Posted on

NTID alumna exhibits paintings


Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf is showcasing a collection of paintings by RIT/NTID alumna Ashley Hannan.

Rise Up: Silent Margins features 17 paintings by Hannan exploring deafness in a unique and powerful way. Her artwork depicts her journey of coming to terms with being deaf, having a cochlear implant and being the only deaf person in the mainstream schools she attended.

“Growing up, after having been educated at an oral deaf school with intensive speech therapy and audiology testing, I still felt incomplete,” says Hannan of her piece “The Black Hole of Conflicted Identity.”

“Though I was implanted with a cochlear implant at age 6, ‘fixing’ me still did not fill in the hole I had and still have in my identity. It wasn’t until my young adult years that I began to awaken and notice the conflict in my self-esteem stemmed from the lack of understanding that there is a deaf culture that is just as functional as the hearing world. I was apprehensive of delving into the deaf world for my identity for a long time.”

Hannan adds that her piece “Be True” was inspired by her realization that all she had to do was be true to herself and emerge into something wonderful that was there all along even though it took decades for her to see.

Hosted in NTID’s Dyer Arts Center Glass Room, the exhibit is on display through Feb. 23, with a closing reception to be held on Feb. 22 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Posted on

Actiview app interprets movies into American Sign Language for the deaf and hearing impaired


For those who enjoy movies but need accessible services to participate, Actiview is working is offering a chance to view a movie while it’s signed.

The 2017 film “Wonder” starring Julia Roberts and Jacob Tremblay will be the first live-action, American film to use the Actiview app (download for iOS). Actiview syncs the film with sign language interpretation.

If you wanted to try the app, you can watch “Wonder” on TV or any other platform that includes the film. Open Actiview on a second screen, such as your phone or tablet.

The app “listens” to the movie like the Shazam app listens to songs. And then Actiview plays the sign language interpretation to match the movie.

Actiview offers accessible services to users who are blind or low vision, deaf or hearing impaired and those who speak different languages.

Along with sign language interpretation, the app offers audio description, amplified audio, audio dubs and translations, closed captioning and multilanguage subtitles.

Earlier this week Lionsgate, the studio that released “Wonder,” announced its partnership with Actiview and deaf advocate Nyle DiMarco, who won “America’s Next Top Model” in 2015.

When paired with Actiview, users will see DiMarco signing every line of dialogue in “Wonder.”

DiMarco also gives sign language lessons and tips on the ASL app (download for iOS or Android).

On Twitter, DiMarco said that young deaf children might not be able to read subtitles yet, but they can still enjoy a movie with ASL interpretation.

The app first debuted with the animated kids movie “Cars 3” and later “Ice Age: Continental Drift.” Actiview plans to release the “Hunger Games” series with similar accessibility features in the future.

Posted on

New York Deaf Theatre Presents EVERY BRILLIANT THING

New York Deaf Theatre Presents EVERY BRILLIANT THING

New York Deaf Theatre (NYDT) closes their 39th season with an accessible performance of EVERY BRILLIANT THING by Duncan MacMillan with Jonny Donahoe. This production marks James Caverly‘s directorial debut in New York City. Previews begin Saturday, April 27, and Opening night is on Sunday, April 28 at 7:00pm.

EVERY BRILLIANT THING presents all audiences an interactive experience of Duncan Macmillian with Jonny Donahoe‘s play in both American Sign Language and spoken English simultaneously. You’re six years old. Mum’s in hospital. Dad says she’s “done something stupid.” She finds it hard to be happy. So, you start to make a list of everything that is brilliant about the world. Everything that is worth living for. 1.) Ice cream. 2.) Kung Fu movies. 3.) Staying up past your bedtime and being allowed to watch TV. 4.) The colour yellow. You leave the list on Mum’s pillow. You know she’s read it because she’s corrected your spelling. Soon, the list will take on a life of its own. A play about depression and the lengths we will go to for those who we love.

EVERY BRILLIANT THING will be presented as part of the Anchor Partner program at The Flea Theater. The Flea’s three theaters in Tribeca were built to be shared with companies stretching to the next level, without a home of their own. NYDT is thrilled to be back at the Flea as an Anchor Partner this season.

James Caverly makes his directorial debut with New York Deaf Theatre. Directing credits: Romeo & Juliet at the Community College of Baltimore County; Cloud 9 (Assistant Director), Doctor Faustus, Noises Off, and The Philadelphia at Gallaudet University; The McWilliamses at National Theatre of the Deaf; and Quid Pro Quo (workshop) at Mosaic Theatre Company. Broadway credit: Children of a Lesser God (u/s) at Studio 54. Regional: I     Was Most Alive With You at Huntington Theatre Company; Tribes at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Studio Theatre, and Speakeasy Stage Company; Beertown and Squares at Dog & Pony DC, and has toured with the National Theatre of the Deaf. Film: Chicago Med; A Bennett Song Holiday; Red Line.

New York Deaf Theatre is the premiere Deaf theatre non-profit organization for the New York City metropolitan area; supporting, developing, and presenting Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing artists since 1979. NYDT produces theatre accessible to Deaf and hearing audiences, using combinations that include American Sign Language (ASL), spoken English, projected subtitles, and nonverbal theatrical elements. Committed to honor Deaf Culture, NYDT fosters talents of local artists who use ASL and creates opportunities for differently-abled theatre professionals to work and collaborate through inclusive productions and programming. For more information, visit

Posted on

Advocates for deaf and hard of hearing hope to get equipment to those in need

JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is pushing to give lower income Missourians easier access to hearing aids. 

The commission is advocating for a bill that would create the Statewide Hearing Aid Distribution Fund. 

The group would partner with audiologists and hearing aid instrument professionals to find people in need and then pay for their hearing aids. 

Dr. Opeoluwa Sotonwa, the commission’s executive director, said currently 10 percent of Missourians live with a hearing loss. 

He said 90 percent of those people cannot communicate with sign language and so they rely on hearing aids. 

People who live under the federal poverty line often can’t afford the costly devices.

“We’ve gotten many calls to our office looking for help, and we can’t help them because we don’t have funds allocated for that,” Sotonwa said. 

This is the second time the bill is being heard. Sotonwa said it made it to the Senate floor in 2018 and was close to passing, but there was not enough time to finish the process. 

“Some professional groups were in opposition to it last year, but we were able to sit down with them and address their concerns,” he said.

Some of those groups included speech language pathologists, hearing instrument specialists, and the Missouri Assistive Technology group.

Sotonwa said the group was worried the money would come out of its funding.

Since then, Sotonwa said, “many of them have came out and supported the bill.”

The biggest challenge is a $5 million allocation to fund the program, but Sotonwa said he is optimistic since Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe is backing the measure. 

Posted on

Deaf man sues 50+ Florida cities and counties over closed captioning

A deaf man has filed lawsuits against more than 50 Florida counties, cities, school boards and more, including St. Johns and Nassau Counties.

The lawsuits say each failed to provide closed captioning for live-streamed and archived videos of meetings posted online, violating the constitutional rights of people who are deaf.

Making those changes could cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.

Eddie Sierra filed his lawsuit against St. Johns County last week.

“While we work to keep up with the federal laws as much as we can, on occasion, we have to go back and retrofit some services. And that’s exactly what’s happening here,” said St. Johns County spokesperson Michael Ryan.

Sierra filed a nearly identical lawsuit three weeks ago against Nassau County.

His lawsuits claim he sent the counties letters months before filing suit, demanding change.

“We were looking for closed captioning solutions way before we received a letter,” said Ryan.

Ryan said it will cost taxpayers nearly $45,000 to begin closed captioning this year and $33,000 every year after that.

Sierra’s Miami-based disability discrimination attorney Juan Courtney Cunningham would not agree to an interview or tell Action News Jax where in Florida his client lives.

“This is not a new issue or technicality,” said Cunningham in an email. “Governments have had plenty of notice and time to come into compliance.”

Ryan said St. Johns County hopes to have closed captioning up and running by March 1, but commissioners do not know yet from where the funding will come.

Posted on

Proud pupils compete at National Deaf Swimming Finals

Proud pupils compete at National Deaf Swimming Finals

More than 170 youngsters have taken part in the primary and secondary schools’ National Deaf Swimming Finals at the prestigious London Aquatics Centre.

Organised by the charity Panathlon, the event aims to give pupils the chance to experience competitive swimming and is part of a programme of sporting events held for deaf youngsters throughout the year.

Pupils from Knightsfield School for the Deaf, in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, picked up gold medals in the National U18 Finals.  And youngsters attending Heathlands School, in St Albans, were winners of the primary-age competition.

The school narrowly missed out on a golden double as it finished second behind Knightsfield in the U18 event.

Haleema Hussain, 15, was a member of the triumphant Knightsfield team and she said: “I’m really proud of myself.  “My medal will give me such a nice memory and it will show me that I should be confident and that I can do it. “I don’t always feel confident but here I feel normal. I feel like the people here are all the same as me. It really matters.”

Knightsfield School for the Deaf swimmer Halsema Hussain

Ava Wallace, 13, was part of the fourth-placed team from Great Baddow in Chelmsford, and she said: “Panathlon gives me happiness, because we’re all working together as a team and it makes us closer.

“Being here with other deaf people just makes you feel like you fit in. You know how each other feel.”

Heathlands teacher Sean Priestley was delighted after his team secured victory in the National Primary Deaf Swimming Final, pipping teams from Bristol and London to top spot on the podium.

“It’s a great day out for the kids and it really is an amazing venue,” he said.

“There is no other competition that I know of quite like this and it’s so well organised.”

All Panathlon events, which as well as swimming include multi-sports, football, ten-pin bowling and boccia, are attended by trained Young Leaders, who officiate and assist the competitors in taking part.

Many of the leaders are themselves deaf, hearing impaired or have other disabilities.

The charity also uses Ambassadors to inspire the young competitors, including several ex-Paralympic medal winners and high-achieving young disabled athletes.

One of them, 15-year-old Jessica Oaten, is part of the GB Deaf Swimming squad and is currently training for the summer’s World Deaf Swimming Championships in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

She said: “Panathlon gives me more confidence to work with children.

“I love to be able to communicate with them and make them feel at ease, as well as be a role model for them as a deaf swimmer.”

Panathlon’s programme of sporting events is made possible by the support of the Ovingdean Hall Foundation, whose funding helps stage competitions at venues such as the London Aquatics Centre.

The charity will be holding more competitions for deaf students across the country during the remainder of the 2018-19 academic year and beyond.

Posted on

Man arrested, accused of groping Deaf woman

Image result for Man arrested, accused of groping deaf woman

BATON ROUGE – Officers with the Baton Rouge Police Department arrested a man accused of inappropriately touching a woman.

According to the arrest report, the incident happened at a residence in the 150 block of North 17th Street Wednesday. As the woman exited the shower a man, identified as Stephrone Washington, grabbed her in a sexual manner.

Washington allegedly told authorities a deaf woman used the shower, but he denied touching her. He was arrested and charged with sexual battery.