Friday, October 30, 2009

CID: A Journey

A new book describes the history of Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis as it celebrates its 95th anniversary. CID: A Journey is available through the school's Web site and proceeds from sales will go towards the school’s scholarship program. The 72 pages focus on children who succeed without the use of sign language. The oralism school was founded in 1914 by an otolaryngologist and is affiliated with Washington University.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Actress Picked for Keller

The star of Little Miss Sunshine will play Helen Keller in the Broadway production of The Miracle Worker. The Tony Award winning play will feature 13-year-old Abigail Breslin as Hellen Keller while Alison Pill will take the part of Annie Sullivan, the teacher who taught Keller to communicate. Pill is up for a Tony Award and played a part in the 2008 film, Milk. Several groups are protesting the selection, saying a deaf or blind child actress should play the part. The Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts say actresses who shared Helen’s disabilities should have been auditioned for the role.

Digital Journal Launch

Gallaudet will launch an academic and creative arts journal in ASL and English next week (November 4). The multimedia collection will include academic articles, commentary, literature, film, video, visual arts, historical footage and interviews.

FCC Hearing

The FCC will hold a hearing at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC about accessibility to broadband services and Internet media a week from tomorrow (November 6). Actress and author Marlee Matlin will be on hand to present a Deaf viewpoint. The commission is also looking for comments from the public about what they want to see available on the internet. There will be an exhibition of innovative technology as well. The FCC is expected to present to Congress its National Broadband Plan in February of next year.

Undefeated Season

The football team at the Iowa School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs hasn't lost a game this season. Not only is the team 8-0, they have won their games by an average margin of 44 points.
But we may never know just how good the team really is - because Iowa High School Athletic Association has rules that do not allow teams to participate in the postseason unless they play their regular games in a district. The Iowa School for the Deaf is not part of a state athletic district but takes part in the Great Plains Schools for the Deaf Conference which includes Deaf schools from several states.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hate Crime Bill

The federal hate crimes law now protects people with disabilities. President Obama signed a bill today that updates the 1968 statute to include for the first time gay, lesbian, transgender and disabled people. It already protected people from attacks motivated by race, religion or ethnicity. The bill includes provisions to train state and local law enforcement officials about hate crimes.

Firsts for Island Nation

Maldives has its very first teacher specialising in teaching deaf students through sign language. The island nation located off the coast of India has only offered classes for deaf children since 1985. Amaresh Gopalakrishnan not only will focus on teaching deaf children, he has created the first Maldivian sign language dictionary. The book documents 650 signs and include illustrations drawn by Gopalakrishnan's deaf father.

Skype for ASL

A St. Petersburg high school ASL class is using Skype to chat over the internet each week with a group of deaf students in another classroom at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. It started a year ago when Pasco's Sunlake High students took a trip to the St. Augustine facility and they decided to stay in touch with the residential school students they met during the visit.

Assault at Deaf School

An investigation is underway into accusations if a sexual assault of a male student at the Maryland School for the Deaf. Police believe it took place happened in one of the dorms. The victim is currently being treated at Frederick Memorial Hospital and is in good condition.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Keller Statue

There has been a dramatic increase in visitors to the museum that now occupies the home where Helen Keller was born in Alabama. The uptick is attributed to the increase in media coverage about her life, since the state unveiled a statue honoring her at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. The bronze statue shows Keller by a water pump where she first learned to communicate by sign language. It is the only statue in the Capitol Building's Staturary hall that depicts a child or a person with what some consider a disabillity.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mother Saves Daughter

A mother rescued her deaf daughter from out of a fire in Columbus, Ohio this morning. Jodi Reynolds quickly got out of the apartment with one of her daughters but the other did not hear the warnings. Reynolds rushed back inside to get her. She told Firefighters she heard arguing outside the building before the fire started. They say someone deliberately set the blaze.

CSUN Deaf Studies

California State University Northridge in Los Angeles has one of the only Deaf Studies undergraduate programs in the country. More than 200 deaf and hard of hearing students attend the school. Lawrence Fleischer is Chair of the Deaf Studies Department and explains his role in this captioned video.

Amos Kendall

A few years before the start of the Civil War, former Postmaster General Amos Kendall discovers several deaf and blind children are being neglected in Washington, DC. He asked that the children be declared his wards. Kendall decided to donate two acres of land for their housing and education. Eight years later in 1864, as the War comes to a close, Kendall speaks at the Inauguration of Gallaudet University. You can read what he had to say here.

School Theft

Someone broke into the Maryland School for the Deaf yesterday morning. Frederick Police say the burglars ransacked offices and classrooms in the Technology Building. They also stole cash, tools staff member's truck.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sign Instead of Kisses

There’s a movement in France to temporarily switch from the custom of kissing cheeks to using sign language. The hope is that it will help keep the H1N1 flu away. Fais-Moi Signe (Give me a Sign) is asking television news anchors to use sign to tell viewers Hello, How are you? and Are you sick? as a way to encourage the change. France began a vaccination campaign this week health workers and shots will be offered to the general public in November.

New High School

The Rocky Mountain Deaf School has been given the go ahead to offer high school classes. The Jefferson County's school board unanimously approved the school’s request for a charter high school. RMDS has been offering a program for preschool through eighth-grade. When it opens next fall, it will be the only facility offering high school classes especially for the deaf and hard-of-hearing in the area.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Smoke Dectectors

The state of Texas requires landlords to provide visual smoke detectors to tenants who request it. The law went into effect this year. Read a summary of the law here.

150 Year Celebration

Some 4000 people are expected to celebrate at the California School for the Deaf in Freemont, California this weekend. It's the institution's 150th anniversary. Former NFL star Ronnie Lott will speak. There will be a parade, homecoming games, banquet and dance along with class reunions. The school now serves nearly 500 students. About 90% of the staff is deaf. It was founded in May 1860. It moved to UC Berkeley in 1869 and back again to Freemont in 1980.

Money Returned

The family of a stage manager accused of stealing from Cleveland-based Sign Stage has repaid the group. Police say James R. Jones III had racked up $4000 on the company credit card of the organization that adapts popular books and plays for deaf audiences.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Suit: Paramedic Groped Me

A Portland deaf woman is suing American Medical Response Northwest. She says a paramedic groped her as she rode in his ambulance. Her lawsuit seeks $1.5 million in damages. Seven other women havealready filed suits against American Medical and its Denver-based parent company AMR. The first woman to sue won more than $3 million from the ambulance company last month.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hurwitz Reaction

Rochester's YNN reports on how the National Technical Institute for the Deaf is handling the annoucement that president Alan Hurwitz is leaving to take the same job at Gallaudet University in Washington. Click here for a transcript of the story.

Golf for Deaf Children

A golf program in Destin, Florida for the deaf got its start in church. After Rob Strano retired from the PGA Tour, he met Donna Pierson at his church. The sign language instructor inspired him to reach out to children with hearing loss. After taking ASL classes, Strano held his first deaf golf camp was held in Pensacola in 2003 with more than a dozen children. He now counts more than 1800 deaf children among his students. He may the only pro in the world teaching deaf golfers. His next free camp is set for Jackson, Mississippi in two weeks. For more information click here.

Robbery Gone Wrong

Phoenix police say an armed Hispanic man tried to rob a group of deaf people yesterday. When he began writing a note to to tell them what he was doing, one of them brought out a steak knife and attacked him, wounding the man. The group scattered and the man fired shots, hitting a woman. He crashed his car a few blocks from the scene and began knocking on doors for help for his injuries. Both the shoooting victim and the suspect are in serious condition but expected to survive. Police are still hunting for the other robbery vicitims.

Uhlberg at Gally

Myron Uhlberg will speak at Gallaudet University a week from Thursday about his book Hands of My Father: A Hearing Boy, His Deaf Parents, and the Language of Love. Uhlberg is spending three weeks at Gallaudet as a writer-in-residence.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Teaching Deaf Students to Read

A novel teaching method appears to dramatically raise the reading levels of deaf students. With a phonic scripted reading curriculum called Direct Instruction, DePaul University Education professor Beverly Trezek found students gained qs much as two-and-a-half grade levels on standardized tests. Adding an instructional tool called Visual Phonics to the mix helped even more when used at the Illinois School for the Deaf. Visual Phonics lets teachers use hand gestures and written symbols along with visual and tactile methods of instruction that encourages students to visualize sounds. Trezek is co-author of Reading and Deafness: Theory, Research and Practice. You can read more about her work in the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education.

Silence to Sound

The film Silence to Sound will premiere Friday at the New York International Film Festival. Made by Brooklyn Girl Productions, the movie tells the story of Justin Garreet, born profoundly deaf, who becomes Oklahoma's first recipient of a bilateral cochlear implant at the age of 27. Producer Jenine Mayring is a former sign language interpreter. Here's the trailer for the movie.

Monday, October 19, 2009

NTID Interim

Jim DeCaro will serve as interim president for the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. He's currently head of the Postsecondary Education Network-International at the Rochester Institute of Technology. DeCaro will serve one year while the organization conducts a national search for a new president. DeCaro replaces Alan Hurwitz, who is leaving to become the presidenct of Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.

Minnesota's Deaf-Blind

Read a Minneapolis Star Tribune article about the deaf-blind community in the state here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hurwitz Speaks

Gallaudet University's New President T. Alan Hurwitz speaks today at his introduction.

What Hurwitz Gets

Now that T. Alan Hurwitz will become the 10th president of Gallaudet University, what exactly does he get? While the school is not saying just how much he'll make, Hurwitz replaces Robert Davila who was paid a base salary of $400,000. There's also a 20-room Victorian mansion that goes to the president of the school

Video of Gallaudet Annoucement

Gally's New Prez

T. Alan Hurwitz is the new president of Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. The board of trustees picked Hurwitz over three other finalists, all of whom are deaf. He's currently president of New York's National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) and vice president/dean of Rochester Institute of Technology for NTID. Hurwitz replaces Robert Davila, whose term ends in December. Protests over the selection of Jane Fernandes three years ago shut down the school. Read more on the selection here.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Major Cuts at State School

The Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind may lose more than $8 million as a result of cuts in state spending, after already cutting more than $2 million from this year’s budget. School administrators are expected to present the governor a plan for cuts by October 23rd. They are proposing an increase classes to six students for each teacher and an end to stop field trips and sports programs entirely. Most of the students at the Tucson facility are deaf.

Hearing Aid Charity

The Rite Aid Foundation has donated $10,000 to a charity hearing aid center in Bangor, Maine. The Warren Center in Bangor gives away free hearing aids by reconditioning used hearing aid donations.

Gallaudet's Next President

We'll find out who will be Gallaudet's next president tomorrow afternoon. The Board of Trustees announces its selection in Swindells Auditorium. Gallaudet’s Presidential Search Committee has been considering these 4 finalists to lead the University.
Dr. Stephen F. Weiner, provost, Gallaudet University.
Dr. Roslyn Rosen, director, National Center on Deafness at California State University, Northridge.
Dr. Ronald J. Stern, superintendent/chief executive officer, New Mexico School for the Deaf.
Dr. T. Alan Hurwitz, president, National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) and vice president/dean of Rochester Institute of Technology for NTID.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Suit Moves Forward

A lawsuit filed in 1996 over hospital intepreters is still not settled. It was 14 years ago that Staten Island University Hospital was challenged in a New York court by a the family of a deaf patient seeking $10 million in damages. Robert Loeffler was supposed to undergo heart surgery at the hospital but administrators were not able to provide him with an interpreter, so after two weeks his children tried to translate the complicated medical terms to him. Although the hospital now provides interpreters for deaf patients, the Loeffler case may finally go to trial after more than a decade. A federal appellate court has put it back on the docket although no date has been set. A Brooklyn federal court had previously dismissed the claims following Loeffler's death in 2000.

ASL in Classrooms

The Washington Post takes a look at how ASL is being used in DC mainstream public school classrooms in this article.

Matlin Pulls Big Crowd

Marlee Matlin's appearance at the University of Illinois drew a large crowd Wednesday night. Most of the conversation with the deaf actress revolved around her use of sign language. She took questions from both the deaf and hearing members of the audience. The event was sponsored by the school's Union Board. Matlin signed copies of her autobiography, I’ll Scream Later.

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.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Parents Sue State School

A judge is siding with the South Dakota School for the Deaf probably against a group of parents. He says their case against the school does not belong in federal court. Five families are suing against plans to cut services, claiming its a violation of the state constitution. The judge is expected to issue a ruling on the matter soon.

Dog Eats Hearing Aid

Alan Hearld says police tased him 4 times before they arrested him and refused to provide him an interpreter. The Kentucky man says he spent a day sitting in jail, naked. It all started when Hearld's dog ate his $3,000 hearing aid. Hearld became so angry, he threatened to kill all the dogs in the house. That's when his wife called police. When they arrived, Hearld ordered them to get off his property. Police say he wouldn't calm down and was arrested for disorderly conduct. Police say he kicked an officer and tried to kick out a patrol car window, so he was tased once and later, choose to be naked in jail.

Protests Over Hearing Actor

A protest is underway over the decision to cast a hearing actor in a Deaf role in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. The Acting Company-New York Theatre Workshop production will take place in New York starting November 13th. When playwright Rebecca Gilman adapted the Carson McCullers’ novel to the stage, she decided to opens and ends the play with speeches by a central character, John Singer, who is deaf throughout the book. Hearing actor Henry Stram has been selected for the role. The play originally opened in Atlanta during 2005 with Stram playing the same role. Stram says he learned sign language for the part. Gilman says she may change the opening and closing parts of the play for future productions to avoid the controversy.

Sidekick Outage

The T-Mobile Sidekick outage of a couple of weeks ago was especially difficult for the company's many deaf customers The device offers greater independence because of it's easy-to-use keyboard, instant-messaging and relay service ability. When the outage took place, it appeared that many people had permanently lost important information. But T-Mobile is working on the problem and says a great deal of the data may be recovered. The Sidekick became a favorite because T-Mobile offers a data-only option, so that deaf customers would not be charged for unused voice minutes. However, many have moved on to the more advanced versions of the BlackBerry and other devices and the recent problems with Sidekick's reliability may encourage others to take the same route.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Michigan Stadium Captioning

The University of Michigan will offer closed captioning at football games starting this Saturday. The Delaware State game at Michigan Stadium will include captioning on the two video boards, concourse televisions, public address announcements and on-field officials' calls. The school has hired Caption Solutions to provide the captioning. The Lawrence, Kansas-based company already provides real-time stadium captioning for Notre Dame and eight of the Big XII Conference schools.

The Secret World of Deaf Prisoners

The deaf face a nightmare when they fall into the criminal justice system. A special report is now available on what they face from the Center on Media, Crime, and Justice at John Jay College for Criminal Justice, a part of New York's City University. Click here to read the report.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

ASL Comedy Night

More than 400 people showed up for ASL Comedy Night at Portland State University this past weekend. The standing-room-only event kicks off a campaign to move ASL studies from the speech and hearing sciences department to the foreign languages department. The school's ASL Club says American Sign Language is not the same language as English, it should be treated as a language in the same way that Spanish is recognized as a foreign language. The group complains that Deaf Culture is "not viewed as a multicultural group.”

Motorcycle Fundraiser

A motorcycle ride will take place in Cave Springs, Georgia this Saturday to benefit the Georgia School for the Deaf. The 90-minute ride starts is $30 per bike and includes admission to the cave in the park, door prizes, food, and admission to the school's homecoming game. Riders will will join the homecoming parade. Find more information here.

Fire Video

Here's video from the demonstration of a sprinkler system in two mocked up dorm rooms outside Gallaudet University. One of the firefighters was hospitalized.

Monday, October 12, 2009

State's Only Program

Bishop State College in Mobile offers Alabama's only associate degree in science in ASL and interpreter training. There are currently 25 students enrolled in the program.

School Closing

A regional day school for deaf children in Vermont is shutting down. All but one of the 7 students in the program at Mount Anthony Union Middle School in Bennington are heading to high school. The school within a school is run by the Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard. Vermont's only residential school for the deaf is Austine School in Brattleboro which serves about 60 students.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Marlee Matlin's Projects

Actress Marlee Matlin explains her current projects in a newspaper interview published today: "I had been working for the last three years nonstop, from "The L Word," to "Sweet Nothing In My Ear" for Hallmark Hall of Fame to writing and promoting my autobiography. I have a comedy in the works with the actor Mario Cantone ("Sex in the City") and Carol Leifer, who wrote my Emmy-nominated performance in "Seinfeld." And I have a few feature scripts I'm looking at, stuff I'm passionate about. I love having this little breather!

Read the full interview here.

Fake Fire Gallaudet

Two sidy-by-side mock dorms were set ablaze this week at Gallaudet University. One dorm room had a sprinkler and one did not. Livingston Fire Protection hoped to show the value of having a sprinkler in living quarters. However, not everything went as planned. While the sprinkler helped slow the fire in one room, the fire on the unsprinklered side melted a plastic barrier. It dripped on the three firefighters who were extinguishing the fire and set them on fire. No one was injured and all the fires were doused in a little more than 30 seconds.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Theater Group Crime

Police are looking for the former stage manager of a deaf theater group. He’s accused of stealing funds from the organization that helps to promote the arts to children. Authorities say James R. Jones III racked up $4000 on the company credit card of the Ohio-based Cleveland Sign Stage. The decade old organization adapts popular books and plays for deaf audiences.

Flu Closes School

The Arkansas School for the Deaf will stay closed through Wednesday. The facility closed earlier this week after many of the high school kids staying out, fighting flu-like symptoms. Teachers and staff have been hit as well. Administrators say about 40% of the student body is sick.

Gally Victory

Gallaudet beat Lancaster Bible College 3-1 in women's soccer this week. The non-conference game gives the Bison an overall record of 4-7-1. The team's next game is today at noon (Eastern) against Capital Athletic Conference rival Stevenson University.

Broadband Hearing

The FCC will hold a hearing at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC on October 20. Commissioner Michael Copps will host the session titled Broadband Accessibility for People with Disabilities II: Barriers, Opportunities and Policy Recommendations. The federal agency is looking for information from the public about how to better serve the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Abuse at Deaf School

Hundreds of students have come forward alleging sexual abuse at a deaf school. And two former students have filed a lawsuit against the Manitoba School for the Deaf in Winnipeg alledging physical and sexual assault by other students and staff members in the 1970s and 1980s. A class action suit is possible.They claim some students were put into dog cages and not allowed to sleep or eat.

So You Think You Can Dance

A deaf Texas dancer was sent packing from So You Think You Can Dance: Season 6. Allison Becker was one of 152 finalists, hoping to make the Top 20 and the live show.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Deaf Woman Attacked

KTVT-TV reports on a Dallas woman who might have been targeted because she is deaf.

Helen Keller Statue

The state of Alabama had placed a statue of Helen Keller as a child at the US Capitol's National Statuary Hall in Washington, DC. It's the first statue in the Capitol of a person with a disability. The monument commemorates the 1887 breakthrough when Keller, then 7-years-old, held one hand under a water pump while her teacher, Anne Sullivan, spelled "W-A-T-E-R" into her other hand. The Alabama native learned to speak at the age of 10 by putting her hands on Sullivan's mouth when she talked. A graduate of Radcliffe College, Keller went on to Harvard University, winning numerous honors including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. When Alabama governor Bob Riley was a member of Congress, he suggested his state put a statue of Keller in the Hall and the Alabama Legislature agreed, passing a resolution asking Congress to accept the statue. A committee led by Alabama's first lady, Patsy Riley, raised private donations for the 600-pound bronze statue created by Utah's Edward Hlavka.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Extended Run

The Deaf West Theater's production of Children of a Lesser God is going so well that organizers are extending its run until November 1st. This 30th-anniversary production is being presented at the North Hollywood location in American Sign Language with spoken English and supertitles, making it fully accessible to both hearing and deaf audiences. Children was first performed on Broadway in 1980 and turned into a film in 1986.

Murder Suspect Arrested

A Georgia woman says police have the wrong man. DeKalb County police arrested Darell Smith yesterday for the murder of Tekelia Blackshear. Both are deaf. But the woman's twin sister, LeQuita Blackshear, says Smith didn't do it. Her body of the Georgia Perimeter College was discovered Sunday. Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday. Smith was her neighbor and is being held without bond.

New Delaware School

Delaware's state legislature is releasing funds to build a new school for the deaf near Newark. A groundbreaking ceremony was held yesterday. The $43 facility will take a year and a half to complete. The current Delaware School for the Deaf is operated by the Christina School District, serving 129 children. Of particular concern is the rising number of students with cochlear implants who need different instruction and accommodation than those without the implants. The new school willl be built a few hundred feet from the current facility and will handle 250 students. Construction is set to start in November and finished sometime in the spring of 2011.

Campaign for ASL

Northwestern's ASL Club are campaigning for sign language classes at the school. The group has formed a committee hoping to demonstrate the need to the administration. They would like to see an ASL minor developed at the Illinois school. A study by an on campus group showed that more than 70% of universities the size of Northwestern have ASL classes. Ironically, the school has what's considered a strong audiology program.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Avoiding Swine Flu

Mary Luczki is featured in this OIC Movie about swine flu (the H1N1 virus).

Netflix Captioning Complaint

NAD lodged a complaint with Netflix about its free streaming presentation of The Wizard of Oz this past Saturday. It ran without closed captioning. The organization asked for the captioning before the movie was streamed. Netflix says it ran into trouble because there are so many formats available - despite the fact that YouTube and Hulu have worked around the technoligical problem. The use Adobe Flash while Netflix uses Microsoft's Silverlight system.

$43 Million for School Upgrade

The Ohio School for the Deaf will undergo renovations along with its neighbor, the Ohio State School for the Blind. The facilities are more than 50 years old. The upgrades will cost more than $40 million. New dorms and classrooms will be built starting this coming spring. The new buildings will be ready for use during the summer of 2011.

Deaf Kicker Wins Game

California’s Santa Rosa High School beat Maria Carrillo this past Friday 23-20. The Panthers’ punter and placekicker Nick Keeton, who is deaf, hit a 38-yard field with 90 seconds left to break a 20-20 tie and win the game for the Panthers. Keeton is also a wide receiver for the team. Santa Rosa is now 1-3 on the season.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Getting to Know.. the Maryland Orioles

Here are some facts about the Maryland School for the Deaf football team:
  • Coach - Andy Bonheyo, 24 year career with a record of 170-48
  • Nickname - The Orioles
  • Record – 4 wins, 1 lose
  • National Deaf Prep Championships – 7
  • Games each season against other deaf teams – 3
  • Games each season against hearing teams - 7
  • Winning streaks – 27 games in a row between 2002-2005, 34 games in a row from 2005-20008

VRS Petition

Sorenson is petitioning the FCC to stop payments from federal funds to VRS providers that artificially inflate the minutes spent on calls. These provider-generated calls improperly inflate the size of the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund which was set up to fund communication services for the deaf. Sorenson wants compensation to be cut for calls to podcast numbers and VRS-provider-sponsored phone-in events.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Deaf Woman Killed

Atlanta-area police are searching for the person who and killed a deaf woman yesterday. She was home alone at the time and shared the apartment with her twin sister. DeKalb police aren't releasing the names of suspects or the name of the victim. WAGA-TV has this video report.

The Silent Gift

The son of the late actor Michal Landon has a new book out about a deaf boy. The Silent Gift by Michael Landon Jr. and longtime screenwriting partner Cindy Kelley comes from Christian publisher Bethany House. Set in the depression years of the 1930s, the book describes the struggles of a young mother trying to survive with her deaf son.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Deafestival 2009

The Nebraska Association of the Deaf holds Deafestival 2009 today at the Omaha Children's Museum. The event includes children's activities, performances, films and games from 10am to 5pm.

Friday, October 2, 2009

China.. By the Numbers

China has about 20 million people with hearing disabilities. More than 800,000 are children under the age of six. The number is increasing at a rate of 20,000 to 30,000 each year, according to Xinhua.

Saved From Fire

A New Hampshire man saved his mother from an apartment fire yesterday. Kent Clark of Manchester was also able to get his fiancée who is also deaf and his infant daughter to safety. He woke up early in the morning to find his bedroom filled with fire and smoke. Clark passed his daughter out through a window but when he searched for his mother, Marlene Clark, he found her hair on fire. He was able to get her outside but she was unconscious with significant facial injuries. The cause of the blaze was determined to be improperly disposed cigarettes. The family lost everything in the fire.

State Takes Over School

The state is taking over the Rhode Island School for the Deaf despite complaints from the school's board of trustees. Citing poor test scores, State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist says the facility is not doing its job educating the 80 students who attend school. Trustee Chairman Travis Zellner objects, suggesting the takeover may cut the deaf community out of the school's governance.

Hearing Loss Gene

Researchers believe they’ve figured out the genetic reason most people loss hearing as they age. Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute say the finding could lead to new therapies to prevent or treat the condition. Details are in the American Journal of Human Genetics. Team leader Ulrich Mueller, A professor in the Department of Cell Biology, says the team has linked a previously uncharacterized gene to deafness (Loxhd1) in mice and then in humans. This is the third hearing-related gene that the Mueller lab has discovered. The lab is looking into the possibility that a therapeutic drug could be effective in reversing the problems that result from the defective gene.