Wednesday, 28 June 2017

App translates sign to speech and vice versa....

A Brazilian professor has created an Android app capable of translating sign language to speech and vice versa. Using inbuilt sensors in the smartphone, algorithms and artificial intelligence, the app can help the hard of hearing better communicate.

There are approximately 10 million Brazilians with hearing deficiencies, half of whom are entirely deaf. Many of them do not know any Portuguese, communicating exclusively through Brazilian sign language (LIBRAS).

But Professor Manuel Cardoso, of the Federal University of Amazonas (UFAM), may be about to change that. Giulia, a smartphone app invented by the professor, uses three of the phone’s sensors to capture LIBRAS gestures.

Attached to the users’ arm, the app uses the phone’s gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer to read the user’s LIBRAS gestures. It can also translate spoken Portuguese into LIBRAS, with an avatar on screen conveying the meaning of the words. The technology is even capable of accommodating different accents and speeds, as well as variations in gestures.

‘Invisible disability’

Without interpreters, daily tasks become difficult for many hearing-impaired Brazilians, from food shopping to doctor’s visits. And although factories frequently employ deaf workers to fill disability quotas, they often miss out on training and development.

“Deafness is an invisible disability, and when you see a blind person, you know that you are a blind person, and the deaf person you do not know unless you try to talk to him,” Cardoso told Brazilian media. “Communication becomes more and more important, the deaf are even more excluded.”

Cardoso, who had already built eye-controlled computer mice for quadriplegics decades ago, hopes to internationalize the technology. For the professor, being able to communicate between different sign languages forms part of his plan for the technology’s future.

Wider applications

The app also has different features for different contexts. One such element is the ‘electronic babysitter’ feature, which vibrates when babies cry and was developed at the request of deaf mothers. It also has a tool for generating signals from QR codes, as well as plans to develop alerts for car horns.

Cardoso’s project, which already has support from the National Institute of Education of the Deaf (Ines), is developing wider usages. But Honda and Whirlpool factories in Manaus are also testing the app with their deaf employees. The app has also received support from Alcatel, and Brazilian service provider TIM has included the app in its own innovation programs.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

TextHear



A new type of assistance. Speech To Text Technologies for the Everyday of Hearing Impaired

DHHSD Law: (Deaf-Blind friendly) corrections.


Hello! In our last vlog we explained the new law for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division (DHHSD). We realize that we made some mistakes in how we explained how services for DeafBlind people will be impacted. 

There are two parts to this correction:  Regional Offices Continue DeafBlind Services

1. The Regional Offices will continue to offer services to people who are deafblind, including mental health services and all of the other great services offered to the general public. DeafBlind consumers can still call, make appointments and get those services from DHHSD.

Two Agencies Could Receive DeafBlind Grants.

2. We thought one organization would administer both: 1. consumer-directed grants and 2. grants for Support Service Providers (SSPs) and Intervenors. That’s what we had hoped the new law would do, because this is what the community asked for in the studies that DHHSD did last year. The community said it would be easier if one place offered both types of grants.

However, we found out we were wrong. The new law does not require that one organization run both programs. DHHSD will select a vendor or vendors after asking who is interested through a request for proposals. It could be the same organization, or services might be offered to by two different organizations. We will have to wait to see. 

We are sorry for not getting it right in the first vlog. We will work at providing more accurate information as we go forward.

BSL in Manchester.

Dawn of the Deaf

Monday, 26 June 2017

New CEO at Deaf Action.

What's wrong with charity ?

Image result for ethics and morality and charityAs a response to some deaf bloggers promoting how charities support them, but is it done with deaf people in mind ?  

Or is it self promotion, by promoting 'networking' with charities that 'assist' the deaf, who aren't actually involved in their running or applying funds where deaf want them to be applied ?  

It is perhaps too cynical to suggest some deaf bloggers who promote and encourage charity support do so to enhance own audience viewing figures ! One proudly boasts 36 charities support their output.  Why do I not believe the motives behind all that ? Especially when a few are commercially involved in selling equipment/private and expensive services e.g.  

Are deaf being manipulated by charity ? Should established bloggers take any funding from them and then boast neutrality ? Charities Utilising free advertising options ?  few if any in the UK have a deaf or HoH established membership either.  They are commercial a business in all but taxation terminology.

Most people would say that charity is always good, but not everyone. Some argue that charity is sometimes carried out badly - or less well than it should be - while others think that charity can bring bad results even when it is well implemented. 

Some issues:-

Thinking too small

Charities often target symptoms, not causes.  The accusation is that charity helps the recipient with their problem, but it doesn't do much to deal with the causes of that problem. It certainly is true that some charities do stopgap or 'band-aid' work, either exclusively or some of the time.

Combating cancer is a relatively simple scientific problem, while global poverty requires more than a scientific operation, or finding a better way to manage world resources.

Combating poverty involves slow processes of political, cultural and social change, with many stakeholders, significant opposition and serious issues of self-determination and coercion to be navigated. Long-term campaigns pose another ethical problem: should we spend to make a better world in 10 years' time if that means that people who we could have fed starve to death tomorrow?


Charity may become a substitute for real justice

The idea is that charity is wrong when it's used to patch up the effects of the fundamental injustices that are built into the structure and values of a society.  Charity, from this viewpoint, can sometimes be seen as actually accepting the injustice itself, while trying to mitigate the consequences of the injustice.

Philanthropy combines genuine pity with the display of power and that the latter element explains why the powerful are more inclined to be generous than to grant social justice. Niebuhr thought that a powerful person's donation to charity was a display of his power and an expression of his pity.

His generous impulse freezes within him if his power is challenged or his generosities are accepted without suitable humility. Reinhold Niebuhr, Moral Man and Immoral Society, 1932. His language is not in line with modern racial sensibilities, but the point is still of value.

Failing to change society

Charity may not provide the best solution to a problem. The purpose of giving to charity is to solve particular problems and choose the problem of world poverty. Let's also agree that we want to do the most effective thing to help reduce world poverty.

Charitable giving may not be the most effective way of solving world poverty. Indeed charitable giving may even distract from finding the best solution - which might involve a complex rethink of the way the world organises its economic relationships, and large-scale government initiatives to change people's conditions.

If that is so, then the effort put into charity might be better devoted to pressuring governments to bring about needed change. And governments might be more likely to focus on dealing with poverty if they weren't being helped by charities.

For every act of charity, applied to heal suffering arising from defective arrangements of society, serves to weaken the personal springs of social reform, alike by the 'miraculous' relief it brings to the individual 'case' that is relieved, and by the softening influence it exercises on the hearts and heads of those who witness it.

It substitutes the idea and the desire of individual reform for those of social reform, and so weakens the capacity for collective self-help in society.  Diverting resources away from famine relief may mean that millions will starve in the short-term, even if it brings about a long-term solution that saves many more people. And for most of the needy, a bird in the hand really is a lot better than two (perhaps improbable) birds in the bush.

Charity may benefit the state rather than the needy

Dr Neil Levy argued that charity can be self-defeating if it allows the state to escape some of its responsibilities. Large-scale philanthropy to support 'essential services' is wrong:  Charity to support essential services is bad because it switches provision from government to charity, rather than increasing benefits to the needy.... large-scale philanthropic activity carries with it serious risks of changing the balance of funding from the public to the private sector, thereby exposing those most in need to the vicissitudes of the market. 

The argument goes something like this. If the charity sector increases spending in an area also funded by government then there is a risk that government will choose to spend less in that area with the result that governments save money, and extra benefits provided by the charity spend are reduced. Whether this is true is something that can be empirically tested - it either does happen or it doesn't.

Dr Levy is in favour of redistributing resources from the rich towards the poor; his argument is with the method of doing this. "I do not wish this redistribution of wealth to cease. Instead, I want it to be conducted by government. Rather than have the wealthy donate to charities, income and other taxes should generate the revenue to fund the services in question."

Charities depend on the desires and incomes of unaccountable donors while the work of governments is subject, in many cases, to regular democratic or political review, and is thus more subject to public scrutiny and control.  In many areas of essential services in the developed world, the government is by far the biggest spender, and charity spending is a small share and so won't make a significant difference to government commitments.

Charity may lead to favouritism, not fairness

The interests of all persons ought to count equally, and geographic location and citizenship make no intrinsic difference to the rights and obligations of individuals.  Donors, not unreasonably, choose to give to causes that appeal to them. But these are not necessarily the causes where there is the greatest need.

The relationship between charity and the tax system can do harm

Professor Rob Reich has argued tax incentives for charitable giving can worsen social inequalities, by reducing the revenue that the state has available for social projects.

Discussing the context Prof Reich says that allowing tax deductions for donations to private schools, for instance, can indirectly reduce revenue for public schools and increase disparity. The tax regime for donations doesn't favour socially useful donations.  Another problem arises from granting tax exempt status to charitable organisations, as this too reduces the revenue available for state projects.

Both of these aspects of tax regimes are regarded by some people as a transfer of monies from an area that is politically accountable for its spending to an area where accountability is more variable.

Charitable giving is inefficient

A very closely related downside of the way we give is the way our own preferences reduce the benefits produced by our gifts.

Even the way we choose to dole out cash betrays our true motives. Someone with £100 to give away and a world full of worthy causes should choose the worthiest and write the cheque. We don't. Instead, we give £5 for some bracelet, £25 to Save the Children, another £25 to AIDS research, and so on. But £25 is not going to find a cure for AIDS. 

Either it's the best cause and deserves the entire £100, or it's not and some other cause does. The scattershot approach simply proves that we're more interested in feeling good than doing good. 

Charity Is Selfish

What charities do with their funds ? Charities may not make best use of their funds ?

The issue here is whether the charity we give to devotes a high enough proportion of its funds to the needy. Responsible charities make it very clear what proportion of contributions is spent on administration and fund-raising.

Charities are often accountable to the givers not the receivers

If the purpose of charity is to benefit the recipients, it seems obvious that those best able to say whether they are achieving this end are the recipients. But because the recipients of charity are often unorganised and the charity doesn't know their individual identities, it's often easier for charities to make their performance reports to the givers.

This isn't much of an argument against charity - being accountable to the givers promotes further giving, and the givers are likely to assess charity performance by the impact on the recipients. Charities also take accountability to the recipients seriously and conduct research to tailor their actions more closely to the needs and preferences of their beneficiaries.

Is it ethical to give with strings attached?

Governments and some charities sometimes attach conditions to gifts of aid.

Let us remember that the main purpose of aid is not to help other nations but to help ourselves. Donations sometimes impose obligations that are apparently uncontroversial - perhaps demanding political reforms - and sometimes more controversial - insisting that the institution receiving the gift e.g. stops giving out free condoms or supporting another religion or sect.

The reasons most people give for objecting to conditional charity gifts are:

It interferes with the autonomy of the recipient
It's unethical to interfere in the self-determination of sovereign states
The conditions may be contrary to human rights
The conditions may be politically manipulative

Many people question whether charities are ethical in how they raise money.


Sunday, 25 June 2017

Deaf-blind week UK

Image result for deaf-blind
If you happened to be deaf and blind, chances are you would need some additional support.


That is where our charity of the year, the Kent Association for the Blind, comes in. The organisation works to make the lives of those dealing with the condition.  Kay Mannering is a guide communicator manager for the charity is using Deafblind Awareness Week, which begins today, to spread the word about the condition.

"Just because a person has dual sensory loss [is deaf and blind] it does not mean they cannot achieve or have to miss out on experiences that some of us take for granted," she says. "We just need to find a way of supporting those goals and experiences that they want to achieve.

"Sometimes it may take a little more thought and planning but if we can support someone with a guide communicator to get the best from life whether it is a shopping task or a day trip to France, then we will do our best to ensure this happens."

Image result for deaf blind communication

Kay is on the front line and sees the work her staff put in to helping people who cannot see or hear what is going on. "We just need to find a way of supporting those goals and experiences that they want to achieve" 

Some 394,000 people in the UK suffer with some degree of combined sight and hearing loss and that number is set to rise. The charity is calling for the condition to be classed as a disability in its own right.


Hearing aids: Don't benefit pre-school children.

Four-year-old Sophia Pezzimenti was fitted with a hearing aid last year. Picture: Alex Coppel
Infants who receive a hearing aid for mild hearing loss do not typically see significant language improvements once they reach school age, new research has found.

The newborn hearing screening test has detected many more babies over the past 17 years with mild hearing loss, who previously would have gone undetected. They are receiving hearing aids earlier than ever before, typically aged five months but some aged as young as two months.

Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, from four studies run over 20 years, compared the language development of 146 children at age 5-8 years with mild to moderate hearing loss and found that the mildly impaired did not show the same clear benefit from hearing aids as children with moderate hearing loss. “We know that if we find kids with really big hearing losses early and fit them with amplification — a hearing aid or cochlear implant — their language and whole of life outcomes are better,” said lead author Peter Carew.

“There are certainly children with mild hearing loss who clearly benefit from a hearing aid. We need more research to determine whether it’s appropriate for all children to have one early on.”

Mr Carew, who is also an audiologist, said while wearing hearing aids would not necessarily harm the child, they were a significant cost to the health system and took much family effort.


Recognising Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week


Image result for helen kellerHelen Keller was born on June 27, 1880. At 19 months old she contracted an illness, the exact nature of which is unknown that left her completely deaf and blind. After searching for help, the family found Anne Sullivan, a recent graduate of the Perkins Institute for the Blind who helped Keller overcome tremendous barriers with her ability to communicate. 

Over the 49-year relationship between teacher and pupil, Keller became a world famous lecturer, author, and activist. In 1984 President Ronald Reagan established Helen Keller DeafBlind Awareness week. 

In his proclamation he commemorated Helen Keller as “America’s most renowned and respected deaf-blind person. Her accomplishments serve as a beacon of courage and hope for our Nation, symbolizing what deaf-blind people can achieve.”

NOTE:  The video/film of Helen Keller with her teacher widely used in media was actually telling the world how a deaf blind person was taught to speak, taking nothing away from Keller, it is now something that modern deaf seem to have issue with, teaching the deaf to oralise ?

VRS calls being ignored...

Sheila Montney, Deaf Centre Manitoba’s executive director, has had more than 30 people contact her about their video relay service calls being hung up on by people who think they're being contacted by telemarketers.
A service that helps people who are deaf and hard of hearing make phone calls is being mistaken for a telemarketing service, resulting in slammed down phones and cut lines before the person has a chance to communicate.


VRS, or video relay service, was introduced in September to allow Canadians who are deaf and hard of hearing to communicate in their first language — American Sign Language.

More sign-language interpreters needed as video-relay service launches in Winnipeg. "A lot of people don't know what VRS is. When we phone, sometimes they think it's a telemarketer and they end up hanging up," said Sheila Montney, Deaf Centre Manitoba's executive director.

"I would say there's probably about 30 — there's been many, many [people hung up on]."  She said users of the service "come and try to ask me for help and let me know that a lot of people are hanging up on them. 


The Deaf-blind experience.

Deafblind event
On Sunday, in honour of Deafblind Awareness Month, the Toronto Public Library and the Canadian Institute for the Blind (CNIB) ran what they called a human library.  Patrons could sit down with deafblind volunteers and openly ask questions about what it's like living with dual sensory loss.


"I want people to know that deaf-blind people are wonderful," volunteer Barbara Milner said via tactile sign language with her intervenor. "They have families. They can live alone. I have five children and 10 grandchildren. I'm happy like that."

Semi-silent film takes you inside life of deaf-blind filmmaker. She said there's a misconception that all deaf-blind people have total loss of hearing and sight, but there are varying degrees. She was born deaf and vision impaired and lost the rest of her vision over time.


The challenge to accessing Justice...

Hearing Impaired
Mr Juventus Duorinaah, the Project Officer of the Ghana National Association of the Deaf (GNAD), has said many speech and hearing impaired people in Ghana, experienced challenges in accessing justice.


He said a survey conducted by GNAD in the Upper East, Upper West and the Northern regions, revealed that 58.8 per cent of respondents who were deaf and dumb do not know they have rights because state institutions failed to provide appropriate support systems that will facilitate both access to justice and information for them.

Mr Duorinaah, who was speaking at an advocacy forum in Tamale, said 60.7 per cent of respondents claimed that GNAD did not have the means to pay for sign language interpreters to enable deaf people access justice while 55.9 per cent said there were inadequate skilled sign language interpreters who can adequately understand deaf language.


Thursday, 22 June 2017

Deaf are Human (But so are we).


It is also true to say those who lose hearing, can also feel it is a disability too, and the realism is they don't feel the same way about being deaf as the sign user does, nor, do millions with hearing loss share the same view, they tend to agree it needs fixing and alleviating and push for medical research and technology to do this, only those born deaf do not feel things need to be fixed, but that is on the basis they don't know anything else, so to be expected.

They cannot compare loss with hearing because it is not their experience, often they talk from a system of ignorance, let us be honest about it...  It's always better deaf if that is your ONLY experience.  if you lose hearing then hearing would be what you want.  Born deaf adults take CI's too, so it tends to disprove the global claims made.

There needs to be better respect and acceptance, not everyone has the same view on these issues, less than 5% of deaf USE sign language on a  daily reliant basis, less than point 2% are deaf by genetics, only 1% have a deaf parent...   Perspective would be good too.  If someone deaf doesn't want a life of sign, then we must respect that too, and develop alternatives for those choices.  In reality we see virulent objection to alternatives, choice or not because culture not loss or deafness is driving campaigns.  

The video is suggesting nothing about how WE feel as the majority, just what ASL users do and should be viewed on that basis.  OK if you want sign, but OK if you don't and want some hearing also.  There is room for all of us.  The video seems to be critical of hearing mainstream, mainly because the pro-Deaf argument can fall if they include EVERYONE.   They would be accused of misrepresentation too. 

Sadly it suggests bias and less than accurate awareness emanating everywhere, which can damage or undermine support systems, who appear to be accepting very blanket statements of reality and failing to provide proper support based on need.... Ironically it is the sign user highly dependent on support, and technology, which could suggest they really are the most disabled by deafness.  It was a master-stroke in retrospect they suggest it be re-branded as 'empowerment' instead, but, the image as deaf know, is all.

It is not what mainstream are seeing.  The mainstream are beginning to recognise their need, and the deaf hate them for it.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

ISL Bill reaches 3rd stage....

Reporting Abuse help for deaf children...


Online help through innovative technology could soon be available for South African deaf children to report abuse and receive counselling, writes Suthentira Govender.


Childline South Africa is currently testing a video relay service which would enable deaf children to make web calls to the non-profit organisation using a laptop webcam. The service will include a sign language interpreter and a counsellor.

It’s part of a bigger pilot project — implemented in KwaZulu-Natal with Deafkidz International to provide hard of hearing youngsters with facilities to disclose abuse and enhance their access to social support services. The project is being funded by Comic Relief.

“Research evidence has shown that in South Africa‚ safeguarding provision for deaf children and young people is inadequate‚ and that abuse against deaf children and young people is prevalent as there are no accessible channels by which they are able to disclose what has happened‚ or is happening to them‚” said Sikholiwe Siziba‚ project manager of Signing Safe Futures SA.

Siziba said laptops with special software have been earmarked to be set up in schools for deaf children‚ which they can use to contact Childline SA. The service was not yet available for the public‚ but was still in its test phase.

She explained how the video calling system would work: “Children would be able to dial Childline via the dial button on the laptop pre-loaded with specialist software‚ with a webcam and Ethernet port. The call would be routed to Childline via a sign language interpreter.”


HI still poorly supported in Wales.

ARFON’S AM has lambasted the Welsh education system, accusing it of failing to support children with hearing impairments. 

During Deaf Awareness Week, Plaid Cymru equalities spokesperson Siân Gwenllian has highlighted the attainment gap suffered by deaf children within the education system in Wales.

Figures from Welsh Government reveal that only 49 per cent of deaf pupils achieved GCSEs in core subjects, compared to 70 per cent of pupils with no hearing issues. “This is totally unacceptable,” said Mrs Gwenllian. “Plaid Cymru are committed to protecting the interests of those who are most vulnerable within our society – including deaf children.”

The Assembly member has been speaking to a local family to discuss these issues and to gain a greater understanding of the challenges experienced by deaf people – especially young people. Iona Rhys and her partner Ashley Cooke from Bethesda have three children, Ifan, Myfi and Nel. Myfi and Nel are twins, and Nel was diagnosed as having 80 per cent hearing loss when she was four years old.

“For a long time people were telling us she was autistic,” said Iona.  “We always knew it wasn’t that, though. It was thanks to the efforts of her primary school headteacher that Nel finally got her diagnosis and got her hearing aids.”  Nel lip reads and uses British Sign Language (BSL) too and, although she is included and fully accepted by her peer group, adults can be a different matter, suggests her mother.

“There is still a lack of awareness around deafness,” added Iona.  “Adults often think that because she has the hearing aids then she’s OK, but that’s not the case. There are letters and words that Nel still doesn’t hear, so when it comes to her written work she sometimes misses those words out and is marked down.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

AC/DC



Gotta be better than the regurgitated crap on TV 'talent' shows...

Deaf Awareness project

The real thing...


Proper Access, captions, sign and narrative (Others please note this is the way to do it).

Our Interim CEO, Rebecca Adam, has accepted an exciting offer for a new position back in Melbourne.  While her 12 month contract as Interim CEO finishes one month earlier than planned, our recruitment of an ongoing CEO will now commence. 

I'm proud of the things she has achieved whilst working with us.  Including gaining additional grants and services, improving our customer satisfaction levels even more, and introducing stronger community and stakeholder engagement so we can better understand our customers in order to deliver services that suit their needs, both today and tomorrow. 

Thank you Rebecca for your exceptional leadership during this period and wish you well. As planned WADS is now recruiting for a CEO to help us implement our new strategy. 

The core focus of the CEO will be to implement our priorities, which are:

1. Listen and drive organisational focus to customers 

2. Stabilise and optimise existing services

3. Create diverse service offerings. 

That means we are looking for someone who has led organisations similar in size and nature to WADS through periods of significant transformation. 

We want someone who can win the trust and support of diverse staff, customer, community and organisational groups.  We also want someone who can communicate effectively in Auslan and English, ideally with good knowledge of the WA Deaf community. 

If you are able to demonstrate capabilities in successfully achieving similar outcomes, then please send your cv and covering letter to The email address below


Why subtitles matter....


This is an audio simulation showing different levels of high frequency hearing loss. This video aims to show the importance of closed captioning and subtitling services for deaf and hard of hearing viewers.

It is for those with hearing loss obviously, so deaf need NOT write in !

Job Fair...

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Human rights and human wrongs.

























An UK liberal democrat politician recently abandoned his leadership role because he felt too uncomfortable to support issues surrounding homosexuality and the church, and got attacked by a porn star as a result.   

One assumes the homosexual lobby will be not caring much he has gone, having waged a long campaign against the christian church for its issues of dogma that left homosexuals out. Then again the issues of people being 'forced' to accept many issues, under pain of legal sanction, and to accept or else, minority views and practices they are not comfortable with, either for themselves or their family members, just carries anyway, causing problems with Human Rights and its law of bias and conflicting/unequal application.

There is scant sympathy with the resignation, it affects the overall application of rights, or respect for freedom of worship not an iota, even had he stayed in his position and adhered to his reluctance to support areas, he would have been ousted anyway. Far better he stuck to his real principle and declared he wasn't going to support areas he did not believe in, instead he ended up a hypocrite anyway.

Most of us do NOT support a number of topical issues, I don't like minorities or gender groups in our schools (Social engineering),  e.g. or approve of 'Deaf'' awareness in its present applications (All deaf sign whatever !), but most tend to sit back and either say nothing or declare cest la vie, (The ultimate opt out), When in doubt follow the herd, even if they are lemmings. Political correctness and the assault on freedom of speech has made us all hypocrites. Sadly, the sectors demanding we have to accept everything they say and do, are getting away with attacking others, by stifling freedom of speech and hounding objectors with the law. It is as if they really believe a law can change a feeling or attitude.

Politicians (And us), should be allowed to state "I/we don't support this at all, but  unequal rights laws, and the misguided extremes insist I do...' Thought police rule.  We saw an example in Gallaudet where a 'diversity' officer was hounded out for not being 'diverse' enough, when she supported homosexuality in principle but not in practice.  Suggesting there is no qualification to attain to be a diversity officer fell on deaf ears !  Even after Gays were challenged for hijacking deaf rights to promote gender rights instead, that carried on unchallenged, it displays everyone is scared to say what they feel.

There does seem a concerted assault and ridicule aimed at religious belief that is very biased in nature in the UK, mainly because holier than thou areas (!) are far more cowardly and hypocritical than we are and cannot justify own criticism, and close down dissent with the law to avoid justification.   They target specific western world benign religions that are easier to attack, rather than the more formidable religions of the middle east where they don't dare challenge or face death.    What sort of 'victory' is being gained ?

If we don't like something we should all have a right to say so.  No cow is sacred. It isn't hate to disagree with something, it is if you aim at the person.  Some religions are fair game, some definitely aren't as we know. Whatever happened to the law that said 'freedom of worship ?'   It didn't say you can worship, but not via your own bible, credo or rules, because they are going to rewrite them for you.  We may not believe in religion,  or believe nothing at all, we need to respect those that do, but EQUALLY.  If you do not care for a church or its tenet, join one that doesn't have it, or, form your own, that is the real deal on rights, the alternative is to risk denying someone else's right of belief so you can impose your own.

That isn't equality, equal rights or fairness.  Basically you just drive opposition underground where you cannot address it, you are just a tip of an iceberg that wants to overturn and drown you !

Will you please take an awareness course ?

Image result for who or what am I ?Opinion: Deafness is a continuum. It's not all or nothing. Nikki Shaw says she uses the term 'deaf' because she has accepted her hearing loss, and because it helps her. But has she accepted her loss ?  In discussing or even accepting d/D she has reverted to confusion. It is no crime to accept you need to understand yourself first.

"As I’ve mentioned before, I’m deaf. I intentionally use the term ‘deaf’ rather than hearing impaired, hard of hearing or Deaf. 

Deaf, with a capital ‘D’ refers to people who are born Deaf, or become so prelingual (before they can speak).  Hearing impaired, in contrast, is usually how the hearing community describe people with a hearing loss. As so we’re missing something, that we’ve lost it and that we’re not ‘normal’ as a result. Hard of hearing is kind of in the middle. It describes the reality but doesn’t fully identify with either the Deaf or Hearing cultural perspectives on deafness.

The term ‘deaf’ is usually used by those of us who have accepted our deafness, but were late deafened (post lingual) and/or have a progressive loss. It’s not to say that we don’t have any residual hearing but that we’ve accepted having little, to no, hearing."

ATR COMMENT:  "It is just sad people need a label on them. I think it probably worse people are still attempting to redefine everyone else. Who cares about the politics of hearing loss ? it just makes this d and D nonsense suggest divisions.   It only helps the sign user and to focus attention and support on THEM, you have been reduced via the capitalisation to minor status as has your loss and your support and awareness needs. No one on the planet recognises a deaf person without sign thrown in, so 'deaf' is nothing at all really.

What matters is support and awareness, that has been dumped in favour of extremes and misrepresentations from the sign language community, then systems accepting it is a fact. If you do not know who or what you are, it will take a lot more than hearing loss to provide the answer...  The whole article suggests a form of brain-washing has been applied, and personal views or experiences are being accepted as undeniable fact for everyone else... and without any proof or basis.  Why the constant need to justify yourself ?  Be happy with less, but don't expect the rest of us will...

First and foremost you are an individual, be content with that. stick labels on jars.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Disaster or Not ?

Image result for tower block fire

The awful fire that resulted in a  total wipe out of a London Tower block, and caused many deaths, starts to raise all manner of issues regarding preventing tragedy happening, sadly it is all retrospective and hindsight, and mostly too late.

One major complaint is that when tower block residents warned their Local Authority in London, the cladding on the building being cosmetic, and the lack of fire prevention systems posed a serious danger to residents, but they were prevented taking the Local Authority to court because legal aid had been withdrawn, which in the past allowed people without financial means, were then able to take action through the courts.

One poster responded:  

"Our hearts go out to those who have suffered through this devastating fire.  Cuts to legal aid were applied everywhere not just to protest groups, or those seeking safety at home or work. E.G. disabled, elderly, et al were denied legal aid, and still are. 

If we had legal aid we could have forced care to be effective, the NHS better funded, made our homes safer, forced a decent wage through, few would be homeless, and stopped the swinging assaults and cuts on disabled welfare and support care,  that resulted in 3,600 people dead before their time. 

That is 35 TIMES the estimated London tower block deaths. The UK government was censured by the Human Rights court in the Hague and still carried on, no-one said a thing. When is a disaster not a disaster ?  What form does it have to take ?"

The impact of untreated hearing loss.

Image may contain: text

Health-Community TV: UK

Health Community TV - Weekly Social Media Stats - 9th - 16th June from Health Community TV on Vimeo.

Health Community TV carried out a special social media experiment between the 9th and 16th June to see how many impressions and click throughs they could get on their Social Media Accounts in one week sing the following keywords in their posts - Alzheimers, Blind, Deaf, Dementia, Diabetes, Mental Health Awareness, Mental Health Event, Physiotherapy and Pregnancy.

We received 294,000 social impressions and 3,185 clicks on our posts.

All in one week and in some cases over a few days.

Check out the video then contact us and let us manage your Social Media on your behalf!

Deaf talking to the Deaf and wondering why hearing don't answer...

There have been many signed/captioned or both signed and captioned videos online, yet hearing are still not getting the message of awareness of deaf people or of hearing loss.

Yesterday I watched a very sassy lady making the point of what 'Hearing need to know about deaf people and how they should communicate..' To be fair she included captioning and sign language, and appeared also to be speaking on the video as well,  so 100% access nearly. I.E. 100% to US and posted the video on a dedicated deaf site. Probably the first real mistake she has made, preaching to the converted.

The thing about the video is hearing people watching it, will read the captions, and/or listen to the voice (If it has a spoken commentary).  I've always wondered on that basis how you can educate a hearing person, whose natural tendency is to listen, and READ, (Not watch the sign).   Captioned sign according to the deaf purist is self-defeating, they say they know hearing WON'T watch the sign language.

The video was/is highly dependent on hearing tuning in to the deaf site, which most wouldn't of course.  Even deaf/HoH social media is pretty much a 'not-interesting' area for hearing people. If the vid was sign-only, the hearing could switch off because they don't understand sign, so would most HI who need captions. 

I am not sure how 'Deaf' awareness works or if it does at all, as Deaf output is Deaf-oriented and posted at Deaf people.  Is the video available to hearing sites and posted there ? (Just asking). You cannot make hearing aware unless they are watching deaf output. Deaf need to engage on hearing sites and make the pitch there. 

As a deaf person with a passing knowledge of sign, without captions I would switch off.   I don't watch or am able to follow 90% of pure ASL or BSL output, it isn't a great loss to me personally, but a HUGE loss to the BSL and ASL user trying to make us aware without an 'in.    The signer is talking to his or herself. We just assume you want to be alone and leave you to it.

I could suggest telling hearing people off via sarcasm, is a no-no, that will mean they switch off too, because deaf lack the real knowledge to use sarcasm, and it looks more like a lecture or point-scoring, to those who blame hearing for everything that bugs them.  All so pointless and unfocused.  Humour is good a great way to do it, but again NO lecture or its a turn off, being topical helps too, that means deaf being really aware of current events and able to engage hearing equally on comment too. Many humorous vids by the Deaf, are excruciatingly naive and amateur and do not reflect the sophistication many deaf do have, they are childlike almost.

Up the level we can do it.  I do a lot personally to engage on equal terms with hearing people and with local awareness of issues, and what motivates hearing feedback, it is not even necessary to make the point you are deaf.  Deaf still are spectators, so time to join the rest. Deaf arts and Music needs to engage on the hearing level too, or forever be viewed a minority interest and disability focused, so an area mainstream would not go out of their way to support. Much like the old foreign films of the past with subtitles a minority interest.

Also Deaf emulating hearing approaches and music, is mimicry not originality.  Deaf awareness has never worked, and the reason is the deaf don't engage.  For those who say we cannot because of access, I DON'T believe it !

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Talking card reader for the blind.

A new talking card reader (right) with super-sized features to help customers with sight and dexterity issues to access its services more easily (Barclays/PA)
Barclays has launched a new talking card reader with “super-sized” features and an improved high-visibility debit card to help customers with sight and dexterity issues to access its services more easily.  Some customers, particularly older ones, told Barclays they found a card reader difficult to see and use because of its size so now it has developed a talking card reader with bigger buttons and a larger screen.


Small handheld card readers are used by customers logging into their online banking from home, to provide an extra layer of security. In addition to having high contrast and brightly coloured designs, the three-digit security numbers on the reverse of the cards are now being made bigger, after customers told Barclays they were struggling to see them.

The bank said over five million people across the UK experience some level of sight loss or issues with dexterity.



Deaf Action

ID'ing the deaf drivers....

Image result for deaf driver logo on licence(Example here ?). Drivers who are deaf or hard of hearing could get a special symbol on their North Carolina driver’s license to smooth interactions with law enforcement.  (Will it ID NON - signing deaf ?)

The Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday approved a bill creating the driver’s license designation and adding new training for law enforcement on how to interact with deaf people. The designation would be optional, so deaf people who don’t want it on their license could opt out.  The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Rep. Verla Insko of Chapel Hill, said the legislation was requested by a constituent whose hard-of-hearing son had “a very unfortunate interaction with a law enforcement officer.”

Senate Rules Committee members were largely supportive of the idea, sending the bill to the Senate floor. “I think this is a step in the right direction,” said Sen. Brent Jackson, a Sampson County Republican. “It might not be perfect, but we can tweak it.” But some senators raised concerns that the bill doesn’t require applications for the driver’s license symbol to include a doctor’s note. They questioned if someone might pose as deaf in an effort to get more lenient treatment from law enforcement.

“This is a government issued identification,” said Sen. Michael Lee, a Wilmington Republican. “Anytime we put something on a government issued identification, we need to have done something.”  Insko, however, said the designation shouldn’t require a doctor’s note. “I do think it’s an extra barrier, and this population has enough barriers as it is,” she said.

Last Hiccup: Last bastion of Don Quixote ?

Image result for Mr Magoo
More irrational rants from this american blogger who failed to read the article  they commented on, but saw another opening to attack the medical profession and exploit deaf martyrdom again.  If you aren't made aware of speech how on earth do you acquire it...

The factual story (First published on ATR), covered the view singular signing approaches at deaf children led to later difficulties in acquiring speech, this is hardly a revelation, more a statement of the reality, albeit a gift to deaf zealots of the ASL/BSL signing fraternity, given the 'Deaf' community insists the difficulty in speaking and reliance on sign pretty much endorses the Texas view anyway.  Not only denigrating speech, but suggesting speech is oralism too (!) and text and grammar, these deaf are creating own and more barriers not bringing them down. Technology and medical advance is too far ahead of them.

There is another aspect this last hiccup person ignores, (probably because of ignorance, more than experience), in that those who go deaf during or after formative years and hearing, displayed marked reduction in voice usage on acquiring sign, even as adults.   As one of these people myself, it was my family who first noted that when I started to learn some sign language, my voice had deteriorated, in quality, and with overall use with others.  I was becoming withdrawn and unable to converse with hearing people.

I explained this to my GP who clearly identified not my deafness, but the sign was creating the issue because speech was being actively discouraged whilst I was in a hearing world still. I was faced with real difficult choices, to  stop learning sign immediately and lose my voice, or, to sign ONLY when using my voice, the reality was somewhere between the two with considerable uncertainty because social issues existed.

Initially using sign with hearing people was an immediate no-no, mainly because no-one I met on the street knew it, it would be pointless to do that.  It was a reality, choice did not enter into it.  The other issue was social in nature, we all know including those in the BSL/ASL areas, that to maximise any sign use you need to be in that signing environment, having bit that particular bullet, I then found it impossible to do in any real sense, because the signing deaf in their clubs kept asking me to sign and not to speak because they struggled to lip-read, or were totally sign dependent. Even those who did lip-read did not want speech in the clubs and 'deaf spaces'.  There was and is, active discouragement to talk.  I was forced out as a result there was no middle way.

That leaves people like us in a very challenging situation, and with an impossible choice.  There was no 50-50 option. The deal breaker was the birth of my son, a hearing child, it would have been criminal for me not to use my voice to encourage his, so sign took less precedence, and speech overruled the signing approach.  The deaf social area was a no-no for many years too, my child was autistic and I risked serious problems with the system if any sign I used encouraged less speech attainment in him, communication was his issue too but in a different way. There can be few deaf parents having to address communication approaches the same way as we had to.  3 different forms of communication in 24/7 operation and I had to bridge them all. My life when my son was born, reverted to hearing despite me having none.  if you cannot understand then no point explaining.

It came with benefits to me as a deaf person, in that it forced me to use my voice all the time and improved my confidence and interaction with mainstream that deafness had isolated me from. My voice was my 'passport' to normality and access. Had I pursued the 'Deaf' way I would be far more isolated.  I was determined to escape it people relied on me..  The reality was I was in no other position of choice. There was no way I was going to let my son see I was reliant on others, be they interpreters or whatever.  I was forced by default to lip-read or text to the max.  All had to be signing alternatives.

My English/Grammar improved in leaps and bounds.  CI's would be of little use if, the implanted were not also able to mimic sounds and acquire some speech too, nor would hearing aids, I am sure this would make Last Hiccup happy to see hearing aids, CI's and speech consigned to the bin, but he or she is on the fringes on realism and apparently quite able to see others go without the support they need to bolster his/her minuscule and myopic view of the hearing loss world and the hearing one...  

If you can use your speech no matter how little it is, you have huge advantages over those who just sign, have better options to work and to sustain that, that is fact not an attack. Whilst we can never fully 'fit in' with the hearing or Deaf communities, we can still acquire skills often superior to either and able to bridge issues we would not have before. Necessity was the mother of inventions.

By far the biggest problem were communication classes, both BSL and Lip-reading ones.  I don't mention deaf studies or cultural classes because neither address hearing loss and appear to be trying to redefine it, they don't address the issue. I dropped out of BSL classes because they kept asking me to play dumb (As in no speech usage), all the time, that is, not to speak when signing, because this confuses or 'upsets' deaf people, I said I was deaf too, and what about those who had hearing aids ? they rely on speech, or the deaf lip-reader ?  Last Hiccup ignores these things because their world and outlook  is too small to understand. Obsessed with the letter 'D' they struggle to learn the rest of the alphabet.

They can respond with many links to cultural and signing areas it won't explain their biased and warped version of it all. There seemed no awareness at these BSL classes at all, and deafened like myself gave them up as  bad job, or failed to sustain the tuition, and left it to hearing students instead. There was considerable bias with the teachers too, and it was job more than it was a vocation, patronising to deaf in part even those that did sign.

Lip-reading classes were worse, they encouraged that too, and insisted no signing was used as others would think you couldn't communicate any other way.  Their reality is 'There are no deaf signers outside your door, why bother ? You can't be a born again Deaf person..'  I've no time for a 'dumb' culture, or acting like it to fit some weird idea of what a deaf community actually is.  Which isn't a culture of extremes and governed by decibel and mode. We even had professional welfare support system advising deafened people to pretend they could not speak, to facilitate better support options, as 'that is what 'Deaf'' do ! Not deaf wannabees, but near as dammit, but with the added kudos, as you really were deaf too !

As for the A G Bell thing this is beyond childish and keeps deaf with a cause celeb that is all, first this man is supposed to have denigrated sign, Boo ! cruel hearing people go Deaf PEOPLE! now deaf denigrate him, yay ! go sign language and culture !! this is progress USA style, harking back to the past, to 1881 and even beyond that to justify aspects of support in the 21stc.  Last Hiccup and Co need their martyrs, and when they haven't got enough, create more themselves.  They are going to reverse all that went before and do the same as Bell was supposed to have done, attacked choice, and approaches, and impose their own... The logic escapes most.

Not so long ago Last Hiccup suggested ATR was refusing to embrace his deafhood, this was an example of one deaf person openly patronising another.  Yet half USA deaf have no idea at all what it is, because the USA re-created their own version, and binned Paddy Ladd's opus and view, then found they hadn't the means to refer back to the original or understand it. It was sponsored plagiarism and a money making venture.  It was actually ATR at the time unravelling the obscure terminology and breaking it down for followers to make sense of it, I should not have wasted my time as the whole thing was pointless and biased anyway.  There were no signs to explain deafhood.  They run classes to unravel it, the emperor's new clothes.  They are terrified they will just be seen as naked.

While these  'Deaf' zealots exist they it will create more and more problems for choice, and for fellow deaf people. You can lead deaf people to the cultural oasis of water, but you cannot force them to drink from it.  Encouraging a more outgoing form of inclusion is going to enhance deaf far more than fencing them in to some narrow-focused and silent area instead. The 'Deaf' world is NOT enough.  It just looks bigger because of the net.

For every deaf signer that contributes there are 3 times that many deaf who don't sign at all, and 20 times that number with severe loss, just who does Last Hiccup think he or she is ?

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Deaf Friendly service....

Contacting Childline...

Facebook NOT a deaf leveller

Image result for VOTE !Much is made of Facebook power to influence elections and 'empower' deaf people, the latter doesn't ring true. Only 10% view social media as a positive thing.  

Deaf Facebook in the UK was overwhelmingly Labour oriented, mainly because of cuts to sign support etc. The first casualty was the lack of equal coverage, so deaf could make informed decisions.

A democracy area in which deaf and others with hearing loss were able to debate the issues, did not happen, because the Deaf social media has its own 'rules' and entrance qualifications to its own sites.  The biggest anti-democracy areas are Deaf Facebook and Deaf Twitter, once you saw BSL there was nowhere else to go, no other issue to talk about..  There is no desire or will to take interest outside own sphere.  In the first instance those who disagree with the deaf stance on political issues tended to get isolated, ignored, and banned from BSL sites very quickly.  

The deaf aren't really able to go in depth and discuss issues because they have been in own world so long and cannot or won't engage.  Facebook does not reveal almost zero local involvement by deaf people in their own areas/issues, or know the local representations they are being asked to vote for, because they live in a deaf world not a mainstream one. 

Some deaf went to the polling booth and complained Jeremy Corbyn was not on the list of people to vote for, not aware they were being asked to vote for their own LOCAL MP. Where the connection is, is via swinging cuts to BSL support, and work help, or the arts, deaf areas.  Things that tend to affect that world, because deaf support is amid the most expensive support in our country, it was and is a prime target for cuts.  

Image result for facebook sites operating censorshipThe power of social media is undeniable, but we also know how social media can be manipulated and how 'Fake News' is not confined solely to the hearing areas.  The Deaf social media e.g. is still a 'closed' shop, look at any UK deaf site and see, a number 'vet' a person prior to acceptance, hardly conducive to freedom of speech.  Other's issue a warning to posters to not oppose a BSL view or be accused of attacking 'deaf people'.  

It seems somewhat hypocritical claiming democracy and free speech when they close sites to open debate, and in depth discussion, or insist their site is for 'BSL deaf' only, immediately excluding others.. The ultimate Clique.

The list of 'banned' posters to deaf sites by proportion, seems much higher than it is with other disability sites, and they can maintain bans for years. It's all done under the guise of preventing deaf people being 'attacked' by others, but the only 'attack' is a challenge to what they maybe claiming as fact, or them insisting they speak for others when they haven't that mandate. The deaf v Deaf v disabled v oralism v CI's etc is ignored, but drives the whole thing. Fresh air into  Deaf social media is desperately needed to flush out the dodo's, the vested interests, and extremes, we are a more closed 'society' since social media.. and to pretend we are more than we actually are, seems rather desperate. ASL isn't BSL, and British aren't Americans.

Image result for only deaf allowedFactually, Deaf media had little or no coverage of hearing loss issues during the recent campaigns.  What there was, centred around BSL users, the minority with loss.  It was all about 'How Tories were cruel to the sign user..' as if the austerity and cuts were solely aimed at them and no-one else, 65,000 HoH lost their welfare alone.  By proportion the BSL user suffered less in the welfare areas... If nothing else, the assault on the UK's vulnerable and the rest was pretty equal, we all suffered the same, there was no specific targeting.
  
Many complained the conservatives offered no signed output, but all the updates on UK TV were fully accessible and still are, those who wanted sign-only access, lacked the majority support for that, but they had viable alternatives, we had political coverage on a scale not seen in recent times, you would have to be from Neptune to be unaware of the pros and cons of the various parties (Or live in a closed 'Deaf' world).   Not a single unified approach to the issues of oppression to the deaf, disabled or the HI took place in the election.  Most pro Facebook activity comes of course from the active few, not the majority, most of whom did not actually vote.  Deaf are notorious for not voting.  

They criticised ATR for wanting ACCESS to politics on Parliament TV,  because it was a subtitle-based campaign.   The same people recently lauded another UK charity blog for attempting the same, it seems it is who you are, not what you do that decides if you are right or not..

The result of ATR's campaign in Wales saw sign coverage included too. ATR also lobbied for deaf access to the welsh assembly, so far virtually the sole deaf area to do so, and got 1st Minister questions accessible on YouTube for the deaf.  The deaf approach was to utilise BSL access in local and Health authorities and refuse to include captioning.  Where it counts ATR was pushing for political access, and equal representation, but could not unify the Deaf and HoH areas to enable pressure to succeed because BSL areas were intransigent, and HoH areas totally apathetic.   It's a perennial problem.

At this time ATR has a petition going to enable access to the political areas of Wales.  At this time no deaf or HoH area is even asking to be represented.  Less social media bullshit, and more focus and honesty would help.  Deaf just saw the election as an opportunistic way of raising own issues, not taking the real opportunity of forming a united front on access for all.

Deaf activism mobilised behind the Labour party.   So deaf were given a pretty one-sided view of things.  Maybe more young people did vote, not more young deaf people, so more focus needs to be put on accurate reporting, sadly bias is endemic in the deaf world.  Time the 'Deaf' came out, and stopped playing Greta Garbo.  Preaching to the already converted won't increase more following.

The biggest loss is to deaf people, is being corralled into a  deaf corner and being overseen by amateurs, the biased and those who want to be big fish in a small pond, all they do is suck all the oxygen out depriving the smaller fish of breathing..