Tuesday, June 30, 2020

MI company to pay $25K for ADA violations

A Michigan company has agreed to pay $25,000 to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit as well as ADA training and reports to the EEOC. The EEOC's lawsuit said Powerlink Facilities Management Services, instead of providing captioning in its orientation videos, didn't allow a deaf employee to begin work for several months. The failure to provide reasonable accommodations was an ADA violation. Read more details from the EEOC here.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

iOS 14 gives deaf users some valuable features

Apples' 14th operating system includes features useful to the deaf and hard-of-hearing.

  • Sound Recognition, which creates a notification whenever the phone detects common noises like sirens, car horns, doorbells, running water, and appliance beeps. 
  • There's also a "personal audiogram,” which allows you to adjust frequencies based on which ones you are able to hear. 
  • "Real Time Text" conversation has been around—it helps with conversations for those who are nonverbal people. But now users can be doing something else while using the app. 
  • FaceTime calls can now be set so that it will which between signers and not just verbal speakers.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Website accessibility study

Many websites are not accessible, according to a company called accessiBe. They tested 10,000,000 websites for accessibility compliance and found:

98% of menus failed
83% of buttons
71% of forms
52% of images
89% of pop-ups.

Read more here.

Starbucks to open 1st signing store in Japan

image from Starbucks.com
Starbucks Coffee is opening its first store in Japan with baristas who know sign language. The store will open on Saturday in Kunitachi, a city in the western part of Tokyo. Nearly the entire staff of 25 is deaf. This will be the fifth "signing store" for the company Others are located in Malaysia, the US and China. Read more here.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Marvel is looking for a Deaf Actress

Marvel is reportedly searching for a deaf, Native American First Nations, Indigenous or Latinx actress for a role in an upcoming Disney+ series. Speculation is that Disney could be planning to introduce the Daredevil character Echo to one of its shows. Originally an adversary for The Man Without Fear, Echo became a hero herself, becoming Avenger Maya Lopez in the New Avengers and then a help to Wolverine and Moon Knight. Read more here.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Twitter offers audio option--without making the audio accessible

Twitter is rolling out a new audio option that allows users to record as much as 140 seconds of audio to post as a tweet. But the social network failed to make the feature accessible to deaf and hard of hearing people. After an outcry, the designer behind the product, Maya Patterson, admitted it was “huge error” and the team is “working to fix this as soon as possible." Here's her tweet:
Only a few users have the option so far but it is expected to be widely available in a few weeks.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

FedEx will pay $3.3 million dollars to settle an ADA complaint

FedEx will pay $3.3 million dollars to settle a complaint filed with the EEOC. "Seventeen deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals filed Charges of Discrimination against FedEx, which the EEOC then consolidated as part of a nationwide investigation of potential ADA violations."FedEx has agreed to provide deaf and hard-of-hearing package handlers with access to live and video remote interpreters captioned videos, scanning equipment with non-audible cues such as vibrations and provide training for managers on ADA compliance. Read more here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

1st Transgender Student Graduates from Rochester School for the Deaf

"If it wasn't for RSD, I wouldn't be the person I am today," Cori Moquette told Spectrum News. Read more about Moquette here.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Masks & VRIs can prevent Deaf individuals from accessing treatment

Bridget Nitsch opted for a natural birth but wasn’t due for a few days--but the baby came anyway. But
Bridget Nitsch and her partner, who are both Deaf, couldn’t reach 911 until connecting with Bridget Nitsch’s mother through a video call. By the time the paramedics arrived, the baby’s head was halfway out. Bridget Nitsch and her partner can read lips with American Sign Language, but the paramedics refused to take off their masks or gloves due to COVID-19 precautions.“They were talking, but there was no communication,” Nitsch said through an interpreter. “I couldn’t speech-read anything they were saying, because of the masks. And then the baby came out.”
Read more in the Daily Northwestern.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Deaf Black lives matter group honors Black deaf sanitation workers

Several dozen deaf black people joined together to march in Memphis yesterday. Besides protesting against police brutality and systemic racism, they also honored black deaf sanitation workers who marched before them. Read the full story at the Commercial Appeal here and watch the video below from WJHL-TV News channel 11.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Judge rules on lawsuit filed by deaf inmates in Illinois

The Illinois prison system is not following through on its agreement to accommodate deaf prisoners. That's the finding of a federal judge who says the Illinois Department of Corrections is out of compliance with a 2018 settlement agreement. It said that deaf prisoners would get auditory exams after failed hearing tests. The judge is ordering the dept. of corrections to pay attorney fees of the deaf prisoners who sued. Read more about the case in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

Gally suspends frat House over racist photo

Gallaudet University has suspended its oldest fraternity. A 1988 photo has come to light showing members of the Kappa Gamma chapter doing what appears to be Nazi salutes. Current members of the Gallaudet chapter have condemned the photo. In 2014, the fraternity was criticized when members wore robes resembling Ku Klux Klan robes. President Roberta Cordano told the campus in a video, “They have become the face of systemic racism in our community, with photographs of the salute and use of robes being shared on social media. This behavior is unacceptable." Watch the entire video below. You can read the text of video here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Deaf demonstrators say they face dangers at protests

Members of Portland's deaf community are taking to the streets like many others are doing. But as KATU-TV has learned, safety can become a concern. Here is a video report here.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Black Lives Matter signs

ASL interpreter Rorri Burton breaks down how to sign “Black Lives Matter” in ASL and explains why not everyone signs it the same way.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

The lockdown's impact on deaf children in the UK

The Covid-19 pandemic has meant access to many support services is limited, and deaf youngsters are even more vulnerable, write a group of health and disability experts. Read more in the Guardian here.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Meet the deaf fitness instructor calling for more accessibility in gyms and on social media

India Morse believes that the fitness industry isn't inclusive enough. She says, "Usually the major barrier in the fitness industry is the fact that the classes are always based in such dark environments. Fitness classes tend to be very dependent on having music to go along with the vibe but in all honesty, they often forget about the importance of being visual." Morse also believes Instagram should be doing more to cater for the deaf community. Read more at Inside here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Louisiana School for the Deaf Gets New Director

Heather Laine is the new Director of Louisiana School for the Deaf. She earned a degree at Gallaudet University and later earned an advanced degree in deaf education at Cal State Northridge. She worked as a teacher of the deaf in Los Angeles before eventually becoming principal at Arizona's Sequoia Deaf School. Here is the official announcement.

Hotel Settles Service Dog complaint

A Connecticut Quality Inn has reached a settlement over its refusal to allow a guest to bring a service dog into its dining room. The settlement includes $1,000 in compensation and requires:
The Quality Inn Mystic-Groton to permit service animals in all areas of the hotel that members of the public and other hotel guests are allowed to go, including in its dining room during meal service. Additionally, the hotel will post signage indicating “Service Animals Welcome,” will implement a “Service Animal Policy,” and will train its managers and employees regarding the policy.
Read more about it here.

More than 110 years ago

Here is a bit of history. The paragraph below as published in the June 1907 issue of Scientific American magazine—more than 110 years ago:
The loss of the sense of hearing should not necessarily mean deprivation of the power of speech. Is it only within recent years that we have come to realize this fact, and in up-to-date institutions the old –fashioned finger alphabet is now unknown. Every child is taught to speak in the natural way by means of the vocal organs. The four or five years of the primary course are devoted almost exclusively to the acquirement of language and numbers.

Monday, June 1, 2020

The Hearing Journal

The June issue of The Hearing Journal is out. It's a well-respected academic journal and the articles are free. Read here articles that include "tips to make videoconferences more hearing-friendly and improve the experience for everyone, not just for the person with hearing loss." There's also information on fluctuating hearing loss, the "Expanding Insurance Coverage of Teleaudiology" and making audiology work during COVID-19 and beyond."