Saturday, March 28, 2020

Leaving students behind in the rush to go online

Digital Trends reports "The rapid migration to virtual classes has forced disabled students into using websites and apps that were never designed to accommodate them." Read the full story here.

Texas Deaf school Preps for Distance Learning

Austin's Texas School for the Deaf typically has hundreds of students from around the state on campus at this time. But that's changed with quarantining for the pandemic. Last week was spring break and this week was preparation for moving classes online--starting this Monday. KVUE-TV takes a look a how the Texas School for the Deaf and the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired are preparing for distance learning.

Friday, March 27, 2020

NY Gov add Terp to Daily Briefing

New York's governor has added a sign-language interpreter to his daily coronavirus briefing in response to an outcry from the Deaf community. While the state offered closed captioning for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's updates, it was often inaccurate and ASL is the first language for many people. David Wantuck, a community engagement specialist for Deaf Access Services, was one advocate who brought the issue to the governor's staff. Wantuck expressed his approval today after Cuomo was accompanied by an interpreter. He wrote on his Facebook page:

I want to take the time to say GREAT JOB to the CDI who interpreted this press conference. Thank you!!
This is a big step for the Deaf Community as we have an interpreter, but yes, there are improvements that needs to be made.
For today, lets appreciate what we have now, and take this as a something great. Tomorrow, we will gather again to advocate for suggestions and improvements to make this better.

According to Wantuck's tally, the only states that did not include an ASL interpreter were New York, Montana, and Vermont. Now that New York and Montana have started using interpreters, that leaves Vermont as the only state not providing ASL interpretation at their governor's emergency press conferences.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

What Marlee Matlin Did In Quarantine

Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin is so bored In quarantine she pulled out the dress she wore to that fateful 1987 Oscars ceremony and tried it on again. Read what happened here.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Outrage: No terp at White House briefings

Many in the Deaf community are outraged by the fact that there's no ASL interpreter at President Trump's coronavirus briefings. Even TMZ picked up on the issue here. The National Council on Disability has sent a letter to the White House asking for this access, saying in part, "There is no doubt that the Coronavirus brings with it significant added concerns for people with disabilities."Read the entire letter here. The National Association of the Deaf has also sent a letter expressing concern over the lack of communication to the Deaf community. CEO Howard Rosenblum wants to know why the President "is not ensuring they are getting the same access to emergency information as everyone else." Read the entire letter here. It asks the White House "to direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide their information about coronavirus in ASL immediately."

Friday, March 20, 2020

Competent Terps Critical Now

The Iowa Association of the Deaf says interpreter competency is critical during the coronavirus outbreak. ASL interpreters are being used at news briefings across the country to communicate the latest developments surrounding the disease. KWWL reports on the issue in Iowa here.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Big Challenges For Deaf Students Being Forced To Leave College

Students at Gallaudet University are facing extra challenges after being forced to leave campus. Read more from BuzzFeed News here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

How Deaf Advocates Won the Battle for Closed Captioning

"It wasn’t until March 16, 1980 — 40 years ago this Monday — that the network TV channels ABC, NBC and PBS debuted closed-captioned television shows, in which the show’s dialogue and soundtrack appeared as text on-screen as the action proceeded..But getting there was a fight, and that battle still continues today." Read more about the battle for closed captioning from TIME magazine here.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Implant contest winner from Washington

image from Ideas4Ears contest video
An 8-year-old Washington state girl won the grand prize in an international contest sponsored by her cochlear implant maker, Med-El. Kenzi Cayton and her mom made a short video with her mom which was chosen from the 171 ideas submitted by more than 2000 children in nearly 30 countries,  Her idea for the  Ideas4Ears competition is to create an app that allows people to change the "skins" on their implants by clicking a button. Watch her video submission here. Read the press release about the contest here.

Friday, March 6, 2020

The search for a new superintendent in Montana

A public forum was held last night about the search for a new superintendent to lead The Montana School for the Deaf & Blind. Read more about the search here.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Longtime Gally Prof dies at the age of 98

Image: dan /
Donald Padden, a leader in the deaf community, has died at the age of 98 in Frederick, Maryland. He taught physical education classes at Gallaudet University for 42 years and led a popular summer camp in northern Minnesota. His daughter, Carol Padden, is dean of social sciences at the University of California at San Diego. Read more here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Deaf Indiana wrestler began life as a child slave in Ghana

Jacob Linky endured abuse in his native Ghana as a slave to his biological father. The Associated Press tells the story of how this deaf wrestler made his way to America here.

Deaf School President Retires

image from FSDB website
The president of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind is retiring. Jeanne Glidden Prickett will end her tenure on July 31, 2020. She has served as the 17th president since May 1, 2012. Prickett said in a statement:
It has been a privilege leading an FSDB team of highly dedicated and collaborative educators and staff members. Together, we provide students with the highest quality education possible with continuous improvement as the major focus. Helping students to reach new heights of achievement is our top priority.
Julia Mintzer, administrator of business services, will lead the school until a successor to Prickett is named. Read more about the change here.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

The Bible in ASL

The Jehovah's Witnesses have completed an ASL translation of the Bible. There have been 60 million downloads of the free videos. Other Bible societies have been working on a similar goal such as Deaf Missions. Read more here.

Monday, March 2, 2020

What Do Cochlear Implants And Hearing Aids Sound Like?

Science Friday has a lesson for middle school students about how hearing aids and cochlear implants including sample recordings of: "..what it’s like to hear sound through a hearing aid and a cochlear implant. Unless you wear one of these devices, it is impossible to know exactly what it is like to experience sound through them. In fact, people who have normal hearing in one ear but wear a cochlear implant in the other ear say that these simulations sound very different from how they hear sounds with their implant." The sample sounds are posted here.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Deaf Rapper Making History

Deaf rapper Sean Forbes is close to making history--he's about to become the first deaf artist to break into the Billboard Top 200. He's already the first deaf musician to hit #1 on Amazon music list for all genres as well as #1 in the hip hop category both on Amazon and iTunes. His new release is called Little Victories. Fox-2 Detriot has a video interview with Forbes (or read the story here).