Saturday, 14 March 2020

Coronavirus Update (UK): No support in sight.

Image result for coronavirusBecause of the current outbreak, there are serious issues arising regarding how the UK NHS health system can accommodate 10m with hearing loss issues.  ATR is receiving reports hospitals, clinics and surgeries are not offering support to this sector.  An area that relies on lip-reading was told there is no support available, in fact, there was no system extant at all and never has been.

Patients with hearing loss who can benefit by text support were told again 'No system is extant the NHS can contact for that.'   They were later told to use SignRelay when they don't sign.  It was pointed out Hard of Hearing did not use sign language and unless it had real-time captions, then no use at all, then the NHS suggested facetime which also had non-capability of real-time captioning.  That 68% of clinics, 84% of hospitals had no viable loop systems either hearing aid access is a real issue too.

Hard of Hearing were concerned as were deaf people that mask-wearing made communication even more difficult.  Worse is following as Interpreters for the BSL user suggested they would NOT support deaf people in hospital with this virus or the flu because they had to protect own families first.  This led to anger older deaf and others in care homes were going to be left with no help and even home carers refusing to turn up there.

It is all very well telling people to stay at home for 7 days, but when you are already with ongoing health issues, or elderly in a home there is nowhere else you can go but to a hospital.  It would seem the hardest hit will be near 10m with hearing loss as the BSL user has a number of established access avenues already, but that may not be the case if it gets worse.  Other suggestions are to use family support despite state advice to stay away from them as you offer a risk to own family.

With 86% of all health areas offering no viable loop access either, if anything, this virus should concentrate the apathetic 10m minds and encourage them to start thinking about their own access requirements in a serious fashion or, suffer very real and serious consequences.  If we are all to rely online then the huge majority of vulnerable and older people at risk and need help, won't get any,  because statistically, they ARE NOT online.

ATR Contacting 3 BSL terps yesterday for advice was told if we contracted coronavirus DON'T call them, they need to protect own families first, so it seems even the well-supported sign user is going to get issues too.  Advice is one thing, the daily reality is going to be something else entirely.

Will the coronavirus offer real impetus to the access needs of us all?  it does not look like it.  Technology may help if you have a speech to text app that is reasonable, but again there are still deaf people demanding BSL instead, it is time to bury politics of the deaf kind, before coronavirus buries YOU.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Assistance dogs (UK) an announcement.

Assistance dogs for the deaf organisation are sending out letters to dog owners urging them to join a central register of valid assistance dogs and owners.  [At least they should be doing that].

They should be doing this in response to numerous concerns some dog owners are abusing the concessions a service dog provides to its owner, by purchasing online authentic-looking dog vests cheaply with 'Trained assistance dog' written on them for their own untrained pets.  

This has caused issues for the deaf, and for blind people, with publicly accessible  area owners claim to be unsure who qualifies or if the animal actually is trained and some have been banning dogs to comply with health and safety laws.  Deaf and Blind have also complained about taxi owners doing the same thing.

Purchasing a dog vest that states it is an assistance animal appears to be freely available without any checks at all via Amazon and eBay as well as various dog supply outlets, with no check at all the purchasers had a trained animal.  ATR found 15 sites in as many minutes.  We gather there is a registration process in the USA and fraudulently claiming a pet is a trained animal can incur fines.

No such law appears to be extant in the UK. One enquirer claimed she was offered a hearing dog for the deaf vest with their official logo on from their own site with no checks.

Image result for deaf assiatnce dogsThe problem also appears to be in that there is no legal requirement to insist on an assistance dog in the united kingdom is either registered or indeed the owner has to provide real proof their animal is a trained assistance animal.  

Currently, owners point to the law and the 'proof' is there via the vest the dog is wearing. To this end, a suggestion is being made to register all owners and their trained animals, and to then issue then with a validation card they can produce if asked and a barcode individually issued for a nominal fee that a dog can wear on its vest that can be scanned as proof.

Concerns are being raised the UK charities still have no legal requirement to set up any such a register which can render the whole thing pointless.  Frauds are buying these vests to confuse challenges.  Is this an issue the RSPCA can take up?

Disabled with other less obvious disabilities are also buying 'trained assistance animal' vests for their pets.  Mainly on the grounds, their pet is emotional support of some kind.  Again whether such pets are recognised by the systems or trained as such is unclear too.

Coronvirus: New Advice.

Dear ATR

Image result for letter to the editorToday ATR includes a long missive sent via a Facebook PM to him, and leaves the reader to form own view.


I read with great interest recent coverage of the deaf approaches to the arts and more recently, in the way they see the inclusion of deaf people.  It's a perennial issue and one I don't think in the long run will benefit the BSL user, being as it is based on a form of acceptable isolation by the people using it.  

It's a really novel set up they have a re-invented wheel in most part, but still unique and to be scrupulously fair, ATR does at times look very negatively on their determination to stand alone, and apart to maintain their way of life. Which today is a matter of choice. ATR maintains this is not the case and the choice is being made by the few not the many.  ATR is on a loser challenging personal choice even if He can prove it is a bad or pointless one.

Diminishing deaf schools and specialisations and even fewer interpreters to make interaction viable and issues abound on just how do they teach deaf people to manage a hearing world? In that respect, ATR has a valid point to make.  As it all seem to slow down real changes that will benefit everyone.

Today text rules pretty much, and technology has decimated deaf clubs since deaf no longer have to meet in any club, or natter all hours 'Under the Lamp', to maintain the community, and deaf youth as youth everywhere drops the old attitudes and wants areas that suit them age-wise.   That area of the community has moved out of the clubs, but it still hasn't moved into the mainstream, and as ATR repeatedly insists, this is because they are pursuing culture and language to ensure the status quo is still there, albeit what that status quo actually is, seems to vary a lot, only time will tell if that approach is successful.  

It does seem the BSL deaf follow the mainstream route of online socialising, [which I don't think works for the deaf the same way because sign is still a minority mode used even with the deaf, and online, deaf are still pursuing a segregational approach].

I see lots of sign online, mostly it is of ASL, but BSL to a far lesser extent and near all 'Deaf' sites using mostly text in response [which is great, because it displays at least online they can contribute equally on hearing platforms],  ATR insists they won't use it for that purpose, as the aim is to stay in some 'parallel' aspect instead.  Deaf say not it is just empowering their own culture and language.

The community as it tends to show young deaf do not really mirror the online images of Deaf people other than they sign.  Grassroots have moved forward, but a lot of old habits die-hard and some (Like their dedicated charities and professional support), are trying desperately to backpedal.  One area to prevent the social aspect folding, the other area to ensure pro support still have a job to do, but ATR pointed out many deaf themselves are 'cashing in on culture' so do not want inclusion and 'vested interests' are at work to confuse the emancipation of the deaf person.

I think we would all rather see all deaf and with hearing loss sorting the matter of access and inclusion out like adults and that reflected in a decent and coherent debate to put a stop to all the arguments.  ATR suggests that is never happening or wanted currently.  ATR could be an asset to the deaf community, he obviously wants the issues resolved, displays a considerable knowledge of the community, and wants everyone moving forward, but there is still viewed a lot of negativity in the output and it may be too late already for either crossing that bridge.

Using imaging and profile campaigning is again showing how adept some deaf are, and, able to match hearing campaigns and even surpass them, what we need to know,  is where it is all heading? and given a lot of heart promotion is blurring the head realities.    There is a real problem they can paint themselves into a corner.

The BSL only areas just seek to maintain that status quo despite being based on the 'Deaf'' version of inclusion, active marginalising, and the labelling and stereotyping of the deaf by themselves trading their stereotype for the mainstream version, which they insist, theirs is the only true and supported one.  ATR said they cannot show any numerical proof of that and using numbers that aren't applicable to them. 

That caused issues with many deaf who ATR claims do not sign at all, acquired after formative years, and the 'Deaf' blurring of imaging spilling over to areas like hearing loss and the hard of hearing, causing issues, since at the root of Deaf cultural aspiration they attack imaging of hearing loss.  A label is a label is a label, but few are seeing this. Next year another one will come out because of the desperate need of these deaf to maintain their ID.  Carry on ATR, I have stocked up on popcorn.


Thursday, 12 March 2020

Casting Call..

#1  Aren't 'BSL only' advertisements discrimination against deaf that don't sign? and a violation of commercial job advertising? They can say deaf they cannot demand BSL only.

#2 It looks like they're focusing on making a film in sign language, not just "a film with deaf people". Just a different opportunity. (Like, if they wanted Chinese people who could speak Chinese, I wouldn't think they were discriminating against Chinese people who couldn't speak Chinese 😊 Advertising for filming specify what they need all the time - tall, short, fat, thin, White people, Black people, wheelchair users Italian speakers, BSL users, all sorts! 😊)

#3  If only the same acceptances came from the BSL specific area, they are rather random in opposing 'deaf' inclusion if a signer is not included, we need the equality law to sort this out, because I believe the 'D' and 'd' thing is an abuse of equality a cultural 'assault' on hearing loss, as well as a grey area.  E.G. I was told it is 'illegal' to make 'non' signing' areas with deaf BSL people not allowed or invited to participate?  

#4  The reality is deaf cannot prevent HEARING acting as them so the bias then goes unequally against non-signing deaf or even the hard of hearing.  

#5  I suppose at the basis of all this is the continual suggestion if you are deaf, therefore, you sign which is not true actually.  

#6  As a side note does not BSL specific output marginalise the deaf?  If it is all about BSL people then, that is minority output, not inclusive output like watching foreign films with subtitles or another language, as one poster put it, but that is the misunderstanding, it suggests that area is playing both ends of the equality aspect using a cultural or language aspect to override their issue, which in turn affects views on how that same issue can affect others.  

#7  Thus these deaf forever portrayed as in some 'world of their own', and apart from everyone else, so what price inclusion? or point of their equality output?

#8 Can they even state deaf BSL users?  After all interpreters are hearing (and better signers), so they would be eligible surely?  Would the cast area prevent them from applying because they can hear?

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Language deprivation.

You can appreciate speech acquisition is difficult but the sign is a red line, isn't it? It's an all-encompassing modus that mostly goes against the host country norms via grammar and usage. This creates a parallel deaf world attempting to carry on doing own thing at disadvantage, whilst their own set up has no system to accommodate that, it also limits choices FOR deaf people and works on the basis others must adjust and comply with them because they cannot adapt themselves, (which is not true to a large extent).   The deaf countering with claims of discrimination hide the realities.

Sign is still an incomplete language and not a widely accepted language for the deaf, who have own ideas individually or by area what that language or sign is or should be, a lot is not learning-dependent but ability dependent.  With not enough signs or support to make it as viable either as a language, except within own areas happy to settle for less.  By accepting the limitations of sign they are accepting less access via its use.  nobody has yet translated Paddy Ladd's tome because it uses words and terms that there are simply no signs for, and recent deaf scientist having to 'make up' his own signs, no way to run a language is it?

You can liken it via a monoglot/native speaker from another country entering yours, but they will know unless they adapt they are going to be hugely disadvantaged in work, health and education e.g.  Only the deaf assume they learn to sign and the problem is hearing aren't so it's the hearing fault.  

The USA and western world approaches of respecting the usage of other languages against a desire for a common norm has meant deaf feel supported in setting up own enclaves where deaf do their own thing, there are many areas in the USA where only Hispanic is spoken, Jewish, or even Cantonese, in the recent history of this approach, none via the deaf have succeeded, and there are signs to suggest deaf young people don't want the restrictions a deaf community imposes on them by default.  Martha's Yard was one example.

Only these young people can break the impasse... and possibly less adopt complacency in letting everyone do as they want.  The USA (And UK), Achille's Heel is their tolerance, it hasn't managed to empower all has made multiculturalism a joke and encouraged segregation and sectarianism by right.  

The only good news is for endless jobs for deaf translators but... these vlogs are technical hoo-ha designed to prove.. what?


It is all based on a very simple truism, hearing people are scared of silence. Their first response is fear or terror at prolonged silence, yet, they assume it doesn't bother us.

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Hearing Regained.

Sophie Wooley
Regaining my hearing after a decade of deafness gave me imposter syndrome.

Sophie regained her hearing at 39. I started losing my hearing from the age of 18. I did not expect to go deaf, even though it runs in the family. Bits of my hearing identity kept falling off as I lost another frequency. I was in denial for years until I began using interpreters and stenographers (a person who transcribes speech). I made a success of my life, developed a tough skin and numbed myself. By my thirties I was almost totally deaf, with hearing aids no longer allowing me to follow speech. 

I avoided focussing on what I’d ‘lost’, but I often felt exhausted and excluded. I worried about my future. There was an option to regain my hearing through a cochlear implant, but like many in my situation I put it off. It involves having surgery to implant a high tech hearing device. The internal electrodes stimulate the auditory nerve directly, using digital signals generated by the implant. The brain registers the signals as sound. I was scared of skull surgery and I didn’t see the point, thinking it wouldn’t work any better than hearing aids, lip-reading and sign language. A cochlear implant user who’d gone deaf like me persuaded me to go for it when he said ‘All of my problems are gone’. I’d never heard anyone talk like this about implants and I thought he must be exaggerating. I was wrong. 

Soon after my Advanced Bionics implant was ‘switched on’ in 2013, at the age of 39, I was able to have easy conversations with people for the first time since my 20s. It was like the surgeon and audiologist had rewound time. I felt 21 again. I never thought this would happen to me. I went from hearing almost nothing, to being able to follow speech, with some added ‘cyborg’ perks that make my hearing friends green with envy. My younger sister implanted soon after me, and we can chat on the phone or walk and talk without looking at each other With the implant, I can bluetooth music direct to my processor. I can also switch to ultrazoom, which helps me hear the person in front of me in noisy places. 

And I can switch off sound whenever I want. In the first few weeks after I was activated, I felt constantly euphoric. It was a bit like falling in love, crossed with time travelling. The sound was also heightened and hallucinatory at first. The sonic weirdness was intensely beautiful, profound and often intensely funny – all at the same time.