Friday, February 26, 2010
The school's main webpage has already set up a memorial page for Jennifer Paulson for those who want to contribute and remember her. This is a school known by many former deaf and hard of hearing students over the years. I went to Birney elementary when I was little along with many other deaf/hh kids such as Greg Allison, Amy Mcinelly, Sheila Jackson, Keri Bays, BJ Bopple, Cindy Zaddack, Dorothy Humphrie, and many others who went to Birney elementary's oral/aural program.
“We recently experienced a hate crime against our Deaf Community in the AD forum.”A “hate crime,”? Where? Who? What? Against the Deaf Community in AD? Rather desperate jumping on the hyperbole band wagon are we?
Here’s the definition of what constitute as a hate crime according to the FBI:
“A hate crime is a criminal offense committed against a person, property, or society that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin.”All I see are opinionated people who have expressed their thoughts, however unpopular they may be. And nothing about crimes committed against members of AD as far as I can tell. Where and exactly what are the criminal offenses committed against members of AD that would constitute as a "hate crime"? I'm rather curious about this person's charge. Rather a bold (albeit reckless) charge with no merits whatsoever is what I'm seeing here.
I'm sure the person meant something else rather than claiming it to be a "hate crime" which would be a wrong description. Strong biases certainly do exist among members of AD when it comes to posting their own comments and that's natural but a "hate crime"? Until the original poster explains exactly what that "hate crime" was about people simply cannot accept such a charge at face value. More information would be needed to justify a charge of a "hate crime" that fits the above description by the FBI. Odds are that such a charge was generated as an appeal to emotion rather than fact based. Just as using the word "Audist!" as a weapon of choice much in the same way people use the "Racist!" word. Gets quite meaningless real quick.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
This EPW Minority Report shows that the CRU controversy is about far more than just scientists who lack interpersonal skills, or a little email squabble," said Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. "It's about unethical and potentially illegal behavior by some the world's leading climate scientists.Also, Senator Inhofe thinks Al Gore should be recalled to explain his prior congressional testimony which I think amounts to some sort of criminal negligence that occurred.
"The report also shows the world's leading climate scientists acting like political scientists, with an agenda disconnected from the principles of good science. And it shows that there is no consensus-except that there are significant gaps in what scientists know about the climate system. It's time for the Obama Administration to recognize this. Its endangerment finding for greenhouse gases rests on bad science. It should throw out that finding and abandon greenhouse gas regulation under the Clean Air Act-a policy that will mean fewer jobs, higher taxes and economic decline."
Monday, February 22, 2010
Over five years ago when I first heard about this company I was impressed with the company's founder, Jason Curry, believing that technology is the answer to help level the playing field among those with hearing loss as seen in their mission statement on their main webpage.
Our Mission: To be the premier provider of innovative technology solutions that shatter communication barriers and empower people with the freedom to communicate with anyone, anywhere and at any time.Note their mission is to become the premier provider of innovative technology solutions. The company is all about innovation. A bootstrapper with the goal in mind to increase that communication freedom with anyone, anywhere and at any time.
Back then I realized just how serious and positive this company was in their goal to succeed I decided to blog about the company's ongoing development and watched it grow starting from 2005. Because I, too, believe that technology is the answer and that us deaf and hard of hearing people are in a better position to determine which kind of technology would be beneficial.
Technology continues to improve and expand to the benefit of those with hearing loss whether the person has a mild hearing loss or is profoundly deaf. When it comes to technology there are very few companies in the United States run by a deaf CEO. Or a company that patent, design, make and distribute their own technology products and at the same time employ deaf, hard of hearing and hearing employees. sComm, Inc fits that bill nicely.
Back in 2007 I spoke at the first ever vlog/blog convention at Gallaudet University with a conviction believing that technology will continue to increase communication access between deaf/hh and hearing people. And it will. You can see a video of my speech in Gallaudet University's video catalog (or click here to watch the video in external mode that comes with a time stamp which I recommend doing so). My speech comes with an ASL interpreter. I am introduced at the 1 minute 54 second time mark along with other bloggers. My speech begins at the 29 minute and 14 seconds time mark and ends at the 45 minute and 35 seconds mark). And a side note about this is that I was the only deaf/hh person to have spoken using my voice and I explained my reason for doing so in my 2007 blog piece. The summary of my technology speech on "Futuristic Classrooms" covered questions like:
• Is it about the ability to interact?
• Is it about communication needs and preferences?
• Is it about accessibility when it comes to the free flow of information whether coming from a computer or human being?
• Is a “futuristic classroom” on campus only?
• How about off campus?
• Is it always about classrooms? What about outside of classrooms? Can learning take place outside of the classrooms?
When it comes to technology for all deaf and hard of hearing people such a technology ought to be seamless and intuitive while providing a completely accessible and transparent communication medium.
One thing to realize about technology is that it is moving faster than ever before. Technology and performance doubles every 2 years. Technology will play a major role in how deaf and hard of hearing people will interact with anyone on and off campus, and any place whether it's for business or pleasure. This can make difference on improving the odds for deaf owned businesses to thrive and compete with anybody since many businesses do not survive past the 5 year mark. For any deaf owned companies in the technology business sector they must plan 2 to 4 years in advance and take into consideration future technology not quite ready for the market but has been demonstrated such as the flat screen panel that’s thick as a playing card you can put up on a wall. Planning ahead is about surviving.
Area of technology that is growing fast.
• More efficient (rather than faster) computer chip such as IBM's Core chips (which are very small parallel processing architectures and that parallel processing does a better job on multitasking).
• More memory for the buck such as flash or thumb drives that can be purchased at the gigabit scale.
• Cell phones such as qwerty phones seen in Blackberry phones with camera lens for video and picture taking.
• Internet connection and the meshing of video, music, and even video phone on demand.
• Voice recognition – it is widely being used today. Many cell phones have voice recognition features built into them.
• ASL or sign language recognition later on down the road.
• The integration of technology that will improve the seamless communication interaction between deaf, hearing, hard of hearing and culturally deaf people
UPDATE: Just wanted to add some additional information about my vlog/blog conference speech by including some video time stamps during a question and answer session. The first one begins at the 1 hour, 15 minute and 10 second mark and ends at the 1:19:09 mark. Another question and answer starts at the 1:23:57 mark and ends at 1:27:45 mark. And the last one at the 1:34:00 mark.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Thank you for reading Kokonut Pundit.
stem cell consistently proves to be 100% successful, I will have unwavering support for it and will want to see a law making it mandatory for toddlers, not adults.Agree or disagree? That day may actually come, and it'd simply be a matter of time. And this is a contention that worries many people.
A "Kobayashi Maru" moment.
Now, this "deafhood" thing is looking more like a "Kobayashi Maru" thing than not simply because of what one blogger said based on hope and expectation. The "The ASL-Cochlear Implant Community" blog described perfectly a "Kobayashi Maru" moment about "deafhood."
I just finished watching the welcome video for the Deafhood foundation. Before I started watching the video, I was wondering- would they mention cochlear implants? I was actually hoping that perhaps the message would be positive and inclusive. Wishful thinking.. Butch mentioned cochlear implants 33 seconds into the welcome message as an example of economic exploitation of deaf people. This did not make it into the English text version though.
The Deafhood foundation is run by well respected Deaf people in the Deaf community, and many Deaf people are impressed by the video and its powerful message. But all I see is a huge obstacle to the acceptance of all of these Deaf children with cochlear implants. Would this lead to increased intolerance for Deaf children who happen to have cochlear implants?
Saturday, February 20, 2010
An opinion poll among 300 elderly hearing impaired Australians found that hearing aids had wide-ranging positive effects on personal and social relationships.In another survey study on the impact of older people who do not wear hearing aids because of denial, cost, and vanity as the biggest reasons for not wearing one. And that those who do wear them experience better family relationships and improved mental health as opposed those who don't.
Untreated hearing loss has serious emotional and social consequences for older persons, according to a major new study released today by The National Council on the Aging (NCOA). The study was conducted by the Seniors Research Group, an alliance between NCOA and Market Strategies Inc.Most seniors who use hearing aids cite better family relationships and improved mental health. And that would be expected once they get past the wrongly perceived stigma of wearing a hearing aid.
"This study debunks the myth that untreated hearing loss in older persons is a harmless condition," said James Firman, Ed.D., president and CEO of The National Council on the Aging. The survey of 2,300 hearing impaired adults age 50 and older found that those with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less likely to participate in organized social activities, compared to those who wear hearing aids.
Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss
The survey found that significantly more of the seniors with untreated hearing loss (those who do not wear hearing aids) reported feelings of sadness or depression that lasted two or more weeks during the previous year. Among respondents with more severe hearing loss, 30 percent of non-users of hearing aids reported these sad feelings, compared to 22 percent of hearing-aid users.
Another measure of emotional distress is the perception that "other people get angry at me for no reason," which psychologists often identify as an indicator of paranoia. Older non-users were more likely to agree with the statement -- "people get angry with me usually for no reason" -- (14 percent of users vs. 23 percent of non-users). Among those with more severe hearing loss, the difference was even greater -- 14 percent for users vs. 36 percent for non-users.
Because social isolation is a serious problem for some older people, the study also examined social behavior and found that people who don't use hearing aids are considerably less likely to participate in social activities. Among respondents with more severe hearing loss, 42 percent of hearing-aid users participate regularly in social activities compared to just 32 percent of non-users.
Here's a poll on love life:
Here's a poll on social life:
Friday, February 19, 2010
Could this shocking news conceivably happen someday?
Let's hope not. But with researchers working around the clock all across the United States (and the world) on the cure for hearing loss (see here, here, here, here and here) it would be a matter of time until a cure could be found for various kinds of hearing losses. For some Deaf people they would consider these scientific advancements as a threat to their Deaf culture (see "Will Deaf Culture Die Out Someday - Part I and Part II) should a cure finally be found. And certainly among those few who do view a cure for hearing loss as a threat there could be potentially smaller subset of Deaf extremists who may resort to the use of violence against stem cell researchers on the cure for hearing loss. As with any group there is always a few bad apples who will resort to violence as their means of protesting (see vandalism question at Gallaudet protest). Researchers have been attacked in the past before for their medical work.
Police said several students from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) attacked a researcher, who uses mice to study breast cancer, at her home Feb. 24. (2008)If a bunch of students went after a professor for her medical work on mice to the point of terrorizing and injuring a researcher then it wouldn't be inconceivable that a Deaf person (or a small group of Deaf people) with extremist tendencies to attack a researcher working on a cure for hearing loss. Or for that matter supposingly a cure has been found would a research center get vandalized and broken into in the attempt to "stop" the cure on deafness from getting out. There is always that possibility. It may be small or even non-existant but certainly a possibility based on fear and frustration.
The biology professor, who declined to give her name to protect herself and her family from more violence, was at home with her children and husband when the alleged assailants attacked her home just before noon. The suspects attacked the professor’s husband and then fled the scene in a vehicle. Because the incident happened in daylight, the husband, who suffered minor injuries, was able to write down the license plate of the car.
The above news is a hypothetical one but the fact remains that there are always somebody with extremist tendencies who will go further, even to the point of injuring, or heaven forbid, murder a researcher in the name of stopping medical advancements, for example, such as for the cure on hearing loss.
Douglas Cotanche, Ph.D.
Boston University School of Medicine, Massachusetts
“Cell fate regulation in cochlear development and regeneration”
Birds can regenerate hair cells in the cochlea once they are lost – an ability that mammals do not possess. When hair cells are lost in birds, following loud noise exposure or administration of ototoxic drugs in the lab, the supporting cells around the hair cells turn into new hair cells. Cotanche and colleagues hope that by studying this process in birds, they will be able to induce the mammalian cochlear cells to undergo a similar regeneration. Specifically, the researchers will study the genetics involved in supporting cell transduction into hair cells in chicks and mice. They hope to gain understanding of the molecular processes involved in hair cell regeneration in order to cause the same regeneration in mammalian cells.
Saima Riazuddin, Ph.D.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Ohio
“Generation and characterization of a mouse model of DFNB26”
More than 100 gene locations have been indentified as contributing to hearing loss in its various forms. However, knowledge on how genes affect hearing remain inadequate. Researchers need to be able to study and develop animal models to study disease causing mutations, and to define the molecular pathways leading to hearing loss to ultimately develop therapeutic approaches to treating deafness. Riazuddin and colleagues have recently mapped a deafness causing gene called DFNB26 in an extended family. They also discovered another gene that that suppresses the deafness-causing gene. The researchers hope to study how these two genes work to cause and prevent deafness among the members of this family by developing mice with these genes. The study will provide valuable models for defining the role of DFNB26 in the inner ear and to develop treatment strategies for this disease.
Angelika Doetzlhofer, Ph.D.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
“Response of supporting cell to hair loss in the mammalian cochlea”
Doetzelhofer and colleagues hope to uncover the molecular signals activated in supporting cells after hair cell loss, and what pathways may inhibit hair cell regeneration. In mammals, hair cells only develop during embryonic development, and when hair cells are lost, they are not replaced. However, in birds, when hair cells are lost, supporting cells can transform into new hair cells. Researchers believe that supporting hair cells, even in mammals, have the ability to transform into hair cells, but that signals from adjacent cells and/or dying hair cells block supporting cells from becoming new hair cells. Doetzlhofer and colleagues will investigate these inhibitory pathways and will look at changes in gene expression in supporting cells as hair cells are lost. Understanding the molecular mechanisms that prevent hair cell regeneration in mammals is a crucial first stem in developing successful hair cell replacement therapies.
Loss of spiral ganglion neurons or hair cells in the inner ear is the leading cause of congenital and acquired hearing impairment. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health found that Sox2, a protein that regulates stem cell formation, is involved in spiral ganglion neuron development. The study was published in the January 13 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.
"These findings may provide the first step toward regenerating spiral ganglion neurons, the nerve cells that send sound representations to the brain," said Alain Dabdoub, PhD, co-investigator and assistant professor of surgery with the...
The poster "Transplantation of Xenopus Laevis Ears Reveals Ubiquitous Rerouting of Motor Neurons to Become Efferents" (#552) takes place Monday, Feb. 8, at 1:00 p.m. PT in the Disneyland Exhibit Hall.
The talk "Regeneration of Stereocilia of Cochlear Hair Cells by Math1 Gene Therapy" (#484) takes place Sunday, Feb. 7, at 5:00 p.m. PT in the Disneyland South Ballroom.
It’s a bit of a stretch to describe Kirk Beisel’s research as something akin to seeking “Rogaine for the inner ear.”Click on the link above to read the rest of the article.
But if his work with gene therapy pays off, the Creighton University professor and his team may aid untold numbers of people suffering from hearing loss by restoring the tiny sensory cells, the “hair cells”, inside their ears.
Or, he says, by preventing these hair cells from dying in the first place and thereby slowing down what is the leading cause of deafness in humans.
“The commercial potential is huge because by the time most people reach their 60s, nearly a third of them have hearing loss because these hair cells have died,” says Beisel, whose lab is in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Creighton.
“When they reach their mid-70s, half have some kind of deafness,” he adds. Beisel is working closely with Lee Fenicle, director of Intellectual Resources Management, who has applied for several patents relating to Beisel’s research.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
"down-to-earth guy next door who always has an opinion and, according to Mike, he's usually right."And that "McConnell makes sense" which pretty much describes me as well. His show is syndicated in many radio stations across the United States and I have listened to his show many times before over my truck radio whenever I drive and I happen to tune in on his show over the weekend.
Anyhow, I came across one of his iPod radio shows that was produced on October 31, 2009 where he complains about deaf people. He begins his rant at the 11:59 mark with "It is now time to bust on the handicapped." And continues with his rantings up to the 17:04 mark, and continues again at the 20:27 mark "Busting on the deaf". Here's a transcript of the radio provided by your gracious blogger, Mike McConnell, er, meaning this Mike McConnell of Kokonut Pundit and not the other Mike McConnell. Got it?
Here's the radio iPod transcript below:
No one ever bust on the handicapped. I think handicapped adults are no different than I am. Except they have a handicap. Uh, we have this, apparently, we, uh, on Broadway, this a Broadway segment of the program, they upset the deaf and blind advocates by choosing a woman to play, the girl to play Helen Keller in a stage presentation who is not deaf and blind. How easy is it to find a deaf and blind 13 year old Broadway actress? I'm guessing difficult. I'm guessing like the lead role. And apparently they found someone to play this role, who is an Oscar nominee, I don't know about child stars, Abigail Breslin, a 13 year old Oscar nominee. Because apparently, apparently, there's star power on Broadway just like star power in the movies. And I understand that.Mike McConnell, the radio guy, not me (am I confusing you?) then reads from a Yahoo article about this selection that has angered deaf and blind people.
"On Wednesday, the producers of the Broadway revival of the play "The Miracle Worker," about the early life of blind and deaf hero Helen Keller, announced that they'd chosen the young actress who will play her on stage this winter: 13-year-old Oscar nominee Abigail Breslin. The decision has unleashed immediate complaints from groups representing blind and deaf actors who feel that an actress from their community should have been considered for the role."Mike opines here.
Sure. That works pretty well in rehersals. The whole idea here, behind acting, you with me on this? Is pretending something that you're not. Isn't that the whole theory? Someone that you're not. Something that you're not. Maybe become an actor I pretend that, uh, I'm a cowboy from Texas and I have an accent thing. And I put on a cowboy costume and I pretend I'm something that....that's the whole idea behind acting.Mike continues reading from the same article.
Uh, let's see, what did the producer say? "We do not think it's OK for reputable producers to cast this lead role without seriously considering an actress from our community." Uh, let's see, "The show's producer claims that the production was unable to find a blind or deaf child," with .. get this, this is a quote, "a deaf and blind child with the star power to bring in enough of an audience to justify the show's large budget. It's simply naïve to think that in this day and age, you'll be able to sell tickets to a play revival solely on the potential of the production to be a great show or on the potential for an unknown actress to give a breakthrough performance, I would consider it financially irresponsible to approach a major revival without making a serious effort to get a star."
So, the deaf and blind are still unhappy but they're gonna try and get an understudy for the role who is deaf and blind.
Next one out.
Mike's ends it at the 17:04 mark and continues at the 20:27 mark.
Then we have this.
A hearing impaired fan has sued Ohio state for not having closed captioning at the stadium. What? At the stadium? Let's see. "Sued the school arguing that the university should offer captioning on the scoreboard and stadium televisions because he can't hear the announcers." Said Vincent Sabino, "When I go to a game, I'm never able to follow the game. It takes away from being a fan. It's a game experience thing." "The lawsuit was filed late last month in federal court in Columbus by the National Association of the Deaf in Silver Spring, Md. The suit says the university is violating the Americans With Disabilities Act by not providing captioning at all its venues, including Ohio Stadium ..." "It has been almost 20 years, and many places such as sports stadiums still do not take seriously their obligations to make sports events fully accessible in compliance with the ADA."
Uh, what do we do for the blind? I guess the blind could take a small radio and have a game on. I guess you could do that. But the guy makes a point down here. He's been going to the game since he was a kid. It says here, "his earliest and happiest memories are attending Ohio State football games with his father. His wife, father and two sisters attended Ohio State. He graduated from an institute for the deaf in Rochester, N.Y." So his earliest and happiest memories were going there when they didn't have captioning? Why is he suing over it now? I thought outloud.
Hmmm, sometimes the deaf people get a little bit too pushy. You know, you can sit on the radio and bust on the deaf all day, other people might tell them what you said but they don't know. Everything I said so far is legitimate. My anti-deaf people comments have been valid.
You know you're not allowed to drive a car with headphones on? You know that deaf people are allowed to drive? Not that I want to wear headphones when I drive a car, how come deaf people get to drive and I can't drive with a headphones on? A valid, legitimate question.
Humm. Busting on the deaf. Got this one. He said he went to an Ohio state game, uh, again, this case, uh, somebody was hearing impaired sued the school for closed captioning so they can appreciate what's going on in the game. The Ohio state game witnessed first hand a new improved scored board that's leveling the playing field for hearing impaired football fans. First thought was this must be a joke. But, no, let me explain. During those times when a song is playing in the stadium the scoreboard caption announces "The Waiting" by Tom Petty plays or Hells Bells by AC-DC plays. Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think the hearing impaired would care Tom Petty or AC-DC playing. Even during penalty the captions ran underneath the referree on the screen. Again, I'd scratch my head if I were completely deaf I could look at the image on the scoreboard and see the referree's hand signals. Do I really need captions to go with the signal for "holding" or "pass interference"? But the capture came during replay closed captioning at the bottom of the screen blocked out the action making it impossible to see what it had happened. Maybe I should sue Ohio state for making it difficult for the non-seeing impaired to enjoy a football game? I know the ADA was groundbreaking. A case like this is nothing but a *unintelligble*. The guy who initiated the lawsuit said some of earliest and happiest memories were attending football games with his father.Mike takes some on-the-air calls. Gets a caller at the 28:40 mark about deaf people and driving.
Yeah, I don't think the average person cares what song is playing if they are unfamiliar with the song because he never heard it (ends at 21:53).
Caller Reggie: Hey, uh, this is Reggie, is it your contention that deaf peoples should not be allowed to drive?And that concludes the anti-deaf transcript segment from the Mike McConnell's radio show. Is Mike McConnell anti-deaf or not? Or did I just now confused you? You decide.
Mike McConnell: No.
Reggie: Ok. You were complaining about the fact that you were not able to wear your headphones.
Mike McConnell: Actually what I said I didn't want to wear a headphones. Uh, back when whenever came along first the Walkman, the first personal stereo thing where they passed a law you could not wear headphones while driving. So the question was well that deaf people can wear headphones, uh, wait a second, I'm sorry, can deaf people drive without any restrictions? So the answer was yeah. So if you don't have to be able to hear to drive at all, why do we have a law that says you can't drive with headphones on?
Reggie: Well, I don't think the idea is that headphones block out sounds. I think the idea is that they distract people.
Mike McConnell: Actually, the argument has been made was that it block out sound. You couldn't hear sirens. People crank up their car stereo you couldn't hear the siren. The lights tend to get your attention. Soon enough anyway. But, but that was in fact the argument that you wouldn't be able to hear emergency vehicles.
Reggie: Well, I was reading a book. It was about deaf people. And they were saying that the insurance companies tried to charge deaf people more for their insurance for their auto insurance. And deaf people sued them because they said that, well, we are actually safer drivers. And the statistics proved it.
Mike McConnell: That, that's been proven. They have no foundation to, to charge them more. No reason to.
Reggie: So it would make sense then that if they have fewer accidents even though they're deaf that they should be allowed to drive even though they cannot hear.
Mike McConnell: Yeah, I mean..
Reggie: That's basically all I wanted to say.
Mike McConnell: I don't know if there should be a classification....I don't know if there should be a classification to move them up or down. They should be charged if you're 27 years old and deaf you should pay the same as any 27 year old guy for the insurance.
Reggie: Insurance agencies they charge lower insurance for people that are safer drivers.
Mike McConnell: I, I know, but that's, but that's an odd classification to put people into. I mean if you can sell to kids who went to Catholic schools have fewer accidents than kids in private schools and use that claim to get a lower...no. We do by demographics and just, just draw the line right there.
Reggie: I mean, yeah, however you want to draw a demographic line, I guess.
Mike McConnell: Yeah, we have too many subsets to be start going in that direction. So that's why I wouldn't (ends at 31:09).
Hey, Mike McConnell, how about giving me a phone call (seriously, I can use the phone without any problems even though I'm deaf or in this case hard of hearing) and we can have a bit of heart to heart chat from one conservative guy to the next about your radio rant on deaf people over on your live radio show. Try me, you won't be disappointed.
For you readers, my previous blog on Mike McConnell...the radio talk show guy.
If you made it down this far and you're still angry about Mike McConnell's anti-deaf rant, you can email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or go to Mike McConnell's very own personal forum and give him an earful if you wish.
This is Mike McConnell on Mike McConnell's anti-deaf rant.
In 2006 a deaf, blind, diabetic, and wheel-chair bound 76 year old death row prisoner was executed in California.
My opinion? Don't do the crime.
If you're interested, my earlier blog entitled "Deaf Prisoners More Violent and Less Educated than Hearing Prisoners? "
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
On March 1 and 2 there will be an EHDI (Early Hearing Detection Intervention) conference to take place in Chicago. And when I checked out the Exhibitors List I noticed that DBC (Deaf Bilingual Coalition) will have a booth there. So will AG Bell.
Now, about the DBC, it's not a surprise that they have a relationship with the AFA (Audism Free America with link via the DBC website) by going "on record as being supportive of AFA" as seen in Dianrez's blog. And the fact that John Egbert and others of DBC attended an AFA protest rally last year in April 2009 tells a bigger story about the DBC's own organization and the people who run it. The AFA is hardly separate from DBC's own organization and its ideology where both groups have specifically targeted AG Bell. DBC has yet to remain neutral in this regard and keep to their mission instead. But the leaders and members of DBC cannot even be kept separate from the AFA group when it comes to DBC's mission as an organization.
"For now, it was an honor to meet many bloggers that first came to my attention through DeafRead. Who could forget meeting in person: John Egbert, Insane Misha, Ella Lentz, David Eberwein, Ruthie Jordan, Aidan Mack, Sharon Duchesneau, Jehanne, Robin Polin, Candace McCullough, Tami Hossler, Patti Durr, Pinky Aiello, Star Greiser, and many others whose faces I recognized but didn't get their names."
Many of the names seen in the Board of Directors and Members list on the DBC website are known to heavily dislike AGBell, even Brian Riley who helped write a letter for DBC used "fighting words" against AG Bell. It sure doesn't make them that much more credible, I can tell you that.
Here's another problem.
I. What is the Deaf Bilingual Coalition?
A. The Deaf Bilingual Coalition (DBC) is a community of Deaf and hearing people whose goals are to promote language acquisition, social justice, and quality education through the awareness of ASL and its excellence in cultivating the critical intellect of Deaf infants and young Deaf children.
B. The DBC’s mission is two-fold: We emphasize the importance of the social, emotional, linguistic, and cognitive aspects (of ASL and all natural sign languages) pertaining to early visual-language acquisition for all Deaf infants and young children; and to make the general public aware of the prevalence of misconceptions and misinformation that devalues ASL.
C. Since its inception, the DBC has empowered people to set up state chapters to research and explore early intervention programs, the Deaf education system, and to mentor hearing parents of Deaf babies to help equip them with critical information on language acquisition and development.
D. The DBC's original core committee was composed of volunteers who had all experienced bilingualism in their upbringing or been impacted by bilingual education. John Egbert of Minnesota founded the DBC in the summer of 2007.
Babies are born with a hearing loss. Babies are not born "Deaf" if from hearing parents. Maybe so for Deaf parents as they see their own baby as a Deaf baby but certainly not the case for hearing parents. DBC does not own these deaf/hh babies. It's the parents' decision, they decide and not DBC when it comes to their own babies and whether to call their baby a Deaf baby or not.
Next, I question whether DBC really does "mentor" hearing parents of "Deaf" babies. Do they get all pushy to try and somehow force their ideology onto unwitting hearing parents by making them aware? Or is it better to inform parents of deaf/hh babies by using positive examples of ASL rather than resort to conspiracy talks, continued negative remarks and darts and daggers aimed at AGBell whether implied or directly, and the continued bringing up old history rather than to look forward to the future in a positive way?
Having said that. You know what else I think? I think all hearing parents of deaf/hh babies should be informed of DBC's members and leaders past actions so that at least hearing parents can be fully informed about DBC's background and their ulterior agenda lurking in the background by continually attacking AG Bell in one form or another. AG Bell certainly doesn't do that by going after organizations by attacking them and use protesters as their pawns. AGBell has a mission to adhere to but they certainly do not attack ASL and certainly noticed past Deaf protests against them since 2007.
Since July 2007, another group affiliated with AFA has been staging demonstrations at AG Bell national conferences and state chapter meetings claiming that AG Bell is against sign language. In an effort to clarify its position on this issue, the AG Bell Board of Directors approved an official position statement on ASL which states, in part, “AG Bell acknowledges that a chosen approach depends on culture, family interests and desired communication outcome. AG Bell believes that the language and communication approach chosen should be based on an informed decision made by the child’s parents/family and based on their own unique circumstances…AG Bell does not believe that ASL should be prohibited or restricted as achoice, nor does AG Bell advocate against learning ASL as part of a child’s overall development if that is what the child’s parents desire.”
Regardless, AFA initiated this most recent demonstration at AG Bell headquarters and issued a call to action for supporters to demonstrate at oral/aural only programs in their local areas; in other words, to demonstrate at local pre-schools that offer a listening and spoken language educational approach for children who are deaf.
“This latest effort to target pre-schools and pre-school children I can only describe as unconscionable,” stated Graham. “To protest and criticize families who choose a particular communication and language approach is the height of intolerance.”
That way hearing parents can make an informed decision over a variety of issues and concerns, including any hidden agendas, if any. A good way to assess, for example, DBC's own credibility problem. Those on the outside may certainly see them as cry babies.
Next I can't help but wonder what are the odds that there'll be a protest by a bunch of Deaf people outside the conference to raise hackles about AG Bell just as they did over a year ago as noted in AG Bell's press release letter denouncing the protest? What are the odds that a protest will occur, if it ever, and that it'll have connections to AFA and, what else, the DBC organization just like before?
Makes ya wonder, doesn't it? We'll see how it goes March 1 and 2 in a few weeks from now.
*Note: apologies to Cox and Forkum for the cry babies picture that was slightly modified.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Masia's mother tells NBCMiami, "People in the deaf community are very split and emotions run very high on both sides of the issue. We are used to this by now, but it still always shocks you. Many people in the Deaf community believe we mutilated her."Mutilated her? Nice. Get a few high-strung Deaf people go after Caroline Masia, a deaf 5th grader at Highland Oak Elementary in North Miami Beach, who rubbed elbows with the some of the NFL's big boys after she won the league's "Winning Moments" essay contest, and now the Deaf community ends up looking like an intolerant bunch of people.
So, what are other blogs that I've missed that are no longer active or functioning? Let us know. Can anybody name some of the longest running deaf/hh blogs that used the same blogsite address ?
Monday, February 08, 2010
What many don't realize is that there is a link on the famously known Cox and Forkum editorial cartoon website that list Kokonut Pundit on it's blogroll list. My blog has been on that blogroll list for almost two years. So, be sure to click on the Cox and Forkum logo seen on the left to check out the latest funny political cartoon. I'm sure you will find it humorous as well as delightfully insightful about today's issues and problems in our government. But the sad thing about is that C & F ceased their political cartoons in June of 2009. But many of their cartoons still hold the truth to today like this one seen above, especially with the current Obama administration and the continuing trillion dollars deficit spending that makes Bush's spending like small potatoes.
UPDATE: Forgot to add that my blog is on the "Friends of Day by Day" blog roll list located on the right side as you scroll down, fyi.
Saturday, February 06, 2010
In 2007 when the study began, several criteria were established to weed out 366 blogs where eight blogs remained (see page 34, note that Fookem and Bug is one blog with two bloggers). The thesis goes on to explain about the bloggers and the 416 posts (from April to June of 2007) that were analyzed:
this research examined personal and community empowerment in Deaf individuals as evidenced in 416 blog posts by nine individuals who are members ofthe DeafRead community. Common elements of empowerment found in the literature across a variety of disciplines include: evidence of valued social roles, improving others’ perceptions of oneself or ones’ own self image, overcoming stigma, changing or improving the community, informing the community and sharing expectations of what the community’s abilities. These elements constitute the framework for the current study. The study examined the degree to which Deaf bloggers discussed their sense of personal empowerment in their blog posts and the degree to which the content of Deaf blog posts advocated for community empowerment for their readers."Members of the Deafread community"? I don't see it that way but rather it's simply an aggregator site where you can submit your blog URL address to get it listed. No more different than Deaf Village as an aggregator site.
Secondly, the thesis goes on to describe Deaf bloggers which is incorrect since not all deaf bloggers are Deaf but deaf or hard of hearing. Just because one has a blog listed in Deafread does not make that person a Deaf blogger. I don't know whether to be flattered or insulted for the author to label me as a Deaf blogger, which I'm not. A deaf blogger, yes. A hard of hearing blogger, yes. That was the author's mistake to assume a blogger's identity without asking first.
All in all, this thesis study put out a good effort to analyze Deaf bloggers (and not so much for Deaf, deaf, and hh bloggers) and their role in the Deaf community, empowerment efforts and such. Although the author neglected to even consider the deaf and hard of hearing communities in her research of those born with a hearing loss or acquired it later in life.
Sometimes I don't understand the media. They think it is a big deal for the mayor of New York City to wear hearing aids. Then the media reported that the mayor's hearing aids "were gone." Was he discouraged from using his hearing aids by the burst of media attention? It even got the attention of the Huffington Post.Another Deaf blogger posted this.
I just don't understand why the media would be so fascinated by what should be something as normal as wearing eyeglasses.The problem is that wearing a hearing aid carries a greater stigma than do glasses. Glasses have been around for hundreds of years. But hearing aids have only been around for the last 4 or 5 decades. In-the-ear hearing aids have been around for about a decade. So, the stigma is there for hearing aids, not so much with eye glasses.
Research shows that women, and especially younger women, attach a greater stigma to wearing hearing aids than men. A study on indigenous Australian children revealed they had more negative view of a peer with a hearing aid. However, things are changing, it’s cool to have something on your ear – Bluetooth.
Here are some of the reasons why people attach a stigma to wearing hearing aids.
• Very few people are truly satisfied with their hearing aids.
• They feel wearing an aid is something to be ashamed of because they are seen as different. Being the only one with hearing aids.
• Hearing loss means many people lose confidence. When you don’t hear properly you often make mistakes in conversation and so deaf/wearing hearing aids is equated with being stupid. People who cannot hear experience, anger, defeat, depression, isolation, anxiety, frustration.
• Most people lose hearing gradually and are in denial that they have a loss (people mumble, walk away, don’t look at me)
• They make me look older or handicapped. It’s all in the perception. Grandma wore a hearing aid, grandma was old, I’m not old so I can’t wear a hearing aid.
• Getting a hearing aid signifies age and therefore makes us seem less attractive or smart.
• A hearing aid used to prompt uneasiness to anyone who saw it. So it’s as much the hearing person’s issue as the deaf person’s. The hearing person is afraid and doesn’t know how to communicate.
The only shame is missing out on sounds in life. Hearing aids have improved. They give better sound quality and can be tailored to meet a specific hearing loss type.
Indeed. What we need is more media exposure of well known people who do wear hearing aids and help lessen the stigma of wearing a hearing aid. And those who do wear them ought to be proud of wearing one rather than be embarrassed.
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Here's a cool story. A 5th grade deaf girl with a cochlear implant won a NFL essay contest where she got the chance to speak (with her voice) about her essay.
Caroline Masia, a 5th grader at Highland Oak Elementary in North Miami Beach, will be rubbing elbows with the some of the NFL's big boys after she won the league's "Winning Moments" essay contest.I'd say good job Maria! And cool that she got the chance to speak, too. But one Deaf man is literally upset over this that the news media covered a story about a deaf girl with a cochlear implant who can speak very well. RLM essentially whined thinking this is somehow an Alexander Graham Bell (AGBell) pre-planned counter-offensive attack against a superbowl Pepsi ad aired a few years back with Deaf actors signing in ASL (which, btw, reminds me of my Pepsi video spoof I did as well). Nice conspiracy theory but this is between a video commericial versus a news story and surely nothing to do with AGBell.
Yesterday, Masia, who was born deaf, was announced as the Grand Prize winner of the contest, and her class got a visit from Dolphins nose tackle Paul Soliai and running back Kory Sheets.
The contest was sponsored by the NFL Players Association as part of their "Stay Cool in School" Program. Kids submitted essays detailing their "Winning Moments."
For Masia, who had Cochlear implants to give her hearing for the first time in her life, picking a winning moment was easy.
"Every song I hear is special," Masia said yesterday, as she read her essay to Soliai, Sheets and her classmates. "My winning moment started with my first implant, leading to my first sound and continues every day that I can hear the beautiful sounds of the world."
What this shows is that Maria has a lot of self-esteem and confidence in her ability to listen and speak very well as evidently seen in the video (scroll down to video portion). I'm not surprised that a cochlear implant can help bolster self-esteem and confidence in many deaf children. A recent study came out tells exactly that comparing quality of life of cochlear implanted children (8 to 11, and 12 to 16 years old) from 88 families with that of their hearing peers.
Previous studies have indicated that deaf children feel less socially accepted, experience more difficulty in making friends, and show greater adjustment problems than their hearing peers.In a nutshell, cochlear implant recipients are able to fare emotionally, socially, and mentally on par with that of their hearing peers, faring no worse. A cochlear implant enables younger recipients with improved self-esteem and confidence. As in Maria's case, she spoke with such eloquence and confidence no wonder she was the darling news story of the day.
However, the findings of the new research, a cross-sectional study of 88 families with CI children from 16 U.S. states, differ from traditional conclusions.
The study team used a generic QOL questionnaire. The subjects were divided by age of the child when they filled out the questionnaire - an 8-11-year-old group and a 12-16-year-old group.
Both parents and children filled out the QOL questionnaire, with the parents assessing their child. The study group was then compared to a control group of 1,501 NH children in fourth and eighth grades.
Results of the questionnaire showed that overall QOL did not differ between CI and NH groups. However, examination of individual subscales disclosed that 8-11-year-old CI children rate their QOL with family less positively than their NH peers.
Younger CI recipients rated overall QOL more positively than the older 12-16-year-old CI group. But, the authors believe that this could be a reflection of standard adolescent behaviour.
By and large QOL showed a significant inverse association with age at implantation, and a significant positive correlation with duration of CI use in the 12-16-year-old group.
The authors say that even though prior studies have appraised QOL in CI children, this study adds additional perspective to the literature, as it combines assessments by the actual CI recipients and parents, and it maps the results in context with NH children.
The research also demonstrates that parents proved to be reliable reporters for their children in areas where they could observe and participate.
The authors write: “For profoundly deaf children who regularly use a cochlear implant, feelings about life overall are no better or worse than their hearing peers. These findings indicate that cochlear implantation has a positive effect on certain psycho-social domains.”
I'm sure once the story broke last year did DeafDC became radioactive and certainly, perhaps so, writers didn't want to become associated with DeafDC since it was owned by Viable, Inc. At least that'd be a plausible story here. It has since remained in internet limbo since July 13, 2009 with nary a peep from any of the writers in DeafDC. Their collective silence speaks volume.