Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sentence for Sex with Teen

A 31-year-old student teacher for the deaf was given three years in prison for having sex with a 15-year-old girl. Micah Brown will serve the sentence at the same time as a 20-year sentence he was given last week in Syracuse, New York for luring the girl into a sexually explicit relationship on the Internet. Brown, a graduate student at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology, was a student teacher at a Connecticut school for the deaf at the time.

No Right to Sue Police

A deaf man in Mobile, Alabama cannot sue the police officers who pepper sprayed and tased him at a Dollar General store because he didn't obey their orders to come out of a bathroom. A federal judge has ruled the officers were acting in their official capacities when they confronted Antonio Love and cannot be taken to court. Love was inside the bathroom for a half-hour and was having hallucinations because he did not take his medicine before coming to the store to buy chips. The officers were suspended when it came to light they had used a stun gun on a mostly deaf, mentally ill man who had committed no crime, but the county personnel board overturned that decision. The federal judge ruled that the officers acted "reasonably" since they did not know Love was deaf, despite the fact that even after they became aware that Love was deaf, they arrested him on disorderly conduct and resisting arrest - charges a magistrate judge refused to declined to sign off on. His family worked out a confidential out-of-court settlement negotiated this month with Dollar General and the store’s manager.
Below is surveillance video from the store the day of the event.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Terps at Nudist Camps

Here are the results from out online survey about interpreters at nudist camps. We asked:

Should interpreters be provided by nudist camps?
Yes – 27 (50%)
No – 19 (35%)
Sometimes - 4 (7%)
Not Sure – 4 (7%)

If you were an interpreter, would you agree to interpret at a nudist camp?
Yes – 22 (44%)
No – 24 (48%)
Not sure – 4 (8%)

These questions were inspired by the story of the man who was denied an interpreter by a nudist camp in upstate New York. Watch for more online survey questions at

Study on Learning

Below is a video report from Seattle's KING5-TV about a new study that "looks for answers on deaf children's learning." A text version is here.

Arizona Festival

The Arizona Deaf Festival and Bi-Annual State Conference takes place Sept 23 and 24 in Tucson. There's more information here.

Chicago Meeting

Deaf Seniors of American meets for its 2011 Conference in Chicago from tomorrow through next Tuesday. For more information, click here.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sencity London

A team of Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing young people known as Skyway Programs CIC have created a "club night where you can experience music through all your senses." Sencity London is a "multi-sensory club night for both the hearing and hearing-impaired." This includes a vibrating dance floor, aroma jockeys who pump the air full of different scents to accompany the music, signing dancers who interpret tracks for deaf club-goers. The non-audio sensory stimulation includes hair dressers, masseurs and make-up artists. The group's Facebook page is here. Below is a promotional video.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

MSD Closed Tomorrow

The Maryland School for the Deaf will be closed Monday because of Hurricane Irene. The school will operate tomorrow on a Sunday schedule, which means some nurses, the Student Life staff, and the dietary staff will report as scheduled. The high school volleyball and football teams will practice as scheduled.
If you missed the ABC Family show Switched at Birth, below is a video clip from the show with Marlee Matlin. New episodes are expected this fall.

Romoff Interview

An interview with Arlene Romoff co-founder of the Hearing Loss Association of New Jersey about her organization is here. Romoff wrote about her experience of getting a cochlear implant in the book Hear Again — Back to Life with a Cochlear Implant.

Shooting Near School

A shooting took place this afternoon near the Arkansas School for the Deaf and the Blind. A man was shot once in the chest and another man is in custody. The injured man tried to drive himself to the hospital, but an ambulance met him on the way. We'll bring you more information on the story when we have it.

Plan to Cut Services for Children Halted

A UK court is ordering a city in England to hold off on its plans to cut teachers of deaf children in the community until it can review the plan. The National Deaf Children's Society is legally challenging the Stoke-on-Trent City Council decision to do away with a teaching position next week, which would leave only 3 teachers to do the work that 8 were doing just 2 years ago. If the plan goes forward, the 3 remaining teachers would have to handle the needs of 200 children.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Toronto Marathon

Toronto's Deaf Culture Centre is raising funds through the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, which takes place in October. Below is a short video ad for the event. For more information about the Centre, click here. For more about the marathon itself, click here.

Changes at DeafHope

The founder of San Diego's DeafHope explains her departure from the group to join the California School for the Deaf in Freemont in the video below. DeafHope is a social media movement making an effort to end violence against women.

Book about Kansas School

A new book about the history of the Kansas School for the Deaf will be out soon. Kansas School for the Deaf: A Pictorial History, 1861-2011 will contain some 400 photos and images. The author is executive director Sandra Kelly and it will cost $50 until September 5th, when the price will just to $65. You can order a copy here.

Principal Resigns Over Oral/ASL Controversy

The principal of a Utah school for the deaf is leaving her post. Jill Radford says she can't work with the superintendent of the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, Steve Noyce. After three years on the job as principal of Jean Massieu School of the Deaf in Millcreek she wrote in her resignation letter:
“If I hope to exact real and measurable change, I simply cannot continue to work for a superintendent who so blatantly demoralizes the efforts, dedication and passion of the faculty and staff at JMS. I will continue to fight as a deaf adult for the rights and needs of deaf and hard-of-hearing children all across this great state."
Radford says Noyce is favoring oral programs over sign language, though Noyce says he's treated them equally.

Playground Opens at Utah School

A new playground at a deaf school in Salt Lake City is now cleaned and ready to use. It's debut was spoiled last week when vandals wrote graffiti all over the special equipment. The Jean Massieu School of the Deaf hasn't had a playground in a 10 years. Then students and parents raised $55,000. State lawmakers came up with the remaining $100,000 needed to build the playground. When the vandalism was discovered, volunteers showed up to pressure wash and scrub the equipment - which includes materials especially chosen not to generate static electricity and interfere with cochlear implants.

Researchers Looking for Participants

The University of California, San Francisco is conducting a survey about Social Security benefits. If you would be willing to be interviewed, then contact the Disability Statistics Center. The interviews are by phone and take about 30-45 minutes. Call 855-209-9538 to be interviewed or to find out more about Center you can check here.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Gally Prepares for Hurricane

Gallaudet University was supposed to reopen for returning students on Sunday, but dorms opened for returning students today because of Hurricane Irene. While the storm may stay off-shore and not directly hit the Washington, D.C. area, expected high winds and heavy rains are expected to cause power outages, downed trees and limbs, and some street flooding may occur.

Sony Working on Subtitle Glasses

Sony UK is developing a pair of glasses that display subtitles right along with a film. Through the glasses, the subtitles look like they are on the actual movie screen. But only the wearer of the glasses sees them. Plus, the words appear to be the same distance from the wearer as the film itself. The new glasses could show up in UK theaters as soon as next year. Sony is also looking at other applications for the glasses. Such as creating transcriptions of conversations. In this case, the deaf people would be able to read what someone is saying. There's a video report about it from the BBC here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Deaflypics Needs Home

The 2013 Summer Deaflympics will not take place in Turkey. The nation has removed itself from consideration because it will host the 2013 Mediterranean Games in the southern province of Mersin. Officials did not want two overlapping international sports events in the country. However, they will work toward holding the games in 2017. Greece had been the first choice for the 2013 Summer Deaflympics, but Greek authorities withdrew over the financial crisis in the country.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

College Football without the Dirty Laundry

Bob Colbert, who once coached at Gallaudet, is considered a model of how to run a football program. Read the story here.

Scam Warning

U.S. government officials are warning that dishonest companies may be targeting the deaf. For instance, the Securities and Exchange Commission says a company going by the name Imperia Invest defrauded some 14,000 investors around the world of $7 million - most of that coming from the deaf in the United States. The Commission warns that companies will send fake emails to people that may say something like this:
"'I am so happy because I got $100,000 check from the IBC Imperial Investment Company. They gave me the money for a deaf and hearing support. I wonder if you get your money. Email to them IBC right now ... so they can bring money to you too. Many of my friends email to them and they got money too.'"
Another e-mail told of a co-worker who got an $850,000 check from IBC Imperial Investment Company after paying $500 for processing and shipping. But, of course, there is no big check waiting on anyone who responds. The company simply keeps whatever money is sent to it. Anyone asking for fees upfront should be dismissed as a scam artist.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Versa Effect

See a trailer for the new movie from deaf owned ASL films called Versa Effect below.

Parents File Against WV School System

The parents of a West Virginia high schooler has filed at injection against the local school board. Ariel Depphas attended Capitol High School in Kanawha County. Because it's a 4 hour commute for Ariel, her parents want to switch her to South Charleston High School. A school right by their house. But the school board has refused to provide the deaf 16-year-old an interpreter if she attends the school. She says because she couldn't attend after school tutoring, she failed two classes last year.

Hamill Comeback?

Ultimate fighter Matt Hamill could return to the ring. Find out how here.

School Drops Deaf Student

A deaf woman is dismissed from community college nursing program in Boston. Read the story here.

'Swatting" in Georgia

Watch the story from WXIA-TV in Atlanta or read it here.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Case of the Fire Alarm Box

A Syracuse University law professor and his students help safeguard the rights of the deaf in New York. Read the story here.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Military Deaf ROTC Auditor Fights to Join the Army

The Association Press takes an in depth look at how a California man is fighting to get in the Army. Read the story here.

Terp at Nudist Camp

Read an article in support of providing a sign language interpreter at a nudist camp here.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Half of Teachers Cut from Charity

The UK's National Deaf Children's Society is planning legal action against Stoke-on-Trent City Council. The City cut funding for teachers in half over the last two years and plans to cut another teacher next month, which would leave 200 children in the hands of only 3 specialists. The charity complains that the City has kept parent from discovering its plans. The Council is not commenting on the action.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Former Relay Employees Win $1.1 million

Former employees of Viable Communications have won their class action lawsuit against the Maryland relay company. A federal judge has ruled that the group of 140 former should get $1.1 million in back pay and damages from founder and former CEO John T.C. Yeh and former vice president Joseph Yeh. The two brothers are will be sentenced in November for conspiracy to commit mail fraud. They each face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of a quarter million dollars for billing the government for millions of dollar in video relay calls that did not qualify for reimbursement.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Suit Filed Over Alleged Fondling at Hospital

A patient at a New York hospital is suing for sexual abuse. The 46-year-old deaf woman claims a nurse's aide at New York Hospital Queens fondled her while she was recovering from surgery for a broken arm in May. The woman says she was groggy from a sedative. The accused man, Samuel Doku, is out of jail on bond. The hospital is not commenting on the case.

The Enough Already Project

There's a new invention making use of TV's closed captioning. The Enough Already Project allows users to program specific names, commercials or voices into a device. When it is connected to a cable box, it will mute the TV when the selected items come up. Anyone sick of hearing about Kim Kardashian or tired of certain commercials or someone just wanting to censor parts of the audio of particular shows, this will do it for you. Creator Matt Richardson says it will connect to any cable box. He explains the technical aspects of his invention in the video below.

Deaf Picnic

The 6th Annual Wisconsin Deaf Picnic takes place in Darien-Delavan, Wisconsin this Saturday. Click here for more info.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Innovation: Text to Speech

Business Week shares information about a new text-to-speech free app for the iPad that makes it easy to express complex thoughts here.

Interpreter Request Denied

WSAZ-TV in Charleston, West Virginia offers a video report on a student whose request for a sign language interpreter was turned down by the local public school district.

The Josh Project

WBIR-TV in Knoxville offers a video report below on a gift for parents whose child is having cochlear implant surgery.

Call for Film Fest Entries

The Seattle Deaf Film Festival is accepting entries for the 2012 event, taking place March 30 through April 1st at the University of Washington. Filmmakers can submit a feature or short film in these categories: documentary, drama, animation, suspense/action and comedy/musical. Films must be subtitled or captioned in English. The deadline for film submissions is November 30. Find out more here.

More on Utah School Vandalism

The new playground at the Utah School for the Deaf and Blind includes many special features - such as slides made out of a special metal so as not to interfere with cochlear implants. But what was not planned was the vandalism done by "taggers." WLS in Salt Lake City offers a video report here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Graffiti Mars School

Someone has vandalized a new playground at the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind just days before a ribbon cutting ceremony was to be held. The Salt Lake City playground is now covered in graffiti. It took two years of fund raising on the part of school officials and parents along with funding from the state legislature to build the playground.

Canada Captioning

Canada's regulatory commission for broadcast is asking for comments related to closed captioning on Canadian English and French television broadcasts. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission plans to require all license holders to adhere to the new regulations it is developing. French language standards will be considered in a separate process. Specifically, the commission wants input on what should count as an error, what the error limit should be and what corrections should be expected during a re-broadcast of what was a live program. The comment deadline is October 14th.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fire Alarm Ruling Goes Against NYC

A federal judge has ruled against New York City's plan to get rid of fire alarm boxes. The judge says doing so would discriminate against the deaf. Manhattan Federal Judge Robert Sweet says the city's plan to use payphones won't work because, "Public payphones are not located on every other corner or distributed evenly throughout the city." He also pointed out that as many as a quarter of the payphones don't work. New York has devised a "tapping system" so the deaf can use the payphones in emergencies, but Sweet says the city hasn't shown that the system works or that the deaf know how to use it. City lawyers say the desire to get rid of the fire alarm boxes is a practical one. About 9 out of 10 fire box calls are false alarms and the deaf rarely use them. The city may appeal the ruling.

Animation Shorts

The University of Washington will show some short animation works this Friday night at its Seattle campus. It's part of the school's 2011 Summer Academy for Advancing Deaf & Hard of Hearing in Computing. There will be ASL interpreters as well as overhead captioning. Read more about it here or watch the video below to learn more about this summer program.

Report on RIT Assault

WHAM-TV offers this video report on the assault on the RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) campus (no captioning).

Assault at RIT

Police are searching for man wanted for assaulting a student on the south side of the RIT campus this morning. The victim was taken to the hospital with non-lifethreatening injuries. Security patrols have been increased on the school campus and a one area was shut down for a time. Police are looking for a white male in his early-to-mid-20s, 5’10” and approximately 180 pounds, with dark hair, wearing a white sweatshirt and driving a black Honda Civic. The National Institute for the Deaf is located at RIT in Rochester, New York.

Sex Ring at School

A mother of a student at the Hawaii Center for the Deaf and Blind says dozens of students were aware of ongoing sexually abuse, but never told anyone. She says her son was one of the 35 students abused by a gang at the school who called themselves the Ringleaders. The woman has filed a lawsuit against the state, the school, and its administrator, along with a counselor. According to her suit, the group demanded items from younger students and threatened to rape and sodomize any student who failed to obey them. The mother, who is not named in the suit, claims the counselor named in the lawsuit was involved in the abuse himself. Police in Hawaii arrested several students recently on charges of sexual abuse.

DeafTEC Launches

The National Science Foundation is giving more than $4.45 million to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, New York over the next 4 years. The money will go to create something called DeafTEC, which stands for Technological Education Center for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students, an Advanced Technological Education National Center of Excellence. There are several dozen Advanced Technological Education centers in the U.S., but this will be the first aimed at serving the deaf and hard of hearing. High schools, community colleges and employers will be able to tap into its resources for study in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. DeafTEC's goal will be putting more deaf and heard of hearing students into jobs by providing information related to preparing these students for technical careers. The facility will focus on three areas of the country through partnerships with these organizations:

California School for the Deaf, Riverside
Pierce College, Woodland Hills
Cisco Systems Inc., San Jose
Solar Turbines Incorporated, San Diego
The Dow Chemical Company, Hayward and La Mirada

Florida School for the Deaf & the Blind, St. Augustine
St. Petersburg College, St. Petersburg
ConMed Linvatec Corporation, Largo
BioDerm, Inc., North Largo
Bovie Medical Corporation, Clearwater

Texas School for the Deaf, Austin
Austin Community College, Austin
The Dow Chemical Company, Houston, Bay Port, Texas City, Deer Park/LaPorte, Freeport and Seadrift

Volunteer to Caption Videos

Universal Subtitles is looking for volunteers to help its effort to caption online videos. This crowdsourcing effort is described this way: “We’re looking for volunteers to caption and translate videos on our volunteer team page. We’ve curated some fascinating videos from non-profit and educational partners that deserve a global audience. Even if you don’t speak multiple languages you can still help make the video more accessible by creating captions.” If you can volunteer, you'll find more info here.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Outlook on Implant Makers

A look at the business prospects of Cochlear Ltd. and rival Advanced Bionics here.

1st PhD at Miss School is a CODA

The first doctoral graduate of Mississippi College is a CODA (Child of a Deaf Adult). Kathleen Grigsby is the new principal of the Marshall Elementary in Jackson. She was born the same year that her father, Joseph Sarpy, won a Tony award as a member of the National Theatre for the Deaf. He was the group's first black actor. Both he and his wife Carol, who is from Australia, are both deaf. Read the full story of their family here.

Beethoven in Vienna

A Chicago-area theater is offering a look at how Beethoven dealt with becoming deaf as an adult. Beethoven in Vienna is being put on at the Wishing Star Theatre in Libertyville. The last performance is this afternoon. The video below is a report from WLS-TV about the show. Find out more about the play here.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

New Leadership at Okie School

The Oklahoma School for the Deaf has its first woman as superintendent since it was founded more than 100 years ago. KaAnn Varner is only the second deaf superintendent. Varner was diagnosed at the age of six with a hereditary condition. Because doctors told her parents not to let her use sign language, she would forget how to speak, so Varner didn't learn to sign until later in life. She earned a degree in teaching from the University of Montevallo in Alabama. An employee of the school for more than a decade, Varner was hired by the Oklahoma School for the Deaf to teach, but later became an assistant principal and principal. Her husband is the athletic director at the school. She has a teenage son who is hearing.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Suit: School Knew about Sex Assaults

A lawsuit filed this week claims officials knew about alleged sex assaults at Hawaii's deaf and blind school. KHON-TV has a video report below or read the story here.

Run, Deaf Boy, Run

Deaf UK comedian Steve Day is appearing at The Stand in Edinburgh, Scotland through the 28th of August. His show called Run, deaf boy, run, Day is built around his decision to run in the London Marathon last year. This includes an explanation of how irritating it was to run with hearing aids. He tells audiences all he could hear was the sound of “a fat man wheezing." Here's a video of Day at work (no captioning).

Deaf professor proves skeptics wrong

A deaf university professor in Nova Scotia describes her struggles to get to her position in an article here.


A theatrical production featuring deaf and hard of hearing children takes place in Chicago a week from tonight and at the UNLV campus in Los Vegas two weeks from tonight. The play is called Mission:Possible and put on by No Limits, a Los Angeles-based oral program. For more information, click here. Below is a video promoting No Limits.

Forbes Interview

An interview with rapper Sean Forbes here.

Use of Service Dog Questioned

Police were called to the Ross County Fair in southern Ohio Wednesday night because Barbara Newstrom had brought her service dog with her. The Iraq War veteran has a brain injury and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Her dog was wearing a service vest, but sheriff's deputies still asked for documentation and then told her to call them before coming back to the fair. However, ADA law does not require that documentation be carried by a dog's owner or that owners must "check in" before entering businesses to avoid problems.

Students Sue Florida College

A couple of Daytona State College students are suing the school for not providing interpreting services for their classes. Suzanne Bergman and Laura Koschuk say the Daytona Beach, Florida college did not provide adequate interpreters or auxiliary aides in violation of ADA law. They claim that when they were the interpreters and note takers for classes, they were often not qualified and the equipment not working properly. Often, Bergman and Koschuk claim, there was no help at all. A Daytona State spokesman says it provides reasonable accommodations for students but the school has not see the lawsuit yet and could not comment. Bergman, studying to be a nurse, says most of her teachers think she would not be able to do the job because of the communication barriers and should not even try.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Survival Guide for New Deafies

Amy Sargent has written a book for those who have lost their hearing as adults. She lost her hearing at age 27 and now, 15 years later, wants to help others facing what she faced. Sargent had to give up her career in broadcasting, but the change opened up other doors for her. She learned to sign, wear hearing aids and start a new career as a teacher in Rochester , New York. She started a campaign against the stigma attached to wearing hearing aids and cochlear implants called Flaunt Your Bits & Pieces. You can find out more about her book titled A Survival Guide for New Deafies here.

Galluadet's Wacky Tip-Drill Pick

Here's something to get you in the mood for college football. When you search YouTube and you use the terms "College Football 2010" and sort by view count, this video tops the list.

The lawyers trying to give deaf people a hearing

A look at how the UK's legal system fails to meet the needs of the deaf community being made worse by cuts in legal aid. here.

Video: Deaf people DO have interesting jobs!

Below is a video showing some of the variety of jobs in which the deaf are employed in Australia (put together by Deaf Children Australia).

The Homecoming

See the season finale of Switched at Birth here. It's titled The Homecoming. If you want to see the comments of Sean Berdy as you watch the show, click here. Sean plays the part of Emmett Bledsoe, Daphne’s sweet but protective best friend. Emmett is deaf and attends the Carlton School for the Deaf along with Daphne. He has a passion for photography and can be often found taking pictures or riding his motorcycle.

Minnesota Murder Trial

Confusion as to how interpreter a deaf defendant who may have confessed to murder in a video tape. Read the story here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Doc Bans Service Dog

A doctor told a visually impaired man to leave his office because he brought his service dog into the doctor's office in Southhampton, north of Philadelphia. Joseph Cichonski complained to police, but Dr. Priya Punjabi said his guide dog, a golden retriever/lab mix, could frighten other patients.

Parents Confront new School Board Members

The board for the Indiana School for the Deaf faced protesting parents today, upset over what appears to be the preference of oral training over ASL instruction. At today's meeting, the board promised not to do away with sign language at the school and emphasized plans to work out of a bilingual philosophy. The board has been under fire ever since the governor picked 4 new board members, three of whom were assumed to be in the oralist camp. There is now only one deaf person on the six member board.

Switched Review

The cast of Switched at Birth take a look back at its first season on ABC Family. Click here for the captioning.

Timberfest 2011

Maine Deaf Timberfest takes place in Scarborough, Maine tomorrow through Sunday. There are more details here.

ESPN: Hamill shows uncommon sense, grace in retiring

ESPN takes a look at the retirement of Ultimate Fighting Champion Matt Hamill here.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Friendship Games

The USA Deaf Volleyball team won the 2011 Friendship Games at Gallaudet University over the weekend. The home team went 5-0 during the week-long tournament, defeating Canada, Japan, and the Ukraine. Team USA beat the Ukrainian team 25-13, 25-22, 25-12 in the championship match Sunday. It was the first loss for the Ukrainian team in six years.

Swimming Records Fall

Two world records fell at the World Deaf Swimming Championships in Portugal last night. Marcus Titus of the U.S. broke the record in the men's 50 breast stroke, which makes him 18th overall in world competition. The Ukraine's Andriy Zurgalidze and Russia's Martin Fomin rounded out the top three. The Ukraine's Anna Tovsta shaved off three seconds from the women's 400 IM. Germany's Jarmila Gupte and Linda Neumann finished second and third in the race. Rebecca Meyers of the U.S. topped the women's 200 free style with Russia's Luiza Marushkina and Great Britain's Hannah Fitton finished second and third.

Hamill Retires

Matt Hamill is hanging up his gloves. The Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran first hit the fight scene in 2006 in a reality TV show called The Ultimate Fighter. He went on to earn a 9-4 record in the UFC, reaching the top 10 among light-heavyweight fighters. Now 34 years old, Hamill lost a bout Saturday to Alexander Gustafsson, his second straight loss. In the immediate future, he'll be promoting a film about him called Hamill, which tells the story of how he became the first deaf wrestler to win an NCAA wrestling championship. Hamill earned three Division III national titles competing for Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.

The #s on Cochlear

These charts show how well unit sales and stock dividends are going for implant maker Cochlear Ltd.

Softball Tourney

The 2011 National Deaf Softball Tournament takes place Thursday through Saturday of this week in Dallas.

Hearing Loss by Gender

Men are about twice as likely to experience hearing loss as women. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders says things even out by the age of 80. The experts believe the reason for the difference is that more men are exposed to long-term loud noises.

Monday, August 8, 2011

North Carolina Artist

The work of a deaf painter is headed to the North Carolina state museum. Pete Ballard, a renowned doll maker, was asked to select a portrait of himself for donation to the museum. He picked the work by William Sparks. Ballard says the brush work of North Carolina painter is "extraordinary.” Sparks attended Gallaudet Univeristy and was commissioned to paint the portrait of school president Edward Merrill and presented a portrait to another Gallaudet president, Robert Davila, at his 2009 retirement gala.

Actress Learns Sign

English actress Rachel Shenton explains why she learned sign language in an article in the Daily Mail posted here.

Hearing Aid Financial Help

Lion's Club International

Better Hearing Institute
lists of federal and state financial assistance

Hearing Loss Association
lists of federal and state financial assistance

Find more resources at the Deaf News Today links blog.

Switched Summer Finalie

Tonight ABC Family will show the summer finalie of Switched at Birth, the new program about two teenagers, one deaf and one hearing, who came home from the hospital with the wrong families. Watch last week's full episode about the girl's celebrating their birthdays together by clicking here.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Dow Intership

Find out how the summer is going for two deaf interns from NTID here.

Interpreter for Nudist Camp

Tom Willard has filed a complaint with the Justice Department, claiming the Empire Haven Nudist Park has violated his ADA rights for failing to provide him with an interpreter. The deaf man from Rochester wanted to attend the organization's naturist festival this week taking place near Syracuse. Willard says he even offered to pay for his own interpreter if he could get a discount on his workshop registration fees. Willard says Empire Haven responded, “An interpreter for the deaf is not something Empire Haven or the organizer of the naturist festival provide for this event or any other event.” The event starts Tuesday and draws several hundred people.


A new book from award-winning author Brian Selznick includes main characters who are deaf. Selznick’s follow-up to The Invention of Hugo Cabret is the 640 page Wonderstruck. He credits Carol Padden and Tom Humphries (who both teach at the University of California-San Diego) with giving the book an authentic feel for what it means to be deaf. They reviewed the manuscript many times for him, making suggestions along the way. Selznick says he was also inspired by the documentary Through Deaf Eyes, a film about the history of Deaf culture. It hits store shelves next month. You can pre-order here or find out more here and watch a video of Selznick talking about the book below (there doesn't appear to be any captioning).

Hamill Loses in Philly

Alexander Gustafsson beat Matt Hamill with a second-round TKO during last night's Ultimate Fighter competition in Philadelphia. The match was close after the first round but in the second at the 3:34 mark, the referee stepped in to stop the fight because, as one observer put it, the deaf fighter was a "bloody mess." After winning five in a row earlier this year, Hamill has lost two in a row, dropping his record to 10-4.

Getting to Know.. Sean Forbes

Age: 28-years-old

Home: Farmington Hills, Michigan

Childhood: deaf since he was a toddler

Talents: Plays drums and bass

Family: Father and uncle lead a country rock band, stepmother is a pianist, brothers play bass and saxophone

Business: Started the music video company D-PAN (Deaf Performing Artists Network)

Keeping it in the family: Sean's mother plays the piano and his father performs in a country-rock band.


A 13-year-old will sign the national anthem before a NASCAR race at Pocono Raceway today, located not far from Scranton, Pennsylvania. Carl Bradshaw of Coplay has signed the national anthem at minor league baseball and hockey events with others. Before the Good Sam RV Insurance 500, he'll do it by himself. You can see the race at 1 pm, Eastern on ESPN. Carl lost his hearing as a toddler to meningitis. An attempt at an early age to give him a cochlear implant did not work out. He attends the Scranton School for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Utah Recommendations

The Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind should move the office its superintendent from Ogden to Salt Lake City. That's the recommendation of a task force formed by the State Board of Education. The panel also recommends expanding the role of the advisory board and changing the qualifications for membership on the board so that more people would qualify for the post. Members of the state's deaf community have complained that everyone on the task force was hearing and it failed to take into account the unique needs of the deaf community in the state. Earlier this year, some state lawmakers suggested shutting the school down. Others have said the schools should be separated from one another.

Surcharges for Terps

ADA law prevents state and local governments from imposing a fee on someone in order to comply with the Act. That means if someone requests a sign language interpreter at a public meeting, a city or town cannot turn around and then charge that person for the interpreter's services. If it costs $150 to hire the interpreter, public officials cannot send a $25 bill to the deaf or hard-of-hearing person as a surcharge. Read more about the rule under Title Two of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Whatever happened to...

Former assistant Gallaudet basketball coach John Beker? Read the story here.

Tips for Communicating with Deaf young people

Below is a video put together by deaf young people offering some tips for communicating with them in the classroom.

Hamill in the Ring Again

Ultimate Fighter Matt Hamill will be in the octagon tomorrow night for a match at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The Light Heavyweight Bout will air on Spike TV. The deaf fighter will go against Alexander Gustafsson from Stockholm, Sweden as part of the preliminary card to the main bout. The 34-year-old Hamill carries a record of 10-3 against Gustafsson's 11-1 record. Gustafsson was supposed to fight Vladimir Matyushenko, but an injury opened the door for Hamill. Vegas think the Swede has the edge in this one.

Disc Golf World Championships

Three deaf disc golfers will compete in the Professional Disc Golf Association World Championships that starts tomorrow in the Monterey Bay area of California. This includes Deaf Disc Golf Association president Nathan Boyes, Justin Ashton, who won the 11th Deaf Disc Golf Championships in Austin, Texas, and Todd Thompson, who took the 40-and-older title at the same tourney. This is believed to be the first time deaf competitors have taken part in the event that draws more than 400 players from around the world. Both New York's Rochester Institute of Technology and Washington, DC's Gallaudet University have disc golf courses on campus. Boyes has put together the video below to teach some sign language to use on the course.

Sex Assaults at Hawaii School

Arrests from widespread sexual abuse at the Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind. Watch this report from KHON-TV. Read the story here.

Not all deaf people want to be 'fixed'

Actress Emily Howlett was recently told by an audiologist she needed cochlear implants surgery "to prevent her falling into deaf society". Read more about it in a post at the Guardian here.

Portland Meetings

The Association of Medical Professionals With Hearing Losses (AMPHL) Conference takes place this weekend in Portland, Oregon. For more information, click here.

Getting to Know.. Gestuno

Gestuno is an early version of International Sign often used at meetings involving many internationals. You’ll see it at events like Deaflympics and meetings of the World Federation of the Deaf. It’s a standardised international sign system. The book Gestuno: International Sign Language of the Deaf, published in 1975, has a list of 1500 signs. More grammar was informally added by interpreters and users over time. The choice of the word Gestuno is a reference gesture and oneness (Gest for gesture and uno for one).

Getting to Know... Wendy Cheng

Wendy Cheng founded the Association of Adult Musicians With Hearing Loss. Now living in Gaithersburg, Maryland, Cheng was first diagnosed with hearing loss not long after her family came to the US from Taiwan, when she was nine years old. She eventually received cochlear implants, learned to play classical piano, then the violin and finally the viola. The Association has grown to more than 200 members around the country. Find out more about the organization here.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hearing Aid Check List

Here's what you should expect when you buy hearing aids. Your dispenser should:

  • Sell every style of hearing aid.
  • Conduct an extensive hearing assessment in a soundproof booth.
  • A follow-up test should be created while you are wearing the new aid to determine how well it is working in several simulated situations.
  • The initial fitting should be included in the purchase price along with at least two or three visits.
  • You should be able to get a copy of your hearing tests.
  • You should be given a trial period during which you can return your hearing aid at no cost or for a minimal fee.
  • Your contract specifies that you will get all or most of your money back if you return the hearing aid or aids within the trial period.
  • This document should also cover the length of the warranty and the cost to replace lost or damaged aids, and specify the policy on batteries.

Musicians with Hearing Loss

Two audiologists have written a book that tells the story of 11 musicians with hearing loss. Making Music with a Hearing Loss: Strategies and Stories is the work of Dr. Marshall Chasin and Dr. Brad Ingrao, but the stars are the members of the Maryland-based Association of Adult Musicians with Hearing Loss who are featured. Charles Mokotoff, now in his 50s, spent years hiding his deafness, even as he performed and taught classical guitar. He lost his hearing abruptly at the age of 15. Doctors were unable to give him a reason for it. It lead him to wear a hearing aid, hidden by his long hair. By 1990, he quite music to work for the Massachusetts Learning Center for Deaf Children. HE began playing at again when he started teaching at Gallaudet University where he learned ASL. There's more info about the book here and more info about Mokotoff here.

Noah showing off his signs

A video from Jessie who says she has four children and is practicing sign with one of her kids in this video. No captioning.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Silence of love

Here's a moving video from a Thailand insurance company about a deaf family.

Marlee on KTLA

Marlee Matlin spoke with the Los Angeles Morning News Show team at KTLA about her role in the show Switched at Birth. Watch the video below. The station doesn't appear to have provided captioning. You can tell them what you think about that here.

Righting a Wrong

Emerson Lee Clay left the Kentucky school for the Deaf more than half a century ago without getting any recognition that he had completed his courses. But this afternoon the Kentucky Board of Education gave diplomas Clay and other blacks who were enrolled at the school, but were not allowed to graduate between 1935 and 1955. John Brown of Louisville, now 76 years old, told a local paper "I really am proud to get my diploma today." Even though he had to use a walker, Brown rose and went to the stage to receive his diploma.

Suit against Tampa Police

Jacob Cowie is suing four Tampa, Florida police officers. The deaf man says they used excessive force against him at a nightclub called Gaspar's Grotto in Ybor City. An internal investigation cleared the officers, so Cowie has filed a civil rights lawsuit claiming the officers, one of whom was undercover, punched and kicked him repeatedly and eventually used a stun gun against him. They did not arrest Cowie, but given a notice to appear in court on a disorderly conduct charge. That charge was eventually dropped. Cowie needed surgery for his injuries.

Whoopi Goldberg's Hearing Loss

Whoopi Goldberg now wears small hearing aids to help her pick up low tones, according to the National Enquirer. The tabloid quotes the Oscar winning actress as saying, "I attribute my own hearing loss - which, by the way, is suffered by thousands of people in varying degrees - to years and years of listening to music so loudly and so close to the delicate ear drum." She attended the Starkey Hearing Foundation's awards presentation last month in Minnesota. Goldberg is now warning young music fans to protect their hearing.

Captioning Lectures

There are four brands of software that most colleges use for captioning lectures: 3Play Media, Echo360, Sonic Foundry's Mediasite, and McGraw-Hill's Tegrity. Besides providing a needed service for deaf students, the value of captioning extends to everyone in the classroom. Students can use the transcription to search for a keyword and jump to any part of a video to find exactly what they need.

Meetings in Carolina

The South Carolina Assoc. of the Deaf holds its annual meetings in Spartanburg starting tomorrow through the 8th. For more information, click here.

Passing Along Terp Costs

Under ADA law, a lawyer (or other business) cannot pass the cost of an interpreter on to the client. If you request an interpreter and he or she would have to pay for those services. The only way around this provision of the law is if the lawyer can prove it would be an undue burden. That is a tough standard to meet because a business cannot simply say the interpreter costs more than I want to spend or the fee exceeds my budget. If it went to court, a judge would take into consideration the balance sheet of the business along with how money is being spent.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Captioning at Penn State

Penn State University's College of Art and Architecture offers students captioned videos of lectures through 3Play Media's online transcription service. A professor simply hits the captioning button and within a couple of days, the professor is sent a file that can be placed into the course content section of the class online interface.


Last night's episode of Switched At Birth included a reference to a movie called Deafenstein. One of the deaf characters in the TV show gave another one a poster for the made-up movie about a deaf monster. The Frankenstein adaptation is supposedly performed entirely in ASL. The film is so bad (in the cheesy sense) that the Switched at Birth characters like it. It is apparently a takeoff of a real film titled Deafula, a 1975 version of Dracula performed in ASL, with a similar reputation.On another note, the ABC Family series has received an order for 22 more episodes, which will give Switched a 32 episode first season. The next season will begin early next year. So, while the network is is running promotional announcements for the finale next week, take note that it will be the summer finale and not the season finale.

Rochester Roots

Rochester, New York has been associated with deafness since at least 1876. That’s when what is now the Rochester School for the Deaf opened. In the 1800s, people were discouraged from talking in sign language on street corners. That’s when The Rochester Method of sign language developed where each word is fingerspelled. The practice continued until the 1940s. The city is now home to what is probably the nation's largest deaf population per capita. The National Technical Institute for the Deaf was established in 1965 in Rochester. Three years later, the facility accepted its first class of 71 students. Most of NTID’s funding comes from the federal government. Congress gave it more than $55 million last year. That’s about three-fourths of the Institute’s entire budget. It serves some 1200 deaf students.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Captioning at Gally

Most of the classroom lectures at Gallaudet University are not captioned. That's because most of the lectures are delivered in sign language without spoken English. In order to offer captioning, lectures must be interpreted after they are given and then sent off for transcription. However, there are 11 classrooms at the Washington, DC school that are hooked up with the Echo360 caption software. A professor only has to hit a button and a file is sent to the software maker where the lecture is transcribed and sent back to the professor for distribution to the students. The school also has two self-service lecture capture studios on campus where faculty and students create learning objects, video-based projects, and online lectures for distance-learning courses.

Automation in the College Classroom

Virginia's George Mason University hopes to one day make captioning in the classroom completely automated. A caption proposal has been approved at the school that would allow faculty members to upload their audio files to a server. From there, automated voice-recognition software called Docsoft:AV produces a fully captioned transcript of the classroom lecture. Student workers will review what the program produces until the automation is accurate enough to work on its own. It must overcome poor audio quality, the different accents of speakers, and other variables. George Mason has a number of veterans with hearing impairments who are are taking classes and using the CART system in the classroom (CART stands for Communication Access Realtime Translation). This real-time text translation is expensive and requires someone to transcribe lecture from another location.

ADA & Air Travel

Adjoining seats must be provided when a passenger with a hearing impairment is traveling with an interpreter who will be assisting the person or interpreting during the flight, under ADA law. If you are flying with a service animal, you must be allowed to decide whether you sit in a bulkhead seat or not.