Monday, August 31, 2009

Terps in Colorado

There are 500 noncertified interpreters in Colorado, according to The Colorado Association for the Deaf. The state has 203 certified sign language interpreters, most of whom were certified through a program created under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

Boycott at Deaflympics

The Deaflympics, taking place in Taipei, Taiwan has gotten caught in some international politics. Some 70 Chinese athletes are not expected to attend Saturday's opening ceremony. A spokesman says they will still take part in the games. There are reports that suggest the boycott is over the Dalai Lama's visit to Taiwan.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Teen Attacked

A Charlotte-area teen is facing charges he attacked a deaf student at Forestview High School. Prosecutors say the Gastonia teenager hit the victim on the back of the head, knocking out his hearing implants.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Switching Health Roles

It was a health care role reversal yesterday at a Rochester hospital. Some 100 first-year medical students switched roles with members of the deaf community who played health providers. The program is designed to teach the students what its like for the deaf and hard-of-hearing to seek medical attention. They learned first hand how difficult medical care can become as a patient without adequate communication. The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry says its the only exercise like this in the country and Deaf Strong Hospital has been doing it for more than a decade. Students are given cards with symptoms listed and are told they cannot talk.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Snow Leopard

The newest major update of the Macintosh operating system went on sale today. Snow Leopard includes an improvement for the deaf. Within the Universal Access system preference there is a Hearing tab that offers a Play Stereo Audio as Mono. This will let people who can hear better through a single ear to more clearly hear both channels of a stereo signal.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Child Porn Charges

A former deaf football player is in jail and charged with child molestation and pornography in Norman, Oklahoma. Prosecutors say Eric Thunander confessed after a child at a daycare told workers he had touched her inappropriately. The defensive end was a standout as part of the University of Oklahoma’s 2000 National Championship team.

Thunander told the story of his attempt to overcome abuse and depression in a book released last year called Silent Thunder. According to the autobiography, Thunander endured abuse and multiple foster homes as a child, finally hitting the bottom when a head injury ended his football career. He wound up trying to commit suicide. But Thunander says he turned his life over to God, went back to school to complete his degree and became a motivational speaker.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Change in Sight

A Kentucky teacher is trying get a program started for deaf-blind children. Debbie Garvue’s own 6-year-old daughter is deaf-blind. She’s hoping to launch the special classes at Heuser Hearing and Language Academy, formally the Louisville Deaf Oral School. The Academy has a program for children up to the age of five but her daughter is now too old to attend. Garvue’s Change in Sight campaign hopes to raise $200,000.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Off to Taiwan

A University of Montana journalism student is one of more than a dozen college journalism students headed to Taiwan to cover the 21st Summer Deaflympics. Hugh Carey was selected to join the USA Deaf Sports Federation’s media team as a photojournalist.

Born deaf, Carey learned ASL but stopped using it after attending third grade when he received hearing aids and being encouraged to learn to lip-read. Carey says he’ll try to relearn the language. An athlete himself, he participated in last year’s Ultimate Frisbee Championships in Florida.

Nearly 4,000 athletes from 81 countries are expected to take part in next month’s Deaflympics, in Taipei City starting September 5th.

School Chief Retires

Idaho's school for deaf and blind superintendent has called it quits. Mary Dunne has retired after 37-years with the Gooding school. She took over as superintendent two years ago. Budget cuts forced the facility to cancel its summer programs.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Just Six Students

Enrollment at the South Dakota School for the Deaf has fallen from 30 to only 6 students this fall. The governor wanted to close the facility but the school was saved by federal stimulus funds. The Brandon Valley School District took over deaf school's auditory-oral program. It serves a dozen students at an elementary school. The South Dakota School for the Deaf has a 14-acre campus worth an estimated $10 million.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Iowa Wants You

The Iowa School for the Deaf wants to fill its classrooms with students from other states. The Council Bluffs facility is only at two-thirds capacity. It already accomedates more than a dozen children from Nebraska which lost its school for the deaf 11 years ago. Even though more than 100 students attend the Iowa School for the Deaf, it could easily handle 50 more. And the dorms built on campus make it especially attractive for out-of-state parents of deaf children looking for education.

911 Text

Minnesota emergency dispatch centers are preparing to upgrad their equipment to recieve text messages. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety is coordinating the change. Right now, Waterloo, Iowa emergency is the only dispatch center in the country able to receive texts.

New Outreach Center

A group called Laborers for Christ is building an outreach center for Christ Lutheran Church for the Deaf in Jacksonville, Illinois across from the Illinois School for the Deaf. The new structure will take the place of the water damanged parsonage. Laborers for Christ is made up of Lutheran retirees who will camp out in their RVs during construction.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Football Returns

The Michigan School for the Deaf is fielding a football this season for the first time in 24 years. The program was cut by the Flint school in 1985. But students will play eight-man football starting September 17th against Carsonville High.

Million $ Prize

WAGA-TV in Atlanta with a video report on a prize that was supposed to go to deaf schools in the state.

TTY Pioneer

James Marsters has died at the age of 85. Profoundly deaf, Marsters was both an dentist and a licensed pilot who earned a degree in chemistry. But he will best be remembered as one of the men behind the text telephone or TTY. Marsters' mother raised him as if he was fully hearing, so he became an expert lip reader. Rejected by several dental schools because he was deaf, Marsters eventually was accepted to a New York school, making money to finance his education by performing as a magician. He became friends with deaf physicist Robert Weitbrecht and together they come up with the concept for the TTY. Weitbrecht patented the equipment linking teletype machines over telephone lines. They formed Applied Communications in the mid-60's. AT&T orginally tried to stop the development, claiming it damaged the company's equipment. But eventually, the dominant phone company gave way and supported the effort. By the next decade, police and fire departments started installing the technology for emergencies. During the 1980's a variety of TTY machines hit the market, ensuring the deaf would not be left out of the conversation.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Protest over Million $ Prize

More than two dozen protesters showed up at the law offices of the bankruptcy for Kathy Cox in Newnan, Georgia yesterday. She promised to give the $1 million she won on a TV show to the state schools for the deaf and blind: the Georgia School for the Deaf, the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf and the Georgia Academy for the Blind. But after she declared bankruptcy, that donation was in question. The prize money could go to creditors. Her attorney did not meet with the demonstrators but has said he is working to free the money up. Some of the creditors have withdrawn their claim to the prize money. Georgia's Attorney General has issued an opinion that the money should go to the schools. She won the money on the Fox show Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? The network says it will not give out the prize until there is an agreement on who should get the money. If there is no agreement, Fox says it will let the courts decide.

Struggles of Deaf-Blind

KRIV-TV in Houston offers a video report on the difficulties of raising a deaf-blind child.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Viable Purchase

Video relay service Viable Communications is being bought by New York-based Snap!VRS. Viable is a Maryland-based deaf services company that was recently searched by the FBI in connection with an investigation of a Florida company whose owners have been arrested and charged with conspiracy to defraud the federal government. Viable says it is fully cooperating with the investigation.

Meanwhile, Viable's president is headed to court September first. Mary K. Moylan accuses John Yeh of not pay her wages of more than $7400, according to The Gazette. The Maryland deaf services company faces that trial in Rockville followed by an October civil contract hearing.

Viable has nearly 250 workers, many of whom are deaf.

Georgia Protests

Advocates for Georgia's deaf schools will gather at a lawyer's office in Newnan this afternoon. They want money from the bankruptcy of Georgia School Superintendent Kathy Cox to go to the Georgia Association for the Deaf . When Cox won $1 million on the Jeff Foxworthy show Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? she pledged to give the funds to the state schools for the blind and deaf. But Cox declared bankruptcy last year, saying she and her husband owe $3.5 million. The demonstrators are gathering at the offices of the attorney serving as her bankruptcy trustee because they are concerned the funds will wind up going to creditors instead of charity.

The Heart of the Hydrogen Jukebox

There's a new documentary featuring ASL poetry from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester. NTID interpreter Miriam Lerner directed the two-hour film called The Heart of the Hydrogen Jukebox. It focuses on material from the 1980s and 1990s.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Meet Miss Deaf Utah

Although an ear infection left Natisha Luke deaf as a newborn, the 19-year-old Mormon has been named Miss Deaf Utah. A graduate of Pine View High School in St. George, Luke plans to attend nursing school. The oldest of five siblings, she dances and uses ASL to communicate.

Meet Miss Deaf Virginia

Rosa Evelyn Herrera is a 19-year-old University of Mary Washington student, the oldest of six children born to Salvadoran immigrants. She was born deaf like her two younger sisters. Her parents spoke Spanish at home while everyone spoke English at her school. With hearing aids, she has about 75% of her hearing and uses ASL. She attended Massaponax High School in Fredericksburg, Virginia where she played violin and marched with the schools color guard.

As Miss Deaf Virginia, Herrera will represent her state at various conferences and events in the deaf community including the National Association of the Deaf Conference.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Books for CODAS

Books of interest to young CODAs (Children of Deaf Adults):
  • Hate that Cat - Creech, S. (2008)
  • Tree Wise - Abbamonte (2007)
  • Singing Hands – Ray (2006)
  • Dad, Jackie and Me - Uhlberg (2005)
  • The Printer - Uhlberg, M. (2003)
  • Of Sound Mind - Ferris (2001)
  • Sometimes I Talk , Sometimes I Sign - Mc Intosh (2000)

Trial Underway

A Cleveland man's trial begins today for allegedly tying his deaf girlfriend to a bed and assaulting her for several days. Efrain H. Solis is charged with kidnapping, rape and domestic violence. He's also accused of interfering with prosecutors because he got a friend to try to make the vicitm take back her statements. Solis' mother spoke to her as well. His friend has pleaded guilty to obstruction charges and his mother faces charges of witness intimidation and kidnapping.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Deaf Golfer in Dakotas

Chris Robertson is in the hunt at the Arrowhead Pro-Am in Rapid City, South Dakota. He made yesterday’s cut by shooting a second-round 67 to move to 4-under par for the tournament. The Ohio native is the only player wearing hearing aids. It’s his first year on the Dakotas tour. The 23-year-old graduate of Ashland University was born with Mondini Dysplasia.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Purple Profits

Purple Communications says it made $32.5 million in the 2nd quarter of this year compared to $30.6 million in the year prior. Purple made $67.1 million in the first six months of the year compared to $59.7 million for the same six months last year. Purple provides video relay and interpreting services. Its stock price has fallen from about $7 a year ago to about $3.50 now.

Sexual Abuse Suit

A former student at Wisconsin deaf school is suing for molestation. Dean Weissmuller claims he was abused by a now deceased priest at St. John's School for the Deaf and is suing the Milwaukee Archdiocese of the Catholic church. His lawsuit claims the Archdiocese knew about what was going on and did nothing.

In response to the lawsuit, the Archdiocese says it has long admitted the priest was sexually abusive and apologizing to victims.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

911 Tasing Call

Here's the 911 call to Mobile police about the deaf man who was tased by officiers.

Shelly Goes Outdoors

A new book by Kentrell Martin is a guide to learning ASL from a child’s perspective. Shelly Goes Outdoors follows the main character on a walk through her neighborhood, focusing her the visual learning. An instructional DVD comes along with the book. The Florida native wrote the book because he has a deaf brother and wants his children to learn sign. There are already a series of books ready to be published in the series. The next will be Shelly Goes to the Zoo.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Police Report

Here's the police press release on the tasing of a deaf man in Mobile.

Taser Probe

We reported a few days back about a deaf man, tased for not coming out of a bathroom when he was ordered to do so by police in Mobile, Alabama - even though he couldn't hear them. The local newspaper is reporting this morning there will be a news conference about the incident today. The Mobile Register says police investigators found that the use of the taser (along with the pepper spray) was indeed justifed since they had no way of knowing Love's condition. However, the officer's attempt to arrest Antonio Love, after he found out he was deaf, was not justified.

Love says he stayed in the Dollar General store rest room because he was sick and panicked when he saw someone trying to force their way into the bath room. The officers should have ordered Love taken home or had his family contacted, according to the report. Instead, they tried to charge him resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and failure to obey a police officer.
The magistrate judge on duty refused to accept those charges. His family says they didn't even bother to explain to the confused and metally challenged man what had happened.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Xpress

A new synthesized voice product will be out by the end of the month. The DynaVox Xpress weights less than two pounds and emulates smart phones like Apple's iPhone. The small handheld communicator includes Wi-Fi internet access and incorporates many features. The Xpress will cost $7,500.

Viable to Court

Viable's president is headed to court September first. Mary K. Moylan accuses John Yeh of not pay her wages of more than $7400, according to The Gazette. The Maryland deaf services company faces that trial in Rockville followed by an October civil contract hearing. The FBI searched Viable's headquarters last month in connection with an investigation of a Florida company whose owners have been arrested and charged with conspiracy to defraud the federal government. Viable has nearly 250 workers, many of whom are deaf.

A Lion’s Mane

A new book called A Lion’s Mane was written by the Sikh mother of a deaf child to encourage his understanding of his identity. Navjot Kaur takes young readers on a journey around the world to explore the meaning of the turban of the Sikhs. Here's a video introduction to the book.

Mainstreaming in Phoenix

A deaf school in Phoenix is teaming up with the local public school for a joint learning experience. KSAZ-TV has this video report.

Monday, August 10, 2009


New software out of Israel can improve speech recognition by up to 50% in hearing aids and cochlear implants. Clearcall filters out background noise for users. It was initially developed for cell phones. But Tel Aviv University professor Miriam Furst-Yust adapted the technology as a software add-on for existing hearing aid devices. The software could be available to the public before the end of the year.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Fire Destroys Home

The hearing equipment of a Washington State toddler has been destroyed in a fire. His parents lost most of their belongings in the blaze at their trailer. The Kennewick couple does not have insurance. Here' s a video report from KNDO-TV.


A research team at Seattle’s University of Washington is experimenting with zebrafish as a way to understand how to replace human hair cells – one of the most common reasons for hearing loss. The freshwater fish have clusters of hair cells outside of its body to sense water vibrations. Somehow, zebrafish are able to regenerate their damaged hair cells. If researchers can unlock those secrets, it could mean many people could have their hearing restored. So far, they’ve identified genetic mutations and chemicals that seemed to protect hair cells from damage. Those findings are in the journal PLoS Genetics.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Vietnamese Children

A Seattle-based nonprofit is working to change the lives of deaf children in Vietnam. Paige Stringer founded the Global Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss after a visit to the Southeast Asian country. The former University of Washington tennis player is now a freelance travel writer with a background in marketing. The foundation plans to provide a month-long training workshop for teachers at a state-sponsored school located in the Binh Duong province where more than 300 children are taught. Global's board is chaired by retired University of Washington Speech and Hearing Sciences professor Fred Minifie.

Emergency Texts

Katie Couric comments on Waterloo, Iowa's emergency operations where operators are able to receive and respond to emergency text messages.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Expanding Children's Program

A Champaign, Illinois hospital is expanding its hearing-loss program. Carle Foundation Hospital's St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf has just opened a new building which will house the Carle Auditory Oral School. The building cost more than $6 million and is designed especially for children with hearing loss. The school opens next Wednesday to serve more than 30 children.

iPhone App

A new iPhone App called The Finger offers a text to sign language feature. Type a phrase or word and The Finger will give you an animated replay of your text using American Sign Language. The Pangea Software will also mimic more obectionable gestures.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Utah Scam

Scam hurts deaf community in Utah. KUTV has a video report.

6 Sexiest Deaf Women

An internet site has taken a shot at naming The 6 sexiest Deaf Women. Here’s the list from
  • Brazilian supermodel BRENDA COSTA


  • Miss Deaf World 2008 ROSANNA MAZZOCCHIO

  • Weeds cast member SHOSHANNAH STERN


  • Singer FOXY BROWN

Appointment Protest

A group called Western New York Deaf United are protesting the appointment of Thomas Burns to lead a sign language interpreting agency called Deaf Adult Services in Buffalo, New York. The group was formed by a DAS staff member and a certified ASL instructor. Burns once headed up public relations for the local minor league baseball club and comes from Medaille College where he served as a Vice President. But Burns does not know sign language and has a limited knowledge of deaf culture. Western New York Deaf United says other qualified candidates were passed over and Burn received only 9 of 15 votes from the board of trustees. The board held a forum this week to hear the grievances but no changes were made.

911 Texting Goes Live

There’s a demonstration planned today for Iowa’s new 911 texting service at the Waterloo City Hall. Black Hawk County’s set up is the 1st 911 contact center in the country to directly receive text messages. The new technology will allow the deaf to avoid having to go through a relay center or use a special communications device in order to contact emergency services.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ministry in Kenya

A video on the work of Christian ministry DOOR International that's taking place in Kenya.

Disney Trip in Sign

An ASL Disneyland vacation with hand held captions.

Here's a transcript:

Hello. I’m here at Disney California. They have a new device. Well, maybe it’s not new, but it’s new to me. It’s called Hand Held Caption. It’s for Closed Captions. You can push the buttons, aim it in the direction you want to look at and it will copy the closed caption to the screen so you can read what is being said. Pretty cool! Disney California is accessible! Whoo!(Showing device)Later: Hello again. I’m here at “Talking with Crush” the turtle. I love sea turtles if you don’t already know that. Something interesting I want to share… I got that Hand Held Caption machine that is supposed to help with closed captions, but there is no closed captions here. Only at one event here. That’s all. Just one ride/show in all of Disney California. Only one called “Monster Inc.” But here with Crush, there’s none. Darn! Is Disney really accessible to Deaf people?? Not. I asked a worker if he could turn on the closed captions, but they had none. Sad.Hello again. You know, as an individual, I wear many hats. I have many roles. I am LaRonda: a mom, a woman, Deaf, a boss… and I do many different things. Today, you will see me in “many different hats” just like the roles I play in my own life. Right now, I’m at Disneyland. Actually, I’m at an IHOP restaurant. (chuckle) Enjoy!

Monday, August 3, 2009

MTV Study

A new study shows the long-term effects of exposure to loud music. The project was a joint effort between and Vanderbilt Medical College. Read the results here. The ful study is published in the Journal of Pediatrics.

Opening Ears to the World

Here's the story of a two-year-old recieving an implant as told by The Los Angeles Times.

Implant Stat

About 4-out-of-10 children under the age of three born profoundly deaf now receive a cochlear implant. In 2004, the number was less than 3-out-of-10, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Deaf Pilots

WLUK-TV in Green Bay has a video report on a gathering of deaf pilots. Click here for the text.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

First X Game Medalist

A Florida teenager has become the first X Game deaf medalist. Ashley Fiolek won the women's Moto X Super X in her debut. She came from behind on the last lap. The 18-year-old turned pro last year, winning back-to-back titles on the Women's Motocross Association circuit. She took the checkered flag at nine of the tour's 12 races

Fiolek was born deaf and can't hear anything less than 100 decibels. That makes it much harder for her to know when to shift gears. She depends on the vibration of the motorcycle. She was racing by the age of 7 and won a national championship when she turned 13.

Fiolek is the first American woman gain a major factory sponsorship. Her sponsors include Hondy, T-Mobile and Red Bull. Here's a sample of her riding.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Service Dog Turned Away

A deaf teenager was refused service at a restaurant in St. Augustine, Florida because of hear service dog. Sonny's Real Pit Bar-B-Q turned away 17-year-old Sadie Sterry who was going out to eat with her mother, brother and friends. The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind senior owns a Chihuahua-Pomeranian mix named Foxy. But a server said the dog would not be allowed in the restaurant with "legal documentation". Sterry says Florida doesn’t have legal documentation. Through a lawyer, she’s asking for mediation, employee training and an apology. The restaurant chain has yet to respond to a complaint filed with the Florida Commission on Human Relations.

Captioned Telephone

Captioned Telephone service is available in Louisiana starting today. It’s like closed captioning only for the telephone. Callers are able to view word-for-word captions of their telephone conversations. An operator type the conversation as it progresses in real time. The service is availabel through a CapTel phone developed by Ultratec based out of Madison, Wisconsin. The device is especially designed for those who want to use their own voice over the phone but have trouble hearing the other people. The Louisiana Relay Administration Board approved the service and will over a demonstration next Saturday at the Louisiana Relay Service Center in Baton Rouge. A CapTel phone costs useres $99.

A Silent Epidemic

KABC-TV in Los Angeles has this video report offering tips on how you can protect yourself from hearing loss.

Basketball Camp