Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Scientists say Protein may be key to Gene Therapy for Deaf Patients

Researchers say they've "developed a better way to test a specific protein that is essential for hearing" and it has to do with particular genes. They tell Oregon's Fox 12, "There's a lot of interest in this particular gene because it seems to be at the epicenter of the focus of general hearing loss. It seems to be a bit of a one trick pony in that it exclusively controls hearing and balance."

KPTV - FOX 12

Monday, October 16, 2017

Wonderstruck & the Deaf Community

Todd Haynes, director of the new film Wonderstruck did research to understand the history of Deaf culture in the U.S. He tells NPR:
It really wasn't until a leaven article that came out in 1960 that talked about sign language and described all the integrity of this language. And a new era of appreciation for what sign language was was ushered in. And I think you see in "Wonderstruck" both sides of that divide is played out in the two stories that parallel the film because Ben, the little boy in the '70s, also becomes deaf in the course of the film.
"In the movie Wonderstruck, children in different time periods embark on quests to find themselves," reports NPR. "Director Todd Haynes explains the film's artistic choices and its significance to the deaf community" in his NPR here.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Deaf Actors Sign and Sing on Broadway

NBC News spoke with Sandra Frank, lead actress in the Broadway musical Spring Awakening, a show that combines deaf and hearing actors in single roles.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Billboard campaign aims to connect deaf to religion

A Christian group in Western Michigan has launched a billboard campaign to reach the deaf with their message. But the billboards have caused some confusion. WOOD-TV has a video report.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Woman who shot deaf man convicted of murder

Bexar County Sheriff's Office
A San Antonio woman could get life in prison now that jurors have convicted her of killing a deaf man. Michelle Chase shot him on the porch of her home last year. Read the full story from My San Antonio here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Arson at Resource Center for the Deaf

"A local resource center for the deaf has been targeted, damaged, and defaced for the fourth time this year," reports KATU-TV. Read the full story here.

Deaf comedian shares his experiences with hearing loss

image from djdemers.com
D.J. Demers says, “So many people out there don’t realize how common hearing loss is. I want to normalize it and let people in the hard-of-hearing community know that they’re not alone.” He spoke at Indiana University as part of his “Here to Hear” tour. He is giving stand-up comedy shows to students at 20 universities in 30 days. You'll find the locations here. Read more about his stop at IU in the school's student newspaper here.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Opinion: How Congress is hacking away at ADA law

Law professor Samuel Bagenstos is concerned about a bill before Congress called the "ADA Education and Reform Act. He writes in a Reuters' commentary:
Rather than protecting legitimate business interests, the bill pending in Congress would give a reprieve to enterprises that have had 27 years to comply with the law but have not yet done so. That is a betrayal of the basic promise of the ADA – that people with disabilities would be treated as equal citizens, with full access to America’s civic and economic life.
Bagenstos once led the Department of Justice’s disability rights enforcement as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. Read his full commentary here.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Deaf West brings "Our Town" to Life

image from www.pasadenaplayhouse.org
Deaf West Theatre is putting on the show "Our Town" Pasadena Playhouse through Oct. 22 in Pasadena, California. Our town first debuted in 1938 and was honored with a Pulitzer Prize that same year. It's the story of a fictional town called Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire in three acts: The first act describes the daily lives of the townsfolk, the second act is about love and marriage, and the last act concerns death. What makes these performances unique is that Deaf West splits some roles between speaking and signing actors. There's a review of the show in the LA Times here and and more information about performances
here.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Uber offers ASL app to help hearing riders

Uber is offering a new way to connect deaf and hard of hearing drivers to hearing passengers. The company launched ubersignlanguage.com this week to show users a few simple ASL signs when they are matched with deaf drivers. Just little things like hello, thank you, turn left, and turn right. At the same time, Lyft has updated its dashboard display to enhance assessability. Uber explains how the new tool works:
Riders will see a special card in the Uber feed. Once they tap it, they’ll be taken to a page where they can select the basics, like “Hello” and “Thank You,” or spell out their name. They’ll then be given a GIF with the word(s) in ASL. That way, they can better communicate with their Deaf or Hard of Hearing driver, because signing “Thank You” or “Hello” in ASL can go a long way.
Read more about the Uber effort here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Report: Many Police Officers are Ignorant of ADA law

"In many jurisdictions, cops’ noncompliance with the law has led to strain and miscommunication with the deaf community," reports Amiel Fields-Meyer in the The Atlantic.
“Police compliance with ADA provisions is pretty poor across the board,” said Alex Vitale, a sociology professor at Brooklyn College whose research focuses on community policing. “It’s clearly not a priority for a lot of police leaders.” For the deaf, police compliance with the ADA translates to employing or contracting with qualified American Sign Language interpreters and making available remote interpreting services, among other measures.
Read the full article "When Police Officers Don't Know About the ADA" here.

Murder at Gally: 17 years ago today

It was on this day (Sept 27)  in 2000 that Joseph Mesa, Jr. beat Eric Plunkett to death in his Gallaudet dorm room. The killing put the school in a state of panic, with some students withdrawing from the school rather than living in a situation where they knew a murderer was living among them. The terror came to an end in February of the next year when Mesa turned himself into police-but not before he killed again. Mesa stabbed Benjamin Varner in his Gallaudet dorm room more than dozen times. In July of 2002, the 22-year-old from Guam pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, telling jurors he saw hands wearing black gloves that told him in sign language to kill. Jurors convicted Mesa on all counts and a Washington, DC judge sentenced him to six life terms without the possibility of parole. Mesa began serving time at the United States Penitentiary in Atwater, California near San Francisco, a high security facility.