Monday, August 31, 2009

When planning an event, accommodate deaf people

Source Link - When planning an event, accommodate deaf people

Community-sponsored events should be made accessible to deaf people who rely on a sign language interpreter to access information on community issues.

Two years ago Woodrow Wilson High School was in the process of being razed and Wilson High Alumni Planning Committee sponsored a walk-in tour of the building and a banquet held on May 25, 2007, for alumni members. Several deaf alumni expressed interest in attending the events as they wished to be part of the celebration and to reconnect with old classmates during their school days. Some deaf requested the services of a sign language interpreter at the banquet because speeches were difficult to lip-read. Hearing students who took American Sign Language (ASL) at Wilson High would have enjoyed putting their basic signing skills into practice if deaf alumni members were in attendance at the 2007 banquet.

An operator-assisted call was made to one of the planning committee members during the second week of May in 2007 to inquire about a sign language interpreter for the banquet. A suggestion was made to have a former ASL student take part in doing the interpreting for free. The call was cut short. I was advised no sign language interpreter would be provided for deaf alumni members and banquet tickets were already “sold out.” However, some former faculty members not involved with the planning committee disagreed and I was advised to try calling again. One call was enough to prevent further problems.

Recently, alumni members of the Wilson High Planning Committee sponsored a scholarship banquet and about 300 attended. Deaf alumni members dropped the idea of attending the second banquet. They knew they would not succeed getting an interpreter this time. They felt the planning committee failed to understand their rights under The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

Wilson High’s Deaf Program survived for 45 years before it phased out in 2000. Its older deaf graduates had the best teachers who trained them well to lead productive lives. They long for a return to Youngstown; however, most deaf alumni living in other states agree that our city is still in the ancient ages when it comes to advanced communication technology and resources made available for our deaf community.

Sorenson Communications Partners with ASL Interpreter Educator Carol J. Patrie

Source Link - Sorenson Communications Partners with ASL Interpreter Educator Carol J. Patrie

Sorenson Communications®, the leading provider of Video Relay Service (VRS) for
deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals who use sign language to communicate, today
announced that it is partnering with Carol J. Patrie, Ph.D.
(www.carolpatrie.com), a pioneer in the field of American Sign Language (ASL)
interpreter education, to further expand the expertise of its interpreter
management and Professional Development group. Sorenson Communications, the
leading employer of ASL interpreters in the United States, is the only VRS
provider to offer such a program on this scale.

"Sorenson Communications employs and seeks to train the best interpreters in the
country," says Sorenson Vice President of Interpreting Chris Wakeland. "We are
committed to improving the quality of professional interpreting for Sorenson VRS
users and advancing interpreter education for the benefit of the industry as a
whole."

The management training program consists of five two-day courses that are based
on Patrie`s The Effective Interpreting Series. These one-credit courses are
accredited through the American Council on Education. The program will enhance
interpreter managers` skills in hiring qualified video interpreters, evaluating
existing video interpreters` skill sets and offering career strategies. It will
also create a platform for VRS Interpreting Center management teams to
accurately assess interpreters` needs, thereby determining training that will
benefit both interpreter and VRS user alike.

"Sorenson is setting a trend. No other VRS provider has taken such a direct
approach to training," says Patrie, who established and directed the Master of
Arts in Interpretation program at Gallaudet, the nation`s premier liberal arts
university for deaf individuals. "Sorenson Communications is raising the
standard by offering training for those who can then train others within the
company."

Through mentorship, skills assessment, workshops and training, Sorenson
Communications managers and professional development staff will be in a position
to offer standardized training throughout the company, based on the training
they receive from Patrie.

According to Patrie, historically, sign language interpreter education programs
were characterized by a lack of standardization, which led to less-than-optimal
student outcomes, leaving many graduates unprepared to enter the workforce. In
more recent years, with the inception of federal equality legislation and
communications technology for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, such as VRS, ASL
interpreting has become a rapidly-growing profession, making advances in ASL
interpreter education imperative.

"I am impressed with Sorenson Communications` ability to determine training
needs and Sorenson`s implementation of programs to meet those needs," says
Patrie. "Sorenson has demonstrated a commitment to providing top-quality
education for their interpreters at all levels."

About Sorenson Communications

Sorenson Communications® (www.sorenson.com) is a provider of industry-leading
communications services and products. The company`s offerings include Sorenson
Video Relay Service® (SVRS®), the highest-quality video interpreting service;
the Sorenson (VP-100® and VP-200®) videophones; and Sorenson IP Relay®
(SIPRelay), enabling text-to-speech relay communication.

Sorenson Communications
Ann Bardsley, 801-287-9897
abardsley@sorenson.com

Deaf History and Awareness Month

Source Link - Deaf History and Awareness Month

September is "Deaf History and Awareness Month", not simply "Deaf Awareness Month", explains Philadelphia native and founder of Creative Access, Carol Finkle.

Finkle makes the analogy with other American minorities. "We don't celebrate African American Awareness Month, we celebrate history as well. So should it be for the Deaf.

September celebrates the history, talent and overall contributions of Deaf Americans—highlighting the pride of a visual, rather than an auditory-based culture and lifestyle for those who share the common linguistic, communication experience through American Sign Language.

Showcased by Creative Access since 1992, deaf entertainers have performed on the stages in Philadelphia from schools to the Kimmel Center although not too frequently.

We can boast area native, Mike Canfield, returned from fifteen years as Australia's deaf theater guru and now living and working with hearing interpreters to choreograph the music and words of musical theater and Robert DeMayo, an exquisite actor of a Thousand Faces.

“Had they been part of the hearing community", insists Finkle, "they would be household names!”

Deaf or Hearing, learn more at info@creativeaccess.org

Scam Alert For St. Rita's School For The Deaf

Source Link - Scam Alert For St. Rita's School For The Deaf

St. Rita's School for the Deaf is warning the community about a potential scam.

The school has been getting reports that several individuals are going door to door selling unauthorized raffle tickets for the chance to win money or a television in St. Rita's name.

Administrators say the school does not solicit donations door to door.

They are asking anyone with information about this scam to call the school at 771-7600 or notify the police.

Olympic crew's sign of the times

Source Link - Olympic crew's sign of the times

A team of web enthusiasts from Grangemouth, near Falkirk, is travelling to Taiwan to gather footage of this year's Deaflympics.

Andrew Thomson, 45, and his crew are filming the games, where 4,000 athletes are competing - including 200 from the UK, for the Sign-tube site.

The service, which attracts about one million hits a month, is considered the "deaf version" of YouTube.

Established in 2006, the site was developed for the deaf community.

Mr Thomson, who has been deaf since birth, said the site provided video phone links, public information, filming and translation services and allowed those in the deaf community "total freedom of speech".

He is frustrated at a lack of provision for himself and others like him when it comes to accessing information and public services and is keen to remove the barriers.

'Daily basis'

He said: "Our aim is that Sign-tube will enable the deaf community to communicate, socialise and express their thoughts and views in their first language, British Sign Language.

"There are about 70,000 BSL users in Britain and most have limited access to information and services because it's not available in their first language."

Initially developed as a social networking site for deaf people, the site was commissioned by NHS 24 to translate swine flu information into British Sign Language.

Mr Thomson said he was hopeful the service would eventually be used by organisations such as the police and local government to avoid the costs and delays associated with interpreters.

In response to a lack of interest from mainstream media about the Deaflympics, Mr Thomson and his team are heading out to Taipei to cover the games.

He added: "We will upload the coverage on a daily basis to the website to enable the deaf community to engage in what is essentially their right, the ability to enjoy and experience their Olympics.

"Hopefully we will raise the profile not only of the games and the 4,000 athletes but also for Sign-tube and Falkirk."

The Sign-tube team are due to leave for Taipei on Thursday 3 September.

Police: Hearing-impaired teen attacked at Forestview High

Source Link - Police: Hearing-impaired teen attacked at Forestview High

A Gastonia teenager was charged Friday with attacking a hearing-impaired teen at Forestview High School.

Joshua F. Carle, 17, of 554 Burlington Court, struck an 18-year-old boy in the back of the head, knocking out his hearing implants, Gaston County Police Sgt. Billy Downey wrote in a magistrate’s order affidavit. Arrest documents did not state whether the teens are students at Forestview.

Carle was charged with assault/battery on a handicapped person and released to his parents’ custody.

Hearing loss not exclusively a boomer issue

Source Link - Hearing loss not exclusively a boomer issue

Last month, I answered a question from a woman whose dad, a hearing impaired member of the boomer generation, refused to get hearing aids, thus missing communication with his family and grandchildren.

I cited a survey conducted by Energizer Batteries on hearing loss. They surveyed more than 1,000 boomer generation adults who were suffering hearing loss. Only 72 percent admitted their hearing loss and only 11 percent chose to wear hearing aids to correct the problem. Those with hearing problems who didn't get hearing aids most typically said they didn't like the way the hearing aids looked or felt and they believed wearing them would make them look or feel older.

Paradoxically, nearly all of them were willing to wear glasses or contacts to correct their vision. In response to my column, I received the letter below. My response follows the letter.

Q. I can understand why the questioner suffers under the delusion that "hearing aid denial" is a boomer issue, as her father is in his 50s. But why did you support that view? This is far from a problem unique to boomers.

My husband and I are both boomers and we had that exact problem with his father, who is most definitely not a boomer (born in the '20s). Throughout the whole of his grandchildren's childhoods, he steadfastly refused to: 1. have the tubes placed in his ears to facilitate drainage (he was convinced he would have a long, blue tube trailing outside each ear); and 2. refused hearing aids because he was convinced they were still as huge and bulky as when he was younger. As a consequence, he missed almost everything his grandchildren said and had to have my husband or me repeat it to him. Nothing we said would sway him.

He finally agreed to hearing aids a few years ago, after he passed 80 years old. It is now possible to carry on a conversation with him. But he missed my children's childhood and I know that it still interferes with their relationship, as he has no idea who they really are.

Hearing aid denial affects all ages and all generations!

A. I absolutely agree. It's not just a generational issue, except it is much more widespread for the very large boomer generation. They were also the first generation to have their hearing so widely affected by listening to extremely loud music. Hearing aid technology has improved dramatically. Hearing aids are also much smaller and less obvious, so please encourage hearing-impaired family members to give them a try.

For additional information on hearing health, go to www.energizer.com/livehealthy or search the Internet. You will be pleasantly surprised to find abundant information on a variety of hearing aids in all price ranges.

Deaf boy, 14, was badly hurt in SUV smash

Source Link - Deaf boy, 14, was badly hurt in SUV smash

A 14-year-old deaf boy remained in intensive care yesterday after an SUV smashed into a Hamilton courier office on Friday and pinned him against a wall.

Initial Police reports stated that a 25-year-old employee of International Bonded Couriers (IBC) had been taken to hospital after the freak accident.

However, it emerged yesterday that the victim was in fact a 14-year-old summer student on his last day at work. His mother told The Royal Gazette: "He's a deaf child. He has injuries to his abdomen his colon was torn and his bowel was punctured.

"He was working behind the counter at the time and he was a direct hit. The SUV pushed him through a wall and he was pinned there."

The mother who asked that her name and her son's name be kept private also revealed: "He's a summer student employee through the community school initiative and it was his very last day. He was supposed to go to a ceremony that night to get his pay cheque and certificate."

She said he remained in a lot of pain in the intensive care unit yesterday, but was in a stable condition and making good progress after surgery for his injuries. He is expected to remain in hospital for another week.

The mother believes that a second young female summer student also suffered a leg injury. However, although a Police spokesman acknowledged yesterday that the original Police report was inaccurate, he denied that a second child was also hurt.

He explained: "Initial information on Friday morning suggested that the driver of the SUV and the injured party were a 35-year-old woman and a 25-year-old male IBC employee respectively. However, subsequently it was ascertained that there were actually two injured parties, a 24-year-old Warwick woman (minor injury) and a 14-year-old young man from St. George's (more seriously injured), both employed by IBC. The driver of the SUV was a 34-year-old St. George's woman. The Police Media Relations Department acknowledges the error and apologizes for this unintentional mistake."

The accident is believed to have happened when the 34-year-old woman, who had picked up a package, attempted to reverse her Honda CRV away from the door of the office on Park Road just before 10 a.m. According to witnesses, the vehicle appears to have slipped into forward gear and ploughed through the glass storefront.

Anthony Easton, a customer in the store at the time, told The Royal Gazette afterwards: "I was almost killed. It just missed me. I had no time to respond to what was going through my head. The car was just there. There was no time to move, to run. The first thing I said was 'what happened?' and immediately I was worried about the young man behind the counter."

The cost of the damage to the store is expected to run into tens of thousands of dollars. A notice at the premises yesterday stated that it remained closed due to the unforseen circumstances.

I’m deaf... and they are dumb

Source Link - I’m deaf... and they are dumb

DOPEY benefits bosses sent a 59-year-old deaf man with lung disease and arthritis to train as a BOUNCER.

Jobcentre staff were so eager to get disabled Joe Seggie off incapacity payments and back to work they paid out £500 of taxpayers' cash to put him through an official door stewards' course.

But Joe has had no luck getting work turfing rowdy revellers out of pubs.

Last night Joe, of Broxburn, West Lothian, said: "When the Jobcentre staff suggested the course I agreed to it and signed up.

"I was a wee bit naive. I'm no Superman.

"The latest interview I had was last week and the guy told me 'no way'.

"The one before that told me I would be an insurance liability."

Joe - who was born deaf but has had 10 per cent of his hearing restored by ops and uses hearing aids - says he is struggling to survive now his £30 a week incapacity benefit has stopped.

The dad-of-five - who is also due to have surgery because of osteoarthritis in his foot - said he was declared fit to work after passing basic physical tests.

Joe - whose last job was as a McDonald's handyman - added: "I worked all my life. I don't want to be a scrounger.

"It's alcoholics and junkies who are getting all the help - maybe I should drink a bottle of vodka a day?"

The Department of Work and Pensions would not comment.

Talk will focus on resources for the hearing-impaired

Source Link - Talk will focus on resources for the hearing-impaired

Gary W. Talley knows firsthand the difficulties of being deaf or hard of hearing.

Talley lost his hearing, but he "hears" through a signer.

Talley, the outreach and community-services programs manager at the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, will talk tomorrow about being deaf and will provide information for those who are deaf, hard of hearing or simply interested in the topic.

His "All About Deafness" session, which is the focus of Synergy Club's luncheon meeting, will detail what resources are available and the latest technologies and gadgets to assist those with hearing problems.

One device alerts people who can't hear. It shakes their bed and flashes lights in every room when a phone or doorbell rings, a baby cries or a smoke detector starts screeching.

Talley will demonstrate that device and others. People who qualify financially can get devices for free after trying them out for 30 days.

Talley also will discuss the department's programs and its outreach efforts.

The Synergy Club meeting starts at noon. It will be held at Beauregard's Thai Room, 103 E. Cary St. in downtown Richmond.

Buy your own lunch for about $10. Park free in the restaurant's lot.

There is no need to register.

Project Deaf India: Helping Those with Hearing Loss

Source Link - Project Deaf India: Helping Those with Hearing Loss

Dr. Raj Desai, founder of Project Deaf India, is a man on a mission.

Recently Dr. Desai sat down with AudiologyOnline's Managing Editor Dr. Carolyn Smaka for an interview to discuss his mission and Project Deaf India.

“I retired in 1990,” Dr. Desai said ironically. “With retirement, I saw two alternatives – play golf or become a beach bum.” Neither appealed to this energetic man who, instead, in retirement, turned his focus on helping others through the foundation of Project Deaf India – a program that helps Indians with hearing loss in a wide variety of ways.

“When I retired, with my daughter Anjali as my inspiration, I decided that I should do some work with the poor, deaf children of India.” Anjali was born profoundly deaf. “As you know, India has one of the highest number of deaf people, children particularly, in the whole world.

So I founded Project Deaf India, and I’m very, very happy that after 10 years of working hard, the project is paying off.” So much for Dr. Desai’s “retirement,” but clearly, this energetic ambassador for better hearing is doing something he clearly enjoys. His excitement for Project Deaf India is evident when given the opportunity to share the project’s history, activities and goals.

The Roots of Project Deaf India

The project began with a newspaper article Dr. Desai received from a friend. In it, the reporter wrote about a remote village in which 20% - 30% of the population was deaf. Dr. Desai explains. “Even as a doctor I couldn’t believe why there should be about 30% deaf out of [a population of] 500 in this distant village in India. Sure, we all know that India has poverty, India has hygiene and sanitation problems, but all of this couldn’t seem to account for 30% deafness.”

Dr. Desai was determined to conduct some field research. He received help from the National Institute of Health, and cooperation from the Indian Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi.

“Despite all of the obstacles – no electricity, no running water, no paved roads to these remote villages – we went…and investigated. We made a video entitled “Silent Village” that got a lot of attention, both from the Rotary [Rotary International], who did an article on it for a Rotary publication that is distributed throughout the world, and from others. That’s how Project Deaf India started,” this humanitarian explained in his interview with AudiologyOnline.

Readers can view “Silent Village” at ProjectDeafIndia.org to learn more about the work of Dr. Desai’s team in discovering how these village populations communicated – something required to carry on everything from commerce to celebrations.

Desai explained the unique problem he and villagers face. “Sign language is different around the world. There’s Japanese sign language, French sign language, American sign language and so forth.

India is a challenge because it has 38 languages recognized by the government in the whole country. They are totally different languages. If you live in the south, you don’t understand the language of the north and vice-versa. At the present time, most deaf people in India now use a combination of body language and a type of sign language combined together”

It doesn’t take much thought to realize that (1) this is hardly an effective, accurate means of communicating and (2) the deaf population remains isolated, even among the individuals who make up the deaf and heard of hearing groups within the country.

The difference in language presents a stumbling block not found among deaf students in America. Whether from the Deep South or the Great Northwest, the most recognized form of sign language that is used and taught is the United States is American Sign Language (ASL). According to Karen Nakamura of DeafLibrary.org, ASL is a “complex visual-spatial language that is used by the Deaf community in the United States and English-speaking parts of Canada. It is a linguistically complete, natural language”; however, shares no grammatical similarities to English.
A Unified Sign Language for India: Bollywood to the rescue

“For the past 10 years,” explained Dr. Desai, “a colleague of mine has been working on making a common sign language based on Hindi [one of the 38 recognized languages].

The purpose of my deciding to use Hindi as the basis for a common sign language was very simple. India has the largest film industry in the world, producing about 1,000 to 2,000 films every year. Everybody loves these extremely popular films – it is the most common form of entertainment. If all people understand Hindi in movies, why shouldn’t they speak Hindi in sign language?”
The Many Objectives of Project Deaf India

Mother and baby await newborn hearing screening

In addition to the creation of a unified signing language, Project Deaf India has set a number of goals for its dedicated staff of hearing professionals lead by Dr. Desai.

“The first goal was early detection of deafness and intervention. This is what is now common practice in the UK and US. Any child that is born in a hospital or any birthing center is tested for deafness, everywhere in the United States. As you know, the portable equipment that is used to screen babies for hearing loss costs about $5,000 or so and the results are very accurate.”

Dr. Desai continued. “Of course follow-up, such as with intervention and amplification, is also critical. In India, many children are born with hearing loss that is medically treatable, so in a matter of a few months, many children can be helped just with intervention or surgery.

In the US, many children who are identified at birth are fit with hearing aids by age 1 – 2 months. This is very important for the development of speech, language and cognition, and is of course the long term goal in India as well.

But my second immediate goal with Project Deaf India was to decrease the large incidence of deafness. India has a National Vaccination Plan but it does not include measles and rubella vaccination. When they are included, it will decrease deafness and also blindness drastically in India.”

Dr. Desai was able to speak with the president of India, not a politician but a man of science, but as Dr. Desai puts it, “I thought my words fell on deaf ears.”
Project Deaf India Grows

That’s why Dr. Desai was a bit surprised one day. “I heard from a fellow Rotarian in India who told me, "You know, your projects are going very well." And I could hardly believe it. So I approached the chief of the India Health Ministry, and she confirmed it. “Yes,” she said, “we have started a program called "Prevention and Early Detection of Deafness in India”.

Dr. Desai tackled another major problem through Project Deaf India. “One major obstacle to the goal of early detection and intervention was that there were no trained audiologists in India.

There are only 1,000 audiologists in the whole country of one billion people. Neither is there ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctors to detect deafness accurately. So this program that has been started, at the cost of approximately $700 million, will train enough ENT doctors and audiologists by 2010, which is just around the corner from now.”

Dr. Dave Citron, audiologist and owner of South Shore Hearing Center near Boston, and his team were instrumental in beginning the organized process of implementing a newborn hearing screening and follow-up program.”

Working through the Rotary, Dr. Citron’s efforts to implement an early diagnostic protocol is complete and Project Deaf India continues to not only meet hearing health objectives, but to create new goals to improve the hearing of India’s one billion citizens.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Deaf, but distinction no bar

Source Link - Deaf, but distinction no bar

While for many engineering students clearing the four years without an ATKT is a dream, Sagar Patil, a 24-year-old hearing-impaired student from Father Agnel College, Bandra, achieved the feat with ease.

Patil, who is suffering from profound deafness, scored 77% (distinction) in final-year university exams. "I was determined to score well. Some colleges were of the opinion that I shouldn't be opting for engineering with my defect. I wanted to prove them wrong," said Patil, who is also suffering from a minor speech disability. A Prabhadevi resident, he has a hearing defect since birth, and went to a special school in Dadar. He was the second highest scorer in the city under the handicap category in SSC exams, which he passed with 84%.

He was always interested in engineering and hence took admission in a four-year diploma course at VJTI, Matunga. He understood some of the concepts by lip reading his professors. Taking notes and tallying them later with those of his friends also helped him a lot, feels his mother Nutan.

Sagar believed in self-study and refused to go to coaching classes. "Sagar was never satisfied with anything he achieved. After his diploma, he wanted to get a degree as well.

So he took admission in the second-year Bachelor of Engineering course at Father Agnel's, and now after scoring 77%, he wants to do his masters abroad," said his mother.
To help her son, Nutan had took a course in teaching hearing-impaired students when Sagar was in school. She was even planning to take up a job in teaching, but gave up the idea as she wanted her son to study well.

Since the Patil family cannot afford his higher studies, Sagar has planned to work for two years. However, this effort is not without its hurdles, as he has had to face discrimination from prospective employers. "Noting his performance in class, many employers who came for campus placements used to shortlist his name. But during interviews, he was rejected. It frustrated him a lot, but he recovered after a leading firm appointed him as a trainee," said Nutan.

Deaf children tune in to lessons at hi-tech school

Source Link - Deaf children tune in to lessons at hi-tech school

Mainstream classes cater for special needs

When children enter a class, their hearing devices tune in to a frequency on which the teacher transmits

Five years ago, Landi Maphumulo communicated with hand gestures and by muttering.

Today, the Grade 4 pupil has not only dropped his hand signals, but he can also string together full sentences and communicate with his audiologist without looking at the teacher to lip-read.

Nine-year-old Landi, who contracted meningitis as a baby and lost his hearing as a result, is one of 76 hearing-impaired pupils attending a mainstream private school of 462 pupils, the Eduplex Primary School and Training Centre in Queenswood, Pretoria. The school operates from potty-trained toddlers in Grade 0000 to Grade 7.

Outside, in the “interactive garden”, where the plants have name tags , pupils chat among themselves, and inside the classrooms they listen intently to their teachers.

But if you look — and listen — more closely, you realise that it is not just another school.

Here, the hexagonal classrooms have been acoustically treated to accommodate the school’s hard-of-hearing pupils.

Some of them have not yet mastered speech — but are well on their way to doing so, thanks to the facilities at the school, believed to be the only one of its kind in South Africa.

Other schools such as the Carel du Toit Centre in Cape Town — where deaf children learn to speak — offer similar services, but have less technology and cater exclusively for the hearing-impaired.

According to headmaster Jannie de Goede, Eduplex has a “very special model of inclusion” — it is an ordinary, mainstream school where hearing-impaired children follow exactly the same curriculum and learn alongside their hearing peers.

Here, children wearing hearing aids and those who have had cochlea implants are taught to listen and talk in an environment set up for the deaf.

The centre’s assistant director, Jan Grobbelaar, said the classrooms had even been specifically designed in a hexagon shape — representing a bee hive — to fit in individual rooms where teachers have one-on-one sessions with the deaf pupils after school.

“The classes have been acoustically treated. The walls have pin-board carpets for acoustics,” he said.

“There are more lights than normal, so the teachers’ lips are always visible.”

Each class has its own FM system. When children enter a classroom, their hearing devices automatically tune in to its radio frequency .

The teachers wear FM transmitters which amplify their voices and block out other ambient sound. The device has a 30m range.

“The challenge is that the teachers have to remember to switch off the transmitters when they sit in the staff room,” joked De Goede.

The hearing-impaired pupils follow the same curriculum as their hearing peers, but also get extra tuition after school.

They have sessions with the centre’s four audiologists, who also make sure that their hearing devices are in working order on a daily basis.

“It is very important that the deaf children aren’t taking time away from the hearing children,” said audiologist Jayne Barnard.

An international consultant in natural auditory education for the hearing-impaired, Dr Morag Clarke, said technology had made it easy for deaf children to hear, and learn to speak and make use of the spoken language.

“You need to be able to speak well to read well, and you have to read well to do well academically,” she said.

Having hearing-impaired children at a mainstream school is in line with the government’s policy on inclusive education for special needs pupils.

However, not all support the idea of teaching deaf children to talk without using sign language as well.

Ingrid Parkin, director of deaf education at the Deaf Federation of South Africa, said: “A strong language foundation leads to good reading ability, but nowhere does it say that this strong language foundation has to be spoken language .

“If we were to adopt an exclusively spoken approach, we would be excluding the deaf child from the deaf community”.

Paul Simmons, a lecturer in South African sign language at the University of the Witwatersrand, compared teaching the deaf to hear to making blind children see.

“ One teaches the blind child to adapt with Braille, walking canes, dogs for the blind,” he said.

“Do those adaptations require the use of sight? Obviously not. Such an approach should also be made with the deaf child. So what approach works? Sign language.”

An argument for the continued teaching of ASL to deaf children

Source Link - An argument for the continued teaching of ASL to deaf children

This is an interesting commentary on the need for deaf children to be bilingual. The video is presented in ASL, so I've included the transcript below:

Hi! I would like to share about the article written by Francois Grosjean who provided his perspective by researching Deaf children. The article mentioned that ASL should be the primary language of a Deaf child. Despite the use of various technological aids ( i.e. cochlear implants), sign language is mandatory period. Why? I will explain the reasons for you to think about it.

When hearing babies are born, they normally acquire language in the very first years of life that their parents communicate with them and that babies receive information by listening to surrounding sound environment such as T.V., radio, people having conversations, etc. Even some parents sign with their hearing babies making it more accessible. "Language in turn is an important means of establishing and solidifying social and personal ties between the child and his/her parents. What is true of the hearing child must also become true of the Deaf child."

It is crucial for Deaf children to see a visual, 100 percent accessible, natural signed language that they are able to completely comprehend the information as they grow up.
But is this really happening for all Deaf children? Unfortunately, no. Why? Organizations like AG Bell, AVT (Auditory Verbal Therapy), etc. think it is not necessary to include ASL but focus on listening and speaking ONLY. That only approach HURTS! I will explain to you why.

First of all, we don't know for sure if a Deaf baby will grasp information completely through auditory. All cochlear implant users don't pick up the information in the same way. We know that some hearing aid users have developed strong listening skills and some of them don't at all in spite of having the same decibel loss. Too often, people assume by exposing one language (oral) would do just fine until the moment they realize that this approach did not work. So what happens to that child? "He or she falls BEHIND in his/her development, be it linguistic, cognitive, social, or personal." It becomes TOO LATE!

This issue is disturbing to DBC that this oral only approach is GAMBLING the Deaf child's life away from academic development, social development, healthy emotional development, etc. We need to advocate more strongly on having both languages, ASL and English, for all Deaf children.

The responsibility, the duty and the goal of DBC are to make sure that ALL Deaf babies from the start have access to natural sign language that is acquired naturally as much as possible where two-way communication takes place. For a Deaf child to bridge to English (spoken English and/or written English), the most important part for academic success and future professional achievements is to master written English. Once a Deaf child is the ability to write well, he/she can do anything!

By using one language (oral) approach and excluding ASL with those who use listening assistive devices, is it a right way? No! We know that obviously oralism involves RISK! BET! GAMBLE!

Having the ability to develop cognitive/personal skills will be minimized when using oral only approach. Why limit the Deaf child's ability? He or she would have developed much more advanced in these areas (linguistic, cognitive, social and personal). Oral approach with most Deaf children is not perceived as communicating in a two-way street in a natural way. Research states that for a Deaf child to use oral only approach impedes communication and that the daunting effort to develop speech skills is consumed rather than focusing on developing cognitive skills. When using ASL, "it allows the young Deaf child and his/her parents to communicate early, and fully, on the condition that they acquire it quickly." ASL play an important role in the Deaf child's cognitive and social development and it will help him/her acquire knowledge about the world. They can express about anything that is much easier and clearer for them to communicate.

Hearing parents can learn signs and they need to get more support. What DBC wants to see happening out there is the establishment of ASL Therapy Centers. We don't even have one here in America but we always have numerous speech therapy centers even hotline phone numbers where immediate attention can be given. More fund is needed to establish such centers where support to facilitate hearing parents' signing skills will be much more possible in the future.

In the meantime, DBC has been sharing an important message that every Deaf baby has the right to sign. Why is this so important? There are numerous benefits and opportunities using ASL when a Deaf child grows up. In this case, opportunities are more of GUARANTEES.

BILINGUAL (ASL/ENGLISH) GUARANTEES A DEAF CHILD'S FUTURE!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Let Them Hear Foundation Unveils New Web Resource for Parents of and Professionals working with Children with Disabilities

The Let Them Hear Foundation Unveils New Web Resource for Parents of and Professionals working with Children with Disabilities

The Let Them Hear Foundation (LTHF) announced today its creation of a new Special Education Resource website for parents of children with disabilities and for professionals who would like to learn about the special education services that are available to children with disabilities (IDEA.letthemhear.org).

Since 2004, LTHF has helped individuals denied coverage by their health insurers obtain hearing related surgeries, services, devices, and other technologies. Specific appeal areas include cochlear implants, Baha® implants for children with conductive hearing loss, atresia repair, microtia reconstruction, balance disorders, and other hearing related devices and surgery.

Director of the LTHF Advocacy Program Amy Brown, J.D., states, "After receiving hearing devices and services, many children encountered difficulty accessing the early intervention, or special education and related services to which they were entitled under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004)."

In response to this problem, LTHF chose to help children with hearing loss receive the services for which they were eligible under IDEA. Ms. Brown comments, "The services provided under IDEA are designed to meet the unique needs of children with educationally significant disabilities, including hearing loss, and to prepare them for further education, employment and independent living."

The website will aid parents and the professionals working with children affected by any of the thirteen disability categories defined by IDEA 2004, as well as provide information relating to the specific category of hearing impairment, including deafness.

LTHF Advocacy Program Advocate Taylor Hoang, J.D. explains, "The special education website explains key concepts of IDEA 2004. IDEA topic summaries, which are also available in Spanish, describe the early intervention, special education and related services available to IDEA-eligible children."

Some of the topics discussed include Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP), Individual Education Program (IEP), Assistive Technology Devices and Services, and Due Process. The IDEA topic summaries provide both general explanation of subject matter and applicable legal language of IDEA 2004 and its implementing Regulations.

LTHF Advocacy Program Advocate Sharon Rogers, J.D. says, "After reading any IDEA topic summary, the reader will have a general understanding of the subject matter covered, the relevant law as it applies to the subject, as well as practical tips for both parents of children and the professionals serving the needs of these children with disabilities."

Regarding information collection for the website, Ms. Hoang states, "Attorneys researched various websites, including the Department of Education IDEA webpage. Private attorneys, specializing in Special Education law, were consulted when needed. The layout and organization of the topic summaries resemble a legal brief but are written in parent-friendly language. The reader can also click on a summary hyperlink that takes them to the corresponding law section on the Department of Education website or other websites as appropriate."

Founder and former Director of the Advocacy Program Sheri Byrne-Haber, J.D. points out, “IDEA is intended to be implemented the same everywhere, yet often it is not, because school districts do not understand their obligations to provide children with hearing loss with the assistive technology and services they are eligible to receive. Parents also may not fully understand what services their child is entitled to under IDEA. A website such as this will give both parents and professionals the required information in an easy-to-understand format to ensure the child receives a free appropriate public education."

The Special Education IDEA website will eventually be a subscription based resource but currently is being offered free of charge for a limited time only. Interested individuals will want to take advantage of this great opportunity to explore the website. To learn more about the special education website, please visit IDEA.letthemhear.org, or call Amy Brown at 650.617.2255 or toll-free at 877. HEAR HELP.

The Let Them Hear Foundation was founded in 2002 by Dr. Joseph Roberson and his wife, Julia. LTHF is the leader in giving individuals and families affected by hearing loss the objective information, expert advice, clinical and financial support, and legal access they need to choose the hearing alternative that is right for them.

Friday, August 28, 2009

When public schools fail, consider private placement

Source Link - When public schools fail, consider private placement

Public schools don’t always accommodate special needs children with the services they require to succeed in school. Public schools may blame lack of funding or resources to give your child the education he deserves.

“We’d love to provide Eric a smaller classroom, but the school doesn’t have one.”

“We understand that Bella needs help with oral expression, but we don’t offer that here.”

If the public school system is failing to meet your child’s needs, private school might be the answer you are looking for. There are a multitude of private schools that cater to children with learning disabilities. Worried about the tuition? If the public school system is failing to meet your child’s needs and your child has not made effective progress, your school district must pay for it.

It is important to do research before you choose the right private school for your child. Massachusetts Association of 766 Approved Schools lists all approved special education schools in Massachusetts. The directory includes the disabilities each school specializes in. For example, Brightside For Families and Children offers, day, residential and summer programs for children with a wide range of disabilities from Asperger's Syndrome to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder to Psychotic Disorder while the Clarke School for the Deaf specializes in hearing impaired and deaf children. Be sure to call the schools you are interested in and talk with them on the phone to see if they offer services that cater to your child’s specific needs.

Interview schools. Schedule appointments for you and your child to visit potential schools. A private school will want to interview you and your child to see if you are a good candidate. Remember, the interview is for your benefit as well. You want to ensure that the private school you choose is the best fit for your child’s needs.

Be prepared. When you go to your interviews, prepare a list of questions for the administrators and bring a pad of paper and pen to take notes. Also bring a folder for information the schools may give you.

Be honest. Do not hold back any information about your special needs child. It is important for the schools you look at to know your child’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, if your child has emotional or social behaviors and the school you’re interviewing is not equipped with an adjustment counselor, psychologist or onsite staff who can help your child succeed in social settings, it may not be the right school for you.

Private placement is not an option for all students. Work with your child’s public school before exploring private options. It may take time to get approved funding for your special needs child. You need to prove that the public school system is not providing your child with the free and appropriate education he deserves. However, it is an option worth pursuing if your school district is not providing your child with the services he needs. Private schools for children with learning disabilities have the resources and specialized staff to help your child succeed.
For more info: To order the most recent printed version of the MAAPS Directory of Member Schools, please send an email message to info@maaps.org. MAAPS willl send it right out with an invoice for $10 -- this fee covers printing & mailing costs.
For states other than Massachusetts, call your school district's Special Education Director or the Department of Education and ask about the listing for private schools in your area.

Cochlear launches breakthrough hearing implant

Source Link -
Cochlear launches breakthrough hearing implant


Cochlear is launching a new hearing system that gives profoundly deaf people a more advanced hearing performance, with what it claims is the world’s thinnest cochlear implant.

People with impaired hearing want to lead an active life, to communicate in groups without being distracted by background noise and talk comfortably on the telephone. Parents of deaf children want them to develop spoken language and to access the curriculum in the classroom.

The Cochlear Nucleus 5 System sets a new standard in the field of cochlear implant technology. Measuring only 3.9mm thick and 40% slimmer than previous generation Cochlear implants, it is much less obtrusive to wear, easier to use and less complex for surgeons to implant.

Professor Gerard O'Donoghue, Professor of Otology and Neurotology at the University of Nottingham and Queen's Medical Centre NHS Trust in Nottingham and cochlear implant surgeon, commented: “The launch of the Cochlear Nucleus 5 System represents a quantum leap forward in hearing implant technology. Not only does it offer an even higher level of performance than ever before, its slim design makes for minimally invasive surgery techniques. This means surgery times and post-operative recovery times can be significantly reduced — both important factors from the surgeon’s point of view, particularly when treating infants and young children.”

Deaf performer uses his heart to hear

Source Link - Deaf performer uses his heart to hear

The only thing that actor-dancer, Romalito “Rome” Mallari, is deficient in is his ability to hear. The 29-year-old De La Salle-College of St. Benilde deaf scholar turns in a stunning performance in Mike Sandejas’ Cinemalaya crowd favorite, “Dinig Sana Kita.” We recently interviewed him, with Giselle Montero acting as his interpreter.

Dream come true

How did he get the part? Rome recalled, “Mike was looking for a deaf actor, and I was recommended. It was a dream come true for me!” Of the acting workshop he went through with director Laurice Guillen: “You can’t play pretend. It’s important to have the mind and heart connected to each other to help you express more.”

His childhood consisted of being alone with his brother or just staying at home. He shared, “Our neighbors couldn’t understand me. My father was uncomfortable about the situation. So, sometimes, I was left to play on my own.”

Where did he draw his range of emotions for the film? He swiftly answered, “From my heart. When my character was left by his mother, I had to relate it with my past.”

When Rome’s “father” died, he learned that he was adopted. Unfortunately, no one else knew of his real parents’ whereabouts. He reminisced, “I was in my early 20s the first time I heard about it. I was shocked. But, my foster father was good to me.”

Did he rebel at that surprising revelation? He replied, “It was hard to deal with it initially. But, I want to show people how we can work together and be friends. Let’s open our hearts and minds!”

For now, Rome’s greatest desire is to find his real parents. And, his search for answers continues.

RV group plans benefit walk for Dogs for the Deaf

Source Link - RV group plans benefit walk for Dogs for the Deaf

The Oregon Good Sam RV Association will sponsor its annual Dog Walk benefit for Dogs for the Deaf at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, at Champoeg State Park in St. Paul.

Dog owners and their four-legged friends are invited to travel the two-mile course to raise money for Dogs for the Deaf. The $10 registration fee includes the day-use park fee, all festivities, a door-prize ticket and a bandanna for Fido.

Registration is at 10 a.m. the day of the event. For more information, call Ginny Barcroft at (541) 258-5246.

New headset by Geemarc helps deaf people save millions

Source Link - New headset by Geemarc helps deaf people save millions

DEAF and hard of hearing people can now take advantage of millions of pounds of free phone calls using web-based software, say experts.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) software such as Skype allows users to make free calls to each other. Deaf and hard of hearing people often struggle to hear the person on the other end of the line due to the lower sound quality and scarcity of specialist equipment.

However, new technology developed by a UK company has arrived in the shape of adapted headsets compatible with hearing aids which help amplify the sound.

Geemarc Telecom, the company behind the CLA3 headset, which retails at GBP29, says the product will help up to nine million people make better use of free software and save millions of pounds.

Andrew Grossman, managing director of Geemarc, said: "Historically, deaf and hard of hearing people have struggled to use free online calls because of the lack of specialist equipment to help them hear the call.

"This headset means that people with hearing aids can hear calls more clearly and can now make better use of VoIP and similar chat services.

"We've developed this product with input from deaf and hard of hearing people and we are helping them take advantage of this worldwide revolution in telecommunications.

"Many deaf and hearing impaired people have friends all over the world and come together online socially as a result of their hearing impairment. We feel that easier access to VoIP software will help them save millions of pounds in traditional international and national phone bills over the next few years." About VoIP VoIP allows people to speak to others either locally or internationally over an internet connection rather than a phone line.

VoIP works by converting vocal signals into high frequency digital signals which can then be transmitted over the internet in real time.

If you regularly talk to people in other countries, or simply in other area codes, VoIP can bring huge savings because the usual cost involved in phoning long distance is no longer a factor. Instead you can use your internet connection to talk to your friends for free.

What do I need? To start using VoIP you'll need a computer with internet access, plus a microphone and speakers or a headset (so that you can talk into the microphone and hear the person you're talking to either through a headset or through speakers). Specialist VoIP phones are also available. You might also buy a webcam which will allow you to see the person you are talking to and for them to see you, much like a videophone. Bear in mind using video can sometimes lessen the quality of your audio connection.

Skype isn't the only provider in the VoIP market however; names such as Tesco and BT are now realising the potential of a computer to computer communication medium and have begun to offer broadband packages to reflect this capability.

CONTACT: Geemarc Telecom WWW: http://www.geemarc.com Peter Davies, for Geemarc Telecom e-mail: peter@rmspr.co.uk Tel: +44 (0)161 927 3131 ((M2 Communications disclaims all liability for information provided within M2 PressWIRE. Data supplied by named party/parties. Further information on M2 PressWIRE can be obtained at http://www.presswire.net on the world wide web. Inquiries to info@m2.com.

Exercise puts medical students in deaf patients' shoes

Source Link - Exercise puts medical students in deaf patients' shoes

India Johnson went from a primary care physician to a psychiatrist to an emergency room to a social worker and a pharmacy, all as part of a lesson in empathy.

The 22-year-old from Hinesville, Ga., was among about 100 first-year medical students Friday at Deaf Strong Hospital, a role-reversal exercise at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

The event, the only one of its type in the country, has students consult "health providers" who are actually members of the local deaf community. It was started by med students in 1998.

Johnson couldn't communicate clearly, so she wasn't sure she had a diagnosis of meningitis. Now she knows what it's like for people who can't make themselves understood.

"It's very frustrating."

The students were given a card with symptoms and where to start. They couldn't talk, not even to each other. The "health providers" were given scripts, and only some had interpreters.

Johnson had to present fever, headache, blurry vision, loss of appetite, difficulty concentrating and a stiff neck. "It's confusing. At each step, you don't know what's going on. You can't relate to them what you want to relate."

Exactly.

"This is normal for us," organizer Matthew Starr, a senior instructor in the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine, signed to interpreter Chris Kelley. "To realize that just because someone doesn't speak English, it isn't a reflection of their intelligence level at all."

Even the providers found it difficult. "I tried to come up with different gestures," Vicki Hurwitz, a former outreach worker at Rochester School for the Deaf, signed through Kelley. "They really were not getting it."

Hurwitz, playing a psychiatrist, asked Johnson to repeat three signs. It took her several tries. Hurwitz then gave her a diagnosis of brain infection, which Johnson took to mean meningitis, and sent her to the ER.

The conversation there was fuzzy. "I think she asked me if I'm taking any medication," Johnson said. "But maybe she was giving me some. I think there was medication in there somewhere."

Social worker Audrey Schell, to Johnson's relief, used the notepad at her table when she saw that the student could only stare and smile in response to her signs. Too much study? she wrote. Yes! Johnson wrote back.

Johnson, who's considering neurology, said the exercise underscored the importance of patience and empathy.

"I can't imagine what it's really like for someone who's really sick."

Michigan School for the Deaf team tackling challenge

Source Link - Michigan School for the Deaf team tackling challenge

While the defense waited, the offense huddled, planning the upcoming play.

From outside the players' huddle, they looked like any other team at high school football practice. The young players stood, sweat soaking their T-shirts, arms slung over each other's shoulders, as their coach reviewed the next play.

From the inside, however, they resembled the original football huddle -- invented by deaf players more than 100 years ago -- silently watching their coach's moving hands.

Then, the teammates placed their hands in the center of the huddle, cheered and stepped to the line.

The Michigan School for the Deaf football team is back.

The members have got a long way to go before the season starts in about two weeks. They are a team of players who have never competed and who have minimal equipment.

But, the players say they are ready.

They've been ready for a while.

"We did go up to the administration last year, and the athletic directors, and we asked them if they could set up a football team," said senior and team co-captain Ameen Algohaim through an interpreter. "They finally set it up. We're excited about it. This is great."

The Michigan School for the Deaf hasn't had a football team since 1986.

With limited students and limited funds, maintaining an 11-player football team was next to impossible. Then Athletic Director Nikki Coleman heard that the Michigan High School Association was setting up an eight-player football league.

That was all it took.

Christian Gariata (right), of Detroit, looks on as teammates work on drills with Michigan School for the Deaf Varsity Football Assistant Coach Jeff Courtney during a practice at the Flint School.

"All right. So let's try it," she said.

The students are happy with the decision.

"This in my last year here at this school, and I love sports, so I figured why not play football. This is their first year having it here in quite a while, so I'm happy that I'm here," said senior Joel Wickman, the team's other co-captain.
Head coach Pete Eckman said the eight-player style, which uses a narrower field -- 40 yards wide instead of the traditional 53 -- is faster-paced.
"It's very quick. It's a lot like arena football," he said.

Eckman is also faced with the challenge of getting a full team ready for a game the members have never competitively played until now.

"It's full contact. This isn't two-hand touch. This isn't flag football. This is," Eckman said, banging his fist into palm, "this is varsity football in the state of Michigan."

Eckman said he's been evaluating the players while teaching them the game, seeing who can pass, who can catch and who can block.

But he faces another challenge: Eckman can hear, and none of his players can.
Eckman said he applied for the job -- leaving an assistant coaching position in Fowlerville, where he and his daughter live -- for three reasons.

"I wanted to do it here, one, because it's the first time in 20 years since they've had it; two, because I love to coach football, I live to do it," he said.

The third, he said, was because his 12-year-old daughter, Kassie Ross, who was born hearing impaired and recently lost her hearing almost entirely, enrolled at Michigan School for the Deaf and told him how badly the students wanted the program.

At home, Kassie can read her father's lips. On the football field, Eckman doesn't have that advantage.

The Flint JournalMichigan School for the Deaf Varsity Football Head Coach, Peter Eckman, is hugged by Mohammad Algohaim (right) and Matthew Whitfield (left), both of Detroit, as they walk off the soccer field of Michigan School for the Deaf in Flint on Thursday excited after a morning football practice.


For him, it's a whole new way of coaching.

"It's like a trust thing," he said. "I don't automatically demand their respect. I'm earning their respect as their coach. That's not normal for football. Football is usually, the coach demands your respect right off the bat. Hands down, that's it. I'm the coach; you're the player. That's it. This is more like a family."

And it ends up, Eckman's learning a thing or two on the field, too. While the players learn football from him, he's learning to sign from them.

It's not just language barriers and inexperience that stands in the team's way. They still need goal posts, a scoreboard, bleachers and other football equipment, such as tackling sleds and dummies.

The team already has helmets and shoulder pads, and Eckman has a "gentlemen's agreement" with the other teams' coaches to not use goal posts this season -- all the teams they play will run only two-point conversions.

And, in the meantime, the school is continuing to raise money to support the new team. The goal is to raise about $200,000 to buy all the equipment.

The team will compete with six Michigan teams and two out-of-state teams from Ohio ad Wisconsin. Only the Ohio and Wisconsin schools are deaf.

Eckman said he hopes that there will be at least 20 schools in the state next year playing eight-player football.

Despite the challenges, on the football field the team is sweating, laughing and cheering each other on.

"Everything's going good ... just learning all the drills about football, blocking, working on passing and catching," said freshman Christian Garita, who just transferred to the school. "I'm very excited to play football."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Modified smoke alarms help hearing impaired

Source Link - Modified smoke alarms help hearing impaired

The Broken Hill Hearing and Resource Centre has received 11 modified smoke alarms from the fire brigade for people who have a hearing impairment.

The alarms were handed over as part of a joint project called Sleep Safe.

The Broken Hill station officer, Sue Collins, says the smoke alarms are more complex than a regular alarm.

"A hearing able person can just go down to the hardware store and buy a $10 alarm - a person with a hearing impairment cannot do that," she said.

"These alarms consist of three different components, a detector with an RF receiver in them, a receiving unit which has a strobe light attached and a vibrating pad which goes under the pillow.

"The unit all together costs something like $450."

The coordinator of the Hearing and Resource Centre, Cath Bonnes, says donations are needed if more smoke alarms are to be purchased.

"There are people out there ... [who] can afford to give to us, we know everyone can't, but we would be grateful for any assistance whatever and Broken Hill can be proud that it's looking after their own," she said.

Pakistan to take part in Summer Deaf Olympics

Source Link - Pakistan to take part in Summer Deaf Olympics

Pakistan deaf contingent will take part in badminton, bowling and swimming competitions of the Summer Deaf Olympics.

The 21st Summer Olympics will be held at Taiwan on September 5 to 15. Moneeb Jan, chairman Pakistan Deaf Sports Council and Imran Khurram, secretary of the PDSC will represent the country in the Olympics, said a press release.

Talent guru rescues deaf athlete’s Olympic dream

Source Link - Talent guru rescues deaf athlete’s Olympic dream

A TEENAGE table tennis champ whose special Olympics hopes were dashed when the government axed his funding is to fulfil his dream with the help of TV's Mr Nasty.

X Factor's Simon Cowell has stepped in to help fund Team GB's James Meyers, from Orpington, to travel to Taipei, Taiwan, to compete in the Deaflympics this Sunday.

Music mogul Cowell heard of the 17-year-old's plight through his mother who is friends with one of the governors at James' school, Ovingdean Hall in Brighton.

All 175 competitors selected for the GB team were told just weeks before the event that the UK Sport Board were diverting funds to London's 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and would not fund deaf athletes.

Each one of them had to raise a minimum of £2,800 for travel and accommodation in order to compete in the 21st summer Deaflympics, founded in Britain in 1924 as the first games ever for disabled athletes.

Mr Meyers, who only took up table tennis 24 months ago, said: "They told us that they don't expect us to win any medals and that we couldn't go. I was very depressed but kept playing the game and hoped that we could come up with the money.

"Then I heard that Simon Cowell had helped fund me and I was so surprised. I watch X Factor now and can't believe it's him that supported me. I am writing to him to say thank you and I would like to meet him to shake his hand."

Proud mum Heather, 48, said that James has been tipped to go far by his coach bronze medallist Shu Huang, and plans are afoot to send him to the Table Tennis Academy in Hong Kong for further training.

She said: "Simon Cowell has made James' dream come true, he is both nervous and excited about competing in Hong Kong."

James, who became profoundly deaf after contracting Cryptococcus Meningitis when he was just nine months old, won his first tournament at the Horsham Junior One Star against a Sussex County Player last month.

He was selected for the GB Team before Christmas but was told months later that he had to fund himself.

Mrs Meyers added: "It was extremely difficult in the time he had left to raise the money. It is the height of discrimination as for them to raise this money realistically was too much and their goals were taken away.

"This is effectively pushing them out in this big horrible world when they are proud to represent the country.

"It sends out a terrible message considering we are hosting the next Olympic Games."

UK Deaf Sport (UKDS) has been campaigning for funding since UK Sport's decision to withdraw funding and secured more than £150,000 from various donors.

A spokesperson for the UK Sport Board said they took UK Deaf Sport's request for funding 'very seriously' but were unable to offer an award, adding: "We are currently operating with a shortfall of £50 million to support our Olympic and Paralympic ambitions; and as such, we are not currently able to fund all of those sports at an optimal level for the period up to 2012.

"As a result, this has led to us having to make some very tough decisions and we are phasing out funding of non-Olympic and Paralympic sports beyond existing commitments.

"Having said that, deaf athletes who meet the performance standard for UK Sport's World Class Performance Programme, and are nominated by their National Governing Body for funding to enable them to compete at the Olympic or Paralympic Games would, of course, be funded."

At the time of going to press, a spokesman for Simon Cowell was unavailable for comment.

Silent Thunander jailed, charged

Source Link - Silent Thunander jailed, charged

Man charged with lewd acts with minor, child pornography possession

By Meghan McCormick

A former University of Oklahoma football player who was part of the 2000 National Championship team has been accused of innapropriately touching a 9-year-old girl and possessing child pornography, according to court records.

Eric S. Thunander, 29, was charged late Tuesday afternoon in Cleveland County District Court with three counts of lewd acts with a child and possession of child pornography, according to court papers. Thunander was arrested and booked into the Cleveland County Detention Center at 5:26 p.m. Tuesday. His bond has been set at $50,000.

Thunander played football at OU from 1999 to 2001. Thunander, who is hearing impaired, authored his autobiography, "Silent Thunder," and has been honored for his life's story.

A probable cause affidavit filed with the charges shows a 9-year-old reported to daycare personnel on Aug. 10 that Thunander touched her inappropriately. Norman police were notified and the girl underwent a forensic interview at the Mary Abbott Children's House.

According to the affidavit, Thunander was interviewed at the Norman Police Department in the presence of a sign language interpreter. Thunander confessed verbally and in writing to the incident that the girl reported. He also told investigators about two more incidents with the same child, according to the affidavit.

On Aug. 13, Neil Hamilton, an investigator with the Cleveland County District Attorney's office, questioned Thunander about possessing child pornography.

"Mr. Thunander admitted that he had been downloading and viewing child pornography using Limewire," Hamilton stated in the affidavit. "Mr. Thunander signed a consent search waiver and gave me his computer so it could be forensically examined."

Local Mother Leads Crusade for Deaf and Blind Education

Source Link - Local Mother Leads Crusade for Deaf and Blind Education

A local school is trying to get a new program off the ground for next fall geared towards helping the 185 deaf and blind children currently in Kentucky.

Debbie Garvue is a teacher, but six years ago, she also became the mother of a deaf and blind daughter.

Maddy is a student at the Heuser Hearing and Language Academy. She’s only been here for a year, but it's done wonders for her. So now her mom wants to make sure they not only continue to help Maddy, but everyone else like her.

"Since Maddy has been here they have not only given Maddy her voice, they've given me my child back," says Debbie.

Maddy is nearly blind -- only able to see partially by looking down with her head back. She's also deaf but she can hear through a hearing device. But now, after less than a year, she can understand what she's hearing and seeing.

“She likes to roll in her own wheelchair, she likes to do it herself,” says Debbie of her six year old, who is acting like a true six year old. “Everything is me, me me. Now - she's definitely acting her age now that she's figured out what language and communication is."

But Maddy is by far the youngest in her class. Because she is blind and deaf, she needs more time in the program - that has an age limit of five. So her mother is taking classes to extend her own teaching degree. She's piloting a new program... just for children like Maddy who need more.

“I said to her, we have the building, we have the space, we have the commitment to helping these children,” says Mona McCubbin, Executive Director for the Heuser Hearing and Language Academy.” “If you can help us get the money, we'll do it.”

So now Debbie is on a crusade to raise the money. She'll need more than $200,000 to get it up and running by next fall.

“Well, anything's possible,” says McCubbin. “And when you have the passion, compassion for deaf and blind children like Debbie has, it's easy. It can happen."

They are calling this the "Change in Sight" campaign and you can help make it happen.

Va. SPCA exec's (deaf/blind) dog dies after 4 hours in hot car

Source Link - Va. SPCA exec's (deaf/blind) dog dies after 4 hours in hot car

Editor's Note : Robin Starr had been a leading critic of Michael Vick's dogfighting. Karma begets karma?

An executive for an anti-animal cruelty group says her 16-year-old blind and deaf dog died after she accidentally left him in her hot car for four hours.

Robin Starr, the CEO of the Richmond Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, says she didn't realize "Louie" was in the car until noon. Starr's husband, Ed, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch he put the dog in her car as she got ready for work Aug. 19. She often took the dog to work with her.

Robin Starr took the dog to two clinics, but he died of kidney failure.

The National Weather Service says the temperature had reached 91 degrees by noon that day.

The board of the SPCA says it still supports Starr, who has been CEO since 1997 and does not plan to resign. It was unclear whether she would be charged.

Musica wants you to help find the Greatest Song for Deaf Awareness Week

Source Link - Musica wants you to help find the Greatest Song for Deaf Awareness Week

n celebration of Deaf Awareness week, Musica is giving hearing aids to four hearing-impaired children at the Carel du Toit Centre, an organisation working to help hearing-impaired children develop their hearing and speaking abilities. The Jupiter Drawing Room (Cape Town) has developed a campaign hinging on one simple question: “If you could choose the song a hearing-impaired child should hear the day they first hear clearly, what it would be?”

The campaign will be launched with a TV ad inviting the public to submit their choice either by email, at the Greatest Song Facebook group, on Twitter or at the microsite www.greatestsong.co.za. Songs will be collected and ranked, with the Top 10 tracks being given to the children on 5 September. Follow the links below to submit your greatest song and be a part of giving hearing-impaired children the gift of music.

See latest technology for hearing impaired

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The Grand Rapids chapter of the Hearing Loss Association will display the latest technology for the deaf and hard of hearing from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 9 at Metro Health Hospital's lower level conference room, 5900 Byron Center Ave. SW in Wyoming.

Bedsides fire alarms, alerting systems, digital personal communication systems and more will be on display.

The event will be equipped with the Hearing Loop and also feature an American Sign Language interpreter and real-time captioning. Call Juli Wiseman, 855-2595, or e-mail, juli@adshopetc.com for details.

Look who's talking - UNC CASTLE program teaches deaf children to speak

Source Link - Look who's talking - UNC CASTLE program teaches deaf children to speak

At first, Shell Keim didn't believe her 14-month-old would ever be able to talk.

When an audiologist first suggested they could teach Keim's essentially deaf son, Micah, to speak, Keim thought "she's crazy."

"I saw her do the audiogram, so I knew he couldn't hear anything," she said.

Nearly nine years later, Micah, now 10, is reading at grade level, can tell his mother about his dreams and nightmares, and holds his own among his five siblings. He played in his first piano recital a few months ago.

Keim credits Micah's achievements to the CASTLE program near Woodcroft.

"The CASTLE program has been like the guiding force in making Micah who he is today," said Keim, 42.

CASTLE, a UNC Chapel Hill Department of Otolaryngology program, stands for Center for Acquisition of Spoken language Through Listening Enrichment. It provides parent training, classes and auditory and verbal therapy sessions for babies to pre-schoolers learning to listen and talk despite their hearing loss.

In recent years, more children have started receiving cochlear implants, a surgically embedded device designed to produce hearing sensations. But medical professionals in many communities have not worked with the technology.

The dream of speech language pathologist and audiologist Carolyn Brown, CASTLE opened in 2001 to help children use technology to speak and listen, and help bridge a training gap for educators of the deaf across the state.

One in three children

Up to three out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born deaf or hard of hearing, according to the National Association of the Deaf.

Historically, such children learned to communicate using sign language, CASTLE director Hannah Eskridge said. Now more parents are choosing the spoken-language approach as hearing loss is being identified earlier and technology has improved, Eskridge said.

For example, in 1995 about 60 percent of families with deaf children chose sign language. In 2005, 85 percent chose spoken language, according to the National Resource Center for Early Hearing Detection and Intervention.

However, few university deaf-education programs provide training on teaching deaf children to speak, Eskridge said.

CASTLE has trained professionals in half of North Carolina's 100 counties through onsite visits or internships at CASTLE programs in Durham and Wilmington, Eskridge said. It receives more than half its $1 million budget from the state. The rest is covered by private donations, she said.

A fundraiser Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Southern Village in Chapel Hill will help establish reserves in case state funding falls to future budget cuts.

Feeling overwhelmed

When Keim learned about Micah's hearing deficit she was overwhelmed by the prospect of raising a child she couldn't communicate with, listen to, or home school along with her other children, she said.

"I just have always said to people, 'children learn to walk, children learn to talk, and parents never think [about it],'" Keim said. "If someone took the bones outside of your child's legs, and said, 'Here, teach them to walk,' you'd be like, 'I can't. I can't do it.'"

Micah started with hearing aids at 15 months. Keim attended speech therapy once a week until Micah was 3, to learn how to teach her son how to talk.

"It consumes your life, because you are always working on a deficit," Keim said, comparing her son to a runner in a marathon who is always trying to catch up with peers.

But in Micah's marathon, CASTLE was on the sidelines, coaching him, repeating hard words and sounds, and providing tools to help him make up time, Keim said.

At 3, CASTLE professionals realized Micah couldn't hear f or s sounds with his hearing aids. He eventually received cochlear implants in both ears.

The improvements were immediate. He was zipping through new word lists, and coming up with some words on his own, Keim said.

Micah completed the CASTLE program at 6, but he returns once a week to read to the pre-school classes.

Keim once overheard a parent of a CASTLE student say that Micah "isn't really deaf."

"Oh no, honey," Keim responded. "He is deaf as your kid is."

VODEC lauded for hiring, training deaf

Source Link - VODEC lauded for hiring, training deaf

The Vocational Development Center was recognized with the Employer Award from the Iowa Association of the Deaf at its biennial conference in Marshalltown on Aug. 7.

The award is given to employers who have rendered exceptional service in the training and/or hiring of deaf people in Iowa.

“I was both surprised and humbled to learn that VODEC had been nominated for this selective award,” said Steve Hodapp, CEO of VODEC. “While we don’t do what we do for the accolades, it is nice to be recognized once in a while for doing good work. Our daily work includes assistance for all of our clients, whether with hearing impairments or not, to enhance their lives through employment training and independent living supports.”

Iowa Association of the Deaf treasurer Jerry Siders and member Shirley Hicks presented the award to VODEC.

Deaf Tokyo Barmaid Flirts With Pen, Calms Men in Crisis: Books

Source Link - Deaf Tokyo Barmaid Flirts With Pen, Calms Men in Crisis: Books

If you add one stroke to the Japanese word for “hardship,” it turns into “bliss.”

“Hardship is just a path toward happiness,” writes Rie Saito in her best-selling autobiography.

She should know. Saito, 25, works as a hostess in Tokyo’s Ginza district, where influential Japanese men eat, drink and pay to flirt with impeccably dressed and coiffed women. And she does so with a disability: She’s deaf.

That might sound like an insurmountable obstacle in a job that involves pouring drinks at a gentlemen’s club and coddling the clients with doting attention.

Yet Saito claims to earn about 1 million yen, or $10,500, a month. In “The Hostess With a Pen,” she explains how she turned her lack of hearing into an advantage in consoling recession-weary customers.

A high-school dropout who started smoking and drinking in her early teens, Saito now uses an antique Cartier fountain pen and a leather-bound Rhodia memo pad to share secrets and words of consolation with her clients.

She describes, for example, a real-estate executive who in good times spent as much as 1 million yen in cash on a single night of drinking and merriment. Then the recession pushed his company to the brink.

Stone Silence

One night, he just wrote the word “hardship” on Saito’s notepad and slumped into a stone silence. Seeking to lift his spirits, Saito took her pen and drew a line to transform the character for hardship (tsurasa) into happiness (sachi). His expression changed and tears of appreciation followed, she writes. By the end of the night, his mood had brightened.

Intimacy born of the written word has won Saito a loyal following, making her a top earner at Ginza Club M in spite of the economic crisis.

When another client complains about a disrespectful subordinate, she urges him to stand up for himself by quoting Robert De Niro’s character in the 1995 film “Casino”:

“There are three ways of doing things around here: the right way, the wrong way, and the way that I do it.”

Saito’s method allows her clients to write what they wouldn’t say aloud. Her pithy notes are enhanced by her fluid penmanship, picked up from childhood calligraphy lessons. The book is sprinkled with handwritten phrases lifted from actual club conversations.

Her publisher, Kobunsha Co., plans to print her best sayings and text messages in two separate volumes. Her editor, Osamu Miyamoto, says Kobunsha has also been inundated with offers to turn Saito’s story into a movie.

Childhood Meningitis

Saito, who comes from Aomori prefecture in northern Japan, became deaf from meningitis two months before her second birthday. She never learned sign language because her parents chose to send her to a preschool for the deaf that deliberately avoided the practice. She got the rest of her education at standard public schools that had special classes for the deaf.

While Saito can read lips, clients often prefer to engage in a written tete-a-tete, sometimes peppered with drawings. To break the ice with skeptical new customers, she engages them in word games that pique their pride and intellect.

How did she get into this line of work? Saito chalks it up to luck and others’ generosity: A shoplifting incident during her troubled teen years led to a job offer from the sympathetic store owner, opening up her interest in the service industry.

Narrow Escape

She spares no wrath, however, for people who hurt her. One mean-spirited grade-school teacher, she says, filled a blackboard with the phrase, “God took away your hearing.” The owner of a hostess bar in her hometown, she writes, spread unseemly rumors about her and once tricked her into accompanying a customer to a hotel. Saito managed to escape, she says.

“Hostesses sell their hearts and drinks, but not their bodies,” she writes.

Saito excels at tending to her customers’ less carnal needs, filling their glasses and emptying their ashtrays, according to Akemi Mochizuki, who owns Le Jardin, the first Ginza club where Saito worked. She’s less deft in dealing with clients who seek more than friendship, Mochizuki says in a testimonial in the book.

Her pointers for entrancing clients will be familiar to anyone who reads women’s magazines: Play dumb, ask to be spoiled without nagging, compliment his taste, not his possessions.

More memorable are her descriptions of how she tries to cheer up former high-flyers, such as one executive whose big project was recently shelved.

“‘Man’ and ‘dream’ together form ‘ephemeral’ (hakanai),” she tells him. “Maybe that’s why people chase one dream after another.”

“The Hostess With a Pen” is available in Japanese from Kobunsha Co. (237 pages, 1,300 yen). The publisher is exploring the possibility of translating the book into other languages.

Rockville deaf-services company Viable finds a buyer, hopes to stabilize

Source Link - Rockville deaf-services company Viable finds a buyer, hopes to stabilize

Deaf-services company Viable of Rockville — under a cloud because of a visit by federal investigators, an upcoming trial of the CEO on charges he did not pay regular wages to an employee, reports of other unpaid employees and the closure of two call centers — is apparently being rescued by a New York company.

Snap!VRS of Pearl River, another deaf-services communication company, said last week that the privately held companies reached an acquisition agreement Aug. 14 and it "will immediately begin the difficult work of stabilizing Viable's business operations and restoring the confidence of its significant constituent base. Current Snap!VRS and Viable customers can continue to expect quality service as the transaction is finalized," according to a Snap!VRS statement.

"Snap!VRS is an industry leader in setting the highest ethical standard, and we are happy to be supported by such a well-respected team," said Viable president John Yeh in a statement. "By joining the Snap!VRS team, we will be able to continue serving our loyal customers while continuing our commitment to our employees, the industry, and most importantly the deaf community."

In an e-mail Thursday, Yeh said, "I started this company in part because of the opportunities we can create within the deaf community. Our work is not done; we will continue this work.

"The past several weeks have been extremely challenging for our employees and their families, and I am grateful for their dedication to our mission," he added. "The new partnership with Snap!VRS is indeed an exciting development for the deaf community and our industry and I am very pleased that our employees can continue serving the community as well as they have."

Yeh could not be reached for further comment.

The sale terms were not disclosed. Viable reported revenues of $7 million in 2007, the most recent year for which it has disclosed figures to The Gazette.

Snap!VRS officials, when asked about purchasing a company visited by federal investigators and how their clients might feel about that or if Snap!VRS would reopen the closed Viable offices, responded by saying Snap!VRS is addressing Viable payroll issues.

In an e-mail, Maureen Ellenberger, Snap!VRS vice president of marketing, said, "Snap!VRS is currently proceeding with due diligence and integration planning for the next 90 to 120 days to ensure a smooth transition that will be beneficial for our new company, employees of Snap!VRS and Viable, and our joint customers. This process will address any open questions regarding the transition. Already, Snap!VRS has taken over payroll for current Viable employees as well as health and life insurance payments."

Snap!VRS is a video relay service that delivers a "high quality and convenient relay experience between people who use American Sign Language and spoken English," according to Snap!VRS information. The company is a division of Snap Telecommunications, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Aequus Technologies of Pine Brook, N.J.

Viable's offerings include videoconferencing hardware and software, and video-based and on-site interpreting services. The business had grown from a handful of employees in 2005 to more than 240, with most workers hearing-impaired. An updated employee count could not be obtained.

Trial date for Yeh

Yeh has been summoned to a Montgomery County District Court, charged with failing to pay regular wages to an employee, according to court records.

A trial is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Sept. 1 in Rockville. A separate civil contract claim filed by the same former employee, Mary K. Moylan of Catonsville, against Yeh is scheduled to be heard Oct. 27 in a Catonsville district court.

Moylan said recently that she was laid off in early July, along with numerous other workers. Managers told her that Viable's Ellicott City and Towson call centers were being shut down, she said.

Moylan said she was not paid for several weeks and filed a claim for $7,450.

Moylan is the first known former or current Viable employee to take a claim publicly. Some former and current employees have contacted The Gazette to say they have not been paid, but have requested anonymity.

Regarding the court cases, Allison Polk, a Viable spokeswoman, last week said, "We cannot comment on any pending litigation. However, Viable is committed to honoring our financial obligations. We will be communicating directly with our employees as new information becomes available."

Regarding reports of the closure of Viable's Ellicott City and Towson call centers, Polk said "operations at those centers have been suspended."

Questionable partnership

Viable partnered this year with a Florida company whose owners were arrested and charged with conspiracy to defraud the federal government. Authorities said the company billed for video-relay calls, which allow people with hearing disabilities to communicate using interpreters and Web cameras, that were not properly interpreted. A Viable spokesman, Glenn Lockhart, said recently that Viable no longer does business with that Florida company.

In June, federal investigators visited Viable's headquarters, and the company was "cooperating fully" with investigators, said Lockhart, who recently left the company. The company's attorney, Timothy Sullivan, has not returned calls seeking comment.

Ian McCaleb, a Justice Department spokesman, said Thursday he could neither confirm nor deny if Viable is under investigation.

Last year, The Gazette of Politics and Business named Yeh one of its "25 CEOs You Need to Know" and Viable as one of its "Exceptional 53" businesses and nonprofits.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Deaf Blind Convention

Source Link - Deaf Blind Convention

THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA

THE MEDIA BRIEF BY HON. SULAIMAN KYEBAKOZE MADADA ON THE 9th HELEN KELLER WORLD CONFERENCE AT THE UGANDA MEDIA CENTER 25TH AUGUST 2009

The National Association of the Deaf blind in Uganda (NADBU) in conjunction with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development will be hosting the 9th Helen Keller World Conference here in Uganda between 22nd – 27th, October 2009 at Speak Resort Munyonyo. This will be the first conference to be held on the African continent


Helen Keller World Conference is an international event held after every five years. It was last held in Finland in 2005. After the one in Uganda this year, the subsequent one will be in Japan in 2014.
The conference is used as a platform for discussing issues concerning deafblindness as a critical agenda in development and human rights.

Helen Keller (June 27, 1880–June 1, 1968) was an American author, activist, lecturer and a poet. She was the first deafblind person to graduate from college. The conference is held every after five years to commemorate the work she did for persons with deafblindness and PWDs in general.

National Association of the Deafblind in Uganda–NADBU in conjunction with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development is privileged to be hosting this forthcoming 9th Helen Keller World Conference which is to be held together with the 3rd General Assembly of World Federation of the Deaf blind in Uganda (WFDB) and the Founding General Assembly of African Federation of the Deafblind in Kampala in October, 2009.

These three events are going to lay a platform for mainstreaming issues of persons with deafblindness and PWDs in general in development programs. These are historic events for the Government of Uganda, NADBU and the disability fraternity. Uganda is the first African country to host these two great events in the world.
Conference theme: “Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; changing the lives of persons with deaf blindness”.

Governments Mandate: The above theme is within the mandate and aspirations of the Government of Uganda on the matters of disability in this country. The government has already demonstrated its commitment to such aspirations by not only enacting the PWDs Act of 2006 and putting in National disability policy but also ratifying the convention on Rights of Persons with Disability. Government is further in the process of finalising the Policy guidelines and the National Programme Plan of action on Disability. With these legal and planning frameworks in place, it’s our conviction that the lives of PWDs including the Deaf blind will be changed for the better.

Government of Uganda is also committed to ensuring that the rights of PWDs is promoted and protected including the tactile communication for the Deaf blind.
Expected Guest of Honour: H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
Plenary Speakers: UN Special Rapporteur on Disability, Uganda Government Representatives, President of World Federation of the Deafblind, Uganda Disability Fraternity and others from the international deafblind fora.

Expected Participants: 400 participants from all over the World
Host: National Association of the Deafblind in Uganda (NADBU) in conjunction with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.

Objectives:
To provide opportunities for persons with deafblindness, governments and stakeholders from different countries to deliberate on how they can use The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to improve the conditions of living as reflected in the theme of the Conference “changing the lives of persons with deafblindness”.
Outcomes:
Persons with Deafblindness will gain knowledge and best practices on how to use the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to demand for their rights and bring positive change in their lives.
Persons with Deafblindness from Africa will hold a founding general assembly and form The African Federation of the Deafblind – a continental unified voice for all persons with Deafblindness in Africa.

Stakeholders and the general public will get to know about deafblindness as a unique disability and its effect on the population and are willing to address it through a massive immunization campaign.
NADBU in conjunction with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development will translate the concept “Deafblindness” in the four major local languages for public use so that the public gets to understand deafblindness as a separate disability –separate from being just blind and being just deaf – with different social and physical barrier limiting some members of the society in realizing their rights and living meaningful and decent lives.

The media will be brought on board as a new strategic partner in promoting the rights of the deafblind persons in Uganda.

For God and my Country
Contacts:

The Commissioner for Disability and the Elderly
Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development
Simbamanyo House
Plot 2 Lumumba Avenue
P.O Box 7136 Kampala
Tel: 0414-
Mob. Tel. 0772593920
Email: baryayebwah@yahoo.com

The National Association of the Deafblind in Uganda (NADBU)
Plot 56 Kanjokya Street – Kamwokya,
P. O. Box 16111 Wandegeya, Kampala
Uganda
Tel: 256-0312 276646
Mob: 256-772-856605
Email: deafblinduganda@yahoo.com
Web: www. deafblinduganda.org
World Federation of the Deafblind in Uganda (WFDB)
Lex Grandia, Snehvidevej 13, DK 9400 Noerresundby, Denmark
Phone: +45 98 19 20 99
Fax: +45 98 19 20 57
e-mail: lex.grandia@mail.dk
wfdb@wfdb.org
website: www.wfdb.org