Thursday, 6 August 2020

The NHS promise to Deaf people.

Deafblind Bravery award

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

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

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

New op restores hearing.

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

UIOLI Deaf lost it.

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

The case against the BBC.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Lol speech to text with a lithsp."

"Stanley Unwin eat your heart out..."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, 3 August 2020

YouTube Chaos

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

80% had NO hard of hearing content.

48% were signed only in ASL.

Less than 31% were captioned.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 2 August 2020

Sticking to the rules.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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