Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Book breaks new ground

A new book and conference in the UK represent “a major leap forward for the discipline” of deaf studies. It's "the first volume to be written and edited entirely by deaf academics" about BSL, according to the Times Higher Education. Read more about the conference and the Oxford University Press book "Innovations in Deaf Studies: The Role of Deaf Scholars" here.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Deaf Volunteer Firefighter Arrested Without Interpreter

Keri Dee says local police did not provide her brother, a deaf volunteer firefighter, with a sign language interpreter after his recent arrest. Little Rock's KARK-TV has a video report.

New Deaf School in Waco

A new school for deaf children is opening in Waco this August. Find out more in this video report from KWKT-TV.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Rocker Claims he owns Sign for Love

Gene Simmons, co-founder of Kiss
image by Jason Hargrove
Gene Simmons, the co-founder of the oldies rock band Kiss, doesn't want anyone using the sign language gesture for love without his permission-because he claims he owns it. Last week, he filed an application with the patent office to trademark the gesture (which rock music enthusiasts know as "devil horns") he claims to have started using in the band's act during 1974. His filing says, "No other person, firm, corporation or association has the right to use said mark in commerce, either in the identical form or in such near resemblance." Trademark attorney Michael Cohen tells the Los Angeles Times:
"There's plenty of other trademarks that have been filed for the same symbol.  So, to me, he's literally trying to trademark the hand gesture as opposed to the drawing of the hand gesture.. He also has to establish that that hand gesture is associated with him. So in the mind of consumers that go to rock performances, are they going to associate that symbol with Gene Simmons?"
Read the LA Times story here. The Washington Post takes a look at some of the other rockers who used the gesture before Kiss in an article here. Read the Simmons application here.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Terps at Chance The Rapper's concerts

image from ChancetheRapper twitter feed
Chance the Rapper is hiring his own ASL interpreters for all of his concerts. They are from DEAFinitely Dope. InTouch Weekly reports here that he is the first rapper to pay for his own terps.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

How to Speak to Deaf People

* Make sure you have eye contact with the person before speaking
* If there is an interpreter, speak to and look at the deaf person not the interpreter
* Face the person to whom you are speaking (that helps with lip-reading)
* Stand in good lighting and avoid standing so that light is on the face of the deaf person
* Avoid background noise whenever possible
* Move your mouth to articulate but don’t exaggerate
* Speak a little louder and slower than normal but don’t shout or drag
* Keep your hands away from your face and particularly your mouth
* Use lots of facial expressions and body movements
* If something is unclear, rather than just repeating the same thing, rephrase thoughts in shorter and simple sentences

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The NFL's first deaf offensive player is back

Derrick Coleman
image from NFL.com
The NFL's first deaf offensive player is back and ready to play this fall. Derrick Coleman wsa a fullback for the Seattle Seahawks when he was arrested after "a hit-and-run accident in suburban Seattle in which he crashed into the back of another vehicle while driving 20 mph over the speed limit, causing the other vehicle to flip over a hill. The driver of the other vehicle suffered a broken collarbone," ESPN reports. Coleman sat out the 2016 season but is now set to play with the Atlanta Falcons. He is a "replacement for Pro Bowl fullback Patrick DiMarco, who signed a free agent contract with Buffalo." Read the full story from ESPN here. Coleman's NFL page is here.

Controversial Study claims CI Kids do better without Sign

Ann Geers of the
University of Texas at Dallas
A controversial new study claims children with cochlear implants are better off not learning sign language. The researchers write, "Contrary to earlier published assertions, there was no advantage to parents' use of sign language either before or after CI." The study, lead by Ann Geers of the University of Texas at Dallas, looked at development of 97 children. They found:
Over 70% of children without sign language exposure achieved age-appropriate spoken language compared with only 39% of those exposed for 3 or more years. Children without sign language exposure produced speech that was more intelligible (mean = 70%) than those exposed to sign language (mean = 51%).
An editorial from two professors (Karl White of Utah State University and Louis Cooper of Columbia University) said the research was "well-designed" offering "credible and useful information" that "can help end the passionate but debilitating debates between advocates of signing and nonsigning." Read the full commentary here.

A limitation of the study that sign language advocates are likely to point out: The children in the study were from hearing families who were not native signers. Details of the study are in the journal Pediatrics.

Also of interest: AG Bell gave lead researcher, Ann Geers, its 2014 Volta Award for making "a significant contribution to increasing public awareness of the challenges and potential of people with hearing loss." Geers recieved the award along with colleague Jean Moog. They collaborated as at Central Institute for the Deaf and below is a video of them recieving the award.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

110 years ago...

Here is something from the June 1907 issue of Scientific American magazine, more than 100 years ago:
“The loss of the sense of hearing should not necessarily mean deprivation of the power of speech also. 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.”

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Getting to Know.. Cochlear Limited

You could have bought stock in Cochlear Limited at the turn of the century for about $10. This week the stock was worth more than $150 a share-15 times more. Cochlear Limited is the biggest of the three companies that dominate the implant market. Based in Australia, Cochlear does most of its business in Europe and the U.S. through more than a dozen subsidiaries. More than a quarter of a million people have one of its implants. It employs more than 2800 people in 20Getting to Know.. Cochlear Limited  countries.

Friday, June 9, 2017

30 years ago: Implant history

image from Cochlear.com 
On June 4, 1987 Holly McDonell (now Holly Taylor) of Sydney became the first child to receive a commerical multi-channel cochlear implant system (Nucleus made by Cochlear, LTD). The four year old had became profoundly deaf from bacterial meningitis. Holly still has her original implant and had several sounds processor upgrades. The Daily Telegraph takes a look at what's happened in the 30 years since in an article here.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Captions on FB Live

Facebook has enabled closed captions on some live broadcasts. Some third-party software is still needed to use the feature, so most likely you will see it first on big media outlets instead of friend’s live broadcasts. If you have the Facebook Closed Captioning feature turned on, you will automatically see the text if it is enabled. Read more about the announcement here.

Getting to Know: Certified Deaf Interpreters

image from Lydia Callis Facebook page
"As the sign language interpreting profession has evolved over the past couple decades, the interpreting community has come to better understand and embrace the role of deaf individuals as linguistic and cultural gatekeepers. Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDIs) are extremely effective at bridging the sometimes vast and persistent gaps that exist between people who are deaf and those who can hear," writes Lydia Callis. She answers some "Frequently Asked Questions About Certified Deaf Interpreters" here
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Deaf Musician on American's Got Talent

Deaf singer and Florida native (now living in Colorado) Mandy Harvey appeared on America’s Got Talent this week. She earned cheers and applause from the crowd and a “golden buzzer” from Simon Cowell. Harvey is 29-years-old having lost her hearing when she was 18 from a degenerative ear disease. She said, "Music is an expression of the soul, and for me it's always been the way I could communicate.” Watch her audition here.