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.
.

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.