Sunday, December 17, 2017

Happy Birthday, Curtis Pride

Image from Gallaudet University
Today is the birthday of Curtis Pride. He was born on Dec 17, 1968 in Washington, D.C. The only deaf player in the major leagues during the modern era, Pride played for 11 years in the majors as an outfielder and pinch hitter and a dozen more in the minors. He hit 20 home runs in his 421 major league games with such teams as the Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox,  Atlanta Braves,New York Yankees, and Los Angeles Angels.  He was mainstreamed as a child, played multiple sports in high school, and graduated with a 3.6 GPA. Pride now coaches the Gallaudet University baseball team. He told Parade Magazine in 1994, "I never let my deafness hold me back. I never feel sorry for myself. Never. I know I have a disability. I've accepted it. I can't worry about it. I want to make the most of my life. And I am."

The Ottoman Empire used a Secret Sign Language

Ottoman court signer from a  17th-century
costume book (via Wikimedia Commons)
"In the 1600s, the court of the Ottoman Empire employed some 40 deaf servants," professor Sara Scalenghe writes. "They were chosen not in spite of their deafness, but because of it. The deaf servants were favored companions of the sultan, and their facility in nonverbal communication made them indispensable to the court, where decorum restricted speech in the sultan’s presence." Scalenghe tells the facinating story of the deaf servants here
.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

A Mother's Letter to her Deaf Child

The Guardian has printed a letter written by a mother about the difficult decision of whether to give her deaf child a cochlear implant. She writes in part:
It is not an easy decision, a cochlear implant, and I hope you will forgive us for our decision. Giving a cochlear implant to a child who has never heard sound is a controversial and sensitive subject. The surgeons advise against implanting them after the age of four, as the likelihood of being able to interpret and make use of the sound is greatly diminished. We can’t wait until you are older to ask what you want, we have to choose for you.
Read the entire letter here.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Football is Helping Deaf Students to Grow

Phoenix Day School for the Deaf is prepping students for life through its football program. Athletic director Jesse Bailey tells The Arizona Republic:
Sports gave us a way to learn to fight, and it absolutely helps us in the real world. I played football, basketball and ran track for four years, and these sports taught us that we have to communicate and trust each other. All those qualities help you grow as a person and improve your social skills.
Read the full article here.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Teens attack Deaf Student at School

Atlanta teens have been caught on camera beating a deaf classmate. The group face suspension for attacking Jaqueline Flournoy at Maynard Jackson High School. Flournoy says they made derisive comments about her speech and boyfriend. WSB-TV has a video report.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Deaf-owned Restaurant Expanding

When Mozzeria opened in San Francisco's Mission District six years ago, it became the city's first deaf owned restaurant. "The entire staff at Mozzeria is deaf and nearly everything in the restaurant was created by people who are deaf, including restaurant’s artwork," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Now, owners Russell and Melody Stein plan to franchise their business in a unique way. Read more about it here. Below is a commercial for the restaurant.

Standardizing Astronomy Signs

The International Astronomical Union has just released a list of 47 common astronomy terms, according to Science.com. The signs are offered in a number of different languages. The team of scientists and educators says it's the "first international comparative compilation of its kind for this particular subject matter." Read more about it here.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Multiple Suits for Lack of Captioning

A deaf man is suing a dozen media outlets for not having closed captioning on their videos in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Represented by CK Lee, several companies have already settled out of court. Some are calling it a shakedown. Read more from Forbes here.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

No charges for Police who Killed Deaf Man

The Oklahoma City police officer who shot and killed a deaf man for not following the officer's command will face no chargess. We told you about what happened back in September: Magdiel Sanchez was shot outside his home. Officers say they did not hear witnesses yelling, “He can’t hear you." Read more from the Associated Press here. Below is a video report about the shooting from CBS News.

On this date: the fake interpreter at Mandela’s memorial service

During Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in Johannesburg on this date (Dec. 10) in 2013, a man pretending to interpret for the dignitaries that spoke was declared a fraud by South Africa's deaf federation. U.S. President Barack Obama was among the heads of state attending the service at the 95,000-seat football stadium when Thamsanqa Jantjie took to the stage. The incident raised security concerns and is an embarrassment for the South African government, Bruno Druchen, the National Director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa, posted a statement on its Facebook, which reads in part:
The so called “interpreter” who interpreted at the Official memorial service for late former president Nelson Mandela at FNB stadium has been dubbed the “fake interpreter” and the Deaf community is in outrage. This man is not in fact a recognised, professional South Sign Language Interpreter. He is not known by the Deaf Community in South Africa nor by the South African Sign Language interpreters working in the field... This ‘fake interpreter’ has made a mockery of South African Sign Language and has disgraced the South African Sign Language interpreting profession. The organisers of the memorial service, and indeed any event, should have contacted organisations who coordinate South African Sign Language interpreting services to secure a professional, trained experienced interpreter.
It turned out that Thamsanqa Jantjie was once charged with murder, according to a eNCA TV network that also said he has a history of lying and fraud. Jantjie admitted to being violent and claimed to have been "hallucinated during the memorial service as he was gesturing incoherently." Here's a early SkyNews report (with captions).

Happy Birthday, Thomas Gallaudet!

Born - Philadelphia on December 10, 1787

Family - Oldest of 12 children

College - Attended Yale at age 14, graduating with highest honors at 17

Ministry - Ordained in 1814, sometimes preaching at church

Deaf Interest - Became interested in deaf issues when he met a 9-year-old deaf neighbor

School - Founded The American School for the Deaf during 1817 in Hartford, Connecticut

Travels - Learned the manual form of sign language used in France when he visited

Marriage - In 1821, he married a former student and had two sons

Edward - Gallaudet's son who founded Gallaudet University in Washington, DC

Thomas - Ordained as an Episcopal priest, working to provide religious services for the deaf

Friday, December 8, 2017

45 years in Prison

In October, we told you about a San Antonio woman convicted of murder for shooting a deaf man on her porch in 2016. Yesterday, Michelle Chase was sentenced to 45 years in prison. Read more about it here.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Getting to Know.. Dr House

It was on this date (Dec. 7, 2012) that Dr. William F. House died in Oregon at the age of 89. Dr. House is credited with installing the first cochlear implant in 1961. He was told by experts the electric current he was using would destroy the ear, but that didn't stop him. He believed in what implants could do to change someone's life. Here's a little about him.
  • Known as the "father of neurotology."
  • He recieved his dotorate in dentistry from the University of California at  Berkeley.
  • Practiced medicine in Newport Beach, California until 2000, when he moved to Aurora, Oregon, next door to his son.
  • His cochlear implant was approved by the FDA in 1984.
  • When he started performing the cochlear surgery on children some claimed he was just after money.
  • His half brother, Howard P. House founded the House Ear Institute which became the House Research Institute.
  • He completed some 3,000 implants throughout his career.
  • Developed a new approach to removing tumors on the nerve that connects the ear to the brain.
  • Created a new surgical procedure for Meniere's disease, an inner ear disorder contracted by Astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American in space. He couldn't have flown to the moon had it not been for House's surgery. He wrote a memoir called The Struggles of a Medical Innovator

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Looking Back... Kitty O'Neil

It was on this date (Dec. 6) in 1976 that professional stuntwoman Kitty O'Neil set a record for land speed by a female driver in Oregon's Alvord Desert: 512 miles per hour. Born deaf, she became a champion diver at a young age. Her work later as a Hollywood stuntwoman was featured in TV shows like Quincy, Baretta and The Bionic Woman along with movies like Smokey and the Bandit, The Blues Brothers and Airport '77. She set a record for the highest stunt fall by a woman (105 feet).  She has held as many as 22 speed records on land and water. A movie was made about her life in 1979 titled Silent Victory: The Kitty O'Neil Story. You can read more about her land speed record at a Sports Illustrated article here.  The article explains that she could have broken the men's record as well and why she didn't do so.