Saturday, 27 February 2021

I'm scared my signing is going...

A result of putting all eggs in one basket? A valid reason why ALL deaf need alternative options to sign reliance, and not least because she was struggling to find a sign to use, maybe this down to the single-handed finger/hand selling approach ASL users have.  It's very adept and clever but as highlighted a bit of carpal tunnel or arthritis, even RSI, you're screwed.

Welsh BSL Bill Open letter.

ATR (who didn't endorse a welsh BSL Bill proposal as it stands because it lacked inclusion), and challenged the proposer, gets responses.  (I hope allows this, as they have already blocked two attempts.)

What ATR wrote to the proposer:  

Hi Mark

I appreciate you gave me a hearing (So to speak!), but it is all academic anyway giving an election is looming.  Sadly pandering to lost causes may not be a reason to get our vote.  I've been deaf longer than many of these people have been alive, nobody is an expert except on their own issue.  

There is so much ignorance of deaf issues and hearing loss awareness, not least from charity, it serves no point to be proposing a piecemeal approach to child access or inclusion and, BSL users DON'T want including. The BSL Bill does not actually mention that, it is about sign language 'rights', based on a preference, not an identified need, and takes nil account of a deaf children's prospects as an adult, which means BSL isn't accessed without a 3rd party.  BSL just means more of the same reliances and state dependences etc and you and 47 others endorse that.  A price deaf children will have to pay not you.

Best Wishes

#1  There are some laws protecting the rights of groups, eg pregnant women, race, etc. This bill is so important for Deaf people whose first/preferred language is BSL. The ripple effect WILL help other deaf people who don't use BSL.  Be supportive to others, thank you.

#2  Here lies the issue, to include or not others. 'First'?  or 'Preferred'? they are not the same thing.  It is far simpler and more effective if (when BSL people run a campaign), they work with us all, not least because the more of us, the more they have to listen. If we don't speak for ourselves and allow others to do it, they will just ask for what they want. Do I support 300,000 hard of hearing here? or 1500 deaf? 60% who only use BSL part-time?  Why must I choose who gets equality and parity? 

The basis of the bill is aimed at the deaf child, this is the pat and stat approach of BSL activism to undermine objection by you having to challenge the deaf child, and their support areas, it's grossly unfair but very effective.  Deaf adults rarely front up themselves or if they do, do that from 'cover' of their community, so again challenge one, challenge all.  It is why hardly any HoH do but pay lip-service to it.

The bill as it stands if passed (It won't because its election time anyway), can be used for deaf adults too. We need to approach access collectively not piecemeal because this creates holes we can all fall through.   Not least the deaf who don't choose to use BSL. At the root of the BSL Bill is no mention of their own inclusion, only their sign rights. That must concern the deaf who are campaigning for it? Please don't assume my concern is negative or an attack, that is a Deaf smokescreen, to fend off debate.   They fear any debate on inclusion.  At some point, they have to emerge from their area to get political support and currently that is the sole way we have of raising issues or engaging with them. Debate is healthy, democratic, and a consensus is the right thing to do, singular approaches aren't. Let's move forward together.

#3  I have been partially deaf since the age of three. I have never used sign language; I feel that rather than SL being pushed as an "alternative" language , a better option would be to concentrate on the use of technology and devices such as Google Live Transcribe to generate subtitles to enable all parties to access the content. I remember going to groups listed as "hard of hearing" years ago and finding they had been taken over by deaf people using sign language. I felt excluded. As a hearing person, I met then said to me "You're not like them  you're too deaf for the hearing world and not deaf enough for the deaf world...."

#4  Well the 'Deaf' versus everyone else has long been the approach of some. You sign, or sit in some corner etc of course excluding signers from HoH clubs leaves you open to discrimination but they can exclude you by the simple act of only using BSL. 9 times out of 10 you just have to leave or adopt the sign yourself.  It isn't equality in action is it? Who is making effort? it isn't them is it?

#5  If it isn't CI's hearing aids or oral approaches it is hearing who they blame, I tend to marginalise such areas and people as irrelevant and divisive. There is no place for it, or them. I've been deaf longer than these activists have been alive there is little they can tell me about it.  Or about sign effectiveness.  A preference isn't a need but this escapes most, we might all 'prefer' to be/do something else but ability and realism determine. We use whatever because we know being dogmatic only makes it worse, I don't want to be a martyr for its own sake. 

#6  I think they are on a high a present and don't feel any need to include others. You are either an idealist or an abuser of deaf rights via challenge you cannot win.  I  can only applaud those trying.

#7  Yes it is a brave person these days who challenges a minority for sure, but, when its decisions affect others I don't think you have a choice. They are so protective and touchy and others leap to their defence without though sadly. Victims they aren't.  I should have half what they have already.  

Note: Comments are gathered from more than one social media UK site.  The idea to get wider views on this issue than just the BSL one.

Thursday, 25 February 2021

BSL Bill Wales (a clarification).

ATR responds to recent claims on a Limping Chicken site with a headline 'Deaf News: British Sign Language Bill proposal passes in Welsh Parliament.'  It isn't a parliament it is a Senedd and the poster is English.  The headline did not reflect what happened or, the nature of it.  

Mark Isherwood states: Today’s vote was on my Member's Legislative Proposal to ‘Note a proposal for a Bill’.

A note on a note effectively.  ATR is welsh. A BSL Bill has NOT Happened, has NOT been approved, the Senedd in Wales has accepted a Senedd Member 'proposal' nothing more.  No vote has been taken on a BSL Bill.  Mr Isherwood who offered up the request, has since posted to ATR saying no BSL Bill will be enacted without a much wider consultation of all with hearing loss in Wales, it won't rely only on deaf charities or the deaf clubs e.g.  Primarily on the ground, less than 5% of deaf were consulted themselves.

ATR voiced concern at 'back door' campaigns by some deaf activists to circumvent proper consultation by suggesting some representation that didn't have validity.  None of them had devolved either.  ATR also decries charities for not explaining need, background, awareness or support or the fact they had no valid numerical membership to suggest their representation.  Nothing for us without us.   English BDA areas were interfering in campaigns here by remote, and Newcastle was one area identified.  

Currently, ATR in Wales is NOT supporting a BSL Bill on the grounds it is exclusively based and not inclusive of other deaf or those with hearing loss in Wales.  You cannot allow a few dozen BSL signers to control the access of 300,000 others.  Their 'all deaf sign' campaigns have already created many support issues.

An endorsement would mean prioritising one hearing loss sector against another, a violation of access and inclusion as well as equality law.  There were some statements sent in response to ATR by Mark Isherwood on charitable support and claims that hadn't been substantiated, including one from the RNID and another from the NDCS (Who has yet to endorse a BSL Bill in England and did not back a BSL curriculum request because it suggested parents could be overruled by people unconnected to the state or their children), the elusive deaf activists.

Scotland and N Ireland may well be happy having a token acceptance/talk shop there,  but in Wales (and we hope England), inclusion is the main point of equality and an access Bill, not minority 'preference' and 'choice' that aren't based on primary need.  A silent majority is NOT a silent assent, as BSL activism is going to find out, Welsh and English hard of hearing are incensed these bills exclude or ignore their access and support needs.  The current adverts and mantras say 'we are all in this together' clearly BSL users aren't subscribing to that.

Piecemeal access for the loudest voice is undemocratic and undermines rights for others. The Welsh Senedd runs the risk of violating equality laws by endorsing a BSL Bill as it stands.  We have to put this 'culture' clout in its proper perspective.  Considering deaf activism campaigns go against Welsh and English why endorse that?  If it is illegal for hearing then it is illegal for the deaf too.  You cannot have equality for some and not others or determine who is deaf or Deaf or isn't, via what means they use to communicate, db loss they have, social life they lead, or school they went to, be it via BSL or any other means.  especially and given wales hasn't a deaf school.

We oppose any privileges. Deaf activism needs to look up what inclusion means, they appear to have no grasp of it at present or prefer to ignore it for their own version.  Too many areas are exploiting the pandemic to sneak through legislation that damages and discriminates against others.  It has to stop.

Zoom to offer free captions.


[Facetime/skype et al take note!].

As part of our commitment to connecting users across the world, we are focused on continually enhancing our features to provide a platform that is accessible to all of the diverse communities we serve. Among the Zoom Meetings accessibility features we offer to all users are manual closed captioning, keyboard accessibility, pinning or spotlighting interpreter video, screen reader support, and a range of accessibility settings. Now we are excited to announce that we are looking to take our efforts a step further and are working towards making automatic closed captioning available to all of our users in the fall of 2021. 

To help free account holders who require Live Transcription, starting today and up until the feature’s broader release, we will also be offering automatic closed captioning to meeting hosts who need accommodation upon request. To sign up, please enter your information in this form. You will receive a confirmation email with more details. Since we expect a high volume of requests, we appreciate your patience as we work to make automatic closed captioning available for all of our users.


Wednesday, 24 February 2021

BSL DIY Online why ?

Is learning culture a necessity?  sign we can understand to a point [combined with a realistic and definite design to be English literate as well], but culture is not essential, as communication comes first.  Deaf people know knowledge of the 1880s and 50 shades of Audism is not going to get them a job or access to the mainstream. 

BSL isn't awareness of hearing loss which is a huge issue via sign language and cultural promotions in that they are mutually exclusive of other deaf people, the hard of hearing, and hearing, so not inclusive of all an official and accepted challenge to inclusion and access by cultural default.  This also is NOT what we are about you don't get equality by distancing yourself from others or developing rules that exclude other people and how they communicate.  The culture was never intended to do that i.e. unless it has developed into some sect or other.

Which nobody supports.  Should hearing loss awareness have an equal priority to sign language?  The odd few signers may well feel it is some birthright and throw social modelling at you or something but most don't.   Culture is not about the majority either, I don't think the ABC lessons online do anything frankly, everyone and their pet dog are online doing their version, when they run out of letters that's it.

I think culture misrepresents access and deaf people personally, and because it is a specialised area that functions via reliance and preaches dependence on others as some accepted (and acceptable), 'norm', which isn't a great Deaf image or true let's face it, I would be interested to know if anything really comes from these 'classes' via inclusion, and who teaches the deaf?  Many of whom don't have any BSL accreditation level themselves, are they assuming 'I am deaf so that is qualification enough?'  I trust not.   They won't become deaf teachers on that basis.  Educational references say this will limit the deaf advance for a lifetime. 

If you are a poor signer then your culture will reflect that.  We see a lot of pressures for hearing to get accreditation and learn sign, whilst the deaf are static and stop post-education by all accounts, an issue that doesn't happen with hearing people, if they remain static and don't keep updating their communication and other skills, they know what the result will be, they learn and re-learn new skills or else they don't work etc. 

If I see yet another deaf 'mentor' it will be too soon for me, they wouldn't manage in the mainstream, so they cannot lead by example and their support is 'culture' not need-based. Anyone who can sign can do that they don't need to be a peer first.  I know the adage blind leading the blind, but deaf too?  Far better hearing did it.  Is acquiring a basic  BSL ABC just a pathway for learners to get work as deaf support?  If so, that is not what deaf want but for hearing to include them as individuals, not carers.    
Obviously, sign use cannot be maximised while deaf remain apart from the main event, and using culture as an 'excuse' to avoid that, is a pretty good way of ensuring deaf never manage it.  Others must adapt but not the deaf? Sorry, inclusion does not work that way.   You are in or you are out, a halfway house is not a lot of use to anyone.

From what we read online too many potential sign learners are seeing it as a novelty and not, as a vital hearing-deaf and bilingual communication aid and tool since they never meet those who take it up, and BSL alone will only be understood BY a minority of deaf, the hype suggesting 'all deaf sign' is an own goal, because it is simply untrue.  Learners find this out to their cost and then will assume why did I bother to learn it? Deaf aren't all the same.  And they cannot tell one deaf person from another or what modes work for them, because hearing loss was never part of the cultural deal, nor what other means deaf use to follow either. 

The aim presumably is to empower deaf to sell themselves and get work that way, again hearing beat them to it.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Living with profound loss.

Living with profound hearing loss from SimpleUsability on Vimeo.

Could the real answer just be awareness doesn't work? Another post that highlights sign language promotion is causing awareness distortion and disinformation whilst creating very real issues of access and inclusion for other deaf people too, by refusing to clarify need or identify deaf people.  Requests to remove face masks are actually illegal on health grounds, it isn't a deliberate attempt to discriminate against deaf people but to protect them from infection.  

Hearing have rights too, we cannot demand their mask removal they have a right to refuse.  It would save time and angst if the deaf took a spare clear mask with them, obviously, this is an issue currently because only 2 manufacturers make a clear mask that meets medical criteria, but they are available, obviously commercial clear masks are NOT acceptable as they don't meet strict criteria.  Idiots who just annoy are par for the course, find one with a brain.  Planning ahead saves a lot of time if you leave the home hoping others will be aware and comply that is a basic error, always assume, they WON'T!

A conversation with Asha Hylton. Paediatric ICU Nurse and Deaf Advocate.


How has this condition changed - for better or worse - since the start of the pandemic? 

I rely on lipreading so the face masks cover the whole of the faces, so I can’t see the facial expressions, I can’t see their lip pattern. And even if you do explain it to people they are not patient with you they just get really agitated with you, and get quite annoyed.

Why do you think accessibility is not where it should be and what’s missing from the conversation?  

With deafness, a lot of people assume that deaf people have the same needs. They think oh you’re deaf so we’ll just provide a BSL interpreter, that’s it. That’s not the case. Every deaf person has their own individual needs, which could be like lipreading, interpreters, notetakers, or, lip speaker.

We are all so unique. No deaf person is the same. So I think that’s what people are not aware about. What do you think can, and will improve the accessibility of products and services online? Just having all the access that are readily available. Where do you think the UK should make improvements first?

When I get the train or the tube. Like, I hate getting the train or the public transport because, sometimes there’s delays, cancellations And I see like a group of people running somewhere and I’m like “Where am I going?” Because they’ve made the announcement that there’s a platform change or the trains are being split up.

When would you say the world is accessible? Probably when people are listening, but do people listen? Not all the time.

Google AI reads sign language too.


Google states that its new project allows smartphones to interpret and “read aloud” sign language. There’s no app, but there are algorithms developers can use to make their own apps.

Until now, this type of software has only worked on PCs, so it’s a huge and important step. The hearing-impaired community appreciated the project, but also noted that the tech might have problems fully translating some conversations.  In an AI blog, Google research engineers Valentin Bazarevsky and Fan Zhang state that the project will be “the basis for sign language understanding”. It was developed in partnership with image software company MediaPipe.

“We’re excited to see what people come up with. For our part, we will continue our research to make the technology more robust and to stabilize tracking, increasing the number of gestures we can reliably detect,” a spokeswoman told the BBC.  This is only the first step as the approach now misses any facial expressions or speed of signing and these, changing the meaning of what is being discussed.

You can learn more here.

Monday, 22 February 2021

Why, Do People Assume Everyone With Hearing Loss Can Sign?

We would love for you to make videos to reach a hearing loss audience, the media rep suggested. “Sure, that sounds good,” I replied, “assuming the videos would be captioned, of course.” “But wouldn’t you just sign in them?” she asked with some confusion. I stopped dead in my tracks in surprise. “Most people with hearing loss, myself included, don’t know sign language,” I explained, “particularly if we acquired our hearing issues later in life.” “I didn’t know that,” she said.

This was an intelligent, educated person working in media for a patient advocacy company. If she doesn’t know this basic fact about people with hearing loss, imagine the ignorance of the general public.

Sign language is a beautiful language that works well for people in the Deaf community, but as someone who developed hearing loss later in life, it is not a workable option for me, unless I wanted to change almost everything about my life. I prefer to augment my residual hearing with technology to remain firmly in the hearing world.

Even so, I have always been curious about sign language — ever since learning how to finger spell in grade school, well before my hearing issues began. A hearing loss friend and I took several sign language lessons a few years ago. It was fun, but also challenging.

American Sign Language (ASL) does not mirror spoken English in sentence construction which made it hard for us to translate our thoughts into this new visual way of communicating. Between lessons, we also lost a lot of what we had learned since we didn’t have any consistent practice partners. Eventually, we stopped the sessions.

At first, I shrugged off my experience with the media rep with a roll of my eyes and a chuckle, similar to the times when people have told me that I don’t look deaf, but upon further reflection, this mistake seemed different. The misperception that people with hearing loss generally know sign language could have serious ramifications for accessibility.

According to Wikipedia, there are 250,000 – 500,000 people using ASL today in the United States, including a number of children of deaf adults. This represents about 1% of the estimated 48 million people in the United States with hearing loss, meaning sign language is not the norm for the vast majority of people who have trouble hearing.

Much education about how to make things more accessible for people with hearing loss is needed. Sometimes, when people with hearing loss ask for accommodation at a hospital or museum, they are told that the only available option is a sign language interpreter. This should not be the case.

As people with hearing loss outside of the Deaf community, we must continue to raise awareness with legislators, leaders at cultural institutions, medical facilities, and schools as well as with the general public about the accessibility options that work best for us. 

ATR:   This is mirrored in the UK too, support for non-signing deaf and hard of hearing suffers considerably because no national set up exists except for sign users.  So we all get 'you are deaf, so you must need sign langauge.'   To be fair (and avoid pointless feedback and discrimination claims from the sign user), the issue is pretty basic, non-signers do not make demands of their need, at least they don't here in the UK 10m are more mute than any deaf are.  

If they speak out they can get attacked for it, called whiners even with 'why not my access too?', and the root is the state inclusion process's or what passes for inclusion.  It is defined as equal access but operates unequally because non-signers avoid confrontation and fear discrimination and anti-cultural claims going at them.  They need to challenge the perceptions of BSL and who uses it, and the relentless labelling of people by those with a vested/financial interest in creating demand that isn't there.

There is a very adept cultural promotion and sign area worldwide that is very effective in misleading everyone about hearing loss awareness and need.  ALL DEAF SIGN. Of course, they don't, they are a small minority made to look bigger via exceptional hype aidied by sign language saleability.  Deaf lost control of sign to hearing years ago.  

Deaf culture has altered inclusion definitions to suit their own way of doing things, and the state has accepted it without ensuring access is applied equally to all, because they are hit by anti-culture/human right claims too.  E.G. if sign interpreters are a right then access MUST also include means others use as well, no prioritising. But, support and charity are already polarised and that in essence IS discrimination by any other name.  Culture is the brick wall we all hit if we complain.

It can be solved very easily by 10m HoH saying enough is enough, using the same approaches the BSL/ASL deaf use in demanding rights and equality, that can force the state and systems to be truly inclusive it would help offset the equality abuses currently being accepted as a right by intimidation.

Sunday, 21 February 2021

The Gift of Hearing


A brave Maltese woman who was born with a heart condition and is now living her life as a bilateral cochlear implant (CI) user has opened up to raise awareness about the challenges and experiences that came along with it.

Around 23 years ago, Luisa Fenech was born with a hole in her heart and given medication to treat her condition. She was then told that it was safe for her to go home. However, nine months later, her parents realised that Luisa wasn’t reacting to any noise, even to loud noises such as the sound of pots and pans being banged in her face.

Her parents immediately took Luisa to a doctor for a check-up and they found out that she had gone profoundly deaf.

Speaking with The Malta Independent on Sunday, Luisa explained how medical experts who treated her came to believe that her hearing impairment was a result of the medication she was given to treat her heart condition.  

“Following this diagnosis in 1999, I had the option of being fitted with a cochlear implant in my right ear, however the operation was not available in Malta. For this reason, my parents took me to do the operation in Manchester when I was just two and a half years old. The speech therapy sessions following the operation were also done in Manchester, thus together with my parents and sister we had to fly to the UK frequently,” she said.

In simple terms, a cochlear implant is a small electronic device that can help provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing. An implant is different from a hearing aid as it needs to be surgically fitted and placed under the skin. 

Fast forward 12 years living with one CI, at 14 years of age, Luisa went through another operation as she was fitted with her second CI in her left ear. This time, both the surgery and speech therapy sessions were done locally.

A second implant

Being fitted with a second CI in her left ear was very unexpected and it was only done because Luisa wanted to. At 14 years of age, Luisa saw that the first cochlear implant operation was going to be done in Malta so she wanted to do her second one, and went under the knife in May 2012.

“Doctors and family members were all very hesitant and apprehensive to allow me to go through yet another major surgery as it had its risks. I understand that at 14 you might not really comprehend or realise how difficult something can be. Thankfully, I had a lot of support and I wouldn’t change it for the world,” she said.

Friday, 19 February 2021

Is it time to disband deaf charities?

Some think so.  A recent post in a local newspaper raised an issue of the National (UK), lottery which so far has raised over £30B and averages £30 to £40m per week, a percentage (About £8/9m per week), goes to 'Good Causes'.  It was questioned what a 'Good Cause' actually was?  Areas like e.g. supporting illegal Migrants, religious areas, or Donkeys in Egypt,  were felt areas, contributors would perhaps NOT  want their money spent on. 

There are lotteries for every cause these days, so you can choose which one you want to contribute too, but it seems this huge amount of funding via the National lottery means you DON'T get that choice and we are talking huge amounts of money.

This was ridiculed by recipients of the Lottery because the money comes in effect, from betting (Which is what a Lottery is), this was countered, that may well be the case, but you are quick enough to apply for it, and if we are talking charitable contributions, then the lottery ticket buyers are major contributors just the same, so should not these 'gamblers/lottery ticket buyers', have a say, on where their 'contribution' is spent?

This is a moot point as many charities with hearing loss, of the 'Deaf' or Hearing loss areas, are amidst major beneficiaries of lottery funding as well.  E.G. Sign Health, the BDA, the RNID, the NDCS and dozens of other high profile charities in those areas get it.  There is a view such 'support' areas should NOT be getting lottery grants, that in effect are subsidies for the dire lack of state care, and its unwillingness to meet its own equality laws on human rights?

We already pay taxes for these things.  If the taxes are insufficient then address that.  The issue of state control and interference over allocation of funding is also suspect in that it is 'syphoning off' funds for care so they can spend it in areas that don't provide any, like sending money to countries where terrorists are accessing that money.  Or India to subsidise its rocket research.... There are too many examples of abuse.  Even lottery grants to overseas aid where nothing tangible ever comes from it.

The state is in effect, leaving charities to 'pick up the tab' by begging to maintain a care and support base that is a state obligation.  They argue BSL support is being paid for BY the state and authorities already.  Deaf are not charged for needing an Interpreter in the UK.

The question is still being asked why e.g. deaf children need charity? have they no right to an education or support already? Charity exists because the state continues to fail in its obligation to care for or educate, its most vulnerable, charity then perpetuates and supports it to stay alive itself.  Is this an unhealthy approach to inclusion, independence,  and empowerment?  Does it make beggars of deaf children and adults etc?  Maintains the images of reliance and 'help'.  It certainly puts the deaf insistence on non-disabled status into clarity.

Have we not just switched from state reliance, to charitible reliance?   At the start, this was mooted as us doing it for ourselves and having the say and direction, but it never happened, we were sold a pup, mugged in fact.   Hard of Hearing have voiced concern money is being allocated to supporters of deaf culture for areas that had nothing to do with support, but cultural promotions via arts etc when they would prefer it spent on alleviating deafness and more research to stop it from happening.  There was no such area identified of benefit for the majority with mere hearing loss.  BSL was saleable, culture the clout to demand with, hearing loss wasn't and there are concerns about bias and funding use that never got to others or for their support.  

There was and is an imbalance of funding allocation.  further concerns raised that a number of profile deaf charities over the last few years had gone bust and were run by rank, well-meaning amateur,s who couldn't manage funding properly or offer the services they claimed funding for, and went bust. The alternative problem of the Charity Commission allowing far too many charities to be created via hearing loss who offered nothing much of use and wasted huge amounts via duplication of services etc.   Demands they vet applicants went literally on 'deaf ears'.  The waste goes on.   

ATR's first blog was highlighting a welsh charity that demanded and got £17,000 to 'examine the needs of local deaf people', it failed to get anyone deaf locally to run it, the Charity Commission hadn't even checked for viability.  It was offered and the funding to 2 students who were hearing who didn't even reside in the area, over 18 months nothing happened except a computer was bought and a few posts on it cut and pasted from online about cut-price rail fares for disabled, then it all vanished along with the computers.  Ironically next to no local deaf knew anything about it, or had been contacted about what their need was.  Unless the Charity Commission starts vetting applicants for suitability,  this money is going to pour down the drain.  A 'good idea at the time' is NOT a basis for support.

Would it be far better the state influence was removed from the lottery and a panel consisting of ticket buyers, determine where they want their 'contributions' spent?  It would be democratic at least. Maybe a list to peruse of charities they would prefer benefited themselves?  One view put forward is this would promote racism and discrimination, as various areas blocked BAME areas or even disabled ones maybe preferring to save dogs instead or something, and all because of the unknown influence of a 'free' choice.    Is it not for the state to say where we spend our money to ensure fairness? who decides what is fair, not the donors?  Possible areas to benefit could be displayed at the point of purchase, and the majority decision thus determining where it goes, was one suggestion and based locally not nationally. It was argued why contribute to areas well outside their own who were needing it?

We would at least then see how we view the whole charity thing.  It all means £B's every year so not peanuts, so needs monitoring in relation as to how it supports the undermining of state obligation and thus, our rights, which inadvertently Charity is also contributing to.  Would we support charity funding of Deaf culture or not?  Maybe 10m HoH wouldn't, or hearing not interested. Access and inclusion is purported to be a human right, so why are we underpinning that with handouts governed by others?  I know where I would want my money to go so why isn't it my choice?  I don't get one because its a lottery?  If we stop buying.......

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Are young deaf ready?

The READY research project is following the lives of deaf young people aged 16 – 19 over 5 years. We are still looking for recruits, particularly deaf young people from lower-income backgrounds. We have currently recruited 246 from England, Scotland and Wales, although only 158 have continued past the information and consent forms to complete the online questionnaire.

The green dots are people fully in the study, and the red dots are young people who have not completed the consent process. If you have encouraged pupils to join the READY study, it would be really helpful if you could check to see if they have made it past this consent stage, as across the UK there are 88 young people in this red dot category. A little encouragement could help us reach a much wider and probably more representative group.

Here are the early findings from the first year of the study. In terms of wellbeing, the 73 deaf young people who answered this question have worse mental health than hearing age equivalents, though it was only significantly worse for women. The young people in this study assessed their overall health as much lower than hearing age equivalents. 

This first cohort felt confident about their employment opportunities, though these responses were collected before the first lockdown in March 2020. In terms of friendships, the group have both deaf and hearing friends but interact more with hearing friends. Larger friendship networks were related to higher socioeconomic status, as other studies have shown. Interestingly, young people with an additional impairment also have larger social networks.




Quit scaring deafies with Alzheimer's.

Deaf people are being bombarded online with claims they are all going to suffer Alzheimer's because of it, they ignore the fact 1 in 14 (Mainly over 65's), and hearing can get it as well.  Alzheimer's is a clinical issue [below] not down to hearing loss at all. 

Alzheimer's disease is thought to be caused by the abnormal build-up of proteins in and around brain cells. One of the proteins involved is called amyloid, deposits of which form plaques around brain cells. The other protein is called tau, deposits of which form tangles within brain cells.

Take the Test:

I'm not sure all these claims we are all going to suffer Alzheimer's because of hearing loss are valid, it only appears a greater risk, because we/deaf are a 'captive' but small area to survey, with a higher number of adults with learning difficulties, who relied on others to access the world outside their own,  (40% of deaf children have learning issues also), then 'facts' get blurred, but if we extrapolate to hearing people there is little or no difference in the statistics, because there is no area of compatibility.  1 in 16 if hearing, 1 in 14 if deaf,  1 in 3 regarding cancer.

None of the current claims we are more vulnerable, because of hearing loss have provided an accurate survey or statistic.  Like any other area surveying the Deaf and hearing loss areas, they cannot get enough participation to make a statement, ergo you ask a 1,000 people a percentage suggest a higher number, but unless you ask at least 40% of the whole it is a survey for survey sake.  If we take e.g. election polling surveys they can go completely wrong.  It's barely a step up from guesswork.

The UK government owned up to 130 surveys a year, that was dwarfed by over 3000+ undertaken by charities and other areas, and more on social media, but none met the criteria for presumed accuracy.  The national Survey has no system to ensure questions are answered honestly, or if asked properly, it's all a 'guide' of some sort.

Deaf people are annoyed at these claims because the survey was using the 'hearing experiences and questioning', to determine how aware the deaf were and frankly unable to ask the right questions in the right context or even the right format to understand them. 

It is true deaf and others with hearing loss may not be aware of some things hearing take for granted, (I saw on the TV teenagers who did not know milk came from cows, another quiz show on the TV where a hearing adult had no idea when the last world war started or could name a single battle that took place), we doubt either would be considered as suffering Alzheimer's because they are hearing?   Questioning has to take into account what trends are...  asking an 8 year old questions on things that happened 300 years ago are pretty pointless.

The clue here is deafness, you won't recall what you never heard or read etc. E.G I have no idea who the current pop stars are or what their music is about, I can't hear it.  I CAN read their lyrics, but it only suggests most have quite limited English writing ability and are repetitive mostly almost child-like.  I can just about recall the difference between Elvis and Caruso but other deaf can't, they 'listen' to vibrations not voices.....

The 'Deaf' lifestyle is also one lived apart from mainstream, so social and cultural input is also different and access is different too, but not always available. I doubt anyone off the top of their head here can name (Without racing to google!), all the cabinet members or what they do etc... or reciting the 93 times table backwards etc.. Spelling will also be an issue with many.  That has to do with awareness, interest and education etc.  I don't see hearing loss mentioned at all. Assessment of those with hearing loss fails to actually take it into account so unreliable.  It's just a relentless assault on hearing loss and the people with it, so far hearing less has meant we are umpteen times more susceptible to every issue known to mankind.

Even 100 times more if we step into the road without looking first!  Get a grip people.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Been Deaf, done That.

Having recently read Ezio Savva's recent advert for his discourse on dysfunctional audism, ATR feels bound to respond with some realism on what was in fact a fudged concept at day one.  The paper is 4 years old as it is and based on a 10yr old issue first written up by the Americans, (A source of 100s of rather pointless terms, memes, outrageous blame games,  and campaigns that divide near everyone with hearing loss), as they vie for 'top dog' in the hearing loss areas, it has to be said, rather too successfully for real comfort as it is uncoordinated and random as well as non-inclusive, in that access and inclusion has been set back years as they attempt to redefine it.  

Demands for 'academic proof' of debate is a  misdirect, debating his thesis and offering up a view on it demands grass-root realism, not long-winded terms most deaf won't understand anyway, the idea is to convince HEARING they are academic too, but quoting each other is not really valid referencing, and suffers bias obviously, academic output has to provide far more in the way of facts to be reliable, such facts are statistics mostly, and the sole source appears to emanate from their own area and not elsewhere.

ATR was then asked why I didn't do a thesis/paper on it?  But I felt, who needs all that written out? the first thing deaf will say is it needs to be signed or something, failing that boring, or, another dig at deaf culture to be ignored. ATR uses text because that is his prime medium.  It probably suffers from in-depth explanation, but I feel BSL lacks such in-depth so at least they can get that from what I know,  experience suggests explanation tends to be a huge turn-off for the deaf, who can lack the concentration or patience to stay with it, not all obviously, but individuals like Ezio who make a point of academic input to promote deaf culture etc, so we assume he WILL read it.

Deaf UK:  

Ezio, I go via direct experience, and a near lifetime of being profoundly deaf, which is worth I feel, a dozen dusty long-winded tome's gathering dust on a shelf personally.  Having read the dysconcious audism thing, seems initially, a preamble based on the old Deaf-UK site, (which I was a  member of at the time). It wasn't actually disrupted by American input, but by a deaf individual who had some mental health issues, I know this because he spammed my blog day one, disrupted a local deaf club social site I set up, to bring it down,  was personally abusive, and brought down the old RNID feedback forum by pretending to be 4 different people, one of them posing as a female and another posing as an underage child.  

He was later identified via his 'Au' tag on his posts, an USA deaf blog aggregate banned him on those grounds for misrepresenting who he was and spamming other people.  They also issued warnings to other Deaf-UK posters who attempted to disrupt there too.  ATR was itself kicked out of Deaf UK for raising concern about what was happening after the UK-Deaf moderators started altering posted input, removing responses, posting comments identified as you but written by them etc to totally make it look like a poster was doing it themselves, so, an 'excuse' to ban.  Demanding they 'approve' of a post first means they can access it, change the content etc, as well, or simply not include it if it makes their input look wrong.  

UK social media deaf sites, a number still do it.  They had a deaf uk member savvy on hacking which he used to the full extent.    You can play them at their own game by removing your own comments to make them look silly but why bother?  This deaf individual set up own forum topics and then posted and abused his own input, using various alias', forcing the charity to close it down to all.  

The site couldn't be moderated effectively and genuine contributors to the open forum were getting laid into, the charity had no choice.  Sadly, this individual actually got a lot of support from BSL using deaf at the time, they felt he was 'defending' deaf culture and sign language, but the whole thing was toxic and hateful.

Deaf-UK established a first UK 'Deaf' blog aggregate in the UK, a model the USA took up, but as usual, the issues of its members, relentless attacks on others, and bullying meant the UK aggregate soon fell apart and to date, has never been re-established.  I'd love to see a UK deaf blog aggregate it is time I came in out of the enforced cold by these people, who manage bans that last years and use them to stifle free speech.  The UK desperately needs more deaf input that is neutral, more inclusive, and well moderated.

By comparison, the USA made theirs work because the moderation was far better.  Azio mentioned Harlan Lane, he contributed to that USA aggregate.  Had Harlan been British he wouldn't have been able a lot of very able and clever deaf also contributed to it, but only by being reasonable and supporting wider access and inclusion, there was no drive to maintain deaf isolation in any form.  Deaf UK promoted hate.  Some remnants of it are on social media today but viewed as rather extreme and irrelevant (And plain daft!), by the deaf community.  They don't contribute on the hearing stage at all because they would not be tolerated.

One or two Deaf UK members went to the BBC SEE HEAR site and got that feedback option to that BSL program closed down as well for 'allowing too much HoH involvement', in a 'Deaf' TV program, whilst baiting HoH to argument, to encourage closing them out. Other members abused its deaf representation, by undermining the British Deaf Association to promote a 'mutiny' against the charity, that had started to promote inclusion more, claiming a 'cultural sell-out', they even used the BDA's own resources to do it.  

The BDA retreated and today are irrelevant too and in all sort of bother losing trustees time after time,  and threatening members with legal action if they inform others what they do.  A culture of secrecy rules at that charity, but they get nil respect from me. It would be silly to write deaf activism off, they are very adept and clever people who still need to be monitored and confined to areas where we can prevent them from influencing others.  The ATR blog has covered it all for years.

The BBC ended up removing ALL deaf and disability input and dumped the deaf and its feedback to social media, this in effect prevented any disability or deaf involvement to the BBC direct.  The BBC later electing only those who did not complain to the BBC about anything.  The end result was the prime BSL channel relegated to the graveyard shifts, and a BSL 'channel' sent to online, thus ensuring BSL was out of prime time view when deaf need to be at the heart of the UK's prime TV medium.  A new set of 'Deaf media Luvvies' emerged, but few if any represent us or deaf people in reality and in it for their own egos.  Making up cultural output as they go.  It is signing hearing things mostly.

Far too many technical and academic terms that are in themselves dated, are being used to suggest a cultural academic base, that is negligible so far because they are hearing, not deaf based.   Sticking a BSL/Cultural label on something that is intrinsically hearing based is seen through pretty quickly.  Deaf-UK was a  hugely biased deaf e-mail site moderated by extremists, sadly, the new wave of 'Deaf' social media deaf sites are even worse but being even more widely accepted.  Near all are 'closed shops' and for the few, not the many. It WAS a leader at the time of deaf views and campaigning.  Sadly the negatives far outweighed the positives as they got a bit 'power crazy' and lost the plot entirely.


Things like audism and Deafhood never took root in the UK they are American 're-imports and viewed divisive.  Deafhood was ridiculed in the UK initally, SEE HEAR had to ask what Deafhood and Audism actually was, nobody had any idea.  It was actually America who took up Deafhood and made it 'pay' as a concept.  

The Brits cannot sell their own output.  To do that the USA deaf adapted it to suit own perceptions linking Harlan Lane, Helen Keller, Gallaudet et al to it...  the UK had no equivalent, and the USA went on to establish 'Deafhood classes' on translating Paddy Ladd's efforts into a format/language deaf (ASL deaf), could follow, to date, it has not succeeded. They still need a 'Rosetta Stone' (Context), to make sense of something that was for hearing not them.  The USA is re-writing it to do that.  What there is, bears little or no resemblance to Mr Ladd's original tome itself which was changed beyond recognition.  Still, Paddy made mileage on the lecture circuit so not a complete loss for him.

Again, we need to understand Deafhood was written for HEARING academics, not deaf people, the format was/is inaccessible to deaf signers.  Some attempts were made via Bristol to do it, but the deaf courses there were later abandoned as was their deaf history attempts after funding dried up.  Deaf historians lost their way and struggled to ID actual deaf IN history.

Deafhood is viewed in the UK as a bit of 'emperor's' new clothes' (Context), in basis.  I just feel deaf latched on as best they could to the idea, to add kudos to the deaf culture which had no text academic basis, only a poor BSL dictionary that was challenged BY deaf people etc.  The terminology used baffled academics even more than it did the deaf.   Deaf were inventing their own, but using established translation, shot themselves in the foot. ATR at one point offered plain English translations at the time to posts deaf simply did not understand.

Sign Language and culture:

To be frank the deaf no longer 'own' sign language because when it became a 'commercial' proposition hearing developed its own approaches and structured course work, and raised the bar to get more skills and recognised qualifications into sign use, and to comply with educational qualifications and rules, indeed, the deaf demanded it.  

I can still recall when the antiquated deaf support network ran by social services were closed down, when they found only 35% of all deaf social work support, had any sign language qualifications of any kind. No doubt part source of your claim and attacks on other deaf for adapting to the 'hearing line'. Hearing people aren't our enemies and I am not in the business of attacking them.  We need to work together for inclusion to happen. I am totally against Deaf Versus deaf output, deaf versus disability, or deaf versus hearing.  It is anti-access, anti-inclusion, it is hate messaging, bias, bullying, and divisive.  No one 'owns' deafness or determines its effects or support either.

The British Deaf Association actually decided to offer a BSL alternative because they were angry at the way sign was being taught and started 'True BSL' lessons by deaf people.  It never gained any traction.  The last thing signing deaf needed were two different sign approaches.

Culture and Legal Enablement:

Cultural bases have moved away from deaf clubs and schools to online, this was happening years before covid, what clubs exist are usually in populated cities where more deaf live, they tend to determine what 'Deaf' want or don't, and where campaigns start, but, devolution has undermined that.   To counter devolution and the 'watering down' of less effective approaches to inclusion,  BSL acts were lobbied for area by area, as ATR blogged over the last 9 months, the UK is currently split, as England and Wales have yet to go with such an act and only Scotland and N. Ireland have.  It is very early days.    

'Community' is relative and debatable.   As you are London-based you will know already multiculturalism is a joke, and a myth at best, and BAME (Context), areas deaf or hearing do own thing regardless, and that divide is obvious in the deaf community as well, they have own clubs apart from others.

So far, both BSL Acts in the UK are just 'talking shops' there has been no identifiable access advance as such, particularly in vital areas the deaf activist wants the act to be effective in, notably, Education.  It HAS raised the Deaf profile but not deaf or hearing loss awareness, the BSL Act would have had a point if systems said they cannot just promote in a singular fashion, its own access, but have to include all with hearing loss equally.   

I am surprised if they allowed a BSL alternative to what would be against the 4 other equality acts.  This is another fudge deaf and Deaf areas and charities, as support groups have already polarised, another reason the majority in the UK in Wales and England have expressed reservations on a BSL Act there.  One major drawback is the reluctance for Hard of Hearing majority (10m), to take any interest it seems only they have understood the BSL Act excludes them, which raises concern regional government has bought into that.

This of course makes it far easier for BSL deaf to be NON-inclusive and go it alone. The Act is not doing what it was intended for, i.e. to change deaf education from its current integrational approaches (And I accept, poor support), to some sort of cultural/immersive signed approach for the deaf child.  Unfortunately, this suggests a 'tiered approach and have, or have nots for deaf students, bordering on an elitist approach to deaf education.   The BSL Act cannot override parental choice currently. One area in the UK has no deaf schools to attend, Wales.

PHU's are vogue (Partial Hearing Units), which many feel is neither one thing nor the other, or some sort of mini deaf school and outpost in mainstream, with 'token' education for the deaf who are 'wheeled out' now and then with hearing peers in the same school, but who they are mostly apart from, 'inclusion for show'.  The reality is that there are fewer deaf and they are spread more widely so systems can't justify a stand-alone school, and they are mindful of the abysmal academic record and abuses, that caused many to close for good.  A number reported recently ravaged by accusations of sex abuses etc... the writing is on the wall (Context),  for such areas.  At least mainstreaming means that is less likely to be allowed to happen, albeit faith schools' (Context), are still an issue.

It is debatable if any back 'to the future' (Context), approach but with culture at its base, is going to happen.  Some sort of inclusion appears to be going on, and the price is the deaf cultural base, this is not only inevitable but the aim, of inclusive projects.  We know, inclusion is still an 'academic' issue and relative to some deaf anyway.  If they can establish a more solid base for a stand-alone system using BSL/culture, it means integration will not happen by default, which goes against that approach.  We all want deaf included and alongside everyone else, not spectators to the main event.  As of now, it exists in parallel, not inclusive terms.  So  'preferred isolation' is essential to cultural success while it struggles to communicate.

Addressing communication options is a battlefield obviously as sign language is still not seen as the means to inclusion, academic advance,  or independence and a job-seeking advantage, the image of interpreters viewed highly negative.  

We don't all need to 'prove' some academic point, we can just use our own eyes and experience.  For every statistic there is a counter statistic, for every claim another claim, we adopt a mean, not assume what works or labels us is right for others that isn't the case if it ever was.

We no longer are going to stand for deaf having to choose 'one side or the other' to determine livelihood and work options, determined by db, loss degree, or communication, mode, or even which school you went to, these are archaic and discriminatory maxims from the 19thc,  the year is 2021 not,1888.  Choice is paramount, as is accepting we have to all adapt, nothing stands still, young deaf will discard the old ways, this is always the case.

Bilingualism is essential, not monolingualism.  The current claims of deaf bilingualism do not apply to hearing deaf interactions, or, their access to English in part. Which for reasons best-known to extremes and no-one else, who feel having access to that language as a means to empowering themselves is another discrimination of some kind and an 'attack' on their way of life, where BSL isn't doing the job for them on its own, we do write and read English and Ezio, you did your paper with it, so it is confusion as to why opposition emerges from your work.  Papers are intended primarily for information and awareness, I feel yours is all rather one-sided and suffers lack of wider awareness.

We know that bias, leads to discrimination and bias against other deaf, and if we draw lines in the sand (Context),  and demand they sign this or speak that or else... it doesn't work, it brought down Deaf-UK because they had no answer to it.  Deaf must learn the lessons. The current pursuit of culture and academics/language improvement is suffering via technological advances and medical advances etc, 40% of deaf children with a CI e.g.  It's progress, deaf are being offered more choices, as a result, must we say they can't? or they 'betray' the 'Deaf'?  We saw Deaf attacking parents, calling them child abusers, hardly the best way to make our point is it?  In fact, suggested to parents in particular, their deaf child is best out of it.

Cultural Proof:

The BSL dictionary is all deaf have as an academic 'root' really it contains little technical or advanced educational or scientific signs.  There are few if any we know are visual 'books', or descriptions that identify its 'grammar' effectively so it is stand alone. The very few deaf scientists and professionals having to invent their own so actual lessons can start.  It limits how much deaf can be taught to enable them to 'compete' with hearing and English using peers.   

The language of English is based on over a 1,000 years development, BSL less than 60.  It is evolving but so is access to English for the deaf.  Of course, sign was used in the past but not really as an academic thing more a manual means to make themselves understood as best as possible.  That source is about 200 years but unstructured and of course no dictionary then.  Deaf owe hearing people the kudos for the development of what is BSL today.  

Attempts are always being made to move the goalposts so BSL and its grammar stand alone as a teaching aid, but that has not gained real support because the mainstream simply does not work that way, and parents voice opposition, the claim subsequently,  is that deaf would be primed to fail, it is why deaf schools suffered mass closures, deaf were stuck in a rut unable to go anywhere parents wanted out, the state did.  Deaf adults exist today in their own cultural bubble.   It is not inclusion. 

There is a 'chicken and Egg' approach, to maximise sign use you need dedicated schools, teachers, professionals etc, none are currently being trained, because there is no agreement on a sign based education especially at school onset. Such sign access and deaf inclusion also demand huge personal and state investment to learn sign too, that isn't happening.   Deaf are predominantly demanding support, not inclusion.

It is ironic so many UK charities and deaf campaigners are demanding funding and awareness aimed at them being accepted and included, but no visible sign apparent the deaf want integration, and prefer their own 'kind'.

The 'Deaf' option requires isolation and a degree of dependency as a norm, albeit a comfortable one written up and hyped as a right, the image says it all,  that image defeats a 1,000 academic papers.... I just do not feel that is the right way to do things.

Am I an Audist? discuss.

ATR extends blog space for any response Enzio cares to make without edit.

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

What is the 'Street Value' of sign language?

Wall Street Sign.

#1 I've had profound hearing loss since birth and used lipreading plus my tiny bit of hearing as my main means of communication until I was well into adulthood. I then learned BSL. My preferred communication support is a lip speaker with sign support - so much less tiring than lipreading but English remains my first language so I don't get on well with a BSL interpreter. So for me personally there was every benefit to learning BSL. It might not be much use on the street but it is definitely for every situation where I might need communication support. Plus I met a whole lot of new friends learning it - and yes a lot of them had an acquired hearing loss to a profound level and they use BSL now in their lives all the time.

#2  Lip-speakers are rarer than hen's teeth I gather, there was no contact point in the NHS or systems locally for any support except BSL, also when an FOI request was sent to ask where that support was, I got a reply saying 'deaf support' includes lip-speaking/text/ and BSL as an 'inclusive area', I said I wanted a breakdown, who was asking for what? and they said they don't ask for that information because the DPA (data protection act), stops it. In essence, BSL equals lip-reading we just do not know, all I DO know is that when a request for lip-speaker or text support went in, they said they had no contact information for me, could I sign?!

#1 That's pretty poor on their behalf and worth a formal complaint under the Accessible Information Standard.??? It's not an acceptable alternative I know but I have found that if I've ended up in a similar situation a BSL interpreter can often use SSE with full lip patterns and that does the same job.

#2   I looked into that, of 49 BSL interpreters in Wales only TWO were qualified as lip-speakers also, so availability is a real issue. 2 months or more wait for one and that was before covid. If we used remote options then we would not LR either or BSL, but use speech to text. The issue is as BSL interpreters say themselves, the deaf are pretty poor lip-readers really, it is a 'part skill' some have but most rely on the sign. Like text the more of one mode you use the fewer skills you manage of the other. The clear mask thing is not wholeheartedly supported in the signing deaf area because of poor LR skills. They go more for facial patterns than lip ones so prefer the entire face clear. An example is subtitled sign language, BSL loses out every time, it is why purists make videos omitting them to preserve sign itself. There were objections to text assists learning BSL. People read a lot quicker than they take in sign so the brain subconsciously takes the easiest path. Would you follow this quicker if I signed it? and that is without us knowing at what English level others have etc... I think mine is pretty basic but when you want in-depth detail...

Monday, 15 February 2021

BSL the costs....

Some aggravations and frustrations at deaf people poking fun at hearing in deliberate attempts to inflame, or at least reinforce their case of deaf discrimination.  Then they add where to get online amateur BSL lessons that are not recognised by any agency. Social media readers NOT amused!

#1 It's a ridiculous attempt to sound elite and superior by a sector almost totally reliant ON hearing people to follow everyone else.  I'm all for people promoting their own area if that is what they want, but they are NOT doing awareness and just being silly.  How taking the Michael out of people who are enabling them helps, they never explain and they never provide 'proof' either.  

#2  Once you explain to people you cannot hear them most are helpful, it is those who who are deaf and sign claiming discrimination whilst never making viable attempts to include themselves who are making waves, all they seem to want is some glorious isolation where all their peers sign like them, obviously, that is neither inclusion or indeed, inclusive either, the world is 'out there' not 'In' their own sphere of living.  There are over 6,500 languages in the world!

#3 They lack the confidence to put BSL to the 'test' in the mainstream so play the blame game all the time, it is encouraging more young deaf are not going with that any more.  All is mostly negative hype about sign and culture by people making a living from it, so promotion no matter how it is done works for them.  

#4  More reliance, means more support, means more jobs for others, more charities, you get the idea!  

#5  Whilst sign IS an aid for deaf people to access other means hearing use, this isn't what it is being used for.  Deaf educational attainment is still pretty dire.  

#6  Teaching a child sign only is priming them to fail, this isn't how enablement works.  It is ensuring deaf culture does. TC (Total Communication), is the only way ahead.  Sign is promoted as a 'novelty' this is not how a child takes this up, and uses it determines their place in life.  

#7 They need only to look at adult deaf trapped in their own social bubbles with no way out, to see it doesn't.  The best deaf school in the UK is an oral-based one, this isn't promoting anti-sign, but stating the reality.  

#8 When in Rome etc.... To complain it is about choice is not relative in child education.  That's a deaf political statement by people who never had the choice anyway.  

#9 The sour grapes approach to awareness.

ATR Background: 

The real cost of acquiring BSL by hearing people:

(1) Qualifications.

(2) Tests.

(3) How much do BSL interpreters earn?

You would usually work irregular hours, which may include evenings and weekends. Fees and salaries for BSL interpreters vary widely depending on experience, employer and location. As a guide, full-time interpreters can earn between £20,000 and £35,000 a year. Freelance interpreters can earn between £20 and £30 an hour, or even 4 times that in London, regional costs vary considerably as does the demand, and availability of BSL interpreters.  

Travel costs are also added to that support, some interpreters can demand  2hrs minimum fees to make to worth their while. The 'freelance' nature of BSL support is also a huge issue as systems attempt to normalise BSL support and set standard rates/fees, part-time BSL Interpreters feel they are being undermined by lower-wage demands from systems.  Albeit many deaf feel establishing an adequate and reliable support system is more preferable to the random approaches that go on at present and cause support issues.  Often reported as 'systems refusing BSL help' incorrectly.

Other fees/registrations. 

Forget the ABC online! this is what you will need to work with deaf signers.

Demand for BSL?

Next to no statistics are recorded

We haven't included BSL overall training and test costs because they won't print them in case people are put off. 

Demand Areas:

(1)  Primary demand for BSL support is access to the NHS/999 and state/LA systems.  

(2)  No demand exists for hearing-deaf integration/access at all which raises the question of why so many charities are asking for funds to do that?  When Deaf obviously prefer their own area.

Deaf BSL users claim the highest rates of access to work welfare allowances of any disabled sector in the UK.  Where, are they losing out?

Friday, 12 February 2021

EU and clear masks.


Firstly the UK is no longer part of the EU.   Statistics regarding clear mask demands or take up, are virtual nil, only hearsay and coming from charitable campaign areas in the UK.  The UK NHS has so far recorded little or no demand for clear masks as such from deaf themselves.  

Current DIY clear masks are useless as any sort of covid protection and won't get you admittance to a hospital or such because they don't meet safety criteria.  Deaf demanding mask removals are not going to get that it is currently illegal.  During 2020 there was no supplier in the UK who manufactured covid compliant clear face masks.  We are told one UK manufacturer is now considering it, they will, of course, be very expensive for deaf people to be acceptable in any health area.

The video we were unable to show you, it is currently unavailable to show here due to the fact we are no longer 'Europeans' the whole point seems to be lost regarding as to why a BSL signed video for Europe is not even accessible TO the people it is talking about.  Given BSL interpreters are not wearing clear masks and indeed showing huge reluctance to support deaf in a medical environment clear mask requirements are down to personal choice, and non-admissions to hospitals. Deaf support has to wear PPE compliant masking as well.  So far what we see is sign use at 'distance' social distancing.

The World Deaf set up in Europe hasn't much of a following anywhere else.   Their claim and listing the UK as accepting sign language as a law is also incorrect, only 2 areas of the UK have a 'BSL Act' (N.Ireland, and Scotland), the other 2 largest areas (England and Wales), are unlikely to do the same, given e.g. Wales has no deaf schools at all.   

Recognition isn't legal empowerment, but a basis for one, the UK accepted BSL via an EU Diktat 15 years ago it is still not legally enforceable in education or many other essential areas, because choice is paramount and, numerical demand has to be seen.  The EU has made many mistakes recently including penalising Irish people for the UK leaving raising fears of conflict, this is yet another one.

The burning issue is why various areas demanding clear masks are not themselves wearing them?  Whilst UK restrictions continue to apply there is little or no 'face to face' meetings of deaf people, and the use of video does not require them to wear one.  So far no NHS area is recording demands from deaf people for clear masks, as stated PPE compliant ones were/are simply not available.

Initial views are that those wanting a clear PPE mask (The deaf), are unable to get them anyway because any priority would go to the NHS first.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

BSL levels wot?

The fact most are following this video with TEXT not sign language rather defeats the point doesn't it?  How many deaf HAVE a sign language qualification?  Just because they sign does not mean they are showing proof of any level pass in it.  Many are not aware of the latest signs of the last 5-10years, they stick with what they knew beforehand.

Hearing interpreters are probably the only bi-lingual area, and most fluent at signing, they have to be to be understood by most, we know you will never be understood by all regardless of how many levels you attain.

The issue with levels 1 and 2 BSL is it enables you little in any real-time conversation or ability to follow e.g. current covid updates that contain masses of statistics, and charts, tier explanations and interpretations of what they mean etc, a lot of hearing struggle with them.

Having lobbied campaigned and demanded hearing learn BSL to help deaf people, learners get priced out of taking it any further, or face reluctance by deaf people to encourage them at the 'rock face' i.e. their social locations and areas, where deaf still demand hearing 'butt out' and stop invading their 'space'.  Hearing have to be IN the clubs etc to get real communication happening and skills updated and is worth a lot more than 3 BSL level attainments.

Until deaf continue to improve own sign language skills hearing won't know what level is applicable.  The deaf area has issues of learning disabilities,  and no academic written or visual record regarding sign language either.  Local authorities and care systems lowered the bar by accepting very low levels of sign qualification simply because higher levels demand higher wages and fees, but basically, care needs level 4 and above to be valid, but is level 2.

Nobody below level 4 will be able to follow sign effectively.  The interpreter trend to adopt more and more aspects of Signed English is also limiting the effectiveness of BSL.  But they know this enables reading text much easier.  The online 'classes' of BSL (Mostly the ABC and numbers etc), probably cause issues because it is learners trying to teach other learners who are hearing like them so it doesn't come from the deaf base itself or recognised course work and tuition.  The only pro aspect is that hearing are attempting to raise awareness with other hearing, as averse to the deaf who are reluctant to get involved and talking to themselves.

Regional deafies complicate it with criticisms this isn't how I use BSL etc... It is trivialising sign but the thing is sign acquisition now means a wage and a job, plays into the amateurisation of it all online.  Deaf lost that leadership on sign years ago as a result.  They cannot use hearing to make a job of it.