Archive for the ‘deafness’ Category

A Narrow-Minded Shop Clerk Assaults a Deaf Customer

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

Texas Cashier Clubs Deaf Customer For Not Talking

Shana Tova from Simantov

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

A very cool Jewish New Year greeting.

For the simultaneous Israeli Sign language and Hebrew-impaired:
Einav: Sweet new Year!
May: Good New Year!
Ilan: May the New Year be Productive!
Mirit: Most important - may the new year start with…
Mirit+Einav: good sign!

Blogging About Disabilities

Sunday, September 9th, 2007

I write in this blog not only about crazy ideas, but also about accessibility and deafness.

Lorelle on WordPress wrote a blog article about people who blog about disabilities. This article repeats the old stuff (known to people with disabilities, but not widely known otherwise) about the percentage of people disabilities in the general population, mentions the relevant legal issues (specific to USA), and links to several relevant and interesting blogs.

The above article also refers the readers to Globe of Blogs - Disabled Blogs for more disabled blog links.

Videoclips with subtitles - Halelujah!

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

Ilan Shavit publicized three videoclips about Israel.

I was happy to be surprised to see that those videoclips have subtitles in Hebrew, making them accessible to the hearing impaired, who know Hebrew!

The links to the videoclips are:

  1. Israel - Part 1
  2. Israel - Part 2
  3. Israel - Part 3

Freedom of expression for primary and high school teachers

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

I was prompted to write this by a request, which I received today.

Some background information: large part of the contents of my DEAF-INFO Web site is material, which was posted to the DEAF-L mailing list by various subscribers over the years. When the mailing list was active, I saved the best posts and put them in the Web site, with attribution to the original contributor.

The request, which I received today, was to remove the attributions to a particular contributor.

In the past I received similar requests. Upon further questioning, it turned out that most of those requests were made by people, who expressed their strong opinions about various deafness related issues, while they were students. Few years later, they were to get jobs as teachers in schools of the deaf. Then they were concerned that they’ll get into trouble because of the opinions, which they expressed in the past.

I asked someone, who teaches in a regular primary school, about this. She explained to me that teachers are forbidden to publicly express their opinions. The teachers are usually state or county employees. The only people authorized to publicize opinions are the employer’s public relations specialists.

I believe that this state of affairs is rather unfortunate. Teachers work “in the trenches” - they deal with pupils with learning disabilities, they deal with non-working educational methodologies, they deal with poorly-designed materials. They should be able to criticize non-working methods of instruction. If their school principal does not improve the methods, the teachers should be free to publicize their criticism. This would allow parents to ultimately have a say in improving the quality of instruction their children receive.

This is important especially in the area of deaf education, which is especially rife with conflict among different goals (integration vs. separate identity), philosophies (oral vs. Sign Language) and a bewildering choice of communication methods.

"Do you need assistance?"

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

Recently I flew with British Airways.
They seem to have recently made commitment to provide accessible experience to passengers with special needs.
At any case, when checking in for flights, I was now asked if I need special assistance. The accessibility program seems to be relatively new - they now know how to deal with passengers with difficulties in walking, but deaf passengers are relatively new experience for them. So I had my turn at educating the airline employees that deaf passengers need a way to see the captain’s messages in writing, especially in emergencies.
The airplanes, in which I flew both directions, had plasma TVs for each seat. However the video programs were suspended whenever there were announcements - with no written rendition of the announcements. This is something, which can be improved.
An hilarious experience was when the airplane neared landing. I was asked by two stewards if I need assistance. I explained that I’ll need assistance, only if we crash land, and the captain gives instructions to the passengers. We all laughed.

Rabbi Eliashiv declared war on the deaf!

Sunday, February 4th, 2007

Rabbi Eliashiv, an Haredi rabbi, issued a ruling forbidding schools under his control to admit children, whose parents are using non-”kosher” cellphones (cellphones with intact ability to use SMS, Internet and video).

This ruling adversely affects deaf people, who need to be in contact those parents due to reasons like:

  1. They work with those parents and need to communicate them as part of their job.
  2. They themselves are deaf children of those parents.

It is necessary to take legal action, with the aim of outlawing cellphones without functional SMS, and outlawing discrimination against deaf parents of haredi school children, who use video for Sign Language communication via 3G cellphones.

Sources (in Hebrew for the time being):

Petition! (in Hebrew)

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

In addition to few massive lawsuits, there is also a petition to add captions to all Hebrew language TV broadcasts in Israel, for the benefit of the hearing impaired. You can find it in

Memorial Event to Commemorate 11th anniversary of Itzhak Rabin's Assassination

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

Tonight, I was physically present in the memorial event held to commemorate 11th anniversary of Itzhak Rabin’s assassination. The event was held in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv.

I was physically present, but not really present there.

I did not see the Sign Language interpreter, nor was a podium for her to stand on was to be seen. I have the interpreter’s cellular phone number, so I SMSed her. After about half an hour, I walked away and indulged in some dead tree shopping (15th issue of “Dreams at Aspamia”). Later I got her reply (she cannot answer SMS messages in middle of interpreting).

Turns out that she was to be shown only on the big screens which show what is happening on the podium. And even then - only when there are speeches rather than songs and music (even though she is expert also in rendering music in Sign Language). This explanation was accompanied by two short words about the IQ level of the event’s organizers.

Most of the people present in the rally was Leftists, of the “Peace Now” variety. I came there because war for accessibility is my 1st priority, and trumps other political considerations. However, once I was present and saw their slogans, I poignantly recalled how the Palestinians forced the Israelis to elect Bibi Netanyahu (from the camp which opposed Rabin’s peace policies) rather than Shimon Peres (who encouraged Rabin to adopt the peace policies which provoked his assassin) in the elections held after Rabin’s assassination. The Palestinians accomplished this by putting bombs in few busses and exploding them, killing passengers - including Arabs who happened to ride on the busses with Jews.

Links to previous Web pages about Rabin and accessibility:

The deaf are still 2<sup>nd</sup> class citizens

Sunday, July 16th, 2006

In the build-up toward the 2nd Gulf War at 2003, the deaf in Israel were at last issued beepers to alert them under the same circumstances that airstrike sirens are activated.

My beeper appears to work - I got several test messages. However, according to unconfirmed report from someone, there may be a delay of as long as 5 minutes from the hearies’ siren activation until messages are sent to the beepers. This report is still not confirmed, and I hope that we’ll not have the opportunity to put the beepers to live test.

The more serious problem is that three Israeli TV channels (channels 1, 2 and 10) broadcast news several hours each day, and they sometimes repeat themselves. Yet there are no universal captioning or Sign Language interpreting in the news - not even when they are repeated and therefore are not truly live broadcasts, which are still difficult to caption.