Wednesday, 31 May 2017

How the UK Government treats its disabled people...

Talking about Hearing loss

This week marks the end of Better Hearing and Speech Month, and with Memorial Day yesterday we couldn’t think of a better person to highlight than Mr. Ron Tallman. Ron served in the US Navy for 22 years and is a leader in the hard of hearing community in AZ, serving on the Board of the HLAA Sun Lakes chapter and also as a member of ACDHH’s Hard of Hearing Task Force. Ron is a co-leader of the HLAA AZ Walk4Hearing which will be held on Veteran’s Day this year (Saturday 11-11-17).

Monday, 29 May 2017

Hearing loss and Paranoia...

Recent research shows that a person’s mental health can be affected by untreated hearing loss.
Proof that HEARING LOSS really is a serious issue and disability.

More than 1 million people in Arizona and more than 48 million people nationwide experience some form of hearing loss.

According to American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the number of Americans with hearing loss has doubled over the past 30 years. This month, Better Hearing and Speech Month serves as an important reminder of the significance hearing loss treatment plays not only in our hearing health, but in our mental health as well.

May is also Mental Health Month. These two causes have more in common than just sharing the same month. Recent research shows that a person’s mental health can be affected by untreated hearing loss.  According to Dr. Samuel Trychin, a psychologist and mental health and rehabilitation advisor for the Hearing Loss Association of America, hearing loss can result in a variety of additional mental health complaints.

Dealing with any type of loss is a major issue when providing mental health services to people. Individuals who are hard of hearing or late-deafened experience a profound sense of loss and isolation.  Trychin believes that this underlying sense of loss may be related to the feeling of “no longer being the person I once was.”

Scientific studies have also begun to produce evidence that links depression, increased cognitive decline and social isolation to untreated hearing loss. According to American Academy of Audiology, the National Council of Aging studied 2,300 people, 50 and older, with hearing loss and found that those with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report depression, anxiety and paranoia.

Green Party endorses deaf-blind candidate...

The Green Party has announced its first Deafblind parliamentary candidate, as it launches a disability manifesto. The party aims to highlight the impact Conservative austerity has had on the lives of disabled people.  Ben Fletcher, who works as lead developer for, will stand in Putney, south London.

“Disabled people are desperately under-represented in public life in Britain,” said the 36-year-old, who is profoundly Deaf and partially sighted.  “At a time of deep disillusionment with politics in the UK, it is really important for the MPs elected in 2017 to reflect the diversity of the people they are meant to represent.

“There are over 11 million disabled people in Britain. That’s one in six. And yet many of us are still prevented from participating fully in education, in employment, and in politics because of inflexible, outdated attitudes, needless barriers to access and a general lack of understanding about what disabled people can really achieve if they receive the support they need.”

The Greens say the basic rights and opportunities of disabled people are being removed by Conservative Government.  The disability manifesto is proposing a plan for a community-led Care And Support service to provide training and resources to help vulnerable people. It will aim to save money by “supporting wellbeing” and help communities identify and meet the needs of disabled people, alongside councils, the NHS and government.

The manifesto will also highlight the difficulties faced by disabled people trying to receive benefits, such as Personal Independence Payments (PIPs).

Mental Health In the Deaf Community.

deaf awareness ?

I struggled to see any, I did see a LOT of 'Deaf' people signing, and why use the terms 'deaf and HoH ?' when there were obviously no Hard of hearing there and they were all using sign language ?  Please promote OWN areas under OWN labels, don't use other people's.  

Other than that it was a good promo for the culturally-inclined that at least had captions a rarity these days !  Hard of Hearing DON'T use terms like 'deaf' or 'Deaf' to describe themselves, so why do those with profound loss call themselves HoH as well? It's all designed to promote sign and culture online so anyone who ISN'T looking for that output, are tuned in by the HoH tags by default search options.  Type in 'HoH' and see what you DON'T get.

We've asked google to monitor deaf output that obviously is NOT covering the area or content, it is claiming to cover.  Apparently there is no way to prevent ambiguous promotion using someone else's ID.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Using your hearing aid....

See it, say it.

Image result for distortionRecent reports on right to sign were grossly misreported in Deaf media and raised the issue of fact distortions  and omission, within the signing activists community. 

Reports online suggest 97% of deaf children and young deaf adults want BSL taught in education, the deaf spun it as 97% of young HEARING people support BSL in education,which was neither accurate nor true. Numbers or identities of people polled was not validated on social media.  

The original survey  validated those who contributed (The findings were based on responses from 2,128 deaf children and young people.).  Are 2,128 children '97% of hearing students ?' Factually they asked 748 deaf). Did they just go to a deaf school or a PHU ? yes they did.

More stats [c/o BATOD/NDCS):

23 deaf schools.
22,000 deaf and other pupils with hearing loss in mainstream.
2184 wear CI's.

Maybe the right to sign area can validate its statistics based on just 748 deaf ? which is not 97% but the remainder, just over 3% surveyed. 

For E.G. Jeff McWhinney:  1.1 Interpretation of findings:

Due to the self-selecting nature of the sample, the survey results are likely to be somewhat biased towards those who already had positive views and experiences of BSL. This may be reflected in the responses so findings should be interpreted with this in mind. 

What they said:    May 25
Wow! I didn't expect this to be this high a percentage!! BSL power!

The problem is the mass distortion of facts, that mislead systems and deaf people.   No attempt is made to clarify, and you get attacked if you try.. Maybe Jeff should read about his claims before he makes them, given 16m hearing young people were not asked at all. Asking for clarity, was a signal to identify the questioner as an attacker of sign language.  

When the issue of statistical validity and accuracy was put to the deaf on Twitter, ATR got a response from Jeff McWhinney that asking for clarity on that question, was 'trolling'. The stat system of closing down response by deaf activists.   I suppose the issue is if you want unbiased responses don't ask biased areas.  Nice try, but no prize Jeff... The facts came from your own area....

Getting that Grip !

Not advice to the lovelorn more practical suggestions in dealing with hearing loss based on real experience. Why suffer ?

I am a Mental Health Peer Recovery Worker and as part of my job I regularly teach groups of 5 to 10 people courses on Self Esteem, Building Resilience and Mindfulness. I am deaf and wear RIC hearing aids.

I would be more than happy to help if you would like me to.

ATR:  I'm inclined to agree, although no time for buzz-speak terminology, just say it how it is. Hearing loss is less of an issue compared to that lack of confidence, basically if mine had not been addressed I would have been totally isolated and out of it with all that entails, in my time 'get a grip' was the only answer to hearing loss, my parents had that approach to me too.  Only YOU  can solve YOUR issues.

You cannot help thinking in retrospect that the increase of support you have seen in recent years, and yes support is amazing today when you compared it with NONE in my time, then, a form of legal right to support or an assumption to it, with no demand of effort from you, takes away a certain amount of drive and confidence you need to self-support, it is a fine balancing line.

What 'cut off' point to support do you adopt to prevent a reliance on others ? as most with hearing loss are adamant they do not want reliance.  It is why most HI refuse to access sign language.  They are aware it is communication, they are ultimately aware the price for them to adopt it, is too high to pay.

To compare it with deaf people for whom reliance is a right not an issue compounds the problem.  Of course traumatised deaf need that support, born deaf and children do, but to avoid the total reliance gig, you need to say OK now you are walking, what direction you take is up to you not us.  We cannot be protected from life, shit happens.

The timing has to be right when the support line has to be cut....  As I stated, my approach could ONLY take one direction you went in at the deep end, and sung or swam. Over 11 years of the onset of profound loss, the first 5 I was definitely sinking ! but I did gain by that experience to go forward, and today despite 50 years profound deaf I rely on no agency for any support, I basically taught myself enough lip-reading, again forced to really, because there were no classes anyway.   

I enter hearing areas and make a contribution, it isn't huge but it is there, you have to go to these areas explain without demand you need their cooperation to follow, I found 75% of the time I got that cooperation, on the law of averages that is better than being supported.  If you aren't in it, there is no prize to win.

A lot, is do to with ensuring your homework is done and to plan carefully for issues that may arise, this give you a better way to deal with areas you might feel 'I can't do that..' and then avoid, which sets a pattern you then won't change, and the direction then is solitary.  Obviously even the best plans sometimes fail, you adapt or else !  What you don't do is run...

These days so much is text accessible I don't need much to access any area I want to.  Socially it is give and take, whether that is hearing areas or the hearing loss ones,  I know what works for me, also pride has no place in anything, you need to make others aware what you can or cannot hear, who wants to look an idiot ? Mainstream hearing are not mind readers, and despite claims from some deaf areas, neither are we.

If others don't sign at you, or you cannot lip-read so you can follow, then you switch to alternatives, you make effort, you don't sit there demanding the type of access only you are able to understand and getting angry about it.  At the root of it all, when deafness strikes you really do need to understand yourself and your failings too.   What follows 'Pride' ?  

Being honest about those failings, is more than half the battle.  There are some support areas I support, others I think are not helping us at all.  I think support systems still aren't with that, mainly because they don't see the real wood for the trees, and keep planting more of them....

Friday, 26 May 2017

The world in Closed Captioning...

World News in Sign/CC

Poor Ricky !

Damned if you do, damned if you don't, the best approach is never apologise or appease, its a sign of weakness.  A G Bell blocks a response ?  They are WAY behind ASL and BSL dedicated areas who first started mass blocking of people that didn't follow the herd as soon as they went online, unable to counter or justify many statements they made.... Now its apparently acceptable to not justify.

Complaining about A G Bell just empowers ASL activism  to complain more. Obviously live and let live is under siege in the USA.  I suppose its the oralism thing, which is choice, and whilst I don't fully understand the USA way of things, it is the overwhelming right to plug that choice. ATR has had personal abuse simply for any coverage of A G Bell regardless if the post is relevant to me.  I came to to get away from UK signer abuses, and a threat of rape by a homosexual deaf person there.

Via comment it is better to put your own view, let them take it or leave it. Life is too short to attempt to please everybody.  It's clear Ricky worries about gay backlash as well, don't be ! Nobody is above being silly, mean or wrong.  Not even TV stars.

As a Brit I found the USA extremely divisive regarding deafness and hearing loss, fortunately in the UK we just nod sagely here and ignore the ramblings of various signing activists, who want to maintain some US versus Them set up, there isn't any us V them just them talking to themselves, and forever playing the woe is me and deaf martyr card. They want this confined 'Deaf World' they are welcome to it, just don't go complaining to us after it is restrictive.

Any oppressed that exist are by far the NON-signing deaf and others, for them no national support system exists, at least in the UK, no deafhood here either.  OK we accept the blame for it, but the USA did distort the whole thing and made money out of it, which I suspect wasn't the original idea, and they still need a host of English translators to unravel it all.... which again rather defeats the point, if Mr Ladd ever had any.

The HI also have to contend with everyone signs definitions emanating from you know where. It may even be a signing area....   Recent Louisiana attempts to put signing deaf on some higher level than non-signers is too stupid really to attempt to counter.   Under the guise of equality, they want segregation acceptable. Or at best some deaf more 'equal' than others.  We in the UK have sat and watched 'Deaf week' constant attacks on speech and text access areas, BORING as well as tiresome.

We aren't brave, celebrities or heroic for going for equality, and it does seem 'equality' and 'inclusion' has a different mind set with the ASL or BSL user, and is entirely  relative.   They are rooted to their own area and don't really relate anywhere else, otherwise they would not be making such a big deal of empowering their status quo AS a minority. Integration plays little part of 'Deaf' equality campaigns.  Everyone conforms to them or that's it, is hardly a realistic approach. 

Until there is an holistic and inclusive aim, we are all left to counter the hype... nobody is more equal than anyone else, and I strongly suspect the De Marco thing is gay 'pride' more than deaf. But then I would rather my eyes bled than watch dancing shows. It is of minor interest, given e.g. at Gallaudet the gays were ousted there for trying to hijack deaf awareness and access campaigns, and then attempting to redefine the role of inclusive/diversity officers with the view they cannot have any....  

Seems the land of the free and democracy is totally at the mercy of this minority angst.  Not what inclusion or democracy is about. The needs of the many etc....

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Deaf Connections: News

Deaf Girl signs her thanks...

A schoolgirl born with a variety of health complications has starred in a touching new video to thank hospice staff for their care.

Amelia Morgan, who is profoundly deaf, used her sign language skills to pay tribute to the incredible staff at Ty Hafan in Sully, Vale of Glamorgan.

The 12-year-old needs regular visits to the children’s hospice which offers care to children and support for their families throughout Wales.

ATR's City in Lockdown

After suspicious packages and a car are left unattended.  Maybe the USA will begin to understand freedom of speech  in the US can lead to dangers here Stop aiding IS !

USA assisting Terrorists ?

British authorities warn of 'damage' to investigation from leaks
"Police hunting the terror network behind the Manchester Arena bombing have stopped passing information to the US on the investigation as a major transatlantic row erupted over leaks of key evidence in the US, according to a report."

This is after a USA newspaper published data designed to assist anti-terror agencies worldwide, were then published in an USA newspaper.  This allows IS and others to plan more atrocities providing less clues for our police and other agencies to trace them.

Complete irresponsibility from the USA and its media.  These animals of IS blew up our children.  Because of USA abuses of information, they will get LESS help or information from the UK, which ultimately means more successful outrages, we have to be able to trust the Americans, and it seems we now cannot ?  Trump sells your secrets to Russia, other give secrets free to terrorists.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Deaf - Blind Info...

Deaf Diabetes UK...

A huge thank you to the Derby Deaf Diabetes UK Fundraising Community for raising £4,061 for Diabetes UK during 2016! You’re helping us work towards a world where diabetes can do no harm.

Oh dear....

Hearing-impaired people in Louisiana might be officially called "deaf," "Deaf" or "d/Deaf" under measure that state Rep. Pat Smith is sponsoring. (Photo by Brett Duke, The Times-Picayune archive)
There are so many totally misleading and one-sided statements here it is difficult to find truth. Please quit with the divisive rhetoric and division by background, decibel or mode. 

50 years of emancipation sold down the river by a minority identity gig. 'WE are this, THEY are that..' it defines segregationist aspiration. So they have redefined US too ?  By what right ?  We can show them many many examples where their ID definition just does not apply.

One good reason English grammar needs to be included in sign use, if only to explain to deaf people the implication of what they are saying. Sign grammar does not seek to do that.

Hearing-impaired people in Louisiana might be officially called "deaf," "Deaf" or "d/Deaf" under measure that the state Senate is considering. The Judiciary A Committee on Tuesday (May 23) endorsed a resolution asking the Louisiana State Law Institute to address language in current laws addressing deafness.

In hearing-impaired circles, a distinction is made based on an individual's degree of disability. In text, a capitalized "D" in "Deaf" represents someone born without the ability to hear, while a lowercase "d" denotes someone who lost hearing ability over time or as a result of some injury. The collective term is stylized as "d/Deaf."

But certain portions of Louisiana's legal text do not allow for symbols such as the slash or hyphen. Laws passed by the Legislature could be misconstrued or unnecessarily complicated by this stylization.

House Concurrent Resolution 36 by Rep. Pat Smith, D-Baton Rouge, asks the institute to provide some clarity through a better textual, collective definition for the community. The resolution has already passed the House.

10 Tips for serving cultural deaf people..

10 Tips for Serving Deaf Customers at Your Small BusinessAnother guide to assisting deaf people, but sadly ot assisting deaf who do not sign or rely on cued speech, text, or lip-reading.  We all yearn for a more inclusive approach to improve access for us all, we are still not seeing this. The image is NOT of a deaf person, but a Deaf signing person. Others sidelined by default.

Marilyn Weber’s path to being the president and CEO of Deaf Interpreter Services, Inc. (DIS)  in San Antonio, Texas, has a personal side. She began learning American Sign Language when her daughter was diagnosed with profound hearing loss at the age of three.

Today, her thriving business provides certified interpreters, video productions geared toward American Sign Language and other services. She talked with Small Business Trends about the things entrepreneurs can do to make their small businesses more deaf-friendly.

Tips for Serving Deaf Customers

Be Aware of the Video Relay System.

A deaf person who uses American Sign Language places a video “signing” call to a business that has hearing staff who act as liaisons. Companies like Sorenson have contracts with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to interpret sign language verbally over the phone using video. They connect the deaf person at one end with hearing counterparts at the other through interpreters.

“This technology allows the deaf individual to communicate back and forth in real time in their language,” Weber says.
Small businesses need to be aware these systems exist. Shop owners need to educate their staff and to let them know the interpreters identify themselves at the beginning of each phone call.

Use Text and Email Too!

 A lot of our everyday technology works well with deaf clients. Along with the relay services mentioned above, text and email are great ways to communicate with deaf people.

Adjust the Interview Process Accordingly

Making provisions for deaf people can be as simple as tweaking pre-interview questionnaires and other documents and processes.
“If you have someone who applies to your company that is deaf, you need to be open to fact that doesn’t limit them from communicating with you, other consumers or anyone else,” Weber says.
The whole thing can be as easy as taking stock of those questions that are geared toward hearing only people. Otherwise, an unintentionally slanted pre employment questionnaire can disqualify a deaf person who is qualified for the job.
“We should be open to adjusting these questionnaires to include people with other kinds of abilities,” Weber says.

Stress Other Visual Helpers

Video relays systems are just one way to accommodate deaf customers. There are several onsite ideas small business owners can adopt to make for a more comfortable shopping and working experience. Weber points out making sure fire alarms and smoke alarms have visual cues like strobe lights make for a welcoming atmosphere for both clients and employees.

She says making sure these get placed in washrooms goes a long way to establishing a deaf-friendly safe reputation that leads to more deaf clients and profits.

Teach Your Staff Some Basic Signs.

“If a deaf person comes into a restaurant, they don’t just want to point to something on the menu if they want it prepared a certain way.”  Weber stresses training restaurant staff in some simple signs or encouraging them to take the time to write notes and pass them back and forth is a good practice. Taking those few moments can even help you find out if a deaf person has allergies.

Act Out Scenarios at Work

Play acting can help to engage your small business staff and teach them about the needs of deaf customers. Weber suggests running through some ‘what-if’ scenarios so everyone on staff knows what to do.

Survey Deaf Customers.

Keeping things simple is always a best small business practice. Just asking deaf customers or experts how you can improve your processes goes along way. Deaf people are loyal clients and word travels quickly in their communities about shops and small businesses that go the extra mile. Weber makes this simple.  “If you want to know how to have a deaf-friendly business, ask a deaf person.”

Be Aware Of Deaf Target Markets.

If you’re planning on or have already made deaf accommodations, targeted advertising works to everyone’s advantage.  La Vista is a good example of an entire community that focuses on the deaf and hard of hearing. It’s located in San Marcos, Texas. Looking for deaf markets in your area works wonders.

Learn Deaf Etiquette.

When dealing with a deaf person and an interpreter, small business owners need to talk to the deaf person directly. Look at the client and stay away from phrases like “Tell her I said,” and remember to say what you mean and mean what you say.
Interpreters sign everything they can decipher.

Be Open Minded.

Most deaf people don’t look at themselves as being disabled. Small business owners shouldn’t either. Weber says that by just making little accommodations, you can tap into a whole segment of the population that has tremendous potential. “They are no different from you, me or anyone else,” she says.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Hospitals lack sign language interpreters in ER

A review by STAT of court records and inspection reports of hospitals around the nation found dozens of instances in which deaf patients said they were not given adequate interpreter services.

In one instance, a man who thought he was suffering a heart attack was forced to wait anxiously while a nurse struggled to set up a video screen to connect him to a remote American Sign Language interpreter, according to the report. Eventually, hospital staff asked the man to instead communicate by writing notes.

"I wished I had four arms at the time," the man told STAT. "They were saying, 'Oh, I'm sorry, I can't find your vein,' while I'm trying to write them notes, trying to guide them."

Hospitals are challenged with the need to provide interpreters for numerous languages, including ASL. On-site interpreters can be expensive and difficult to find, leading many to seek video conferencing solutions with remote interpreters, according to the report. However, many deaf patients have complained about the use of remote interpreters in emergency rooms, namely over nurses who are not practiced in setting up the equipment or being unable to focus on the small screen.

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires all hospitals that receive federal money to provide deaf patients with adequate services to ensure effective communication, including on-site and remote ASL interpreting, handwritten notes and captioned telephones. The ACA mandates hospitals to give "primary consideration" to a patient's preference, though hospitals get to decide which services to offer.

The Department of Justice's Barrier-Free Health Care Initiative has settled 16 cases regarding interpreting services for deaf hospital patients since 2011, according to the report. Some settlements have reached $70,000.

Deaf woman appeal allowed over interpreter...

Image result for Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal
A severely deaf woman who claims her repeated requests to police for an interpreter went unheeded has won an appeal to have her discrimination case reconsidered in Queensland.

Veronica Woodforth, who wears hearing aids in both ears to limited effect and has minimal lip reading ability, first took her complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Commission after she was allegedly assaulted by one of her landlords in 2011.  Later, she took the matter to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal seeking a public apology from the state, anti-discrimination programs for the Queensland Police Service and compensation for "humiliation and distress".

The case eventually made its way to the Court of Appeal after Ms Woodforth's attempts within QCAT were unsuccessful and, on Tuesday, the state's highest court allowed the appeal - meaning it will be reheard by the tribunal at a later date.

The court noted the alleged assault took place on December 13, 2011, and Ms Woodforth said she was only able to properly explain what happened with the help of an Auslan interpreter more than a month later.  It came after multiple visits to the Ipswich Police Station, including on the day after the alleged fight. It was then that a receptionist declined to call an Auslan-compatible service, saying "it was not part of her job".

Similarly, the court noted an occasion on December 23 when Ms Woodforth went to the station and asked for an interpreter but was told one couldn't be arranged because it was the Christmas period.  It found there were problems with how the tribunal had applied the case to the state's Anti-Discrimination Act and ordered the matter be returned to the tribunal's appeal division for a rehearing.

The state was ordered to cover Ms Woodforth's costs for taking the matter to the Court of Appeal.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Deaf Charity closure threat..

Deaf charity at risk of closure after Enfield council cuts funding from Simon Whitlock on Vimeo.

What many do not understand about funding for the deaf, whether it is culture, charity or their clubs, local authorities are picking up the bill. Hardly any can self-sustain.  The irony that hearing are underpinning deaf culture and clubs has been missed too.

A support group in north London say's it may have to close after Enfield Council cut almost half its funding. The Deaf Project, has been providing information and guidance for the past 20 years, but has been running on its reserves since the change in funding. Hundreds have now signed a petition calling for the local authority to overturn its decision.

Enfield Council Statement: "Between 2010 and 2015 the government cut our discretionary budget by almost half (£118 million) and we need to make further savings of £56 million by 2019/20, impacting on Council services across the board as well as funding levels available for partner organisations.”

“Despite the impact of Government cuts on the provision of services across the public and voluntary sector, Enfield Council remains absolutely committed to ensuring our deaf communities have access to Council services and we continue to provide an interpreter service and a monthly drop-in service.”

In response The Deaf Project said "The Council statement is giving the wrong impression about the interpreter service. An Interpreter is only available once a month, so it is not continuous."

Guillotine disabled kids..

Owen ListerA Tory deputy mayor has sparked outrage by calling for disabled kids to be guillotined to avoid wasting cash on their care.  Retired GP Owen Lister made his sick suggestion to fellow councillors as they discussed sending the youngsters to a £3,000-a-week care home. Mr Lister, 79, told them: "I would guillotine them."

Related imageHe has now quit as deputy mayor but yesterday stood by his outburst. He said: "I indicated at that point that perhaps the guillotine might be better. These are children you can't educate. "It's merely a matter of caring for them until they die. The only difference between a terminally ill patient and a severely handicapped child is time."

The councillor, of Swindon, Wiltshire, argued the funds should instead be used to cut NHS waiting lists. He added: "It shows how peculiar we are as a society on this matter that we spend this vast amount of money caring for disabled youngsters to very little purpose at all.

"It would be better spent on those who might actually benefit, such as cancer sufferers.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

BSL User limited to 3 days access a week

David Buxton and Terry Riley from the British Deaf Association giving evidence to peers
The newly-appointed Deaf chief executive of a leading disabled people’s organisation has been told the government will only provide him with enough support to pay for interpreters three days every week.

David Buxton, a British Sign Language-user, began his full-time job as chief executive of Action on Disability in London last week, but has immediately been hit by the controversial cap on the Access to Work (AtW) scheme.

The scheme provides disabled people with funding to pay for some of the extra disability-related expenses they face at work, reducing the costs organisations face when taking on disabled employees.  The cap was introduced for new AtW claimants in 2015 and is due to affect existing claimants from April 2018.

Campaigners have been warning for the last two years that the cap, which will limit annual AtW awards to one-and-a-half times the average salary, would hit Deaf users of British Sign Language (BSL) hardest, with BSL services accounting for about four-fifths of the highest-value AtW awards.

But they have also warned that the cap will “actively discriminate” against Deaf and disabled people with high support needs in senior positions, like Buxton.

He had previously received enough AtW support to provide BSL interpreters throughout the week when he was a senior manager at the disability charity Scope and was overseeing about 125 staff across the London and south-east region.

His AtW budget at Scope was about £70,000 a year because he needed to book support every day, and sometimes needed a second interpreter for formal meetings.  When he left to join the British Deaf Association in 2011, he and four colleagues pooled their support, so there was always a full-time interpreter available in the office, while most of the staff used BSL.


The article about Cecile, a near deaf former nurse, now 95 years old, triggered many reader responses. The majority suggested “voice to text” communication. I was greatly helped by the suggestion by Liz of Londonderry. I quote her email in its entirety:

“My husband and I are hard of hearing and utilize all sorts of technology to hear better, including hearing aids. On our iPad, we have an app called a Flip Writer. This enables us to speak to someone using voice recognition. The two individuals using this app speak to each other and can read on iPad what each is saying. The app could be very useful for doctor appointments and for all of Cecile’s communication needs. 

The app, Flip Writer, costs $24.99. If you would like a demo of this app, call Joan Marcoux at (603) 271-9097. She works as a specialist for the Department of Health & Human Services, state of New Hampshire, and provides assistance to persons, who are deaf, hard of hearing, visually or speech impaired.”

I received an email from Joan, who stated she is willing to demonstrate the app to Cecile. Therefore, a somewhat permanent solution has been worked out.

A smaller group suggested cochlear implant operations. Laura of Exeter sent a detailed email about the benefits of cochlear implants, and strongly recommended Medel, a Swiss firm with distribution representatives in the United States. In New Hampshire, it is represented by Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital in Lebanon.

According to Laura, to wear this device is easy and the effect is as though the hearing has been totally resurrected. She states “a potential candidate must first receive a qualifying test (you need to be deaf “enough”) and a CAT scan or MRI to make sure all the cochlea physical needs are there but the rest is up to the brain once the implant is activated.” Being a total outsider to this type of medical procedure, I abstain to make any comment except that you should visit read the description under Med-EL...

Incompetent Interpreters...

Incompetent interpreters ‘misleading’ the deafAccording to the General Authority for Statistics, 700,000 people with hearing disabilities in the Kingdom lack services and support to integrate them into society.

Among their urgent needs is sign language interpreters who can support them navigate many government and private sector institutions to conduct their affairs. This gap forces some of them to make notes on paper to communicate with others.

A girl with hearing impairment complained to Okaz/Saudi Gazette about the suffering she and her peers are experiencing because of the lack of interpreters at airports, government departments and hospitals, which hinders the process of completing their transactions and makes them feel embarrassed in front of others.

She criticized some of the interpreters who exploit their sign language skills and said that they are unable to communicate clearly, pointing out that some of the interpreters on TV do not convey the right information and their translations are often poor, loaded with errors and inaccuracies.

She stressed the importance of evaluating these interpreters when they are employed by a sign language expert to make sure they are capable of delivering information correctly to people with hearing needs. She noted that only people who have a relative or a friend suffering from hearing problems can understand the sign language properly.

Deaf and Sign Language Specialist Khaloufa Al-Shihri said there are some institutions that employ incompetent sign language interpreters. She hoped to spread awareness about these issues and provide the community with qualified and caring sign language interpreters.

“The most prominent issue the deaf people struggle with in Saudi Arabia and the Arab countries is a lack of trained sign language interpreters,” said Walaa Al-Barakati, a member of the Arab Federation of Organizations Working with the Deaf. She called for increased efforts to employ qualified interpreters so they can facilitate communication between deaf people and other members of society.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Deaf ? and choosing a career ?

The word between the lines, 'Would you like to work in a Charity ?' no doubt a deaf one....  What advice deaf need is to ensure they can cope in hearing environments with little signed access, we don't see that advice...

They have spent years telling deaf they are entitled to access the mainstream, and an equal amount of time insisting only if mainstream signs to them, it's the absence of realities we find hinder deaf at the work face, and their need to adapt to that, they cannot all work in the signing BDA, and the UK's largest charity for those with hearing loss hasn't a single signer in an executive position, they are all hearing, because the deaf have no work experience, and unable to get it, and it all hinges pretty much on the language acquisition and need for non-reliance on others.  

Employers seem convinced they have to hire two people every time not one.  In the efforts to improve academic gain for the deaf, little focus is given to the reality that mainstream does not use their approaches, it is far too late to expect deaf to adapt AFTER formative education has finished in a deaf school, it is like entering another world entirely, and without the skills to adapt.  It is not helped by demands everyone else has to adapt to them, in life, this doesn't happen.

It isn't helped by educational statistics that state the deaf child is falling further and further behind.  The whole suggestion is parallel educational approaches, and then parallel social aspects, followed by parallel job options, parallel approaches to work, in a world that is getting more black and white every day. There are not parallel job opportunities.  It is deaf worlds versus hearing employment reality, and with only one outcome.

There is more than the sign community...

A moot point during 'Deaf week', there are more deaf outside the community than in it...

The deaf-blind can now 'watch' television without intermediaries

PervasiveSUB compiles all the subtitles of television channels and sends them to a central server which forwards them to smartphones or tablets. From there, they are sent to the Braille line of the deaf-blind person thanks to the GoAll app, which integrates the software, is compatible with different Braille lines and makes it possible to control the speed of the subtitles that are captured directly from the TV broadcast in perfect synchronization.

The presentation, which took place at the UC3M Madrid-Puerta de Toledo campus, was attended by Ángel García Crespo, a UC3M professor and director of the project; Arancha Díaz-Lladó, the director of Telefónica's Sustainable Innovation; and Francisco José Trigueros Molina, the president of FASOCIDE. Also in attendance was a group of deaf-blind persons who gave a demonstration of how this technology works.

PervasiveSUB, financed by Telefónica, was developed by the research group at the UC3M Pedro Juan de LastanosaInstitute of Technological Development and Promotion of Innovation. García Crespo, who headed the group, stated that "one of the big problems deaf-blind persons face is the scant attention they receive, which is demonstrated by the fact that they weren't recognized by the European Parliament until 2004."

Díaz-Lladó said, "At Telefónica we endeavor to become a more accessible company and that way contribute to equal opportunities for all. And although we still have a long way to go, the new inclusive technologies and the digital revolution are the best means to help us get there."

A group of deaf-blind users from FASOCIDE was asked to try this innovative software in Spain and the United States, with very satisfactory results. All the people who have tried it highlight the advantage of being able to access information they previously could not, in real time and without intermediaries, and they have also praised its ability to transmit to Braille lines and the ability to adjust the reading and viewing speed.

Given the success of these tests, the technology has already been implemented on all the national DTT channels and regional DTT channels in Madrid, and it will soon be available in the other autonomous regions of Spain. The research team is now providing this service free of charge to anyone who needs it. Interested parties need only to download the GoAll app, available on ¡OS and Android.

Deaf-blind persons suffer a combined deterioration of sight and hearing, which impedes their access to information, communication and mobility in a way that seriously affects everyday abilities necessary for a minimally independent life. This is why they require specialized services, personnel trained specifically to care for them and special methods of communication.

In Spain, there are around 20,000 deaf-blind persons. To interact with their surroundings, they need the constant presence of an interpreter through whom any visual or auditory stimuli must pass. However, from now on, and thanks to research of the sort done at UC3M, they will be able to receive television broadcasts first-hand and directly in real time and in the same conditions as everyone else.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Set to fail...

An ATR response to THIS lip-reading promotion. Please accept as constructive criticism not an attack.

Image result for poor lip-reading
"I think a lot of inspired guesswork is involved in lip-reading, I know it is in my case ! Unfortunately with no base line at lip-reading classes or aims to achieve, it is difficult to suggest lip-reading effectiveness, especially as huge variations of loss exist, and with so few people actually attending classes.  

I don't want to be negative at this assistive mode, but a lot of realities are not mentioned, or, aims developed to address those.  I would want to see lip-reading elevated to proper communication course with exams tests etc to determine attainment levels etc. Treating it as a 'hobby course' demeans the point, as do claims you can appear as a hearing person by its usage, entirely negative as well as encouraging people to lie about their issue..  

LR has limited effectiveness defined by amount of useful hearing you still have, that doesn't take into account that can deteriorate.  Obviously some born deaf have good lip-reading skills, but, they are less effective with hearing people than their own and use familiar approaches other deaf use, they aren't placed in an entirely hearing position to foster that skill, or they fail and revert to manual signing.

The point being LR is to aid people with hearing loss to attain a useful skill. A skill that doesn't appear to have a course or attainment level in the class. They should also be working with clinical psychologists etc not palming the struggling people off to social services.  Those most in need.  At present I just see a class that isn't taking itself seriously and acting more as a 'like with like' mini social club, rather than teaching a serious communication mode to form social relationships outside of those areas.    It is setting up students for disappointment when the class stops.   No-one with real hearing to facilitate. 

From one class to the next nothing changes.  You need conditional training and to be faced with the street, where ideal circumstances are never present. Without a bottom line where is there to go ?  We swap one form of isolation for a cosy other ? If we are all honest LR is an extremely difficult mode to acquire, simply being annoyed because this is being pointed out doesn't address the problem. The fact remains those MOST in need of the skill are not in these classes.  

With a diagnosed hearing loss or hearing  aid, THEN is the time to start making plans, not when you are struggling and looking for a quick cure.... If you rely on residual hearing to attain a skill, what happens when that is no longer functional ? because people are still relying on that.  I've seen students at these classes, told to switch hearing aids off, and a number immediately went into trauma/tearful mode  when it exposed the reality and degree of their loss to others..  It's often first time they are faced with that and realise it is probably a lot worse than even they think it is.

That trauma can multiple as years go on, and as the aids no longer are able to do what they did.  There is no planning or thought going into lip-reading tuition frankly.  You open a class 15-20 turn up, but your local statistics can suggest maybe 5,000 with hearing loss reside around the class catchment area, so what is it THEY are doing ? 

They are refusing to to accept the reality ! relying on hearing aids still, family help etc, and moving away from interactions, to lessen stress levels, i.e. until the reality kicks them up the bum and the class can no longer help them. 

10m with no plan, and a random set up that eventually may well fail, we deserve better."

Thursday, 18 May 2017


Image result for promises

The UK is awash today with yet more outrageous political promises we all know aint going to happen, but it did prompt me to suggest a few promises myself.  We can bullshit too....

(1)  I promise to not let anyone wind me up online this year, I've mined the comment slot, with more Trojans than the ancient Greeks could ever handle.....

(2)  I Promise to learn at least one sign a day in ASL and BSL, in order to break down communication barriers, today's sign is "shut it...!",  tomorrow's is "Whatever."

(3) I promise to read every word of Understanding deafhood, and worship Paddy Ladd as the coming messiah... After that perhaps war and Peace,  understanding thermoculear Dynamics Vol 9, and hyper-critical proton technology for beginners handbook, for some light relief and lot more clarity...

(4)  I Promise to abstain from lip-reading for the coming year, I'm going to learn phrenology, practice foretelling the future in a glass ball,  and mind-reading instead.... all appear equally ridiculous.

(5)  I Promise NEVER to join an awareness group, and to ban deaf awareness from all my blogs.  Who reads it ? we don't...

(6)  I Promise to continue to abuse charity workers for their own good, and create a 'throw a custard pie at them..' week.

(7)   I Promise NEVER to plug the latest electronic gizmo for deaf people, they bore us rigid already, most are obsolete before we see them, and I don't want to know anyway, pigeons work fine....

(8)  I Promise to poke fun at anyone who quotes 'Facebook', 'social site' or 'Twitter' on my blog, and to direct them to a psychiatrist for intensive shock treatment (Like meeting real people, and utilising that hole under their nose.. and that gooey grey stuff between the ears.)

(9)  I Promise to never take any notice of people who quote Wikipedia, or newspapers I'll direct them to a proper source of information, (but they probably can't read, or don't want the truth anyway...).

(10)  I Promise to annoy support service workers, and ridicule 'communication' classes based on who has the cash to be enrolled in them, also to make teacher's lives difficult by sending people with actual hearing loss to them.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Accessibility for deaf/HoH. (captions)

How the hype works, first suggest a discussion about deaf access other than sign, then fail to provide it !

Need funds for deaf heritage projects ?

Now can we apply for funding for HoH projects ?

Don't be a Dick to deaf people...

A woman from Scotland has shared some of the shocking things people have said to her about being deaf. 

In the video — posted by BBC Social — Bea says she's happy for people to ask questions, but there are some enquiries that are just plain stupid. 

"How do deaf people have babies?" is one of the more unusual questions shared by Bea. "How do deaf people have sex?" is yet another gem. 

"Can deaf people drive?" 

Don't be a dick to deaf people. 

A BSL right to Fake News ?

Image result for fake newsThe recent campaign for the 'right to sign.' has gone beyond fact to fake news in the push for BSL.

Read this: "97% of young people think British Sign Language should be taught in school. "

The current statistic is 17.3m UK young people.  Will the 'right to BSL" area now provide ATR with the number of people THEY surveyed ? There is considerable doubt ANY Proof a survey has actually taken place.  When the website was taken to task to provide proof of a survey or numbers involved, they refused to respond. Their figures do  not stand any scrutiny. 

Maybe they should change the name of their campaign to #righttospin ?  For far too long the deaf campaigners in the UK have gone further and further away from providing any real proof of demand in education, degree of need or support, or, in actual numbers of deaf people reliant on sign language. We do not dispute adequate educational support is not there, we dispute the outrageous figures quoted.

Other outright exaggerations include:

(1) There are 125,000 BSL using deaf in the UK.  This has over an 8yr year period, gone up from guesstimated 10K, indeed the figures emanating from the cultural deaf activists, have trebled in the last 2 years. 

[Fact: The UK census claimed only 15,000 said they did in England, after BSL lobbyists defined the question themselves, however the question was NOT how many BSL reliant users in the UK but those who knew some BSL.]

(2) There are 10m deaf and HoH people.

[Think of a number time! Prove there isn't, is the sole response you get !   Again detail is ignored, the reality of estimated figures does not ask if the degree of loss needs support or on what level, the UK Social services say they don't estimate,and they meet the need presented,which stands at point 2% of their support services which include other sensory issues and other disability and MH issues]

The plain issue and the reality, is no survey ever undertaken in the UK or worldwide, has been able to survey a significant number of areas to make an estimate.  Hence the cultural deaf being able to declare whatever they want, and the ridiculous justification of saying prove differently, when they know there is no way to do so.  

Equally we can say the BSL lobby is deliberately falsifying statistics to the general public, it is now their turn to prove ATR wrong.  If you want facts consult fact-based and proven surveys not biased guesswork.

Fake news based on Fake statistics.  Only read facts at ATR.