Thursday, May 31, 2012

ND phone fee

North Dakota telephone customers will continue to see a 4 cent fee show up on their bills to cover the cost of a service for deaf people in the state. The state Public Service Commission voted to keep the sercharge for one more year on monthly bills. The tax pays for a telephone relay service and to help low-income people use the system. It will raise more than half a million dollars.

Helen Keller in Love

A new book about Helen Keller imagines a romance in the life of the deaf-blind activist and author. Rosie Sultan's novel Helen Keller in Love starts in 1916 when Keller is in her 30s. She falls in love and becomes engaged.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Oxford Tuition Grant

Get to know the student who won a grant to study at Oxford for a doctorate in auditory neuroscience here.

NAD Controversy

There's a controversy over an NAD speaker at this year's biennial meeting in Louisville. The National Association of the Deaf meets in the Kentucky town from July 3-7.  South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard is scheduled to speak on the importance of the deaf community taking part in the political process, particularly when it comes to advocating for their rights. Daugaard is considered the first CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) to serve as a governor. He grew up using ASL and he even worked as a certified interpreter. However, there are complaints in the LGBT community that "Daugaard's view doesn't belong at the NAD conference" and his invitation should be cancelled. The Republican opposes many of the goals of the deaf LGBT community such as same-sex marriage. Some have accused Daugaard of having a hand in the recent closing of the South Dakota School for the Deaf in Sioux Falls, but he was not governor at the time it was shut down. In response to the controversy, NAD has reportedly added a LGBT luncheon to the conference and a LGBT equality policy.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Teaching Kids with Implants

Cincinnati's WKRC-TV shows how Ohio Valley Voices is teaching children with implants. The video is posted on

Bama Salutatorian

Read about graduating student at the Alabama School for Deaf who will give Wednesday's salutatorian address here.

Disc Golf

The Deaf Disc Golf Championship is coming to the Seattle area. Players from around the world will gather in Lakewood July 11-14. There's more information here and we've posted a video about it on

Jordan Speaks Today

I King Jordan is visiting Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania today. The first Deaf president of Gallaudet University will make a presentation this afternoon on the topic Diverse and Distinct: Perspectives on the Deaf and Disability Communities. His visit is through the efforts of grad students in the Education of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing teacher preparation program.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Play opening in Oregon

A play about a deaf baseball player will be performed in Salem, Oregon starting Friday. The Signal Season of Dummy Hoy will run at the Pentacle from June 1 to June 23. Allen Meyer and Michael Nowak wrote a quarter of a century ago for Meyer’s deaf daughter. He travels to theaters that present it at his own expense, so he can offer advise- such as the importance of having a deaf actor in the lead role. For more information, click here.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Deaf Student in Flight Program

A college student in Florida is headed to Purdue University to train with Able Flight to learn flight and ground operations. Read more here.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Should you get an implant?

The Ventura County Star offers advice on whether you should consider a cochlear implant here.

NTID Awards

A list of NTID students receiving honors and scholarships for their achievements here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

New ADA interpretation

If you were fired and sue under ADA, you will not have to prove that your dismissal was only because of a disability if you live in the jurisdiction of the 6th Circuit. The federal appeals court voted 9-7 in favor of Susan Lewis. She had sued Humboldt Acquisition Corp of Jackson, Tennessee, claiming the retirement home operator let her go because of her medical condition. She has trouble walking and has to use a wheelchair. The company claimed Lewis was fired for an angry tirade during an confrontation with her supervisors. A jury agreed with Humboldt - because they were instructed by the judge to rule in favor of Lewis only if her health issues were the sole reason she was fired. The appeals court reversed that decision today.

Four Year Old Hero

We told you Wednesday about a boy who inspired a Marvel Comics hero. Boston's WHDH-TV has a video report (posted on or read the story here.

Johnny Depp's ASL skills

Johnny Depp is responding to critics who say he did a poor job of signing the lyrics to a new Paul McCartney song in a music video. As we reported to you back in April, he appears with Natalie Portman in My Valentine. At one point Depp signs enemy instead of valentine. But the actor responds that he was only following the directions that he was given on the set. He was mislead and didn't know any better. However, Depp says "it was a gas – sign language is apparently very interpretive. It’s all kind of different.” The video is posted below on

A Perfect Game

Read the story of a New York little leaguer who tossed a perfect game. Shouts of "You can't pitch!" couldn't stop him. The story is here.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Asia Pacific Deaf Games

Athletes from more than 40 countries will gather from the 7th Asia Pacific Deaf Games in Seoul, South Korea this Saturday. The winners may qualify to get into the 2013 Deaflympics.

Sammie's Implant Story

ABC News profiles a 10-year-old Texan who went through cochlear implant surgery in the video below on Or read the story here. video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

How Different the World Is Without Hearing

David Peter is the youngest employee at an Internet startup. He explains how the world works for the deaf in an interview with Gizmodo here.

$10 million grant

Georgia State is getting $10 million in federal funding to start a research center aimed at improving the reading skills of deaf children. The money will go to the University’s College of Education so researchers can create assessments, develop curriculum along with instructional strategies for intervention that can be utilized across the country, especially for kindergarten, first and second grade. The five year effort includes researchers from the University of Arizona, the University of Colorado at Boulder, Arizona State University, and the Rochester Institute of Technology. You can find out more here.

100k Award against Temp Agency

A temp agency that refused to interview a deaf woman for a job will now have to pay her more than $100,000. A jury awarded her the back pay as well as compensatory and punitive damages for violating ADA law. An appeals court upheld the decision, based on the agency's refusal to consider her for a position as a stock clerk - even though the woman had arraigned for a interpreter herself. The agency told her it would be unsafe for her to work in the warehouse because she is deaf.

Deaf man's rights violated?

Houston police refused to provide an interpreter for a deaf man who says he was attacked. KRIV-TV in Houston has a video report posted below on with captioning or you can read the story here.

Getting to Know... Sue Thomas

Sue Thomas became the FBI’s first deaf agent and even had a TV show based on her life (The PAX show Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye). She was born on this date (May 24) in 1950. She grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, where her parents discovered she was deaf at the age of 18 months old. Thomas was sent to an oral school and mainstreamed. She learned to read lips and speak naturally, but was still mercilessly taunted. She sought refuge at a local skating rink where a determined coach helped her become state champion at the age of seven. She attended Springfield College in Massachusetts, earning  a degree in Political Science and International Affairs, before going to work at the FBI headquarters in Washington, DC in1979. She worked in a program to train deaf people to classify fingerprints. After she successfully told agents what was said in a surveillance video of a gambling operation which had no audio, word spread of her ability to read lips. She served as a tour guide and made appearances on behalf of the Bureau. Thomas left Washington to attend South Carolina's Columbia Graduate School of Bible and Missions in 1983. She ended up in California where she began working with the U.S. Center for World Mission. Her 1990 autobiography entitled Silent Night was the basis for the show. In 2001, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She now lives in Vermont. Below is a video from 2010 of her speaking at a Bill and Gloria Gaither Homecoming special (no captioning).

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Drop TTY Surcharge?

Should the surcharge on phones that pay for TTY service be cut? That's the issue in this video report from Green Bay's WLUK-TV posted below on or read the story here.

Phone surcharge aims to help deaf:

Smartphone Apps

Here are some iPhone apps useful for those who have hearing loss or are working with the deaf.

LouderTV works as a personal amplifier and headphones. ($1.99)

Play It Down will even test your own hearing to tell you the "age" of your ears and can be adjusted for hearing loss by age. (free)

Tap Tap vibrates and flash an alert when it detects voice. If the door knocks, or someone is speaking or shouting, the user will know. ($2.00)

Dragon Dictation transcribes spoken words to improve conversation. (free)

ASL Dictionary is a pocket reference with more than 4,800 signs in video that can be slowed and looped. Requires a 3G or WiFi connection. ($2.00)

iASL translates up to five English words into American Sign Language. Comes with a dictionary including 5800 signs. ($1.99)

My Smart Hands Baby Sign Language Dictionary has videos of the most common signs for children. A free version has 33 signs for testing while the full version has 300 signs and quizzes. ($4.99)

British Sign Language - Finger Spelling shows you how to spell using the British two-hand method. (free)

An Introduction To British Sign Language help with numbers, simple greetings and colors. ($1.99)

RIDBC Auslan Tutor: Key Signs for iPad is a starter for learning sign used by the Australian deaf community, showing both photographs and short video clips. (free)

Baseball Phenom

NBC News profiles a 17-year-old deaf strike out artist in New Jersey. See the video below on (captioning included).

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Teeth for Hearing

Pittsburgh's KDKA-TV reports on a new device that improves hearing through sounds waves picked up from the teeth. Watch the video below on or read the story here.

Deaf Boy Inspires New Comic Hero

Read the story of how a 4-year-old New Hampshire boy inspired the creation of a new Marvel Comic book hero here. Video included with no captioning.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Collecting History

Gallaudet University is collecting diplomas for its 150th anniversary. WJLA-TV in Washington, DC reports on the progress of the effort in the video below.

Google: speech-to-text display?

Recent Google patent requests suggests the Internet company may be working on a system to detect and interpret nearby sounds - including a speech-to-text display. Read about it here.

Forced to Leave over Service Dog

Popeyes Chicken is apologizing to an Atlanta customer who was told to leave the restaurant because of his service dog. Taylor Gipson's British Lab alerts Gibson when his blood sugar level drops since Gipson has Type 1 diabetes. The story manager told Gipson to leave - and then called police. Gipson has since filed a complaint with the Justice Department, saying his civil rights were violated.

The St Louis Piano Man

Jeff Potter is a unique piano player. KSDK-TV in St. Louis has this video report posted below on or read the story here.

Headed to the NFL

Bleacher Report takes a look at UCLA Bruins Star Derrick Coleman deals with hearing loss on the football field. Read the story here.

Gally 2022 Campus Plan

Gallaudet is moving forward with a 10 year construction plan for its campus. The board will ask the DC Zoning Commission for approval to create a new pedestrian entrance at Florida Avenue and 6th, a "learning commons" to replace the library, and the renovation of three buildings. The 2022 Campus Plan is the result of eight workshops with students, faculty and staff including research on DeafSpace design concepts. The board says the changes will help with increased enrollment and will revitalize the center of the campus, making better use of space.

GLAD event in LA

You're invited to a deaf friendly evening (May 22) in Los Angeles to support GLAD at Go Burger Bar and Grill (at Sunset and Vine). 40% of the sales of food from 5pm -11pm will go to support the deaf and hard of hearing community through the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness. The film The Championship Rounds will be shown. Click here for more info on GLAD.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Student Dies at Track Event

A competitor in Alabama's Special Olympics died this weekend. 20-year-old Aaron Boyd took part in the 100-meter track and field event and collapsed at the Troy event. He was pronounced dead later at a hospital. Boyd was a student at the Helen Keller School in Talladega.

World Congress this Week

The 5th World Congress on Mental Health and Deafness takes place in Monterrey, México starting Wednesday (May 23) and runs through Friday (May 25). For more information click here.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Adventures in Kentucky

If you are heading to Louisville for the NAD Conference in July, here's a video in ASL explaining some things you can do in town.

Working for the FBI

Deaf former FBI agent Sue Thomas spoke to students at a New Jersey high school Friday. Read about it here.

Friday, May 18, 2012

the New Big Idea Contest

A team of NTID students took top honors in a technology competition for their device designed to help deaf athletes. V-Sports won $5000 as part of the New Big Idea contest. Team members include:

  • business administration major Jeremiah Thompson
  • applied mathematics technology major Tyler Swob
  • accounting technology major Michael Della Penna
  • engineering technology student Shane Qualls
  • hearing and computer engineering student Ken Hertzog

The students tested their prototypes at Rochester School for the Deaf. Team Get Dancin’ won Second place. They pocketed $3,000 for an idea to open a dance studio for the deaf, where teachers would use sign language. The team was made up of:

  • graphics design major Nicole Hood
  • accounting technology major Nic Shaw
  • Master of Science Program in Secondary Education student Samatha Braidi

Third place and $2,000 went to team WaterSocket:

  • packaging science major Casey Jaeger
  • Matthew Hente
  • mechanical engineering major Richie Prilenski

Their idea is to create a waterproof cover for tcochlear implants using a super hydrophobic spray.

The competition was sponsored by ZVRS video relay service.

New York Family

WKBW-TV in Buffalo visits a family where everyone is deaf in the video posted below on Or you can read the story here.

TTY Developer Honored

The founder of Ultratec gets an honorary doctorate today. The University of Wisconsin-Madison is honoring Robert Engelke for his work in helping develop an inexpensive TTY (Text Telephone) in 1978 from out of the basement of his Wisconsin home. His teletypewriter plugged into a regular phone line, allowing deaf people to communicate with other TTY owners. The young, hearing engineer sold it for less than $200 - way below the typical model which could run as much as $1000. No longer a luxury item that very few in the deaf community could afford, Engelke made it possible for the average person to own one. He was motivated by a deaf friend, Herb Pickell. He attended a National Association of the Deaf conference to get feedback. He continued to have people who are deaf involved in product development ever since.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

More on man who set off fire alarm in theater

Here's a video report on the man who set off a fire alarm because he did NOT want to see captioning during a showing of the movie The Avengers. This video report, posted on, comes from WMAR-TV in Baltimore. Or you can read the story here.

Fight over Zoning Slows Move of Deaf School

KUSA-TV reports in the video below on about the Rocky Mountain Deaf School's attempt to build a much needed new facility. To read the story, click here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Protest over use of Video Terps

Nearly 50 people picketed an Illinois hospital today over the use of video interpreters. The Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria has used VRI (Video Remote Interpreters) for about a year. But deaf patients say the system is flawed. There areconstant equipment problems, difficult-to-see video screens, miscommunication over signs based on the regional differences between the patients and the interpreters, and the loss of human contact. Some carried signs reading I Want a Live Interpreter and Honk for Deaf Rights.

From Gally to Capitol Hill

What an internship in Congress is like for a Gallaudet University studenthere.

911 in Syracuse

A new 911 texting services designed to help the deaf community in Syracuse. WSYR-TV reports in the video posted below on or read the story here.

White House Honors Researcher

A deaf IBM researcher was among 14 people honored by the White House for his work this month. Dr. Dimitri Kanevsky is a research staff member in the Speech and Language Algorithms Department where he developed the first Russian automatic speech. The White House ceremony honoring him was a celebration of those "leading the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math for people with disabilities. If you'd like to read an interview with Dr. Kanevsky, go here.

Fire Alarm Set off over Captioning

A Maryland man was arrested Monday for allegedly pulling a fire alarm at Regal Cinemas in Abingdon because he was upset over the closed captioning provided for The Avengers movie. David K. Walters complained to the manager who says he offered Walters a refund, but Walters intentionally pulled the lobby's fire alarm. Walters is set to appear in Harford County District Court next month.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Armed Robery

Two deaf men are accused of stealing money from a gas station in Los Angeles with a gun Monday night. Police say a witness gave police the license plate number of the getaway car and it lead to the two men. Jonathan Lopez and Emiliano Decontreras used sign language with deputies and are out of jail as the investigation continues. Three other suspects are still at large.

Gov to Speak at NAD

South Dakota's governor will speak at NAD's biennial meeting in Louisville on July 6. The National Association of the Deaf will meet in the Kentucky town from July 3-7. Dennis Daugaard will discuss the importance of the deaf community taking part in the political process, particularly when it comes to advocating for their rights. Daugaard is considered the first CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) to serve as a governor. He grew up using ASL and he even worked as a certified interpreter. The theme of this year’s NAD conference is “Nothing About Us, Without Us!”

First deaf grad from GA School

Ellie Reza is the first deaf student to graduate from Georgia's Jefferson High School.  She's planning to attend Gallaudet University in the fall. WAGA-TV in Atlanta has a video report here.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Springsteen on Stage

Sign interpreters at this year's New Orleans Jazz Fest got a treat while they were translating the performance of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. The Boss decided to join them for a moment and you see the result in a video below. Holly Maniatty and Edie Jackson even got Springsteen to sign along with them.

Captioning for Final Cut Training

After conducting a training seminar at Gallaudet, Apple product trainer Larry Jordan is adding captions to his Final Cut X training series. With the help of Florida-based JFD Communications, Jordan put captioning on more than 11 hours of video training tapes and positioned the captioning so video editors in training could read the captions yet still see the key features of the video software. A half-a-year after the Gallaudet training took place, the captioning is completed with the help of 20 people. Find out more about the training here.

Artist helps students find their Voice

A report about bringing ASL and poetry into the classroom through a film called White Space by Minnesota Public Radio. Read the story or listen to it here.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Touch sensitivity and Hearing

Touch and hearing are more closely linked than previously thought, according to a new study. Not only is deafness inherited, so is sensitivity to touch. German researchers at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin studied 100 sets of twins. The touch sensitivity of the twins appeared to be linked to their ability to hear. People in the study who had excellent hearing were more likely to be sensitive to touch, while a fifth of the people with deafness at birth for genetic reasons showed impaired sensitivity - indicating genes that cause deafness may also dull the sense of touch. In fact, the study found there is a single gene responsible for both Usher syndrome and touch sensitivity. Read more about the study here.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Deaf teacher to play in World Cup

California School for the Deaf teacher is captain of the USA Deaf Soccer’s Women’s World Cup. Read her story here.

Gallaudet senior's Political Ambitions

A Frederick, Maryland newspaper takes a look at a Gally senior here.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Video report on Deaf Rapper

WIAT-TV in Minneapolis visited with SignMark when he was in town this week. No captioning, but you can read the story here.

Deafvibe's Deaf Day

The UK's Deafvibe will hold its first Deaf Day event this Wednesday (May 9) in Stoke-on-Trent. A variety of organizations will be represented. There will be activities and demonstrations. Experts will be on hand to offer advice. For more info on the charity's big day, click here.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hundreds go deaf in India

600 teachers in India are suddenly claiming to be deaf. They happen to be up for transfer to other schools in the Yavatmal district. Teachers can be transferred after five years of working in the same village - unless they suffer a "with a deformity of 40% or more." Of the 900 teachers eligible for transfer, two-thirds of the teachers are claiming they can't be moved on the basis of this loophole. School authorities say their cases are being referred to the medical board to determine whether they are faking.

Hamlet at Gally

The Faction of Fools Theatre Company are performing at the Gallaudet's Elstad Auditorium in Washington, DC through May 19. The company focuses on the Italian commedia dell'Arte theater style of physical comedy and this production is no exception. Hamlecchino: Clown Prince of Denmark is a stylistic interpretation of Shakespeare's Hamlet. For more info, click here.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Deaf Musicians Rock Chicago

Mark Levin on guitar, Jake Bass on the keyboard and Sean Forbes get some press in the Chicago Tribune here.

1st Terp Grads

The University of Louisville is graduating its first students from the school's ASL interpreter program. The 10 students will be recognized night in a special ceremony as well as at tomorrow's commencement. The bachelor’s degree program started in 2010 at the Kentucky school - and now, more than 50 students are in it. They graduate after completing more than 450 hours in a practicum with a nationally certified practicing interpreter. For more information, click here.

Student-Althletes Recognized

A look at which of Gallaudet's athletes were honored at the Bison annual awards ceremony here.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

State in Violation of ADA law

A federal judge says Georgia is in volition of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Deaf people who need group home care are being denied access to mental health services and there are not enough mental health care practitioners in the state who know sign language. The issue came to light because of a lawsuit filed on behalf of two deaf adults with severe mental illness and developmental disabilities. A magistrate judge will oversee talks between lawyers for the deaf adults and the state.

Signmark Tonight!

Finnish deaf rapper Signmark will perform tonight at the University of Minnesota. It's part of the school's Disability Services’ Deaf and Hard of Hearing Day. Read about his campus visit here.

RID Report

The RID president's report is now available. The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf video posted below on

Meeting with Police

Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard is holding an open forum for the Deaf community to share their concerns with him tonight (May 3) at 6pm. The meeting will be held at the Rochester Recreation Club for The Deaf.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pragmatic Language Usage

Here's a video of cute kids using ASL at the California School for the Deaf showing Pragmatic Language usage Early Childhood Education.

Sexual Abuse on Bus in Georgia

Sexual abuse on a school bus allegedly went on for months, according to a Georgia lawsuit. Two students from the Atlanta Area School for The Deaf in Clarkston are accused of assaulting a 10-year-old boy during their ride to Roswell. The victim was apparently too afraid to come forward on his own and the abuse stopped only when he screamed - something he didn't know he could do. The situation was recently reported by another student. The driver, who is no longer a school system employee, was apparently aware of the attacks but she never reported them. The accused students, ages 16 and 14, are being charged as adults and will make their first court appearance tomorrow.

Restaurant serves up intricate dishes

The college newspaper for the University of Texas takes a look at a deaf owned and operated restaurant in the area here.

Retiring Judge Grew up at Gally

A Maryland judge who grew up on Gallaudet's campus is retiring. Calvert County Circuit Court Judge Warren Krug (his photo is on the left) is stepping down after more than 18 years on the bench. His father, Walter Krug, was the Dean of Men and a professor at the Washington, DC school, Krug spent his youth among deaf students, living at Gallaudet until his father died in 1962. Walter Krug joined the Gallaudet faculty in 1927 as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics. He served as Dean of College Men for 45 years, from 1927 to 1962. He became the chairperson of the Division of Mathematics and Science in the fall of 1948. One of the dorms was named after him.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Deaf-blind Speed Skater

Canada will be represented at the Impaired Skating Championships in Scotland by a deaf-blind speed skater. Read the story here.

Hear Your Life

A new book about "overcoming hearing loss" hits store shelves today (May 1). Hear Your Life offers both inspirational stories and answer to common questions. Melissa Rodriguez explains her goals in writing the book in the video below.

On this Date..

It was on May 1, 1956, that Dr John Shea performed the first successful cochlear implant surgery.