Monday, June 30, 2014

Deaf Student Sues Medical School

Zachary Featherstone is suing Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences for not providing him interpreters and captioning devices. You can see the lawsuit here. A hearing is scheduled for July 22 in Yakima. KPLU radio has an audio report and a written article about the lawsuit here.

Terp rules for Michigan

The state of Michigan is getting some new laws about sign language interpreters. They new rules go effect next Monday (July 7) and relate to what kind of interpreter hospitals, physician offices, schools and courts can employ--not only their certification but also how VRI (video remote interpreting) services are handled. Patients will be able to refuse a VRI interpreter if they deem it inadequate and want a interpreter in person. Read the rules from the Michigan Department of Civil Rights' Division on Deaf and Hard of Hearing here.

Shakespeare in Rochester

NTID will be bringing Shakespeare to the Highland Bowl Amphitheater in Rochester, New York starting this Saturday (July 5). The Rochester Community Players will perform A Midsummer Night's Dream featuring RIT's National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) theater community. This is not an interpreted performance, it is a simultaneous performance, NTID theater instructor Luane Davis Haggerty tells the Democrat & Crhonicle. "Each actor has their own character, but they are performing a single role in agreement. One actor (the voice actor) plays the role as you would expect and the other (signing) actor plays the subtext, the hidden emotion or the inner conflict." Read more here.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Gallaudet has more sex offenses of any college in the area

Gallaudet University had highest total of reports of forcible sex offenses on campus during 2012 of any school in the DC area, according to a study by the Washington Post of federal crime data. The number was 18, followed by George Washington University with 10, and American University with 7. The newspaper reports that "Gallaudet also had the highest rate of reported forcible sex offenses among all colleges the The Post analyzed: more than 11 per thousand students in 2012." Read more here.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Deaf student sues school district

The family of a deaf high school senior in the St. Louis area is suing her school district for half a million dollars. Find out why in this video report from KSDK-TV (the TV station has no captions on the video).

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

10k Down under

Australia has it's 10,0000th cochlear implant recipient: 45-year-old Christina Dougall of Runcorn in Brisbane got hers turned on yesterday. Here's a video about her.

A proposal for fixing captions

The general manager of a site where fans help translate TV shows and movies explains how she thinks the "sorry state of captioning" can be improved in an Atlantic article here. Tammy H. Nam writes, "Closed captioning for all is a fantastic goal, but until there’s accurate closed captioning for all, there's still work to be done."

Teacher goes extra mile for student

A deaf student's grades started slipping when her mom was diagnosed with cancer. But one of her teachers at Brooklyn's Williamsburg Charter High School didn't want to see her miss her shot at going to Gallaudet University. Find out what Speech and language pathologist Dena Levin decided to do in the full story. Read the full story here.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Deaf Boy's Dog Stolen

A Missouri man took a toddler's dog that his mom was training to help keep him safe. KYTV has a video report posted below. No captions, but for a text version of the video, click here.

The Google Gesture app

A new Google app promises to translate sign language in real time. No release date has been set yet, but Google Gesture is being developed at Sweden's Berghs School of Communication. The effort has already attracted the attention of the tech community by winning an award at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The user wears a band on his or her arm which picks up muscle movements and interpreted by the app, which turns them into audible words. Here's a video explanation.

30 Google Gesture from Berghs School of Communication on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Deaf linguistics Prof Promoted

Carol Padden
Photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications
Carol Padden will be the new dean of the Division of Social Sciences at the University of California at San Diego. Padden was honored with a “genius grant” (MacArthur Fellowship) four years ago and has been a part of the faculty in the Department of Communication for more than 30 years. Starting in October, she will "lead an academic division with more than 9,000 undergraduates, 600 graduate students and faculty spanning 10 academic departments and 16 interdisciplinary programs and research centers."  Padden is well-known in the Deaf community for her research in language emergence, sign language structure, and cultural life in deaf communities. She has published two textbooks on ASL and two others about the history of the deaf community. Read more about the appointment here. Below is a video about her MacArthur Fellowship.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

New Twist in Deaf Babysitter Story

Mariah Berry mug shot
Two weeks ago we told you about a babysitter who let a baby drown while she was on Facebook. A Florida judge sentenced Mariah Berry, who has an IQ of 65 and is deaf, to 15 years behind bars--even though he had said a no contest plea from Berry would result in him giving her a sentence of no more than six years. Because of that unexpected sentencing change, Berry's lawyer wants another day in court. Read the full story in the Orlando Sentinel here.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Generating respect for BSL

"It's hard work being a self-employed BSL teacher, but I love it," Ayesha Gavin says. Gavin, the owner of Ayesha Communications, writes in the Guardian, "I see people develop confidence when communicating, enjoying themselves and knowing that one day they may become a qualified professional and gain a great career. To any deaf people aspiring to be teachers, know your rights and fight for them. Deafness may hold you back but only if you let it." Read more here.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Florida State Univ. ADA violations

Florida State University has settled with the Justice Dept. over an ADA violation. An online employment application form for the FSU campus police asked about disabilities--which is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Such questions can only come when there is a conditional offer of employment. The Florida school has agreed to change its hiring process so as to not discriminate and to better train its employees. You can read the Justice Department announcement here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

First Brain scan for cochlear implants users

Macquarie University photo of the research team
For years, scientists have not been able to look at what a cochlear implant does while it's in the brain. The implant material and its signals interfere with brain scans. But researchers at Australia's Macquarie University say they've figured out how to get a clear view of what's going on with a brain scan. The world's first Cochlear Implant (CI) MEG scanner is a joint project between the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD) and Hear and Say Queensland. Lead researcher Blake Johnson says, “This is the first study of its kind and will form the proof of concept for a larger scale studies investigating brain changes following cochlear implantation in preschool children, and the impact of an enriched auditory environment.” Read more here.

Texas man get prison time for killing deaf principal

The man who killed deaf principal Mark Gobble was sentenced to prison yesterday. Gobble led the Texas School for the Deaf until an Austin man, Roman Turullos-Gonzalez, hit Gobble (who was jogging on the sidewalk)--and drove away. KTBC-TV has a video report but there are no captions.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

International development, deaf services and inclusion

The graduate program in international development at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. focuses on "how deaf communities can be marginalized in international work when resources such as sign-language interpretation are not provided." Read how one Gally student learned "firsthand how global development work can inadvertently leave out the needs of the deaf" in a Washington Post article here.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Push in Congress for Inflight Movie Captions

Sen. Tom Harkin
Senator Tom Harkin decried the lack of captioning on inflight movies on the Senate floor this week. Harkin, the architect of ADA law, told his colleagues:
I have been trying for some time to get the airlines to provide closed captions on the movies on their airplanes. I can't understand why they don't do it. It doesn't cost anything. You can go to any movie now that's released and if you're hard-of-hearing or deaf, you can go up to a counter free of charges and get a pair of glasses that fit over your own glasses and you can read all the closed captions and follow the exact movie. Maybe you don't think it's a big deal, but if you're hard-of-hearing or your deaf, it's a very big deal.
" Harkin wants to add a measure to a Transportation bill that would require airlines to study the idea. Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who chairs the committee, says the idea will be considered. Read more here.

ASL Tablet App Headed for Beta Testing

A few months ago we told you about a tablet app that understands sign language called MotionSavvy. You can read that post here. MotionSavvy was created by a group of student researchers from Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf. Since then, the MotionSavvy team has been working in San Francisco as part of a business startup accelerator called Leap Motion. It's for companies building on the gesture-based technology. The team got on the radar of the Silicon Valley tech world by taking third place in ZVRS competition and are about ready to start testing the tablet app. Hundreds of people have signed up to be part of the beta test. After a year of testing, the product may be ready for the consumer market. MotionSavvy may cost around $600 (and that price tag includes a Windows tablet) and there may be a monthly fee. Apps for smart phones are planned as well. Here's a video introduction from i DEAF NEWS Mobile.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

FL Deaf patient claims discrimination

When John D'Ambrosio suffered a heart attack in 2011 but failed to get a live interpreter during his stay in the hospital. He sued the Florida hospital. D'Ambrosio and two others filed a lawsuit but a judge has thrown it out. They are now appealing that decision. Find out the full story in the video report below from WKMG-TV.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

NJ Judge: No Terp? No Problem

Kelly Romano did not have her rights violated when police failed to provide her an interpreter after stopping her in Boonton, New Jersey. That's the decision of a state Superior Court judge. It all started in 2012 when Romano was arrested for suspected drunk driving. Romano wanted an interpreter but didn't get one. The Star-Ledger reports Romano's lawyer says she may appeal.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

CODA: I want to give my parents a better life

Image from KPIX-TV video
Meuy Phan's school counselor describes her as "just a little firecracker. She speaks her mind, she doesn’t hesitate and she’s not shy.” But Phan tells KPIX-TV in San Francisco she is scared to leave her parents and go off to college. Get the full story in the video below or read it here.

FCC orders captioning on 16 programs that wanted exceptions

The FCC has started dismissing petitions by program producers who want exceptions to the Commission's new captioning rules. On Monday, the FCC told a group of 16 that they have 90 days to get closed captions on their video in accordance with the FCC's rules.  Among them:

  • Zomboo’s House of Horror Movies - Reno 
  • Seeking the Lost - Jasper, Alabama 
  • The Bridge - Harlington, Texas 
  • Unionville Missionary Baptist Church Services - Macon, Georgia 
  • Ten O’Clock Worship Service, Panama City, Florida

Read the full list of program producers here. The FCC has said it will gives exemption from the rules if the captioning would be "economically burdensome."

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

10 Dumb Things the Hearing Say to the Deaf

1. “You don’t look deaf!”

There is no way to look deaf. You don’t need to ever tell a deaf person, “you don’t look deaf!” because really, how could you look deaf? Carry a grammaphone around? Have ears of some type of better yet, something in American Sign Language (ASL) tattooed on your forehead?


A lot of people shout at us. But think about that for a second. Shouting at a deaf person. Shouting at someone who can’t hear? Okay, it’s true that many deaf people can hear in various degrees, but shouting is almost always simply an exercise in rudeness and condescension, not to mention futility.

See the full list here on Meriah Nichols' blog A Little Moxie (with help from Captain Picard). Nichols says she compiled the list based on the answers to the question given by hundreds of other deaf people.

Baseball Mascot signs with deaf boy

The Dayton Dragon's minor league baseball team surprised a young fan by signing with him before a game. Seven-year-old Hunter Samworth and his family were at the Dayton, Ohio game Saturday when they met the green dragon named Heater. Watch what happened in the video below.

Deaf babysitter gets 15 years

Mariah Berry mug shot
Mariah Berry let a baby drown in a bathtub while she was on Facebook in another room, according to Florida prosecutors. Today, a Sanford judge gave the 20 year old 15 years in prison for aggravated manslaughter. Read more at the Orlando Sentinel here.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Video Explaining Deaf Child’s Transgender Identification Goes Viral

A California couple has posted a video about how their deaf daughter who told them she was boy. They decided to get Ryland cochlear implants--and made the decision to change Ryland’s identity. The Whittington family video has more than 3 million views. ABC News offers this video report.

ABC US News | ABC International News

Deaf Actor Gets His Chance To Be Wicked

Actor Russell Harvard is playing a hit man on the TV show Fargo. The FX series is based on the the 1996 Coen brothers film of the same name. NPR quotes Harvard as saying, "The character is not really specific about being deaf, or having any related deaf issues. It's just Fargo, period." According to NPR, show creator Noah Hawley says he..
got the idea for a deaf hit man from spending time in Austin, where he lives part time in a neighborhood near the Texas School for the Deaf. "As I was formulating the show, I kept seeing sign language around everywhere," he says. "It's such a compelling and visual means of communication, but it's also a language that most people don't speak. So it creates an amazing amount of privacy, for deaf people to be surrounded by hearing people and be able to communicate in a way that no one can really understand."
Read the whole interview here.