Oregon School for the Deaf marks 140th year

Oregon School for the Deaf marks 140th year | statesmanjournal.com | Statesman Journal.

Oregon School for the Deaf students and alumni waved their hands, cheered and used sign-language to talk smack Friday against rivals Washington School for the Deaf during a homecoming pep rally to celebrate the school’s 140th birthday.

Read more: http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20100918/NEWS/9180326/1001#ixzz100oQaxXb


Students with hearing loss find new methods of communication

Daily Toreador – Students with hearing loss find new methods of communication.

Hearing-impaired and deaf students face the challenges of understanding the people who surround them daily. Whether they have partial or no hearing, these students still find ways of communicating.

Hearing-impaired and deaf are not the same thing. People who are hearing-impaired have some ability to understand spoken language where as deaf students can hear nothing at all. Student Disability Services works with students in these situations to help them succeed in their classes by helping them understand what is being said.

Deaf and hearing-impaired students who have very little hearing are eligible to have American Sign Language interpreters attend their classes with them. These interpreters work with SDS and instructors to accommodate for students’ needs allowing them to participate in campus activities, said Larry Phillippe, student disabilities managing director.

“We try to help them focus on the fact that we’re here to translate information for them,” he said. “But you’ve got to start focusing on proficient written English.”

When in class, interpreters stand at the front of the class, keeping the professor in the student’s line of sight. The student can sit wherever they’d like since the interpreters aren’t working directly with them, which helps keep the student anonymous. Confidentiality is extremely important to SDS, said James Whitfield, assistant director and coordinator of interpreting services.

After registering with SDS, disabled students are eligible for note-taking services, priority registration for classes and for SDS to inform professors they need closed-captioning for videos.

At the beginning of each semester, students file requests for interpreters to attend their classes. But these interpreters aren’t only for classroom aid alone. Students can also ask to have one for attending events or group meetings. Part of college is getting involved in extracurricular activities, he said, and not allowing students the ability to have someone there to help them understand wouldn’t be fair. These students have the right to interact with their peers and translators help with this.

“I think it’s important that people realize that the deaf can do everything and anything except hear,” said Rebecca Markes, a sophomore human science major from Murphy.

Hearing-impaired students who do not use interpreters sometimes run into problems such as, professor’s accents, having to sit in the back of the classroom if there is little space or not having video and closed-captioned film clips.

“What people don’t realize also, is that some hearing students don’t always catch everything either and if they were to do the subtitling or closed-captioning, everyone would get it because they’d read it,” Whitfield said.

Other than offering students an interpreter to translate class lectures from English to American Sign Language, SDS works with professors and other students to help with note taking. Before the start of the semester, students will meet instructors and ask them to use NCR carbonless notepaper. With this, professors will ask two students to take notes on the non-carbon paper, which will create a duplicate copy for the hearing-impaired or deaf student. These notes can be an addition to the student’s own notes since they sometimes find it challenging to follow what the interpreter is signing while trying to write.

“A lot of students like to take their own notes,” Whitfield said. “Those notes can be a supplement in case that deaf person or hearing impaired student missed something or for lack of a better term, they didn’t hear something or didn’t see it.”

Most deaf students communicate   through American Sign Language rather than English since they cannot hear. Although some speak, read and write the language, it is different than the way most communicate. American Sign Language is not something that can be written; it is expressed through motions and facial expressions. Because it is an entirely different language, some deaf students have problems writing and reading English, Phillippe said.

New technology has helped the hearing-impaired and deaf community a great deal, he said. The invention of smart phones with email, texting and video capabilities have given deaf people the ability to always be in contact with others.

“There are so many changes now, especially in technology,” Phillippe said. “We all text now and that was probably the best thing to happen to deaf students: the advancement of instant messaging.”

College student sets out to help the hearing impaired

College student sets out to help the hearing impaired.

West Palm Beach – Shoshana Rappaport lost her hearing when she was a little girl. Her ear problems caused her to lose her balance when she was younger. It wasn’t unusual for her to end up with bumps and bruises. “I am deaf with assistance of cochlear implant which I was implanted with when I was in 10th grade, which gives me about 85 percent of an ability to hear. I would fall down the stairs, I hit my head against the walls and it was pretty bad.”

Shoshana is now 18 years old and in college at Northwood University. She has a service dog, eight month old Macy, which she says she trained to help her open doors and pick up objects. “Well I started volunteering at shelters when I was nine and I would work with the dogs and teach them basic obedience because it improved their chances of being adopted and staying in a forever home. My goal is to start a service dog organization to train autism service dogs for children.” Soshana is receiving a lot of support from the university in her quest to achieve her dreams.”

Robert Cabello, who is Dean of Students at Northwood University said, “She is living in our residence halls right now, we had to make some accomodations in order to assist her.I think that if you have an opportunity to see Macy her service dog you see that this is an animal that has been trained extremely well to assist someone who is in need of those sorts of services.”

Cochlear implant operation UK first

Cochlear implant operation UK first – Yahoo! News UK.

The UK’s first operation to fit a single cochlear implant to radically improve the hearing of a severely deaf woman has taken place.

The procedure to implant the electronic device and make it possible for the woman, from the Isle of Wight, to hear sound in both ears was undertaken at Southampton General Hospital.

One wire went into one inner ear and the other under her scalp from the single implant into her other ear.

Fine tuning is needed over the coming week to see if the four-hour operation was a complete success, but it should give the 44-year-old woman much improved bilateral hearing.

Usually adults only have an implant fitted in one ear which leads to problems in noisy situations or finding where the sound is coming from.

The Royal National Institute for Deaf people (RNID) welcomed the news of the operation.

Audiology specialist for the charity, Crystal Rolfe, said: “There is evidence to show that hearing in both ears helps more than in one ear. As this device is a lower cost than having two implants, it may mean that more adults can receive bilateral implants.

“As this is the first operation of this kind in the UK we look forward to seeing the outcomes and more research into the benefits of these devices.”

A cochlear implant is an electronic device that can help both adults and children who have a severe to profound hearing loss.

It has two parts: an internal receiver/stimulator package and electrode array, and an external speech processor that looks like a hearing aid. The device uses small electrical currents to directly stimulate the hearing nerve, which then sends signals to the brain where they are interpreted as sound.

Kinder raises the bar in Brighton

Kinder raises the bar in Brighton – Local News – News – Bayside Leader.

A BRIGHTON kinder is extending a big helping hand to hearing-impaired children.

The community-run Wilson St Kindergarten has installed acoustic panels that reduce background noises and echoes by two-thirds on all internal surfaces.

The panels cost $22,000 and were funded by Rotary Brighton, Rotary North Brighton and a State Government grant.

Brighton East’s Emily Higgins said the panels had made a big difference to her son Sam’s life.

Sam, 3, has two Cochlear implants. Ms Higgins said that although Sam could hear well in a quiet room, it was difficult for him to distinguish conversations from background noise.

“He can hear the teacher and interact with the other children much better now,“Ms Higgins said.

Kindergarten director Andrea Cummins said the panels made it a lot easier for all the children to learn.

Brighton Primary School principal Anny Lawrence said Wilson St was the only kinder in the southern metropolitan region to offer that much support.

Blind, deaf pushing for Internet access

Blind, deaf pushing for Internet access | The Journal Gazette | Fort Wayne, IN.

Blind, deaf pushing for Internet access

WASHINGTON – Blind and deaf consumers, who have fought to make home phones and television more accessible, say they are now being left behind on the Web and many mobile devices.

Touch-based smart-phone screens confound blind people who rely on buttons and raised type. Web video means little to the deaf without captioning.

But legislation is in the works to put the same pressure on consumer electronics companies that revolutionized an earlier generation of technology for the vision- and hearing-impaired.

“Whether it’s a Braille reader or a broadband connection, access to technology is not a political issue – it’s a participation issue,” said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., the author of a House bill aimed at making the Internet more accessible to people with disabilities. “We’ve moved from Braille to broadcast, from broadband to the BlackBerry. We’ve moved from spelling letters in someone’s palm to the Palm Pilot. And we must make all of these devices accessible.”

The consumer electronics, entertainment and communications industries have been slow to include those with disabilities, some lawmakers and advocates say. Big companies have fought against government regulators dictating new technical requirements, saying the industry is better equipped to make its own engineering decisions.

Click here for more.

Caption Action 2: Internet Closed Captioning – the Senate passed S 3304 unanimously!

The hard work of the National Association of the Deaf and the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology has resulted in the Senate modifying S 3304 so it is more like HR 3101! There was then a last big push on to get the Senate to pass S 3304!

Update! At 10 pm last night the Senate passed S 3304 unanimously! COAT trumpeted the news late last night!


We’ve also lost.

Despite the hard work of NAD and COAT, the “new” S 3304 does NOT include the provision for broadcasters to report to the FCC every two years about how much Internet-only programming they are captioning. It also does not include the provision for the FCC to, three years after the law takes effect, recommend whether closed captioning requirements should be extended to Internet-only television programming.

Caption Action 2 will be continuing the fight! There is a whole big new and growing world of Internet-only television out there, and we will be pushing Internet-only broadcasters to caption! We don’t have the luxury of waiting for future Federal regulation – we’ve got to push them now! Now that this Congressional battle is over, watch for word from Caption Action 2 on who we will be targeting!

Caption Action 2: Internet Closed Captioning.

Industry Wins. Deaf Pay the Price.

How high a price are we paying for Congress not requiring original web television programming to have closed captions? The price is already high, and getting higher by the day! Caption Action 2 is still learning just how high that price is.

Professionally produced web television is exploding on the Internet. More money is being poured into it, and the quality has increased to the point that web television now has its own version of the Emmys, the Streamys.

Web television may not be the correct term. Increasingly, the term we see being used more and more is “web series.” One company is even financing an entire movie to be released online as a web series! In fact, the audience for web television has grown so much that Mashable now releases a monthly list of the top web series.


Caption Action 2 is learning about the producers of professional web series, and contacting them to ask about captioning. So far, we have contacted five!

Babelgum.com – Babelgum pays for professional video, as reported by Fast Company.
Crackle.com – Crackle.com has 52 original web television series.
MyDamnChannel.com – MyDamnChannel.com recently got an infusion of money. In addition, the company recently released a press release about their new web programming.
NextNewNetworks.com – the company describes itself as “the leading provider of original, episodic series programming for the Internet.”
Vuguru.com – this is backed by Michael Eisner, formerly of Disney.

Crackle.com has a FAQ that says at the bottom:
Q: Does Crackle have subtitles or closed captioning?
A: Currently, Crackle does not offer subtitles or closed captioning but please be assured we are working on implementing them into our system.


When contacted by Caption Action 2, Crackle.com said “our Product Team is currently working on it. It’s certainly something we would like to be able to offer sooner rather than later, but there are also technological issues involved, in terms of what we can make work on our site.” Caption Action 2 is trying to get a more definite response as to when Crackle.com will begin captioning.

Likewise, MyDamnChannel.com responded that they had “no plans” to closed caption as of now. Caption Action 2 has not responded yet to MyDamnChannel.com.

What can we do? Congress just passed legislation that will get us guaranteed access to regular television programming on the web, but already, a whole new world of web entertainment is leapfrogging ahead, and we don’t have any legal guarantee to captions in this new world! All we can do is ask for, push for, plead for, and demand captions on web series!

It does not matter to Caption Action 2 if a web producer is small. If they can afford to produce professional web series – the key word here is PROFESSIONAL – they can afford to caption!