Monday, October 26, 2020

Deaf advocacy group says deaf voters not given enough access to vote

A Deaf advocacy group wants video remote interpretation services available at every early voting site in Texas. No Barriers Communications says deaf voters in Bexar County aren’t getting adequate access to voting. Only one location in the county has assistent for daef voters. KSAT-TV has a video report.

“Are you really deaf?”

A deaf Florida woman was challenged by a Delta flight attendant as to whether she was really deaf. Kelli Duncan was wearing a maske that read “Just Deaf, Not Rude.” As she and a friend were getting on their flight attendant who was behind me rudely demanded, “Are you really deaf?” Read more on the story here.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Research on better hearing with implants in noisy environments

An Australian researcher says he has developed a new way to predict how to tweak cochlear implants for recipients in order to more quickly improve their hearing in noisy situations. Greg Watkins, who holds a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering, believes the result of his findings might lead to personalized implants. Watkins himself has two cochlear implants. He says:
Greg Watson
credit: University of Sydney 
Despite their successes, there remain areas such as the cochlear implant's performance in noisy environments where a personalised approach in taking the sound from the environment and translating that into electrical stimulation could conceivably make a world of difference.
His findings are published in the Ear and Hearing journal. Read more about the research from the University of Sydney here.

DeafBlind poet, essayist gets $50k grant

A DeafBlind poet will receive a $50,000 grant. John Lee Clark is among 20 Disability Future Fellows from around the country selected by the Ford Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Clark is from Minnesota and has authored the essay collection Where I Stand: On the Signing Community and My DeafBlind Experience as well as a poetry chapbook called Suddenly Slow. Below is a video of Clark talking about the Douglas Bullard book Islay.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

UK TV personality: My Deaf Brother's "living hell"

British television personality Josie Gibson was emotional on the show This Morning as she talked about the difficulties faced by her deaf brother, Harry. She calls his experiences during the pandemic a "living hell." Gibson, who won the 11th season of Big Brother. points to the difficulty of being able to lip-read while people are using face masks. Ironically, the video does not have captions but here is part of what she said:
We are so privileged to be able to still communicate even though we wear a face mask. Imagine going into a shop and be totally cut off from everybody in that shop Not only do they use it - lip reading - to communicate, they use the whole bottom part as expression. They won't know if people are trying to talk to them, if people are trying to get their attention. They don't know how people are feeling - they wouldn't know the emotion of that person because they're just so cut off from that person. Everywhere, we're told wear mask, save lives, but we've forgotten about this community where these masks are making their lives a living hell.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Tech firm settles lawsuit over refusing to interview Deaf worker

A New Jersey company will pay $77,500 to settle a lawsuit over its treatment of a prospective deaf employee. Conduent Business Services refused to even interview the qualified deaf applicant once it discovered a sign language interpreter would be needed. The company has now agreed to change its reasonable accommodation policy and offer ADA training to its employees. Read more about the settlement here.

Friday, October 16, 2020

The Making of ‘Deaf U'” panel

Gallaudet University organized a panel to talk about “The Making of ‘Deaf U'” on Tuesday. Watch it below and read more about the video gathering from Variety here.

Nyle DiMarco: how working on Deaf U made him reflect on his own college experience

Nyle DiMarco from his Instagram

Nyle DiMarco spoke with Entertainment Weekly about how he enjoyed his time at Gallaudet University. His new Netflix series Deaf U follows the lives of recent Gally students, which put him in a nestaglic mood. He said his time at Gallaudet helped him appreciate the diversity within the Deaf community:
There are people like me who'd be labeled as part of the elites because I come from a deaf family, I grew up in the deaf community, and I went to deaf schools. There was a time when I arrived at Gallaudet not considering other students coming in without the same background. So maybe my behavior could've been perceived as harmful by them. It's really a conversation about learning our own positioning within our community and learning how we're leveraging our positioning to support the entirety of the community and back one another as a whole.
DiMarco also reveals how he got into trouble at the school. Read the entire ET interview here.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Deaf author: Don't buy my book

Adam Pottle doesn't want you to buy his new book, "The Most Awesome Character in the World." The children's story follows a young deaf girl who decides to write her own book. The Canadian writer who was born deaf is unhappy with an illustration the publisher, New York's Reycraft Books, inserted depicting what he calls an "Asian stereotype." Pottle told the CBC: "The book is supposed to be a celebration of deaf culture, it's supposed to be a celebration of the deaf community, and of imagination." Read more about the story here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Shooting outside Deaf School

Three were people were shot in front of the Rhode Island School for the Deaf yesterday afternoon. One of them has died while another was shot in the leg and the third was shot in the abdomen. Police say none of the victims were students. Five people were in an SUV when the shots rang out. A man who was not hit drove the others to the hospital. Here is a video report from WPRI-TV or read the story here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

SignVote is helping to provide voter information in ASL

SignVote has been helping Deaf communities get to the polls since 2016. The nonpartisan organization started by the Communication Service for the Deaf provides voting information in social media suing ASL. WDVM-TV has a video report or read more information here.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Deaf School leadership doesn't have the support of alumni and parents

Alumni and parents of students at the Maryland School for the Deaf say that the superintendent and Board of Trustees have repeatedly failed to address the pervasive culture of racism and elitism at the school and are demanding a systematic change in leadership, reports Patch. Catherine Griswold said in public testimony: 

As a parent, what I saw repeatedly was elitism…generationally deaf students are given special treatments with sports, awards classes, grades, teachers etc. Deaf students, who are second-generation deaf, are next in line of priority. Newly deaf come beneath them and hard of hearing are treated very differently and almost like sub-class citizens.

Read the article here.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

How The Deaf Community Challenged The White House—And Won

Here is the backstory on why the Trump administration must now provide an ASL interpreter at all future coronavirus press briefings. Allison Norlian has the story here.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Here's Where the Cast of Deaf U Is Now

If you have watched Deaf U and are wondering what has become of the cast since the taping of the eight episodes, O, The Oprah Magazine, has the answers here. The Netflix show debuted today and is set at Gallaudet University.

CNBC profiles a Boston Terp

Jon Urquhart is a CODA who grew up with a deaf-blind father. He ultimately became a sign language interpreter as an adult and now a TikTok creator. CNBC profiled him, focusing on how Jon survives financially on $60K in Boston.

“Deaf U” is available

The Netflix series “Deaf U” is now available for viewing. The reality show follows several Gallaudet University students, all of whom are deaf or hard of hearing. Each of the eight episodes are about 20 minutes long. Actor, model and deaf-rights activity Nyle DiMarco is executive-producer. The Guardian spoke with him about the show here. Here is a Netlflix video where students talk about sign names--including President Trump’s sign name.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Teaching while Deaf in the age of COVID

A university professor takes readers into his world of lectures and masks--it is especially difficult for a deaf man. Kevin Garrison writes in Inside Higher Ed
In class, I cannot get close enough to read people's lips behind the face shields because of social distancing rules, so my students are increasingly silent.
Garrison teaches English at Texas' Angelo State University and you can read his story here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

First-of-its-kind home for deaf opens in Massachusetts

A deaf-friendly home--the only one of its kind in eastern Massachusetts, has just been opened. WCVB-TV has a video report here.

The history behind RI School for the Deaf

The Rhode Island School for the Deaf was founded by Mary Ann Lippitt who was born on this date, Oct. 7, in the year 1823. Her daughter became deaf after contracting Scarlet Fever in 1856. "Lippitt created her own program and founded the Providence Day School for the Deaf in 1876. Her husband Henry Lippitt, who had become governor in 1875, used his own influence to inspire the State to take over the administration of the school the following year." Read more here.

Monday, October 5, 2020

The First Deaf Irish Juror

Patricia Heffernan became the first deaf person to take part in jury deliberations for a criminal trial in Ireland last month. She and fellow jurors decided on September 21 to acquit a man of indecent assault. Heffernan was accompanied by two Irish Sign Language interpreters. The Irish Times has more details here.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Nurse learning BSL for patients

UK nurse Dawn Bebbington is learning British Sign Language to improve the service she provides for deaf patients. The BBC has a video report.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Meet the Cast of Deaf U

Cosmo is providing the Instagrams for the Cast of Netflix’s New Show ‘Deaf U’. The show debuts a week from today (Friday, Oct 7). The reality series follows a group of deaf students who attend Gallaudet University. Take a look here.

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Nursing and the Deaf community in the pandemic

The UK's Nursing Times posted an article about the particular concerns that need to be addressed when it comes to providing quality care for the Deaf community.  Tarnia Lefevre, a nurse working with the deaf, wrote:

It’s time we as professionals take a stand and say to the government to live by their own standards and laws. Let’s not make communication an afterthought – bring it to the forefront and remind ourselves why it is one of the six Cs (of nursing).
Read the entire post here.

St. Louis University gets large grant to fund Deaf education

The Dept. of Education is giving Fontbonne University a $1.25 million grant to fund deaf education and speech-language pathology scholars. The money will support a six-semester program to help prepare speech-language pathologists and teachers. Read more from KSDK-TV here.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

An ASL Bible 38 years in the making

A project started in 1981, to translate the Bible into ASL, is finally complete. The team of 53 translators completed the last three books this fall: Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. The translation was the vision of Duane King, founder of Deaf Missions. Read more about him here. The series of signed videos of the Bible can be accessed at the Deaf Missions site here. Deaf Missions CEO Chad Entinger said:
While Deaf Americans that are practicing Christians in particular have reason to celebrate, this really represents a broader win for all Deaf people and ASL communicators. This translation comes at a time in history when a lot is possible in terms of advancements for accommodating Deaf people. The explosion of digital technology and accessible video has allowed more Deaf people to share knowledge and communicate. Not unlike how the Bible was the first book printed on a modern printing press or the creation of the first Braille Bible in the 20th century, the availability of an ASL version of the Bible demonstrates a turning point in the culture toward normalizing sign languages.
Deaf Missions is celebrating the achievement virtually today on its Facebook page. Read more about the project here.