Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Ottoman Empire used a Secret Sign Language

Ottoman court signer from a  17th-century
costume book (via Wikimedia Commons)
"In the 1600s, the court of the Ottoman Empire employed some 40 deaf servants," professor Sara Scalenghe writes. "They were chosen not in spite of their deafness, but because of it. The deaf servants were favored companions of the sultan, and their facility in nonverbal communication made them indispensable to the court, where decorum restricted speech in the sultan’s presence." Scalenghe tells the facinating story of the deaf servants here
.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

How deaf researchers are reinventing science communication

Science jargon can be a barrier to deaf researchers when there isn't a good sign for an English word. In an attempt to avoid a ridiculous amount of fingerspelling, there is an effort "to help ASL catch up by inventing new signs." Verge Science visited graduate student Lorne Farovitch in his Rochester, New York lab to find out more.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Getting Police up to speed with Terp App

Bellingham’s Hearing, Speech and Deaf Center in Washington State is working with the local police department to get officers access to live interpreters for the deaf. KIRO-TV has a video report.

On this date in 2013: the fake interpreter at Mandela’s memorial service

During Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in Johannesburg on this date (Dec. 10) in 2013, a man pretending to interpret for the dignitaries that spoke was declared a fraud by South Africa's deaf federation. U.S. President Barack Obama was among the heads of state attending the service at the 95,000-seat football stadium when Thamsanqa Jantjie took to the stage. The incident raised security concerns and is an embarrassment for the South African government, Bruno Druchen, the National Director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa, posted a statement on its Facebook, which reads in part:
The so called “interpreter” who interpreted at the Official memorial service for late former president Nelson Mandela at FNB stadium has been dubbed the “fake interpreter” and the Deaf community is in outrage. This man is not in fact a recognised, professional South Sign Language Interpreter. He is not known by the Deaf Community in South Africa nor by the South African Sign Language interpreters working in the field... This ‘fake interpreter’ has made a mockery of South African Sign Language and has disgraced the South African Sign Language interpreting profession. The organisers of the memorial service, and indeed any event, should have contacted organisations who coordinate South African Sign Language interpreting services to secure a professional, trained experienced interpreter.
It turned out that Thamsanqa Jantjie was once charged with murder, according to a eNCA TV network that also said he has a history of lying and fraud. Jantjie admitted to being violent and claimed to have been "hallucinated during the memorial service as he was gesturing incoherently." Here's a early SkyNews report (with captions).

Happy Birthday, Thomas Gallaudet!

Born - Philadelphia on December 10, 1787

Family - Oldest of 12 children

College - Attended Yale at age 14, graduating with highest honors at 17

Ministry - Ordained in 1814, sometimes preaching at church

Deaf Interest - Became interested in deaf issues when he met a 9-year-old deaf neighbor

School - Founded The American School for the Deaf during 1817 in Hartford, Connecticut

Travels - Learned the manual form of sign language used in France when he visited

Marriage - In 1821, he married a former student and had two sons

Edward - Gallaudet's son who founded Gallaudet University in Washington, DC

Thomas - Ordained as an Episcopal priest, working to provide religious services for the deaf

Saturday, December 8, 2018

‘Silent restaurant’ opens in Beijing

The Forgive Barbecue in Beijing, is, according to one of the employees, "A bridge to connect hearing-impaired people with other people." The entire staff is deaf. Read more in the Inquisitor here.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Getting to Know.. Dr House

It was on this date (Dec. 7, 2012) that Dr. William F. House died in Oregon at the age of 89. Dr. House is credited with installing the first cochlear implant in 1961. He was told by experts the electric current he was using would destroy the ear, but that didn't stop him. He believed in what implants could do to change someone's life. Here's a little about him.
  • Known as the "father of neurotology."
  • He received his doctorate in dentistry from the University of California at  Berkeley.
  • Practiced medicine in Newport Beach, California until 2000, when he moved to Aurora, Oregon, next door to his son.
  • His cochlear implant was approved by the FDA in 1984.
  • When he started performing the cochlear surgery on children some claimed he was just after money.
  • His half-brother, Howard P. House founded the House Ear Institute which became the House Research Institute.
  • He completed some 3,000 implants throughout his career.
  • Developed a new approach to removing tumors on the nerve that connects the ear to the brain.
  • Created a new surgical procedure for Meniere's disease, an inner ear disorder contracted by Astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American in space. He couldn't have flown to the moon had it not been for House's surgery. He wrote a memoir called The Struggles of a Medical Innovator

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Looking Back... Kitty O'Neil

It was on this day (Dec. 6) in 1976 that professional stuntwoman Kitty O'Neil set a record for land speed by a female driver. It was in Oregon's Alvord Desert that Kitty hit 512 miles per hour.

Childhood diseases left her deaf and nearly killed her. She became a champion diver at a young age. Her work later as a Hollywood stuntwoman was featured in TV shows like Quincy, Baretta and The Bionic Woman along with movies like Smokey and the Bandit, The Blues Brothers and Airport '77. 

She set a record for the highest stunt fall by a woman (105 feet).  She has held as many as 22 speed records on land and water.

A movie was made about her life in 1979 titled Silent Victory: The Kitty O'Neil Story.  She died Nov. 2, 2018 from pneumonia at the age of 72. Read more about her amazing life in a Washington Post article here. Below is a video report on Kitty from the Midco Sports Network put together in 2015.

Brewery wants to make great beer — and serve the deaf community

Three Gallaudet University graduates opened a brewery this fall in a DC suburb just 4 miles from the school. Streetcar 82 in Hyattsville, Maryland gives "the deaf and hard of hearing a place to work and unwind." The Washington Post offers a profile here. Below is a video telling how they came up with the name.

Nursing Home Must Pay for Hanging up on Deaf Woman

New Jersey state officials are fining a nursing home $2500 after a worker repeatedly hung up on a deaf social worker. Nicole Perkins needed to discuss a client with Atrium Post Acute Care in Wayne, New Jersey. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal released a statement saying:
photo from Atrium Post Acute Care 
This case should serve as a message to healthcare facilities and other businesses around the state that we are serious about promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities,” “This was a troubling case because there simply is no excuse for a nursing home – of all places – to repeatedly refuse to accept a telephone call from an operator calling on behalf of a deaf person. We are committed to enforcing the LAD, our nation’s oldest and most comprehensive civil rights law, and we are committed to holding accountable those who violate it. This was a troubling case because there simply is no excuse for a nursing home – of all places – to repeatedly refuse to accept a telephone call from an operator calling on behalf of a deaf person,” Grewal said in a statement.
The nursing home will lose $10,000 more if it fails to follow the Attorney General's requirements. Read more here.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Deaf HS Football Player in LA

A Los Angeles high school football player says being deaf hasn't held him back from contributing to his team. Desis Gonzales Jr. plays for San Gorgonio High School and NBC-4 has more on his story in this video report.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Wearable Tech to Listen to Live Music

A company called Not Impossible Labs says it has come up with a new wearable technology that "allows deaf and hearing users alike to experience musical vibrations through their skin for a true 'surround body' experience." The tech is called Music: Not Impossible and it works directly with a sound system. Read more details here.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Deaf students struggle with getting last minute interpreters

Students at one Texas school are having problems getting interpreters when they need them. The student paper at the University of Texas at Austin quotes a communication sciences and disorders major as saying, “A few weeks ago, my professor made last-minute office hours. On the same day, he said the review session would be moved back an hour. I can’t do anything about that. I knew that if I submitted a request, I would not get (an interpreter).” Read the full story here.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Happy Birthday, Linda the Librarian!

Linda Bove was born on this day (Nov 30) in 1945. She’s remembered as the deaf lady on Sesame Street. Bove was a regular on the show from 1971 to 2003 as Linda the Librarian, introducing thousands of children to sign language and deaf community issues. In 1991, she and her husband founded DeafWest, a resident sign-language theater in Los Angeles which has produced several award-winning shows. Here's a video of her from 2010 talking about Why We Need Deaf Actors in Deaf Roles. Happy Birthday, Linda the Librarian!



The Hoops Coach and his Viral ASL Video

A viral video of the basketball team for the Mississippi School for the Deaf has become an educational moment for those who don't know ASL.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

10 years ago today

On November 25, 2008, the man who wrote a famous play about Helen Keller called The Miracle Worker died. William Gibson's story of Helen Keller’s relationship with her teacher, Anne Sullivan, won the 1960 Tony Award for best play and is still regularly performed around the country in community theaters. Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke, played the stage roles of Sullivan and Keller, respectively. They went on to win Academy Awards when repeating the parts for the film version in 1962. Mr. Gibson was nominated for an Oscar for his screenplay. Twenty years later, he wrote a sequel about Sullivan called The Monday After the Miracle but it flopped on Broadway. Gibson died at the age of 94 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Happy Birthday Mojo!

This is Mojo Mathers birthday (born Nov 23, 1966). She became the first member of New Zealand's parliament when she ran as a Green candidate in 2011. She was born profoundly deaf and is a lipreader. She began to use sign language in the late 2000s New Zealand became the first country to adopt sign language as an official language in 2006. Some 25,000 people use sign language in the country. The New Zealand government provides interpreters in Parliament as well as for major speeches and announcements.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Downsides and Challenges of Cochlear Implants

An opinion piece in the New York Times takes on the issue of cochlear implants. Writing professor Sara Novic cautions:
Expecting an implant to cure deafness or magically generate speech is to await the moment the hammer will fly out of one’s hand and build a house on its own. The value of the tool lies only in the skill of its user, and for the cochlear implant user, that skill is learned with much effort. To suggest otherwise is to give a disingenuous prognosis to potential patients and their parents, and discounts the hard work successful C.I. users do to communicate in a way the hearing world deems acceptable.
Read her article here.

A Signed Bedtime Story Goes Viral

CBeebies Bedtime Story is a BBC show where a celebrity reads a children's bedtime story. A recent episode got extra attention because the celebrity, Catastrophe's Rob Delaney, signed in Makaton his story a week ago Friday. Delaney read aloud and signed Ten in a Bed by Penny Dale, becoming the first reader to do so. It caught the attention of six-year-old Tom McCartney. Watch Tom's reaction below in a video that went viral:



Delaney wanted to honor his son by telling bedtime story in Makaton, which is a variation of BSL (British Sign Language) combining signs and symbols Delaney learned Makaton in order to communication with his son, Henry, who couldn't speak and died last January at the age of two.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Pizza by the Deaf

San Francisco's Mozzeria restaurant is entirely owned and operated by people who are deaf. CBS News spoke with the owners, Melody and Russell Stein. They opened it in 2011.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Ocasio-Cortez is Captioning Her Instagram Posts for You

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez 
The youngest woman ever to be elected to the US Congress says she is captioning her Instagram stories for the Deaf community. “Advocates for the deaf community hit me up to connect me with tools (i.e. Clipomatic) to better serve all of us. I now caption all my IG stories so our deaf brothers and sisters can follow along too,” representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter.



Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Helen Keller reinstated into Texas school curriculum

We recently told you about possible changes to the Texas school curriculum—including dropping historical figures like Helen Keller. After an outcry, that plan has been dropped. The Texas State Board of Education "backed restoring disability rights advocate Helen Keller to the state's third-grade social studies curriculum standards." Read more about what happened in the Texas Tribune here.

On this day in History… in 1966

It was on this date in 1966 (Nov 14) Congressman Hugh Carey announced that Rochester, New York would be the site of a new college. The National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) admitted its first students in 1968. It is one of nine colleges located at the Rochester Institute of Technology. There are now more than 1500 students and about 600 faculty and staff. More than one-in-five of the students has a cochlear implant. Less than one-in-five of the faculty and staff are deaf or hard-of-hearing. There is a yearly budget of $89 million to run the school. $65 million of that comes in the form of federal funds.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Deaf Football Team tries something new

The Alabama School for the Deaf football team is trying something new—they are playing with the Alabama School for the Blind. WIAT-TV has a video report on the Silent Warriors.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Deaf State House candidate Loses Race

Chris Haulmark
A Ī©legislative candidate in Kansas lost his race. Republican John Toplikar beat out Chris Haulmark—who would have become the first deaf legislator in the U.S. But Haulmark lost party support when he was accused by multiple women of being emotionally abusive. Read more about the allegations here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Researchers: Sign offers insights not provided by spoken language

Researchers say, "Sign languages can help reveal hidden aspects of the logical structure of spoken language, but they also highlight its limitations because speech lacks the rich iconic resources that sign language uses on top of its sophisticated grammar." The study comes out of New York University and France's National Center for Scientific Research. It's published in the journal Theoretical Linguistics. Read details on the study here.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Kitty O'Neil Dies

Professional stuntwoman Kitty O'Neil has died at the age of 72. Among other things, the deaf daredevil set a record for land speed by a female driver in 1976. It was in Oregon's Alvord Desert that Kitty hit 512 miles per hour.

Childhood diseases left her deaf and nearly killed her. She became a champion diver at a young age. Her work later as a Hollywood stuntwoman was featured in TV shows like Quincy, Baretta and The Bionic Woman along with movies like Smokey and the Bandit, The Blues Brothers and Airport '77. 

She set a record for the highest stunt fall by a woman (105 feet).  She has held as many as 22 speed records on land and water.

A movie was made about her life in 1979 titled Silent Victory: The Kitty O'Neil Story.  She died Nov. 2, 2018 from pneumonia. Read more about her amazing life in a Washington Post article here.

Below is a video report on Kitty from the Midco Sports Network put together in 2015.

NYT advocates for Implants in Health article

A controversial New York pediatric audiology consultant and speech-language pathologist is quoted in the New York Times as saying, “Children identified with hearing loss at birth and fitted with technology in the first weeks of life blend in so well with everyone else that people don’t realize there are so many deaf children." Jane R. Madell claims, “Eighty-five percent of such children are successfully mainstreamed.” That's a figure that many would dispute. She helped produce a documentary about it called “The Listening Project.” Read more of the New York Times article here. Don't miss the comment section. There are opinions from a wide variety of people including a professor of Deaf education at Boston University. He writes:
This article talks about cochlear implants as a panacea, without acknowledging the tremendous risk that a child will not learn a spoken language at all. I am disappointed that the Times would publish something so misleading.
But other commenters defend the article and Madell's perspective. Below is a trailer for the documentary.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

World-renowned Deaf Actor Dies

He paved the way for deaf theater performers and became a founder of the National Theater of the Deaf in Connecticut. Bernard Bragg died Los Angeles this past Monday at the age of 90. Bragg was also a visiting professor Gallaudet University where he attended school. Read more at The New York Times here. A Los Angeles Times obituary called Bragg "the first professional deaf actor in the United States." Below is a tweet from Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin about her longtime friend and a video of Bragg from his 80th birthday.



ASL gets a Table at Yale

Students at Yale University are finally getting an opportunity to learn American Sign Language. A pilot ASL course was first offered last semester to go along with a club and a dining hall language table. Read more about it in Yale's student newspaper here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

soccer at Gally

There are three Markels on the Gallaudet University men's soccer team this season: Elan Markel, Alton Markel and AJ Markel. Elan and Alton are brothers while AJ is their cousin. Elan and Alton's mom is on staff at Gally as an interpreter and their dad teaches ASL at another college. Read more about the Markel's in a Baltimore Sun article here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Suit: No Terp for 5 Days in Jail

A deaf woman in California says she sat in jail for five days with no sign language interpreter. Jennifer Mello is now suing Kern County for not following ADA law when she was arrested in November of last year. Her complaint says deputies spoke to her, refused to provide an interpreter or even communicate to her in writing. After spending five days in jail without clearly understanding the charges, she says she was released. Read more about it at Bakersfield.com here.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Artist creates Mural: Doesn't Bother to get the Signs Right

A new mural in downtown Idaho Falls shows an incorrect use of ASL. The ACLU of Idaho commissioned artist Kelly Sheridan to create the work in partnership with the Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation. Read more about it from the Idaho State Journal here and KPVI-TV has a video report below.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Deaf man sues construction companies

A Deaf man is suing several construction companies in South Carolina after he was fired from a Mercedes Benz expansion project. WCSC-TV has a video report about Steven Kuhn's lawsuit here.

He was One of America's first Deaf Lawyers

Roger Demosthenes O'Kelly
He was born on this date, October 25, in 1880. Blinded by Scarlet fever at the age of nine, Roger Demosthenes O'Kelly began losing his hearing a few years later. The North Carolina African-American slowly regained his vision in one eye. While he wanted to attend Gallaudet University, his application was denied in 1898 based on the color of his skin. So instead, he earned a degree from North Carolina's Shaw University, graduating in 1908. O'Kelly was licensed to practice law in North Carolina, becoming one of America's first deaf lawyers. He later studied law at Yale University, becoming the second deaf person to graduate from the school in 1912. He returned to his home state where establised a lucrative law practice "serving white as well as black clients, particularly in real estate, domestic relations, and corporate issues" according to  Joe A. Mobley's book Raleigh: A Brief History.  O'Kelly died at the age of 82 on July 11, 1962.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Signing Starbucks Opened Today!

Starbucks opened its first "Signing Store" today. It's in Washington D.C. less than a mile from Gallaudet University. Everyone working there is fluent in ASL and wears aprons that display the fingerspelling of "Starbucks." Here's a video report from Radio.com.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Deaf in Prison

"While I was in prison they had no American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters. None of the staff knew sign language, not the doctors or the nurses, the mental health department, the administration, the chaplain, the mail room. Nobody." Read about the lonely experiences of a deaf man in prison in a Marshall Project article called The Isolation of Being Deaf in Prison.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Are new laws designed to protect travelers "meaningless"?

New legislation allows for the development of an “Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights.” While some advocacy groups applaud the deal, signed by the President last week, others look at it differently. MIC quotes the CEO of Hearing Access & Innovations as saying "feel-good bills are a waste of time. I want bills that really work.” Read more here.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Weather Channel Neglects Captioning During Hurricane

Oscar-winning deaf actress Marlee Matlin alerted the Weather Channel through a tweet that a video about Hurricane Michael was posted without captioning or a sign language interpreter. The storm was approaching the Gulf Coast of Florida at the time, making it critical to get emergency information to everyone—but the Weather Channel failed to respond.

Friday, October 5, 2018

A study on brain tumors and cochlear implants

Researchers in Sweden say they have found no evidence to support the idea that brain tumors are more likely in cochlear implant patients. That was a concern raised by a previous case but the scientists say in their study "The number of brain tumors observed was well within the numbers expected from national incidence figures." You can access the study here.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Gally Student Speaks at TEDxYouth Event

Here is a TEDx talk featuring Gallaudet University student Cheyenna Clearbrook. Born Deaf, she "addresses the divide between the hearing and Deaf worlds and discusses how sign language acquisition can impact both communities in a meaningful way."

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Cops pepper spray deaf man

Prosecutors in Passaic County, New Jersey are looking into a video showing police officers using pepper-spray against a Raaeseon Adams who is deaf. Read more and see the video at NewJersey.com here.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Funding for Deaf Businesses

Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) launched "the first-ever social impact fund and incubator for Deaf-owned and operated businesses" last year. The second round opens to applicants the coming Thursday (Oct. 4). Whoever gets selected for the Social Venture Fund will "have access to significant resources, including capital investment, mentoring and leadership training." For more information, click here.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

18 years ago today: Murder at Gallaudet

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.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Police: Sex Tape at Deaf School?

Illinois State Police are looking into whether a sex video was shot at the Illinois School for the Deaf in Jacksonville. It's reported to have happened in April. The video in questions was, until recently available on an adult website. Read more on the story from the State Journal-Register here.

On this date... 27 years ago

On Sept 26, 1991, a major TV show debuted that—for the first time—featured a deaf or hard of hearing actor in a lead role. The NBC police drama Reasonable Doubts ran from 1991–1993 and starred Academy-Award winner Marlee Matlin as Tess Kaufman, a prosecutor who fought for the rights of the accused. She portrayed a lawyer who happened to be deaf—instead of just a deaf lawyer. 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 23, 2018

DiMarco: ‘Pretending to Be Deaf Is Not Ok’

A Netflix original is getting heat from Dancing with the Stars champion Nyle DiMarco. The deaf model say a joke in the film about being deaf isn't appropriate.

Read more here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Horror Film Casting Blasted

Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin and model Nyle DiMarco are among those in the Deaf community criticizing a new horror film called The Silence. A hearing actress was cast in a deaf role. Director John Leonetti told The Hollywood Reporter that the hearing actress has “flawless” signing and an almost “innate sense of what it’s like being a deaf person.” The film comes out in December. Read more here.

Texas May Dump Helen Keller from Curriculum

Texas plans to remove Helen Keller from the state's social studies curriculum. Haben Girma, who is deaf-blind, makes a plea to keep her story a part of the in an opinion piece first published in the Washington Post. She writes:
Teaching students about disability through the stories of people such as Keller prepares them to be better citizens, better friends and better family members. Keller’s optimism, hard work and commitment to justice inspire them to the same virtues. Texas will make a final decision in November. We have time to educate the state’s Board of Education on the importance of keeping Keller in the curriculum. Keller herself would urge people to stay optimistic: “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement; nothing can be done without hope.”
Read the full article here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Study: Older Adults Show Poor brain function with Implants

A study out of Antwerp University in Belgium finds cochlear implant recipients over the age of 55 have "significantly poorer cognitive function than their normal-hearing counterparts." Researchers say this finding shows "cochlear implants cannot fully compensate for this deterioration in brain function" due to dementia or natural cognitive decline. Details of the study are in Publishing in Frontiers in Neuroscience. Read more in Science Daily here.

Copies of Silent Garden given out in Fresno

Deaf educators in Fresno passed out the latest version of a book called The Silent Garden: a parent's guide to raising a deaf child. The book was written by Fresno State professor Dr. Paul Ogden and he was on hand as well. ABC-30 has a video report below. There's a text version of the story here.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The First Deaf Player in the NFL

The first deaf player in the NFL ran onto the field for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1973. The first game that season was played on this date (Sept. 16) against the Philidelphia 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. Sloan was born on June 1, 1948 in Lebanon , TN and attended Austin Peay State. The next deaf player in the NFL was defensive lineman Kenny Walker who played college ball at Nebraska and then in 31 games for the Denver Broncos in 1991 and 1992. the third deaf player is Seattle Seahawks running back Derrick Coleman who entered the NFL in 2012, becoming the first deaf person to play offense in the league. Coleman is on the roster for today's Super Bowl. Read more about Bonnie in a Fox Sports article here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

ICE wants deaf & disabled man deported after decades in U.S.

photo credit: Diane Newman
ICE said it was planning to deport Francis Anwana by today but has decided to delay his deportation after an outcry from immigration advocates. Anwana came to the US at the age of 13 on a student visa. Anwana "was deaf, couldn't talk, and had cognitive disabilities, enrolling at the Michigan School for the Deaf in Flint." He is now 48 years old. ICE gave him less than a week's notice that he would be sent back to a country to which he has no ties. The Michigan Immigrant Rights Center says the decision would be a death sentence for Anwana because of his severe disabilities. The group says Anwana doesn't understand what is happening to him. Read more about him from Michigan's NPR radio group
here.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Bison Decide What to Do During the National Anthem

The Gallaudet University football team has been wrestling with what to do when the national anthem is played before Bison games. Matthew Davis writes:
The team’s head coach, Chuck Goldstein, wanted his players to think about their protest. "These situations help us come together," he relayed in simultaneous communication, signing and speaking at the same time. 'You can understand each person on the team, because each person is different. You’re from different places—different people have different struggles in life. He encouraged his players to discuss why they protested and if they could find a way to protest “together.”
Read the full story at The New Yorker here.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Marlee Matlin talks about on her new show

Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin appeared on KTLA-TV this morning to talk about her special Deaf Out Loud. There are no captions and KTLA misspelled her last name in the "lower third" but she did talk about the premieres of the show, which is September 12 on A&E Network.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

“Bummy” Burstein dies at 91

Gerald “Bummy” Burstein has died. He worked tirelessly in the deaf community for 57 years—even after he retired. He died at the age of 91 in Riverside, California, where the student center at the local deaf school carries his name. Burnstein was the certified Professional Parliamentarian for the National Association of the Deaf and the author of two books. His work for Gallaudet University led the Board of Trustees to rename the Gallaudet Leadership Institute after him—the Gerald "Bummy" Burstein Leadership Institute. He first taught for 15 years at the Minnesota School for the Deaf before moving to the California School for the Deaf, Riverside. Burstein got his nickname "Bummy" from his love of the Brooklyn Dodgers who were often referred to as “Dem Bums.” Here's a video featuring Berstein as he explains how he brought visual applause from France to America.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Marlee Matlin Produced Docu

Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin is an executive producer of a new documentary called "Deaf Out Loud." The A&E special premieres September 12. The film is about "three deaf families as they raise their children in a hearing world." Here's a preview.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Austin Deaf Club Robbed

Someone broke into the building where the Austin Deaf Club was storing equipment in south Austin and stole thousands of dollars worth of equipment. KXAN has a video report.

"Hearing Impaired" Law in NY

The state of New York will no longer use "hearing impaired" in state law. Governer Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation into law on Monday. The bill requires any reference in state law to "hearing impaired" to be changed to "deaf or hard of hearing." Utah and New Hampshire already have such a law on the books. The new law was sponsored by state senator Terrence Murphy of Yorktown and Assemblyman Steve Englebright of Suffolk County. Read the text of the bill here.

A First For Gallaudet Sports

It was a historic night in Danville, Kentucky. Last night was the first time a Gallaudet University sports team has played in the state—aside from the track-and-field teams playing at an independent championship event in Berea. But the soccer game between Gallaudet and Centre College did not go as planned: There was a wait of more than an hour-and-a-half over lightning concerns. When the game finally started, Centre College dominated, winning 5-0. Next up for Gally: Spalding University in Louisville on Sunday.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

DeaFestival-Kentucky 2018

DeaFestival-Kentucky 2018 will be held this Saturday (Sept. 1) at the Galt House in Louisville. Special guests include Kyle Schulz, the two-time competitor on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior who is deaf, and Broadway and film actor Miles Barbee. There will be more than 50 visual and performing deaf and hard of hearing artists, including rappers, hip-hop musicians, comedians, storytellers and dancers. He will preview his new movie The Silent Natural. It's the story of baseball legend William Hoy who was nicknamed “Dummy” because he was deaf. It's a free event. There's more info here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Deaf Businesses in Austin

KVUE-TV has a video report about a Deaf-owned and operated business in Austin, Texas. For captioning, click here.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Test-Maker Sued Over Divulging Students’ Disabilities

Students have filed a lawsuit against the makers of the ACT test, saying ACT, Inc. has illegally disclosed students’ disabilities. “I was shocked to learn that ACT was using my disability information against me and making it more difficult for me to get into college and get the money I need to go to college," Halie Bloom told DisabilityScoop. Read the full story here.

Deaf candidate for Kansas House aiming to make history

If Chris Haulmark gets elected he would become the first deaf legislator in U.S. history, according to the National Association of the Deaf. The Kansas City Star has his amazing story.

Read more here: https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article216073410.html#storylink=cpy

Sunday, August 26, 2018

He was the First Gallaudet President

Edward Miner Gallaudet 
Edward Miner Gallaudet served as president (1864–1910) of the school that would become Gallaudet University. He died on this date (Sept. 26) in 1917. Edward was the youngest of eight children born to Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. When plans were made to change the name of the school from the Columbia Institution for the instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, Edward Miner Gallaudet wanted the honor to go to his father, a pioneer in deaf education, rather than himself. So the school was renamed Gallaudet College.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Threatening Caller contacts School for Deaf Again

Whoever made a threat to the Oklahoma School for the Deaf last week has called the school again. The FBI is tracking down the person. The Daily Ardmoreite here.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

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.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

He's Bringing Hip-Hop to the Deaf

Matt Maxey is the founder of DEAFinitely Dope, "an organization that aims to bring the deaf and hearing communities together through music." CNN has a profile of Matt here.

South Korean capital gets 'first deaf taxi drivers'

There are deaf taxi drivers on the streets of Seoul, South Korea this week, thanks to some new software. Two deaf drivers are using dual tablets to communicate in Korean with passengers using an app called Silent Taxi. Read more from the BBC here.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Deaf man hit by car

A deaf man is in critical condition after being hit by a car in Ocala, Florida. Gary Hamilton was attempting to cross the street at the time. Read more in the Ocala StarBanner here.

Threats Shut Down School For The Deaf

The Oklahoma School for the Deaf closed yesterday following a threatening phone call. It may be connected to "threats against a transgender student who attends another school that was shut down earlier this week over safety concerns," reports the Associated Press. Read the full story here.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Filling gaps in the ASL lexicon

A small team at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, New York, is busy creating signs. They've been working to fill gaps in the ASL lexicon since 2014. Hundreds of ASL signs have been created—such as a sign for the words "verb" and "prototype." Even "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." One of the people involved in the project, Ruth Anna Spooner, tells Inside Higher Ed, “We know that it’s an artificial language ‘dump,’ and by this I mean that natural language growth usually does not entail 1,400 new terms being introduced into a lexicon in four years.” Read more about the effort here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Streetcar 82 Opens

The Washington, DC suburb of Hyattsville, Maryland has a new brewery that opened this summer. And this isn't just any ole brewery; Streetcar 82 is deaf-owned—the first of its kind on the East Coast. The small building used to house an auto repair garage, but now people play "cornhole or joke and chat over drinks." Read more in the DCist here or watch the video below. You'll find the Streetcar 82 website here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

School District accused of Discrimination

Deaf educators and students are rallying against the Corpus Christi school district. Among the issues: a deaf man was hired to teach ASL and wrestling, but school administrators later withdrew the offer. What was the problem? They didn't want to pay for an interpreter to attend a conference. Read more in the Corpus Christi Caller Times here.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Between Sound and Silence

Filmmaker Taylor Brodsky writes, "A lot can happen in two generations. I was born to deaf parents and now I’m the mother of a deaf son. He was sitting on my lap in diapers when the audiologist first detected he couldn’t hear everything. By the age of 4, he heard nothing." Read more about her experience in a New York Times opinion piece here.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Fire-pit accident burns Teen

A deaf Texas teen is recovering from burns she received from a fire-pit mishap. KFDM-TV has a video report.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Philly Police Agree to Settlement over treatment of Deaf

The Philadelphia Police Department has settled a complaint over how it handles deaf people. The department will pay eight people $97,500 and update its procedures and equipment. Read more about the settlement here.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Happy Birthday Bob Hiltermann

from BobHiltermann.com
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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Six Siblings and Six Bilateral Cochlear Implants

"Siblings Matthew, 16, Marcus, 15, Michelle, 13, Maria, 10, Miley, 8, and Marcia, 6, were born deaf. Over the past eight years, all the children have been fitted with bilateral cochlear implants," writes Nancy Dahlberg in the Miami Herald. Read the full story about the six Guillou children here or watch the video below.

Starbucks' "Signing Store" is "wonderful" but..

Starbucks has received a great deal of positive news coverage and social media traction from its plan to integrate deaf culture into one of its stores near Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. But could the enthusiastic reaction be a bit much?

Pamela Kincheloe writes that there was "so much hype it was kind of absurd. Sure, it’s nice and all, but really? It’s just a Starbucks! My question when I saw this announcement all over the news was: Why is this such a huge story? Wouldn’t it be great if all Starbucks stores could have excellent communication access ― for all of their customers?" Read more in the Huffington Post here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

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.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Looking Back.. 15 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.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Starbucks To Open First U.S. Signing Store

Starbucks is opening a store designed for the Deaf Community in Washington, DC less than a miles from Gallaudet University. More than two dozen deaf and hard of hearing baristas, fluent in American Sign Language, will be ready to take orders when the store opens. It's the first Starbucks signing store in the U.S. The store layout will facilitate visual communication. Read more about it here.

Heavy metal concert terp gets noticed

Lindsay Rothschild-Cross' interpretation of a June 20 metal concert in Austin was caught on video and has racked up tons of views online, reports ABC News. She says it was her first time to work with this genre. Here's a video interview from ABC News.

LinkedIn Adds Captioning to Videos

LinkedIn users can now add captions to videos by clicking an icon. Users can also highlight quotes from articles and save drafts of those posts. The translation of posts includes more than 60 languages. Read more here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

CODA Who Defrauded Parents is Going to Jail

A judge in northern Ohio has sentenced Jessica DeMarco to 60 days in jail, 200 hours of community service and five years probation and restitution for defrauding her deaf parents of $50,000. Prosecutors say DeMarco forged a letter from a lawyer, pretending she was to receive a large sum of money. Read the details in the Warren Tribune Chronicle here.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Communicating with Alexa devices using sign language

Abhishek Singh, who has worked in the field of driverless cars and other AI technology, says he "used deep learning with TensorFlow.js to make Amazon Echo respond to sign language." He explains in this video.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

The history behind RI School for the Deaf

The Rhode Island School for the Deaf was started by Mary Ann Lippitt whose daughter had become deaf after contracting Scarlet Fever in 1856. "Lippitt created her own program and founded the Providence Day School for the Deaf in 1876. Her husband Henry Lippitt, who had become governor in 1875, used his own influence to inspire the State to take over the administration of the school the following year." Read more here.

Scientists say they've given gerbils an implant that lets them hear light

German researchers have given gerbils an implant that allows them "hear" light. They hope that this technique could be used to make superior cochlear implants for humans through optogenetics, that is, the use of light as a stimulus.Details of the study are published in the Science Translational Medicine or read an article about the research here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

New Director at School for the Deaf

Ryan Gollner
The Louisiana School for the Deaf has a new director. School Principal Ryan Gollner replaces Donna Alleman on an interim basis. The move comes after a harsh report said the Baton Rouge school suffered from "low morale among students and staff and was implementing changes without a clear plan." Read more in The Advocate here.

He was One of America's First Deaf Lawyers

Roger Demosthenes O'Kelly
He was born on October 25, in 1880. Blinded by Scarlet fever at the age of nine, Roger Demosthenes O'Kelly began losing his hearing a few years later. The North Carolina African-American slowly regained his vision in one eye. While he wanted to attend Gallaudet University, his application was denied in 1898 based on the color of his skin. So instead, he earned a degree from North Carolina's Shaw University, graduating in 1908. O'Kelly was licensed to practice law in North Carolina, becoming one of America's first deaf lawyers. He later studied law at Yale University, becoming the second deaf person to graduate from the school in 1912. He returned to his home state where establised a lucrative law practice "serving white as well as black clients, particularly in real estate, domestic relations, and corporate issues" according to  Joe A. Mobley's book Raleigh: A Brief History.  O'Kelly died at the age of 82 on this date (July 11) in 1962.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Son: Deaf Parents Mistreated by Airline

Nikolay Filatov says his parents, both of whom are deaf, were not treated well by Frontier Airlines. They were trying to get to their only grandchild's first birthday party. Denver-7 has a video report.

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.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Undercover testers find discrimination

The Southwest Fair Housing Council is suing more than a dozen assisted living and nursing home operators in Arizona for discrimination against prospective deaf residents. The nonprofit advocacy group says they sent out undercover testers to see what kind of treatment they would receive. Read more about it here.

Deaf Costco Employee Gets $775k Settlement

Christine D’Onofrio just won a $775,000 settlement from Costco. The deaf employee working in Pompano Beach, Florida says the store refused to provide her a sign language interpreter for meetings. Instead, Costco put in video phones, which did not work during large meetings. D’Onofrio, who had worked for Costco for 23 years, says a new manager complained she was "loud and aggressive" and eventually fired her. Read more about the story here.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Deaf woman groped, held at gunpoint

A deaf woman in Memphis gave a man a ride and ended up getting groped and held at gunpoint. Fox-13 has a video report below. There are no captions but you can read the story here.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Arrival & Departure debuts

A new play of special interest to the Deaf community will debut in Los Angeles next weekend (July 14). Deaf actors Deanne Bray and Troy Kotsur star in Arrival & Departurewhere they meet accidentally in a New York City subway station. Kostsur and Bray are married in real life and writer Stephen Sachs says he put the play together with them in mind. The production is performed simultaneously in spoken English and American Sign Language with additional use of open captioning. It runs from July 14 to September 30 at the Fountain Theatre. More information here. Below is a video of the first rehearsal.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Boy Found at LA Train Station

UPDATE: The boy has been reunited with his family, though police say they are still investigating why he was left alone in the first place.

Police in Los Angeles are asking for the public's help in identifying a child found at Union Station. They believe the boy to be deaf, though he did not respond to a sign language interpreter's attempts to communicate.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The deaf protest that gripped America

The BBC has a new video explaining what happened at Gallaudet University in 1988 when a protest started over the appointment of a new president. The network interviewed I King Jordan, the first ever deaf President of Gallaudet University.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Suit: Deaf Applicant Discrimination

Mark Eurlichmann has filed a lawsuit against Pensacola State College. Eurlichmann applied to teach American Sign Language at the school but, according to the deaf man's suit, a less-qualified hearing applicant applicant was hired instead. The college is not commenting but you can read more about the lawsuit in the Pensacola News Journal here.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Deaf Space Camp

This year's Deaf Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama brought together 20 students from all over the country recently. WAAY-TV has a video report.

Getting to Know.. Cochlear Limited

You could have bought stock in Cochlear Limited at the turn of the century for about $10. A few days ago the stock was worth more than $200 a share. Shares of the stock have increased nearly 30 percent in the last year.

Cochlear Limited is the biggest of the three companies that dominate the cochlear implant market. Based in Australia, Cochlear Limited does most of its business in Europe and the U.S. through more than a dozen subsidiaries. It's net revenue was about $110 million last year. With brands like Nucleus and Bah, more than a quarter of a million people have one of its implants. It employs more than 2800 people.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

On this day in history..25 year ago

It was 25 years ago today (July 1, 1993) that the FCC requires all U.S. analog television receivers with screens 13 inches or larger to include built-in decoder circuitry that could display closed captioning.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Getting to know: Canada's first deaf Priest

Canada's first deaf Roman Catholic priest was ordained in 2012. Raised a Baptist in Michigan, Matthew Hysell lost his hearing after a bout with meningitis as a toddler. He made the decision to become a priest as a teenager after reading about the priesthood in school. He graduated from City University in New York, then earned a master's in theology from a California program. He celebrates mass using sign language but is leaving his post as Associate Pastor at Corpus Christi Parish with responsibility for St. Mark’s Catholic Community of the Deaf, to pursue a doctorate at the Dominican University College in Ottawa. Mysell also cofounded the Mark Seven Bible Institute located at Camp Mark Seven in Old Forge, New York.

No, Koko had not mastered sign language

image from KoKo.com
Koko is dead. The gorilla that some claimed could communication using sign language died last week. But there was no proof of this—sign language not being something so simple an animal can use it. Geoffrey Pullum writes about the myth of Koko's linguistic prowess in an article for the Chronicle of Higher Ed here.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Netflix Captioning Complaints

A host of the makeover show Queer Eye is speaking out about captioning on Netflix. Fans are complaining through social media that the dialogue isn't correctly represented in the captioning. Now, Karamo Brown is joining those voices:

The BBC has Netflix response in this article.

Deaf comedian Speaks Out about Terp Issue

image from TomWillard.com 
A deaf comedian in Rochester, New York, says he's having difficulty getting local businesses to provide interpreters, as required by ADA law. Tom Willard tells WROC-TV, “They just didn’t want to pay for it. They wanted the comics to pay for the interpreter, but the law says no, it's the business. It’s their responsibility, just like a ramp. You don’t make a wheelchair person bring their own ramp – you don’t make a deaf person bring their own interpreter.” Read the full story here.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

This day in history.. 114 year ago

Helen Keller graduated with honors from Radcliffe College on June 28, 1904, 114 years ago today, becoming the first deaf and blind person to graduate from college with a B.A. Radcliffe was a women's liberal arts college in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a part of Harvard University.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

On this day in history..

Helen Keller was born on this day, 138 years ago, on June 27, 1880. The activist, and lecturer was the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Husky Saves Deaf Hiker

A deaf hiker who fell nearly 700-feet down snowy mountain says a trail guide dog saved her life. Amelia Millin was some nearly 30 miles outside of Anchorage when her trekking poles broke and she plunged down the mountainside. But a husky found Millin, who attends the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester. Watch an ABC video report here.

On this date in 1889

The statue of Thomas Gallaudet that greets visitors to the university in the nation's capital that bears his name was unveiled on this date-June 26, 1889. The work of sculptor Daniel Chester French, the bronze statue shows Gallaudet teaching a little girl, Alice Cogswell. She holds a book to her heart, with the alphabet running across the page. They are practicing the letter “A” of American Sign Language. She was a neighbor of the Gallaudets in Connecticut. Thomas noticed Alice did not play with the other children and inquired about her. After discovering she was deaf, Thomas Gallaudet asked to become her first teacher, which he did. This was the first in a series of events that lead to the founding of the first permanent school for the deaf in America and the establishment of what is now Gallaudet University.

Some believe there are mistakes on the statue, but university officials say this is not the case. The chair has only one arm and one straight leg. This was a type of chair common in Gallaudet's day. The chair is not hollow underneath, in order to support the weight of the statue's plaster model. However, the statue was delivered late because French found several mistakes he wanted to correct, including making Gallaudet's legs too short. The text on the statue includes a reference to the "United-States." It was not uncommon for a hyphen to be used at the time, though was considered old fashioned, even in 1889. However, the statue is not consistent because the phrasing on the other side does not include a hyphen. Also, there are periods included in some of the text that is not included on other parts of the statue.

Happy Birthday Signmark!

Today is the birthday of deaf Finnish rap artist Signmark. He was born Marko Vuoriheimo in Helsinki on June 26, 1978. He's now 40
years old.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

A New, Vast Helen Keller Archive

The American Foundation for the Blind has launched the world’s first fully accessible digital archive collection of Helen Keller artifacts. The collection includes digitized letters, essays, speeches, and more than a quarter million digital images of her work. You can access the archive here.