Thursday, 31 March 2016

Outcomes of children with hearing loss

In 2008, Boys Town Hospital researchers in audiology and child language development began working with researchers at The University of Iowa and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The team designed and facilitated a multi-site longitudinal study to examine the outcomes of children, ages 0-6, with hearing aids and the factors that affect these outcomes.

In 2015, the results for this study, Outcomes of Children with Hearing Loss (OCHL), was released, and the research began receiving international attention. The co-principal investigators are Mary Pat Moeller, Ph.D. of Boys Town Hospital and J. Bruce Tomblin, Ph.D., emeritus professor at the University of Iowa.

Your day in Court....

Produced by the Midwest Center on Law and the Deaf.

Made possible with support from:

Ohio State Bar Foundation
Illinois Equal Justice Foundation
Michigan State Bar Foundation

Healthwatch: GP access still poor..

earsHealthwatch has highlighted concerns deaf patients have about booking an interpreter for an appointment with their GP.  Patients have also raised concerns about the level of deafness awareness training that goes on in practices.

According to a survey of all 68 practices in Worcestershire conducted by Healthwatch Worcestershire:

The waiting time for interpreter services ranged from two weeks to no wait at all.

46% of respondents did not know whether there was a waiting time for this service;

Over half of GP practices were unable to identify profoundly deaf patients (54%) and 14% were unable to identify patients who are deaf or hard of hearing;

Less than half of GP surgeries surveyed provided deaf awareness training to their staff and only 21% had staff trained in British Sign Language.

“The Deaf community in Worcestershire has been telling us about the difficulties people face accessing GP services.

Deaf community protest..

Members of the Merseyside deaf community and interpreters,protesting outside the Action On Hearing Loss offices on St Paul's Square,against the closing down of the Merseyside Communications Services office & relocation to Peterborough.Dozens of members of Merseyside's deaf community held a protest in Liverpool over the closure of a deaf charity’s city centre office.  Action on Hearing Loss – formerly the RNID – is to shut its Communication Support Unit (CSU) in The Plaza, off Old Hall Street.

The charity says it is moving the unit to Peterborough as part of cost savings measures, with the loss of 10 jobs.  Local people who use the service say it will mean they will struggle to get interpreters, but the charity insists no one will be left without support.

One of the demonstrators, Louise Reecejones, said: “Our main concern is that the new people in Peterborough will not understand the needs of individuals. The people here know their users needs and are able to provide specific services because of the relationships they have with them.”  She said deaf community members have concerns over their access to communication support – interpreters – for appointments such as hospital visits, GP appointments, opticians and work.

Another protestor, Rev Hannah Lewis, added: “Deaf people regularly visit the office here, and have done for 21 years.  “What about those who do not use text messages, phone or email, those who come into the office here, what is going to happen to them.”

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Young Ambassadors to Kenya...

Young Ambassadors Kenya trip 2016 from Send My Friend to School on Vimeo.

Jess and Samina travelled to Kenya with Deaf Child Worldwide to explore the barriers faced by Deaf Children in accessing education. Fewer than 1 in 6 children with disabilities in Kenya are able to go to school.

Darcie re-united with 'Frozen' cochlear implant

The Frozen implantA profoundly deaf eight-year-old girl was reunited with a treasured device that helps her to hear after the kindness of a stranger, who spent days scouring a beach looking for it when he spotted her family's desperate online appeal.

Darcie Pallister was enjoying a day out with her family at the beach when her mum Mel realised her Frozen -themed cochlear implant was missing.  The family desperately retraced their steps, searching every amusement arcade and shop and the full length of the beach in Scarborough before the tide started to come in.

But with the search exhausted they had to accept Darcie's cochlear implant was gone.  Mel, from Hull said: "Darcie was really upset because she couldn't hear from that side any more and she had only just got used to the new sounds.

Text not Speak and save your money...

As the picture to the right suggests text is free, does this mean deaf people no longer have to pay for any calls lol  Or, will free text packages NOT now be available to deaf users ? They cannot have it both ways surely  ? As I am aware T-Mobile isn't a charity...

How much could you save if you dropped voice calling from your smartphone plan? At T-Mobile, it looks like $30 a month.

Most people are still paying for smartphone plans that include phone minutes or unlimited calling, even as they make fewer calls and use their devices primarily for texting, apps or web access.

But T-Mobile quietly offers a plan that includes unlimited data and texting without the ability to make cellular calls (except for dialing 911). It costs as little as $20 a month, $30 less than the equivalent smartphone plan.

The plan–an update to which was leaked to online news site–is intended for deaf or hard-of-hearing customers who don’t want or need voice service. But the plan is available to anyone, T-Mobile says, even though it isn’t sold online or marketed by the company.

Signed language access to Banking...

Traditional customer service channels have excluded the deaf community, which makes up more than 17 per cent of the population.HSBC and First Direct launch a British Sign Language video relay service in the UK to cater to the 11 million strong deaf community, following a study that revealed nearly a third of hearing impaired are excluded from services

Traditional customer service channels have excluded the deaf community, which makes up more than 17 per cent of the population.

HSBC and First Direct will launch a British Sign Language (BSL) video relay service tomorrow to allow deaf users to communicate with the banks through their telephone banking service.  

There are over 11 million hearing impaired people in the UK, of which roughly 145,000 are fluent in BSL Traditional customer service channels have excluded this community, which makes up more than 17 per cent of the population.

An HSBC commissioned survey of over a thousand hearing impaired adults across the UK revealed that 29 per cent of deaf and hard of hearing adults are put off from using service providers, like banks, building societies and utility companies, due to a lack of access. Telephone banking in particular posed a challenge.

The BSL video relay service (VRS) is an online interpreting service which can be accessed through the banks' websites from tomorrow. It enables deaf BSL users to contact their bank via an on-screen interpreter who can relay the conversation to the customer service adviser in spoken English.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Enhanced Audio for deaf...

Hearing impairment is the third most pressing global public health issue after heart disease and arthritis impacting, without discrimination, all ages and cultures bringing with it serious social, economic and mental health issues. Recent Bill & Melinda Gates funded research suggested that, globally, those with hearing loss is around 1.5 billion people and growing around 1.5% pa.

Goshawk seeks to overcome these barriers to social and economic difficulties in offering a software platform that enhances an audio signal tailored specifically to the hearing loss or needs of its customer delivered over the telecoms or IP network without the need for hearing aids or expensive accessories. Patents (filed March 2014) allow the software to be leveraged both as a service and separately into designing products that are more inclusive and understanding of those with hearing loss or needs.

Support for CC could lead to law suits ?

MNCDHH Legislative Update - March 28, 2016 from MNCDHH on Vimeo.

Closed Captioning Bill Hearing this week:

There was a hearing on the Closed Captioning bill, HF 2742, on Thursday, March 24th in the House Civil Law Committee. Jan McCready-Johnson testified for the bill and was great! She told the committee about being in a hospital waiting room when they announced that the Boston Marathon Bombing had occurred. Without the closed captioning turned on, it was clear that there was breaking news, but she did not know what it was. 

It helped the committee understand how scary it can be to not have access to information that hearing people take for granted. The Hospital Association had a few questions about the bill and expressed concern about some of the language. The bill said that if the closed captioning was turned off, it would have to be turned back on “as soon as possible.” The committee changed the bill so that it now says that the closed captioning would have to be turned back on “as soon as practicable.” This wording change seemed to take care of the Hospital Associations concerns about the bill.

Before they voted, a couple of committee members said that they like the bill but are a little worried that the bill could lead to lawsuits. Then committee passed the bill unanimously. It still needs to be heard in a Senate committee and passed by the full House and the full Senate.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Captioned vlogs for Hearing..

For non signing deaf too !

Lipspeaker training

Begin a rewarding and fulfilling career offering communication support for deaf people through lipspeaking.

Dilys Palin has been involved in the training and assessing of lipspeakers since 2002 and has achieved excellent results with the students who have completed the courses. 

The process starts with a selection day, where we explain the content of the course and make sure you are of the high quality needed to train as a lipspeaker. The course consists of 23 days over 15 months. Successful candidates will achieve the Signature Level 3 Lipspeaking Certificate to qualify as a registered NRCPD lipspeaker.

[I'm a bit puzzled as to why a lip-speaking course site, uses a photo of a BSL user instead, agreed they use them too, but wouldn't a visual OF a lip-speaker be more relevant ?  So I did one instead...]

Why Pippa Middleton is the Deaf Darling....

How sexist lol....  No wonder a deaf school wants her as patron...

Deaf Festival

A Deaf problem ?

Indeed it is, HoH DON'T use sign language translation !  The less than subtle declarations they do, distorts the need requirements of non-signing deaf and HoH people.  Would 'ASL/BSL Deaf' use hearing aid loops ?  They wouldn't !  There isn't a collective term for HoH support workers, indeed few if ANY HoH support staff.  There is yet to be an organised support set up for HoH.

If 'Deaf' people want to raise their communication awareness, please don't use the 'HoH' term at the same time.  You have your 'D' what else do you want ?

Sunday, 27 March 2016

CI's now cheaper to implant...

The government is planning to put the high-cost Cochlear implant surgery within the reach of most citizens, with talk of experimental trials of an indigenous version estimated to cost as less as Rs one lakh.

The price of a Cochlear implant till recently was Rs 11 lakh per unit but crashed to Rs 6 lakh after the Centre invited competitive bids for its scheme supporting disabled persons with aids and appliances. The Centre has begun to support 500 children annually for Cochlear implants.

Defence R&D organisation, DRDO, recently made a presentation to Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India under social justice ministry (MSJ) on the implant it has developed. While it is a much more affordable version of available cures for hearing-speech handicaps, it has been languishing without clinical trials for some time now. "We are committed to making Cochlear implants cheap and are looking at clinical trials for what the DRDO has developed," joint secretary in-charge of disability in MSJ, Awanish Awasthi told TOI.

IOC and ICSD sign Memorandum of Understanding

Deaflympics logo.The IOC supporting a  separate games for the Deaf ?  What has deaf culture to do with sport ? Isn't the Olympics multicultural ?

The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf announced it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Paralympic Committee. IOC President Thomas Bach and ICSD President Valery Hukhledev both signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organizations on March 8 in Switzerland.

The MoU says both organizations share the same objectives of promoting for and exercise for the well of society, and acknowledges the ICSD’s role as the global governing body for deaf sport.  The partnership between the IOC and ICSD is important because this provides opportunities for contracts to support events like the Deaf World Youth Games and to assist in the continued promotion of deaf sport in underfunded regions like Africa by providing additional financial support.

The MoU comes with contractual obligations for both sides, enforceable by the laws of Switzerland and the Court of Arbitration of Sports so long as the ICSD continues to be recognized as a member of the IOC. Part C of the MoU makes clear this document came about as a result of Recommendation 7 of the Olympic Agenda 2000, which calls for greater support in managing sport for people with different types of abilities and working together with organizations that support these sports.

Deaf centre to close after 31 years...

I wonder if deaf and HoH read between the lines re this closure ?   Better technology, better communications, more effective equality laws, less need for deaf centres ?

After 31 years serving deaf and hearing-impaired residents of Sarasota and Manatee County, the Community Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing — which currently serves 3,000 people, mostly seniors — is slated to close on April 30.

A confluence of factors — limited grant opportunities, new technologies to help people with hearing problems communicate and little government funding — combined to render the organization unsustainable, said board chair Patrick Jaehne.

“We couldn’t really charge for our services because they’re functions that need to be done in the community for free,” Jaehne said. “We’ve also been dependent on grants, but those have dried up. It wasn’t sustainable for us to keep going.”  The Sarasota closing mirrors a national trend of funding cuts for help for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, said Howard A. Rosenblum, CEO of the National Association of the Deaf.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

HoH play second fiddle to 'Deaf' is it discrimination ?

There is an interesting article In the New York Times today titled “Deaf and Hard of Hearing Fight to Be Heard.” 

Unfortunately it addresses only a small proportion of the “deaf and hard of hearing” that it purports to be about. People who are deaf like me — functionally deaf as adults with no knowledge of ASL — are once again ignored.

“Deaf” is sexy and attention-grabbing. “Hard of hearing” is something we try not to talk about. The Deaf have a beautiful expressive language visible to all. The hard of hearing are invisible.

But the hard of hearing face the same obstacles as the Deaf, and we are equally in need of accommodations — but not ASL. We need CART captioning — live captioning at all public events — and we need looping in public spaces.

The article also neglected to mention the importance of the Hearing Loss Association of America, and the New York Chapter, which were instrumental in getting the recent disability-accommodation bills passed. The author mentions them without noting HLAA’s significant role, even though both the mayor and the bill’s sponsor, Helen Rosenthal, did.

Readers of this blog  probably saw the recent post about that celebratory signing. Those present included representatives of HLAA and other disability-rights organizations. No Deaf organizations. It was HLAA that was there for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

As of now there is no option to comment, but write a letter to the editor, or keep your eye out for the opportunity to comment.

And support HLAA


Friday, 25 March 2016

Family Introductions: Australia

Deaf at Cyber security Boot Camp.

Black History Month

A lip-reading Machine ?

A refined version of he machine could one day be used to reveal what people caught on CCTV footage are sating. A stock image of a CCTV camera is shown. Professor Harvey said: ‘Lip-reading is one of the most challenging problems in artificial intelligence so it’s great to make progress on one of the trickier aspects'If you have ever tried your hand at lip-reading in a noisy environment, you'll know it isn't easy.

Now, researchers have invented a machine that can tell the difference between sounds that look the same on the lips to give anyone the ability to decipher what's being said.   It is hoped the new technology could help people with hearing and speech impairments communicate more easily and even help solve crimes.

Researchers have invented a machine that can tell the difference between sounds that look the same on the lips to give anyone the ability to decipher what’s being said.

The visual speech recognition technology, can be applied 'any place where the audio isn't good enough to determine what people are saying,' according to Helen Bear, who created the machine alongside Richard Harvey at the University of East Anglia (UEA). It IS hoped the new technology could help people with hearing and speech impairments communicate more easily. 

It IS hoped the new technology could help people with hearing and speech impairments communicate more easily. A stock image of a deaf woman using sign language is shown above'We are still learning the science of visual speech and what it is people need to know to create a fool-proof recognition model for lip-reading, but this classification system improves upon previous lip-reading methods by using a novel training method for the classifiers,' she said.

'Potentially, a robust lip-reading system could be applied in a number of situations, from criminal investigations to entertainment.  'Lip-reading has been used to pinpoint words footballers have shouted in heated moments on the pitch, but is likely to be of most practical use in situations where are there are high levels of noise, such as in cars or aircraft cockpits.'

Dr Bear explained that while there are still improvements to be made, such a system could be adapted for use for a range of purposes - for example, for people with hearing or speech impairments. 'A good lip-reading machine could be part of an audio-visual recognition system,' she added.

Professor Harvey said: 'Lip-reading is one of the most challenging problems in artificial intelligence so it's great to make progress on one of the trickier aspects, which is how to train machines to recognise the appearance and shape of human lips.'

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Can you understand me ?

Do You Understand Me? from Chloe Hughes on Vimeo.

A short Documentary following Max, a young boy born profoundly deaf, who can now speak and listen having had help from the Elizabeth Foundation.

Lip Reading Is No Simple Task

CAN YOU READ MY LIPS? from Little Moving Pictures on Vimeo.

Imagine attending a business meeting where everyone around the table was whispering, covering their mouths, and mumbling their words. Picture the frustration you would experience at the end of the meeting when everyone left with their notes but you were left struggling to figure out what the discussion was even about. For deaf individuals who read lips, this situation plays itself out daily in both personal and professional settings.

Recently, Rachel Kolb wrote and starred in a video called “ Can You Read My Lips“ which powerfully describes her experience as a person who is deaf. The video effectively uses imagery and audio to remind hearing viewers just how much the majority of people rely on their sense of hearing to communicate. The video went viral and saw a great response within the community because not only was it well-done, but it touched on a difficult and very personal topic for many people who are deaf: lip reading.

Studies show that only about 30 to 45 percent of the English language can be understood through lip reading alone. Even the most talented lip readers are not able to gather a full message based solely on lip reading, although they are often quite skilled at interpreting facial cues, body language, and context to figure it out. As you can imagine, this technique works the brain in a number of different ways and becomes exhausting over any extended period of time.

When a person who is deaf uses speech and is capable of reading lips, hearing people may not understand the set of challenges they are overcoming just to have a simple one-on-one conversation. The hearing person might get annoyed that they are frequently asked to repeat themselves or to speak more slowly and clearly; they might lose patience and cut the conversation short.

Just because a person who is deaf can read lips does not mean that is the best way to communicate with them. The hearing community lacks an understanding of the real effort that goes into accessing conversation this way.

CI Doll sells out in 5 minutes....

Toy Like Me

Toy Like MeA toy manufacturer is struggling to keep up with demand after designing a 'deaf' children's toy with a cochlear implant.

The Tinker Bell doll, modelled on the character from the classic Disney film Peter Pan, is no ordinary fairy as shown by her hot pink hearing aid. 

Toy company #ToyLikeMe was set up by founder and journalist Rebecca Atkinson to 'celebrate disability in toys' and encourage the global toy industry to better cater to the estimated 150 million disabled children worldwide. 

Before the adorable idea could get off the ground it needed crowdfunding, even to finance the modest kitchen table production line that Rebecca had in mind. 

However, it has proved more popular than Rebecca could have imagined and the first batch of Tinker Bell dolls sold out within five minutes. 

The Acoustic Garden....

Dame Evelyn Glennie. Image: Supplied

Papworth Trust is working with world-famous solo percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie on their 'Together We Can' garden, celebrating the charity's inclusive vision for disability with a sensory and accessible outdoor space.

It will be the first time the RHS Chelsea Flower Show has hosted an acoustic garden. Papworth Trust and Dame Evelyn hope the project will raise awareness of inclusivity and act as a legacy for both disabled people and gardeners.

Features include a water marimba which will transform the garden into a musical instrument amid a backdrop of natural woodland copse, interwoven with features that evoke the equipment of a recording studio. The overall form of the garden will evoke the structure of the ear.

Dame Evelyn, who is profoundly deaf, said: "I wanted to use the subtleties of the garden and the elements of nature to bring together something that is around us and part of our everyday life.

"I want people to look at the garden and see and feel an orchestra and then look at their garden or other gardens with a different viewpoint.

"We will have a water feature which is not so unusual as water itself creates its own sounds. You can get particular types of rhythms from many garden objects while I will also use as many natural products as possible. I have not been to Chelsea before so I am very excited to be part of it."

Sauce for the Goose....

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Steno Captioning

Simply awesome...

What are Deaf Signers afraid of ?

An UK Poster suggests we are afraid of sign language.  We aren't afraid of sign nor is anyone else.  But it isn't the only way we communicate.  In fact it is the way some deaf communicate, in statistical terms a very small minority.

Nobody here needs to be told how varied the means we use to follow the spoken or written word is, we are living examples of the many diverse ways in which people adapt to hearing loss and alternatives of access, about our daily lives.  We know we cannot enforce our communication on others and so we don't attempt to, as this provokes negativity.  We can only get support and access via others willing to comply themselves.

No law can enforce our need, it still requires a willingness to go with it.

The writer suggests it is old fashioned to now suggest deaf people have e.g. a mental illness, however statistics suggest almost 40% of deaf children do have issues, and, 25% of EVERYONE, hearing or deaf, is at some time or other suffering from its effects and via depressions.  

Not all issues as the writer suggests, comes from oppression.  Many come from an unwillingness on a signers part to compromise.  But showing willingness to compromise will succeed 10 times more effectively than  demanding it.

There is too much 'martyrdom' within the 'Deaf' community, and self-obsession, in part some paranoia too, but it near all stems from a view assumed, and honed in Isolation.  What of lip-readers ? Can they demand people speak clearly ?   'Deaf' themselves would refuse to comply. Those who cannot rely on sign , simply because there is no way to utilise it outside their own homes, they must ? Please explain how that works.

Unless they HAVE alternatives to sign they would have no way to carry on communicating.  We don't all have a deaf community or access to it, or even a club to attend, and online is pretty poor a relationship to bolster up a community that never meets, especially when regular meet ups are at the core of community. Sorry, doing it by proxy won't work for those without the 'choice' to stay within a closed deaf community, that 'doesn't need anyone else'.  For 'self sufficiency' read high dependence on others, unless you opt out....

At ATR we can sign, OK we won't win any prizes on skills with it, but without a voice, or literacy,  it would be of little use daily, only 'systems' provide that type of support, else you would be reliant on friends or family.  Whilst many deaf see no issue doing that despite it killing demand for others, what price independence for the deaf person ?  It's entirely relative.  Deaf can do everything except hear, but the world tends to revolve via those who can.

The issue with these sign lobbies is they cannot see any further than sign language.  This flies in the face of the  realities for most of us.  All deaf DON'T sign, all deaf CANNOT use it without issue about their daily lives, and on the street.  They are bystanders to mainstream, and Cultural Deaf can justify it via a 'Deaf Community' approach instead, goalpost shifting..  Why campaign for access ?  Since you have within the 'community' ethos all you need or want anyway ?  Just to let others know you are there ?  You get out, only, what you put in.

It isn't mainstream who are 'afraid to sign' if we look online many appear to see novelty value and a job option in posting up their skill on the ABC of it.   More obvious, (And telling),  is the fact most HI/HoH don't want to..... we should be addressing why those with hearing loss are so reluctant, being virtual front line and having no 'comfort zone' of community as back up...  Are they prejudiced ? or, are they simply reluctant to be dragged into the distortions of deaf awareness they see every day emanating for Deaf Cultural campaigning ?  Uncertain a closed system of community really will work for them ?

All deaf sign... no captions wanted, anti-CI areas, capital D's, Deafhood, we need to put a stop to the nonsensical defiant stance of it all.  Lots of cultures exist, they don't exist only by keeping their distance, they integrate, it's called multiculturalism.   The road to that ISN'T easy, but taking the first step forward is a start, not two back every time.  Back to the future was a film, it's not a valid way of life.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Captions via ATW..

Access to WorkCaptions rule....

“Access to Work tell me to use X. I prefer Y.”

“Access to Work have told me to use a typist.”

“Why don’t you get a telephone with a flashing light? It’s cheaper.”

“My Access to Work adviser says I can only have up to £xx/hour for captioning.”

Sound familiar?

Requesting funding from Access to Work can be a minefield. What are you allowed to ask for? How can you get the type of captioning service you need? What are the differences in the captioning services available and how do they work? Can I use different providers? We look at answers to these questions and more in this article.

Access to Work will grant funding according to (1) the most economical service that (2) meets your minimum needs. However, the cheapest service is not necessarily the most appropriate one; it should also adequately meet your communication support needs.

Minimum needs:

If you are in a professional level job and require equal access to work with your colleagues, then you will require verbatim captioning to put you on an equal footing with them. You will need verbatim steno captioning, also known as speech-to-text, which can keep up with fast speakers. This is different from respeaking, which is not verbatim and cannot keep up with fast speech.

If you’re a lipreader and require minutes of your meeting (as a lipreader can’t lipread and take notes at the same time), or you are a sign language user, or you simply do not require a word-for-word account of what is said, you can choose electronic notetaking. An electronic notetaker is not verbatim. They can write a meaning-for-meaning account of what is said, rather than word-for-word.


CC: Taking the Access fight to Deaf Culture

There is a resurgence of complaint and concern regarding the poor Cultural Deaf attitudes to closed captioning and subtitling access.  More and more vids are coming out asking ASL and BSL deaf to to start proving access for their own.
Most appears based on a collective 'cultural paranoia' that assumes captioning and Subtitling undermines sign language users and their community ethos,  as well as their perceived 'Identity' as deaf people no-one has yet defined as a whole. 

It is with increasing concern the drive for signed access has been at the cost of captioned/Text access for non-signing deaf, that goes far beyond a cultural viewpoint, to undermine access for others, who lack the capacity to fight their own corner and are not included in cultural campaigns.  A double whammy where the vulnerable are left out not only be hearing people, but fellow deaf as well.

'Deaf Awareness' is now rejected by most rank and file with hearing loss worldwide as non-viable or at best, a one-trick pony, as they see it as suggesting all deaf people sign, or all deaf people cannot follow own countries languages, they are some linguistic minority, but who appear to playing a majority deaf view card to promote.

Abuses of the disability label are widespread by the deaf, as is the abuse of supportive remits, that while on the face of it appear inclusive, are ignored almost wholesale by cultural deaf mercenaries intent on stamping their view of the deaf world as the only one.  One would applaud their tenacity if it were not for the fact we are paying the access price for it.

Captioning is just one way ASL/BSL support areas can go as far as asking for public service announcements and updates to be signed-only, this results in part to systems then rejecting requests from non-signers for the access on awareness to be dually accessible to include text approaches so they can follow.  The financial pot being what it is, systems won't produce two videos on the same thing, and we don't WANT two approaches.  Alarmingly Interpreters are playing the 'Deaf' card too... we know why, he who pays the piper etc...

Deaf etiquette generally suggests you don't talk over another deaf person, and fairness, suggests you should not talk behind their back either.  Here cultural deaf use sign to max effect to oppose you face to face whilst you are in ignorance, a form of abuse.

Youtube publishes many many signed videos, deaf have seized upon this visual medium to promote their ways of life,  often we can make out they oppose other deaf people and views, which is fine, assuming people know what is being said and have the option to reply !  Do signers believe that using sign-only approaches will somehow 'force' the rest of us to acquire it to respond ?  We will just ignore. Awareness point lost.

The worst aspect being, they know others don't understand what they are signing, so don't know they are talking about them.  We also live via the net in a more global situation, despite claims by Deaf cultural members, sign ISN'T a universal medium.  ASL doesn't travel to BSL or most other sign forms... ditto in reverse... While we can argue using English language captioning is unfair to deaf in other countries, we cannot argue when this access is deliberately refused on cultural grounds via text in their own language too.

The conundrum on access and awareness, is that the cultural deaf and the HI and other deaf are apparently united in demanding CC access online, but the official view by rank and file is 'We don't follow the basics of English or its grammar, so we sign without..'  So a sort of defiance is seen, even using own news media to proudly proclaim 'NO CC HERE !'  as some sop to culture.   Sign-only means a huge middle ground to unity is removed entirely.  Deaf awareness becomes non extant.

If they believe no captioning by request is a valid statement, then others can well suggest, OK, then no signed output, text-only.  Do they really want to pit deaf people against each other and divide by mode used ?  We have a ridiculous issue whereby there are many campaigns for CC access aimed at mainstream, governments, and business areas, but, leaving cultural deaf an opt out...  Should we support that opt out ?

No we should not, it is not playing fair and is undermining access and equality campaigns for others.  If cultural deaf want to sail into the sunset on a  raft of sign language, OK, but they can't take us with them.  By far cultural deaf are a minority and would do well to remember that statistic.  If the non-deaf signers and HI decide to really oppose this thinly-veiled disregard of captioning and subtitling, cultural deaf will understand exactly what a minority it is.

Cultural recognition was never designed to enable cultural discrimination against others, and the worm is turning.  Pressures on cultural deaf vloggers to caption is going to increase.  No excuses...  We don't take that from mainstream, but we won't take it from fellow deaf either, it is better we all agree to captioning, rather than we start to lobby to get that enforced. Without captions and subtitling there is NO DEAF AWARENESS, since we and mainstream don't know what you are saying.  Be careful we won't care.

It's a curious form of deaf awareness that spends 90% of its time talking to itself, and preaching to the converted anyway.  At the same time insisting others caption for them.... Do as we ask, but we don't have to do it for you, is a pretty poor excuse for cultural acceptance.

Never Mind ?

It happens sometimes. A friend or colleague is telling me a funny story or explaining an event that happened, and at some point I will ask “What did you say?” I got the beginning, but somewhere along the way I missed something and needed clarification of the last point. 

The speaker pauses, as if to think about the question, and replies “Never mind.” Usually, this is accompanied by a dismissive wave of the hand or shake of the head or both. I hate that, don’t you?

Never mind is a dismissal. It is an insult. It says that the listener is not important enough to the speaker to repeat what was said. This also applies to “forget it,” “it’s not important,” and “don’t worry about it.” If I hear that from somebody enough times, I don’t bother to interact with them any longer. It’s not worth my time. I essentially say “never mind” to them — just not out loud!

Maybe I am being too sensitive. Sometimes the story is probably not important enough to repeat or there is not time to go through it again now. Even so, it still bothers me and it probably bothers others with hearing loss too.

More concerning is that this type of dismissal may lead to social withdrawal for people if it happens enough. “Why bother to interact with others if I am only to be scorned for not hearing everything perfectly,” some might think. It becomes easier not to try, then to face the dismissal and shame. Thus begins a downward spiral.

So, how can we better handle this type of situation and nip bad feelings in the bud? 

CC Bill/Hearing this week

MNCDHH Legislative Update - March 21, 2016 from MNCDHH on Vimeo.

Justin Small signs an ASL version of the following text: (Why not just... Caption ?)

Legislative Update: March 21, 2016

• Closed Captioning Bill Hearing this week
• Remaining bills introduced
• Hearing on and clarification about Education Reports Bill
Closed Captioning Bill Hearing this week 

The bill to require that closed captioning be on at all times in hospital waiting rooms and whenever state or local governments have TVs for the public will have a hearing this week. The House Civil Law Committee will hold a hearing on the bill, HF 2742, on Thursday, March 24th at 8:15 a.m. Jan McCready-Johnson will testify for it. 

Remaining bills introduced
The rest of the bills that the Commission is supporting this have been introduced. 

CC Bill

The Closed Captioning bill was introduced in the Senate as SF 2603 by Senators Alice Johnson of Blaine and Dan Hall of Burnsville. In the House, Representative Jerry Newton of Coon Rapids was added as an author of HF 2742. 

The bill to study a Division of Healthy Aging within the Department of Health has been introduced in both the House and the Senate. HF 3036 was introduced by Representative Nels Pierson and SF 2621 was introduced in the Senate by Senators Sandy Pappas of Saint Paul and Carla Nelson of Rochester.

The bill to improve communication within the criminal justice system has been introduced as HF 3084 in the House by Representatives Nick Zerwas of Elk River and Dan Schoen of Cottage Grove. Senators Dan Brown of Becker and Barb Goodwin of Columbia Heights introduced the Senate bill as SF 2734.

The bill to Require Insurance Coverage for Aural Rehab Counseling has been introduced in the House by Representatives Tama Theis of Saint Cloud and Bob Loonan of Shakopee as HF 3181. The Senate version has been introduced by Senators John Hoffman of Champlin, Jim Carlson of Eagan, and Jim Metzen of South Saint Paul as SF 2720. 

Hearing on Education Reports Bill 

The Senate Education Policy Committee had a hearing on the bill to tweak the requirements of the educational reports, SF 2554, on Thursday, March 17th. Anna Paulson, the Commission’s Coordinator of Educational Advancements & Partnerships testified for the bill. The Committee was supportive of the bill. We expect them to include this policy change in a larger, “omnibus” education policy bill that they will pass later in the session. 


Please note: Current law requires the Minnesota Department of Education to prepare this report every year. The bill changes the requirement to every-other year, not twice a year. We erroneously reported twice a year in our legislative agenda announcement and apologize for any confusion caused. We have made the fix on the legislative page of our website. 

Barclays Bank: Signed Video Service

Will Rist introduced the first way for British Sign Language (BSL) users to contact Barclays instantly without having to wait to visit a branch. 

A sign video service on our website enables customers to have a secure 'video chat' with a registered interpreter. Previously customers had to book an appointment in a branch to meet a sign language interpreter, a process that sometimes took six weeks. 

This change is positively impacting thousands of deaf customers, and it is the first service of its kind for Barclays.

Australia first ?

BSL 13th Anniversary...

Monday, 21 March 2016

Deaf: YOU caption videos too OK ?

Click the [CC] button for CC! 

If CC doesn't show up after you've clicked the button, fiddle with the settings first and then try it again.  I always talk about how it would be nice if hearing YouTubers would caption their stuff, but I never talk about the other deaf folks. It might seem like a "duh!" question, but hey, I think it's been asked before. So let's answer it.

CapTel in New Zealand

People suffering from hearing loss are now able to use a telephone with the help of captions.

CapTel is a captioned telephone that connects to the internet and displays captions of your conversation while you’re speaking; enabling those with a hearing loss to read what is being said.  The free captioning service is funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and is available seven days a week from 7am to 10pm with help desk support located in Auckland City.

There is a one off cost to loan the CapTel phone which you can keep for as long as you like. CapTel’s features include a built in answer machine with captions, a large easy to read captions window with adjustable font sizes, colours and a built in amplifying feature.

All you need is a landline, broadband internet connection and a CapTel phone.  CapTel New Zealand is endorsed by The National Foundation for the Deaf, Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand and Good Soundz Ltd.

Know your ASL History...

Barriers in Education...

Mum helps deaf Daughter through school..

Mom helps deaf student beat the oddsAt the age of 54, Mary-Anne Hodgkinson found herself back at school even though she was neither a pupil nor or a teacher.  Instead she was there as an interpreter for her daughter, Ashley Hodgkinson, 25, who was born deaf.

Hodgkinson attended classes with Ashley from Grade 10, and until she completed her tertiary studies. Last week Ashley, from Pietermaritzburg, graduated from the Embury Teacher Training Institute in Durban with a Bachelor of Education Foundation Phase.

Ashley refused to complete matric at a school for the deaf. She was enrolled to start Grade 10 at a mainstream school, St Benedict. When the family struggled to get an interpreter for her, the principal suggested her mother interpret for her.  “I looked for an interpreter but I could not find one and Ashley had to start Grade 10. The principal said I should come to classes with her so I could interpret for her in sign language. Ashley did well in her studies and so I did it until she completed her matric.”

Ashley said she had always wanted to be independent.

“I always wanted more... I wanted a university degree and felt that moving to a mainstream school would be a good start. At school we worked well together and I didn’t see her as my mother when we were in classes,” she said

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Deaf Network Erases Wales from the UK

Should we not officially complain to the Deaf Network ?

Gene Survey: Hopes for hearing loss reversal...

In a small clinical study with an anticancer drug that halts blood vessel growth, a handful of people with neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) and hearing loss had restoration of hearing.

Results of the collaborative study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine, the National Institutes of Health and Massachusetts General Hospital were described online March 14, 2016 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

An estimated one in 25,000 people is born with NF2, a hereditary tumor syndrome in which virtually everyone progresses to deafness because of vestibular schwannomas -- tumors growing on the nerves responsible for hearing. The tumors arise from the Schwann cells that support and insulate nerves. These tumors also cause balance problems and brain stem compression.

"Our study shows that the hearing loss suffered by at least a subset of these patients isn't permanent and that there is hope of reversing it," 

BSL in crisis as 25% of terps plan to leave the job..

Not enough money in it ? 

Quote: “I’m not able to earn enough to continue to pay training fees. I encounter hostility and discouragement from registered SLIs who believe I am taking their work. 

I feel undervalued - nobody appreciates that what I do, even as a trainee, is in any way Skillfull.… It is now affecting my mental and physical health, has entirely depleted my savings and there is no practical way to continue. I will work until my TSLI badge runs out and then give up.”

This report is a response to concerns about evidence that a large percentage of skilled and experienced British Sign Language/English Interpreters (SLIs) plan to leave the profession.

Our Exit Survey (run separately from the Survey of Interpreter’s Working Conditions) aims to develop our understanding of the reasons behind this apparent trend. We are looking into the career plans of those who have left or reduced their commitment to the British Sign Language/English interpreting (SLI) profession to diversify their income, or are planning to do so in the next five years.

The findings raise alarm in relation to the sustainability of the SLI profession and the consequences for the Deaf and deafblind community that depends on the profession to exercise its citizenship rights. Our previous survey from early 2015 showed that almost a quarter of the total 1,100 registered members of the NRCPD said they were “definitely” or “maybe” planning to leave the SLI profession; 82% of this group cited uncertainty within the profession as their main reason.

2 Deaf accepted on teaching programs...

Trymore Manyuchi, Gwendolyn Goredema and Lydia Tutani, who have been struggling due to their condition, were accepted for teaching programmes through the initiative of Deaf Zimbabwe Trust, an organisation that promotes the empowerment of deaf and hard-of-hearing people.

Manyuchi became partially deaf after he sustained burns when he was in Grade 1, but continued at the same school with assistance from his elder brother, who dropped a grade lower in order to help him.  After completing his O Levels, he battled to obtain employment. Although he has some hearing, it is limited, making communication difficult.

“Going to Morgan Zintec is a big opportunity for me,” Manyuchi, who lives with his gardener father and vendor mother in Mt Pleasant, said.  Married with two children, Goredema did not have it any easier, as she became deaf after she fell ill in Grade 2 and faced serious challenges learning with hearing children in the early years of her primary education before her school introduced a class for deaf pupils.

Although she passed seven subjects at O Level at Emerald Hill School of the Deaf, she did not manage to proceed to A Level.  Even though at one time she worked in South Africa as a tailor, she failed to get employment when she came back to join her husband, who is also deaf and survives on meagre earnings from airtime vending.

Tutani, on the other hand, was born deaf and attended Emerald Hill School for the Deaf.  Also married, Tutani worked in Budiriro, making peanut butter, but stopped six months later due to lack of payment and says she would like to assist deaf children.

Deaf Zimbabwe Trust executive director, Barbra Nyangairi said while government had adopted an inclusive education policy, where children with disabilities or special needs learn alongside other children in schools, deaf children often just sat in class unable to hear what the teacher was saying.  She said only $20 000 had been allocated in the government’s education budget to special needs education for 307,000 children with disabilities.

“It’s very little. For deaf children to go to college, they need sign language interpreters,” she said, adding that special needs education was expensive and resources needed to be allocated accordingly.

Friday, 18 March 2016

2 Deaf teachers fired at ISD....

The Board of Regents on Thursday unanimously agreed to terminate two longtime teachers with the Iowa School for the Deaf after conducting private hearings last week.

Details of those hearings were not made public, and board spokesman Josh Lehman said Iowa Code prevents regents from discussing the personnel matters. But eight of the nine regents — minus Milt Dakovich, who was not present — met in closed session again Thursday before publicly voting to terminate Tricia Tighe and Tina Murdoch.

Tighe, according to Lehman, started working for the School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs in August 2000. Murdoch first started with the regents’ special school in August 1990. They both signed new contracts for the 2015-2016 school year in May, with Tighe to earn a salary of $66,148 and Murdoch to make $60,575 on the year, according to documents provided to The Gazette.

The contracts show both women as full-time, with Tighe holding the top sign-language certification and Murdoch holding the lowest. Both teachers and their work with students had been featured over the years in the school’s newsletter. In August, Murdoch was recognized for 25 years of service, according to a school newsletter.

Although neither could be reached for comment Thursday, both women in January told WOWT, the NBC news affiliate in Omaha, they had been suspended and received letters recommending termination.