Thursday, June 30, 2011
The Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind is slashing its technology in an attempt to avoid cutting jobs. Almost all the computers used by teachers will be tossed out - leaving only about 80 out of 200, mostly for administrators. The school located in the city of Stauton serves more than 100 students.
A Deaf Town Hall will take place in Rochester, New York this afternoon, starting at 4pm. The Center for Disability Rights and Regional Center for Independent Living is co-sponsoring the event along with the Genesee Valley Region Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and the New York State Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities. The gathering will provide information for a report due to state lawmakers by January on the conditions of services for the deaf and hard of hearing in New York. The report is being put together by the Deaf Interagency Council on Services for Individuals who are Deaf, Deaf/Blind or Hard-of-Hearing. There will be sign language interpreters on hand, a hearing assistance loop and live captioning through Communication Access Realtime Translation.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Austin Community College in Northern California is getting VRS kiosks on campus. Purple Communications is providing the equipment. The school has some 200 deaf and hard-of-hearing students and another 20 or so deaf and hard-of-hearing faculty and staff members.
I King Jordan will be one of the runners in this year's Leadville Trail Marathon in Colorado. Jordan co-founded the American Association of People with Disabilities, but is best known for making history in 1988 when he became the first deaf president of Gallaudet University. President Barack Obama recently appointed King to serve on the Commission on Presidential Scholars. He'll join nearly 1000 other runners a week from Friday in Leadville, Colorado for one of the most challenging marathons in the world because of the rugged terrain and extreme altitude changes.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Two members of the New York Police Department have filed a complaint with the EEOC over the department's decision to start enforcing a ban on hearing aids. Many veterans have been forced to retire, including the two who filed the complaint. The policy had not been enforced and the department even paid for some hearing devices. The officers say the move is discriminatory and forces officers to hide their hearing problems. Ironically, the current police commissioner himself wears hearing aids, but is exempt from the ban because he technically is a civilian leader.
The Maine Human Rights Commission says police in Oxford, Maine violated a deaf man's rights in 2009. David Brown was a witness to a fatal accident involving his daughter. Oxford Police say he never asked for an interpreter and his daughter interpreted for him at the scene. But Brown and his attorney told the commission his daughter was too upset to interpret and she asked officers to provide her father an interpreter, but was never provided one. She was only 17 years old at the time and her insurance for the car she was driving was on her father's policy. A similar complaint against the Oxford County Sheriff’s Department was dismissed by the Rights Commission on a split vote, since deputies of that agency did not interview any witnesses at the scene.
Monday, June 27, 2011
People with diabetes are more than twice as likely to have hearing loss. That's the finding of a review of 13 studies. While the connection between the two have been known for some time, no one realized just how high the risk was, according to a researcher from Tsukuba University Hospital in Ibaraki, Japan. The findings were presented today at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association.
The 8th Congress of the Cuban Society of Otolaryngology starts today with delegates from a variety of countries, including Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Italy, Spain, Mexico, El Salvador, Cuba and Portugal. Tomorrow's session will be devoted to such topics as cochlear implants. Cuban officials say more than 200 cochlear implant operations have been carried out in the country, nearly all of them on children.
The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International airport is installing public-access videophones for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. The world’s busiest airport is putting them on all concourses, near the north and south baggage claim areas, and in the airport’s new rental car center. Installation is expected to be complete by the end of the summer.
Tonight's episode of the new ABC Family show Switched at Birth is called Dance Amongst Daggers. Marlee Matlin guest stars in episode 4, which airs at 9pm, Eastern. Teenagers Bay and Daphne have trouble with the guys they are dating, the family becomes a neighborhood spectacle at the annual school benefit, while Melody (played by Marlee Matlin) begins to establish a bond with John - which sends rumors flying.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
A fired 7-Eleven manager in Florida has won $934,000 in a discrimination suit against the company. Jim Soliday worked for 7-Eleven for more than a quarter of a century, but was fired because he is deaf. The Naples resident used a fax machine to transfer and review data and pagers to communicate with managers and headquarters. Soliday supervised about a dozen people and his system worked fine until a new supervisor took away his fax machine and pager. 7-Eleven is expected to appeal the verdict.
Friday, June 24, 2011
The National Center for Education Statistics has released a new report that details the enrollment of deaf and hard of hearing students in college. The Center is a part of the U.S. Education Department. Here are the percentages of colleges that had deaf and hard of hearing students enrolled during the 2008–09 academic year.
- All institutions - 73%
- Public 2-year - 90%
- Private not-for-profit 2-year 32%
- Public 4-year 92%
- Private not-for-profit 4-year 65%
- Private for-profit 4-year 60%
- Less than 3000 students - 57%
- 3000-9999 students - 96%
- 10,000 or more students - 100%
Thursday, June 23, 2011
The documentary From Silence to Sound is playing in New Orleans at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center today through next Tuesday as part of the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference and Exhibit. It's the story of a deaf man who goes through implant surgery, becoming the first double implant recipient in Oklahoma.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's All In The Mind program has devoted three shows to Gallaudet University. The first deals with the school's place and history, the second is about deaf architecture and the third concerns the use of technology at Gallaudet. Both the audio and the transcript are available here.
The Swiss federation for the deaf is asking the institutions that banned sign language in schools at the end of the 19th century to apologize for doing so. After the decision, the deaf in Switzerland were punished for signing. Some had their hands tied behind their backs, others were hit with rulers and some were forced to repeat sounds for long periods of time. It was during the late 1700s that French priest Charles Michel de l’Épée came up with a way for students at his institution to use hand signs to communicate. He taught the language to the deaf in several countries. But in 1880, the International Congress on Education for the Deaf meeting in Milan, decreed that the use of sign language in schools should be abolished. Among their reasons: sign language was said to promote tuberculosis and religious leaders proclaimed that man could not talk to God in gestures. Signing went underground in Europe and the region did not start bilingual education for the deaf until the 1980s. While the International Congress on Education for the Deaf officially apologized for the ban last year, the groups taking part in making the decision have not.
A large portion of the Clarke School for Hearing and Speech is up for sale. While the school's administration consolidates operations in a newer building on the edge of the property in Northampton, Massachusetts, a for sale sign is up for other parts of the more than 10 acre campus including 6 buildings, an Olympic-sized pool, and playing fields. The site is considered historic since the oral school was founded in 1867.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
The North Carolina prison system is being sued by two deaf men whose lawyers say they have been denied access to interpreters since their incarceration there three years ago. Robert Boyd and Thomas Heyer are in the federal prison in the town of Butner, north of Raleigh. Both are serving time for convictions related to child pornography. Prison officials haven't commented on the suit.
Monday, June 20, 2011
The National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, New York is getting $1.75 million in grant money to build facilities dedicated to innovation and research. The funds include $250,000 from Chicago's William G. McGowan Charitable Fund. The building will be called Sebastian and Lenore Rosica Hall. Construction begins next year and is expected to be completed in 2013. The Roscia's lived in Buffalo where Sebastian worked as an audiologist for 40 years at St. Mary’s School for the Deaf and Lenore worked as a speech pathologist. The building will, according to NTID, "include a large lab where students and faculty will come together to brainstorm new product and business ideas and to do initial project development work. Next to the lab will be a series of research spaces and research centers designed to house projects and programs of research relating to disciplines taught at NTID."
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Seattle Central Community College is ending its program to train sign language interpreters as well as its programs for film and video as well as the publishing arts. It's part of a statewide cutback by community colleges. Administrators blame a high cost for each student, low completion rate, poor track record of job placement. The only similar program in the state is at Spokane Falls Community College, but it focuses on training interpreters for public schools. No new students will be accepted to the interpreting program at Seattle Central, but students already enrolled will be able to complete their degrees and ASL classes will continue. Interpreter training is offered at Western Oregon State in an online program.
Prosecutors in Portland say a woman embezzled $1200 from a deaf charity where she worked. Melody Anne McDaniel was business manager for World Deaf Timberfest. She faces charges of first-degree theft and fraudulent use of a credit card for allegedly stealing $750 two years ago and then charging $450 on a business credit card for personal use.World Deaf Timberfest supports Camp Taloali for deaf children. McDaniel, who is deaf herself, has requested an interpreter for her August 4th trial.
Friday, June 17, 2011
The National Association of the Deaf has filed a lawsuit against Netflix in Massachusetts, saying the streaming video company has violated ADA law by not providing captioning for most of its “Watch Instantly” movies and television streamed on the Internet. Last month, Netflix announced it was in the process of including captioning, but the effort was going slowly.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
CNN.com is being sued in Oakland, California for not provided closed captions for videos posted on the Internet like it does for the TV audience. A group called Disability Rights Advocates is representing the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness (or GLAD) and three individual plaintiffs. The lawsuit claims violations of California's Unruh Civil Rights Act and Disabled Persons Act.
The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers is making its standard for closed-captioning of online video content available free of charge. The standard is known as the SMPTE Timed Text and is the software used to caption most TV programs. At the same time, the FCC is moving to adopt new rules related to closed captioning of Internet videos. It does not require a particular device or player to function, allowing manufacturers to develop products without worrying about interoperability issues.
Two nights of entertainment take place July 1st and 2nd in Wilmington, North Carolina at the Hilton Wilmington Riverside. Sponsored by Silent Linc, Deaf Comedy Central will feature live music, comedians, and dinner, door prizes, and a silent auction. Among the performers: The Sammy Hall Band, C.J. Jones, and Sam Parker. Interpreters will be provided both nights. For more information, click here.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
An Iowa School for the Deaf physical-education teacher has been dismissed from her job. The state Board of Regents voted unanimously to terminate Karen Lechner after a hearing at her request. She was one of five teachers at the school who lost their jobs, mading about $50,000. The school has lost more than 15% of its budget during the past two years.
Four deaf and hard-of-hearing cyclists are making their way across the country to raise money for Miles for Smiles. The organization offers surgery to children in developing countries with cleft palates. The riders began nearly a month ago in Venice beach, California and are on their way to St. Augustine, Florida. The goal is to raise $24,000 to help 100 kids. So far, they have $7,000. Read more about the trip or to give a donation here. The 4000 mile trip includes stops at schools for the deaf. They paid a visit to the Texas School for the Deaf in Austin where KVUE-TV filed this video report.
Monday, June 13, 2011
ABC Family's Switched at Birth set a record last week. With total viewers reaching 3.3 million, the TV show is the highest rated series debut in the network's history. It played at 9pm Eastern and was replayed the next hour. Both shows together were seen by 4.9 million people. Switched at Birth centers on two teenage girls who discover that they were switched at birth in the hospital. One of the girls is deaf and Marlee Matlin will play a role in the series. The program airs again tonight.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
The director of a deaf services center in Louisiana says the state is cutting out organizations specializing in working with deaf clients and giving contracts to groups that offer inferior services. David Hylan, who leads the Leonard and Betty Phillips Deaf Action Center in Shreveport, says the Louisiana Commission for the Deaf has removed his organization from two contracts it has held for nearly 30 years and given them to an organization that works, not with the deaf, but with developmentally disabled adults. In fact, Hylan says the organization awarded the contracts has come to the Deaf Action Center, looking for help in providing interpreters. Hylan blames the executive director of the commission, saying the move comes in retaliation for a grievance filed against him by five providers throughout the state. In fact, the executive director, according to Hylan has recommended that all five lose their contracts. You can read more in Hylan's opinion piece, published in the Shreveport Times here.
The California School for the Deaf is losing its superintendent. Hank Klopping is retiring after serving for 36 years. A dinner was held last night to honor Klopping. Before becoming superintendent of the California School, he worked at Arizona School for the Deaf and the Blind, CSU Northridge and Gallaudet University. Klopping has been president of the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf vice chair on the Commission of Education of the Deaf. No replacement has yet been named.
A Gallaudet professor tells the story of his transition from India to Washington in the new book Deaf in DC. Madan Vasishta arrived in the nation's capital in 1967 without the ability to understand American Sign Language or read lips. His memoir describes his struggles and eventual rise to earn a doctorate and eventually teach in the school he came to America to attend. His 2006 book, Deaf in Delhi, tells about his childhood and this book picks up where the first one left off. Find out more about his book here.
Lori Dunsmore will not be working at the Rhode Island School for the Deaf again even though there is only a couple of weeks left in the school year. Although Dunsmore is being removed from her position by trustees, she will still draw her $116,000 salary. Dunsmore, who is deaf herself, was in her 4th year at the school, which was taken over by the state Board of Regents for poor performance two years ago. Dunsmore had already made it public that she would not ask for her contract to be renewed. It expires at the end of the month.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
A new horse ranch opened today in the Denver suburb of Parker. Rosie's Ranch specializing in serving children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. The grand opening included pony rides, crafts, a silent auction and a presentation about the program. Founder Mary Mosher-Stathes has more than 30 years of experience working with deaf children. She was honored with the 2007 Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year Award. There is more information on the 10 acre here. Here's a video about the ranch.
Friday, June 10, 2011
The Nashville Zoo will hold its 6th annual Deaf Day tomorrow from 9am-4pm. There will be interpreters, along with presentations and programs designed specifically for the deaf and deaf and blind community. Helping make the event possible is Gate Communications, a national non-profit organization that serves the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing communities. To find out more, click here.
The Royal National Institute for Deaf People or RNID, is changing its name to Action on Hearing Loss in honor of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the charity. The UK organization hopes the move will also clear up some confusion. Based out of London, RNID was sometimes confused with the sight loss charity RNIB or the lifeboat charity RNLI. The new Action on Hearing Loss has also launched a new website which you can see here, includes free hearing tests. A deaf banker by the name of Leo Bonn founded the group in 1911 as the National Bureau for Promoting the General Welfare of the Deaf. It became the National Institute for the Deaf in 1924 and in 1961 the Queen approved the addition of the "Royal" prefix, creating the Royal National Institute for the Deaf. The Institute began work in the areas of medical and technological research during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1992, the Institute changed its name to the Royal National Institute for Deaf People but kept the initials RNID.
There are two new members of the Gallaudet University board of trustees. James Payne and Claudia Gordon have joined the board of the Washington, DC school. Payne is a senior vice president and general manager national security and cyber infrastructure at Telcordia Technologies. Payne has served on Gallaudet’s Board of Associates since 1996 and was named its chair in 2009. Gordon is special assistant to the director of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. Early in her career, she served as a staff attorney for the National Association of the Deaf. Gordon has served as a lecturer in Gallaudet’s Department of Social Work. Gallaudet's board includes 3 members of Congress and 18 non-public members.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
The UK's Deaffest 2011 had a record turnout, according to organizers. Some 1700 people attended the festival in Wolverhampton, near Birmingham, England. There were 19 events spread over three days drawing filmmakers, media practitioners, students and the general public.
The "De'VIA" exhibit featuring professional artists who are deaf is going on in Frederick, Maryland at the Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center through July 17th. De'VIA stands for Deaf View Image Art. The Maryland School for the Deaf will be hosting this exhibit during the American Society for Deaf Children conference June 22- 26. A public reception will be held in honor of the exhibit on June 23.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
One of the Desperate Housewives says she has learned sign language. Eva Longoria made an appearance at the recent 9th Annual Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness benefit in Hollywood and said, "I've had a lot of deaf people who have bought my book and I've been able to talk to them about what my favourite recipe is and what to cook." She has her own cook book out titled Eva's Kitchen.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Some 100 people showed up to protest at the Indiana statehouse today. They wanted to let governor Mitch Daniels know they are not happy with his recent appointments to the Indiana School for the Deaf's board. They say he's packing the panel with mainstreaming supporters and the school is moving away from teaching ASL. The members he's appointed are Mary Susan Buhner, Scott Rigney, Lucy Witte and Ann Reifel. The protesters want Buhner, Rigney and Witte to resign. Only Reifel is deaf.
A protest is planned today in Indianapolis against the governor's decision to appointment supporters of oral education to the 4 member board that runs the Indiana School for the Deaf. Mitch Daniels has put 3 people on the board who want to phase out American Sign Language from the curriculum, according to some parents of students at the school.
Monday, June 6, 2011
A new music video from rapper Sean Forbes features actress Marlee Matlin. Titled Let's Mambo, , he debuted the song at the House of Blues in LA at a benefit for GLAD , the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness. Forbes is already working on a new cut called Def, Deaf Girls. You can see Let's Mambo below:
Here is a remarkable 8 minute mini-film called Gallaudet: The Film. It was directed by Ryan Commerson (who received his BA in Television Production and his MA in Cultural Studies from Gallaudet) and produced by Deaf Studies professor Dirksen Bauman. It involved more than 200 people associated with the school.
Marlee Matlin will guest star tonight on the new show Switched at Birth. It premieres at 9p Eastern on ABC Family. Two families learn that their now teenage daughters were accidentally switched in a the hospital when they were born. One of the girls lost her hearing in childhood. Daphne, the hearing girl is confident and wealthy while Bay, the deaf girl, is neither. Her best friend is Emmett (played by Sean Berdy), who is also deaf and wants nothing to do with the hearing. Matlin will play his mother. Daphne is played by Katie Leclerc, who learned ASL in high school and then found out she had Meniere's disease at the age of 20. The inner-ear disorder left her with full hearing but lead her to explore Deaf Culture. The producers of the show said they tried to make sure they were accurate in the portrayal of Daphne on camera. Watch and let us know if you think they did or not. Find out more about the show here or watch the video below.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Lady Gaga may be sign language so she can sign some of her song lyrics of her latest album Born This Way. She reportedly was inspired by videos of deaf fans signing to her songs. She will take ASL lessons from a private tutor. This is not the first time she's responded to the deaf community. Last year, during a concert in Washington she dedicated her song Speechless to her deaf fans saying,"I wish I spoke your language... it's so beautiful that music brings everyone together."
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
A Gallaudet outfielder has been named to the NCAA Division III All-American baseball third team. Billy Bissell is a red-shirt freshman, the only freshman on any of the three All-American teams and is believed to be the first player to ever garner All-American honors in baseball while at Gallaudet. He led the Bison to its best season, breaking a school record of 16 wins in a season, set more than 100 years ago. The team had a 18-24 this season. Bissell was also named the NEAC West Division Player of the Year.
Japanese researchers are developing an animated sign language translation system to improve sign language broadcasts for deaf viewers. NHK Science & Technology Research laboratories says will automatically convert Japanese words into gestures. and deliver them through an avatar in what appears to be a virtual newsroom. Here is a video explanation.
Hamilton is releasing a new (and free!) app for Android phones that will transcribe voice conversations into readable text. The real time captions can also be saved for later. The Hamilton CapTel is already available for the iPhone and BlackBerry and the new Android app is available at Android Market.
Alabama's 50th anniversary edition of The Miracle Worker starts today. It is one of the Top 10 Events of 2011, according to the state's tourism department. The production takes place in Tuscumbia, Helen Keller’s Birthplace and Home, through July 9th. This Broadway-style play recalls Keller's childhood and her gifted teacher, Anne Sullivan. Performances are on Friday and Saturday's only. Find out more information here.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Researchers have developed a new way to check infants for an infection that can cause permanent hearing loss. A simple saliva test can identify cytomegalovirus infection (CMV) in newborns with a 97% accuracy. One out of 150 babies born has CMV. The work is from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with help from colleagues at other medical centers. Details will be published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The founder of Viable is behind bars for violating his bail. John Yeh faces 20 years in prison for his part in defrauding the government through the Maryland deaf company's video relay program. Yeh billed the government for millions in calls that did not qualify for reimbursement. His sentences has been delayed until late next month because of the violations. Nearly all of the 26 people have plead guilty.
The Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind is getting a new emergency notification system to go along with its new buildings and dorms now under construction. Besides email and cell phones, lights will be mounted on the walls around campus, which will flash different colors for different emergencies and a voice message that blares over speakers. The new system is already in place in three buildings.
Wells Fargo will pay as much as $16 million to settle a Justice Department lawsuit, accusing the company that it refused to conduct business with deaf customers. The bank's call centers refused to accept calls from relay services, forcing people to instead, call a number that went unanswered. Besides the $16 million Wells Fargo will pay a $55,000 civil penalty and give $1 million donation to charity. The company says it agreed to start accepting relay calls again last year after customers complained.