Showing posts with label Persons with Hearing Impairment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Persons with Hearing Impairment. Show all posts

Monday, June 27, 2016

Hearing Impaired students prepare for military service despite stumbling blocks

Here is an awesome story from Gulf News about the quest of a hearing impaired teacher to prepare and inspire his deaf students for military service in the "School for the Deaf Cadet Corps" that he founded two years ago.  The stumbling block is the closed mindset of the Defence Department that declared last month in a report that it would be “imprudent” to create a programme assessing hearing-impaired people’s fitness for military service. It cited the cost of equipment modifications, security risks from wireless assistive devices and the burden for non-disabled service members if their hearing-impaired counterparts can’t perform the full range of military tasks.

It is so strange that some one who is not deaf decides what a deaf can do or can not do! This is often due to their own ignorance about potential abilities of those with disabilities.   The cost of assistive devices and accommodations would be much less in comparison to the the contribution of such diversity. Israel has taken a lead in this regard by inducting deaf people in suitable roles where the work is more visual than hearing. The quest of this teacher is praise-worthy and I am sure the cadets trained and assessed would find placements and opportunities to serve their motherland through military service.

Here goes the story from the Gulf News-

The Defense Department declared in a report last month it would be ‘imprudent’ to create a programme assessing deaf people’s fitness for military service

Frederick, Maryland: Four teens in camouflage fatigues march briskly around a brick plaza at the Maryland School for the Deaf, silently marking their cadence in American Sign Language: “Left!” “Left!”

These members of the school’s Cadet Corps aspire to military service, but their path is blocked. Deaf people are barred from joining the armed services, as corps creator Keith Nolan well knows. He’s been told, “No,” since 2001, when he tried to enlist in the Navy at age 18.

Nolan is determined to change that.

“I want to show there are no barriers,” he said through an interpreter.

His determination has led to passage of a House bill bearing his name — the Keith Nolan Air Force Deaf Demonstration Act of 2015, which called for a demonstration programme.

The Defense Department declared in a report last month it would be “imprudent” to create a programme assessing hearing-impaired people’s fitness for military service. It cited the cost of equipment modifications, security risks from wireless assistive devices and the burden for non-disabled service members if their hearing-impaired counterparts can’t perform the full range of military tasks.

But Nolan, his cadets and his congressional supporters are undeterred.

“They’re not taking us seriously,” said Cadet Jennida Willoughby, 16, through a sign-language interpreter. “We’re going to keep fighting back.”

During after-school and occasional weekend meetings, Cadet Corps members compete as teams in contests of physical strength and brainpower, and take turns leading problem-solving missions around town, said David Alexander, a school audiologist and Army veteran who helps to run the programme. They’ve gone overnight camping, taken a field trip to the US Military Academy and made a presentation to other students and faculty about the West Point visit.

The cadet corps is independent, not affiliated with the military’s Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC).

But Willoughby, an accomplished scuba diver, dreams of becoming a Navy SEAL.

She and her fellow cadets, all rising seniors at the school 72km west of Baltimore, note along with Nolan that the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has been hiring hearing-impaired workers since 1987. The agency, which analyses aerial and satellite data, sent three hearing-impaired analysts to support US military operations in Africa from 2012 to 2014, using only American Sign Language.

And the military already has members in jobs that require sound-deadening earphones such as guiding planes during landings and take-offs from aircraft carriers.

“We can serve our country,” said Cadet Blake Brewer, 17, whose older cousin is a Marine. “We can show what we can do.”

Although firearms training is barred by the school’s no-weapons policy, Brewer said he’s willing to take up arms for his country.

“I’m flexible with where they would need me,” he said.

Cadet Maverick Obermiller envisions himself as an engineer, one of the “supporting roles”, including cybersecurity positions, which Nolan says should be open to hearing-impaired people.

There’s a precedent for hearing-impaired people in military service: The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have always recruited hearing-impaired volunteers and found ways for them to serve in uniform, spokeswoman Libby Weiss said in an email. She said the IDF communicates with deaf or hearing-impaired soldiers through adaptive devices, text messages, emails and lip-reading. In 2012, the IDF announced an Israeli sign-language course to help commanders communicate better with deaf and hearing-impaired soldiers, then numbering more than 100.

Weiss said hearing-impaired service members are usually exempt from instructing roles, or jobs that would require them to communicate by telephone.

Rep. Mark Takano, D-California, cites Israel’s experience as one reason he will continue pressing for a US demonstration programme. Israel has “the benefit of a more diverse and talented pool of service members,” Takano wrote in an email. “Their example shows that this policy can be effective in some of the most tense and dangerous military arenas.”

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, said in an email that she, too, will continue pushing the Defense Department to see whether Americans with disabilities can serve and meet required military standards.

Nolan, who teaches high-school government and history, said supporting the military in a civilian role isn’t the same as serving in uniform, as one of his grandfathers and a great-uncle did.

Nolan made it through two years of ROTC at California State University, Northridge, before being told his deafness made him ineligible for advancement.

He founded the Maryland School for the Deaf Cadet Corps two years ago to teach skills he deems valuable no matter what career his students choose.

“I want to see them pave the way for the future,” Nolan said. “I have done my part so far, but I want to see them take it and break through.”

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

BERA Tests to check misuse of fake certification of hearing impairment

Dear Colleagues,

There have been incidences of misuse of Disability Certificates by persons not having required (40%) of disability to be eligible for the benefits available under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995.

It has come to our notice that many persons who use voice cellphones regularly to call and receive a voice call have been claiming to be persons with disability (hearing impairment) and possessing fake disability certificates thereby taking away the benefits meant for the persons with hearing impairment in terms of Persons with Disability Act 1995.

To prevent irregularities in availing reservations for physically challenged persons, the authorities in Andhra Pradesh (India) are planning to adopt a new technology, the Brainstem Evoked Response Audiom-etry (BERA) system to ascertain hearing deformity of persons in the district.

The new system will become significant when candidates claim reservation under the hearing-impaired quota. There are a huge number of cases to prove that ineligible people have availed certificates from doctors when traditional tests like the simplified tone decay tests are used. “We have received many complaints that people possess certificates as hearing impaired and have been misusing the quota. We have been asking professionals to adopt a stringent mechanism that prevents irregularities,” said Mr V.V.S.S.N. Murthy, the assistant director, Depart-ment of Welfare for the disabled and senior citizens.

Government had decided that hearing deformity should be certified only at the ENT hospital at Koti in Hyderabad. The local medical board recommends patients as physically challenged for final certification. Normally, persons with deformity of more than 40 per cent can only be considered valid and hearing disability normally is associated with dumbness. But in most cases, there is no speech deformity.

This feature proves fake certification, say medical professionals.

Source:  Deccan Chronical

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sign Language Poetry

Poem in sign language - unheard of.
Poets who have forsaken words with a wave of hands

Vineet Gill

New Delhi: Mainstream poets play with words to channelize their spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.But some poets express their angst,joy,hope,despair through signs.For hearing-impaired persons too,poetry is a possibility.

Today,sign language (SL) poetry has evolved into a refined art form.And Dutch filmmakers Leendert Pot and Anja Hiddinga have brought this obscure and relatively new art to the capital through their five short sign language poetry films,to be screened at India Habitat Centre on Friday evening.

Every country has its own sign language.It has its own grammar and vocabulary.And playing with the conventions of any language gives you poetry, said Anja Hiddinga,adding that this art scores over conventional poetry by involving the visual space also. The message or the content is as important as the form or the gestures in SL poems.Movement of the hands of the poet,while performing,is an integral part of the poem.And the use of different camera angles and the play of lights and shadows add different dimensions to the whole performance, said Leendert.

Anja and Leendert have roped in professional translators to translate the poems of Dutch SL poets,Wim Emmerik and Giselle Meyer,to English and Dutch.The duo has filmed the poets performing their poems in SL,with English and Dutch subtitles below.

The organizers and filmmakers believe that this will not only be welcomed by the art lovers of Delhi but will empower the hearing impaired communities all over the country,giving them new possibilities of expression. A deaf person doesnt want to be constrained by his handicap.They want to communicate with as many people as possible.And poetry is a good vehicle for that, said Leendert Pot.

The idea of SL poetry films was conceptualized in 2002 by the two filmmakers when they were making a documentary about Anjas two sons who are hearing impaired. At the end of the documentary,I had Anjas son perform a poem in sign language,and I was deeply moved by it.We thought of doing something about it.We got together every week,and it took us about two years to finish the whole thing.We have been on the road since 2005 promoting and popularizing the films, said Leendert.


Sign language

A set of gestures and signs to convey the meaning visually, rather than acoustically, using varying hand movements and hand shapes

Though no international standard exists,sign languages in different countries are similar

Sign language poetry

An art form that uses the conventions of sign language for a poetic expression

Like poetry,SL poetry too has different poetic devices such as symbolism,alliteration,metaphor

A rhyme in a SL poem is conveyed by a repetition of a hand movement