Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Glasses that Create Text

New glasses are designed to turn speech allowing the deaf to read what's being said. The Babel Fisk glasses from Danish designer Mads Hindhede uses built-in microphones to pick up voices within the line of sight. An embedded speech to text program creates a text version of what's being said that is projected onto the inside of the lenses. Voices can also be recorded for later use.

Social Security Lawsuit

A federal judge has certified a lawsuit against the Social Security Administration as a class action suit. Deaf employee Ronald Jantz originally filed the action, claiming the Administration discriminates against disabled employees by limiting promotions and other career advancement opportunities. The judge's action allows the inclusion of about 2000 other employees into the suit.

Arrest After Standoff

An Alaska man is behind bars and facing charges of killin two police officers. John Marvin Jr. was arrested yesterday following a standoff with police. One of the officers he is accused of killing was deaf. Police Sgt. Anthony Wallace was a graduate of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute for Technology in upstate New York.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ambush in Alaska

Here's a video report from WHAM-TV in Rochester, New York about the graduate of NTID who was killed in an ambush this past weekend in Alaska.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Policeman Killed

A graduate of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf was shot and killed in southeast Alaska yesterday. Tony Wallace, who was hard of hearing had been a security guard and an All-American wrestler at the Rochester school where he was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008. He graduated in 2003. Wallace was working as a police officer in the town of Hoonah when he and a fellow patrolman were killed by a man who later barricaded himself in his home.

UPS Ruling Overturned

An appeals court has overturned a ruling against a deaf UPS employee. Mauricio Centeno wanted the company to provide him with interpreters for weekly meetings. He was only provided summaries of the meeting by a notetaker at the facility in Gardena, California. The appeals court sent the case back to the district judge for further consideration. Read the ruling here.

Illinois Hospitals

Here's a video put together by Raymond Rodgers of Deaf Communication by Innovation about how to make a complaint against an Illinois hospital that fails to provide an sign language interpreter when one is requested.

"My Child Has a Fever!"

Here's a video produced by the Texas Association of Healthcare Interpreters and Translators on the difficulty of getting interpreters at hospitals and health care facilities. It is one of several produced by the nonprofit organization.

Book Reissue

Henry Kisor's 1990 memoir, What’s That Pig Outdoors? has been reissued. It explains the controversies surrounding oralism. The title refers to an early lipreading error when Henry’s young son asked, “What’s that big loud noise?” 70-year-old Kisor speaks and reads lips. He knows no ASL. Read more about the book at Kisor's website.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Orioles Win Opener

The Maryland School For The Deaf beat the St. Vincent Pallotti High School football team in its home opener last night. The MSD Orioles won by a score of 37-13. The team's lead rusher was Ethan Kramer with 86 yards on 11 carries. Quarterback Todd Bonheyo completed 5-of-10 passes for 63 yards. He threw one interception. Gregg McConville Jr. had nine tackles for the Orioles on defense. The Frederick school has won seven consecutive National Deaf Prep championships and eight of the last nine.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Stabbing Death

A South Side Chicago man is behind bars for allegedly killing his wife on their 10th anniversary. Charles Hughes faces murder charges in the stabbing death of Debra Haywood-Hughes. Hughes is deaf and called the police himself to report the crime.

Ground-Breaking Implant

A new type of cochlear implant is being placed in a 44-year-old English woman today. Unlike previous implants, information will be delivered to each ear, even though there is only one implant. Specialists at the University of Southampton will perform the procedure, where more than 5000 cochlear operations have been performed over the last few years with some people receiving two implants, with one in each ear. The new device is less expensive than two separate implants because there is only one processor and one internal receiver stimulator. In four to six weeks the device will be is tuned on and the doctors hope she will hear again using both ears and have better hearing in noisy backgrounds than regular implants.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Finding Jobs

The average unemployment rate for disabled workers was 14.5% last year. It's only 9% rate for those without disabilities. The figures come from the Labor Department and were released yesterday. So far this year, the unemployment rate for those with disabilities is 16.4%. The jobless rate for workers with disabilities who had at least a bachelor's degree was 8.3%— higher than the 4.5% rate for college-educated workers without disabilities.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hit by Train

A deaf woman in Pennsylvania was hit by a train in Roslyn this afternoon. She's now in a local hospital, suffering from a brain injury. The woman is in her 20's but police have not released her name or other details.

Deaf School in Haiti

A Rochester, New York woman is headed to Haiti this Friday with plans to start a school for deaf children. Tara Thorn is a graduate of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology and has visited Haiti more than once. The massive earthquake that rocked the country in January destroyed two schools for the deaf near Port au Prince. Thorn's aunt and uncle, who served in Haiti as missionaries for more than three decades, are helping with the project.

Child Porn Conviction

A Pennsylvania man is headed to jail for child pornography. Sakuna Ganbari of Rutledge was given 45 to 90 months in jail. He gave no apology after being convicted on 90 counts of sexual abuse of children. The deaf man was aided in court by sign-language interpreters.

New Center Aims To Help Deaf Children Succeed

KHBS-TV in Fort Smith, Arkansas reports on a new center for deaf children. Watch it here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Signing and Talking

When someone moves their mouth while signing, is that a part of sign language or a part of English? A British study found that hands and mouths seem to be doing different things, suggesting that the lip movement isn't part of the sign. University College London researchers watched users of British Sign Language, all of whom grew up signing with deaf parents. The subjects seemed to be processing two languages at the same time. Details are in the journal Psychological Science.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pro Baller Arrested

A deaf major league baseball prospect is facing charges of cocaine possession in Clearwater, Florida. Tyson Gillies is out on bond after his arrest yesterday. A Philadelphia Phillies prospect, the 21-year-old outfielder was batting .238 while playing only 26 games for Double-A Reading. He's been battling a hamstring injury and was in Florida on a rehab assignment.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lawsuit Threatened in 21 Incident

A man roughed up by a security guard is threatening to sue over the incident. When Alejandro Rea failed to stop when an alarm sounded as he walked out of a Forever 21 store, mall security guards tackled the deaf man and placed him in a choke-hold. The store admited the guard used excessive force and suspended him indefinately. Video of the incident can be seen in an earlier post on Deaf News Today. The video, shot by Joshua Fountain using his cell phone, has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times since it was uploaded to YouTube. Alejandro Rea remains in a Los Angeles jail, where he has been since the arrest because he hasn't been able come up with the $56,000 bond. He's not due back in court until next Tuesday. His lawyer says the security guards threw him against a wall after they got Rea into an office.

An iPad Book for the Deaf

There's a iPad version of a children's book complete with sign language for deaf children. Read the New York Times article about Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy here.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Service Animal Rejected

A Maryland deaf woman says a mall in Frederick violated ADA law last wee. Denise Portis was told her hearing dog was not welcome and she would have to leave. She says security guards at Francis Scott Key Mall confronted her about Chloe, her certified hearing dog, more than once, even though the vizsla mix was wearing a red vest clearly identifying her as a service dog. Portis was also carrying certification papers at the time. She says the guards intimidated her and she was shaking, nearly in tears. A mall spokesperson says service dogs are welcome and steps will be taken to educate the guards.

Scranton School Moving

The Scranton School for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children is moving to a campus in South Abington Township where troubled teens are housed in just a few weeks. That school will need a new home for itself as well. Marywood University is buying the current Scranton location. Here's a video from WNEP-TV about the move.

Teen Hearing Loss

A new study shows teens are losing their hearing at an alarming rate. Nearly one in five adolescents (about 6.5 million) have some form of hearing loss. The cause is probably the use of earbuds to listen to music. Details are in the Journal of the AMA. 3000 teens tested between 1988 and 1994 were compared to some 1800 kids tested between 2005 and 2006. The conclusion: Hearing loss rose from roughly 15% to 19.5%. That's a 31% increase.

School Director Fired

The director of a state school for the deaf has been kicked out. Janet McDaniel was fired yesterday from the North Carolina School for the Deaf in Morganton. A report on the accusations of possible student abuse and neglect is due out soon. A group called Disability Rights North Carolina is alleging assaults by teachers or staff on students and the use of excessive force.

Mobile ASL

University of Washington engineers are testing a device they call Mobile ASL. The software uses motion detection to identify when someone is using sign language and then it sends the info through smart phones. While the technology is not available yet for the general public, prototypes are now in the hands of some two dozen deaf people in Seattle. A larger study planned for the winter. It could potentially run on any device. The advantage of this software is that it uses a fraction of the bandwidth used by the video conferencing features offered on phones like the HTC Evo and Apple iPhone 4.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Internet Accessible Video Law

New legislation moving through Congress will make the Internet more accessible to people with disabilities. If passed, it will pressure consumer electronics companies to provide technology that's useful to those with vision or hearing loss, including making TV shows captioned online and remote controls would have a button that makes it easier to activate closed captioning. However, videos made and shared by average people through YouTube and Facebook wouldn't require captioning. The Consumer Electronics Association has dropped its opposition the the new rules saying it will take the issue on a case by case basis, agreeing that some technologies should be more inclusive. There is more information on this legislation in earlier posts.

Signing, Singing, Speaking

National Public Radio has a story called Signing, Singing, Speaking: How Language Evolved that you can read or listen to here. David Armstrong, who "spent decades studying the origin of language before retiring from Gallaudet University.. says gestures involving the hands may well have been the earliest form of complex human communication."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Guard Suspended

A security guard is on suspension after a video surfaced showing him roughing up a deaf man accused of shoplifting. The video is below, in an earlier post. The man, identified as Alejandro Rea, appears confused as the guard chokes him while his friend who also appears to be deaf, attempts to intervene. The confrontation took place at a Forever 21 store in Los Angeles. Rea faces charges of robbery and shoplifting.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Arrested for Child Rape

Police interupted a Bible study at a Boston church to arrest a 24 year old deaf man Wednesday night. Erik Roldan is accused of raping a 7 year old girl. He visited the girl's home for counseling from her father. Roldan appeared in court yesterday and pleaded not guilty through an interpreter, saying he only kissed the girl. Roldan being held on $100,000 bail. He was at one time a student at Horace Mann School for the Deaf in Allston.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

100k for Research

NTID is getting $100,000 from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to start research next month on how Cisco products can benefit the deaf community. Thee research should lead to recommendations related to 911 and 411 telephone response systems.

The National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) is a technical college for deaf and hard-of-hearing students located at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York.

Deaf Shopper Choked

This YouTube video proports to show a security guard choking a deaf suspected of shoplifting this week at a Forever 21 store in Hollywood. The deaf man failed to stop when an alarm sounded as he exited the store because he could not hear it. His deaf friend tries repeatedly to show the guard the receipt for the purchase, but the guards refuse to try to communicate with him.

State Deaf School Property Sold

Marywood University is likely to buy the 10-acres and the 10 buildings once used by Pennsylvania's Scranton State School for the Deaf for only half a million dollars. The land was appraised for $2 million. The deal is awaiting the approval of state legislators. The deaf school may remain on the campus through 2012.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hearing Aid Compliance Rules

The FCC is plugging a loophole in its rules that have allowed phone makers like Apple to make millions of iPhones that escape the Commission’s Hearing Aid Compliance rules. That technicality has been solved by the agency’s expansion of its list devices covered by its Hearing Aid Compliance rules. Manufacturers will have 12 months to bring themselves into compliance. The Commission has also proposed extending the rules to cover emerging technologies such as VoIP over WiFi. For years, the Commission has required equipment manufacturers to make a certain percentage of hearing aid compliant handsets available to the public. Some carriers have gotten five-figure fines for falling a few phones short or failing to file a required report.

Marlee Matlin on NPR

In this interview, through her longtime interpreter Jack Jason, Marlee Matlin reflects on her highly successful acting career , the 20th Anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and her experience as a deaf woman in showbiz. Listen to it here. No text of conversation.

Mason-Dixon Champions

The girls track team from the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind’s are the 2010 Mason-Dixon champions. The winners are decided by the Mason-Dixon Schools for the Deaf Athletic Association based on the best times and distances in each event. The boys team from the school came in second place.

elderly Woman Dies in Fire

A 92 year old deaf woman died from injuries she received in a Monday fire. Catherine Voultepsis was a Greek immigrant who lived in the Chelsea section of New York. More than 100 firefighters battled the blaze. It sent 5 firefighters and two tenants to the hospital besides Voultepsis.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Arizona Foundation

KGUN-TV talks about the Arizona Blind and Deaf Children Foundation.

Choosing Deaf Children

Blogger Katja Grace is stirring controversy with a post on whether deaf parents should legally be able to use medical techniques to ensure that their kids will be deaf. She focuses on whether having a deaf child that can share in their parents' culture (namely, through sign language) is justified. Read the post here.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Guilty of Sexual Charges

A student teacher at a Connecticut deaf school has pleaded guilty to charges of having sex with a minor in Dewitt, New York (east of Syracuse). Micah S. Brown will get a one to three year sentence for admitting his guily in county court and may get as much as 10 more years in federal court. State police arrested Brown after a 16-year-old girl said he met her online and then in person at her home in Syracuse area while her parents where gone. The girl said Brown gave her alcohol, marijuana, and had sex with her. Her parents found liquor bottles when they returned and she confessed to what had happened. Police then set up a sting operation where Brown thought he was meeting the girl again. Brown was a graduate student at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology at the time of his arrest. He was serving as a student teacher at the American School for the Deaf in Connecticut.

Friday, August 6, 2010

ASL Game Controller

Microsoft's new gesture-based game controller will support ASL. The patent for Kinect includes an illustration showing a user spelling out words with their hands. The product's main purpose will be to allow users control of a game without a hand-held device. A gesture may be interpreted as if the user were pressing a letter or number on a keyboard. It is not clear whether the feature will be part of the Kinect launch in November. It is expected to run about $150.

Senate Passes Internet Video Bill

Last night the U.S. Senate passed a bill that would require captions for Internet video. The 21st Century Video Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 reinstates the FCC's video descpription rules, which were thrown out by the courts. The bill was introduced by Senators John Kerry and Mark Pryor. The House passed a similar bill last week. The two must now either be reconciled in conference, or either bill could be voted as is by the opposite body.


A Seattle children's musical production includes deaf children in the cast. Read more here.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Deaf Opera Singer

AP tells the story of a deaf opera singer in Wyoming here.

Gallaudet Gives $1 Million to College

Gallaudet University is giving a community college near St. Louis one million dollars to search as the school's Midwest regional center. John A. Logan College in Carterville, Illinois won the grant to serve residents in 13 states, including Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Illinois. The Center's location allows it to serve many rural areas. It will offer outreach to schools, educational interpreter training, technical assistance to schools, aggregation of information services, as well as self advocacy and empowerment training and literacy training. The grant will be spread over a 5 year period with $200,000 going to Logan each year. Logan first began offering a one-year Interpreter Training certificate program in 1988.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Citizens Medal

President Obama has given the 2nd-highest civilian honor to the woman who championed the Deaf Child's Bill of Rights in Georgia. Kimberly McGuiness was given the The Citizens Medal. She began working on behalf of deaf children after learning her one year old daughter was deaf. The legislation requires schools in the state to provide equal learning opportunities for the deaf. She also advocated for a law allowing ASL to fulfill foreign language requirements at state schools.

School Avoids Immediate Shutdown

The state of Illinois has picked up the tab for Chicago's Philip J. Rock Center. The school for the deaf and blind will be able to stay in operation for another month to six weeks after the payment of $300,000 in debt. The school has about a dozen resident students and more than 400 children statewide. The Center employs 40 people full time and another 20 part time.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Loud Cell Phone

A new cell phone features a ring as loud as 100 decibels. The earpiece can be set to an even higher volume of 110, louder than many motorcycles. The Amplicom M6000 also has larger and clearer buttons and uncomplicated features. Hearing aid users will be glad to make calls without having to wear their devices. The standard earpiece will go up 30. The device is available only in the U.K. for now.