Friday, October 31, 2008

New ASL Dept in Kentucky

Eastern Kentucky University has created a new department dedicated to the study of sign language. The Department of American Sign Language and Interpreter Education is an off-shoot of the Department of Special Education. It has 11 teachers (many are deaf) and two staff members. There are nearly two dozen students already in the program. The state of Kentucky has less than 150 licensed interpreters. That’s about half of what’s needed, according to the school’s dean of education.

School Loses Scholarship Money

The Washington School for the Deaf is among the thousands of Washington Mutual shareholders to suffer from the bank’s plunge into bankruptcy. The school received 2500 share as part of a donation to fund its scholarship program. Because of endowment restrictions, the school couldn’t sell the WaMu stock even when it fell through the bottom.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Crime Near Gallaudet

An effort has failed to get police in Washington from stopping traffic at checkpoints at a neighborhood bordered by Gallaudet University to the west. Motorists are required to show identification and explain their destination before entering the crime-ridden Trinidad neighborhood. The Partnership for Civil Justice sued to get the practice stopped but a federal judge said the practice is legal. The area has seen a number of shootings in recent months including drive-bys and a triple homicide in May.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What Earplugs Can Do

Earplugs reduce outside sounds by about 20 to 30 decibels for someone with normal hearing. Ordinary cotton balls or wads of tissue paper stuffed into ears cut noise only by about seven decibels. Normal conversation runs about 60 decibels. Continual exposure to more than 85 decibels may cause hearing loss. Earplugs can be premolded for the user and most are sized for men.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Gallaudet's Next President

Two years after protests erupted at Gallaudet University over the selection of its president, the school says it plans to begin a search for a new president this coming spring. The Board of Trustees withdrew the appointment of Jane Fernandes and made Robert Davila interim president. He will not be a part of the new search. Gallaudet says if all goes well, the new president will take office in 2010.

Deaf Cheerleaders

Three students at a St. Louis Metro high school on the cheerleading squad are deaf. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has their story.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Gallaudet Students Get New Neighbors

Firefighters from DC Station 10 have taken up temporary residents at Gallaudet University while their station is renovated. It’s more than 80 years old. The makeover will cost a whopping two-and-a-half million. In the meantime, firefighters are using an old warehouse into a temporary station on campus. It could be a year before they move back to the old location.

Station 10 is considered one of the busiest fire houses in the country because it serves a large area of low income densely packed residents. While the firefighters are learning sign language, there is one exception among them. Joey Keller is fluent in sign language and his my parents met at Gallaudet where they went to school.

Palin Questioned on Special Needs

During a campaign stop in Sioux City, Iowa, Jessica Haas asked Sarah Palin what specific things she’d do to improve special needs care. Haas said she was having trouble getting help for her deaf toddler. Palin told her:

“You need to have faith that your elected officials will demand that for you, so the bureaucracy is—is enabling you to get those things taken care of. As the advocate in the White House, that’s what I will ensure.” Haas said later she was happy with Palin’s answer.

Texas School Looks to Grow

A San Antonio school is closing in on it’s plans to double in size. Sunshine Cottage School for Deaf Children has raised more than $18 million for the project and needs less than $4 million to complete it. The 60-year-old school has purchased 22 acres of land and hopes to put up a new 57,000-square-foot building by the fall of 2010. That would accommodate about 200 students.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

No Confidence Vote at School

The Rhode Island School for the Deaf teachers union has given the school’s director a vote of no confidence. The latest rift between faculty and administrators came just a few days ago during an attempted break-in. Some teachers say director Lori Dunsmore didn’t notify them quick enough as to the danger on campus. The school serves more than 100 students and faces falling test scores and deteriorating facilities.

Helping Deaf Victims of Domestic Violence

A Place of Our Own in Seattle is the nation's first transitional housing program for low-income deaf and deaf-blind women recovering from domestic violence or sexual assault. The
Program is run by Abused Deaf Women's Advocacy Services (ADWAS) which began providing services in 1986. The group says rates of domestic violence among the deaf are similar to those for the general population. The National Domestic Violence Hotline says about one in six deaf, deaf-blind or hard-of-hearing women deal with physical abuse every year. The agency has a staff of 18 and operates on an annual budget of more than a million dollars serving more than 100 clients. Besides a place to stay, ADWAS offers legal advice and a parenting program.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

ASL Hall Opens at University

Michigan State University has a new American Sign Language living community. It gives students a chance to sharpen their signing skills by living among those who have an interest in ASL. While there are no one with hearing loss living at Snyder-Phillips Hall, there is hope the 11 students on the ASL floors will become a hub for academic and cultural events focused on deafness.

Election Coverage

For the first time, you’ll be able to follow National Public Radio’s coverage of election returns through captioning. Boston public radio station WGBH will create the instantaneous transcription for not only NPR but local and national television broadcasters. The company providing the new high-definition radio technology is Harris. You can pick up the simultaneous transcription at the website of NPR, Harris or WGBH.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Star of CBS Show Visits Rochester

WROC-TV reports on Christy Smith’s visit to Rochester's School of the Deaf. She was born deaf and appeared on the CBS reality show Survivor (no captioning provided).

Money Intended to Help Deaf is Moved

South Dakota is using a special fund set up or to provide telephone services for the deaf for  other projects. The Telecommunications Relay Service Fund gets its money from a monthly 15-cent assessment on telephone bills. In South Dakota, it adds up to $1.5 million each year. But instead of using it for the deaf, the governor and state Legislature have quietly moved $2 million of it to the general fund.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Running for the Bruins

UCLA tailback Derrick Coleman has hearing aids for both ears. Coleman was diagnosed with hearing problems when he was about one year old and started wearing hearing aids at the age of four. But now, Coleman is one of four freshman tailbacks helping the UCLA Bruins football team. Despite having had arthroscopic surgery on his knee in August, Coleman is the Bruins' leading rusher and holds the #2 spot behind senior Kahlil Bell - even though he has played in only four of the team's six games.

Lawyer Settles Interpreter Lawsuit

An Albuquerque attorney settled with a deaf client last year for $1,000 in damages because he failed to provide an interpreter. Joseph Camacho was handling a lawsuit on behalf of Carolyn Tanaka – who was suing a local hospital for not providing a sign language interpreter for son. Camacho withdrew from Tanaka case and the National Association of the Deaf filed a complaint on her behalf with the US Justice Department. Camacho agreed to change his office policy and provide an interpreter for any deaf client.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Record Award for not Providing Terp

A deaf patient has won a record $400,000 verdict in Hudson County, New Jersey. Her doctor had refused to provide a sign language interpreter during office visits. Irma Gerena says she repeatedly made the request of rheumatologist Robert Fogari while he was treating her for lupus. But he told Gerena that he couldn't afford to pay the $200 charge for each visit. Instead, Fogari spoke with family members including Gerena’s 9-year-old daughter. Gerena says the doctor refused to meet with an interpreter who could have explained the law to him. She eventually switched to another doctor who immediately changed her treatment. There were side effects to Forgari’s regiment that were unclear because of the communication problems.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

School to Reopen

If all goes well, the Louisiana School for the Deaf will partially reopen in November. Because of sex incidents among students and staff, the facility was shut down on October 3. Five people were arrested in the last year on sex charges involving students at the school. Parents have been upset that their children have had no where to go following the closing. In the meantime, there are new security measures being put in place and training underway.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Video Relay Helping Voters

San Antonio is planning to use five video remote interpreting consoles recently purchased from just DeafLink (based in the city) to help deaf voters. The equipment will be placed at early voting locations. Early voting is allowed in Texas between October 20th and October 31st. Using a two-way video screen, deaf voters will be able to communicate with election officials with the help of a sign language interpreter. About 115,000 people in the San Antonio San Antonio area are either deaf or hard-of-hearing population.

Firefox Video Support

A future version of the Firefox will have video and audio support built directly into the web browser. Teams at Firefox maker Mozilla are in the process of selecting a captioning format. But that is no easy task since there are a variety of video formats on the web. Regardless of the obstacles, any advancement will help advance multimedia accessibility for those with hearing or sight loss.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Music Listeners Risk Hearing Loss

One in 10 people with personal MP3 or CD players could suffer permanent hearing loss because their music is too loud. That’s the finding of a European study. Researchers says if you listen at 89 decibels or more for as little as an hour each day for five years, you risk permanent hearing loss.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Closed-Captioning in Digital

Analog and digital TVs use different methods to provide closed captions. An analog TV decodes the closed-caption information, displaying it on the screen. But a HDTV using an HDMI cable uses the device you are attaching to provide the closed-captioning. And that’s the case whether it is a DVD player or cable or satellite TV set-top box. To make them work together, you’ll have to make sure closed-captioning is turned on for the player or set-top box, as well as for the digital TV. If you still have problems, call your cable or satellite provider.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Supernanny Comes Calling

The latest episode of ABC’s Supernanny told the story of deaf parents struggling to raise four hearing children. Dorothy and Kip Baulisch of Papillion, Nebraska rely on their eldest daughter who basically plays surrogate parent to the three younger girls who often throw screaming fits. The girls have refused to learn sign language.

Melissa has given up her youth to be a full-time interpreter in her own house. She’s frustrated, working two jobs and still going to school. She has a limited relationship with her Dad, who says he loves her but doesn’t think she loves him back.

Host Jo Frost arrives with a sign language interpreter and sees how the children whisper to each other with their hands covering their mouths so their mom won’t know. Jo tells the parents, “Just because you’re deaf doesn’t make you any less of a parent!”

Thursday, October 9, 2008

NBA Player Released

The first legally deaf player in the NBA has been released. The Cleveland Cavaliers let go Center Lance Allred go after he played less than five minutes in the Cav’s 104-84 exhibition loss to Toronto. During the exhibition season, he played in just three games and averaged only one point. While he may consider a return to the NBA later, Allred says he'll stay busy writing a book about his disability.

Parents Complain About School Closing

Parents who have children attending the Louisiana School for the Deaf are upset with the closing of the school even if it is a temporary situation. WVLA-TV has more (no captioning provided).

Read the story.

NTID Dance Company

The NTID Dance Company, established in 1984, is open to the entire RIT community whether the person is deaf or can hear. The group consists of about two dozen dancers who practice together about six days per week in the weeks leading up to a show.

School Shut Down

The Louisiana School for the Deaf is shutting down – at least temporarily. The school is in the midst of a sex scandal, leading to the arrest of both staff and students. The latest involved a mentally impaired teenage student who is accused of sexually attacking another, younger student on a school bus. The chaperone did not know sign language and when a student tried to tell her what was happening, she didn’t understand.

The state superintendent of education plans to add new security features before reopening the facility. A consultant says the institution's top administrator should be fired and new system installed. About 200 students attend the Baton Rouge school.

Monday, October 6, 2008

How to Teach Your Baby Sign Language

(no captioning provided)

Band Raises Funds for School

A rock band is raising money for a deaf school. Before starting its fall tour, the group State Radio played at the Learning Center For the Deaf in Framingham, Massachusetts. The show raised about $6000 for the center. The brother of singer and guitarist Chad Urmston works there.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Political Campaign Reaches out to Deaf

The Democratic party in Missouri’s Callaway County is making an effort to contact the Deaf Community to tell them about Barack Obama's campaign. Workers are calling over TTY. It may be the only county political operation in the country doing this sort of outreach. The Republican party in Callaway says it’s not. Next up: Using Video Relay Service on behalf of Obama.

Gallaudet's Development Project

Gallaudet University is planning to develop four acres across from its campus in northeast Washington, DC. The land on 6th Street north of Florida Avenue is now vacant. The effort may include rental housing, offices, retail, restaurants, a community theater, a child development center and cultural attractions. The school says the architectural design will bring together deaf and hearing people. Most noticeably, the fence along the campus’ 6th Street border may be removed.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sexual Attacks at Deaf School Continue

A teenage student has been suspended from the Louisiana School for the Deaf for allegedly sexually attacking a six-year-old on a school bus. The boy apparently locked himself and the girl in a bathroom. The adult in charge has been fired. KMSS-TV in Shreveport says it’s one of more than 30 such reports at the school in the last five years – and that includes incidents involving school employees and teachers.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Big Fine for TV Station

The FCC has slapped a California TV station with a $25,000 fine for failing to make emergency information about fires accessible to the deaf. The San Diego station was broadcasting information about a rapidly spreading wildfire in 2003. That’s when the Commission says important information about evacuations was given out about two dozen instances in the audio portion of the programming but not elsewhere. The FCC rule book explicitly states says in Section 79.2 that broadcasters must make information being aired in the audio portion of their programming available to deaf viewers. The critical information does not have to be displayed by closed-captioning. It can be crawls, scrolls, maps, or signs.

Gallaudet Alum Named to CEO List

The Gazette of Politics and Business has named Gallaudet grad John Yeh as one of the 25 CEO’s You Need to Know. Yeh and his son, Jason, run Viable, Inc. The elder Yeh and his protable videophone called the VPAD are also featured on the cover of last month’s issue of CNN’s Fortune Small Business Magazine. Yeh is the chair of Gallaudet's Board of Associates and a past trustee. Viable is headquartered in Rockville, Maryland and employs more than 150 people.

Tween Hearing Campaign

A campaign started by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders is designed to get kids to dial down the noise. Children between ages 8 and 12 are at risk to because of excessive levels of MP3 players and other electronic devices. The campaign includes a website that offers suggestions for protection of hearing including some snappy comebacks for when their friends ask them why they're wearing earplugs.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Judge Rules Against Football Stadium

Deaf fans of the Washington Redskins may soon see a big difference at the games. A federal judge is ordering FedEx Field, where the team plays its home games, to provide “equal access” to deaf and hard-of-hearing people who are in the stadium. It all started when three fans filed suit against the football field owner, who claimed listening devices were enough to compensate for deaf fans not knowing what was being said over loud speakers. But the judge disagreed. And now the ruling may wind up forcing stadiums across the country to provide captioning for sporting events.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Testing Children's Hearing

Bay News 9 in Tampa Bay, Florida files this report on testing children's hearing (no captioning provided).