Sunday, July 31, 2011

Do States Need Schools for the Deaf?

The New York Times offers an opinion piece on the topic "Do we need state deaf schools?" written by a history professor. Read her view here.

Destroyed in the Terror Attacks

Letters written by Helen Keller were among the historical items destroyed in the 9/11 attack. The offices of Helen Keller International, located just a block from the World Trade Centers, were destroyed by a fire started by debris from the terror attack. The only items to survive from the organization's archive were two books and a bust of Keller.

It's a Record!

Action on Hearing Loss broke the air guitar world record at the UK's World of Music and Dance festival. 2227 people joined together to play Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze. UK air guitar champion Thom Wilding led the attempt. The previous record of 1883 was set in Australia two years ago. Action on Hearing Loss says it went after the air guitar record because "it's one of the few instruments that doesn't damage your hearing." The Guinness Book of Records is expected to verify the new record in the next few weeks.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sports Team Back at Gally

Gallaudet is relaunching its cross country programs for both men and women. The cross country program was shut down a year ago over a lack of participation by students. Mikaela Gardner will serve as the new coach. She also coaches the men’s and women’s track and field programs. The addition gives Gallaudet 14 varsity teams. The first meet is set for September 10th at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. The school earned its only cross country title in 1942 when the Gallaudet men's team won the Mason-Dixon conference championship.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Award-winning Film

A film about a deaf man in Cuba has won an award at a New York film festival. Habana Muda earned director Eric Brach a Special Jury Prize at NewFest. Habana Muda is the story of Chino, who struggles to raise two children with his wife, but also has a wealthy boyfriend in Mexico who works for a Deaf organization.

Deaf Holocaust

After finishing a four-month fellowship at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, Mark Zaurov is speaking about the Deaf Holocaust in talks around the U.S. Zaurov is deaf himself and is a Ph.D candidate at Germany's University of Hamburg. Besides looking into what life was like in Germany for the deaf before WW II, he has researched newspapers published by and for the Deaf, the relationship between Deaf Jews and Deaf Germans, and the changes that occurred with Hitler's rise to power. Read more about Zaurov and his work here.

1000 Protest in the Streets

Deaf people living in the island nation of Sri Lanka, off the coast of India, held a demonstration today demanding equal rights. Some 1000 protestors in the capital of Colombo said they needed, among other things, qualified interpreters. Only about a quarter of the interpreters working in the country are considered qualified. There are more than 70,000 deaf Sri Lankans.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Club May Close

An era may be coming to an end. The Toledo Deaf Club may close its doors after 75 years of providing social and support services to the deaf community of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. The club will meet Saturday and talk about the options for trying to meet its financial obligations. Since 1936, the club has held bowling tournaments, basketball games, and pageants. Read more about it here.

Race Car Driver Gets Boost

A deaf NASCAR car driver has just joined a team that will put him in a better car and add to his marketing potential. Canadian Kris Martin has signed with Annamarie Strawhand’s Motorsports Consultant Services. The 24-year-old stock-car driver out of Burlington, Ontario, has a cochlear implant, which allows him to use a radio to stay in touch with his team. On the side, Martin is a motivation speaker. Find out more about him here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Is ASL "on the Brink of Extinction"?

A Boston radio talk show today talked about whether "ASL is on the Brink of Extinction." The show is called The Takeaway and it is a service of the BBC, The New York Times and WGBH radio in Boston. Guests for this segment included Monica Davey, Chicago bureau chief for The New York Times and Marvin Miller, president of the Indiana Association of the Deaf. Listen to this discussion by clicking on the player below or read the text of the discussion here.

Alleged Rape at Motel

Police arrested a man in East Boston for allegedly raping a deaf woman. The woman claims emergency medical technician Mark David Tritto lured her to a motel in Northboro through a Craigslist ad that asked for women “who have skeletons in their closets to be in a documentary film." Bail was set today at $50,000. Tritto will appear in court again August 18th.

Tensions Over Teaching the Deaf

“Speaking and listening classrooms across the nation are known for their forced exclusion of A.S.L. and expressly forbid any contact with the culturally deaf adult role models. We view this as inflicting violence upon thousands of innocent deaf and hard-of-hearing babies — taking away their language and pinning their hopes on dismal success rates of cochlear implants." That's a quote from Marvin Miller, president of the Indiana Association of the Deaf, in a New York Times article about drops in funding for deaf education due to state budget cuts. Read the full article here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Air Guitar Record Attempt

Action on Hearing Loss will attempt to break the air guitar world record Sunday morning at the UK's World of Music and Dance festival. The current festival record is 1883. The charity will play Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze and singer Justin Adams will lead the crowd from the main stage of the festival. For more on the event, click here.

ADA Research

ADA is celebrating its 21st birthday today. But has the civil rights legislation really grow up? A new study by the Center for Independence of the Disabled in New York finds ADA enforcement falls short in providing education and job opportunities in the state. Researchers say it did not matter the person's sex, race, or age: people with disabilities are half as likely to have a job and three times more likely to live in poverty and 20% less likely to have graduated from high school. Read more details of the study here.

ADA Signing.. 21 years ago

You can see a video of George H.W. Bush signing the Americans with Disabilities Act into law on the South Lawn of the White House in 1990 here

Presidential Proclamation

The President has issued a proclamation that says in part: "The Americans with Disabilities Act (is) one of the most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation in our Nation's history. On this day, we celebrate the 21st anniversary of the ADA and the progress we have made, and we reaffirm our commitment to ensure equal opportunity for all Americans. NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Tuesday, July 26, 2011, the Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I encourage Americans across our Nation to celebrate the 21st anniversary of this civil rights law and the many contributions of individuals with disabilities.

Read the whole proclamation here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Suit Against MassHealth

A disabilities group is suing Massachusetts' health care system for allegedly failed provide adequate communication options. Two of the plaintiffs are deaf and claim the Medicaid agency MassHealth did not offer materials in American Sign Language, and that the agency made it hard for them to reach someone on the phone who can help them. Two blind customers and two other people with disabilities are also part of the suit. MassHealth is still reviewing the complaint. The Disability Policy Consortium filed the suit.

Attacked in Seattle

A Seattle deaf teen was nearly beaten to death not far from the airport. He suffered a severe head injury, his hearing aid broken. He remains in serious condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Police have not released his name. Investigators say homeless 18-year-old man was sleeping outside a middle school when he was attacked.

RIT Leader Passes

A former dean at RIT has died. Joan Stone served the Rochester Institute of Technology in a variety of positions over the course of 35 years. In 1976, she started her career teaching math at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. She endured a long battle with cancer. A memorial service is planned for the fall.

Leclerc "gives voice to deaf community"

The Boston Herald takes a look at how the deaf community is responding to the ABC Family show Switched at Birth here.

Getting to Know.. ADA

Tomorrow is the 21th anniversary of the day the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by then President HW Bush (July 26, 1990). This is a good time to remember what ADA does and does not do for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.

ADA is a civil-rights law prohibiting discrimination based on disability. ADA is not an entitlement program and does not deal with financial compensation, employment services or advocacy services.

Here’s a breakdown of what each section of the Americans with Disabilities Act covers:

Title I – employment by private employers with 15 or more employees
Title II - state and local governments, including access to programs and public transportation.
Title III - physical accessibility, access to goods and services and private transportation services.
Title IV - telecommunication standards, including relay services for people with hearing and speech disabilities and closed captioning.
Title V - funding of ten regional Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers. The DBTAC’s provide ADA advise and ADA training. For more information call (800) 949-4232.

Here’s what ADA does NOT cover:

  • Private businesses with less than 15 employees
  • Churches, private clubs and Native American tribes are excluded.
  • Housing (housing is covered by the Fair Housing Act)
  • Airplane rides (While ADA cover airports, it does not cover passengers once aboard a plane. That area is covered by the Air Carrier Access Act)

    Related Laws:
  • The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 covers access to federal programs
  • The Architectural Barriers Act covers physical accessibility of federal buildings.
  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act covers K-12 public schools.

ADA Enforcement: The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (or EEOC) enforces the employment provisions of the ADA

What Qualifies: A hearing impairment is a disability under the ADA if it substantially limits a major life activity (or used to do so) or if an employer treated the individual as if though his or her hearing impairment was substantially limiting

Devices: The use of hearing aids or other devices that improve hearing must be considered in determining whether the individual has a disability under the ADA. Even someone who uses a mitigating measure may have a disability if the measure does not correct the condition completely and there are still substantial limitations.

Complaint Time Limit: You have 180 days to make a complaint against someone for violating ADA law. The only exception would be an opportunity to file a complaint under state or local law. This could extend the filing window to 300 days after the alleged discrimination. A complaint must be filed with the EEOC before filing a lawsuit in federal court.

More Questions: Got a question about ADA law? Call the Justice Department's ADA information line: 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD). Or you can access the department's ADA law homepage.

Celebrities Come out For Hearing

The Starkey Hearing Foundation Gala took place last night in St. Paul. KSP-TV has a video report about the celebrities who came out to support the effort - including Kevin Costner, Reba McEntire, and Garth Brooks.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A 1st for Australia

Colin Allen has became the first Australian to be elected as President of the World Federation of the Deaf. The vote took place in Durban, South Africa at the WFD Congress. Allen currently serves as director of the Deaf Society of New South Wales. He'll keep the president's position of the WFD for four years, until the group meets again. Read more on Allen's website here.

NBDA in Carolina

The National Black Deaf Advocates 25th National Conference will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina from July 26 - 31.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Omaha Hearing School To Close

An oralist school in Nebraska is closing. Enrollment at the Omaha Hearing School dwindled to the point the facility fell a quarter of a million dollars in the hole. Executive director Suzanne Rogert told KETV the school focused on lip reading and used "very little, if any, sign language." You can see the full KETV video report here.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Surviving a Brain Tumor

Disrupted is the story of a Portland woman who had brain surgery for a malignant tumor. When doctors took a look at it, they removed some and left the rest. They decided her situation was hopeless. But the Ordained Presbyterian minister, born and raised in Seattle, moved to the San Francisco area and is still alive a dozen years later. Julie Love lost her hearing but not her life. She is thriving with help from her service dog and just received a cochlear implant.

Implant Story

Missouri's KFVS-TV tells the story of a Cape Girardeau woman who had cochlear implant surgery here.

Follow-up on Laptop Held Hostage

We told you about the deaf and bed-bound girl who brought her laptop to Best Buy for repair, but the Geek Squad refused to return it even though it was brought in before the warranty expired. Read the follow-up here.

McDonald's Manager Punches Customer with Service Dog

McDonald's has fired an Atlanta manager after she was arrested for punching a woman brought a service dog inside the restaurant for her autistic twins. Tiffany Denise Allen wasn't even on duty at the time, but became angry that the dog was inside. The mother tried to explain ADA law to Allen, but followed the mother around the restaurant, then followed her into the parking lot where she punched the customer in the face and had to be restrained by other McDonald's employees.

Miss Deaf Texas

The Miss Deaf Texas contest takes place tomorrow night at Lone Star College-CyFair in the Houston suburb of Cyprus. The winner will receive the Tara McAvoy College Scholarship. For more information click here.

Safe Biking

A Portland woman is offering patches for cyclists that say "Deaf Cyclist" and other indicators that the rider is deaf. Carrie Brewer, who is deaf herself, was motivated to start after an accident left her with a serious injury. Another way to stay safe is biking with a group. In Portland, there is Deaf Power Organization and the Deaf Bicycle Group of Portland.
AG Bell 2011 holds its Listening & Spoken Language Symposium starting tomorrow in Washington, DC. It runs through Saturday. For more information, click here.

Gala This Weekend

The Starkey Hearing Foundation’s Annual Awards Gala takes place Sunday night in Minneapolis and will feature an appearance by singer Miley Cyrus.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Let Deaf Americans Serve their Country

Robert Weinstock, special assistant to the provost at Gallaudet University, offers his opinion about the deaf serving in the military. Read it here in the Washington Post.

BBC DJ: Captioning is "Daft"

A BBC DJ has upset some of the deaf community in the UK after making a strong comment on Twitter about subtitles. Sarah Cox was watching the movie Bridesmaids with a date and Twittered that captioning was "daft" - slang for "stupid" or "crazy." Cox wrote, "How daft is this? I'm on a date at flicks & Bridesmaids is gonna have English subtitles. I morphed momentarily into my dad & asked if we got any money off. If I was wearing specs I could've put a thin strip of black gaffer tape across the bottom of the lenses to block out the subtitles." She later apologized and the tweets were eventually deleted from her page.

Starkey Awards

Marlee Matlin will be honored this weekend at the Starkey Hearing Foundation's annual So The World May Hear Awards in St. Paul, Minnesota . She raised more than $1 million for the charity during the Celebrity Apprentice TV show. Former President Bill Clinton will recieve an award as well. Reba McEntire, Miley Cyrus and Meat Loaf will perform at the gala.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

YouTube Captioning Expands

YouTube is expanding its automatic captioning. Google has added captioning to Japanese videos. It's the first language to be offered besides English, a service that rolled out in March. It's still a work in progress, so the service has glitches, but Google hopes it will give viewers some idea about what a video is about, if the video owner hasn't provided captioning themselves. This also makes videos searchable, based on audio content.

Miss Deaf International Contest

Miss Deaf Jamaican, Cassandra Whyte, won the 2nd Miss Deaf International 2011 in Orlando last week. There were 20 contestants from countries representing China, The United States of America, Peru, South Africa, Poland, France, Korea, Brazil, Cuba, Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Hungary, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Sweden, Mongolia and Switzerland. First runner-up was Miss Deaf Brazil, while second runner-up went to Miss Deaf France, and third to Miss Deaf Korea. The contest included a talent show, costume, evening gown, and swimsuit portions. Read more about the competition here.

The Adventures of a Deaf Fundamentalist Mormon Kid and His Journey to the NBA

Read a review in the Miami Herald of pro basketball player Lance Allred is here.

Facebook Leads to Arrest

Police in Austin arrested a man on robbery charges after his alleged victim spotted him on Facebook ad for Crime Stoppers. Renny Harvard was already a fugitive from another crimes. She then found his personal Facebook page and showed police. Harvard met the woman when he walked into a housing organization and asked for water by writing it down because he indicated he was deaf. When left alone, Harvard grabbed some money and the keys to the woman's vehicle, which he wrecked.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Honoring an Artist

The Rochester Institute of Technology's National Technical Institute for the Deaf is featuring the art of the late Stephanie Kirschen Cole in the Dyer Arts Center. Cole, a former professor at the College of Imaging Arts and Science at RIT, died in May of this year. The exhibit runs through August 12. There is more information here.

Behind the Scenes of Switched at Birth

Captioning available on the ABC Family site here.

Switched: Episode 7

If you missed last night's episode of ABC Family's Switched at Birth, you can see the full program here.

Hearing Loss from Secondhand Smoke.

Secondhand smoke may cause irreversible hearing loss in teens. A new study finds teenagers are almost twice as likely to have low-frequency hearing loss and the more the exposure, the greater the hearing loss. Only two out of ten teens suffering from the effects of secondhand smoke even realized they had a problem. Details are in the journal Archives of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery.

School Computer Issues

The Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind may have a solution for its computer problems. The Richmond Times-Dispatch explains here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bison Hoops Coach Resigns

The women's basketball coach at Gallaudet has resign for personal reasons. Kevin Cook led the Bison to a 47-54 record a good number of those wins coming during the last season when the team won 24 games and lost only 4. The team was nationally ranked for the first time in more than a decade. Cook was named Coach of the Year in the North Eastern Athletic Conference. Although Cook suffers from Parkinson's disease, Gallaudet officials have not said whether his health played a role in the decision. A search is underway for his replacement.

Terping for the Library of Congressing

Gallaudet is now providing interpreting services to the Library of Congress. The GIS (Gallaudet Interpreting Service (GIS) one year contract includes on-site certified interpreters, computer aided real-time translation (CART), video remote interpreting (VRI). The Library of Congress has 17 deaf staff members.

Townshend Nearly Deaf

Rock legend Pete Townshend of The Who is nearly deaf. That's according to bandmate Roger Daltrey who says Townshend is nearly "stone deaf. Daltrey tells a UK newspaper that Townshend "deafened himself in the recording studio, and when we last performed he had to stand right next to the speakers to hear anything. I don’t know what Pete will do. I don’t want to do a tour and have him end up completely deaf.”

All Shook Up

The Salt Lake City production of All Shook Up features a deaf woman in a major role. You can watch the show through Friday on the Midvale Outdoor Stage. Two of the performances — tonight's and Friday nights are interpreted. You can get tickets here and read a story about it here.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

David Chiu

One of the players to watch in the World Series of poker is David Chiu. Although water damage to his eardrums from swimming in his native China left Chiu without a third of his hearing that hasn't stopped him from poker success. The 50-year-old has made more than $177,000 this year. He's become a millionaire from the sport he started playing after taking a job as a poker dealer in a Colarado casino. Chiu credits his success to the ability to read his opponents, helped by his hearing impairment. He says, "I tried to turn my hearing weakness into a strength.” Chiu is now 31st on poker’s All Time Money List.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Deaf Prof Fired

The University of Oregon has fired a sign language professor for a comment he made in class about shooting a student. Peter Quint told his class about a time in Pakistan when a gun was pointed at his head by a tribesman. The deaf professor said he was able to deal with the dangerous situation by his method of communicating with the man. The story was a way to explain to the students why he requires only visual communication in the classroom. His syllabus tells students he requires them to use ASL in the class to ensure everyone is included in the conversation. Later, during the same class, after several students repeatedly ignored his request to not use spoken English, Quint grew frustrated and told one of the students, "Do you want me to take a gun out and shoot you in the head so you understand what I am talking about? I had to practice being respectful in Pakistan otherwise I would have been shot. Can you practice the same respect here?" Other students in the class at the time later told the school newspaper that they understood Quint was not saying he was "actually going to shoot anyone.” His comment was clearly a reference to the story he had just told. Quint even apologized to the class.

Nevertheless, one student filed an official complaint, leading to Quint's suspension and eventual dismissal. Quint was finishing his second year as an adjunct instructor at the school. The campus newspaper, the Oregon Daily Emerald, wrote an article about his dismissal, which you can read here. In response, a student in the class wrote a letter to the editor claiming the decision to dismiss Quint was right. You can read the letter here.

Quint's attorney says the school violated his free speech and ADA rights were violated because "he got no hearing, he got no preparation for any kind of statement of the facts and no written finding talking about why he should get the suspension and later why he shouldn't be re-appointed." The situation has drawn interest from the campus rights group Fire (The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), which has sent a letter to school officials demanding Quint's reinstatement. Quint himself indicates he plans to file a lawsuit against the school.

Award-winning Indian Film

A film about a blind and deaf girl and her relationship with her teacher will be shown in Seattle tonight. Black is a Indian movie that won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi in 2005. The film is a creative adaptation of the The Miracle Worker. The presentation is part of the Seattle Art Museum’s Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas short Indian festival, Eye on India Seattle, which runs throughout July. There's more info here.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Captioning Rules

New captioning rules for the Internet will be out in January. The FCC is obligated to put them out six months after a report is issued by the Video Programming Accessibility Advisory Committee. And that report was delivered to the Agency yesterday. The new rules will, among other things, require captioning of TV programming on the Internet. One year later, in January of 2012, captioning will be required on live programming. In July of 2012, all prerecorded programming “substantially edited” for the Internet be captioned.

Captioning Video Games

Chuck Bittner has started an online petition to get game developers to add accessibility features. A fellow gamer even wrote a song about him, that you can see in the YouTube video below. Accessibility options are often cut during the final gamer development deadlines due to time and budget constraints since captioning can take two to four weeks. But the cost is minimal for the larger companies. And while most games include subtitles for spoken dialog, in many games, sound cues are critical to successfully play the game. You'll find the petition here.

Google+ Video Chat

Google is launching a field test of its video chat with users fluent in ASL. The search giant expects "Hangouts" to be a hit with the deaf and hard of hearing because it allows for multiuser video chat. However, there could be a problem because Hangouts prioritizes the image of users who speak the loudest. It switches its focus based on their microphone input. The company is exploring how this will effect those using sign language and considering developing technology to look for other cues besides volume. The field test is spearheaded by Google Technical Program Manager for Accessibility Engineering Naomi Black and Engineering Director Chee Chew. Chew wrote on his Google+ page, "My grandfather, aunt, and uncle were/are all deaf. while I'm very much a novice, I find ASL to be a beautiful expressive language. I hope that hangouts can be awesome for the deaf & hh community as well as the hearing."

Best Buy Holding Deaf Girl's Laptop Hostage

Best Buy won't return a laptop brought in for repair, even though the warranty expired in the care of the store's Geek Squad. Read the story here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

RID Atlanta

The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (better know as RID) meets in Atlanta starting Sunday. There's more information here.

Spanish Bull Run

Sergio Colas has taken part in Pamplona's running of the bulls at the San Fermin festival for a decade and escaped serious injury every time. Last year, he was touched in the back by a bull's horns. That was his closest call. The 30-year-old deaf man who works in a local Volkswagen plant says he feels vibrations from the firecracker that tells runners the six bulls and six steers have been released from a corral into the cobbled streets of the northern Spanish town.

Deaf Player Talks LeBron James

Deaf professional basketball player Lance Allred has some things to say about former teammate LeBron James and his own new self-published book called Basketball Gods. Read the article here and buy the book here.

England: Deaf Muslim Punk Rocker

Sabina England is a Deaf Muslim punk rocker turned filmmaker, who discusses her punk origins and reflects on Deaf culture here. She says, "I’m 28 years old and I’m just starting to meet all these successful, great, intelligent Deaf artists and writers, who are into ASL poetry and sign language theatre. I never learned about that as a teenager and I wish I had. I would love to be part of that." Here's a video performance.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A New Hearing Aid

The FDA has cleared a nonsurgical prosthetic that uses a person's teeth to amplify sound. The SoundBite Hearing Aid system helps people with conductive hearing loss. A custom-made hearing device is created for the patient without the need to make any changes to a person's teeth. The hearing device fits on the upper left or right back teeth and a microphone is worn behind the ear. The new system will be available through audiologist and physicians sometime this fall. For more information click here.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Woman Accused of Stabbing Husband

A deaf woman is behind bars in California for allegedly stabbing her husband to death. Courtney Ross and her family are from North Carolina, but were staying with relatives in Merced, California, south of Sacramento when police were called to the scene because of a reported argument. She was taken into custody for the killing of Jonathon Ross when they spotted blood on her.


The campus newspaper at UCLA takes a look at progress toward offering ASL classes at the school in an article here.

AHEAD 2011

The Association on Higher Ed & Disability meets in Seattle from July 12-14. There's more info here.

RAD in Denver

The Rainbow Alliance of the deaf meets in Denver starting tomorrow through July 17th. For more information, click here.

Clip from Switched

Here's a clip from tonight's Switched at Birth episode on ABC Family. For captioning, click here.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Truck Runs Over Teen

A Fulton, Pennsylvania deaf teen was killed this week when she was hit by a truck. 14-year-old Barbara Stoltzfus was crawling under a milk truck when it ran over her.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Expo Tomorrow

The Deaf Tennessee Expo takes place in Nashville tomorrow. Details here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Matlin Gets Lifetime Appointment

Marlee Matlin will serve as an honorary trustee Gallaudet University. The lifetime appointment comes after Matlin has served on the board for three years, having received an honorary doctorate from Gallaudet in 1987. The Washington, DC university will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2014.

Deaf Rights Leader Passes

A prominent deaf rights advocate has died. Lawrence Newman, who fought for the right of deaf students to be educated using ASL, was 86 years old when he passed away in Riverside, California following complications during emergency surgery. He was suffering from Parkinson's disease. Once a teacher and administrator at the California School for the Deaf in Riverside, Newman served as president of NAD during the DPN protests at Gallaudet University, where he attended school. He later earned a master's degree in English Literature from Catholic University. Newman once headed the International Association of Parents of the Deaf (now the American Society for Deaf Children). He became the first deaf teacher in California selected as California Teacher of the Year in 1969. Deaf at the age of 5 due to a chronic ear infection, Newman wrote Sands of Time: NAD Presidents 1880-2003 and I Fill this Small Space: The Writings of a Deaf Activist.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Switched: Episode 5

If you missed last night's episode of ABC Family's Switched at Birth, you can watch it in its entirety here. Its the story of two teenage girls, one deaf and one hearing, who are given to the wrong families by the hospital when they are born.

Joan Rivers Talks about Sign Language

Perez Hilton posted the clip below of Joan Rivers' appearance on The View talking about the sign language interpreter who's now working at her comedy shows. You can read more about what he says about the clip at his blog here, but he provides no captioning for the video.

College Scholarship

Georgia's Albany State University is giving a full scholarship to a worthy, deaf, incoming freshman this fall. The school's president, Everette Freeman, will bestow the award himself because it is named after him. In 1950, Freeman was born premature and with a hearing impairment in Washington, DC. He was tested at what was then Gallaudet College. His mother refused to get him a doctor recommended hearing aid. Instead, he learned to read lips. Freeman only began using a hearing aid when he became an adult. Students applying for the Everette J. Freeman Scholarship for the Hearing Impaired must not only have a hearing loss, he or she must be a Georgia resident, maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, and write an essay on how the hearing impairment serves as a motivation for achievement.

Nursing Home Not Accepting Deaf-Blind

The New England Homes for the Deaf is no longer accepting deaf and blind clients because of state budget cuts. It's one of only two facilities of its kind in the country, offering specialized nursing home care and assisted living for the deaf-blind. Ironically, in 1925 Helen Keller played a direct role in getting the New England Home for Deaf Mutes to the Danvers, Massachusetts location. The board of the nursing home has asked the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind for more help.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Switched Marathon

ABC Family will be offering a Switched at Birth Fourth of July marathon, giving viewers a chance to catch up on the series about two teenagers, one deaf, who ends up with the wrong family. In tonight's new episode, the hearing teen sneaks out to see her boyfriend, who drops a bombshell on her. Meanwhile, the deaf teen attempts to help her brother in a poker game. Switched at Birth regularly airs Mondays at 9pm, Eastern.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Miss Louisiana Pageant

The winner of the Miss Louisiana pageant’s lifestyle/fitness award and second runner-up overall in the pageant is deaf. Andrea Sonnier from Lafayette is a recent LSU grad. She performed a jazz dance number for the talent portion of the competition. She took home the Miss Congeniality award in last year’s competition. The Daily Advertiser offers an interview with Sonnier here.

Skype Coming to Facebook

Facebook members will soon, not only be able to post status updates and photos, they will be able to video chat live with other members. It's expected that an announcement will come Wednesday that the social network site will launch a video chat product powered by Skype that works inside browsers. It's unclear whether Skype software will have to be downloaded by users or not. This arrangement involves Microsoft because the company is not only is a Facebook shareholder, it has a pending agreement to acquire Skype. It's unclear yet what possibilities exist in the new system for video relay.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Tip Sheets

If you’re getting ready for college and are hard-of-hearing, there are some tip sheets that may help with the transition. The eight single-topic tip sheets come from the combined efforts of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and the Postsecondary Education Programs Network. Topics include Adjusting to Hearing Loss During High School and How Hearing Loss Impacts Communication and they define terms and offer resource options. The sheets are designed to also help parents and college administrators who may be enrolling hard-of-hearing students for the first time.

The iPhone 5

There are rumors the next iPhone will have a little light on the front and back to alert users of new messages or phone calls. A duel-LED light would give the iOS 5 is the ability to set the iPhone’s LED to flash for various system level alerts - like a Blackberry. The new Apple phone is expected to also features faster camera speed, imessaging, email, and browser operation. If the rumors hold true, the iPhone 5 will be out in September or October - in time for Christmas gift giving.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Comedy in Carolina

Deaf Comedy Central takes place tonight and tomorrow night in Wilmington, North Carolina . Among the performers: The Sammy Hall Band, C.J. Jones, and Sam Parker. For more information, click here.