Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Maritime Sign Language

The deaf community in Nova Scotia is rallying to preserve a sign language that's unique to the region, according to the CBC. It's called "Maritime Sign Language" and it is still used by older people in Atlantic Canada. Since it isn't being handed down to the next generation, "There's a push to document MSL before it's lost."  Read more about the effort here.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

HoH boy creates video game for blind

A 12-year-old hard-of-hearing video-game designer has created a video game for blind and visually impaired children. WFTS-TV in Tampa, Florida has a video report (no captions but text here).

Friday, December 27, 2019

Adapting Religious Services at Gally

Gallaudet University is adopting religious services to the school's deaf population by offering the services in American Sign Language and Arabic Sign Language. Religious News Service says, "Changes (to the Catholic mass) would be striking to anyone used to a Mass where the hearing are in the majority" and it is a similar experience for Muslims. Read the full story here.
A monument honoring Thomas Gallaudet is being restored at the American School for the Deaf in Connecticut. Gallaudet founded the school in 1817. The project should be completed this coming fall. Read more about it from Associated Press here.

Deaf & HoH attorneys sworn in

Chief Justice John Roberts used American Sign Language when he swore-in a group of 10 deaf and hard-of-hearing attorneys sworn into the U.S. Supreme Court Bar Association. That means they can argue cases before the nation's highest court. One of them is Azeema Akram, an administrative law judge at the Illinois Commerce Commission, who was diagnosed as hard of hearing at the age of three. WLS-TV in Chicago has her story in the video below.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Marlee Matlin vs Delta Airlines

Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin is calling out Delta Airlines for failing to provide captions for its videos during flights.



The Air Carrier Access Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability on airlines.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Inventing sign language for space

British sign language is receiving an astronomical update thanks to a unique collaboration between a space scientist and a group of deaf astronomers. The BBC video below explains more.

The Deaf are being 'excluded from astronomy'

An astrophysicist in the UK is leading a project to develop 50 new BSL signs to help explain her research. Olja Panic says, "The deaf community risks being excluded from aspects of modern science because the number of new advances is outpacing the development of sign language to explain them." Read the full story at Phys.org here.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Nyle DiMarco & Mariah Carey

Nyle DiMarco's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" ASL challenge got a thumbs up from Mariah Carey. Her song by that title hit #1 and she retweeted his video below, saying "This is Amazing!!!!!":

Friday, December 20, 2019

Deaf school gets fined over hazardous waste

image from Google Maps
The Oregon School for the Deaf is getting slapped with a $11,500 fine. State environmental regulators say the school has mismanaged hazardous waste. Read more from the Statesman Journal here.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Deaf refugees overcome language barrier

Sangita and Purna Kami are from Bhutan and both are deaf. Sangita has been deaf all her life while Purna became deaf after he fell from a tree at the age of eight. The deaf couple "met in a refugee camp in Bhutan and immigrated to the United States with limited ability to communicate." Find out more in this WXXI video below or read the story of the Kamis here.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

ASL interpreters have a crucial role in the law

ASL Interpreters and Certified Deaf Interpreters play an important role in law enforcement and court interaction. The Post-Bulletin has more here.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Audiologist wins national award

image from Oticon.com
An audiologist working at Kendall Demonstration Elementary School which is based on Gallaudet University’s campus in DC has won the 2019 Oticon Focus on People Award for Best Practitioner. The national award goes toward honoring individuals with hearing loss as well as hearing care professionals who open new possibilities for the hearing impaired community. The hearing loss of this year's winner, Jennifer Gaston, wasn't discovered until she was five years old. Read more about Jennifer here and about other award winners here.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Deafness in Three Movements

A new documentary about deafness premiered on HBO last night. Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements is the story of Jonas Brodsky who began losing his hearing at the age of two like his grandmother. Only in Jonas case, his parents had the choice of giving him a cochlear implant. Read more about the film here or watch the trailer below.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

ASL Program Proposed for Univ of Memphis

The University of Memphis is planning to become the only college in West Tennessee offering a degree program in ASL by the fall of 2021. The school only started offering undergraduate courses in ASL during the fall of 2015. Administrators expect to serve 40 majors each year and graduate 15 to 20 students each year. The only college in Tennessee with such a degree program is Maryville College. Read more about UM's plans here.

$2 Million Grant Goes to Cochlear Implant Research

A National Institutes of Health grant of $2 million will be used by a researcher at USC toward a "project aimed at helping the formerly deaf with cochlear implants regain their appreciation for music." Ray Goldsworthy (who uses a CI himself) will study:
The role pitch perception plays in music comprehension. The ability to determine pitch — to distinguish if one sound is higher or lower than the other — is severely limited in once-deaf people with cochlear implants and a big reason that music is hard for them to hear. Goldsworthy plans to help subjects regain this ability through training software he has developed. He will also investigate new ways of encoding improved pitch into the electrical stimulation patterns of the cochlear implant — this stimulation is how sound is recognized — and use brain imaging to understand the changes in the brain that occur with pitch training.
Read more from USC here.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Deaf Actor plays characters not defined by his being Deaf

Russell Harvard, a third-generation Deaf man, is playing the roles of Link Deas and Boo Radley in Broadway’s To Kill a Mockingbird. It's the "first time the actor had played a character not defined by being Deaf." He tells Playbill
I think it simply means I’m good at what I do. It makes sense with Link Deas and Boo Radley because they share similar qualities. Both are outcasts in the community and good-hearted men who know what’s right and wrong...I’m an actor who happens to be Deaf, and I get to share the artistry of ASL with the audience of this landmark show.
To Kill a Mockingbird is in its second season at the Shubert Theatre. Read more from Playbill about Harvard here.

Friday, November 29, 2019

NAD wins settlement against Harvard over captioning video

Harvard has settled a lawsuit over captioning. The school has agreed to make its website and online courses "friendlier" to those who are deaf or hard of hearing. The National Association of the Deaf filed the suit four years ago, saying "many of its videos and audio recordings lacked captions or used inaccurate captions." NAD CEO Howard Rosenblum said, "This lawsuit (puts) universities and colleges on notice that all aspects of their campus including their websites must be accessible to everyone." At first, Harvard tried to get the lawsuit dismissed. A judge rejected Harvard’s argument that its websites do not constitute a physical “public accommodation” covered by federal civil rights laws. The judge ruled that Harvard’s online are offerings can be seen as an extension of the campus. Read more details on the settlement from the NAD here.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Oldest Terp Dies

The woman believed to be the oldest working sign language interpreter in the country has died at the age of 97. Norma Lewis worked with deaf people in the Kentucky court system. Read more about Norma in the Courier-Journal here.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Priests who abused deaf children get 40-year jail terms

"Two Roman Catholic priests were each sentenced to more than 40 years in prison in Argentina for the sexual abuse, including rape, of deaf children" reports AFP. The victims were living at a Catholic boarding school and ranged from between four and 17 years of age. "Some burst into wild celebrations when the sentence was read out in court. Some of the victims' mothers simply embraced and wept." Read more here.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

NTID partners with Beijing school

The National Technical Institute for the Deaf is partnering with a Chinese university to create student and faculty exchange programs. A delegation from Beijing Union University visited the Rochester campus where they signed a Memorandum of Understanding yesterday. Read more about the agreement here.

First Deaf Player in Youth Hockey League

The Madison Gay Hockey Association has its first deaf player. Stephanie Schwartzkopf is from Colorado but moved to Wisconsin a couple of years ago and she is among the 70 players. Read more about her in an Isthmus article here.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

A Deaf Dancer Lands Her Dream Role

As the Lady in Purple in “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf,” Alexandria Wailes finally has a part that reflects her just the way she is: deaf, mixed race and a dancer." Read more in the New York Times here.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Hospital reaches agreement in civil rights probe over terps

Detroit's William Beaumont Hospital has settled a civil rights complaint over its violation of ADA law. The facility was accused of failing to adequately provide interpreters for deaf patients. Beaumont refused to admit any wrongdoing, denying it violated ADA law. And yet, it agreed to provide ADA training and enforce policies related to interpreters. The agreement applies to Beaumont's three hospitals and 31 associated health care facilities. Read more about the case in a news release from the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan here.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Historic marker unveiled for Rochester’s School for the Deaf

A roadside marker was unveiled yesterday to honor the role of Rochester’s School for the Deaf in the community. The school was established in 1876. RochesterFirst.com has a video report (or read the story here).

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Deaf actor finally gets his wish: Not to be defined solely by deafness

Aaron Sorkin's stage adaptation of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird has just started its second season with a new cast. Academy Award nominee Ed Harris is taking on the role of Atticus Finch while deaf actor Russell Harvard has joined the cast as well. It was Harvard's wish not to be defined "solely by deafness." The Washington Post says he's getting that wish with the Shubert Theater show. Read the article here.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Texting 911 (hopefully) coming to New York City soon

It has been more than two years since New York City officials announced plans to offer 911 texting. It was supposed to happen last year--but now the city says it may actually have it in operation by summer. Deaf advocates say it can't come soon enough. Margaret Arnold, an ASL interpreter, is quoted by the New York Daily News as saying:
I texted 311 services for New York City...I said, ‘I need help, please,’ (The) 311 (operator) said, ‘Call 911.’ I said, ‘I can’t call 911, I’m deaf. What do I do?’ The 311 operator said, ‘I don’t know how to help you.’
Read more about the issue here.

Monday, November 11, 2019

A Deaf CEO’s Perspective

The CEO of the world’s largest deaf-led social impact organization says the disability rights movement has been around a lot longer than many people think. According to Christopher Soukup of Communication Service for the Deaf:
For most people, the disability rights movement’s inception seemingly occurs after the civil rights movement in the mid-20th century, when in fact, I argue that it goes back more than 100 years, occurring even before the founding of the National Association of the Deaf in 1880, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization. Deaf clubs and deaf schools were centers of an active and engaged civic life among the deaf population in the 19th century, where deaf people congregated to discuss and address the issues of the day.
Read more about what the Gallaudet grad has to say about awareness in a ThriveGlobal post here.

A Plan to give D.C. its first Office Dedicated To The Deaf

There's proposed legislation that would create the first government office for people with hearing loss in DC. It's called the “Office on Deaf and Hard of Hearing Establishment Amendment Act of 2019” is designed to ensure members of the deaf community have access to all District services. You can see the proposal here and read about why some in the Deaf community are against the plan here.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Is There a Right Way to Be Deaf?

Sarah Katz penned an op-ed piece for the New York Times addresses whether it is possible to embrace both ASL and cued speech. She writes, "I’ll never know definitively whether my parents made the right decision...Throughout my life, I’ve felt like the object of a constant tug of war between the deaf and hearing communities." Read the full article here(paywall).

Saturday, November 9, 2019

ASL Prof Apologies for Class Guest Speaker

A Baylor ASL professor apologized to his students this week. A pastor from a deaf church in Chicago was a guest speaker who talked about and endorsed conversion therapy. Jari Saavalainen was supposed to talk about missionary work, not counseling designed to try to turn gay people straight. Read more from NBC News here.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Deaf Football Captain is "true leader on field"

A high school football captain who was born deaf "dominates on the field at Bloomfield High School in Michigan and is headed to play the sport collegiately next year." Read more about Devin Holmes from KXXV-TV here.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Marching Band incorporates ASL into its show

The Ferndale Marching Band from Ferndale, Michigan is using sign language in its halftime performances with help from Detroit-based deaf rapper Sean Forbes. The show is called The Sounds of Silence and about halfway through, the students stop playing their instruments and perform Forbes' song Watch These Hands in ASL. The video below of Forbes and the band practicing was posted by Cars 108, a Flint, Michigan radio station.

Woman says she was fired for Being Deaf

Katrina Hearn is suing Helia Healthcare, a company that runs the Four Fountains nursing home of Belleville, Illinois. Hearn claims she was fired from her position as director of nursing because of her disability and her race. Helia Healthcare let her go "the day she came back from taking two days off to treat an infection of her cochlear implant." Read the full story in the Belleville News-Democrat.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Maryland woman gets nearly $5K water bill

Denise Sansonese got a water bill of nearly $5,000. A "water pump tube in her toilet malfunctioned. Because she cannot hear, however, she was unaware that the toilet was running continuously." Read the full story at the Frederick News-Post here.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Deaf woman was rejected from a jail program

A deaf woman in Virginia tried to enroll in a program to serve her time during daytime hours on the weekend, as a judge recommended. But the Sheriff’s Office in Chesapeake turned her away because she is deaf. The Virginia Pilot explains why he reversed that decision here.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Celebrity makes Appearance at School Anniversary Celebration

Nyle DiMarco visited the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf for its 150th-anniversary celebration. KDKA-TV has a video report below or read the story here.

Families accuse teacher’s aide of sexual abuse

A former teacher’s aid at a Salt Lake City school for deaf children is facing rape and sexual assault charges. Tyler Jex is "accused of inappropriately touching or contacting their underage daughters through his position with the Jean Massieu School of the Deaf." KSTU-FOX 13 has a video report.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Rally at Utah State Capitol

A protest at the Utah state capitol brought out dozens of deaf people Saturday (Oct 25). They say there is a lack of communication options that "hinder them from getting access to quality care at hospitals and medical facilities." Find out more in this ABC-4 video news report.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

One year ago today: The First US Signing Starbucks

Starbucks opened its first "Signing Store" in the U.S. one year ago today (Oct 23, 2018). It's in Washington D.C. less than a mile from Gallaudet University. Everyone working there is fluent in ASL and wears aprons that display the fingerspelling of "Starbucks." Here's a video report from Radio.com.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Signmark in Hong Kong

Image from https://twitter.com/signmarkmusic
Finnish deaf rapper Signmark is preparing for his second performance in Hong Kong next month. He was born deaf and says:
My family is deaf, but my grandparents are hearing, so th
ey didn’t know any sign language. I watched as my grandfather was playing the piano and my grandmother was singing. I began lip-reading what she was singing and then I started signing it to my parents. They got involved and realized that music is something that connects people. “Then I translated hundreds of songs into sign language; different artists’ songs, for instance those of Bon Jovi, Michael Jackson and Metallica.
The South China Morning Post takes a look at the remarkable artist here.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Deaf students sue over decades-old sexual abuse

A dozen women "who attended the New York School for the Deaf decades ago are suing the school, claiming they were sexually abused by the man who supervised their dorm." One of the women said, "He abused all of us in our early childhood... That's a scar and trauma that stays with you. We were little girls... We didn't know how to take care of something that needed (to be told)." Below is a video from the Westchester Journal News about the suit and you can read more about the story here.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

New finding about Deaf infants and their Parents

A new study finds that deaf infants exposed to American Sign Language are especially tuned to a parent's eye gaze and "at a more advanced level than hearing infants." The study "stems from broader research into early learning and finds that Deaf infants of Deaf parents may be more attuned than hearing infants to the social and visual signals of others." It was recently published in the journal Developmental Science. Read more from Science Daily here.

Monday, October 14, 2019

A deaf congregation grows in New Jersey

"What started with one interpreter has grown into a church for the deaf and hearing" in Newark, New Jersey. Read about what's happening at Chosen Generation Ministries in NJ.com here.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Deaf Woman Dies in Arson Fire

A deaf woman and her two-year-old daughter died in a fire—it was intentionally set by a man who said he was trying to get back at his girlfriend. Star Milligan tried to save her daughter by wrapping her in a blanket and using her body to protect her from the flames. The Fox TV station in Detriot has a video report below or read the story here.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

An Emergency System for Deaf Beach-goers

An emergency system for deaf beach-goers called Beach Emergency Evacuation Lights System (BEELS) will get its first workout in Torrance Beach. There will be a ribbon-cutting and day at the beach for the deaf community next month. Within two years BEELS is expected to be in place along LA's coastline. Read more about it in the LA Times here.

DeafBlind Art

DeafBlind writer John Lee Clark talks about art he can touch in a Poetry Magazine post. He poses the question: We have DeafBlind artists, but do we have DeafBlind art? Read his entire piece here.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Young Deaf Fan Joins Carrie Underwood on Stage

Carrie Underwood invited 9-year-old Savannah Dahan to perform The Champion with her during a concert stop in Washington, DC over the weekend. Access Hollywood has a video report.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Suit in Utah over Terps Dismissed

A lawsuit filed by deaf students against the Utah Shakespeare Festival was immediately dismissed. The festival refused to provide sign language interpreters for their performance of Hamlet. At issue is whether offering captioning was adequate accommodations. Read the full story in the Salt Lake Tribune here.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Jury awards Deaf man $125,000

A jury is awarding David Updike $125,000 in damages after deciding that Oregon's Multnomah County failed to provide him a sign language interpreter while he was in jail. Oregon live reports that a linguistics expert testified during the three-day trial that "Updike, who was born deaf to hearing parents, can’t read lips proficiently and doesn’t read English well." Read the full story here.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Deaf Actor on Netflix show

image from natashaofili.com
One of the actors on a new Netflix show called The Politician is deaf. Natasha Ofili plays a no-nonsense principal in four episodes. Ofili started out with an eye toward fashion but switched careers about five years ago. So far, she's appeared in several short films, theater productions, and commercials. And soon she'll be seen on Amazon Prime's Undone. a member of the National Black Deaf Advocates association, Ofili lost her hearing as a toddler. Read more of her story here. Below is the trailer.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Docu shows deafness as a gift, not as a disability

A new documentary about hearing loss takes a look at Beethoven, filmmaker’s son, and her deaf parents. Irene Taylor Brodsky first introduced her parents in her 2007 film Hear and Now. A Washington Post reviewer calls Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements a "moving and thought-provoking film." Read the review here. Below is a video interview of Brodsky.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Deaf Awareness Week Celebration

It's Deaf Awareness Week and KIII-TV has a video report on a celebration of Deaf Culture and ASL in Corpus Christi. You can read the story here.

Lawsuits over Hospitals not providing Terps

A healthcare provider is facing two lawsuits for not providing ASL interpreters for deaf patients. Intermountain Healthcare, which operates Primary Children’s Hospital and McKay Dee Hospital, released a statement saying, despite the legal action, it takes ADA and all other applicable laws "very seriously." KUTV has a video report (or read the story here).

Monday, September 23, 2019

Review of Deaf West's New Show

image from DeafWestTheatre.org
LA's Deaf West Theatre is performing The Solid Life of Sugar Water through October 13 and the LA Times says the stage arrangement is quite unusual: "The actors playing Phil and Alice stand on the footboard of a vertical prop bed, but scenic designer Sean Fanning’s trompe l’oeil, bird’s-eye-view perspective makes it look like they’re lying flat, while we, hovering somewhere around the ceiling, look down on them." Read the full review here.
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Judge: videophones must go in Colorado state prisons

A judge says the Colorado Department of Corrections must make videophones available to every deaf inmate. That's the outcome of a lawsuit prompted by the decades-old technology in state prisons. Read the full story at the Denver Post here.

Monday, September 16, 2019

University Sued over Failure to Provide Interpreters

Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is being sued by four students who say the school violated ADA law by not providing a sign language interpreter in their classes. They say the school failed to pay the interpreters for previous work. The four deaf students are from Saudi Arabia. Read more at The Advocate here. You'll find the suit here.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Rise of the Deaf Architecture

It was on the campus of Gallaudet University nearly two decades ago that a workshop took place that would "change the way the world’s only university for the deaf and hard-of-hearing engaged with architecture and design." The Washington Post has a look at how the deaf architecture got started here.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Deaf Woman Refused Service at Drive Thru

A San Jose Jack in the Box refused service to a deaf woman last month—and there's a video showing the worker mocking her by pretending to sign. KRON-TV has a video report (or read the story here).

Sunday, September 8, 2019

A Legal Battle over Text Captions for Audiobooks

Book publishers are suing Amazon to stop the internet company from offering text captions for audiobooks through Audible. Publishers say it's a copyright violation. Audible says that since users can't scroll through the text there's no problem. The feature is called "Captions" and will be available starting Tuesday for Amazon-owned and public domain titles. The works of publishers like HarperCollins and Macmillan, who are suing Audible will not be included until the dispute is resolved. You'll find the text of the lawsuit here.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Company Sued over Treatment of Deaf Job Applicant

A Denver company is being sued for refusing to hire a qualified deaf person, according to an EEOC lawsuit. Carefree of Colorado told Anna Biryukova the wouldn't hire her because her deafness could be a “challenge” and present “safety issues.” Carefree declined to comment. Read the full story from the EEOC here.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Man tried to sexually assault a deaf woman

Police in Forestville, Maryland are looking for the man accused of attempting to sexually assault a woman who had asked for directions earlier this month. The police have released a sketch of the man and a map of where the incident happened, which you can see at WTOP's news site here.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Principal at Deaf & Blind School Reassigned

The beloved principal of the Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind has been transferred to another school and alumni and parents don't understand why. They gathered to protest yesterday, telling HawaiiNewsNow, “He has a deaf education background. He knows how to manage and make deaf people learn...Teachers were so thrilled. They worked so well with him.” Read the full story and watch a video report here.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

A problem with New Orleans Movie Theaters

Deaf movie-goers in New Orleans say the local theaters don't accommodate them as prescribed by ADA law. The closed-captioning devices are often broken. WWL-TV has a video report below or read the story here.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

A first for a deaf person in the UK

Matthew Johnston is believed to be the first profoundly deaf person to sit on a jury in a crown court in England and Wales. He's a 54-year-old technology consultant from London. The Guardian quotes Johnston as saying, “It’s all about inclusivity, isn’t it. It’s a big thing for me. We don’t want to turn our backs to society, we want to be part of society. We want to feel included. I feel great that I can be one of a jury.” Read the full story about how the deaf have been kept out of jury rooms in the UK here.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Woman says she was refused service at fast food restaurant because she’s deaf

Rachel Hollis claims workers at a Burger King drive-thru in Oklahoma City refused to serve her because she is deaf. She explained what happened to KFOR-TV in a video report (or read the story here).

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Deaf Coaches Teach Gymnastics

The head coaches at a gym in Utah are both deaf. KSL-TV has a video report about Champion Sports Center below or read the story here.

Burning Man sued over terps

Two deaf men are suing the California desert celebration known as Burning Man after the organizers refused to provide sign language interpreters. Read more from Bloomberg news here.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Cochlear implants for one-sided hearing loss

A research team looked at whether cochlear implants could help people with hearing loss in one ear. WRAL-TV has a video report.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

First Deaf Tennis Pro on Tour wins Match

The ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) has its first deaf player on the tour. South Korea's Duckhee Lee, who has been deaf since birth, won his first match yesterday in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He's only 21 years old and beat Switzerland's Henri Laaksonen 7-6 (4), 6-1 in the first round of the Winston-Salem Open. Next up: Hubert Hurkacz of Poland who is seated #3. Here's a video about him from the ATP.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Texas Senior Making his Mark on the Football field

Billy Haynes is not only a hard-of-hearing senior at a Texas high school, he's an important part of the school's football team. Haynes plays for Robert E. Lee High School in Baytown, Texas and has been hard of hearing since he was born. KTRK-TV has a video report (or read the story here).

Monday, August 12, 2019

Alabama man charged with kidnapping deaf child

An Alabama man is behind bars and facing kidnapping charges according to the Gadsden Times. Darrell Wade Watkins is accused of taking a deaf 4-year-old girl out of his family's year. Read about it here.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Deaf customer discriminated against while trying to order food

In a recent episode of ABC's What Would You Do? a deaf actor was discriminated against while trying to order food in a restaurant. Nyle Dimarco, winner of Dancing With the Stars and America’s Next Top Model winner watched what happened behind-the-scenes. He said it resembled his own real-life experiences living as a deaf man and was overwhelmed by the passionate reactions.



And after a time, Nyle Dimarco stepped in to play the actor:

The deaf YouTuber campaigning over poor Captions

Rikki Poynter's #NoMoreCRAPtions campaign to get YouTubers to ditch the site's automatic captions "highlights how impressive advances in assistive technologies such as automatic captioning can obscure these technologies’ imperfections. The campaign is Poynter’s way of pushing back against any misguided notion that deaf people live in a technological future that hasn’t yet arrived for everyone else." Read more about the deaf 28-year-old in a piece published by The Atlantic here.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Myths about making your website accessible

More than 2,250 federal lawsuits were filed against websites for ADA compliance issues in 2018, according to Amihai Miron, who heads User1st, a website accessibility firm. That's triple the number the year before. He says there are six myths related to the ADA issue including the idea that "No one’s complained, so there’s no problem" and "There’s no clear legal standard." Read more at Technical.ly here.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Theater loses appeal: Must provide terps

The Fox Theatre in St. Louis must provide interpreters for the deaf when asked —- not just once for the run of a show. That's the ruling of an appeals court panel. The 8th U.S. Court of Appeals voted two to one to uphold a lower court ruling. Tina Childress sued the theater when it refused to provide her captioning for a performance of Rent. She was told there was only one interpreted show and she would have to attend it if she wanted a sign language interpreter. You can read the ruling here.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Researchers say they're a step closer to new ways of restoring hearing

Researchers say they have figured out which proteins control the formation of hair cells—a finding that could lead to new ways of restoring hearing by triggering hair cells to grow. The findings come out of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine based on the use of genetic tools. Read the details of the study here.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

The Deaf Teen taking Esports by Storm

image from CNN video
Soleil Wheeler was born deaf and now at 13 years old, she's an international star in the world of esports. Known as Ewok, she has 200,000 followers on Amazon's Twitch streaming service and is the first female to join Faze Clan, a famous esports organization that helps promote its 80-or-so players and train them for competitions. Wheeler attends the Indiana School for the Deaf and tells CNN, "I wanted to really make history. It's a great opportunity to help inspire other girls... they can join any organization. They can play any game." Watch a video report here.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Delta will be first to offer sign language bar for uniforms

Delta Air Lines is now allowing in-flight crew members' to include a language bar option on their uniforms to indicate whether they know a signed language. The option is already available for spoken languages like Spanish and Russian. Delta will be the first U.S. airline to do this. Delta CEO Ed Bastian shared the news with a video on his LinkedIn page.

BBC Tests New Audio Mix

The BBC is testing new technology that allows hard-of-hearing viewers to adjust audio levels in new ways. They can reduce background noise and make the dialogue crisper. Find out more about the technology on the BBC’s Taster website here.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Sainsbury’s turns store into signing supermarket

Sainsbury’s, one of the UK's largest supermarkets, turned one of its stores into a signing supermarket. It was renamed “Signsbury’s” for the three-day project. Read more about it here.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Deaf man: Theater prevented him from seeing ‘Lion King’

A Tampa Bay, Florida deaf man says he tried to see The Lion King at a local movie theater but they couldn't find captioning equipment for him that worked. WFLA-TV has a video report.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Inventing sign language for deaf scientists

The BBC has a video report on Liam Mcmulkin, a deaf student who was frustrated by the lack of sign language for scientific terms—so he invented his own.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Keyless ignition leads to death of deaf woman

Connie Dotson died after accidentally leaving her car running in the garage while she slept inside her home. This is not the first time this has happened to someone who is deaf with keyless ignition systems. WKYT-TV has a video report from Kentucky (or you can read the story here).

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Plan to prevent deafness in gene-edited babies

image by XhenetaM
A Canadian bioethicist says a plan to edit human embryos to prevent deafness is "offensive." Fran├žoise Baylis is criticizing the efforts of a Russian molecular biologist who told the New Scientist he "has recruited five couples with genetic deafness who wish to conceive a child who can hear." Denis Rebrikov says he will edit the GJB2 gene to eliminate the possibility of deafness based on the couples' genetics. Baylis told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, "What's interesting and controversial about this is that many people in the deaf community think that this is a misguided perspective. And that's because they don't see deafness as a disability. They just see that as diversity." You can listen to the story or read the transcript here.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Deaf Printers at the WaPo

Many of the Washington Post's printers have been deaf and recently more than a dozen of them got together at Gallaudet University. The Post quotes history professor Brian Greenwald as telling the group, "If I’ve done my math correctly, you represent more than 350 years of experience." Read the full story here.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

DC is getting a new deaf-owned Pizzeria

A San Francisco pizzeria owned by a deaf couple is expanding to Washington, D.C. Just like Mozzeria west and the second Mozzeria in Austin, the new restaurant will be staffed by deaf employees and located just down the street from Gallaudet University. The new Mozzeria will open next spring. Read more about Russ and Melody Stein's new venture here or watch the announcement below.

Monday, July 8, 2019

How the Brain Links Gestures, Perception & Meaning

Neuroscientists say gesture guides our perception of the world and how we assign meaning to what happens around us. Read more in Quanta magazine here.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Life and Deaf

image from MarleeMatlin.net
Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin has developed a new comedy series that may be picked up by Disney. It's called Life and Deaf and is based on the life of Matlin's long-time interpreter, Jack Jason. The show is set in the 1970s and tells the story of a kid growing up with deaf parents. Read more about it at Deadline Hollywood.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Deaf Umpire Calls ‘Em Like He Sees ‘Em

Jon Breuer went from working on the New York Stock Exchange to a career as a deaf high school umpire in New Jersey. CBS New York has a video report (you can read the story here).

Monday, July 1, 2019

A Florida First

Bethany Baker is the "first deaf person admitted to the University of North Florida’s post-baccalaureate nursing program." Get to know her in an article from FristCoastNews here.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Deaf Republic


Hard-of-hearing poet Ilya Kaminsky has written a new book called Deaf Republic. Kaminsky was born in the former Soviet Union and his new book, which is really a collection of poems, imagines deafness as a collective form of resistance against a military regime. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Baseball ASL Culture Night in Oregon

A minor league baseball team in Oregon is holding the team's first-ever ASL Culture Night this evening. The Medford Rogues home game "will feature ASL translation for all of the PA announcements, as well as fun facts about deaf culture. Half of the proceeds raised through the game’s ticket raffle will be donated to Crater High School’s Deaf Academic Bowl team." Here's a video report from the Mail Tribune or read the story here.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Deaf-owned Business Thriving

A deaf-owned Austin-based virtual mailbox service just scanned their millionth piece of mail this month after five years in business. KXAN-TV has a video report (or read the story here).

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Deaf woman concerned over note from Portland drive-thru

A deaf Dunkin' Donuts customer in Maine says she was told not to use the drive-thru, even though she had done so many times. Read the story from WMTW-TV here.
image from WMTW-TV video

Friday, May 31, 2019

The Silent Natural

A new film called The Silent Natural debuts tonight in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. It tells the story of William Ellsworth “Dummy” Hoy who played in the baseball major league from 1888 to 1902. Hoy slugged "41 home runs, 605 stolen bases and one game in which he threw out three baserunners at home plate from the outfield." Read more in the Columbus Monthly here or watch the trailer for the film below.

In a Silent World

A documentary called In a Silent World tells the story of hearing parents who learn about Deaf culture through their deaf daughter. The 90-minute film is available on Amazon Prime Video and there's more information at the film's website here.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The connection between Monks & Sign Language

National Geographic Australia explores the connection between the vow of silence taken by monks some 500 years ago helped in the development of sign language. National Geographic Australia has more here.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Mocked & Harassed for Being Hard of Hearing

Massachusetts is paying $95,000 to a former employee who says he was mocked and harassed and eventually fired for being hard-of-hearing. Ralph Claudomir worked for the Massachusetts Environmental Police in charge of managing the offices where people register their boats and recreational vehicles. According to MassLive, his request for accommodations was denied" and he was "yelled at during meetings and 'humiliated, degraded and harassed' due to his disability. He was given written warnings for speaking too loudly." Read more about the lawsuit here.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Poetry Slams for the Deaf in Israel


Forward takes a look at a poetry slam in for the Deaf in Isreal. Read the full story here.

Netflix Show features Deaf Teen

Netflix’s new apocalyptic teen drama called The Society features a deaf teenager played by Sean Berdy. Everyone in a small New England town disappears. Berdy's character offers a steady moral center. You may remember him from the family drama Switched At Birth.  He explains in an interview with TIME magazine why he left acting for a time after that show came to an end.  Read the story here.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

A new social network for signers

AN Israeli-based company is launching a new social network for signers. Joseph Geliebter, founder of SignTalk Foundation, says:
SignTalkers gives members of the signing community – both hearing and deaf – a space for thoughtful, thriving, and engaging conversation. Unlike other social media platforms, this exclusive space will serve to provide a home away from home to meet, share and interact with members of the signing community around the world.
Using the site requires registration. You'll find the SignTalkers website here and more information in a article published by an Israeli newssite here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Starbucks opens Signing Store in China

image from Starbucks.com
Starbuck's third signing store is open—in China. in Guangzhou's Yuexiu district. Besides using sign language to communicate with customers, the store will offer sign language classes and coffee workshops in sign language. Starbucks has opened signing stores in Kuala Lumpur and Washington, DC (near Gallaudet University). At those stores, and the new one, baristas wear aprons with sign language that spells the word Starbucks. Belinda Wong, chief executive officer of Starbucks China, said:
The new Signing Store is an example of how we are building inclusive environments and careers for our partners. This store truly creates a sense of belonging for everyone and is a strong testament to our continued commitment to building a more diverse and inclusive working environment.
Read more in the company's press release here.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

A Deaf Immigrant is Student of the Year

Blanca Ceja-Salas is 2nd in the bottom row in the photo
Image from mccd.edu

Read more here: https://www.mercedsunstar.com/news/local/education/article230437094.html#storylink=cpy
A deaf immigrant is Student of the Year at California's Merced College. Blanca Ceja-Salas is graduating with a degree in photography and a 3.7 GPA. Board of Trustees President Carmen Ramirez is quoted in a press release as saying:
To have Blanca be the Student of the Year is an impressive flag for what Merced College is and how it transforms lives. We know students come here, they prepare themselves and they move on. But for Merced College to be the kind of place where someone that’s not your typical student can come in and not just do OK, but do something amazing, speaks to the kind of campus we have. Blanca hasn’t just overcome physical limitations, but language barriers and immigration issues as well. She’s an amazing young woman and we’re proud to have her as the Student of the Year.
Read the press release here.  

Deaf Access to Legislative Sessions Debated in Florida

Florida's failure to provide captioning on videos of its legislative sessions has led to a legal battle that has made its way to an appeals court. The National Association of the Deaf and activist Eddie Sierra sued, claiming it's an ADA violation. Lawyers for the state claim captioning the sessions is just too expensive and the lawmakers would rather not have a video feed at all than have to pay the cost of captioning. Read more about what's at issue in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in a Courthouse News article here.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

School for the Deaf Campus Sold

The Sioux Falls Ministry Center is buying the South Dakota School for the Deaf campus for $6.9 million. The Center will get the building as well as the football and track field. Read more in the Argus Leader here.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

FCC Debates Live Captioning for News

The FCC recently held a forum on best practices for TV news closed captioning. TV Technology reports that forum included not only the FCC but broadcasters and the Deaf community. Read more about it here.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Seattle bar owner upset over new captioning law

image from Google Maps
The owner of the Marco Polo Bar and Grill in Seattle says that while he'll turn on the captioning on the TVs in the bar if someone asks, he doesn't like the city council requiring him to do so. Matt Miera told KIRO radio, that "the closed captioning ordinance, like so many of the city’s recent regulations, is just 'another way to reach into my pocket and take more money.'" The ordinance takes effect later this year and will fine businesses that fail to turn on captioning for everything TV they have on display. Miera asks, “Is the city of Seattle going to require us to have a translator there, to do sign language for the music that’s playing over the jukebox?” Read the full story here.

Deaf Man Shot & Dismembered

A Kansas City man has been arrested for allegedly shooting and dismembering the body of a deaf man. Police say Colton Stock also set the remains of Matthew Calkins on fire. Calkins graduated from the Kansas School for the Deaf in 2002. FOX-4 Kansas City has a video report (or read the story here)

Monday, May 13, 2019

Stephen Colbert's Ear

image by
NEIL GRABOWSKY
Comedian Stephen Colbert was born on this day (May 13) in 1964. What many people do not know about the comedian is that he is deaf in one ear. When he was young a surgery left him without an ear drum in his right ear. He explains, "I always wanted to be a marine biologist but then I had this ear problem. I have no ear drum. So I had this operation at the Medical University when I was a kid. Now I can't get my head wet. I mean, I can, but I can't really scuba dive or anything like that. So that killed my marine biology hopes."

Friday, May 10, 2019

Google announces new captioning app

There's a new captioning app that will soon be available for Andriod phones that's getting some good reviews. Live Caption works for audio and video. Here's a video that show it in action.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Baseball team to honor Deaf Fans

A minor league baseball team is hosting a Deaf Awareness Night next month. This will be the third time the Pawtucket Red Sox have honored deaf fans of the Rhode Island team. The team will wear jerseys with their name spelled out on June 7. Gallaudet baseball coach, and former major leaguer, Curtis Pride, will take part in the festivities. WPRI-TV has a video report below or you can read the story here.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Partnership between NTID & Chinese University

Rochester's NTID (National Technical Institute for the Deaf) is partnering with a Chinese university to establish "a cultural and educational partnership between the two institutions." Changchun University is exploring a joint degree program in graphic design and 3D graphic technology. NTID president Gerry Buckley says, “These partnerships are instrumental in giving our students global enrichment experiences that will make them even more marketable upon graduation.” Read more about it here.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Deaf umpire in Jersey

Jonathan Breuer is a softball and baseball umpire in North Jersey who says, “I want to show the world what deaf people can do." NorthJersey.com has a video report.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

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 11 years. 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.” Pride led the Bison to one of their best seasons ever in 2012. Gallaudet won a school record 25 games. When he was in the majors, Pride played for six teams including the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels, Detroit Tigers, Montreal Expos and Atlanta Braves. Read more about Pride's impact on the
students here.

NBC Show Episode on Cochlear Implants

image from NBC video
In a recent episode of the NBC show New Amsterdam (titled Happy Place) a deaf patient with a cochlear implant wants it removed. The patient is overwhelmed by sounds and upset over the drift it has caused in her closest relationship. Watch it here.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

A First for a Deaf Person in Maine

Regan Thibodeau will soon become the first deaf person from Maine to earn her PhD in the state. She will graduate from the University of Southern Maine with a PhD in Public Policy. Thibodeau already holds a Masters from Columbia and teaches classes at USM in ASL, Deaf culture and interpreting. WCSH-WLBZ/TV has a video report.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

From Deafness at Birth to the Ivy League

A new book coming out this month tells the story of a deaf boy whose skill at basketball led him to an Ivy League school. The book was written by the father of Christopher Caulfield. Titled Ephphatha (which means "to be opened"), the subtitle sums it up: "Growing up Profoundly Deaf and Not Dumb in the Hearing World: A Basketball Player's Transformational Journey to the Ivy League." Thomas Caulfield explains the ignorance he and his wife often encountered in education as they advocated for their son. Ephphatha is available on Amazon here. To learn more about the family, click here. Below is a video featuring Chris and his experience at RIT's NTID (National Technical Institute for the Deaf).  He's now a graduate student at Cornell and getting some experience at Microsoft.

Closed captioning Becomes Seattle City Law

Closed captioning will be the law in Seattle for TVs in bars, restaurants and other places starting tomorrow (May 1). The City Council voted unanimously for the new city ordinance earlier this month and the mayor signed it into law last week. Councilmember Lisa Herbold sponsored the law and says in a press release:
It’s important to shift the onus from having to request closed captions as a public accommodation to instead create the expectation that folks have it in advance. I especially want to thank Seattle Commission for People with DisAbilities for bringing this issue to my attention, and for making this a top priority in their workplan to support development of this ordinance.
While the law goes into effect on May 1, enforcement won't begin until November. The city will send an advisory letter to businesses not in compliance. After that, businesses face a possible $125 fine, rising to $300 if violations continue. Read the full story from the Seattle Times here.