Friday, December 31, 2010

Girls Hearing Loss Up

Hearing loss from blaring club music is up among adolescent girls over the last decade. A new study finds it is nearly the same as that for adolescent boys for the first time. Teens are exposed to enough loud noises that their long-term hearing may be in jeopardy. Details are in the online edition of the journal Pediatrics . The increased headphone-use did not appear to be the cause of the increase in hearing loss among teen girls. Instead, the study authors point to the extremely loud music often found in club or music concert settings.

Online Torah Class for Deaf

A website that helps students to learn Torah in real-time, interactive classrooms will begin offering classes that will accommodate the deaf next month. Web YeshivaThe first class, Jewish Laws of Shabbat: Cooking, will be taught by Rabbi Gabe Pransky. An interpreter will be viewable in a video box.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Shot During Robbery

A deaf Ohio man is in critical condition after he was robbed and then shot by a gang at a bus stop. Police say Sherman Robinson of Dayton was attacked by 4 men who shot him in the back, even though he turned over his valuables to them.

Silent Warriors Roll

The Alabama School for the Deaf are undefeated in boys basketball, so far this season. The 13-0 Class 1A Silent Warriors also won the Don Hackney Classic tournament recently by beating the Mississippi School for the Deaf, the Georgia School for the Deaf and the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf. Their next game is a week from today (January 6th) against Fayetteville.

Before They Can Talk

Classes teaching BSL are being offered in the UK. The Chronicle tells the story here.

Suit Against Bus Service

A deaf-blind bus rider is suing the Columbus, Ohio bus service. WCMH-TV explains why in the video below. You can read the story here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Skateboarding Brothers

WHAS-TV in Louisville, Kentucky reports on a pair of deaf brothers who are making a splash in the skateboarding scene.

Lim's Art Making an Impact

A deaf Malaysian artist is receiving praise for the his work on TIME magazine's year-end cover picture. Leon Lim, who works out of New York, created the image of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange using the text of a leaked cable. He was third runner-up in the editors' list of newsmakers but was the Readers' Choice in a poll conducted by TIME. Deaf since birth, Lim is in the U.S. on an art scholarship.

Hospital Refuses to Provide Terps

A Miami hospital claims it doesn't have to provide interpreters to deaf patients because it is not a public establishment. Maura Mena made a discrimination complaint against Palmetto General Hospital because. The Florida Human Relations Commission sided with the hospital, saying hospitals aren't covered as public accommodations under the Civil Rights Act. Now the case is before the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee which has asked the Human Relations Commission to decide whether the hospital cafeteria qualifies the entire facility as a public establishment.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


A film about sign language is taking it's place among a select group of 25 to be preserved by The Library of Congress as part of the National Film Registry. Among the 25 films are The Exorcist, Airplane and a two minute film from 1913 called Preservation. It features George Veditz, president of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) demonstrating in sign language the importance of defending the right of deaf people to sign as opposed to verbalizing their communication. This was one of the first motion-picture recordings of American Sign Language. Veditz made this film specifically to record sign language for posterity at a time when oralists were making inroads in the education of the deaf. You can see the film here.

The Library of Congress selects just 25 films each year for preservation because nearly half of the films made before 1950 and some 90% of those made before 1920 have been lost.

1st Implant

Uganda has its 1st cochlear implant recipient. The story of 4-year-old Elaine Mukaaya is told by Boston's WCVB-TV here.

Ohio Church Break-in

Someone broke into the Agape Deaf Church in Dayton and stole $4 over the weekend out of a change container.

Two Children Die in Fire

Two deaf children died in Arizona over the weekend in a mobile home fire. Seven-year-old Justin Stevens and 11-year-old Zachary Stevens died in an accidental fire in Fort Mohave that injured five other memebers of their family - the parents and three other children. Jeff Stevens, the father, is the most seriously injured, after trying to rescue the boys that he lost. A fundraiser is planned to help the unemployed couple.

Deaf and Jewish

An estimated 50,000 deaf Jews live in the US, according to advocacy groups for the Jewish deaf. There are only a handful of synagogues for the deaf and half a dozen deaf rabbis.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Memories Betrayed

The former head of the Texas School for the Deaf now faces Alzheimer's disease. The Austin Statesman profiles him here.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Fired for ASL Gestures

An ASL teacher is out work this Christmas because a student complained about her gestures. Jaye Brown has taught for more than a dozen years at Shasta College in Redding, California, but she was let go because she used gestures, common in Deaf Culture, to describe people and body parts. Students have set up a support page for her here and a petition has been started here. So far, the administrators have been unwilling to reconsider the decision. You can call their office at (530) 242-7524 to express your opinion.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Diving Trips for the Deaf

There are few companies that offer diving trips for the deaf and hard of hearing. Siren, Worldwide Dive and Sail is one of them. The company has been doing one major trip in Southeast Asia for the deaf each a year since 2004. They've taken divers to spots like Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. The next trip is scheduled for September in the Maldives, some 500 miles off the southern tip of India. Founder Frank van der Linde first decided to expand his business to the deaf community after working with a deaf British dive instructor. Hearing guests are encouraged to learn at least the basics of the sign-language alphabet to be able to communicate with the deaf patrons. The trips are focused on guests who use either ASL or BSL (British Sign Language). Deaf or hard of hearing customers get a 20-25% discount on trips. Find out more here.

Bill Would Force ASL Acceptance

A Virginia state legislator is proposing a law that would require state colleges to accept ASL as a foreign language fulfillment for incoming students. Virginia High Schoolers are already allowed to use ASL as a graduation requirement, under a 1998 provision from the Virginia Department of Education. House Bill 1435, proposed by Dickie Bell, would make colleges accept it as well, whenever a foreign language is required for admission. The University of Virginia already accepts ASL and maintains an ASL program. However, it's a different story at James Madison University’s language department, where several proposals to recognize ASL as a foreign language have been rejected.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sale of Deaf School Goes Through

Michigan's governor has signed a bill, allowing the sale of the state school for the deaf in Flint. A developer is buying the campus, plans to renovate it and make it the new home of the Michigan School for the Deaf and a new school - the Powers Catholic High School. Some families of deaf students had sought to block the sale. Here's a video report on it from WJRT-TV.

Noises Off

A Gallaudet play has been selected to compete for Kennedy Center honors. The fall production of Noises Off made such an impression on the judges in attendance, they want it to be part of the the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Students will perform in the Region 2 competition taking place at Towson University on January 15th. If they win, the student directed play wins, it will have a spot in an April showcase among the nation's best at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. The production Goya: en la Quinta del Sordo (in the house of the deaf man) rose to the national round in 2008.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A feel for the Game

The New York Times profiles the only deaf men’s basketball player in Division I in this article.

Next Generation 911

The FCC is getting closer to updating the nation’s 911 services with the ability to receive text messages, photos and video from mobile phones. The agency has just filed a Notice of Inquiry asking the public to comment on what's called Next Generation 911. NG911 could potentially also provide location responders with location information.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski offered the example of the 2007 Virginia Tech campus shooting as an example of the problem. Students tried to send text messages to 911, not realizing that the technology was not supported. He says, "If you find yourself in an emergency situation and want to send a text for help, you can pretty much text anyone except a 9-1-1 call center."

Last year, an Iowa call center became the first to install equipment that could do so.

You can find more information here. Look for FCC Takes First Step to Help Revolutionize America's 9-1-1 Services for Consumers, First Responders.

Czech Republic

A report about the work of Baptists among the deaf in Czech Republic can be read here.

Deaf in Russia

Here is a video report about the struggles of the deaf in Russia. To read the story, click here.

Least Accessible UK City

Bristol is Enlgand's least accessible city for deaf customers, according to the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID). Only 3% of businesses in the city are accessible for hearing aid users because of a lack of induction loops, equipment used by some two million people in the UK who wear hearing aids.

Life for Deaf Jews

There's an article about how the Jewish community is dealing with deaf members of its community. Read it here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hit by a Truck and Given Up for Dead, a Deaf Woman Fights Back

Read about it in the New York Times.

New VRS App

AT&T is offering a new video relay app at the iPhone app store. It works with the iPhone 4 and allows deaf and hard of hearing customers to make unlimited VRS calls using the at no additional cost. AT&T has offered video relay services to customers for years, but the new AT&T VRS app provides a more convenient way for users to make VRS calls by going through Wi-Fi hotspots. The app contacts an AT&T ASL interpreter who then initiates a FaceTime video call with the user. There is also free software called AT&T Video Link that allows people to use computers to make the connection.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Video Released of Shooting

Police dash-cam video has been released of a Seattle shooting that left a deaf man dead. The video (below) does not show the actual shooting, but the policeman can be heard shouting, “Hey, put the knife down.” John T. Williams, who was a woodcarver, did not drop the knife, so police officer Ian D. Dirk shot him 5 times. The firearms review board held that the shooting was not justified and Officer Birk has quit.

Bison Victorious on Road

Gallaudet University beat the defending conference champion in men's basketball yesterday. The Bison topped Penn State-Berks by a score of 67-51. It's their 5th win in 6 games. Gallaudet is now 4-1 in the conference and 7-3 overall. The team will open its second half of the schedule on the road against defending conference champion SUNYIT on Saturday, January 8.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Infant Screenings

Does it make a difference in language development to ID a baby as deaf? Researchers in the UK are looking into it. They are studying whether deaf teens have better language skills if doctors determine they were deaf as infants. The University of Southampton study is comparing a pilot screening program conducted in Southampton and London in the 1990s to how those kids are doing now as teenagers. They already found that the screening seemed to make a difference when the children were 8 years old, and they want to see if that still holds true now.

A Christmas Suprise

WAPT-TV in Jackson, Mississippi shows how a school for the deaf got a Christmas surprise in this video:

Deaf Student's Art

A newspaper in Lynchburg, Virginia profiles a deaf visual artist here.

Implants Change Couple

The Richmond Times Dispatch explains how cochlear implants have changed the lives of one couple here.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

CSI: Chicago?

Marlee Matlin lobbies for CSI: Chicago. Read about it here.

Bowl Game Appearance

The National Anthem will be signed at today's Humanitarian Bowl. The students are part of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Group at Sawtooth Middle School. They performed publicly for the first time yesterday and will open the football game at 5:30 pm, Eastern when the Fresno State Bulldogs (8-4) take on the Northern Illinois Huskies (10-3).

Friday, December 17, 2010

Interpreting at the Hospital Video

A Day in the Life of an Interpreter

Interpreter in the Classroom Video

Changing VRS & IP Relay #s

The FCC is considering changing Video Relay Service (VRS) and IP Relay to toll free numbers (800 or 866 numbers). The federal agency is also proposing a one-year transition period. Today is the deadline for comments on the topic. You can make them here.

Lady Bison May Crack Rankings

The women's basketball team at Gallaudet is close to earning a spot among the Top 25 teams. Gallaudet is the only NCAA Division III women's basketball team from the North Eastern Athletic Conference to receive votes in the Top 25 poll and the USA Today/ESPN Division III Top 25 coaches' poll. Boasting an 8-0 record so far this season, the team is basically #33 and #28 in each poll, respectively. The Bison:
  • lead the nation in steals per game with 19.8
  • are 4th in the nation in scoring margin (28.8 points)
  • 10th in scoring offense (79.1 points per game)
  • 10th in rebound margin (12.8 per game)
  • 10th in turnover margin (9.0)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bison Rise

The men's basketball team at Gallaudet now have more wins than last year's entire season. Last season, the Bison had 5 wins out of 24 games. This season, the team picked up its 6th win last night. And they've only lost 2 games, so far. Gallaudet got by Penn St.-Abington by a score of 88-83.

The Fab Five

There were only 5 students who graduated from the Georgia School for the Deaf yesterday. They are profiled here, in the Rome News-Tribune and again here in the Moultrie Observer.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

ASL in Space

The Texas School for the Deaf just received a video.. from space! Astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson used an hour of her time aboard the International Space Station to respond, in sign language, to student questions about what it is like living in space. A series of science lessons using the footage provided by NASA will be created using the video.

Michigan Protest

Alumni from Michigan's School for the Deaf plan show their opposition to the sale of the school to a private developer at the state house. The state would get $1.3 million for the 85 acre site and the developer would build a new school for the deaf and lease the site back to the state for 2 million dollars a year. A private school would also be built. Both state houses approved the deal, but an error in the senate's version has kept it from getting to the governor's desk for his signature.

New Mexico Celebration

The Farmington Daily Times looks at a gathering honoring the New Mexico School for the Deaf here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Internet Santa

A Scranton, Pennsylvania paper explains how Santa is using the Internet to reach deaf children. Read the story here.

Woman Finds her Passion

A Georgia sign language interpreter is profiled here by the Gainesville Times.

Guilty of Murder

A Kentucky jury has found a deaf man guilty of killing two people in Louisville. Prosecutors say Jeston Murray killed an elderly man at an army surplus store with a stolen ax. They broke into an apartment and killed another man, just few days later. He could get the death penalty while his codefendant plea bargained a life sentence.

Surgeon Gets Honor

An expert in cochlear implant surgery will be recognized today. University of Iowa professor Dr. Bruce Gantz will receive the Distinguished Mentor Award from the Medical School for his outstanding mentoring and impact on trainees. Gantz is a leading neurotologist who established the Iowa Cochlear Implant Clinical Research Center 15 years ago. It is considered one of the world's premier cochlear implant centers.

Monday, December 13, 2010

ASL Classes.. by the numbers

A major new survey of language studies on colleges campuses shows ASL is rising quickly in popularity. Of the 12 languages with rising undergraduate enrollments in 2009, only Spanish, ASL, and Korean show continued growth at the graduate level. In 2009, there were 83,450 students enrolled in introductory ASL courses (up from 72,694 in 2006) and 7,487 enrolled in advanced classes (up from 5,249 in 2009). That's more than a 16% increase in the number of students enrolled in both advanced and introductory ASL between 2006 and 2009 (from 78,829 in 2006 to 91,763 in 2010). Read the full report from the Modern Language Association of America here.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Silently Seeking Romance

Gallaudet University recently held a speed dating night. Graduate student Aneesah Silvels organized the event as part of a class project. It drew about two dozen people, mostly students from Galluadet and Towson University. The rules included only 5 minutes with each person and... no talking, only ASL. The Washington Post put up photos of the gathering here.

ASL Colleges Classes

Here are the course enrollment numbers for ASL, according to a newly released report from the Modern Language Association of America. ASL was the fourth post popular language to learn, behind Spanish, French and German.
  • 1990 - 1,602
  • 1995 - 4,304
  • 1998 - 11,420
  • 2002 - 60,781
  • 2006 - 78,829
  • 2009 - 91,763
Read the full report here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

TSA Rules on Hearing Disabilities

If you'll be traveling by air during the holidays, review these suggestions from the TSA:
  • If you need to communicate with the Security Officer, inform her/him of your disability and the way in which you can communicate. TSA Security Officers are trained to provide whatever assistance they can to persons with hearing disabilities.
  • If the screening process is unclear to you, motion to the Security Officer that you can't hear and ask him/her to ask the Security Officer to write the information down.
  • If you can read lips or are hard of hearing, ask the Security Officer to look directly at you and repeat the information slowly.
  • It is not necessary to remove hearing aids or the exterior component of a cochlear implant at security checkpoints.
  • It is best if you wear your hearing device while going through the metal detector.
  • According to Otolaryngologist and Otolaryngology surgeons, hearing devices such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, external component of cochlear implants, and middle ear implants are not affected by X-ray inspection or walk-through metal detector screening. In addition, these devices may also safely be screened using Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT).
  • If you are concerned or uncomfortable with going through the walk-thorough metal detector, or are uneasy with having your external component of your cochlear implant X-rayed, you can ask for a full body pat-down of your person and a visual and physical inspection of the exterior component while it remains on your body.
  • Assistive listening devices must undergo x-ray screening.
  • If you use a hearing dog, you and the dog will remain together at all times while going through the security checkpoint. See the "Service Animal" section for more tips on service animals in the screening process.
Read more here.

Deaflympics Hopeful

There is a profile of a deaf ASL teacher hoping to represent the U.S. in snowboarding at the Winter Deaflympics in Slovakia in Michigan's Flint Journal. Read it here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Deaf Commencement Speaker

A deaf student will speak at a college commencement in California Saturday. Kirstie Kampen won the right through a competition to speech at the ceremonies of UC, Davis. About 750 graduating students and their guests are expected. Her speech reads in part, “I am a deaf student who learned to use what I still have — an intelligent mind, an unwavering spirit and the encouraging support of my family.“ By the time she became a teenager, Kampen had a profound hearing loss. The cause is unknown. She uses ASL, lip reading (because her hearing family does not sign), a hearing aid, and cochlear implant. Kampen hopes to attend medical school and become a cardiac surgeon. You can watch the ceremony take place live by clicking here on Saturday at 10am, Pacific.

Deaf Expo 2010

An international conference on deaf issues will take place in New Delhi starting Monday. The second Deaf Expo 2010 will focus on technologies and educational aids for people with hearing disabilities in the country. Some 500 people are expected. The Miss India Deaf Contest will take place during the Expo.

CSI Goes to Deaf School

CSI producers have picked Tony Award-winner Phyllis Frelich to play the part of a teacher at a school for the deaf. A murder at a school brings investigators. Frelich will butt heads with Sara in the episode which also features Marlee Matlin. The episode is tentatively scheduled for February 3. Frelich is deaf and won a Tony for her work in the 1980 Broadway production of Children of a Lesser God.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jewish Group Gets Big Donation

Gallaudet University's organization for Jewish students is getting a large donation from a DC couple. Richard and Lois England are giving $125,000 to the University's Hillel. The funding will provide educational and cultural Jewish programs. The Englands have also provided an equal amount in need-based scholarships. With the money comes a name change to the Hillel Program.

Health Care Interpreting Certification

NTID will offer the 1st certificate program for health care sign language interpreters. NTID is a college at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. The one-year certification includes 160 hours of classroom work on campus and at medical settings off-campus. It will begin in June and cost $800. The application deadline is January 15th. You can find out more information here.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

City Refuses to change Dog Ban

Denver could be violating ADA law by banning pit bulls. The city council voted last night against exempting service dogs from the ordinance. Some of them say they didn't like a part of the ADA law that does not allow service animal users from being required to show a dog has been trained for the role. The ban has been in place for more than 20 years. Animal advocates say the problem is not the breed, but the owners. Some service dog owners are considering legal action against the city because federal law requires local governments to make "reasonable changes" in ordinances to accommodate the disabled.

Mock Court Trial

Students in Ventura County, California got a chance to see how ASL works in the courtroom. Read the story here.

Discrimination at Prison

A Texas judge has ruled the state's prison system violated federal law in a discrimination case involving a deaf man. The Hughes Unit prison near Gatesville refused to provide Jeremy Durrenberger an interpreter when he visited to see an inmate. Durrenberger tried several times to get help, even making suggestions of how the issue could be easily resolved, but he was turned down. One corrections officer told Durrenberger he was “not disabled” because he did not use a wheelchair. The Judge noted that prison officials had not presented any evidence to show that accommodating him would impose any burden.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Winning Weekend

The Gallaudet University men's basketball team won both of its games this weekend. The Bison left upstate New York with victories against Keuka College and the Weed Physical Arts Center. That gives the Bison a 2-0 record in their conference and 5-2 overall, matching the team's total number of wins last season. They had no conference victories last season. Gallaudet is back in action Wednesday at home against NEAC foe Penn St.-Abington at 7 p.m.

From Silence to Sound

Read about a documentary detailing an Oklahoma man's experience going through cochlear implant surgery here.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Discimination Complaints Soar

More people with disabilities filed discrimination charges against employers in 2009 than at any other time in the 20-year history of the ADA, according to the EEOC. About 21,500 ADA-related job complaints were filed with the agency last year.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dancer's Story

Read a profile of a deaf ballet dancer in Indianapolis is here.

Failure to Train

The Supreme Court helped to set guidelines related to training law enforcement officers in how they deal with the public, including deaf individuals, in a case known as Canton v. Harris. A woman who was acting strangely was taken to the Canton Police Department. Officers failed to provide her with needed medical attention. She was later diagnosed with an emotional disorder and received treatment at a hospital. She later filed a suit in 1983 saying this was a violation of her due process rights by the city. While agreeing that there was a failure in this case on the part of the officers, the Court found there was liability only when the inadequate training amounted to “deliberate indifference to the rights of the persons with whom the police come in contact.” In other words, liability hinged on the adequacy of the training program instead of the performance of an individual officer in a particular case. This case may come into play whenever a deaf person is mistreated by officials and then files a lawsuit against a municipality for failure to respect their rights.

Double Murder Trial

A deaf, homeless man is on trial for murder case in Louisville, Kentucky. Prosecutors accuse Jeston Murray for killing 72-year-old Darrell Spencer in 2008, who worked at an Army surplus store and stabbed Marcus Penny a few days later. He could get the death penalty if he is convicted.

Kiss Investigation

A bus aide for the Indiana School for the Deaf has quit after a student accused him of kissing her on a bus. Brownsburg Police are looking into the allegation. The aide was put on leave by the school's administration after the report of the incident reached them and he resigned the very next day.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Million $ Gift

The Starkey Hearing Foundation donated 100 digital hearing aids to the Washington School for the Deaf this week. All the recipients were carefully screened in October and personally fitted for the devices which cost at least a $1 million but came free from the Minneapolis-based private foundation. The devices won't replace American Sign Language because the school offers a bilingual education.

New Revelations about Missing Girl

A missing deaf girl in North Carolina girl may have been raped before her death. Investigators say her body was likely dismembered in the bathtub of her family home. They say DNA tests confirmed that human remains found last month are those of 10-year-old Zahra Clare Baker. A family friend says a relative of the family told him that the girl may have been assaulted by two men at a North Carolina home.

Movie Theater Suit

A class action lawsuit filed against the Cinemark movie chain on behalf of the deaf. The company owns Century Theatres which, according to the lawsuit, does not provide closed captioned movies. The suit is particularly aimed at its theaters in Alameda County, California.