? or still maintain their status quo?  Or refrain of outrageous claims the UK has 87,000 daily BSL users? (Which won't get any of it because we have left the EU and it looks like no deal is possible).  

We don't know the 'Irish' situation but the UK part (Northern Ireland), has never received any funding from Europe itself since we joined in the 1970s.  How it works, is the UK sends £15B or so a year to the EU so they can get 'free trade/travel' there, then the EU decides to send some of it back in the form of grants, but in essence, they are simply sending back a minor portion (Less than one 8th), of what we send them, the rest is distributed to countries that joined for the money too poor to fund themselves, a few billion for a building in Brussels, and pools-figure wages for what passes as governance there.

The EU granted €5.6M (£5.1m), to a project that addresses the communication gap between hearing and hard of hearing people. (Which is as much the will as the technology).

SignON is a 3-year project led by ADAPT at Dublin City University (DCU), which claims to be on a mission to address the communication gap between users of spoken languages and deaf sign language users. In a recent development, the SignON project co-coordinated by Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences has received Horizon 2020 funding of €5.6M by the European Union (EU).

Use of the funds

With the funds, Prof. Andy Way (Professor of Computing at Dublin City University), Ireland (coordinator), and Dr Dimitar Shterionov Assistant Professor in Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence at Tilburg University, The Netherlands (scientific lead), will conduct research and develop a mobile solution for automatic translation between sign and oral (written and spoken) languages.

ADAPT is a leading SFI Research Centre for digital media technology that focuses on developing next-generation digital technologies around how people communicate by helping to analyse, personalise and deliver digital data more effectively for businesses and individuals. 

ADAPT researchers are based across seven leading Irish higher education institutions: Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City University, University College Dublin, Technological University Dublin, Maynooth University, Cork Institute of Technology, and Athlone Institute of Technology.

About the SignON Project

SignON is a user-centric and community-driven project with an aim to facilitate the exchange of information among deaf and hard of hearing, and hearing individuals across Europe. The project is primarily focusing on the Irish, British, Dutch, Flemish, and Spanish Sign and English, Irish, Dutch, and Spanish oral languages.

The project claims, there are 5,000 deaf Irish Sign Language (ISL) signers; in the UK around 87,000 deaf signers use British Sign Language (BSL); in Flanders, Belgium some 5,000 deaf people use Flemish Sign Language (VGT); there are approximately 13,000 signers using Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT), and it is estimated that there are over 100,000 Spanish Sign Language (LSE) signers.


Thursday, 10 December 2020

BDA in decline

Despite this ageing charity for sign users blocking feedback (and refusing to respond to concerns of deaf people and threatening own members with legal actions if they do to prevent them going public), they still churn out promotional adverts to deaf people off their own site, and there, is where they have to respond to them.  Or do they?

"What can we do to enhance deaf membership of the Brish Deaf Association' given it has lost 70% of its membership over the last few years and is looking increasingly irrelevant to sign users, and replaced all their trustees twice in a  year?"

"Dropping the sign exclusive nature of the BDA would be a start they don't have the right mind-set to enable deaf people. Only point 2% of all deaf people have any historical or genetic link, 9 in 10 of their parents have hearing. But for the ridiculous application and gravitas being given to deaf rights the deaf advance would have much higher than it is now, they cannot attain inclusion or real access via their current chosen path."

"They are going to have to justify what they are asking for and that means outside the wall they have built to hide behind. 12m with hearing loss are outside their gates and twice or three times as many other deaf are too, but excluded because they don't sign or something."

"I've lost patience with these people,  there is no perspective in the 'Deaf' area just an ongoing diet of hearing paranoia being dished out 24/7."

"Mr Buxton is obviously still adopting the position of the BDA, he is getting nowhere doing that. Any politician knows he has to include and appeal to the widest sector possible, instead he champions a lost cause of a minority, an otherwise admirable underdog stance, but he won't find any hearing voters or HoH ones offering him their vote."

"The Achilles heel of the BSL community is their determined ignorance of the world outside it and a reluctance to find out, or get involved, turning a deaf ear to inclusion is one of their least endearing traits."

"It is amazing the deaf community in 2020 is still buying into the hype the BDA is the sole saviour of the deaf sign user, their membership doesn't reflect it at all.  One wonders how long it's history can sustain them with a policy that is still locked in the 19thc.."

My least favourite things.

If music truly be the food of love, then for god's sake up the volume a bit.

My least favourite things.

Deafhood on deaf blogs, Audism on web sites,

Confusing viewpoints, on rights and empowerments,

Facebook meanderings,  deaf twittering strings

These are the least of my favourite things.....

Blogging and Tweeting, and vlogged sign language

My mode is better, than ever your own is,

Can't lip-read at distance, hear no doorbells ring.. 

These are the least of my favourite things.

When the mods bite

When the view stings

Then I feel so sad,

I simply remember they're all very dim,

And then I don't feel ...... so bad. 

Deafies who sign but who never subtitle

Worship deaf authors then make them deaf idols

Replacing speech with hand waving means

These are the least of my favourite things

'ist' and 'ism's' and 'phobes' are all  around me

We are all told off and all very soundly

Maybe if we all play the game

then we will all .... be the same?

When the mods bite

When the view stings

When the sites close down,

I simply remember it's all very sad

And then I don't wear a frown.

Online or offline, we talk without barrier?

don't need to be geeky,  but could be much happier,

We skype and we text, and translate everything

Those are a few of my favourite things.

Apologies to Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers.

Monday, 7 December 2020

UK Welfare dept offers signed access.

Deaf claimants and those with hearing loss can now access British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters across all Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) helplines and services. The Video Relay Service, rolled out for Universal Credit in April, has been extended to all its 62 benefit-related lines and services.

The Video Relay Service 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. Since the extension of the Video Relay Service to all DWP helplines, there has been a 43% increase in uptake, while a recent customer survey showed respondents were ‘very satisfied’ with the overall service.

Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson said: “This is another vital step on our mission to increase inclusion and accessibility across government. We already know it works and that it’s had a life-changing impact for many people so it’s only right we offer this service as widely as we can.” The Video Relay Service app and an introductory video are available HERE


Saturday, 5 December 2020

Post covid deaf communities.

I  wonder what deaf are doing with all these clubs closed and social interaction limited at present?   I think covid has to refocus deaf priorities and its near-total reliance on other deaf for a social life has to change.  Even when covid is tamed there won't be much of a deaf norm to go back to. E.G. Small clubs may never re-open, larger ones will have to operate quite strict health criteria for some time to come which will limit how many can attend them.  The UK suggests May June 2021 before doors will be opened, but 2022 before any sort of norm is apparent.

Those deaf who have rooms hired in churches or paid for by local authorities may find those areas unwilling to reopen without guarantees of social distancing etc and if the deaf are able or willing to comply with quite stringent insurance rules as well.  Deaf could be stuck between a rock and a hard place, as the state, the local authorities, the NHS, and the various organisations (or even pubs), that accommodate deaf as was the norm before demand safe socialising.

One wonders if any but the larger clubs have that ability. The nomadic nature of the deaf (who commute from one deaf club to another every week as part of their lifestyles), will have to change too, the tier system ensures deaf must comply.  I did read yesterday in the UK, public houses and clubs may insist on the proof you are covid free and vaccinated before you can enter, would that apply to clubs for the deaf too?

The issue seems to be about rights and freedom, UK are not willing to carry cards etc which infringes they feel on their civil liberty, but covid cares for none of those things and business etc, has to protect itself (As does the deaf individual), would you attend a deaf club that had no social distancing and little respect for the danger of re-infection?  The nature of deaf interaction is face to face and old habits die hard.  Can small deaf clubs AFFORD to be covid secure? Has the people to ensure it?

A lot of commitment and training is needed too.  At the time of writing there is no suggestion that proof or vaccination or that you are covid free, will be issued or, if everyone must have either, it is still choice.  Of course, tests currently are no guarantee you are clear either and the new vaccines needs a few years before we see how effective they are.  E.G. There was no proof issued to deaf people who did not want to wear masks so they could lip-read, and a lot got abuse for being an issue of infecting others, clear masks never took off and many deaf didn't wear those either.

Friday, 4 December 2020

ASL/BSL and English

As a deaf person myself, we all deaf people who live in the US using two languages 24/7. The first language is ASL (American Sign Language) and the second language is English. We are ”switching our brain” daily and 24/7 for two different communities: hearing and deaf because hearing is using the English language and deaf is using ASL. 

ATR: It does appear the American deaf have a more positive approach to English, which is the opposite of the UK,  the home of it!   However, I would not go with the American claim of universal bilingualism, albeit ASL is a lot further down the road as a potential 'language' than BSL is, but both have issues of grammar still.  BSL has less than 50K signs and a poor grammatical structure with no academic references and less than 50 years old, whilst English has 238K words a complete grammar, and over a 1,000 years of development.

It pays testament to the internet more than anything else. If you cut through the interminable, lengthy, and obscure terminologies the Americans use, sign is still an issue, as averse to the Brits who cannot be bothered basically and adopting signed English at a much greater rate.

If all USA deaf were bilingual, they still prefer to not use it and attack it if their online responses are anything to go by, and huge reluctance to caption or subtitle individual output, the same in the  UK.  It appears based on a view English undermines sign language and its culture, which is untrue, it actually can enhance it, and certainly, the deaf would advance a lot further by acquiring it.  

It is said, the USA has 'too much' diversity and democracy, and trying to accommodate too many, and it will fail and create more problems as a result.  I am told it has about 10 primary languages, whereas the UK tends to suggest there is only 1 and it isn't BSL.  Despite widespread usage of Urdu and Polish. The case is far more justified in those languages than BSL because there are 400,000 Urdu speakers, and 546,000 who speak polish compare that with 15,000 who insisted in the UK census they used BSL and still get more public access.

Minority education isn't a feature in the UK and tends to be opposed, BSL has fallen foul of that by default..  The Welsh language is the only one we really see in media and education and only then in Wales itself.  

E.G: Welsh is said to be potentially up to 4,000 years old, Welsh is one of the oldest living languages in Europe. Welsh originates from the Celtic language spoken by the ancient Britons.

BSL is less than 50. The USA approach to free speech means a fair amount of discrimination is OK because of the fine line between challenging statements and claims.  Everyone cannot do what they want, or when they want to do it, 1,000s of laws exist to say you can't.   In the USA every state has its own variations too.

The UK has no real way to enforce discriminations despite 5 laws to do it, the 'sue everyone for anything and everything', culture doesn't operate in the UK, and the nature of opposing discrimination means whatever an individual attains cannot set precedence, which usually means every single deaf person has to go it alone, then the UK government removed their right to free legal aid (But not for illegal migrants?),  making it impossible to launch a case unless you had your own financial wherewithal.  The UK in effect put lawbreakers rights above deaf ones.

The European Union (Now a system the UK has rejected and left), could only make recommendations to the UK and then hope the UK accepted those, (As they tried in the 1990s to empower BSL and 31 other minority languages), but the UK paid only lip-service to it, 76% of deaf schools had closed and 80% of deaf clubs followed, and despite recent success in gaining a 'BSL Act' the base for it to work has been decimated and BSL in education has not been endorsed either.

To date, only Scotland Ireland have endorsed a BSL 'Act', with Wales showing no interest or England.  They appear ineffective so far and only exist as an 'image' rather than a major advance in access.  More profile but still less legal clout. The 'sticking point' being choice, and a reluctance to empower a minority choice over a parental and state educational approach.  A BSL 'immersive' approach would fail to gain any real support with parents and the state would still insist there is a need for the deaf to acquire English.  Attempts to get BSL on the curriculum have been 'left on the table' for the last 6 years.  Nobody really has the desire or will to endorse it, at least to date.

The 'American way' is hamstrung by its own approaches and reluctance to apply logic and common sense to minority demands in case some discrimination 'ism' or 'phobic' is assumed.  They are struggling to keep up with new ones every other week being mooted. It is an issue the UK is starting to experience as well. One man's 'meat' is another's poison etc, and the right to not agree is paramount, but that premise is under attack, various extreme areas exploit it as a grey area by silencing debate and discussion.

At some point, they are going to get NO for an answer because you can never please all the people all the time.  We gave terrorists rights and a platform for hate.......... now we are endorsing a deaf elite as well.

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Deaf elitism (II)

Deaf elitism is a fact, and its got a whole lot worse the last 15 years as they utilise access and equality law to do the exact opposite for their own area.  A right to blame others for their being deaf and a right to isolate themselves as a culture, whilst blaming that too on hearing 'not being able to, or refusing to sign for them.' and all with nil proof to back it up.  But hey they are doing OK out of it with their dubious awareness plugs that actively exclude others. 

The reality is activism made ASL and BSL a financially viable commodity, so it encouraged other hearing people to support their nonsense, after all, where would deaf BE without a hearing interpreter? or a hearing-run college course to validate them? or where would a terp work if they had alternatives?    This ensures pretty much there is nowhere for the deaf to go anyway, and this enables the extremist deafies who claim everyone is against the deaf.

How do you identify the deaf elite? they are the ones who don't need to rely on sign, are pretty much oral educated, they lip-read,  and insist all deaf people sign because you cannot prove differently, or if you do, simply go at them as discriminators or deaf haters, easy-peasy.

Cause 4?

A newish venture of a socially driven private area raising funds for charity (After they realised just give and others can make a decent living by pocketing 5% of all that is raised and charities cannot be bother to rattle tins at people any more).  Ensuring members DON'T dictate how a charity is run is far better, given the RNID raises and does more than any of them put together the facts don't seem to support deaf member-driven ventures.

A recent social media post by them extolls the virtue of 'member -driven' charities, this raised a few laughs at the RNID etc who preferred sacking them if they sign, or just letting them sweep the floors of the office while preferring to court celebs and politicians instead who have hard of hearing relatives.  One wonders if this venture really examined how effective deaf member-driven charities actually are?

E.G. The ELS, where 100s of deaf lost their support, and 70 staff lost their jobs because of an inability to manage their finances. Maybe the ultimate in member-driven deaf charities? like the British Deaf Association (The BDA), whose criteria and rules would put Hitler to shame regarding who is or isn't deaf or who signs correctly and doesn't, who last year stood by as an exodus of ALL their trustees took place with allegations of bullying by the executive?  

Unfazed they admitted a new batch who know when to keep their mouths shut and oversee threats to members of court action if they dare reveal how decisions are made there.  Perhaps member-driven in deaf terms means exclusion except to those they approve of, which is what Cause four was saying it is against, oops, not done your homework have you...

If cause four published a blacklist of deaf charities that don't enable and they won't raise funds for,  it would have more going for it, but I suspect profit, not democracy is the aim of it all.