Monday, October 16, 2017

Wonderstruck & the Deaf Community

Todd Haynes, director of the new film Wonderstruck did research to understand the history of Deaf culture in the U.S. He tells NPR:
It really wasn't until a leaven article that came out in 1960 that talked about sign language and described all the integrity of this language. And a new era of appreciation for what sign language was was ushered in. And I think you see in "Wonderstruck" both sides of that divide is played out in the two stories that parallel the film because Ben, the little boy in the '70s, also becomes deaf in the course of the film.
"In the movie Wonderstruck, children in different time periods embark on quests to find themselves," reports NPR. "Director Todd Haynes explains the film's artistic choices and its significance to the deaf community" in his NPR here.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Deaf Actors Sign and Sing on Broadway

NBC News spoke with Sandra Frank, lead actress in the Broadway musical Spring Awakening, a show that combines deaf and hearing actors in single roles.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Billboard campaign aims to connect deaf to religion

A Christian group in Western Michigan has launched a billboard campaign to reach the deaf with their message. But the billboards have caused some confusion. WOOD-TV has a video report.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Woman who shot deaf man convicted of murder

Bexar County Sheriff's Office
A San Antonio woman could get life in prison now that jurors have convicted her of killing a deaf man. Michelle Chase shot him on the porch of her home last year. Read the full story from My San Antonio here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Arson at Resource Center for the Deaf

"A local resource center for the deaf has been targeted, damaged, and defaced for the fourth time this year," reports KATU-TV. Read the full story here.

Deaf comedian shares his experiences with hearing loss

image from djdemers.com
D.J. Demers says, “So many people out there don’t realize how common hearing loss is. I want to normalize it and let people in the hard-of-hearing community know that they’re not alone.” He spoke at Indiana University as part of his “Here to Hear” tour. He is giving stand-up comedy shows to students at 20 universities in 30 days. You'll find the locations here. Read more about his stop at IU in the school's student newspaper here.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Opinion: How Congress is hacking away at ADA law

Law professor Samuel Bagenstos is concerned about a bill before Congress called the "ADA Education and Reform Act. He writes in a Reuters' commentary:
Rather than protecting legitimate business interests, the bill pending in Congress would give a reprieve to enterprises that have had 27 years to comply with the law but have not yet done so. That is a betrayal of the basic promise of the ADA – that people with disabilities would be treated as equal citizens, with full access to America’s civic and economic life.
Bagenstos once led the Department of Justice’s disability rights enforcement as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. Read his full commentary here.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Deaf West brings "Our Town" to Life

image from www.pasadenaplayhouse.org
Deaf West Theatre is putting on the show "Our Town" Pasadena Playhouse through Oct. 22 in Pasadena, California. Our town first debuted in 1938 and was honored with a Pulitzer Prize that same year. It's the story of a fictional town called Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire in three acts: The first act describes the daily lives of the townsfolk, the second act is about love and marriage, and the last act concerns death. What makes these performances unique is that Deaf West splits some roles between speaking and signing actors. There's a review of the show in the LA Times here and and more information about performances
here.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Uber offers ASL app to help hearing riders

Uber is offering a new way to connect deaf and hard of hearing drivers to hearing passengers. The company launched ubersignlanguage.com this week to show users a few simple ASL signs when they are matched with deaf drivers. Just little things like hello, thank you, turn left, and turn right. At the same time, Lyft has updated its dashboard display to enhance assessability. Uber explains how the new tool works:
Riders will see a special card in the Uber feed. Once they tap it, they’ll be taken to a page where they can select the basics, like “Hello” and “Thank You,” or spell out their name. They’ll then be given a GIF with the word(s) in ASL. That way, they can better communicate with their Deaf or Hard of Hearing driver, because signing “Thank You” or “Hello” in ASL can go a long way.
Read more about the Uber effort here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Report: Many Police Officers are Ignorant of ADA law

"In many jurisdictions, cops’ noncompliance with the law has led to strain and miscommunication with the deaf community," reports Amiel Fields-Meyer in the The Atlantic.
“Police compliance with ADA provisions is pretty poor across the board,” said Alex Vitale, a sociology professor at Brooklyn College whose research focuses on community policing. “It’s clearly not a priority for a lot of police leaders.” For the deaf, police compliance with the ADA translates to employing or contracting with qualified American Sign Language interpreters and making available remote interpreting services, among other measures.
Read the full article "When Police Officers Don't Know About the ADA" here.

Murder at Gally: 17 years ago today

It was on this day (Sept 27)  in 2000 that Joseph Mesa, Jr. beat Eric Plunkett to death in his Gallaudet dorm room. The killing put the school in a state of panic, with some students withdrawing from the school rather than living in a situation where they knew a murderer was living among them. The terror came to an end in February of the next year when Mesa turned himself into police-but not before he killed again. Mesa stabbed Benjamin Varner in his Gallaudet dorm room more than dozen times. In July of 2002, the 22-year-old from Guam pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, telling jurors he saw hands wearing black gloves that told him in sign language to kill. Jurors convicted Mesa on all counts and a Washington, DC judge sentenced him to six life terms without the possibility of parole. Mesa began serving time at the United States Penitentiary in Atwater, California near San Francisco, a high security facility.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

On this date... 26 years ago

It was on Sept 26, 1991 that first major American TV show to feature a deaf or hard of hearing actor in a lead role debuted. The NBC police drama Reasonable Doubts ran from 1991–1993 and starred Academy-Award winner Marlee Matlin as Tess Kaufman, a prosecutor who protected the rights of the accused. In 1994, she joined the cast of Picket Fences for a couple of seasons. The Seinfeld TV show made a nod to Reasonable Doubts during an episode called The Pitch. When Jerry and George visit NBC they sit under a poster showing Mark Harmon and Marlee Matlin was on the wall of Seinfeld episode.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Nyle DiMarco on OK shooting

Nyle DiMarco, the first deaf winner of America’s Next Top Model and a Dancing with the Stars alum, is speaking out about the police shooting that killed a deaf man in Oklahoma City. He says, “I have no words at all. The neighbors SCREAMED to tell the police that he is Deaf. Police still shoots. And the Deaf guy was innocent."

Deaf stepdad gets emotional over heartfelt surprise

A devoted deaf stepdad is reduced to tears when his step kids surprise him with adoption requests.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

More on the Deaf man shot by police this Week

Earlier this week we told you about a deaf man who was shot and killed by police in Oklahoma City. Now there is surveillance video of the car crash that led to the confrontation. You can see the video below. Apparently there is home video of the shooting but the police have possession of it and have not made it public. Read more about what happened in the Daily Mail. The officer who fired the shots is on paid leave.


Here is a report on the story from Oklahoma News 4, which says the man's family has hired an attorney who represented the family of a black man who was killed by a white Tulsa police officer. There is more from the TV station here.



WNYC has an audio report below (no captions).

Flirting in ASL

CUT offers a video showing how to flirt.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Meet Chance the Rapper's Interpreter

image from DEAFinitely Dope YouTube page
"Matt Maxey—who, along with his company, DEAFinitely Dope, is translating the magic of Chance shows for deaf concertgoers, writes Ashley Fetters."Maxey's ASL interpretation is an explosive, code-switching mishmash of textbook American Sign Language, pantomime, and makeshift signs he's cobbled together for slang words native to hip-hop ('molly,' for example, combines gestures for 'pill' and 'sex'); the way he signs is as worldly and wry and improvisational as he is." GQ has her full story here.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Confrontation over Service Dog in Restaurant

A woman gave a profanity-laced lecture to a veteran about his service dog when he brought the animal into a Delaware restaurant. The three minute tyrade was caught on video at Kathy’s Crab House & Family Restaurant in Delaware City. The video is posted below but there are no captions. You can read more about what happened here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Deaf Man Killed by OK Police

Oklahoma City Police shot and killed a deaf man holding a metal pipe last night. The officers told him to drop the pipe while witnesses say they yelled that the man was deaf. Here is a news conference about the shooting (no captions).



NewsOK has a written story here and interviewed some of the neighbors on the scene and you can see that video below.

Why many Deaf Prisoners can’t Phone Home

If deaf inmates are trying to reach their deaf friends and family, the person receiving the call must also have a TTY to answer. But most deaf individuals have switched to video relay in the last several years, leaving prisoners no way to call, according to a Wired article. The magazine quotes Mary Ann McBride as saying, “I have deaf brothers and some deaf friends and they all use video phones, they no longer use TTY. Relay won’t accept to talk between two deaf people. I really need to talk to my family because I am serving a long indeterminate sentence.” read more here Wired Magazine.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

History's Deaf Astronomer

On this date (Sept 17) in 1764, John Goodricke was born in the Netherlands, though he lived most of his life in England. Goodricke only survived to the age of 21, but the deaf astronomer made a major impact on his field. Working with Edward Pigott, Goodricke learned to measure the variation of light coming from stars. This would eventually lead astronomers to figure out the distance of galaxies from the earth. While still a teenager, the Royal Society of London gave him the Copley Medal, making him the youngest person to be given its highest honor. Goodricke lost his hearing after a bout with a childhood disease, which might have been scarlet fever. He studied at the first school for deaf children in the British Isles, Thomas Braidwood’s Academy for the Deaf and Dumb in Edinburgh. Goodricke went on to study for three years at the Warrington Academy.

On this day in History.. Miss America

On this date (Sept. 17) in 1994, Heather Whitestone of Alabama became the first deaf Miss America.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

This Day in History: The 1st deaf player in the NFL

Bonnie Sloan in the NFL
On this day (Sept. 16) in 1973, the first deaf player ran onto the field for the St. Louis Cardinals against the Philadelphia Eagles. Bonnie Sloan played in four games at defensive tackle and only lasted one season, because of knee injuries, but he had made his mark at the age of 25. The 6-foot-5, 260-pounder was a 10th-round draft pick out of Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, where he was the first player to bench press 500 pounds. Sloan was an All-Ohio Valley Conference defensive tackle at the college. The City of Hendersonville, Tennessee honored him by declaring a Bonnie Sloan Day. After Sloan came defensive lineman Kenny Walker. He played college ball at Nebraska and played in 31 games for the Denver Broncos in 1991 and 1992. Seattle Seahawks running back Derrick Coleman entered the NFL in 2012, becoming the first deaf person to play offense in the league. Coleman was on the roster for the 2014 Super Bowl pitting Seattle against Denver.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Boy Gets Implant: Parents get Matching Tattoos

Two Kentucky parents got matching tattoos inked on their heads to look like their two-year-old son’s new cochlear implant. They say they didn't want him to feel different. WAVE-TV has a video report.

wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

The Man in Yellow

image from video of Sept. 8 
Manatee County news conference
A viral video shows a news conference in Manatee County, Florida as Hurricane Irma approached. What makes the video of interest is the fact that the sign language "interpreter" didn't know how to sign. Tampa's WFLA-TV reports the man, Marshall Greene, is a lifeguard who works in the county's marine rescue unit. Because he had a deaf relative, county officials assumed he could sign adequately. They were wrong. Dressed in a yellow shirt (a no-no for professional interpreters) Greene basically signed gibberish to viewers. A spokesman for the National Association of the Deaf told WFLA, “Everybody was talking about it on social media, everyone was shocked, asking leaders in the deaf community to do something about it.” There are more details of what happened here. Below is a news report from WFLA (the link will take you to a captioned version of the video).

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Court: No Website Accessibility an ADA violation

A Florida ruling says Winn-Dixie violated the Americans with Disabilities Act "because its website was inaccessible to a visually-impaired customer." Stephen Stern writes, "the court’s decision is significant because it joined the courts that have found websites can be places of public accommodation that require accessibility for individuals with disabilities" and "companies should be mindful of potential ADA ramifications when constructing their websites." In fact, the court "explained that the ADA does not limit its requirements to physical access, but to the 'full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation.'” Read the details at Lexology and the court's ruling here.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Horrible and embarrassing

The interpreter at an emergency-warning press conference in a Florida County was “horrible and embarrassing” says one certified interpreter. The Bradenton Herald reports here on what happened at the Manatee County Emergency Operations Center updates. Below is a video of his signing.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Journalism & "Inspiration Porn"

"For decades, the media has tended to portray people with disabilities (or those around them) as inspirations or heroes—a genre of reporting known as 'inspiration porn.'” writes Wendy Lu in the Columbia Journalism Review. She says, "This emotion-driven journalism is the hallmark of inspiration porn" which was "popularized in a TED talk that the late Australian activist Stella Young gave in April 2014." She pleads with journalists to "consider where a story’s newsworthiness comes from and how it contributes to overall disability coverage." Read the full article here.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Annoying Questions

Cut.com asked a group of BSL users to share some of the annoying questions they get from hearing people. Among the questions: “Can you drive?” and “Can you read and write?”

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Deaf Music Fans Are Finally Starting To Be Heard

Buzzfeed takes a look at how ASL and deaf music fans have found a place at festivals and concerts in recent years in an article here.

Starbucks sign language aprons

picture of Katie Giles from Starbucks.com
Starbucks is giving its deaf employees special green aprons with Starbucks spelled out in American Sign Language. It's the idea of barista Katie Giles who works at the coffee shop in Frederick, Maryland. Starbucks says, "The aprons, recommended by Giles, serve as both a visual cue for customers and a point of Deaf cultural pride." Read more details in a Starbucks news release here.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Deaf singer makes it to ‘America’s Got Talent’ semifinals

A Colorado singer moved into the semifinals of “America’s Got Talent” after performing a song she wrote called Mara's Song. The judges stood and gave Mandy Harvey a standing ovation when she finished. Mandy Harvey lost her hearing as as teen. Here's a video of that performance.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Witnesses question use of police force on deaf man

Witnesses say San Diego Police used excessive force on a deaf man. One told KGTV,"It ends up with three men on top of him. This poor man on the ground can't even communicate, but they are forcing him down on the ground over a parking ticket." Here's a video report from the TV station.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Deaf Man Refused Service at Restaurant

A London restaurant threw a deaf man out this past weekend because he had his service dog with him. The Gourmet Burger Kitchen franchise is now apoligizing. Read the story in The Mirror here.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Name Change for SC School Foundation

The fundraising arm of the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind is changing its name. The Walker Foundation will now be known as the SCSDB Foundation. Foundation board chair Lynne Burton says, “We have a new name but the same important mission. The school has strong support throughout the state, and our foundation needed a name that individuals could immediately connect with the outstanding reputation of the SC School for the Deaf and the Blind. The new name will provide greater clarity and more immediate recognition of our foundation’s mission. The school’s administration building, called Walker Hall and named for the Newton Pinckney Walker in the 1840s, will keep its name. Read more here.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

App Maker: Apple Earbuds can work as low-tech Amplifiers

A free app called Fennex can turn Apple’s AirPods wireless earbuds into audio amplifiers, according to the Switzerland-based company behind the app. It says the app "functions like a 'cheap hearing aid'" which "tests your hearing in each ear and uses those results to act as a personalized, adjustable amplifier." And while a traditional hearing aid will differentiate between sounds and amplify them based on their particular characteristics, Fennex only does this in a rudimentary way. MIT Technology Review has more here and the company's website is here.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Hero of a new Video Game will use ASL

A video game coming this winter to PlayStation VR features a mouse who uses sign language to give players hints. The game is called Moss where players help a mouse named Quill "as she embarks on a heroic adventure." Read more about Moss in Kotaku. Below is an interview with the art director of the game.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Deaf Man Prevented from Serving on Grand Jury

A Minnesota man wasn't allowed to serve on a grand jury because he is deaf. Mark Valimont is now suing the state. He wants the court staffed to be better trained and compensatory damages “in excess of $50,000.” Read more at the Star-Tribune here.

Lawsuit against St. Paul Police

A deaf woman says she was mistreated by the St. Paul police department. Catrina Hooper says she felt "hurt and afraid" after her encounter with officers. KSTP-TV has a video report.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Details on Apple's Cochlear Implant iPhone Accessory

Last month, we told you about Apple's plan to partner with Austrailian company Cochlear to launch the first Made For iPhone Cochlear implant. The device will be able to stream audio from an iOS device directly to a surgically embedded sound processor. Now, Wired magazine has more details on the technology here.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

NTID gets $2.6 million Grant

image of Matthew Dye
from ntid.rit.edu
A federal grant of $2.6 million will be used by the National Technical Institute for the Deaf to study the results of cochlear implants. The researcher leading the study, Matthew Dye, says sometimes the results are positive but sometimes "cochlear implant recipients never develop usable speech and oral-language skills." This research is intended to answer the question as to why the outcome varies. It's the first study of its kind to focus on college-age adults, Read more here.

1st Deaf School Super Welcomes Students

The Tennessee School for the Deaf has its first deaf superintendent and she is welcoming students back for the new school year.  WVLT-TV has a video and written report on what NancyLynn Ward is doing in her first year here.

Friday, August 4, 2017

A deaf man’s death leads to a change in NC law

Adam DeVenny Daniel Harris was shot and killed by a North Carolina state trooper after a high-speed chase. Now, a new law will go into effect in January as a result laset year. House Bill 84 allows deaf drivers to have a symbol included on their driver’s licenses. That way, when a police officer stops someone and checks their license number, this information will come up. Read more in the Herald-Sun here. Unfortunately, the Herald-Sun video posted below, does not have captions.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Terps visualize noise for deaf fans at Lollapalooza

Amber Galloway-Gallego has choosen not to use a traditional style of interpreting: Instead of avoiding movement that might distract from music performances or trying to represent the musical instruments, she and some other ASL interpreters hope to bring their work to life with a full-immersion style of communicating. Read the story here.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Deaf and the Civil War

A new book tells what deaf people did during the Civil War. Written by Harry Lang, who teaches at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, the book is called Fighting in the Shadows: The Untold Story of Deaf People in the Civil War. Lang says the book is about "how they put aside the oppression and discrimination they faced in order to join the greater conflict that was dividing the nation.” Read more at the NTID site here.

Happy Birthday Bob Hiltermann!

Deaf since the age of 4, Bob Hiltermann was born on this day (August 1, 1952) in Germany, the tenth of eleven children born. A bout with meningitis left him deaf but he wasn't diagnosed until the age of ten. Hiltermann learned ASL while attending Gallaudet University in Washington, DC and later formed MuSign (a Signing/Mime company). He acted with Marlee Matlin in Children of a Lesser God, was featured in See What I'm Saying and The Hammer, he created ASL videos called Shut Up and Sign and is drummer for Beethoven's Nightmare.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Familiy "very angry" about accident

A Gallaudet student walking in a crosswalk was seriously hurt when a dump truck hit her in Washington, DC. Bianca Butler and her family now have questions about the driver who fled the scene. He was involved in a similar accident just a couple of years ago. DC's News4 has a video report. Read the story here.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

the first Cochlear Implant made for the iPhone

Apple and hearing implant company Cochlear are partnering to first made for iPhone Cochlear implant. The "Made for iPhone" implant will be able stream audio from iPhones and iPads. It includes   controls and monitoring options for parents. ZDnet has details here.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

On this day.. the ADA was signed into law

It was on this day (July 25, 1990) that President George H.W. Bush signed the American Disablity Act into law. Senator Tom Harkin says the ADA law was inspired by his deaf brother. The Iowa Democrat says watching his brother, Frank, struggle against social barriers motivated him to push the ADA bill through the U.S. Congress. The law prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training and other conditions and privileges of employment. You can watch the signing in the video below.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Looking Back.. 14 years ago

On this date (July 23) in 2003, a revival of Big River opened on Broadway with a cast of hearing and deaf actors. Roger Miller's 1985 musical about Huck Finn was the first Broadway show to do so since the 1980's Children of a Lesser God. The show was a co-production of the Roundabout Theater Company and West Hollywood's Deaf West Theater.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Deaf Man Attacked In Robbery

Hector Reyna was walking out of a fast-food restaurant in Santa Ana, California Wednesday when he was attacked and robbed by a man with a knife. The man also attacked a responding officer. CBS-LA has a video report.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Shape of Water

A new movie hits theaters in December in which ASL plays a major role. The Shape of Water tells the story of a lonely woman who works in a high-security government laboratory. There, she discovers a secret classified experiment.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Fierce Debate Over Sign Language

Last month, we told you about a controversial new study that said using sign language when a child has a cochlear implant holds back the child's language development. Education Week has a report on some of responses here.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Deaf Comedian in Hit Film

image from Sony
Deaf comedian CJ Jones has a part in the hit movie Baby Driver. He plays Joseph, the foster father to the main character. Yahoo Movies says, "In a film full of such bold-face names as Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, and Jon Hamm, it’s the authentic, nuanced work of Jones and the touching relationship between Baby and Joseph that drive so many of the movie’s feels." Read more about Jones' work here


.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

$1 Million Grant

A million dollar federal grant will be used to develop a Scientists-In-Training program for deaf and hard of hearing undergraduates at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. Read more here.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Teen allegedly killed deaf mom

A teenager in Illinois faces charges she killed her deaf mom and attempted to cover it up the death by setting the home on fire. Police say the 15-year-old waited for her mom to come home from work and told her mom to place a towel over her face before shooting her mom in the forehead. Read more details from Sauk Valley Media here. WQAD-TV spoke withe the girl's sister in the video below.

NTID's 1st Diversity Director

image from RIT.edu
The Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf has its first director of diversity and inclusion. Stephanie Smith Albert has worked at several deaf schools, the latest being the Ohio School for the Deaf. Read more about her here.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Marlee Matlin joins Battle of the Network Stars

Image from marleematlin.net
Oscar-Winner Marlee Matlin will join other celebrities tonight
for the reboot of The Battle of the Network Stars. A team of actors who played TV lawyers will face cast members who were on shows about the White House. The show orginally ran on ABC from 1976-1988. You can watch Battle of the Network Stars Thursday at 9pm, Eastern on ABC. Read more about the teams here.

More than $1 million for State School

The New York State School for the Deaf more than a million dollars for building improvements from the state goverment. The school's roof, windows, electrical, heating and ventilation systems will be improved with the funds.School Superintendent David Hubman, “The funding provided will allow us to renovate and prevent the building from further deterioration. This building is the last of the original structures.” New York state senator Joseph Griffo issued more details in a press release here.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Deaf Woman attacked at bus stop

A stranger sucker punched a deaf woman in Dallas. KDFW-TV has a video report about what happened to Cindy Tarkington. For captions and text go here.

Monday, July 10, 2017

On this Day.. Ed Dundon was born


Ed "Dummy" Dundon was the first deaf player to play baseball professionally. He was born on this day (July 10) in 1859. After attending the Ohio State School for the Deaf, Dundon went on to play several years of professional baseball. He had two seasons with the Columbus Buckeyes before retiring and becoming an umpire. During his hitch with the Buckeyes in 1883 and 1884, Dundon had a record of 9-20 and a 4.25 ERA.

On this Date... Sentenced to Life in Prison

It was on this date (July 10) in 2002 that a District of Columbia judge sentenced Joseph Mesa, Jr. to six life terms without the possibility of parole for the murders of two Gallaudet classmates. The 22-year-old from Guam was convicted of first beating Eric Plunkett to death in September of 2000 and then stabbing Benjamin Varner to death in February of 2001. Both attacks took place in Gallaudet dorm rooms. Mesa took money from both victims, but turned himself in to police a few days after killing Varners. Pleading not guilty by reason of insanity, Mesa told jurors he saw hands wearing black gloves telling him in sign language to kill the 19 year olds. Mesa's defense attorney suggested that the attack on Plunkett was prompted by rage over an unwanted homosexual advance. Mesa was convicted him on all 15 counts. Mesa is now serving time at the United States Penitentiary in Atwater, California near San Francisco, a high security facility.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Chinese man saves deaf woman

A train conductor in China saved a deaf woman "who was crossing a railway track as his train was approaching, but lost his right leg." Here is a video about it from China Global Television Network.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Hospital settles lawsuit over Terps

A south Texas hospital has settled a lawsuit out of court related to providing interpreters. The suit stemmed from complaints of a deaf couple, whose daughter was undergoing treatments for cancer. The hospital did not provide an interpreter for them and now, as part of the settlement, has agree to provide qualified interpreters when requested by patients, as required under ADA law. The Monitor has more details here.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Behind the Scenes Photos of a Beauty Pageant for Deaf People

A Romania photographer gives us a glimpse of what it's like backstage at a beauty pageant for deaf and hard of hearing participates. Take a look at the photo layout in Vice here.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Misleading PR on Implant Surgery

A recent news release about a study on cochlear implant surgical techniques called it a "breakthrough." HealthNewsReview says it wasn't a breakthrough at all. Not only that, there are conflict of interests with device manufacturers. Read more in the respected health news site HealthNewsReview here.

Why People With Brain Implants Are Afraid to Go Through Automatic Doors

“When you get an implant, they warn you about interference with devices like MRI machines. But they don’t warn you about Best Buy or Walmart,” says Gary Olhoeft. An FDA report (which you can read here) written way back in the year 2000 identified the problem of implant-interference from other devices:
The consequence of EMI [or electromagnetic interference] with medical devices may be only a transient ‘blip’ on a monitor, or it could be as serious as preventing an alarm from sounding or inappropriate device movement leading to patient injury or death. With the increasing use of sensitive electronics in devices, and the proliferation of sources of EM energy, there is heightened concern about EMI in many devices.
This problem is 'likely to grow in scope and scale unless we plan carefully," according to a Gizmodo article. Read more about the issue here.

Life in 1950s Deaf School: Part 2

Here is a second video filmed in 1954 at the UK's Royal School for Deaf Children for a documentary.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

a Video of Life in a 1950s Deaf School

Here is video filmed in 1954 at the UK's Royal School for Deaf Children in Margate.

Friday, June 30, 2017

No Terp for Jazz Fest

A deaf woman says it is "frustrating" that the Montreal International Jazz Festival denied her request for a sign language interpreter. Natasha Luttrell told the CBC, "I asked for one performance, only one performance to have an interpretation and they refused." Read the full story here.

New Superintendent

The Tennessee School for the Deaf and West Tennessee School for the Deaf will have their first deaf superintendent. A welcome event is planned for Nancylynn Ward next weekend and details are here
.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Research Findings on Cochlear Implant electrodes

New research suggests some best practices for cochlear implant surgery. The main finding: Cochlear implants that have electrodes without wires perform better than those with wires because they cause injury inside the inner ear. You can read the details of the study in the online edition of The Laryngoscope here.

Deaf sexual assault survivor graduates with help from detectives

image from Chicago Tribune video
Chicago sheriff's investigators not only sought the person who raped a deaf teen three years ago, they stood by her until she recently graduated from high school. One of them said, "We went into this thinking here is a victim and let's try to solve her case and it just turned into ... seeing her as a goddaughter." The Chicago Tribune has the story here.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Book breaks new ground

A new book and conference in the UK represent “a major leap forward for the discipline” of deaf studies. It's "the first volume to be written and edited entirely by deaf academics" about BSL, according to the Times Higher Education. Read more about the conference and the Oxford University Press book "Innovations in Deaf Studies: The Role of Deaf Scholars" here.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Deaf Volunteer Firefighter Arrested Without Interpreter

Keri Dee says local police did not provide her brother, a deaf volunteer firefighter, with a sign language interpreter after his recent arrest. Little Rock's KARK-TV has a video report.

New Deaf School in Waco

A new school for deaf children is opening in Waco this August. Find out more in this video report from KWKT-TV.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Rocker Claims he owns Sign for Love

Gene Simmons, co-founder of Kiss
image by Jason Hargrove
Gene Simmons, the co-founder of the oldies rock band Kiss, doesn't want anyone using the sign language gesture for love without his permission-because he claims he owns it. Last week, he filed an application with the patent office to trademark the gesture (which rock music enthusiasts know as "devil horns") he claims to have started using in the band's act during 1974. His filing says, "No other person, firm, corporation or association has the right to use said mark in commerce, either in the identical form or in such near resemblance." Trademark attorney Michael Cohen tells the Los Angeles Times:
"There's plenty of other trademarks that have been filed for the same symbol.  So, to me, he's literally trying to trademark the hand gesture as opposed to the drawing of the hand gesture.. He also has to establish that that hand gesture is associated with him. So in the mind of consumers that go to rock performances, are they going to associate that symbol with Gene Simmons?"
Read the LA Times story here. The Washington Post takes a look at some of the other rockers who used the gesture before Kiss in an article here. Read the Simmons application here.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Terps at Chance The Rapper's concerts

image from ChancetheRapper twitter feed
Chance the Rapper is hiring his own ASL interpreters for all of his concerts. They are from DEAFinitely Dope. InTouch Weekly reports here that he is the first rapper to pay for his own terps.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

How to Speak to Deaf People

* Make sure you have eye contact with the person before speaking
* If there is an interpreter, speak to and look at the deaf person not the interpreter
* Face the person to whom you are speaking (that helps with lip-reading)
* Stand in good lighting and avoid standing so that light is on the face of the deaf person
* Avoid background noise whenever possible
* Move your mouth to articulate but don’t exaggerate
* Speak a little louder and slower than normal but don’t shout or drag
* Keep your hands away from your face and particularly your mouth
* Use lots of facial expressions and body movements
* If something is unclear, rather than just repeating the same thing, rephrase thoughts in shorter and simple sentences

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The NFL's first deaf offensive player is back

Derrick Coleman
image from NFL.com
The NFL's first deaf offensive player is back and ready to play this fall. Derrick Coleman wsa a fullback for the Seattle Seahawks when he was arrested after "a hit-and-run accident in suburban Seattle in which he crashed into the back of another vehicle while driving 20 mph over the speed limit, causing the other vehicle to flip over a hill. The driver of the other vehicle suffered a broken collarbone," ESPN reports. Coleman sat out the 2016 season but is now set to play with the Atlanta Falcons. He is a "replacement for Pro Bowl fullback Patrick DiMarco, who signed a free agent contract with Buffalo." Read the full story from ESPN here. Coleman's NFL page is here.

Controversial Study claims CI Kids do better without Sign

Ann Geers of the
University of Texas at Dallas
A controversial new study claims children with cochlear implants are better off not learning sign language. The researchers write, "Contrary to earlier published assertions, there was no advantage to parents' use of sign language either before or after CI." The study, lead by Ann Geers of the University of Texas at Dallas, looked at development of 97 children. They found:
Over 70% of children without sign language exposure achieved age-appropriate spoken language compared with only 39% of those exposed for 3 or more years. Children without sign language exposure produced speech that was more intelligible (mean = 70%) than those exposed to sign language (mean = 51%).
An editorial from two professors (Karl White of Utah State University and Louis Cooper of Columbia University) said the research was "well-designed" offering "credible and useful information" that "can help end the passionate but debilitating debates between advocates of signing and nonsigning." Read the full commentary here.

A limitation of the study that sign language advocates are likely to point out: The children in the study were from hearing families who were not native signers. Details of the study are in the journal Pediatrics.

Also of interest: AG Bell gave lead researcher, Ann Geers, its 2014 Volta Award for making "a significant contribution to increasing public awareness of the challenges and potential of people with hearing loss." Geers recieved the award along with colleague Jean Moog. They collaborated as at Central Institute for the Deaf and below is a video of them recieving the award.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

110 years ago...

Here is something from the June 1907 issue of Scientific American magazine, more than 100 years ago:
“The loss of the sense of hearing should not necessarily mean deprivation of the power of speech also. Is it only within recent years that we have come to realize this fact, and in up-to-date institutions the old –fashioned finger alphabet is now unknown. Every child is taught to speak in the natural way by means of the vocal organs. The four or five years of the primary course are devoted almost exclusively to the acquirement of language and numbers.”

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Getting to Know.. Cochlear Limited

You could have bought stock in Cochlear Limited at the turn of the century for about $10. This week the stock was worth more than $150 a share-15 times more. Cochlear Limited is the biggest of the three companies that dominate the implant market. Based in Australia, Cochlear does most of its business in Europe and the U.S. through more than a dozen subsidiaries. More than a quarter of a million people have one of its implants. It employs more than 2800 people in 20Getting to Know.. Cochlear Limited  countries.

Friday, June 9, 2017

30 years ago: Implant history

image from Cochlear.com 
On June 4, 1987 Holly McDonell (now Holly Taylor) of Sydney became the first child to receive a commerical multi-channel cochlear implant system (Nucleus made by Cochlear, LTD). The four year old had became profoundly deaf from bacterial meningitis. Holly still has her original implant and had several sounds processor upgrades. The Daily Telegraph takes a look at what's happened in the 30 years since in an article here.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Captions on FB Live

Facebook has enabled closed captions on some live broadcasts. Some third-party software is still needed to use the feature, so most likely you will see it first on big media outlets instead of friend’s live broadcasts. If you have the Facebook Closed Captioning feature turned on, you will automatically see the text if it is enabled. Read more about the announcement here.

Getting to Know: Certified Deaf Interpreters

image from Lydia Callis Facebook page
"As the sign language interpreting profession has evolved over the past couple decades, the interpreting community has come to better understand and embrace the role of deaf individuals as linguistic and cultural gatekeepers. Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDIs) are extremely effective at bridging the sometimes vast and persistent gaps that exist between people who are deaf and those who can hear," writes Lydia Callis. She answers some "Frequently Asked Questions About Certified Deaf Interpreters" here
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Deaf Musician on American's Got Talent

Deaf singer and Florida native (now living in Colorado) Mandy Harvey appeared on America’s Got Talent this week. She earned cheers and applause from the crowd and a “golden buzzer” from Simon Cowell. Harvey is 29-years-old having lost her hearing when she was 18 from a degenerative ear disease. She said, "Music is an expression of the soul, and for me it's always been the way I could communicate.” Watch her audition here.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Marlee on Hollywood Medium

Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin appears on tonight's episode of Hollywood Medium With Tyler Henry. She wants to learn the real story behind how she became deaf at 18 months.

Monday, June 5, 2017

A Chat with Gally's Prez

The Austin Deaf Club hosted a GUAA gathering on Wednesday, May 31. Here is an interview with Gallaudet University President Roberta Cordano.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Grads look forward to College

The Frederick News-Post spoke with graduates of the Maryland School for the Deaf, asking about their future plans. Read the story here.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Understanding Deaf culture through art

WXXI in Rochester, New York spoke with local artist Laural Hartman about what mainstream museums may not understand about deaf art. Hartman teaches at RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Suit: No Terrp for 3 Days in hospital

Myra Gill is suing Louisiana's Slidell Memorial Hospital. She claims the hospital failed to provide her an interpreter during an emergency room visit that turned into a three day stay. Her lawyer told WDSU-TV, "We know that you can't get an interpreter at the drop of a hat within 10 minutes but Ms. Gill was in the hospital for three days and never once received a sign language interpreter."  WDSU has more on the story here.

AI comes to Cochlear Implants

The largest cochlear implant maker has inked a deal to use artificial intelligence. Cochlear based in Austrailia, will use the help of AI maker Otoconsult, based in Belgium, to more accurately taylor the settings to each wearer. Cochlear CEO Chris Smith says the software will be accessible worldwide, so audiologists calibrate the device more effectively. Read more in Business Inisder here.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Gallaudet's Motion Light Lab

The Washington Post takes a peek inside Gallaudet's Motion Light Lab. It's a place where "research and innovation turn into resources for children and families" through the use of motion-capture technology. Read the full story here.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Mocking Sign Language on the Jimmy Fallon show

During an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, guest Jamie Foxx started doing fake sign-language to the camera.  The winner of both "DWTS" and "America's Next Top Model" Nyle DiMarco says it was disrespectful for Foxx to mock deaf people. Fellow Oscar winner Marlee Matlin tweeeted at Foxx, "I’d be happy to give you sign language lessons so you could be funnier." Here's a video posted by TMZ that shows what happened.

Friday, May 26, 2017

" I see his voice. I hear his face."

image from ondeafness.com
The hearing mother of a deaf child has written a piece for the New York Times titled, "My Deaf Son Fought Speech. Sign Language Let Him Bloom." The writer, Elizabeth Engelman, works at the Family Center on Deafness in Largo, Florida and writes the blog OnDeafness. She says":
"In American Sign Language, the sign for cochlear implant is similar to the sign for vampire. Vampire is signed with two fingers like teeth to the throat. Cochlear implant is signed with two fingers like teeth behind the ears. The audiologist told me not to sign at all. She said sign language was a crutch that would hinder his speech.. The audiologist adjusted the pitch and tuned the levels to make a simulation of sound. She called this process mapping, but there were no guideposts to show the way. How do you chart loneliness? How do you trace a landscape of silence and sound between mother and son?"
Read the full story in the New York Times here.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Louisiana considers the "d" in Deaf

(image from Louisiana.gov)
Louisiana state legislator Pat Smith wants to change how the deaf are referred to in state law. Her bill HB253 would ask the Louisiana State Law Institute to distinguish between lower case "deaf" and upper case "Deaf." A committee endorsed her resolution yesterday. Read the text of her bill and how it is progressing through the legislature here.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Helen Keller's message to the Nazis

image public domain
Helen Keller wrote a letter to Nazi students in 1933 who played to burn her collection of her essays, How I Became a Socialist. Read it and some background on it at Open Culture here.

Deaf patients struggle to get interpreters in medical emergencies

A investigative reporting website that focuses on health issues says a "review of hospital inspection reports and court records found dozens of instances around the country when deaf patients said they were not provided adequate interpreter services." Particularly of concern is hospital dependence on Video Relay Interpreters instead of in-person ASL interpreters. STAT reports:
Many deaf patients have taken to social media to complain about the use of video interpreting services in emergency rooms. Numerous patients tell stories about a blurry video feed and describe having to set up the video interpreting service themselves when nurses don’t know how to operate the equipment, or being unable to focus on a small screen in a crowded room.
Read the full story here.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Chances

image from superdeluxe.com
The Chances is "a show written by, and starring, deaf people" and, according to the Bay Area Reporter, has been picked up by Sundance Now, an AMC-backed streaming service. The Chances focuses on two best friends, one is engaged and the other is trying to move on from his ex-boyfriend. The show earned positive reviews at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Read the full story here.

a new South Texas Festival

The Good Vibrations Music and Arts Festival took place for the first time in San Antonio yesterday. KSAT-TV says it was "specifically for the deaf and hard of hearing community and has this video report.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

meet Millicent Simmonds

image from Wonderstruck trailer
Millicent Simmonds is 14 years old and like most teenagers her age-except she's deaf and starring in a major motion picture called Wonderstruck.  The Associated Press reports the director of the film told reporters at the Cannes Film Festival, "It was our incredible good fortune to find this girl, Millie, who from the very beginning — the very first time I saw her tape — I just shivered. There was something about the integrity of her as a person that showed through that was true and ultimately you see it on the screen. Our good fortune in finding Millie can't be overstated." Read the full story about Millicent Simmonds here
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Life on Sesame Street

Linda Bove played Linda the Librarian on Sesame Street for years. KJZZ radio in Phoenix sat down to talk with the deaf actress to see what it was like.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Good Vibrations Music and Art Fest

The Good Vibrations Music and Art Festival takes place Saturday in San Antonio. There will be craft booths, food, a lightshow and a deaf-accessible concert. The current Miss San Antonio, deaf singer Emma Rudkin, will perform. KSAT-TV has more in a video report.

Wonderstruck

Julianne Moore says it was an "incredible privilege” to have a deaf role in the film Wonderstruck. But "the Oscar-winner was met with criticism when she took the role in the film," reports Vanity Fair. Many in the deaf community question having a hearing actress take the role of a deaf adult when there are many capable deaf actors available. However, other roles in the film did go to deaf actors. Wonderstruckis about "the journeys of two lonely deaf children living 50 years apart." Read the full story here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Deaf woman: all the stupid questions she's been asked

A Scottish woman named Bea shares in a video inappropriate questions she has gotten from people because she is deaf. The video was posted by BBC Social.

Using Movie Magic to Translate ASL

"Researchers are using computer-animation techniques, such as motion-capture, to make life-like computer avatars that can reliably and naturally translate written and spoken words into sign language, whether it’s American Sign Language or that of another country," reports Slate. It's the same technology that made Ratatouille and Happy Feet successful animated films. "The signing avatars can also be used in apps and games to help deaf children get early exposure to language, which is critical for their cognitive development." Read the full story from Slate here.

Monday, May 15, 2017

A drug to reverse hearing loss?

MIT researcher Bob Langer and Harvard Medical School’s Jeff Karp say they have developed a drug that could address hearing loss by using chemical compounds to multiply and create new hair cells in the inner ear. Their company is called Frequency Therapeutics. You can read their press release about the drug here. Frequency Therapeutics published a research paper about their approach in the journal Cell Reports. Read more about Frequency in The Week. "Another Boston biotech," reports Xconomy named "Decibel launched in October 2015 to develop drugs that combat some of the biological reasons for hearing issues."

Friday, May 12, 2017

Deaf Woman Denied Terp at Airport

The ACLU has filed a discrimination complaint saying a deaf woman was stopped and interrogated at Honolulu's airport. Customs officials apparently refused to provide her with a sign language interpreter, despite her repeated requests. The ACLU quotes the unnamed woman (who didn't want to be named) as saying:
I was so scared and felt alone. For people with deafness, being cut off from our ways of communicating is terrifying. I have traveled a lot, but have never experienced anything like this at any airport ever. With this complaint, I just want to make sure that other deaf people coming through Hawaii’s airports are treated with basic respect and dignity, and that disabilities are accommodated.
Read the full story in HawaiiNewsNow.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

'America's Deaf Team' Tackles Identity Politics

The Atlantic has published a long piece about Gallaudet, its football team, and the issues that divide and unite the culture. Matthew Davis writes:
I have met mainstream-educated hard-of-hearing players who say they have found their true selves and a true home at Gallaudet. I have met similar players who say they feel like more of an outsider within Gallaudet’s gates than outside them. And I have met completely deaf, deaf-school-educated players who are both welcoming to their mainstreamed brothers and also skeptical of their commitment to ASL. But football unites them—in fact, football seems to unite everyone. Nothing celebrates the myriad layers of the deaf community quite like Gallaudet’s Homecoming game, a Saturday afternoon that is the largest annual gathering of the deaf and hard-of-hearing anywhere in the world.
Read the full article here.