Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Deaf School Apologizes for Decades of Abuse

Leaders of The American School for the Deaf are apologizing to dozens of survivors of sexual abuse and physical abuse by former faculty and staff members. The abuse took place from the 1950s through the 1980s. The statement reads in part:
On behalf of ASD and its Board of Directors, we apologize to the survivors of this abuse — this should not have happened to you -– and we promise to continue to devote ourselves to protecting the current and future generations of children who rely on us and this community to enrich their lives,” they said in a statement.
Read the full statement here and watch a vlog summarizing the findings of the investigation.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

HoH College Basketball Player

Kameron Hill is hard-of-hearing but that hasn't stopped the Austin College senior from playing a valuable role on the school's basketball team. KTEN-TV has a video report (or read the story here).

KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Cochlear implant recall

Advanced Bionics is recalling some defective cochlear implants that were never implanted. The company will shell out more than $50 million in the recall. The recall involves the HiRes Ultra and Ultra 3D cochlear implant devices. There have been reports of decreased hearing performance by users in some of those cochlear implant devices. Read more here.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Sexual and physical abuse at State Deaf School

An investigation is underway into accusations of sexual and physical abuse at the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford, Connecticut. The allegations are coming from 40 former faculty and staff. The Hartford Courant has details here.

Deaf sexual abuse victims protest at the Vatican

Victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests at a school for the deaf in Argentina staged a protest at the Vatican yesterday, reports Reuters. Two priests and a gardener have already been convicted and more will go on trial soon. Read more here.

Signing Black in America

There's a new documentary called Signing Black in America. It's a half-hour look at how Black ASL has evolved. The film was put together by North Carolina State University’s Language & Life Project and it recently won a Midsouth Regional Emmy Award. There are details here about a free showing of the documentary at the school Monday night. There's a Washington Post story about it here and a video promo for the documentary is posted below:

Friday, February 21, 2020

State's Deaf School May Move Locations

The Indiana School for the Deaf has been in Indianapolis near the fairgrounds for more than 100 years. But that may soon change. A task force put together by the state legislature has recommended moving it--and the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired to a shared campus. The Indianapolis Business Journal reports "Some advocates, lawmakers and alumni worry the process is being rushed." Read more on the story here.

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 losses 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 he worked as an amateur umpire himself for more than 20 years.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Gallaudet Monument Restoration

West Hartford, Connecticut has approved a proposal to restore the monument honoring Thomas H. Gallaudet that sits in front of the American School for the Deaf. Gallaudet co-founded the school. Read more about it here.

Settlement: MIT agrees to caption videos

MIT (The Massachusetts Institute of Technology) has agreed to provide captions for more of its publicly available online videos. It's part of a settlement with the National Association of the Deaf over a lawsuit filed four years ago. Attempts by both Harvard and MIT to get the case dismissed failed. National Association of the Deaf CEO Howard Rosenblum said, “The settlements with MIT and Harvard usher in a new era of accessible online learning in higher education. The civil rights mandate is clear – all colleges and universities must ensure that the video and audio content on their websites are accessible through quality captioning.” Read more about the settlement here.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

State Deaf School being Reorganized

The Superintendent of the Louisiana Special School District is reorganizing the Louisiana School for the Deaf. Critics say Ernest Garrett III is "dismissing experienced leaders and replacing them with people who are either unfamiliar to the community or lack the experience of their predecessors." Read more about the changes in WBRZ-TV website here.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Grey’s Anatomy adds Deaf Doctor to TV Series

The ABC show Grey’s Anatomy introduced a new deaf character this past week. The program titled Save the Last Dance for Me aired Thursday night with the role of Dr. Lauren Riley played by deaf actress Shoshannah Stern. Riley is a diagnostic expert who signs but communicates with hearing patients through a tablet. While ABC has promoted the series as "the first primetime television series to introduce a deaf doctor as a recurring character" it is actually not the first to do so. The shows Heroes and E.R. featured doctors who were deaf. Shoshannah Stern talks about how she got the role of Dr. Riley in a TV Guide interview and an interview with Variety
.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

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.

Friday, February 14, 2020

ABC Show to feature ASL

ABC’s 'The Good Doctor' will air an episode on Monday that features ASL. In this episode, the team treats a young boy-born without a fully formed trachea and unable to speak, so he uses ASL to communicate. The boy will be played by deaf actor Zade Garcia. KVUE-TV has a video profile of Zade below (or read the story here).

Thursday, February 13, 2020

SignVote expands effort

Communication Service for the Deaf is hoping to increase voter engagement in the deaf community through its SignVote campaign. SignVote spotlights accessible voter content and resources for ASL users. Watch the video below or read more about it here.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Deaf face uphill battle when searching for work

"Many deaf individuals with higher education often aren’t given the same opportunity to get supervisory experience as their hearing peers, which can put them behind hearing job candidates." Read more about the difficulty the deaf face when searching for work in the Daily Herald here.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Nation's first robotics competition for deaf, hard-of-hearing students

The Texas School for the Deaf is hosting the country's first robotics competition today. It features all deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

Children invented a new sign language

In the 1980s deaf children in Nicaragua invented a completely new sign language of their own. Here's a BBC video about it.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

"I performed at the Super Bowl: You might have missed me"

image from Christine Sun Kim TED talk
Christine Sun Kim signed the National Anthem at the beginning of the Super Bowl—but the TV audience only saw a few seconds of it. Now Kim is calling out Fox Sports for the snub. A "bonus feed" on the Fox Sports website was supposed to be focused on Sun Kim entirely but it wasn't. In an article written for The New York Times, Kim said she was "angry and exasperated" because on the Fox Sports website "the cameras cut away to show close-ups of the players roughly midway through each song." Read her opinion piece here.

He was the First President of Gallaudet

Edward Miner Gallaudet 
Edward Miner Gallaudet served as president (1864–1910) of the school that would become Gallaudet University. He died on this date (Sept. 26) in 1917. Edward was the youngest of eight children born to Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. When plans were made to change the name of the school from the Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, Edward Miner Gallaudet wanted the honor to go to his father, a pioneer in deaf education, rather than himself. So the school was renamed Gallaudet College.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Missouri lawmakers are considering a new law to punish people using fake service animals. It's Senate Bill 644 and it's being debated in committee this week. If it passes, violators could face misdemeanor charges, punishable by up to 15 days in jail. Read more about it the from St. Louis Post-Dispatchhere.

Monday, February 3, 2020

National Anthem Super Bowl Signing

image from NADvlogs
Christine Sun Kim signed the National Anthem at Sunday's Super Bowl while Demi Lovato sang the spoken English version of the son. If you missed the Berlin-based American sound artist, here's the video from the NAD.

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 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.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

The first deaf woman to row across the Atlantic Ocean

image from ReSound video
A woman from the UK is the first deaf person to row across the Atlantic Ocean. Mo O'Brien is a 60-year-old pharmacy worker who took 49 days to row from the Canary Island of La Gomera to the Caribbean island of Antigua. Her daughter and a friend made the trip with her. The trio arrived this past Thursday. Read more about her adventure from the BBC here or watch the video below.

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 BB 
  • 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

Saturday, February 1, 2020

On this Date... Murder at Gally

It was on this day in 2001 (Feb 1), Joseph Mesa, Jr. murdered Benjamin Varner in his Gallaudet dorm room. Mesa stabbed his classmate more than a dozen times. This wasn't Mesa's first fatal attack. A few months earlier, Mesa beat Eric Plunkett to death in his dorm room as well, leaving the school's campus shaken. Mesa turned himself into police 10 days after the Varner killing. In July of 2002, a DC judge gave Mesa six life terms without the possibility of parole. Prosecutors called him a serial killer in the making. The 22-year-old from Guam pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, telling jurors he saw hands wearing black gloves that told him in sign language to kill the 19 year olds who considered him their friend. Mesa's defense attorney suggested that the attack on Plunkett was prompted by rage over an unwanted homosexual advance. The jury convicted him on all 15 counts. Mesa is now serving time at The United States Penitentiary in Atwater, California near San Francisco, a high security facility.

Was Beethoven HoH instead of Deaf?

Kent State researchers say Ludwig van Beethoven was not completely deaf as is commonly believed. The theory is that "the composer still had hearing in his left ear until shortly before his death in 1827. Theodore Albrecht, professor of musicology at Kent State University, told the Observer:
Not only was Beethoven not completely deaf at the premiere of his Ninth Symphony in May 1824, he could hear, although increasingly faintly, for at least two years afterwards, probably through the last premiere that he would supervise, his String Quartet in B-flat, Op 130, in March 1826.
Read more here.

Helen Keller video

Here is a Newsreel showing Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan recorded in 1928 with open captions and audio descriptions.