Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Latest in NAD vs Netflix

Netflix is asking a Massachusetts judge to be allowed to appeal his decision about ADA law. The ruling Federal Judge Michael Ponsor requires the streaming company to put captioning on its Internet videos. The NAD (National Association of the Deaf) filed the lawsuit against Netflix a year ago. Netflix says the ruling is:
"..the broadest-ever extension of the ADA's scope, thereby opening the door to amorphous and seemingly limitless regulation of the Internet in a way Congress did not envision and no other court has accepted. In addition to these troubling consequences for Internet providers, this ruling now opens this case to broad-ranging litigation into every detail of, in particular, Netflix's streaming video business — from the technology it invents to make streaming possible, to its relationships with third parties in the complex supply-chain ranging from upstream video content owners to downstream manufacturers of end-user devices. Interlocutory review, to allow either confirmation or reversal of the Court's decision by the First Circuit, would help settle many of the questions raised by this case — not to mention reduce the spiraling costs of this case, which, as Plaintiffs' recent filings make clear, seeks to open Netflix's entire streaming business to scrutiny and litigation."
Netflix says ADA does not apply to the Internet but the Video Accessibility Act does.

Implants and developmental delays

Doctors shouldn't wait to give implants to children with developmental delays. That's the advice of Stanford researchers who say their findings show implants could substantially benefit babies that have indications of mental retardation later in life. These children’s intellectual development would be helped, the researchers say, even if they never learn to speak. Details are in the August issue of Otology & Neurotology. The research now moves to a systematic look of whether cochlear implants benefit a large cross-section of developmentally delayed deaf children. This effort is being funded by the National Institutes of Health.

USA Gold

CNN reports on the US Deaf Woman's Soccer team victory over their Russian counterparts in the championship in the video posted below on DeafNewsToday.com.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Giving Back

Two implant recipients in the UK are now working at the South of England Cochlear Implant Centre located at the University of Southampton. Samantha Johnson and Anna Lyford received their cochlear implants in 2007. Johnson is a hearing therapist who began losing her hearing in childhood but didn't get a hearing aid until she was 21 years old. Lyford is a rehabilitationist who was deaf from birth. Her mother also had an implant. The two new employees can relate to patients in a more personal way, since they understandi what is like to have a cochlear implant.

US Deaf Women's Soccer Victory

CNN offers a video report on the US women's Deaf US soccer team posted below on DeafNewsToday.com about their win over Germany.

Subtitle App

Makers of an app in development claim it will use crowdsourcing to create subtitles for everyday life. Researchers from the University of Rochester say Scribe sends an audio track from the user's phone to a central server where Amazon's Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing service transcribes the information. They are hoping that adding the human element will cut out some of the mistakes that computers alone will make when transcribing audio. The team says a beta version will be ready for release soon. Here's a video about it.

Oakland Court Terps

An article about court interpreters in Oakland here. Posted below on DeafNewsToday.com is a video showing ASL students visiting a courthouse. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Miss Deaf International

Natalia Ryabova from Belarus has won the crown for Miss Deaf International 2012. The 18-year-old model competed with girls from more than 20 countries in Ankara, Turkey. She was also awarded the titles of Miss Photo and Miss Europe. You'll find more photos from the contest here.

Olympics Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremonies of the Olympics included several deaf participants. Here's a video showing some of their effects, including percussionist DameEvelyn Glennie and the Kaos Signing Choir.

Deaf in 2012 Olympic Open Ceremony from ASL inside ATL on Vimeo.

Deaf Olympian

One of the players on the US Olympic team is deaf. David Smith uses hearing aids to help with his 80-90% hearing loss. The six foot seven player was a star on the UC Irvine volley team that won the 2007 national championship and this is the first time he'll compete in the Olympics. The team opens play today (Sunday) against Serbia - but Smith wasn't originally on the May roster for the U.S. team, so his presence is surprise. His team is ranked 5th and just won a silver medal in the World League. Smith played professionally last year in France and graduated from UC Irvine with an engineering degree.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Teacher Drowns in NC

A teacher of deaf children has drowned in the waters of North Carolina's Outer Banks. Jill Bailey Chenet taught 2nd grade students at The River School in Washington, DC. She was 5 months pregnant with her first child when she and her husband were caught in the rip current. Her husband survived, but was hospitalized in serious condition. Someone found the couple floating just a few yards from the beach and called 911. The school has placed a statement about her death on its website here.

Deaf NBA player at Cali School

A local paper takes a look at Lance Allred's visit to the California School for the Deaf here.

UN Treaty moves forward

The UN treaty on people with disabilities moved out of committee Thursday and it may make it to the Senate floor before Congress takes its summer recess next week. The agreement will need a two-thirds majority (67 senators) to pass. It enjoys the support of the National Association of the Deaf and other advocacy groups in the deaf community. The 10 Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted in favor of it - along with three Republicans: Senator Dick Lugar of Indiana, Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming and Georgia's Senator Johnny Isakson. Some opponents say it will impose international standards on Americans related to abortion and home schooling.

Friday, July 27, 2012

the Balloon Artist

KGAN-TV has a video report on deaf ballon artist Ricky Rowray below on DeafNewsToday.com or read the story here.
 

Katie Couric: Very Humiliating

Playing a dancing bear is better than playing a Deaf person, according to talk show anchor Katie Couric. It was "humiliating" to be cast as a deaf person in a high school musical, Couric says. After the former morning talk show anchor objected to playing the role, she was given the part of a dancing bear. She says playing that part was acceptable to her. Couric made the remarks to the LA Times during a promotional tour of her new TV talk show. Read the full story here.

Reds To Honor "Dummy" Hoy

WKRC-TV has a video report on how the Cincinnati Reds plan to honor one of its a deaf players. The video is posted on DeafNewsToday.com or read the story here.

Empowered by Attending School for the Deaf

A New York paper profiles a Rochester School for the Deaf graduate in the video below posted on DeafNewsToday.com (captions included).

Thursday, July 26, 2012

10k for No Terp

A doctor will pay $10k to an unnamed deaf patient for failing to provide an interpreter for her. The woman complained to the New Jersey Civil Rights Division, saying that when she asked a staff member at David Bullek's office in Westfield for a sign language interpreter, she was given a note saying the patient would have to bring her own interpreter and that the doctor was not obligated to hire one for her. Dr. Bullek has agreed to attend training on providing reasonable accommodations to patients, as required by law.

Mice Research

A look at how studies of mice at UC Berkeley are advancing research into blindness and deafnesshere.

CODA International


The CODA International Conference takes place in Miami one week from today (Aug 2-5). Click here for more info. 

Attacked for iPad

Two men are behind bars for allegedly taking a deaf woman's iPad in Vancouver. Cassie Campbell has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair. Her iPad is the main way she communicates with other people. Campbell was riding on the Vancouver transit train when a pair of men hit her, pulled her out of her wheelchair and made off with the tablet. A man who heard about the attack, paid for Campbell to get a new iPad.

Implant Pioneer Passes

A professor who made a significant improvement to cochlear implants has died. Philipos Loizou passed away from complications brought on by cancer this past Sunday in Dallas at the age of 46. He was the first person to develop algorithms to improve the speech recognition of implants. At the time of his death, Loizou was working on a way to use smartphones to help those with hearing loss. He is survived by his wife and 11-year-old son.

Switched Surprise

Switched at Birth fans will have to wait until Sept. 3 to see the next new show. They will also get a special treat from one of the ABC Family series characters right before the show returns; A book written by one of the characters. Kathryn Kennish, played by Lea Thompson, will tell the story of how the teenagers in the series were switched at the hospital when they were born. While the character is fictional, the memoir will be real - and released online August 28. The show has become popular in the Deaf community because one of the "switched" girls is deaf and some of the TV show's scenes are shot in ASL without spoken English.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What It Means to be Deaf

A video chat with a deaf Penn State prof crusading for a more ASL-friendly world posted below on DeafNewsToday.com.

SC Implant Recipient

A South Carolina woman has her cochlear implant turned on. WNCT-TV has a video report. No captions, but you can read the story here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Garage Sale for Implants

A New Zealand couple holds garage sales so their son can get a 2nd cochlear implant. Read about it here.

UN Treaty Coming Up for Voting

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities bill is slated for ratification by the Senate this Thursday, the anniversary of day the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law in 1990. The treaty must first get through a Senate committee today before it can be brought up for consideration by the entire body. Described by supporters as “the first comprehensive human rights treat of the 21st century," the United Nations adopted it in 2006. More than 100 of the 153 nations that are signatories have formally ratified it. It is designed to guarantee protection for Americans with disabilities that work, travel and study abroad. Critics say it will wrongly expand the power of the United Nations in the U.S. Former Senator Rick Santorum claims the treaty will “usurp the rights" of parents. Other leaders in the Republican party support the effort, including Republican Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Dole.

Girls Hoops Camp

The Maryland School for Deaf held the only national basketball camp that is exclusively for deaf girls over the weekend. MSD coach Amy Mowl led the first USA Deaf Basketball National Girls Basketball Camp, motivated by watching her brother pack for basketball camp at the Indiana School for the Deaf when she was young. The National Girls Basketball Camp invites girls from sixth to 12th grade and nearly two dozen attended this year. Among the coaches who participated: Stephanie Stevens, Gallaudet women's hoops coach and Becky Clark, who played under Pat Summitt at the University of Tennessee.

Learning sign to help young swimmers

Read about some swim coaches who are going out of their way to help young athletes succeed here.

New TX Church

A deaf church is opening in San Antonio. The Family Deaf Church will hold services at the Baptist Temple Church in downtown San Antonio each Sunday morning. While there are some churches in the area with interpreters, this will be the only Baptist church in the area offering services fully in sign language. A weekly Deaf Women's Outreach program is planned as well.

Google Science Fair

This year's Google Science Fair 2nd place winner has invented a device for hearing music better. High Schooler It converts sound into tactile vibration to improve the music-listening experience. Jonah Kohn idea came from to him at school when he bit his guitar while showing off to a friend during a noisy class. When the 14-year-old from San Diego realized he could hear the music better with his teeth on the guitar, he got the idea of making use of tactile sound. His creation filters sound into frequency ranges applied to different body parts. It improves the listening experience of cochlear implants wearers by more than 95%. He told the judges, “I suddenly realized that there are lots of different means by which we understand things, and there is not just a single medium, it’s not just voice: but it’s what we see, what we hear and now possibly what we feel. I wanted to just stop everything and go back to school.” The Grand Prize winner was Brittany Wenger of Sarasota, Florida. She put together a computer program that can help doctors diagnose breast cancer less invasively. The winners were announced last night in Palo Alto, California near Google Headquarters.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Future of the Deaflympics

A look at the struggles of the Deaflympics here.

Questionable Hire for Interpreting

Arkansas state officials met with members of the deaf community today to discuss why an interpreter was given a state job with Arkansas Rehabilitation Services even though she has no national certification. Just last week, representative John Burris of Harrison questioned her qualifications at a legislative committee hearing. The unnamed woman scored seventh out of nine applicants on a written test and was not able interpret a video of someone using ASL. Six of the other candidates do have national certifications, but were passed over. The woman does have a certification - as a funeral director. She's worked at one for a decade owned by Bill Walker - the State Workforce Director who directly supervises the man who approved the hire. She was hired in January, but did not serve as an interpreter for any Arkansas Rehabilitation Service clients during her first 6 months on the job. Here's a video report from KATV which says "the chosen candidate may not have even applied for the job...or if she did it was past the deadline." KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Burglar Caught Because of Noise

Police in Memphis say a deaf man was caught breaking into a home because of the noise he was making. Here's a video report from WREG-TV.

Your Views on Genetics

The UK's University of Bristol is asking for the deaf and those involved in Deaf Culture to offer their views on genetic technology. The school plans a one day conference in Bristol on Oct. 13 to discuss research findings. Find out more here.

Deaf artists take centre stage

The UK's Independent takes a look at how the Paralympics are giving a chance for artists to showcase their talent here.

Teens and the Internet

A look at how deaf teens are using the Internet and social media here.

History Conf

The Deaf History International Conference takes place in Toronto starting tomorrow (July 24-29). Sponsored by the Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf, you can find out more about the event here.

Matlin's moment of silence

Marlee Matlin paused for a moment of silence in respect for the victims of the Colorado shooting before signing the National Anthem at a Major League Baseball game yesterday. The Los Angeles Angels were playing the Texas Rangers in Anaheim, California. She also marked the tragedy, in which a dozen people were killed during a showing of the latest Batman movie, by writing on Twitter "Signing National Anthem at Angel's Stadium but first dedicating a moment of silence for victims of Aurora tragedy. So proud each time I get to sign the National Anthem."

DeafNation World Expo

DeafNation returns to Vegas for its World Expo one week from today (July 30-Aug 1). Find out more here.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Baseball Camp

KSDK-TV on a baseball camp for deaf children in Missouri here.

Nepalese Deaf Restaurant

Al Jazeera takes a look at a restaurant in Nepal where all the servers are deaf and the only way to order is using sign language. See the video below on DeafNewsToday.com.

Not affordable in NZ

Some "great technology" is passing by deaf New Zealanders. An article in SpecialEd post explains whyhere.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Latino Gathering this fall

The National Council of Hispano Deaf and Hard of Hearing will hold its 3rd Biennial National Conference in Austin Sept 13-15. For more information click here or watch the video below on DeafNewsToday.com.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

New Gally Hoops Coach

The Washington Post profiles the new women's basketball coach at Gallaudet University here.

Miss Deaf Europe

This year's Miss Deaf Europe comes from the Ukraine. Maryana Yatseviyuk is a 21-year-old actress who now holds the titles of Miss Deaf Europe and Vice Miss Deaf World. Her fiancé was among her supporters in Prague during the Miss Deaf Europe contest.

Prying open the health care field

NTID in Rochester is trying to get deaf students to move into health professions. Read about it in the Democrat and Chronicle here.

Captioning Changes at NTID

NTID is adding the Ensemble Video platform to its captioning services for students. The system will manage, coordinate, and syndicate the large volume of videos and images created by the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. The school already uses Automatic Sync Technologies' CaptionSync technology to generate captions for its classroom videos. Now, these service will be combined for a better experience for the student.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

New Theater Exec

Betty Beekman will lead the National Theatre of the Deaf in Waterford, Connecticut. She was appointed to be the group's new executive director by the board of directors after she served as interim director for a year. Beekman is a CODA who took the place of Aaron Kubey. Read more about the here.

Emergency Response Training

The city of Washington is teaming with Gallaudet University to create a Community Emergency Response Team to work with the District’s deaf community. The pilot program will train volunteers to respond to community emergencies like search-and-rescue operations, fire, first aid and terrorism awareness. The program will involve Gallaudet University students, staff members, and sign language interpreters.

Petition for State Senator to Step Down

Last week we told you about a New Mexico state senator who came to a police interrogation to advocate for a deaf and mentally challenged man accused of sexually abusing a teenager. KOB-TV has a followup video report on a group now calling for her resignation from her political post. No captions, but you can read the story here.">here.

Called to Serve the Deaf

A deaf seminarian hopes to serve Canada’s deaf community as priest. Read the story here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New NAD President

The first video from Chris Wagner since becoming President of the National Association of the Deaf is posted on DeafNewsToday. Wagner was voted to the post during the 51st Biennial NAD Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

Half a Million for Implants

John Hunter Children’s Hospital in New South Wales, Australia is getting $500,000 from the government to perform 14 implants. Private insurance and charity funding covered the cost of most of the 53 cochlear implant surgeries at the hospital that have taken place since 2007.

Suit: Firing ADA Violation

A deaf woman in Texas is suing the state for firing her. Cecelia J. Garrett claims the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services violated ADA law by denying her an interpreter for training to start her position. She was supposed to start work with the State Supported Living Center in Denton in April of last year, but that was put off until May. Garrett says the original promise of a day shift turned into a night shift. Her request to switch was denied and she filed an EEOC complaint. Within days of the filing, she was dismissed.

More on Deaf Child Sign

We told you Sunday about the Minneapolis mom fighting to get a "deaf child" sign along her street. KSTP-TV has another video report below on DeafNewsToday after the city council sided with the mother (no captions).

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Battle over Deaf Child street sign

KSTP-TV in Minneapolis has a video report about why a mother wants a "deaf child" sign along her street - and why the city is refusing her request (no captions but part of the story is here).

Friday, July 13, 2012

TSA: No Deaf Harassment

The TSA says it never happened. The federal agency denies a report going around the Internet and passed around social media that a deaf student was harassed by agents last week at the Louisville airport following this year's National Association of the Deaf conference. A look at more than 100 hours of video does not support the claim, the TSA announced. The airport is small and there is only one security checkpoint. The original blog post claimed a TSA agent took candy out of a deaf students bag and called him a "f- deafie." The account where the claim was made was taken down by Tumblr. The complainer never identified himself.

Justin Bieber Hearing Loss Suit

An Oregon woman is suing Justin Bieber for $9 million because a screaming fan permanently damaged her hearing during one of his shows. Stacey Wilson Betts claims it happened at a July 14th, 2010 concert in Portland. According to her suit she now suffers from "hearing loss, severe tinnitus" and an oversensitivity to certain frequency ranges of sound in both ears. No comment so far from Bieber.

Arizona School Gets new Principal

Meet the new principal of the Sequoia School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Mesa, Arizona here.

Service Dog Stays

An Iowa man can keep his service dog, after it was taken away by the city where he lives. Aurelia, Iowa decided that James Sak couldn't keep his bull mix after a couple of dozen people signed a petition to have the dog removed. The city has a law against pit bulls in town. When Sak sued, a judge ruled the law is an ADA violation since it included service dogs. The city council of Aurelia voted 3-2 to comply with a judge's ruling that he be paid a $30,000 settlement.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lawmaker talks with child porn suspect

KOB in Albuquerque has a video report on a deaf man accused of sexually abusing children and video taping it.

Deaf Kids Face Greater Risk of Violence

A new study finds disabled children, especially deaf children, are nearly 4 times more likely to have physical and sexual violence in their lives than . The World Health Organization says these children face discrimination and ignorance about their situation along with a lack of social support, making them more vulnerable to violence. A WHO spokesman says limited speech can make it more likely they will not be understood or even listened to when they try to communicate problems to authority figures. The report is a combination of findings from 17 studies on more than 18,000 children. Most of the information comes from research in middle and upper income countries. The WHO says there is an urgent need for research in poorer counties as well.

Japanese Pianist

A partially deaf Japanese pianist is performing this summer in the U.S. 80-year-old Fuzjko Hemming was declared a prodigy in her teens in Tokyo, but her music career was put on hold when she discovered she did not have citizenship to any country. Hemming eventually became a classical music star in her 60s when a documentary of her life was filmed. Her album La Campanella has sold more than 2 million copies and four of her albums have received Classical Album of the Year awards at the Japan Gold Disc Awards. She will play in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas and New York during her U.S. tour. For more information click here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Study: Deaf have greater sense of touch

People who are deaf have a different sense of touch than those in the hearing world. Researchers at the University of Oregon found the process of touch and vision is much more developed among the deaf. They found when the areas of the brain that are typically used for hearing are not used, then the brain uses those areas for other sensory functions. The findings suggest using touch for learning could be an effective way of teaching deaf children. Details are in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Possible Vote on Deaf School

The fight over the new location of the Rocky Mountain Deaf School may be on the November ballot. KUSA offers a video report posted below on DeafNewsToday.com or you can read the story here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Insurance Problem

CNN takes a look at hearing loss and insurance here.

Hearing Thru your Teeth

The Wall Street Journal reports on the SoundBite hearing device here.

Team USA in Deaf World Cup

Rochester's NTID tells about one of its grads playing in the Deaf World Cup soccer tourneyhere.

NAD award

NAD gave its Accessibility Award to CPC of Rockville, Maryland. The closed captioning software company was honored by the National Association of the Deaf at its biennial conference in Louisville last week. CPC Vice President and co-founder Sid Hoffman said:
"CPC is grateful to receive the award, and proud of any contributions it has made via closed captioning software, to fostering the independence of deaf and hard of hearing individuals that make use of closed captioning in their daily lives."
CPC has more than 35 closed captioning software firsts under its belt, including the first simultaneous closed captioning/teleprompting software, the first software closed caption encoder with a U.S. patent, and software that automatically synchronizes closed captions with spoken dialogue.

Insurance Coverage for Hearing Aids

Health benefits plans in 19 states are required to pay for hearing aids – but 16 of these only cover children. And just three states require coverage for both children and adults. Some insurance plans are exempt from these state rules and the specifics vary from state to state.

Health benefits plans must pay for children’s hearing aids in these states: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Tennessee.

The three states requiring coverage for both children and adults are: Arkansas, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Wisconsin is the only state that requires coverage for both hearing aids and cochlear implants for children.

The Loop System

Popular in Western Europe, the loop hearing system is now making inroads in the U.S. The technology allows hearing aid users to get signals sent right to their device. When you see a blue sign of a human ear, that's a cue to hearing aid users that they can press a tiny button to listen. A thin copper wire that radiates electromagnetic signals in a room. A tiny receiver called a telecoil built into most hearing aids and cochlear implants picks up the signal. This might be music, sound from a movie, or a speaker. The advantage of a loop system isn't volume but the minimization of environmental sounds. You'll find the loop system at a growing number of stadiums including Yankee Stadium and Citi Field in New York, Target Field in Minneapolis, and TD Ameritrade Park (the home field of the College World Series) in Omaha, Nebraska.

Monday, July 9, 2012

3D Captioning

The Consumer Electronics Association has come up with 3D closed captioning standards for manufacturers. The trade group’s Digital Television Closed Captioning: 3D Extensions explains industry standards for how to send closed-captioning information for 3D video. The announcement comes after a CEA Technology & Standards Forum in Dallas.

Sony Unveils Glasses

We told you last year about a pair of glasses being developed by Sony for moviegoers that will display subtitles right along with a film. Through the glasses, the subtitles look like they are on the actual movie screen. But only the wearer of the glasses sees them. The size of the letters can be changed and the glasses can be worn on top of regular glasses. The technology will roll out in the UK first, and then come to the U.S. early next year. Eventually, Sony hopes to enable the device to create transcriptions of conversations. In this case, the deaf people would be able to read what someone is saying. Below is a video demonstration.

Championships in Canada

The World Deaf Athletics Championships take place in Toronto starting this Saturday (July 14-21). Find out more here.

Closed Captioning Not Provided

Slate looks at "why the new era of streaming TV is making life hard on deaf viewers" here.

Disc Golf Championship

The Deaf Disc Golf Championship is coming to the Seattle area this Wednesday to Saturday (July 11-14). Players from around the world will gather in Lakewood. There's more information here and we've posted a video about it on DeafNewsToday.com.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Malaysian Film Fest

Nearly a dozen films put together by deaf filmmakers will be shown at the Malaysia-India Deaf Films Festival in the city of Kuala Lumpur a week from today (July 15). It is part of the 15th anniversary celebration of the Malaysian Federation for the Deaf.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sifting Through Background Noise

WDIO-TV in Duluth, Minnesota offers a story about hearing loops. Watch the video or read the story here.

Monday, July 2, 2012

NAD Biennial Conference

The National Association of the Deaf meets in Louisville, Kentucky starting this Tuesday (July 3) through Saturday (July 7). The theme of this year’s NAD conference is “Nothing About Us, Without Us!” There will be workshops, exhibits, the NAD College Bowl, Miss Deaf America Ambassador Competition and a BBQ on the closing day of the conference.

Super Smutty Sign Language

An online protest has started over a proposed ASL book. Self-described ASL amateur Kristin Henson says her Super Smutty Sign Language will be published by St. Martin’s Press and contain the signs for phrases like "How much for a blow job?" The online petition against the book complains that Henson is not only disrespectful toward Deaf Culture and exploits sign language - but her signing skills are weak. You can find the online petition, started by Deaf rights activist Tavian Robinson, here. Henson, says she lives in Philadelphia but is originally from Salisbury, Maryland and "graduated from RIT in Rochester, NY in 2008" where she first learned about ASL. She says her goal isn't to belittle anyone, but to "bridge the gap between the hearing and deaf worlds."