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.

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.
.

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.