Monday, December 31, 2012

Advocate Dies

A long time sign language interpreter in Wisconsin has passed. Doris Nyquist is remembered for playing a prominent role as an advocate for the deaf community from the 1950s onward. Read about her bridging two words here.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Graduate of School for the Deaf aims to break barriers

Read profile of an Iowa school for the deaf grad who has interned for a Senator and at the White House here.

Protests Lead to Changes in Funds for Deaf Services

Israel's government is dropping plans to cut deaf services. Israeli parliament member Stav Shaffir organized protests through Facebook outside the Welfare and Social Services Ministry building in Tel Aviv this morning. The budget cuts would have put an end to interpreting services, captioning and other services.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The 2012 Year in Review

Here is our yearly video review of major news events in the deaf community (it looks better if you watch it fullscreen).

Music for the Deaf

A Norwegian pianist and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra are trying to bring music to the deaf. Al Jazeera’s Nick Spicer reports the story from Cologne, Germany in the video posted below on

Hearing Dogs

A UK charity is doubling its fundraising goal after response soared past its initial effort. Hearing Dogs for Deaf People aimed to raise £30,000 but has increased the goal to £60,000 when more than £55,000 came to the charity.  The project called Merlin’s Mission is named after springer spaniel Merlin, who worked for years as a demonstration dog and finally retired this month. Find out more about the effort here.

Hope for hearing

CNN takes a look at the impact of cochlear implants on those who have age related hearing loss in the video posted below on Or read the story here.

Homicide Suspects in Court

Three teens accused of killed a deaf man in NC made their first court appearances separately yesterday. Prosecutors say Aveance Bryant, Davonta Turner and Ashley Owens stabbed 21-year-old Michael Shull last Friday during a robbery. The trio will remain behind bars until they are back in court next month. Owen and Turner already have criminal records. Bryant and Turner are related to the victim's girlfriend.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

From Extra to Star

A deaf Minnesota man has gotten his shot at a major role in the ABC Family show Switched at Birth. Read about how he went from standing in the background to a starring role here.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Memphis principal promotes closed captioning

Watching closed captioning is helping hearing students read better. You'll find the story here.

Your Air Rights under the Air Carrier Access Act

Info and reservation services must be accessible. If an airline offers phone reservations and info, the same service must be given to hard-of-hearing passengers, whether through TTY or other technology.

Info at the airport must be accessible once you identify yourself as deaf.

Communication on the aircraft must be effective after self-identification.

Service animals are allowed aboard as long as the animal doesn't obstruct the aisles.

Those who are deaf-blind are entitled to safety assistants and they may be required by airlines.

You have a right to complain if the airline fails to provide assistance File a complaint with the Department of Transportation at 800-778-4838 (voice) or 800-455-9880 (TTY). You also can make a complaint online here.

Source: The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Advocacy Network

Sunday, December 23, 2012

NC Murder Arrests

Three people are behind bars for killing a deaf many in Charlotte. Michael Victor was found on the front lawn Friday night, stabbed to death. Police arrested three teenagers: Davonta Turner, Aveance Bryant, and Ashley Owens. Here's a video report from WSOC-TV with captions.

Young Deaf Man Murdered

A 21-year-old man was attacked and left to die on the front yard of someone's home in Charlotte, North Carolina Friday night. Michael Shullc's sister told the Charlotte Observer that he was supposed to pick up his girlfriend that evening to see Christmas lights with his family. Shull was born deaf and graduated recently from the North Carolina School for the Deaf in Morganton. Police aren't saying why they think he was assaulted. If you have information, you are asked to call 704-432-TIPS.  Here's a video report from WSOC-TV with captions.

Americans in China

A Gally prof moves to Shanghai to help the deaf in China. Read about the effort here.

Christmas comes early for School for the Deaf

It was an early Christmas for some students at the East Carolina School for the Deaf in Wilson. A video report from WNCT-TV is posted below on (no captions).

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Signing Santa Brightens Boy's Day

WCVB-TV in Boston has a video report on a trip to see Santa that surprised a little boy (no captioning).

Friday, December 21, 2012

Deaf Man Attacked on UK Street

Police in northern England are looking for three men who badly beat a deaf man in the town of Worksop, about 20 miles east of Sheffield. Michael Boyle was walking along a street when he was jumped from behind at a roundabout located at Gateford Road and Sandy Lane.  He was punched and then kicked. The men fled the scene. Boyle is not sure why he was targeted.

Deaf Student Appeals Captioning Ruling

A Los Angeles area high school student is appealing a judges ruling against her request for speech-to-text captioning service at her Tustin high school. A judge has ruled that the school district is not obligated under ADA law to provide CART (communication access real-time translation). She's now asking the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to take a look at the case. The unnamed girl has a cochlear implant and although the case has dragged on so long she would no longer benefit from a winning decision, her hopes are that she can make a difference for other students who are younger than her and will face the same problems. In 2007, another California school was ordered to provide CART for two deaf students. Read more about that case here.

'Swatting' suspect may avoid charges

Police in LA say the 12-year-old who used TTY to summon Swat teams to celebrity homes may not face criminal charges. He used a computer program that allowed him to make the fake emergency calls through the system set up for the deaf. He was able to get SWAT teams to the homes of Ashton Kutcher and Justin Bieber by saying a gunman had fired shots and was threatening to shoot any police that came to the residents. Even if the boy avoids jail, his parents may be on the hook for bills reaching the tens of thousands of dollars. A video report from KTLA-TV is posted on or read more from KTLA here.

Effort to get SEE into Seattle Schools

A group is petitioning state officials in Washington to get Signed English taught in the public school classrooms. Read about it here.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Training for shooting scene

An active shooter is killing people in a building filled with deaf students--that's the scenario faced by hundreds of law enforcement officers from five agencies during a five-hour practice drill at the California State University in Northridge this morning. The Los Angeles school has one of the largest deaf student populations on the West Coast. You can read more on the story here.

Man sentenced in deaf girl's death

An Indiana judged gave Derek Dewitt 85 years in prison for killing a deaf teenager. Dewitt hit Dawn Boozer-Carter and her mother (who is also deaf) with his SUV as as they were holding signs for a carwash to raise money for Indiana School for the Deaf. The Indianapolis said he is schizophrenic and hadn't taken his medication. This won't be his first trip to prison. Dewitt also spent time behind bars for stabbing a woman in Atlanta.

Sports Standouts in Alabama

There are six new members of the Alabama School for the Deaf Hall of Fame. The Talladega school welcomed basketball star Roxanne Dawes, Stanley Jordan, Larry Potter, Jerry Smith, Charles Thorn and Tommy White.

Roxanne Dawes led the Lady Warriors in scoring every year with more than 1600 total points, a school record, during her time at the school. She worked at the Texas School for the Deaf for two decades.

Stanley Jordan was selected as a First Team All-American and All-County in 1976 and 1977 for his football play. He led the nation’s schools for the deaf in the most total tackles in 1977.

Larry Potter was a basketball standout. He was named to the Deaf All-American Second Team in 1958 and voted to the All-Tournament Team twice

Jerry Smith scored 10 touchdowns and 10 two-point conversions for a total of 80 points in just two seasons of football. He earned a Deaf All-American honorable mention in 1972.

Charles Thorn was one of the greatest nose guards ever to play for the Silent Warriors. He earned All-Southern First Team and All-American First Team honors in defense in 1951. Charles passed away in 2002.

Tommy White was named to the Deaf All-American First Team in 1966 and 1968 in basketball. He was on the All-County Team in 1968 and the Mason-Dixon All-Tournament Team three times.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Communicating with a Deaf Employee

A deaf REI employee in Seattle shares tips based on her experience for dealing with store employees who are deaf. Read her tips here.

The world’s only hard of hearing hypnotist

Scot George Wood says he is a self-taught hypnotist. Read how he discovered his talent here.

New Prez for School

A Massachusetts deaf school will soon have a new man at the top. Robert Carter will take over as president in June of the Willie Ross School for the Deaf in Longmeadow this coming July. He serves as president of the Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing right now and is involved in the administration of the Austine School for the Deaf in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sign at Any Age

Residents at a retirement home in Sacramento are taking sign language classes. Read about it here.

Speeding Driver puts two in Hospital

Two deaf women are in a North Carolina hospital after an SUV ran into them while they were standing on a street in Gastonia. Police say the driver, Andra Marcus Davis, was speeding when he slammed into another vehicle head-on. He then veered on the sidewalk where he hit JoAnn Stone and Barbie Lee Putnam. Stone is in critical condition. Davis has not been charged with a crime yet.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Trying to create a " deaf-friendly campus"

Utah State is bringing back its deaf education program. Read the story here.

Legal Aid Cut

The legal aid of Royal Asssociation for Deaf people explains in BSL the cuts made to Legal Aid in the UK in the video posted below on

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Keen Basketball Sense

A deaf basketball player in Maine is successful "because he so much understands sports" according to his coach. The teen is also a high school standout in baseball and football. Read his story here.

ASL Ballet

ASL is seamlessly worked into the production Amahl and the Night Visitors tonight and tomorrow at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance. The 45 minute ballet is a retelling of the three kings’ journey to find baby Jesus. The Houston deaf communtiy get half-off the price of a ticket. For more information, click here.

TEDx: Hearing Parents with Deaf Children

Psychology professor Karl White spoke at the Utah State TEDx event in November about newborn hearing. He's the founding director of the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management. Posted on is a video of his talk.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Court Victory in Wa State

Owners of movie theaters in Washington state are discriminating against deaf moviegoers, according to a state appeals court. A panel of the Washington Court of Appeals in Seattle agreed with a legal challenge by the Washington State Communication Access Project, calling on Regal, AMC, and Cinemark to do more to provide closed captioning for deaf patrons. The court said it is a violation of state law to not make closed captioning technology more available.

Tears for children killed in school shooting

Here is President Obamas reaction to the shooting at a Connecticut school today. Click here to get to a captioned version of the speech.

Deaf Salvation Army bell ringer

WTEV-TV in Jacksonville, Florida tell the story of one man whose live is better this holiday season, thanks to the Salvation Army. Watch the video below or read the story here.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Changes in Canada

How new technology is helping deef university students at the Western University of Ontario here.

"Too Many Deaf People"

The deaf residents at a senior living complext in Tempe, Arizona are concerned they may lose their homes. That's because the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says the Apache ASL Trails is in violation of the Fair Housing Act - by having too many deaf people in the same complex. KPHO-TV has this video report posted below or read the story here.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What I Learned From the Deaf About Speaking

"ASL isn’t about using you hands. It’s about using your whole body." Learning sign language not only helps you communicate with the deaf, it helps hearing people become better public speakers. Read a post about that here.

Implant surgeon dies

Dr. William House, who championed the cause of cochlear implants, has died at 89 in Aurora, Oregon. He led the House Research Institute in Los Angeles, famously developing a surgery for an ear disease that had prevented astronaut Alan Shepard from returning to space after being grounded by vertigo. But he was most known for advocating implants at a time when the medical establishment did not share his enthusiasm. He was criticized in 1961 for his published work on his experiments on the device. The FDA eventually approved his implant for use in adults in 1984 - a quarter of a century after he performed his first implant surgery.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Scam Awareness in BSL

An online scam has targeted the deaf in the UK. In response, the East Lancashire Deaf Society is offering some advice in a new BSL video. It's posted below on

Sunday, December 9, 2012

I King Jordon

Read a profile of former Gallaudet president I King Jordon here.

Book author encourages students

Her parents were told by doctors not to sign with her as a child. But now she's written a book about her family to encourage the deaf. Read the story here.

A gift from a stranger

After a number of personal setbacks, a Utah woman took to social media to vent her frustration at not being able to afford a hearing aid. That's when a stranger stepped in. Read the story here.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Pleas from Hurricane Victim

A woman losing her home because of hurricane Sandy says she's frustrated at not getting the help she needs. The deaf woman explains her situation in the video below or you can read her story here.

Students Help Rescue Center

Students from the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind landed a hand to a dog rescue group yesterday. Watch the video report from KRDO-TV on or read the story here.

TEDx video on Sign

The video posted below on DeafNewsToday comes from TEDxAmsterdam 2012. Lissa Zeviar, a CODA and owner of a company focused on baby signing called Babygebaren in the Netherlands, is the speaker. Find out more about her company here.

Retired Gallaudet Professor Dies

Carol Garretson had died at the age of 86 at her home in Summerfield, Florida from complications related to diabetes. She was an assistant professor of communications for two decades until 1987. Her family never understood why she became deaf as a child. She attended Utah State University and then Gallaudet College.

Texting to 911 Coming

Texting to 911 should be here by 2014. The FCC says the 4 big wireless carriers have agreed to push the service through next year with full coverage for it by May 15, 2014. The Commission is calling the effort Next Generation 911. Users will gett a text message back from the carrier if their attempt to reach 911 fails. AT&T and Verizon are already testing 911 services. AT&T has a statewide trial effort going on in Tennessee. Next year, the FCC will look at making it possible to send photos and videos to 911 centers.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Adopted 8-year-old's hear their parents voice for the first time

A Tulsa, Oklahoma TV station reports on two adopted girls from Ethiopia with implants in the video below. Or read the story here.

Feds Shut down Investment Firm

Back in August we told you about a California man accused of taking money from deaf Christians(you can read more here). Prosecutors say Marc Perlman made false promises, and instead of investing the funds people gave to him, he used most of it to pay personal expenses. A judge has now placed a permanent trading ban on his iGlobal investment firm. Perlman has been ordered to pay a penalty of $1,794,537 and restitution of $598,179.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Signing Science

Watch an ASL video featuring interpreter Lydia Callis (known for her work with New York's mayor) about the use of scientific terms by ASL interpreters here.

School Worker Charged with Sexual Abuse

A teacher's aide at a deaf school is behind bars, accused of sexual abuse of minors. Clarence Taylor worked at the Maryland School for the Deaf. Prosecutors says he inappropriately touched three girls when they were students. They are now 15 and 16. One girl says Taylor would hug her and rub his hand across her breast when she was 12 and 13 years old. Two other girls claim he kissed them and brushed their backsides and breasts. The incidents came to light when one of the girls moved to another school and reported Taylor. The Maryland School for the Deaf has suspended him until the charges are resolved.

Self-powered Implants

Self-powering cochlear implants may be on the way. MIT researchers say they've created a self-sufficient chip by taking advantage of a natural battery inside the ear. Using electrical signals from the inner ear, these researchers say their device will power itself which could eliminate the need for external power for some implants and make it possible for the implant to be permanently inserted. The implant has worked well in experiements on guinea pigs (these animals have inner ears that work in a similar fashion to human ears). Read details about the research in the journal Nature Biotechnology here.

Suit over Firing Deaf Prof

More than a year ago we told you about the ASL professor who was fired because of classroom comments (you can read that story here). 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 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. And a video tape of the class backs up Quint's story. But that didn't stop a student from filing a complaint, which led to Quint's dismissal. Now, a judge is considering a motion to dismiss the discrimination lawsuit Quint filed against the University of Oregon. Quint says the disruptive students took advantage of his inability to hear the remarks, creating a hostile work environment and then violated his free speech rights by firing him. The school's attorneys say it doesn't matter if Quint was mistreated because they school administrators can't be sued because they are state employees and you can't sue the government. The judge in the case hasn't said when he will rule on the move to dismiss.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Deaf Teacher, Hearing School

A deaf teacher in Houston is making a difference in his ASL class. One of the students says, “Mr. Martinez is definitely one of my favorite teachers. The way he teaches gives a more in depth idea of the language, rather than just remembering vocabulary words like in other foreign language classes.” Read the story here.

Gallaudet Show Review

In a Washington Post review of the holiday show A Commedia Christmas Carol, now playing at Gallaudet University, readers are told:
If you’re in search of a new take on the old story, head to Gallaudet and be assured that once the action hits the stage, “A Commedia Christmas Carol” crackles and amuses with abandon over a swift 90 minutes. If one gag misses, the next one hits.
Read the review here.

College and the Deaf

Here's a video with some tips on understanding how to help deaf students on college, showing a Trinity College graduate. If you'd like more information on this Dublin school, click here.

Another Treaty Vote?

The US Senate may take another vote on that UN disabilities treaty in the coming year. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities lost by a vote of 61-38. Below is a list of the 38 Senators who voted against it. However, treaties can be brought up again in a new Congress without going through all the motions, unlike bills and other legislative measures. Since 36 senators signed a letter saying they would not agree to passage of any treaty during a lame-duck session of congress, it's possible some of them might switch their vote next time since it would be during a regular session of the legislative body. Here is a list of the Senators who voted against it:

  • Alexander (R-TN)
  • Blunt (R-MO)
  • Boozman (R-AR)
  • Burr (R-NC)
  • Chambliss (R-GA)
  • Coats (R-IN)
  • Coburn (R-OK)
  • Cochran (R-MS)
  • Corker (R-TN)
  • Cornyn (R-TX)
  • Crapo (R-ID)
  • DeMint (R-SC)
  • Enzi (R-WY)
  • Graham (R-SC)
  • Grassley (R-IA)
  • Hatch (R-UT)
  • Heller (R-NV)
  • Hoeven (R-ND)
  • Hutchison (R-TX)
  • Inhofe (R-OK)
  • Isakson (R-GA)
  • Johanns (R-NE)
  • Johnson (R-WI)
  • Kyl (R-AZ)
  • Lee (R-UT)
  • McConnell (R-KY)
  • Moran (R-KS)
  • Paul (R-KY)
  • Portman (R-OH)
  • Risch (R-ID)
  • Roberts (R-KS)
  • Rubio (R-FL)
  • Sessions (R-AL)
  • Shelby (R-AL)
  • Thune (R-SD)
  • Toomey (R-PA)
  • Vitter (R-LA)
  • Wicker (R-MS)

Science and Sign Language

Finding ASL and BSL signs for scientific terms is sometimes difficult. But that's beginning to change thanks to the Internet and crowd sourcing projects at universities. Read more about the effort in a New York Times article here.

Sign language an advantage for deaf student athletes

The NBC Today show takes a look at the football program at the California School for the Deaf in Fremont in the video posted below on

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

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

UN treaty falls short

The GOP stopped passage of a disabilities treaty today in the Senate. The U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities needed 67 votes, but only got 61. There are 126 other countries that are already party to the treaty, which was modeled on the Americans with Disabilities Act. Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum and Republican Senator Mike Lee led opposition among conservative senators, arguing passage of the treaty could make the US fall under United Nations sovereignty--even though only US law can be the basis for litigation in American courtrooms. Meanwhile, former Republican presidential candidates John McCain and Bob Dole, both of whom suffer from disabilities as a result of their military service, supported the treaty.

UN Treaty Vote

The US Senate is expected vote soon on a disabilities treaty. Majority Leader Harry Reid is moving forward with the United Nations-drafted Convention on the Rights of Persons and bringing it to the Senate floor today--even though 36 conservative senators’ say it's the wrong time to do so. Senator Mike Lee of Utah is leading the opposition while the treaty enjoys the support of rights advocates in the deaf community and editorials in newspapers like the Washington Post, which say the measure doesn't require the US to change any laws. Not all Republicans oppose the measure. Former Senator Bob Dole will speak on behalf of the legislation and it was orginally negotiated by the George H.W. Bush administration. While the US government signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons, it has not be ratified by the Senate. Although a procedural vote on the treaty last week passed 61-36, there will need to be 66 votes for it to pass the full Senate.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Treaty Runs into GOP wall

A equal rights bill supported by many in the deaf community may not survive. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a United Nations treaty that is right now stuck in the Senate. Republicans say it will give authority to the U.N. over the U.S. government. Supporters of the international treaty say it is modeled on the Americans with Disabilities Act and will not require any change in U.S. law.

Parents with Disabilities Are Losing Custody of their Kids

Many parents are running into outright discrimination, according to a 445-page report issued by the National Council on Disability. Find out what the report says in a TIME magazine article here.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

TV Star: 'I was accused of abuse'

A soap star defends her decision to have her young daughter undergo surgery for a cochlear implant. She says, "I totally respect their point of view. But when a 19-year-old girl told me that I was an 'abuser' to let my child have a cochlear implant, I was horrified and deeply hurt." Read more at the Daily Mail here

Saturday, December 1, 2012

YouTube Captioning

YouTube is expanding its automatic video captioning by adding six more languages. German, Italian, French, Portuguese, Russian and Dutch are now part of the company's automatic-captioning services. YouTube engineer Hoang Nguyen writes:
"Captions are important to make sure everyone—including deaf, hard-of-hearing, and viewers who speak other languages—can enjoy videos on YouTube. In 2009, you first saw a feature that automatically creates captions on YouTube videos in English, and since then, we've added Japanese, Korean and Spanish. Today, hundreds of millions of people speaking six more languages—German, Italian, French, Portuguese, Russian and Dutch—will have automatic-caption support for YouTube videos in those languages."
Just click the red closed-caption button (CC) that you find on the task bar of a YouTube video and pick which language you want to use. The service is not perfect, but is improving.  More than 200 million YouTube videos have automatic or human-created captions.

College... By the Numbers

There are more than 30,000 deaf and hard-of-hearing students studying at US colleges, according to the Center on Access Technology at RIT's National Technical Institute for the Deaf.