Posted on

Barber accused of molesting deaf and mute teen

Dubai: A barber has been accused of molesting a 14-year-old deaf and mute boy in a barbershop shortly after his elder brother had dropped him off for a haircut, a court heard on Sunday.

A 30-year-old Emirati man was said to have accompanied his 14-year-old brother, who suffers from speech and hearing impairment, to a barbershop in Umm Al Sheef area in September. 

According to records, the man asked the 40-year-old Indian barber to trim his brother’s hair while he waited outside the barbershop.

When the brothers were heading back home, the 14-year-old used sign language to inform his elder brother that the barber had touched him indecently, said records.

The 30-year-old then took his brother back to the barbershop and when the 14-year-old pointed at the suspect, the elder brother called the police.

Police came and apprehended the barber.

Prosecutors accused the suspect of exploiting the boy’s impairment and molesting him.

The suspect failed to show up before the Dubai Court of First Instance where he was scheduled to enter his plea on Sunday.

Presiding judge Mohammad Jamal will sentence the suspect in absentia on March 13.

The 30-year-old man testified before prosecutors that his younger brother informed him that he had been molested by the suspect once they reached home.

“My brother told via sign language that the suspect touched his thighs and chest indecently. I took my brother back to the barbershop and the suspect denied molesting my brother upon confronting him. Then I called the police,” he told prosecutors.

The suspect was quoted as admitting to prosecutors that he molested 14-year-old boy.

Posted on

Did You Know That White Cats with Blue Eyes Are Deaf

Once again, the brilliant scientist was right since between 56% and 90% of cats (according to different studies) with white coat and blue eye color are deaf from one or both ears. And, if the white cat has a different eye color for each eye (heterochromia), it will be deaf on the side where it has the blue eye.

The root cause of this deafness must be found in the abscence of hair cells in the cochlea of these animals.

In the cochlea lies the sense of hearing of mammals. In deaf cats this structure lacks hair cells. Without them, the sounds don´t transform to electric signals that reach the brain to be interpreted, therefore the animal is deaf.

What is the relation between these cells and the cat’s eye color? The nexus seems to be found in the embryonic development. In this phase, there’s a structure (the neural tube) in which there are precursor cells called melanoblasts that migrate to the skin, eyes and ears. In the ear they are converted into hair cells like we mentioned previously. In the skin and eyes they should become melanocytes which determine the color of the hair. If that cellular migration is incomplete or incorrect the melanoblasts don’t reach the ear or the eye or the skin –or will arrive in insufficient quantities- so hairy cells won´t develop as they should and the animal will be deaf. The melanocytes won’t develop so the animal will be white and will have a clearer pigmentation –blue- for the eyes (the tonality of the eyes doesn’t only depend on the melanocytes).

Watch out, albino cats won’t have melanocytes in the skin or eyes (you’ll see the eyes as pinkish or red) and usually aren’t deaf since the lack of pigmentation is due to different reasons than the ones mentioned previously.

Posted on

Deaf Activist Calls For Better Movie Theater Captioning Systems Following ‘Black Panther’ Screening

Nyle DiMarco, a Deaf activist, model, and actor, took to social media Sunday to air grievances surrounding movie theater closed captioning accommodations.

DiMarco, who attended a Black Panther showing at an AMC theater, urged his more than 267K followers to retweet if they “prefer open captioning instead of this,” attaching a photo of an obstructive device called a “CaptiView.”

Guests with hearing and vision impairments are to secure the device in the cup holder of their seat, adjusting the flexible arm of the device to a desired angle. Dialogue is then presented as text during the movie.

“10 mins into Black Panther, I had to leave,” DiMarco wrote in a subsequent tweet.

 “It was awful. Kept skipping lines,” DiMarco explained. “The difference of focus while switching, gave me a headache. And I kept missing important scenes.”

He added, “AMC Theaters made me feel SO disabled. Bring back open captioning and f—k you.”

Open captioning, unlike closed captioning, does not involve any manipulation or interaction by the viewing audience, according to the Described and Captioned Media Program. Captions are presented on the screen without the need of special equipment or adjustment required by the viewer.

“Theaters are basically for all the able-bodied people,” DiMarco wrote in follow-up tweet.

“It is A LOT cheaper to have open captioning because the clunky device costs $1,5000-$3000,” he wrote in another. “Spending more $$$ to make people feel even more disabled, I’ll never understand that logic.”

DiMarco reported the theater gave him two guest re-admit passes in lieu of a refund. “So I guess I’ll go and feel disabled again,” DiMarco wrote.

Posted on

West Hartford To Offer Settlement In Lawsuit Alleging Excessive Force On Deaf Student

Town councilors this week voted to settle a 5-year-old federal lawsuit that accused two police officers of using excessive force against a 12-year-old deaf student with disabilities at the American School for the Deaf when they shot the boy in the back with a stun gun.

The council authorized the administration to offer to settle the case for up to $150,000. The lawsuit did not ask for a specific amount of money.

According to an amended complaint filed in federal court in April 2015, the American School for the Deaf and the town “negligently, recklessly, intentionally and maliciously” injured the boy, who suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, in March, April and June 2013. The school was a defendant in the lawsuit, but a judge ruled in its favor.

According to the complaint, a school employee in March 2013 “choked” the 12-year-old student and “forcibly threw him to the ground” leading to “significant head injuries.”

Posted on

Quiz bowl teams from 20 schools for the deaf compete at ISD

Quiz bowl teams from 20 schools for the deaf gathered for the Midwest Regionals of the Academic Bowl for Deaf and Hard of Hearing High School Students Friday and Saturday at Iowa School for the Deaf.

It was the first time the school in Council Bluffs had hosted the competition — part of a national tournament for deaf teams sponsored by Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., the only university operated especially for deaf and hard of hearing people.

“This is a huge undertaking for ISD,” said Cynthia Angeroth, outreach coordinator. “A lot of the host schools really have much larger staff, much larger facilities.”

A group of 10 people from Gallaudet operated the contest with support from ISD staff and alumni. Matches were held in the Lied Multipurpose Complex Gymnasium, two other rooms in the complex and the ISD Auditorium.

Among the 80 students participating in the competition was Ryan Stumbo, a former ISD student originally from Ogden who moved to Faribault, Minnesota, a year ago to attend the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf. It was only his second time back since then, so it was also a bit of a reunion.

“I’ve seen a lot of my friends and especially the staff,” he said. “They have a great staff. It’s good to see everybody.”

As of Saturday at midday, the team had won its first four matches, Ryan said.

“We have been practicing a lot since fall, thanks to our coach (Lindsey Musbaum and assistant coach Beth Hamilton),” he said. “We’ve got a great coach, and I feel we are well prepared for the competition.”

Despite having home court advantage, the ISD team wasn’t doing as well at that point. The ISD team is made up of Cory Jackson, a junior from Fort Dodge; Autumn Winter, a senior from Manning; Sadie Kindt, a junior from Pacific Junction; and Erica Bloomhall, a senior from Cedar Rapids. The coach is Bryce Hendricks. (All of the teams have four students and one or more coaches.)

During a match, questions are projected onto a screen. They are not translated into sign language. Players can hit a buzzer if they think they know the answer. If the first team’s answer is not correct, the question is displayed on the screen again, and the other team has a chance to answer.

Posted on

They are deaf, but this church’s members still hear the word of God

FRESNO, Calif. — As music plays at the Fresno Deaf Church, most people sitting in the pews sign along. The only audible voice in the room is the one on the recording, singing a soulful, “I Can Only Imagine,” but sound isn’t needed to make the devotion of the worship evident.

They are expressing themselves in their own language — American Sign Language — a complex mix of intricate hand gestures, facial expressions and body postures.

Some can faintly hear the melody. Others, not at all. There aren’t signs for around a quarter of the English words in “I Can Only Imagine,” says the Rev. Keith Catron, but much of the song’s meaning comes through.

When you think about, ‘imagine,’” Catron said with sign language, translated by interpreter Kathy Doerksen for this story, “that concept is difficult to convey in ASL (American Sign Language).”

This communication disjunction between the non-hearing and hearing is a common challenge for deaf people, but at Fresno Deaf Church, the deaf are mostly free of that burden. Communication is fluid and effortless as pastor and parishioners converse in their first language — sign language — at the church run by the deaf for the deaf. It’s the only one of its kind between Modesto and Bakersfield except for a Seventh-day Adventist deaf church in Fresno, Catron says.

Fresno Deaf Church, which identifies as Evangelical Free, worships every Sunday in The Bridge Fresno in central Fresno.

“If you compare us with a hearing church,” said Matthew Mickle, a Fresno Deaf Church member and volunteer, “it doesn’t mean the people who are deaf are lacking the ability to hear God’s word. Whether you’re deaf or whether you’re hearing, it’s both the same.”

Posted on

Deaf Documentary ‘See What I’m Saying’ At NBMAA

New Britain Museum of American Art’s current exhibit by Francisca Benitez focuses on deaf culture. In conjunction with the exhibit, the museum has presented a lively selection of films on deaf culture. The latest will the shown Thursday, Feb. 22.

“See What I’m Saying: The Deaf Entertainers Documentary” tells the stories of Drummer Bob Hiltermann and his all-deaf rock band, actor Robert DeMayo, comic CJ Jones and singer-songwriter TL Forsberg.

Showtime is at 1 p.m. at the museum at 56 Lexington St. Admission to the movie is free with admission to the museum, which is $15, $12 seniors, $10 youth and students. nbmaa.org.

Posted on

Rep. Gabbard Votes Against Bill that Undermines Civil Rights Protections

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voted today, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, against legislation that unravels civil rights protections for millions of individuals with disabilities in Hawai‘i and across the country. H.R. 620 undermines the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by placing burdensome requirements on individuals with disabilities, making it more difficult for them to access equal rights protections. The legislation passed the House by a vote of 225-192.

According to the Hawai‘i Disability Rights Center, 15% of Hawai‘i residents are disabled – higher than the national average. The National Federation for the Blind of Hawai‘i also reported that Hawai‘i is home to roughly 22,700 people with a visual disability, who would be disproportionately burdened by the hurdles enacted by H.R. 620.

“For more than 25 years, the ADA has been instrumental in expanding and protecting fair, equal opportunities for disabled Americans,” said Rep. Gabbard. “H.R. 620 unravels this progress, making it easier for employers to skirt around discrimination laws and requiring people with disabilities to jump through hoops for the equal access protections to which they are entitled. I’ve heard from many community organizations in Hawai‘i that shared how this legislation would hurt our more than 210,000 disabled residents. I stand with them in strong opposition to this harmful legislation.”

National Federation of the Blind of Hawai‘i ‘said, “The leaders and members of the National Federation of the Blind of Hawaii strongly oppose H. R. 620, the so-called ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Education and Reform Act. If this bill becomes law, it will diminish the rights of blind people by eroding the foundation of the ADA. Passed with strong bi-partisan support and signed into law by President George H. W. Bush in 1990, the ADA assures that all Americans with disabilities have the right to live free from exclusion and discrimination in any way in American society. The ADA ensures that anyone with a disability can enjoy the benefits of living in our free and open state and country alongside all other citizens. In short, the ADA is the persons with disabilities equality act, which must not be diminished in either its force or effect. We call upon everyone in Hawai‘i and throughout the U. S. to join us in opposing H.R. 620, which is a deceptive attempt to repeal the ADA.”

Aloha State Association of the Deaf said, “Aloha State Association of the Deaf strongly opposes this bill because it will affect Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing citizens of Hawai‘i.”

Posted on

Deaf resident founds sign language club in Slough

A DEAF woman has been working hard to teach sign language to residents and organisations.

Shazia Haniff, who was born deaf, has founded a British Sign Language club, the first meeting of which was in Costa, in High Street, Slough on January 18.

The monthly meetings aim to teach sign language to the residents of Slough.

Since then, Mrs Haniff has held further events – teaching a group of 30 scouts at a meeting at Khalsa Primary School, Slough.

Mrs Haniff, speaking of her evening with the Scouts through an interpreter, said: “This included learning a little sign language, with me teaching them finger spelling and a few basic signs such as ‘book’ and ‘car’, the colours and numbers.

“It was amazing to see them learn quickly and try to communicate without using their voice or talking. They realised how it hard it was.

“The evening was so amazing, we laughed, relaxed and I felt proud to bond with them.”

Mrs Haniff then went on to teach staff at Slough Borough Council’s MyCouncil headquarters in Landmark Place, in High Street, where she taught them some signs they were likely to use in their work.

Mrs Haniff said: “These sessions aim to help deaf, hard of hearing, and older people losing their hearing to understand better when they communicate with people, because they need time to hear or understand.

“Learning some of these tips and some sign language will make communication easier for all in community.”

Mrs Haniff said that learning sign language is easier than one might think: “There are a lot of quite obvious signs – you can learn the basics quite easily. There are apps for your phone that teach you a new word each day.”

The next Sign Club will be held in Starbucks, High Street, Slough, on Wednesday, from 10am to noon.  For more information email sloughsignbsl@gmail.com