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.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Meet Maryland's deaf candidate

image from vote4toyinfasakin.com
Toyin Fasakin is a candidate for Register of Wills in Maryland's Prince George’s County. Only a few states elect people to open estates for the deceased and keep up with wills and Maryland is one of the them. The Washington Post reports that Fasakin is running "because when his Ni­ger­ian father died without a will, there was 'agony and strife' as his two wives and their children divided his property." A question he often gets from voters is whether a deaf person can do the job. He tells the Washington Post, “I would say, ‘hey, why not? This has nothing to do with my deafness. This is about skills, abilities, and qualifications to lead and manage,’ ” said Fasakin, who became deaf after contracting the measles at age 4. “I want to make changes happen." Read the full story about Fasakin here.

Teen's encounter with deaf-blind man on flight goes viral

A teenager used tactile signing to help a fellow passenger during their delayed flight. Photos and a Facebook post by another passenger made the encounter go viral. Seattle's King5 has a video report but it does not have captioning. You can read part of the story here.

Getting to Know... The Father of the Internet

Vinton Cerf
It was on this date (June 23) 1943 that Vinton Cerf was born in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1997, President Clinton presented the U.S. National Medal of Technology to Cerf and his colleague, Robert Kahn, for founding and developing the Internet. In 2004, the pair were given the ACM Alan M. Turing award, which is sometimes called the "Nobel Prize of Computer Science." In 2005, President George W. Bush awarded Cerf and Kahn the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award given by the US government. Cern now works for Google as its chief Internet evangelist, looking for and promoting new technologies and services. What many do not know, is that Cerf was partly motivated by his frustration with communication with other researchers. He is quoted as saying, “In creating the Internet with my colleagues, in part I wanted to help people with hearing loss as well as other communication difficulties. Written communication is a tremendous help for me, and so when electronic mail was invented in ’71, I got very excited about it, thinking that the hard-of-hearing community could really use this.” Cerf has hearing loss as does his wife, who had hearing loss due to spinal meningitis at the age of three. She received her first cochlear implant in 1996 and a second implant in her other ear nearly a decade later. They met at the office of a hearing aid specialist and married in 1966. Read more about her experience here.  Cerf joined the Board of Trustees of Gallaudet University in 1997.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Deaf inmates denied equal access: Lawsuit

The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against Georgia. The complaint accuses the state failing to provide deaf and hard-of-hearing inmates access to interpreters and other tools to communicate effectively in violation of ADA law. As a result, “deaf and hard of hearing people are incarcerated more frequently, suffer harsher prison conditions, remain in prison longer, and return to prison faster." Read the full story from the Associated Press here.

Friday, June 15, 2018

On this Day: The First Computer PhD

image from Gallaudet.edu
It was on this date, June 15, 2008, that Karen Alkoby became the first deaf woman in the US to earn a PhD in computer science. She graduated from DePaul University in Chicago, helping to pioneer a computer-animated dictionary. Alkoby’s dissertation involved determining how the human brain interprets shapes like those made by hands in ASL. This may help with creation of a ASL-to-English dictionary. She now teaches computer science at Gallaudet Univeristy.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

NYPD issuing visor cards to deaf drivers

New York police are mailing out visor cards to 11,000 deaf or hard of hearing drivers. The goal is better communication with law enforcement. As the image on the left shows, one side of the card indicates how a driver prefers to communicate and the other side shows symbols that an officer can point to in order to indicate what caused a traffic stop. The card is intended to be attached to the sun visor of a car. It was designed by the NYPD with input from service providers and advocacy organizations. Deputy Commissioner of Collaborative Policing Susan Herman is quoted in a press release as saying:
It is our duty at the NYPD to not only protect each and every New Yorker, but to provide support when people are in need. Today, we're reaching out with a tool that we believe will improve communication between officers and drivers who are deaf or hard of hearing during an encounter that can often be stressful.
There's more information from the NYPD here.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Deaf Jazz Singer Hits All the Right Notes

"Despite not being able to hear for nearly a decade, a jazz musician still commands the stage," reports NBC News. Below is a link to a video about Mandy Harvey.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

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.

Friday, June 8, 2018

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.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Study: Smoking exposure increases risk of deafness twofold

A Japanese study finds children are more than twice as likely to be born deaf if their mother smoked Even exposure to second-hand smoke increased the likelihood of hearing issues. Read more details in the Daily Mail here.

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.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Suit: Denver Cops Failed to Provide Terp

Two deaf Colorado women are suing Denver law enforcement for failing to provide them with qualified sign language interpreters. According to the Denver Post, "The suit claims the agencies ignored repeated requests for qualified sign language interpreters, failed to follow their own policies and broke state and federal anti-discrimination laws in the process." Read the full story here.

Monday, June 4, 2018

31 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 commercial 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.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Report: Integrating deaf in the workplace is easier than employers realize

UPDATE: THE CBC HAS NOW POSTED A TRANSCRIPT OF THE INTERVIEW HERE. Employers sometimes "have trouble imagining how a deaf person would function on the job." But the CBC reports, "Integrating deaf Canadians in the workplace is easier than employers realize." The network spoke with the head of the Canadian Association of the Deaf to find out what really happens when a business hires a deaf worker. Here is a link to the audio. Unfortunately, the website doesn't offer a text version of the interview.

Deaf couple: We were mistreated at KFC

image from WLBT-TV video report
A deaf couple say employees at a KFC near Jackson, Mississippi laughed at them for not being able to communicate their food order verbally. According to WLBT-TV,"Bobbie and Mike Cole wanted a chicken dinner at KFC in Byram Wednesday, but what they said they got was disrespect and humiliation from employees." You can watch a video report or read a text version of the story here.

Tips on 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

Saturday, June 2, 2018

More than 100 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.

Deaf Workers Sue Walmart

Two deaf employees are suing Walmart for what they claim is discrimination. Troy Miles and Tonya Bland needed interpreters at meetings held at the Washington, DC store where they worked. But they say Walmart managers ignored their requests. Walmart has denied those allegations. Read the suit here and there is more information on the case from the National Law Journal here.

Friday, June 1, 2018

On this day... the 1st Deaf NFL Player was Born

Bonnie Sloan
On this date (June 1) in 1948, Bonnie Sloan was born in Tennessee. At the age of 25, Bonnie would become the first deaf player in the NFL when he ran onto the field for the St. Louis Cardinals against the Philadelphia Eagles in 1973.  His career only lasted one season, thanks to knee injuries, but he had made his mark. The 6-foot-5, 260-pounder came 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 recently honored him by declaring an August day in 2013 as Bonnie Sloan Day. Read more about Sloan here.

On this Date 50 Years ago

Helen Keller died in Westport, Connecticut June 1, 1968, 50
years ago today.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Report: Parents are leading a "revolt" at a Deaf School

Some parents at L.A.’s only school for the deaf think the school is in crisis and say they are considering withdrawing their children. The Los Angeles Times reports:
Anger over the school's administration has sparked a revolt led by parents, alumni and advocacy groups who believe the school is in crisis. They point to high turnover, cuts to extracurricular programs and sports — and the absence of high-level staff fluent in ASL.
Read the full story in the LA Times here.

Terp in China Becomes Social Media Star

A CODA from southwest China has become a "social media star" after posting a video on WeChat. The sign language lawyer who became wanted to tell people about the danger of Ponzi schemes. The BBC reports: "Despite a significant expansion in access to education, some deaf Chinese are still targeted by financial scam organisers. Stories of deaf people who lost fortunes in scams prompted Mr Tang to launch the video series that shot him to social media fame." Read the full story here.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Opinion: Hollywood keeps 'cripping up'

Sara Novic, a Deaf writer and assistant professor of creative writing at Stockton University, says, "Hollywood has a representation problem" where it is "casting abled actors in the role of disabled characters, a phenomenon the disabled community calls 'cripping up.' When disabled people do raise the issue, they are quickly silenced, accused of overreacting. Despite the rich tradition of Deaf storytelling and theater showcased by award-winning companies such as the National Theatre of the Deaf and Deaf West Theatre, Hollywood has an equally longstanding tradition of forgoing deaf actors for hearing ones, even for signing and/or deaf characters. And "The Shape of Water" isn't the only example of this." Read her full article here.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Linguistics Meet to Discuss Deaf Communities

Linguistics met Thursday at UCLA to discuss the differences between the hearing and deaf communities, as well as how deaf communities vary between countries. The school's student newspaper quotes lecturer Benjamin Lewis as saying,"Oftentimes we meet people who take pity on us. So I want to plant a new seed that being deaf is great. It’s nothing to feel sad about.” Read more about the meeting here.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

What Makes a Website "Accessible"?

U.S. courts have issued conflicting rulings about ADA law and the internet. "As a result, businesses, litigants and the courts have had no governmental rules or guidance to look to for what must be done to a website to make it compliant with the ADA," Charles Marion writes on Law.com. He says one case was dismissed for the lack of government rules on the matter. Read more about how websites and accessibility are a work in progress here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

"Sign Language Isn’t Just for Babies"

Rachel Kolb is glad that hearing parents are teaching their babies some sign language but the doctoral student, who is also deaf, says, "They are missing an opportunity to take advantage of the contributions that deaf people — the primary users (and originators) of signed languages — can offer to the world." Read more in this New York Times opinion piece here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Another video of the Airport Confrontation

Here is another video showing the confrontation that started when a passenger alledgedly hit a service dog during a flight to Orlando. The man says he didn't punch the dog but swatted at it. There an ABC News report here.

New App for Deaf Parents

UCLA researchers say they've come up with an app that helps deaf parents know when and why their baby is crying. It's called Chatterbaby and "uses artificial intelligence to help determine if baby is hungry, fussy or in pain." Watch the video below for more or read the information here.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

New Video of Airport Confrontation Over Service Dog

A video shows a confrontation between a deaf pregnant woman and a man who she accused of punching her service dog. It happened as their Frontier flight was taxiing to a gate at Orlando International Airport. WFTV-TV has a video report. The captions don't seem to be working but you can read it here.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

More on the man accused of punching a deaf pregnant woman

Hazel Ramirez says a man punched her and her service dog during a trip from Colorado Springs to Orlando Thursday. WKMG-TV has a video report.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Before video chat

"Talking to my parents on the phone in the days before Skype and FaceTime was a strange experience," Lauren Fitzpatrick writes. She says that while her relay service "seemed like cutting-edge technology in 2004, it was always awkward to end a conversation by saying 'I love you' to a stranger." Read the full story in the Boston Globe here.

Man hits pregnant deaf woman and her service dog

A man on a Frontier Airlines flight from Colorado Springs to Orlando hit a deaf woman's service dog and then the woman who was pregnant. She was traveling with her boyfriend, who is also deaf. WESH-TV has more including a short video of part of the altercation here.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Everyone Can Code

from Apple.com
Students from the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
take part in a Swift Playgrounds session.

Apple says it will bring its "Everyone Can Code" curricula for the Swift programming language to schools serving the deaf and blind. Here is a list of some of the schools involved:

• California School for the Deaf (Fremont, Calif.)
• Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (St. Augustine, Fla.)
• Texas School for the Deaf (Austin, Tex.)

There's more information here.

Nyle DiMarco Calls Out Marvel

Nyle DiMarco has tweeted about his displeasure over Marval's decision to portray one of its superheros as hearing when he was originally deaf. The model and actor told Mic:
Hawkeye in the Avengers — he's boring. I'm sorry. I'm a big fan of his work, but let's have a deaf actor in there instead... I think it would have made a better movie and better TV if they'd actually brought in a deaf actor.
Read more here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Deaf Candidates are Stepping Up to Run for Polical Offices

Portland has its first deaf city council candidate. Philip Wolfe is "part of a new wave of people who are deaf or hard of hearing and are fighting for a seat at the table in politics." Wolfe tells Oregon Public Radio:
I’m hoping to shift minds, and shift paradigms, [so] that deaf people can run and they can be involved, and as people are curious as to what that looks like, I’m there and am facilitating that communication and education.
There's more of the interview here. Below is a video of Wolfe explaining why he is running for office.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Inside the life of a deaf firefighter

Eric Nusbaum is a deaf firefighter with Elsmere Fire Department near Albany, New York. WTEN-TV has a video report about Nusbaum below. You can read the story here.

Monday, May 14, 2018

A "legend in show business"

CNN sat down with deaf comedian CJ Jones. The news network calls him a "legend in show business." Watch the interview here.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Deaf actress dies on this date

from CBS Photo Archive
One of the first deaf actresses to have a major role on a TV series died on this day one year ago (May 13, 2015) in Fremont, California. Audree Norton was 88 years old.

A founding member of The National Theatre of the Deaf, Norton appeared on the CBS show Mannix in 1968 and later on The Streets of San Francisco and Family Affair. When she was cut out of a role just because she was deaf, Norton filed a complaint with the Screen Actors Guild. John Schuchman suggests in his book Hollywood Speaks: Deafness and he Film Entertainment Industry that the decision ended her Hollywood career--but opened the door to others.

Norton lost her hearing to spinal meningitis at the age of two and attended Gallaudet University. A memorial service was held at the California School for the Deaf. You can read her obituary here.
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Saturday, May 12, 2018

Service Dog Laws

Nearly two dozen states now have laws against claiming a dog is a service animal when it is not. The latest state to pass such a law is Minnesota, where the governor signed a bill into law Thursday. The goal is to prevent "untrained animals into stores, restaurants, libraries and other public places where their behavior can be bothersome," The Washington Post reports. Read the full story here.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

New Zealanders''sign name' for Trump

Deaf people around the world have given Donald Trump his own sign name. In New Zealand it's made by "placing a hand over the head and letting the fingers wave in the breeze, mimicking his at times erratic haircut." See a video here.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Deaf Ohio man sues county for lack of terp

A Springfield, Ohio deaf man is suing Clark County because Sheriff’s deputies did not provide him with a sign language interpreter when he was arrested—or later when he was booked into jail. His attorney tells the Dayton Daily News:
It’s all too common. Whether it’s in hospitals, jails, schools, so many entities don’t know what is required under the ADA and other federal laws and just presume that if they’re dealing with somebody’s who’s deaf, that they can just communicate with them through passing notes, reading lips and the law is very clear that that is not acceptable.
Read the full story here.

On this date in history..Frederick Barnard dies

Frederick Barnard
It was on this date in 1889 that Frederick Barnard died at the age of 80 (May 5). His full name was Frederick Augustus Porter Barnard. The deaf American educator was quite the renaissance man. Besides teaching college students, he was a scientist, writer and mathematician. Barnard served as president of the University of Mississippi, then took the same position at Columbia College in New York City (it later became a university). The year he died, an affiliated college for women was established and named Barnard College in his honor. He is acknowledged by historian of deaf history as someone who made a significant contribution to deaf education.

Friday, May 4, 2018

The decades-long battle over deaf communication in Nicaragua

The world’s only living natural experiment in the creation of language has happened among the deaf in Nicaragua when oralism was replaced by what is now known as Nicaraguan Sign Language—and at the same time ASL was rejected. As Dan Rosenheck discovered, it has fundamentally changed how linguists think about one of civilisation’s greatest mysteries. Read more in an in-depth article from 1843 magazine here.

Ice Cream & ASL

A new ice cream shop in Indiana is training everyone on staff to use American Sign Language. RTV6 explains why in a video report.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Driver Pretends to be Deaf

A Jacksonville, Florida man pretended to be deaf when he was stopped for speeding, according to police. WOKV reports the man is facing charges of "knowingly driving with a license that's either suspended or revoked and with giving a false ID to law enforcement." Read more details here.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

ASL program dropped with no warning

A Tampa, Florida County has cut its American Sign Language program with students only days from taking final exams. School administrators tossed the teacher out of the building in the middle of class. They didn't even let her say goodbye to her students. WFTS-TV has a video report. No captions but you can read the story here.

Getting to know the Gally Baseball Coach

image of Curtis Pride from MLB.com
Former major league outfielder Curtis Pride has been the head coach of Gallaudet University's baseball team for a decade. He tells the Washington Times, "“The biggest challenge is recruiting. I probably have the most difficult job of college coaches for recruiting. I recruit deaf or hard-of-hearing players. There are not that many out there. Once I get the player I have to develop the skill to get them up to the college level.” Read more about Pride's impact on the
students here.

Identification Cards in Oregon

The Oregon Association for the Deaf is partnering with other advocacy groups to give out visor and wallet cards, which will "
serve as a tool to assist with communications between individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and law enforcement officers." Read more from KTVZ-TV here.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

College graduates its first deaf commercial truck driver

A Washington State Community College has graduated its first deaf commercial truck driver. Justin Brooks "became the first deaf student to graduate from Spokane Community College’s commercial driving program, and he departed on Friday to Kansas City, Missouri, where he has secured a job with a major trucking company," The Spokesman-Review reports. One of the driver instructors is quoted as saying Brooks "was a great student. He already had a great understanding of how the tractor and trailer worked in conjunction with one another, and what to look for. It made my life easy as an instructor.” Read the full story here.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Gally Alums Launch reFort

Some graduates of Gallaudet University have launched a company called reFort that "refurbishes departing students’ unwanted appliances and electronics over the summer and sells them to returning students by the fall," the Washington Business Journal reports. "There are a lot of customers who really don’t understand that these goods are turning into things in a landfill, and that they can actually be used again,” Myles Goldberg, one of the company founders says. Read the full WBJ story here. and more about the company from Communication Service for the Deaf here or watch their video below.

He Wants To See More Deaf Firefighters Like Himself

Austin Freidt is a firefighter in North Carolina—with cochlear implants. "He wants other people like him in other cities and counties to be able to follow their dreams of becoming a firefighter too," WFMY-TV reports. Read more about Freidt's effort here.

Utah Republican Party accused ADA violations

Aaron Heineman is suing the Utah Republican Party for failing to provide him a sign language interpreter as promised. He's being joined by Eliza McIntosh Stauffer, "who is paralyzed from the waist down and uses a wheelchair. She says the state party didn’t accommodate her during the GOP state convention in 2016," The Salt Lake Tribune reports. Read the details here.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Lawsuit: 'The kids don’t want you on the team'

image from the Framingham State University
website where Kayla now plays softball
Kayla Finacchiaro is suing Newbury College, saying she was kicked off the women’s softball team because she is deaf. Finacchiaro told The Boston Globe her coach said, “You are no longer welcome here” and “The kids don’t want you on the team.” Newbury College denies she was dismissed from the team because of being deaf but the school has yet to offer another reason. Read the full story here.

Deaf worker punched by customer because she couldn't hear her demands

Liberty Gratz was working at a Virginia grocery store when she says she felt someone hit her on back. She couldn't hear the woman wanting help finding an item—so the woman hit her. WRIC-TV has a video report below. You can read more here.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

News in ASL from CNN-backed online TV network

An online TV network for American Sign Language users called Sign1News has been in operation now for about a year. While not financied by CNN, the effort is supported by the cable news newtwork. As part of CNN Newsource, the half-dozen employees at Sign1News are able to utilize CNN video for their brief newscasts. Former Atlanta anchor Karen Graham is behind the effort. There are two regular newscasts at 10am and 7pm, Easter time.

Deaf couple shot at in road rage incident

Police in Omaha, Nebraska are on the lookout for a speeding Chevy that cut off a deaf couple and then shot at their car. WOWT-TV has a video report.

Friday, April 20, 2018

On this date in History: A Deaf Astronomer Dies

On this date (April 20) in 1786, John Goodricke died. 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. He was born in the Netherlands, though he lived most of his life in England. 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.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Happy Birthday, Russell Harvard!

Russell Harvard was born on this day (April 16, 1981) in Pasadena. The 37 year old has already made his mark in both film and stage. The Austin, Texas native grew up deaf, communicating in ASL and lip reading. Harvard’s mother was born deaf and did not learn sign until she was six years old. After playing roles in stage productions at Gallaudet such as Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, Harvard has had parts in CBS’ CSI: New York with Marlee Matlin and in Deaf West Theatre’s Sleeping Beauty. The actor played Daniel Day-Lewis’s grown son in the 2007 film There Will Be Blood. He played the role of Matt Hamil in the 2010 film The Hammer.  Harvard won a Theatre World Award for Outstanding Debut Performance in the Off Broadway show Tribes and played a role in Deaf West Theater's Spring Awakening. He played a hit man in the FX series Fargo. He received a BA in Theater Arts from Gallaudet University in 2008.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Some hospital services for the deaf discontinued in RI

The Rhode Island Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing plans to discontinue some of its emergency after-hours interpreter referral service for hospital emergencies starting this summer. Read the full story in the Providence Journal here.

This Day in History: the first public school for the deaf opened

It was on this day (April 15) in 1817 that the American School for the Deaf, the first public school for the deaf, opened its doors. Founded by Laurent Clerc and Thomas Gallaudet, the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut is more than 200 years old.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Deaf Kids Get Bullied More

About half of adolescents with hearing loss say they have been bullied. Less than a third of other children say the same thing. That's the finding of a new student out of UT Dallas. More than one-fourth of adolescents with hearing loss indicated they felt left out of social activities, compared to only 5 percent of the general population reporting exclusion. Read more about the study here.

Friday, April 13, 2018

TV Producer Arrested in Death of Deaf Sister

Los Angeles police say a former TV producer is behind bars—arrested on suspicion of killing her deaf and partially blind sister. Jill Blackstone is accused of drugging her sister and putting her in their garage along with three pet dogs, which she set on fire. Read more in the LA Times here.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

When Sign Language Is a Superpower

This Friday (April 13) the film Sign Gene will begin showing at the Laemmle Theater in Los Angeles—its U.S. debut. The Pacific Standard reports, "The plot centers on an international band of deaf people, who, thanks to a genetic mutation, can channel superpowers through their use of sign language. The independent film is a fast-paced, genre-bending romp, shot on three continents with a cast made up entirely of deaf actors and CODAs." Read the full Pacific Standard article here. The trailer for the film is below.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

How 'Deaf President Now' Changed America

"Deaf President Now stands as a watershed moment in the history not just of Deaf and disability rights, but also of American civil rights more broadly. As I spoke to people who had been instrumental in the protests, and the current president of Gallaudet, I heard one additional message: a fear that too few Americans even remember this story," writes University of Minnesota history professor David Perry. He has put together a "A brief history of the movement that transformed a university and helped catalyze the Americans With Disabilities Act." You can read the entire article here.
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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Director Pushed to Cast a Deaf Actress for 'A Quiet Place'

image from A Quiet Place trailer 
John Krasinksi not only directed the new film A Quiet Place, he fought to cast deaf actress Millicent Simmonds as his onscreen daughter, according to the screen writers. Screenwriter Scott Beck told the Hollywood Reporter, “We always had a deaf character in the script, but John really pushed for them to hire Millicent. She came to set and taught everyone sign language. It was really amazing and brought an extra depth to the film." Read the full story here.

On this day in 1864..

It was on this date, April 8, 1864, that President Abraham Lincoln signed the charter to establish Gallaudet University.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Florida Sued over lack of Captions on Legislative Videos

A deaf man in Florida has filed a lawsuit against the state legislature because it doesn’t provide closed captioning for its online live streaming and also its archived videos. Eddie Sierra is getting support from the National Association Of The Deaf. Lawmakers haven't even bothered to respond to his letters and other attempts to bring their attention to the problem. You can read the details of the lawsuit here.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Deaf Actress Delivers "Powerful Performance" in Major New Film

A Quiet Place hits theaters across the country today. The horror film incudes Millicent Simmonds as one of the stars. The deaf actress has already made her mark in Wonderstruck and now she plays a pivotal role in this new film about a family that must stay silent to survive.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

This is the day that Helen Keller made her breakthrough

It was on this day, April 5, during the year 1887 when Helen Keller grasped the meaning of the word “water” as spelled out in the manual alphabet with the help of teacher Anne Sullivan. Her blind and deaf pupil had learned to memorize words but failed to connect the words to their meanings. When Anne took Helen to an old pump house Helen on that fateful day, she finally understood that everything has a name. Sullivan put Helen’s hand under the stream and began spelling “w-a-t-e-r” into her palm, first slowly, then more quickly.

Keller later wrote in her autobiography, The Story of My Life:
“As the cool stream gushed over one hand she spelled into the other the word water, first slowly, then rapidly. I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motions of her fingers. Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten–-a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew then that ‘w-a-t-e-r’ meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free! There were barriers still, it is true, but barriers that could in time be swept away.”
Here's a video about Helen Keller (no captions).

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Gallaudet: 30 years after 'Deaf President Now' protest

It has been three decades since students at Gallaudent University "brought the campus in the nation's capital to a standstill 30 years ago during a week-long protest to demand a 'deaf president now.'" USA Today has a look back and how it happened and a look at how students look at the movement today. The newspaper quotes Ryan Maliszewski, who runs Gallaudet's Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute, as saying, "Students today don't need wait for another protest like 1988 to create opportunities for leadership in the deaf community." Read the full story here.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

What Do Cochlear Implants And Hearing Aids Sound Like?

Science Friday has a lesson for middle schools students about how hearing aids and cochlear implants including sample recordings of..
"..what it’s like to hear sound through a hearing aid and a cochlear implant. Unless you wear one of these devices, it is impossible to know exactly what it is like to experience sound through them. In fact, people who have normal hearing in one ear but wear a cochlear implant in the other ear say that these simulations sound very different from how they hear sounds with their implant."
The sample sounds are posted here.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

BSL teacher jailed, 'snared by paedophile hunter'

"A teacher once named 'Britain's sign language tutor of the year' has been jailed after being snared by a female paedophile hunter," reports the Daily Mail. Read the full story here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

1st Deaf Female Officer for Texas Police

A north Texas town has hired its first female deaf commissioned police officer. The Dalhart Police Chief David Conner picked 25-year old Erica Trevino to serve the community, and she be the first in the entire state. She tells ABC-7 KVII-TV news:
“It’s not something I just want, it’s something God has called me to do. That’s what I believe. This truly is a career and I can’t tell you how much I look up to the people and I respect how much work the officers put into becoming a police officer.”
Read the story here or watch the video below for more information.