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

Read more here:
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

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.

Stephen Colbert's Ear

image by
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." has a video report.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

On this date in history: Frederick Barnard dies

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

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Getting to know the Gally Baseball Coach

image of Curtis Pride from
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.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Minor League Baseball Team Holds Deaf Culture Day

The Rochester Red Wings' Deaf Culture Day got some attention on ESPN's SportsCenter over the weekend. It was featured as the Minor League Baseball Promotion of the Week. Rochester wore uniforms spelling out "Red Wings" on their jerseys. To purchase a ASL Red Wing cap or jersey, click here.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Deaf Man injured in Hit & Run

A deaf man was injured by a hit and run driver in North Carolina. Police have arrested a suspect. FOX-8 in High Point has a video report.

Brain implant surgery in the UK

A four-year-old boy in the UK had brain implant surgery recently. The BBC has a video report.

Deaf School Teacher Under Investigation

The Illinois State Police are investigating a teacher working at the Illinois School for the Deaf. Police say there are accusations that Charles Hicks, Jr. had sexual contact with students. The State Journal-Register has more details here.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Mayor Pete Gets Sign Name

Pete Buttigieg, who is running for president as a Democratic, was given a sign name.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Cop Saves Elderly Deaf Man

A quick-thinking subway cop saved a 70-year-old deaf man from an oncoming train.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Girl Gets Apology from Hearing Aid Thief

Alicia Lyding had her hearing device stolen from her San Francisco-area elementary school. Now the man who stole it has written a letter of apology. KGO-TV has a video report or read the story here.

The 1904 Deaf Film Festival

The 1904 Deaf Film Festival will take place in St. Louis this Thursday through Saturday (April 25-27). There is more information here.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

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.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Gally Grads Building a Tiny House Resort

Three Gallaudet University graduates are starting a vacation rental business, offering tiny houses deep in the West Virginia woods. Lost River Vacations will hold a launch party at a deaf-owned brewery at the end of April. Read details in a Washingtonian here.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

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 hitman in the FX series Fargo. He received a BA in Theater Arts from Gallaudet University in 2008.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Netflix Film uses ASL incorrectly

Prominent members of the Deaf community are criticizing a new Netflix horror film called The Silence. Deaf model Nyle DiMarco, among others, say some of the sign languages in the film is gibberish and a deaf person should have been cast in the role of the deaf person in the film. That comment comes after the director claimed in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter that the teen who signs in the film, Kiernan Shipka, is "flawless" and, even though she is not deaf, Shipka has an "innate sense of what it’s like being a deaf person." DiMarco tweeted that the ASL "is not grammatically correct" in the film and that sometimes characters seem to understand sign language without looking at the person signing. 

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.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

State School for the Deaf Loses Principal

The Michigan School for the Deaf is looking for a new principal. Natalie Grupido abruptly resigned from the post she has held since 2016. She had worked at the school for 13 years. Her departure has fueled rumors about shutting down the school, but it released a statement denying that to be true. Read more on the story here.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Deaf Syrian Refugee Gets Starring Role

A Syrian refuge who is deaf is staring in a Netflix series. Mustafa Alabssi takes the lead in Black Summer, a spin-off of Z Nation. Global News has a video report or read the story here.

7-Year-Old Gets Surprise

A San Francisco-area first grader had her hearing aids stolen from her school. But she got a surprise this week. ABC-7 has a video report or read the story here.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Deaf & Blind School Celebrates Birthday

The Colorado School For Deaf and Blind is celebrating its 145th birthday. KXRM-TV (Fox 21) in Colorado Springs has a video report.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Judge: Captioning Suit can go Forward

A judge has rejected an attempt by Harvard and MIT to dismiss a lawsuit over video captioning on their MOOC (massive open online courses) offerings and guest lecture videos hosted on the school's YouTube channels. The National Association of the Deaf filed the lawsuit in 2015, saying the captioning was so bad on these videos they were pretty much useless. The recent attempt to get a dismissal is the second time the schools have tried and the second time they've been turned down. Read the decision here.

Monday, April 8, 2019

The Stand-up Comic Bringing Deaf Culture to Hearing People

Greek-born but Edinburgh-based comedian Leah Kalaitzi uses British Sign Language (BSL) and an interpreter to spread Deaf Culture. In a video called Silent Laughs, the Scottish Documentary Institute follows Kalaitzi to the stage.

On this day in 1864..

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

Sunday, April 7, 2019

NTID marks Half a Century of Deaf Education

It's been 50 years since Rochester Institute of Technology welcomed its first class of 70 deaf students. It was 1965 when the National Technical Institute for the Deaf was born. President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed a bill into law that created a national advisory group which led to the creation of an institute of technical training for the deaf. In 1974 Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall was created as a main hub for NTID students. The first lady, Lady Bird Johnson, visited the school for the dedication and opening ceremonies. WROC-TV has a video report on the re-dedication of the Hall on Friday. You can read more about the event on the NTID website here.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Terp conference is sign only

Pennsylvania's Mount Aloysius college is holding an ASL interpreting conference this weekend. It's a silent conference because everyone attending has been asked to turn their voices off. WTAJ-TV has a video report (or read the story here).

Friday, April 5, 2019

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).

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Minor League Baseball team to honor the Deaf community

The Rochester Red Wings will have a special day to honor ASL. The minor league team and Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, will wear special ASL jerseys on April 28 when the team plays the Pawtucket Red Sox. The Rochester jerseys will have "Red Wings" spelled out in ASL and the players will wear hats with the capital “R” in ASL. The game will also feature a "silent inning" with no announcements or music. Instead, sign language interpreters will be stationed throughout the park. Read more about it on the Red Wings website here.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Seattle may Require Captions at Bars and Restaurants

Seattle is considering a city law that would "require closed captioning to be activated on all TVs in public spaces." KUOW-TV reports that the "proposed legislation would require closed captioning be turned on during business hours in a range of settings where TVs are present, including places like waiting rooms, restaurants and bars." Read the full story here.

Some Cities Removing Online Documents over ADA lawsuits

The Orlando Sentinal is reporting that three cities in Florida have removed many public documents from the websites because city officials are worried about getting sued over ADA violations. Many officials say they were unaware that the federal law requires government agency accessibility also applies to the web. But since "Nearly 2,000 suits were filed in 2018 alleging website accessibility issues," it is an increasing concern. Read the full story here.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Sign-friendly restaurant opens in Arizona

Sign of the Thymes in Glendale, Arizona is sign-language friendly. Chris and Ann Colston own the restaurant. Ann Colston tells KTBS-TV, "My husband, whose sister is deaf, has been signing since he was six years old, and so we started putting some things together and talking about opening up a restaurant where deaf people can have a place to come and feel comfortable placing an order like everybody else." Read the full story and watch a video report (no captions) here.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Deaf parent Suit: No Terp at Meetings

The father of a middle schooler in San Antonio is suing the public school district. Cleto Rodriguez says in the suit "he requested sign language interpreters for multiple parent-teacher conferences but was never provided them as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws." The San Antonio Independent School District refused to comment on the lawsuit. Read the full story in the San Antonio Express here.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

This day in history: DPN

image from Gallaudet University 
It was 31 years ago today (March 13, 1988) that the Deaf President Now movement succeeded when I King Jordan became the first deaf president of Gallaudet University in Washington, DC.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Let's visit Work & Woof

A freshman at the Texas School for the Deaf (with the help of his teacher) is learning how to help take care of dogs at a place called Work & Woof. Here's a video about Fabian Davenport and his teacher Alexis Roland.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Texas Hoops Team Undefeated During Season

image from
The girls' basketball team at the Texas School for the Deaf in Austin was undefeated through the end of their season. The team was 33-0 going into the semifinals. That's when the Lady Rangers suffered their first defeat. They lost to Houston Lutheran North by a score of 55-52. Lubbock Trinity Christian then beat the Houston Lutheran North for the 4A championship. Find out more about the team's effort from CBS-Austin here.

A Program for Deaf-Blind Independence

The Iowa School for the Deaf has a special programs to help deaf-blind students gain independence. A dozen students in the program have jobs and one "just completed a seasonal position." Read more in The Daily Nonpareil here.

CVS Pharmacy is getting out of the hearing aid business

CVS is going to shut down its 49 standalone audiology centers at the end of the month. The move comes ahead of FDA changes to hearing aid regulations. CVS is the largest pharmacy chain in the US but Costco dominates the hearing aid retail market. The website "Hearing & Health Technology Matters" quotes a CVS spokesman as saying, "The FDA is preparing to approve lower-cost, over-the-counter hearing devices in the near future, and new technology is emerging to enable self-serve hearing testing and care." Read more here.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Discrimination Lawsuit Settled with Parking Service

USA Parking Services is settling an EEOC lawsuit for "refusing to hire a deaf applicant for a valet attendant position based on the assumption that a deaf person could not perform the essential functions of the job rather than conduct an individualized assessment of his abilities." The valet and parking services company will pay $150,000 and recruit deaf and hearing-impaired applicants and make changes to its qualifications. Read the details in a EEOC press release here.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Living with Usher Syndrome

Shannon Reyenga explains a difficult decision in Huffington Post article titled, "Why I Didn’t Tell My Boyfriend I Was Going Blind Until I Absolutely Had To." She writes, "After I learned I had Usher syndrome, I thought I lost any chance of finding love. I struggled with the idea of finding someone willing to face this challenging diagnosis with me. I could hardly face it myself." Read her full story here.

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.

Monday, March 4, 2019

A TV first on this date

It was on this date (March 4, 2013) an episode of Switched at Birth was aired that made history. The dialogue of the entire show was in ASL. Producers of the ABC Family program (now known as Freeform) say this was the first time a scripted series on mainstream television used only American Sign Language.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

On this date in history..

On this date (March 3, 1887) Anne Sullivan arrived at the Keller's home in Alabama to work with their deaf and blind daughter, Helen. Through their work together, Helen Keller would go on to become one of the most influential people in history. Below is a video about Helen Keller from

How 11 Deaf Men Helped NASA Leave Earth

Why were 11 deaf men selected by NASA to help it understand space sickness? The key here was in how each of these men lost their hearing, according to Discover Magazine. These men ultimately played a significant role in getting the first astronauts off the ground in the 1960s.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Hospital accused of not providing interpreter as deaf patient died

Mary Davidson’s family says she went weeks at a time with no sign language interpreter at the Canadian hospital where she died, according to the Hamilton Spectator. Her sister-in-law, Catherine Soplet, is quoted as saying, "The hospital was relying on family members to be the translators despite repeated requests for the use of translation services." Read the full story here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Wheel of Fortune appearance

Lori is deaf and Lorraine has been her friend and interpreter for more than 50 years. They appeared together recent on Wheel of Fortune—and won some money!

Controversy over Terp at Bball Game

The interpreter for a deaf basketball player in Culver, Indiana was ordered by a referee to not stand beside of the coach. It's something she has done during every other game. The IndyStar has the story here.

Friday, February 22, 2019

"Our sign language romance"

The BBC Arabic followed a deaf couple from Lebanon as they prepared for their wedding.

Implant just in time for Wedding

A Baltimore teacher got a cochlear implant to restore his hearing last week—just in time for his wedding. David Alianiello works with deaf students in Baltimore's public school system. He told People Magazine, "It was the first time I had ever heard clapping. It was fun to be able to experience the different sounds." Read the full story here or watch a video from WBAL-TV below.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

On this date in 1875.. a sports legend was born

Luther "Dummy" Taylor
Luther "Dummy" Taylor was born on this day (Feb. 21) in 1875. Taylor joined the Giant's pro baseball in 1900 when they played at New York's Polo Grounds before moving to the West Coast. He was on the team until 1908, helping the Giants win their first World Series in 1905. Taylor was 16-9 that season. Overall, Taylor had 115 wins and 103 loses with the Giants. He then played with the Kansas City Royals. It was fitting because Taylor was born in near Oskaloosa, Kansas and attended the Kansas State School for the Deaf where he was class valedictorian in 1895. He played on the school's baseball team and returned to coach after retiring from professional baseball.  Taylor was buried in 1958 in Baldwin, Kansas about 50 miles from where the Kansas City Royals now play their home games.

Taylor was the last deaf Major League Baseball pitcher (Curtis Pride who now coaches Gallaudet's baseball team was an outfielder). A story is told that Taylor's manager with the Giants learned sign language. During one game, an umpire who was also fluent in sign realized that the two were complaining about his calls and threw them both out of the game. Taylor was known for his run-ins with umpires, yet worked as an amateur umpire himself for more than 20 years.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Implant Stolen

A mother had part of her son's cochlear implant stolen. It was inside Kimberly Blodgett's purse when she dropped off her children at daycare. KFOR-TV has a video report.

Community Learns Sign for 2-year-old girl

A deaf toddler in Massachusetts got a wonderful gift from her community. CBS News has a video report. (CBS did not provide captions).

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Deaf baristas: Starbucks discriminated against us

Two deaf baristas are suing Starbucks, claiming discrimination. They say the manager at the store in Seattle where they worked put them in positions for long hours that were especially difficult for deaf workers and that they were excluded from conversations with other employees, among other things. KIRO-TV has a video report below. There is a captioned video here.

Friday, February 15, 2019

City Council Drops Use of Terps at Meetings

If you live in Cleveland, your City Council meetings will not include sign-language interpreters anymore. The Council thinks it's too expensive, according to a letter one of the members sent to a man who is hard of hearing and had requested interpreters. The city provided them for a while, but the letter to Rico Dancy now offers him the use of headphones instead. Read the full story at here.

On this date in history...

image from Green Party NZ 
The New Zealand Parliament made history on this date (Feb. 15) in 2012. Mojo Mathers, the first deaf member of the body, gave her first speech. Since Mathers' speech was translated into sign language, the 13 other members of the Green party who spoke had their speeches translated into sign language as well.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Mom Remembers Daughter

A video posted on Facebook shows a deaf mom with dementia remembering her daughter. Watch it here.

Mother Gets ASL Lesson After Using the Wrong Signs

A mother wanted to teach her one-year-old child some sign language. She shares on Reddit how she accidentally taught her daughter some wrong signs. Fortunately, two deaf women saw them trying to sign in a restaurant and they graciously showed the mother the correct way to sign the words. Read the story here. (This is a corrected link. The originally posted link was broken) Some of the comments of other mistaken attempts at signing are pretty funny, causing the discussion thread to go viral.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

How Murder Shattered a Quiet College Campus

A murder took place during the year 2000 at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. An episode of People Magazine Investigates is dedicated to the crime. "The Sound of Silence" will air Monday at 10 pm, Eastern on Investigation Discovery. An article published by the magazine this weekend describes the crime that shook the campus. You can read it here.

The missing sign from the Super Bowl

Did you see the national anthem signed by Aarron Loggins during the Super Bowl? You didn't if you were watching the CBS broadcast of the game. That's because the network only showed Loggins for a second at the end of America the Beautiful. A video posted by the National Association of the Deaf of Loggins from the Super Bowl has been viewed more than one-and-a-half million times on Facebook. Watch it yourself here. Loggins earned a degree from Gallaudet University. Below is a video of Loggins during his Atlanta visit.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Two New Apps Related to Hearing

Google has two new Android apps aimed at the deaf and hard of hearing. Live Transcribe is a speech-to-text app that works in real time and Sound Amplifier does what you would expect it to do based on the name—it makes sounds louder. The user with hearing loss puts on a set of headphones and can adjust the app's settings for voice clarity, decreasing the ambient noise, etc. Both apps will be available for free in the Google Play store. There are some limitations though. Sound Amplifier only works on phones with Android 9 Pie and requires an internet connection while Live Transcribe will only be installed on Google’s Pixel 3 smartphones.

Apple offers some help as well: VoiceOver is a free text reader built into iOS. Assistive Touch has vibrations and light flashes to alert users to incoming calls. Of course, FaceTime is used by many members of the deaf community.

 Accessibility advocates say the next step for these smartphone tools is to make them coordinate with features like location so that, when you set your phone to a certain ambient noise level at a particular location, the phone will automatically use those setting when you go there again.

Below is a video showing how Live Transcribe works. Read a review of the apps at The Verge here.

BBC Captioning History

1979 - A documentary is the first program to be subtitled on the BBC

1986 - Blue Peter becomes the first live program to be subtitled on the BBC

1990 - The first live BBC broadcast is captioned by a stenographer

1990 - The BBC begins subtitling its news

2001 - Respeaking is used for subtitling for the first time by the BBC

Monday, February 4, 2019

Helen Keller video

Here is a Newsreel showing Helen Keller & Anne Sullivan recorded in 1928 with Open Captions and Audio Description.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Security guard attacked by deaf Uber driver

A Houston security guard is recovering after being attacked by a deaf Uber driver. The confrontation was caught on camera. ABC-13 has a video report. For captioning, go here.

America's First Female Deaf Mayor

Amanda Folendorf became the mayor of Angels Camp, California just a year ago. The little town is located east of San Francisco. Amanda was born with a rare birth defect called diaphragmatic hernia. The medications she had to take as a baby ultimately damaged her hearing. Folendorf pick up some low-frequency noises and has some skill at reading lips. But the former Miss Deaf California says a team of sign language interpreters helps her execute her duties as mayor. “Hearing impaired and disability, I’m trying to throw that label out. We’re no different than anyone else; we just can’t hear," Folendorf told KOVR-TV (CBS-13) when she first came into office. Here's a video report from CBS-13 that aired a year ago when she first took office.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Gallaudet's Motion Light Lab

The PBS Newshour profiles Melissa Malzkuhn and her work at Gallaudet's Motion Light Lab in the video below. Malzkuhn says her "early access to sign language allowed her to connect with humanity."

Samantha Bee on Police and the Deaf community

Nyle DiMarco joined comedian Samantha Bee for a section of her show about the difficulties faced by the deaf when they encounter law enforcement.

Friday, February 1, 2019

City settles Captioning Lawsuit

Key West, Florida has agreed to add captioning to its meetings—and pay $10k to settled a lawsuit. Eddie Sierra, who is deaf, filed the suit, saying the failure to include captioning is an ADA violation. Read more on the story in the Miami Herald.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Deaf Couple has a Complaint against Delta

A deaf couple say they were discriminated against by Delta Air Lines while in Detroit and ended up missing their flight. In response to their claims Delta released a statement saying it takes "situations like these very seriously and as part of our culture of continuous improvement, we are using this as an opportunity to learn." Socorro Garcia and Melissa Yingst were in Detroit for the National LGBTQ Task Force's Create Change conference. Read more about what happened in a New York Post article here and the San Francisco Gate here. Below is the couple's explanation of what happened.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

On this date: A deaf man helps to stop a bank robbery

A deaf bank customer helped stop a bank robbery on this day (Jan 30) in 2003. A bank teller in Rochester, New York tipped off the man as he was going through the drive-through. The robber had entered a branch of HSBC yelled that he was robbing it, then jumped on a counter and pistol-whipped a teller. Another teller at the drive-up window just happened to be helping a deaf customer at that moment. She mouthed the words "we are being robbed." The lip-reading customer then drove to a nearby liquor store and called 911. Police nabbed the robbery suspect not far from the bank as he was trying to wash dye off his hands after a dye pack in the money bag had exploded. The injured teller suffered only minor injuries.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

New Signing Science Apps

A new app provides a signing glossary for museum visits. Users can search among thousands of words related to science and an Avatar will sign it to them, along with its definition, among other things. The free apps work with iPhone and Android mobile devices. You'll find more information on the six new apps here.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Getting to know.. audiologist Marion Downs

image from Marion Downs Hearing Center 
One of the people most responsible for newborn hearing screening in the U.S. was born this day (Jan. 26) in 1914. Audiologist Marion Downs published two books and over 100 articles on the topic during her lifetime. The Marion Downs Hearing Center opened nearly a decade ago at the University of Colorado Medical Center. WVXU radio in Cincinnati has more on this remarkable woman here. She was 100 years old when she died on Nov. 13, 2014.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Can 2 Deaf Strangers Fall in Love with 36 Questions?

Jubilee's "Tea for Two" video series is based on a column about 36 questions "that lead to love," written by psychologist Arthur Aron. There are questions like, "What is your most treasured memory?" or, "When did you last cry?" On season three, episode one, Jubilee brought together two deaf people: Ryssa Fleischer and Patrick McMullen. You can see how it turned out below. If you want to read the New York Times article, click here.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Deaf Ref Sues Athletic Assoc

Donald Jacobs is suing the Georgia High School Association for discrimination. The deaf basketball referee says that while the association requires refs to attend the Georgia High School Association referee camps for training and evaluation, it refuses to provide an interpreter, insisting he come up with his own. Read more about Jacobs plight in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution here.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Ariana Grande's New Video

Ariana Grande just released her new video 7 Rings with captioning. The move comes after she failed to include captioning on her video thank u, next. Nyle DiMarco called her out for the mistake, saying, “466 million people with hearing loss” who would like to watch it." Below is the new video.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

On this date: Sorenson Dies

James LeVoy Sorenson
(image from Southern Utah University)
A driving force in the Deaf community died on this date (Jan. 20) in 2008. James LeVoy Sorenson passed away at a Salt Lake City hospital at the age of 86. Utah's richest man was estimated to be worth $4.5 billion by Forbes magazine. Perhaps best known for co-developing the first real-time computerized heart monitor and founding Sorenson Communication, his donations to Gallaudet University totaled more than $5 million.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Actress Defers to a ‘Brilliant Deaf Woman’

image by aitchisons
One of the stars of The Good Place says she turned down a role to play a deaf woman because "it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to take that role and they should find a brilliant deaf woman to play that role.” Jameela Jamil was born partially deaf but revealed her decision at the Press Association this week. Read more in the Huffington Post here.

Insurers now must cover hearing aids for Idaho kids

Idaho lawmakers have changed state law so that insurance companies are required to cover hearing aids, speech therapy for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. You can read the official rule here. KTVB-TV has a video report:

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Deaf Man Shot & Killed in Phoenix

A father and member of the deaf community was shot and killed outside of a Phoenix apartment complex this past Monday, reports KNXV-TV (ABC-15). Police are looking for the culprits even as friends of Gary Herrera try to raise money for his funeral by holding a car wash Saturday. Below is a video report. For captions, go directly to the TV station website here.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Deaf And Unemployed

"Amanda Koller is getting her second master's degree. She has applied for more than 1,100 jobs in the past year. She hasn't gotten any full-time, permanent job offers. She is also profoundly deaf." That's how an NPR story on the difficulties facing deaf people seeking jobs. Read the full story here.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Donald Trump in ASL

Ever wondered how to say ‘Donald Trump’ in American Sign Language? The Washington Post has a suggestion here, along with some other politicians.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Getting to Know.. the First Teacher of the Deaf

A Spanish monk in the 16th century named Pedro Ponce de Leon (1520–1584) is recognized by most historians as the first teacher of deaf children, though some experts point to Spanish painter Juan Fernandez Navarrete, who lived in the earlier part of the century. Ponce de Leon was a Benedictine monk who took a vow of silence and developed a form of sign language to communicate. He apparently taught finger-spelling to deaf children who probably arrived at his monastery already knowing some home signs.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Getting to Know.. Greg Hlibok

image from Gallaudet University
Greg Hlibok oversaw the FCC's Disability Rights Office from 2010 to 2016. Profoundly deaf since birth, Hlibok was the first deaf law student at Hofstra University. Hlibok is best known in the Deaf community as the student body president of Gallaudet University during the 1988 Deaf President Now protest. He serves on the Gallaudet University Board of Trustees and is currently the general counsel and compliance officer for video relay service provider ZVRS.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Deaf-friendly Workout Classes

A San Diego gym is hosting free workshops that include sign language and other deaf-friendly options. CBS-8 has a video report.

CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

$450K Donated to the Deaf Bible Society

A Christian youth gathering has raised nearly $450,000 to create translations of New Testament Bible Stories into 16 sign languages. Donations from the 40,000 students at Passion 2019, which took place in Washington, DC, Dallas and Atlanta, will go to the Deaf Bible Society. Read more here.

Getting to Know... Hearing Tests

Here's what won't happen during a hearing test: No one will use a needle and there will be no request to strip off your clothes.

Here's what WILL happen: An audiologist will check to make sure you don’t have a build up of wax in your ears before taking you into an acoustic testing chamber that cuts out outside noise.

You’ll put on headphones that cover your ears and listen to tones.

You’ll indicate when you first hear the tone.

He’ll start with a low tone at a very soft level and gradually increase the volume.

The same process will be used through ten different tones.

A second test involves placing a want behind your ear. This test how well you can hear sounds coming through your skull and not through your ears.

The results are indicated on what’s called an audiogram. It looks like a graph.

If you have some hearing loss – whether mild or significant, your audiologist may include speech recognition tests.

Using the headphones again, you repeat a word or sentence that you hear. The results should give the audiologist enough information to decide to recommend a hearing aid.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Airline Travel Tips

Make each airline agent aware of your situation at each stage of your trip.. from the booking agent all the way to the gate agent and flight attendants.

Arrange for pre-boarding and have a friend or family member escort you to the gate. Escorts can get a gate pass that will allow them through security and to the gate.

Airlines will often seat you at the front of a plane if you request it to read lips better or if you have a service dog with you.

Take a piece of paper with you explaining your situation and how you’d like to communicate. Show it especially to an agent when you arrive at the gate so that he or she can make sure you are aware of any important announcements such as a gate change.

Most airlines offer assistance for hard-of-hearing passengers over the phone.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Katie Irwin becomes the first deaf person to give UAA Commencement Speech

Katie Irwin delivered the commencement address to fellow students at the University of Alaska Anchorage in December. She becomes the first deaf person to give the commencement. KTVA-TV has a video report.

Getting to Know... Hearing Loops

When you see a blue sign of a human ear that's a cue to hearing aid users that they can press a tiny button to hear a special broadcast sent directly to their device. This is called a hearing loop, a thin copper wire that radiates electromagnetic signals in a room. A tiny receiver called a telecoil built into most hearing aids and cochlear implants picks up the signal. With the flip of a switch on the device, sound comes through with greater clarity than can be heard by someone with normal hearing. This might be music, sound from a movie, a or a speaker. Hearing loops are better known in Europe than in the US, where only about a thousand have been installed in museums, stores, theaters, airports, and sports arenas.

The sign should have a "T" symbol in the lower right hand corner of the ear symbol if there is an induction loop installed. If there is solely an ear with a slash in the middle of the ear, than the sign indicates there is some sort of hearing access but good luck trying to figure out what the site has. If there are dots/slashes running through the ear then the sign indicates that an assistive listening system is present but it could be an FM or Infrared system and headsets and/or neck loops may be available.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Video shows Taco Bell Refusing to Serve Deaf Man

Taco Bell fired an employee in Ohio after he refused to serve a deaf man. The employee even threatened to call the police if he did not leave. The man's mother posted a video of the encounter on Facebook, saying, "This is my Deaf son getting discriminated against in the Taco Bell drive thru on Dorothy Ln in Kettering. He was trying to show them his order and they told him it was against company policy to take his order that way. Really?? Pretty sure the ADA would say otherwise. Uneducated people." Taco Bell released a statement saying:
Taco Bell has a fundamental policy to respect all of our customers and employees, and we are committed to maintaining an environment free of discrimination or harassment. The franchise owner and operator of this location has investigated this situation and the team member no longer works for their organization. All team members at this restaurant are being re-trained by the franchise owner on their policies.
Watch the video here.

Accessibility in Tampa Bay

Deaf advocates in Tampa Bay applaud the inclusion of Text 911. But they also say there's still a lot to do to make the community accessible. Read more in the Tampa Bay Times here.

Getting to Know... Service Animals

image from Wikimedia Commons
What is the legal definition of a service animal?  Therapy Animals are not legally defined by federal law but there is a legal definition for service animals in the Americans With Disabilities Act. Service animals are specifically trained to help the disability-related needs of their handlers and are not considered 'pets'.

Is using a service animal protected in public places? Federal laws protect the rights of individuals with disabilities who are accompanied by their service animals in public places.

Does a guide dog have to be certified by the State to be an “official” guide dog? No. Any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. 

Can a business owner insist on proof of state certification before letting a service animal into the business? No. Certificates, licenses or other physical proof that a dog qualifies as a service animal.

What can a business owner ask the service dog handler? If the dog’s function is not apparent, then the ADA permits only two kinds of questions. The business owner can ask, “Is this dog required because of a disability?" and “What specific assistive task or tasks has the dog been trained to perform?”

Under what conditions can a service animal be excluded from a facility? Under ADA law, an animal can be excluded if it is a direct threat to the health or safety of other people or will disrupt the regular operation of the business. Handlers of service animals must obey local leash and vaccine laws and must have their dogs under control at all times. An example of an animal being a direct threat to public safety would be if the service animal was eating at tables or sitting on chairs meant for patrons. 

Can businesses hold service animal owners responsible for damage done by the animal? Yes. Service-dog handlers are responsible for property damage just like other patrons.

Can businesses require the owners of service animals to pay “pet fees” or segregate them into “animal-friendly” areas? Because service dogs are not pets, the U.S. Justice Department, which is the ADA’s primary enforcement authority, businesses cannot subject them to “pet fees” or segregation in “animal-friendly” areas.  

Does an animal have to be able to do anything to be a service animal?  Yes. A dog must be able to perform specific tasks that relate to a person’s disability. 

Are therapy animals protected in the same way? Therapy, emotional-support, and companion animals are considered pets and do not fall under the regulations provided by the ADA. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Rise of DeafSpace

Hansel Bauman, the architect who established the DeafSpace Project at Gallaudet, "is adamant that DeafSpace is very different from ideas such as 'human-centred design' and 'universal design.' Architecture for the deaf community should go beyond the goal of producing a design that simply suits its users well, he says. Instead spaces built for the deaf should understand and promote their community’s culture, too." Read more in an Economist article about "the rise of buildings for the deaf and blind" here. Below is a TEDx video featuring Bauman.

Getting to Know.. your Hair Cells

Clusters of hair cells
Hair cells play a critical role in our hearing. When they are damaged, doctors say they act like blades of grass. When someone walks on grass, the blades initially lie down and then bounce back up. but if you keep walking that same path over and over again, the grass will stay down. Hair cells are the same way, if you send waves of sound from the outside without opportunity for the cells to recover or you rip them up through excessive noise. Hair cells do not grow back.