Friday, 6 November 2020

21 Reasons to avoid sanity

It's time for another bout of COVID madness. Being stuck indoors via the UK lockdown is NOT fun unfortunately unless you are on the phone/computer/iPad or whatever all day talking bollox and trivia or 'zooming' total strangers, and asking them why they are doing the same, you can be stuck with just turning the TV on, or posting rubbish like this to pass the time, which is my habit, i.e. up until COVID 19 reared its head something, I've been too pissed to care mostly.  I thought daytime TV was for old people trapped in care homes or day centres, that or having frequent nappy changes but it seems coma TV is the televised norm now.  The puzzle is why they extended Coma TV to prime TV at weekends.

Rather reluctantly I turned my TV set on and discovered it had nearly 200 channels on it, they must be breeding them, I thought only 2 existed? The BB of C or that other one with adverts about washing powder... 98% were unintelligible because me being deaf there was no access to them or they were programs made by idiots without much of a life and with the most boring hobbies or lives on the planet, from watching birds flying about to sitting behind a fishing rod catching fish, and getting pissed in sheds,  or collecting used bus tickets, called for some reason nobody explains 'Extreme' hobbies to inject some interest, one was about extreme flower arranging, just when you thought it was time to do some gardening the whole place is a toxic minefield apparently.

Up until now, I had no idea catching fish was dicing with death, or why on EARTH people would want to wander around the woods with binoculars staring at birds flying about, perhaps its a metaphor for something naughty? but I only saw a few owls not much to turn you on there but I suppose it takes all sorts.  I guess that's where the 'extreme' element kicks in, they are all as mad as a box of frogs and you have to avoid them and safer to watch from the other side of the screen.

Surfing the channels and only just managing to avoid RSI, I came across a daily TV 'magazine' program filled with very strange people talking about purple striped skirts being the new black, a competition where the prize was £20,000 IF you remembered your own name (I failed that one), but the text entry fee was an arm and a leg so its money for old rope apparently, they get people sending in £50K's worth of texts, so on a winner every time, amazingly nobody won this week...  That, and cooking food, no one with a taste bud would eat, and only enough for a starving sparrow, watched by a panel obviously recruited from Hitlers Gestapo, mostly failures who were failed for being too critical.

Some asparagus cooked raised a few eyebrows I gather because they cooked it 21 seconds too little or too much and the wrong way round which is tantamount to major crime and the police are on standby in riot gear, in case they get a bit wayward with the fish knives. Cooking food is being taken seriously for some reason I never understood because I only eat takeaways and prefer to let others poison me.

I finally found one section of this ridiculous program that appealed to me, it was covering the latest wines from the local supermarket stores, which didn't cover the one I use which sells bottles of wine from Western Patagonia 5 for £10, and 20 cans of Mexican rotgut, for £15 for some reason they said was a little downmarket, but I defy Covid to get past it.

Today they said they were specialising in 'Rose' wines, which is liquid sugared drinks women drink mostly and quite lethal if you are diabetic.   Women drink it because it is pink and tasteless or something... However, the presenter (a male who had just come out as Gay after having 9 kids and being married for 30 years),  lapped it all up and was quite expert on it revealing his secret vice was Rose having left real-ale to the straights some years ago, however, he declined to identify if this Rose was the one he was seen with having vegetarian tattoos and a beard.  His co-presenter threw up after two glasses she tasted and demanded to know where the gin was.

This one' the expert said 'is a cheeky one from the Dordogne region' (I know I've met him and cheeky isn't the term I use), "the vineyard is just 10 years old and run by English people," (who apparently escaped the rat race in the UK to join Le rat race in France instead).  "tastes a bit like hedgerow,' she said, 'but fruity.. with a hint of lemon'  Not that I have tasted hedgerow lately to compare what fruit it was actually compared to but...

There was some talk about 'berries' and 'cinnamon' and I started to lose interest, all I can say there is a distinct lack of cinnamon in the hedges around here, just plastic bags full of dog s.h.i.t. hanging from them.  Rose is a bit like an anaemic red wine which just tastes no matter how they brew it, like it is sifted through dirt first and god knows what they put on it maybe horse manure from a horse with gastroenteritis (Which is a French term for 'dodgy belly').  I get the same thing myself after 10 pints and a vindaloo.

Another wine just flown into Sainsbury's (and deliberately violating the social distancing by the look of it), an expert opined "This rose it really is different, it is made WITH roses..'  Have the french run out of grapes?  Or is that yet another side issue of COVID 19?  Despite doing their best, both presenters tasted a mouthful and ran for the toilet, leaving the expert non-plussed (what DOES non-plussed mean?).  I decided TV is not for me and definitely not for people to look at in the daytime without medication.  

If they decided to include lagers of the world or ciders with bits of wood in it, I might be tempted because that's all I drink.  I just think them using toffee apples as well, was one advance too far personally.   It's ok to stick one on top of the lager for the women but it sets a bad example to the kids, despite including at least one of their 5 a day I don't think cider counts...

The nearest I got to know about wine was following my Uncle Ifan, (known locally as 'Ifan Drip'), because of his love of emptying pub drip trays.  He has an educated palate, sadly that's as far as his education got... he has drunk everything that is liquid and a few things that were borderline.  He said 'The clue boyo is to look at the numbers, the higher the numbers the quicker you can get pissed on it, it's all the same stuff just different labels and bottle shapes that's all, that's just for the knobheads to look intelligent, they spend more time sniffing it than drinking it, and if it is that good, why do they spit it out after? also, you have to stop using piddling little glasses, or big glasses then putting a spoonful in it. Filthy habit, the French started it and they eat gastropods, nuff said...

"It's best to use a half-pint glass instead or a waste of drinking time trying to fill up the small ones."  From what I saw of Ifan there was little doubt he was right on that although he didn't talk much, as he is face down on the ground mostly, I've never really seen him upright.  

Another tip he gave was don't drink wines from S America or the EU areas of Croatia, Romania or Transylvania, they put diesel in it, and it doesn't really deter vampires, also, the South Americans overdo the Samba when they aren't burning down rain forests and that 'burnt wood' smell is a dead giveaway.  But, it does come cheaper than petrol.  The EU cigarettes are OK at two quid for 500, but have enough tar in and rubber content to lay a new motorway with, and fit the car out with 4 new tyres and a spare.

Now if my Uncle Ifan had a program that WOULD be worth watching... he gets to the nitty-gritty of things, at least when he is erect. 

[You are wondering where, 21 comes in.....]

Petition to save Townfield from Mainstreaming.



We are parents of Deaf children who attend Townfield Primary School.*  We are asking for your support to keep the Deaf Base open at Townfield  Primary School.  The base has been at the heart of the school for over 30 years and new management has decided that Deaf childrens lives no longer matter and they want to close the Deaf Base.

Deaf children struggle at every stage of their education.  Every child deserves the chance to shine at school, and deaf children are no exception.” Ten dedicated teaching units for deaf children in schools are being closed every year.  We don't want the Base at Townfield to be another one. In the base these children get an opportunity to be around their deaf peers and to learn about their own deaf identity.  It helps them to build their confidence and makes them more resilient to help them with the inevitable challenges they will be faced with in the future.

If the base closes these children will be sent to other schools with no deaf resources and more importantly separated from their deaf friends.  For some of these children, their only form of communication is sign language and they may be placed in a school with inadequate support unable to communicate with the other children or even their teachers.  They will become isolated and withdrawn.

Please help us save the base and save the future for these children and many more that could attend the base in the future.

*Townfield Primary School

Townfield Primary School has resourced provision which meets the needs of up to 12 children aged from 4 to 11 years, who are deaf and have significant additional needs. This will include children who have British Sign Language/Sign Supported English, but may also have a recognised communication difficulty.

Deaf pupils at the base will develop an understanding of the deaf culture and have access to a signing peer group. Each pupil has an individual, structured programme of inclusion into mainstream classes where appropriate.

New re-brand, same old?

Since WHEN, has the RNID been the home of deaf culture?  It removed all its social media contact, closed down its 'open forum' and feedback site, shut down regional contacts, (How does that make the RNID more accessible?),  and recently sold off areas of its deaf support and environmental aid arms.  It will be interesting to see if they allow constructive criticism to be aired via their new magazine.  If it is anything like the old one, only the RNID staff contributed to it.  

It's an issue they have failed to move on and not tapping into current opinion and the daily realism of those with hearing loss and concentrating yet again on the clinical model which was their undoing at the start, there is still a dire lack of inclusion OF those with hearing loss.    People suffering from hearing loss need to relate with people who have similar issues, not people who don't.  The RNID is about things, not people.

Their admittance they weren't inclusive and they had to change still hasn't hit the spot as they seem determined to carry on the same way with what looks like a pretty bland revamp developed by a 10 yr old, but worse, have removed many options that could have been more inclusive, like engaging WITH those who have hearing loss and not treating them like some sort of customer.  You cannot engage with people who are prevented from interacting with you!

"RNID’s new look marks a fresh chapter for the charity.  The UK-based deafness and hearing loss charity has gone back to its original name for a new era, working with agency SomeOne and brand consultant Dan Dufour on an approachable visual identity

Founded in 1911, for the last century the Royal National Institute for Deaf People’s mission has been to make life inclusive for deaf people and those with hearing loss, whether through pioneering new treatments for tinnitus or promoting access to sign language. The charity, which has been known as Action on Hearing Loss since 2011, decided to rebrand and rethink its mission in a bid to reach a wider community of people.

Along with the worrying statistic that an estimated 14 million adults in the UK will be deaf or have hearing loss by 2035, the charity cites the daily issues deaf people have faced during the pandemic, such as the barriers to communication caused by face coverings, as a key reason for reimagining its brand. To mark the new chapter, the charity has returned to its original name of RNID, after research found that it was more loved and better recognised by the general public.

Alongside the new name, a refreshed visual identity has been designed by London-based agency SomeOne, in collaboration with brand consultant Dan Dufour and the charity’s in-house design team. “We might be over a century old, but it doesn’t mean we’re stuffy and formal, in fact quite the opposite,” says RNID’s head of brand, Cheryl Hughes. “We want to show people that we are dynamic and responsive, and inspire the belief that together we can create a fully inclusive society.”

At the heart of the rebrand is a new word mark that resembles a smiley face, a muted colour palette of pinks and greens that avoids the charity branding cliché of primary colours, and a set of ten of playful speech bubbles that feature across its communications. New photography and illustrations were commissioned to reflect the full range of people supported by the charity, including those with cochlear implants and hearing aids.

Meanwhile, a more conversational tone of voice has been introduced, with the guidelines published on RNID’s website to encourage the charity’s community to help shape the language it uses. RNID digital director Michael Wilkinson, says: “Culture and language is constantly evolving and we want to make sure we reflect that in the way we speak as a brand. That’s why we’re going to be publishing our tone of voice publicly and inviting people to help shape its future direction.”

Thursday, 5 November 2020


The issue is E.N.T. Depts (UK), are an area to determine your loss degree and type so DB-related.  Assessing how a person relates to that assessment is not really their area of expertise, it is a psychological thing as everyone can respond differently to hearing loss.

Some, when informed their hearing, may rapidly deteriorate, and/or will gradually go altogether react differently also.  Others issued with hearing aids or CI's will also respond differently. Hearing aid wearers tend to be the most complacent in that when a hearing aid does allow them to follow speech better, adopt the position and don't think any more of it except when an aid or a battery fails them or their hearing makes an aid a decoration more than a viable assist.  

E.G. There are 3 million with hearing loss in the UK who need to wear one and won't for reasons more about peer acceptance, image, or fashion than anything.  Various legislations and acts or laws on inclusions etc, haven't really empowered anyone but the legal profession and the activist.

Reaction to hearing loss can vary considerably and by sex too.  Females tend to adapt far better than males do simply because the female is a far better communicator mostly and has acquired subtle communication skills men don't seem to acquire socially.  Females are also more liable to get an issue seen to far earlier whilst the male will plod on until it gets really hard to manage, it's good to talk but males prefer to keep silent as if admitting things are difficult is some weakness or other.

ADVICE on how to manage hearing loss tends to be clinical only,  or stat messages from 'support' areas that don't really live in the real world, and those with loss are more concerned about family and social aspects of it.  E.N.T. is not equipped to offer that advice, indeed with so much political correctness/deaf rights etc sticks to own script and stays neutral.  Most with hearing loss DON'T really know what works best for them, and a lot assume approaches that they think suits them but actually isn't all that effective.

It would be far easier perhaps to do a more in-depth assessment of what really works for those with hearing loss and not what they would 'prefer' to use.  Ability and environment tend to dictate that far more than a better hearing aid or a smattering of sign language will.  Planning ahead is necessary too, and this never gets done really until the loss becomes too much.  Today you will get 60% tomorrow maybe less than 30%  later on nothing, then what?

Very obviously social aspects of hearing loss are a minefield anyway, with Hearing aid/useful hearing areas solely interested in maintaining what they had prior to that loss.  Whilst those early deaf or severe deaf doing their own thing.  Despite many years of suggested inclusions and acceptances, nothing has really changed for either area.

Social Services etc are one area that gets involved but they are hamstrung with rules and social aspects take lesser interest with them than something they may consider more urgent.  There is an acceptance if you are older then deaf is par for the course etc so isn't a priority. You can be advised to attend a class on sign or Lip-reading, or given the address of the nearest deaf club, experiences have shown neither actually work, they aren't designed to assist people struggling with loss and they near all demand useful hearing anyway. If you had that would you even attend such classes? (Discuss!).  Deafness and loss approaches are very different and not one (Or even dual approach), fits all, age and such is an issue too, as are when the loss occurs.

Over the years ATR has read and seen 1,000s of areas offering advice on how to cope and how to socialise how to communicate (And where), yet we are still at day one of diagnosis really with little or no real options or choices presenting themselves that would assist easy socialising with any area even with superior technologies because we cannot change perceptions of those who don't have your issue.  To expect an E.N.T. dept to advise on all those things is unrealistic and, that isn't their remit either.

There are a few areas in the NHS that offer psychiatric support to those struggling but they aren't dealing with loss as such but the stress and management of it, mental health.   That all rely as far as the patient WITH loss, on how much they can hear or will be able to, so it's all a vicious circle.  There are very very few who lose hearing who can shrug it all off and carry as best they can anyway.  It all goes back to diagnose and assessment and with a real plan to deal with the life aspects of it day one, and not when it gets too bad and other issues have presented themselves after years of struggle, we don't have that.

We need to understand hearing loss can be progressive and offer up real issues in our lives and not just sit there hoping for the best because it will be too late then.

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Only Deaf people should teach sign?

This is politics and representation gig more than an issue of 'who is best to teach sign'.  From a Brit perspective, there just aren't the profound deaf teachers qualified to teach in educational areas at all.  From a personal perspective, I attended a Learner BSL class where the tutor was born deaf,  after the lesson started it was clear she wasn't being followed by the predominant hearing pupils who attended. 

It was only with my assistance the class was able to proceed effectively, as I knew enough signs to explain to the puzzled there what she was saying (or rather not saying as she didn't speak and used sign only), which was an issue with learners hearing and they were not convinced it was valid on 'Deaf' grounds despite her signing deaf don't speak, and that is why she didn't, so hearing had to first learn that reality.  Yet there I was living prove she was wrong.  She was fortunate any of them turned up for a second lesson.

The reality is BSL in the UK still does not have enough valid signs or established grammar to be taught effectively.  BSL learner classes vary by the tutor, there is no set system of teaching it because various deaf areas oppose a norm on regional grounds. ASL seems to have a better norm as such than the UK does and Europe is completely random.  Certainly, there are no deaf teachers at further educational and academic levels simply because the specialist signs do not exist to teach.  

This was discussed in some detail a few years ago where what deaf 'teachers' there were at that time insisted English and its grammar should not be an integral part of their work, it was discrimination and opposed a cultural right.  This meant by default they couldn't qualify in any educational setting because they wanted to omit an essential part of the curriculum.  There were concerns about abusing the educational system to promote deaf culture instead of learning basics.

We can refer also to the TRAINING of BSL interpreters here where the judging was awful for want of a better word, undertaken by biased judges who often failed Terps in exams because their own 'regional' signs clashed with what the interpreters had learnt in lessons, costing potential interpreters £1,000s of pound invested in qualifying, a number then gave up bothering.  Appeals in that certain signs were valid  because they were in the BSL dictionary fell literally, on deaf ears, 'It isn't what we use..'

Deaf teachers need a grounding in English or they won't be allowed in a classroom, and what is the point leaving the deaf without the means to follow what the country uses?  Ignorance and illiteracy isn't a deaf right.

Should deaf charities be able to count?

A recent FB query asking if it is worthwhile investing in proper accounting software?  Erm YES it is unless you haven't read your eligibility status for being a charity, you have to provide accurate accounts to be valid. Note: Abacus is old school and the BDA ran out of beads for theirs years ago.

To SAGE Accounting experts

I am looking for a friend who is highly experienced in the Sage 50 for Charities and Sage Cloud accounting. The reason why is that I need to understand the difference and whether a charity should be able to go for Sage Cloud accounting or not.

Charities like the BDA and other BSL led groups certainly need people who can count, a number have gone bust losing jobs and support for deaf people, mostly because they run these charities like some feudal system and not a professional needs-led system.  Huge amounts of public and corporate funding have gone down the drain.  It's the policies of Mr Macawber.  

What did Mr Micawber say? Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. 

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. 

No doubt why the RNID is more successful and abandoned support to these deaf again.  The BDA replaced basic needs for a cultural fest and lost their trustees as a result resulting in a new set of dodo's to make it even worse.  ELS went bust losing 90 people their jobs and a lot of deaf with no support in place.  It's issues like these that suggest far better those deaf reverted to the Social Service set up of years ago, at least then we can hold someone responsible for the mess they are making and a system that deals with basic support/need and not faffing about with culture and language politics to the detriment of deaf people.

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Toward a deaf cure.

Blimey capitalising the 'D' 3 times alone, bit obsessive, we are assuming they are talking about born deaf who are unable to compare hearing to deafness anyway, so naturally supporting the only status quo they know, fearing the 'unknown', and will they cope with that?  Currently, their education and lifestyles won't enable them.

The issue of genetics they haven't understood, it is a research aimed at the prevention of deafness not the eradication of those already deaf.  The issue of genetic intervention if/when it becomes safely possible will still be a final decision made by the parents.  Given a choice, we doubt the majority of parents potentially would demand a child with a disabling issue if a choice is there to prevent it.  It also means 10m with hearing loss will support intervention as well in the UK.  It isn't only a few who are born with deafness but the millions who acquire it who will be pushing for that cure. Loss equals disability.

Again we are talking about a theoretical near 90%+ option of the eradication of the deaf gene, however, there are more than 46+ of them so targeting would need identification first.  Research has in fact already shown an ability to target some deaf genes, but uncertainty if a genetic 'bullet' would hit the deaf gene alone or others around it,  with unknown repercussions, but who knows? they are getting better every day at it.

The battleground such as it is, by some areas of the deaf community, is to prevent such identification and let 'nature take its course'.  Obviously, this means more deaf being born, when that may be an issue that can be addressed.  Hence more deaf people for the community.

Very obviously deaf and all types of disabled people living now may well feel this is a 'down' on them, their lives and its quality,  and what it costs the systems to 'maintain' them.  One insurance company suggested it would not insure a child born disabled if, the cure was there and a parent had refused it.  Ominously this was supported in some welfare areas looking for an opt-out to financial and care support for them.  

Very few disabilities have their issue unpinned with grants and funding for a 'disability culture', as they do for the deaf in the western world.  If genetics intervenes in the womb then this does not affect them at all, at least not for a generation. 

Deafness isn't just genetics, less than point 2% of all deaf people are born that way as an inherited issue via a deaf gene or carries them.   There are other medical issues that can make people go deaf, even accidents and loud noise etc.  Whether genetics can address those, we don't know where the research is taking that approach.

Various surveys undertaken with the decision-makers (The parents), favour genetic intervention for all types of disabilities assuming the intervention is safe and the child born healthy. Only a few deaf parents object to such intervention, but with 9 out of 10 parents of the deaf being hearing, the foregone conclusion is a positive for genetics.

There was a case in the USA where a deaf parent was sued by their own deaf child for enabling him to be born deaf ruining his life options.  The case suggested deaf parents were hypocritical and afraid they couldn't cope with a hearing child, and that they had actively refused to take various supplements or take tests while pregnant to identify issues in the womb, as such exposed him to disablement, parents countered having a child was a human right and it wasn't about culture, and there was no intervention available.

Most deaf parents don't set out to deliberately have a deaf child, some claim that but unless their history is generations of deaf ancestors and they carry a gene anyway choice is debatable it is a right or an inevitability.  Most Deaf parents don't have deaf children anyway, also take all the tests available to them to ensure their child is born safe and well.  They aren't supporting the 'let nature decide' view, after all, the community and culture do not do the upbringing and the child doesn't belong to that community either except by default at present.  Very obviously there is a counter issue with hearing children of deaf parents. CI's hearing aids etc are all overriding that inevitability by providing more options than they otherwise would have.

This 'playing to the Deaf gallery' approach made us wince really so naive and very uninformed too.  They aren't going to be the people making any decisions, so the point seems lost.  Genetic research is not about attacking deaf, but preventing deafness in the future.  In that respect they may worry their community won't exist as such, the alternative is that a child will be born not having to struggle as we all did, and no amount of access, recognition or support is going to endorse that struggle as a norm.  IF a choice is available Deaf culture will be trampled underfoot believe it.

The DWP: They want to hear from YOU.

 [Keep it clean]. A DWP procurement survey now open

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) wants to hear your views, thoughts and comments on how they procure programmes. They have issued a survey to help them develop a number of initiatives and to give providers the opportunity to tell them the aspects of procurement that they do well and the things they still have room to improve.   The survey is in 3 parts and covers:

Section A - 2020 DWP Employment Category Supplier Survey

Section B - Commercial Agreement for Employment and Health-Related Services (CAEHRS) – Feedback on the recent competition 

Section C - Market Engagement: Tier 3 and Flexible Support Fund (FSF) Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) 2

Your feedback and input is valuable to the future design of Tier 3 and FSF DPS 2 and how DWP develops and improves what they deliver and how. 

Please use this link to access the survey.

Please note that any answers you provide will be treated anonymously and that there is the ability to save and go back to the survey, so there is no need to complete it all in one go.

The deadline for the completion of the survey will be 20th November.