Friday, April 21, 2017

Did poor signing cost him millions?

James Wang says a wrong sign cost him millions of dollars. He once worked for IBM and was paid $200,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit. Wang "accused the tech giant of firing him for being deaf." But Wang says his lawyer "confused the sign for 'million' with that for 'thousand' while negotiating the deal." Read more on the story from the New York Post.

A Talk With Marlee Matlin

      photo by Angela George
The Hartford Courant sat down to talk with Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin before she speaks tonight at the American School for the Deaf's Bicentennial Celebration at the Connecticut Convention Center. She was asked about how things have changed in Hollywood since she won her Oscar at the young age of 21:
I did "Dancing With the Stars," and people said, "hey, deaf people can dance." I raised a million dollars for hearing aids for children on "Celebrity Apprentice." I try to show by what I do that deaf people don't have to be put in a little box. But we still have "disability blackface," where 95 percent of television characters with a disability on television are played by able-bodied actors. You still have the thinking that deaf actors only act in deaf storylines; any story line can feature an actor who is deaf. The topic needs to be part of our conversation.
Read more of what she said here.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Father and Son get Implants

A Georgia father and his son got cochlear implants together-despite the fact the father was at first against his son getting an implant. Atlanta's Fox 5 was there when Randy Adams had his implant activated.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The 200th anniversary of deaf education in America

Gallaudet University President Roberta Cordano shares a special message in honor of the 200th anniversary of deaf education in America.

Friday, April 14, 2017

What Do Cochlear Implants And Hearing Aids Sound Like?

Science Friday has posted a lesson for middle schools students about how hearing aids and cochlear implants including sample recordings of..
"what it’s like to hear sound through a hearing aid and a cochlear implant. Unless you wear one of these devices, it is impossible to know exactly what it is like to experience sound through them. In fact, people who have normal hearing in one ear but wear a cochlear implant in the other ear say that these simulations sound very different from how they hear sounds with their implant."
The sample sounds are posted here.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Mississippi School "Defies odds"

The Mississippi School for the Deaf women's basketball team made it to the second round of the 1A state playoffs for the first time in school history. Coach Victorica Monroe told the Clarion Ledger, "When we became a part of history it really was shocking because I wasn’t thinking about it like that. I just wanted to come and be a good coach, and in the meantime we’ve made history.” Read the full story here.

Fed agency can't hire needed terps

The spy agency in charge of the most advanced imaging technology in the world has a budget of more than $5 billion. But "right now they have a position for a sign language interpreter that they’re not allowed to fill." Gizmodo explains why.

*update: The freeze was just lifted this week

Lawsuit: Denied Services by Sheriff's Office

screen grab from Action News Jax video 
Cassandra Kinney says the Jacksonville, Florida Sheriff's Office failed to provide her an sign language interpreter. Police were called to her home several times but she says they failed to get her side of the story. Now she has filed a lawsuit. Action News Jax has a video report here.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Rally for Deaf Florida Man, Arrested at Protest

A demonstration opposing the Syrian airstrike turned violent in Jacksonville, Florida. Among those arrested was Connell Crooms, who is deaf. Action News Jax has a video report about a rally in his support at the county courthouse.

Mother of Beaten Deaf Protester Speaks Out

Feliciaia Crooms says police severely beat her deaf son in Jacksonville, Florida-and then refused to let her to see him either at the hospital or later in jail. The Florida Times-Union has a report on the several hundred people who gathered at the Duval courthouse in support of protesters arrested Friday night.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Resources in South Texas

The deaf and hard-of-hearing are in need health resources in the Rio Grande Valley. KRGV-TV has a video report from south Texas on the issue.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Deaf driver's license bill passes NC House

North Carolina lawmakers have approved a new system to help law enforcement identify people who are deaf or hard of hearing. It passed the State House and is now on its way to the State Senate. WRAL-TV has more on the story here.

Deaf-blind man ordered off Flight

Frankie Thomson has flown for decades by himself, despite being deaf-blind. But he was removed from a Easyjet flight going from Edinburgh to Gatwick.Thomson was told the decision was for "safety reasons."Read the full story here.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Mom: School took away Terp

A mom in Huntsville, Alabama says her school district has taken away her 8-year-old son's sign language interpreter. Ryann Brown told, "He cannot benefit from any type of hearing aid or cochlear implant so he fully relies on sign language to communicate. Taking away his interpreter would provide him with no access to language in the classroom." Read the full story here.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Lawsuit: Add Captioning at Pepsi Center

image KM Newnham
A class action lawsuit is asking the courts to make Denver's Pepsi Center include captioning on its video board and "provide interpreters for hearing-impaired fans at events when the video board isn’t in use." Read the full story from KMGH-TV.

A "deaf culture war" in Alabama

Rep. Margie Wilcox  
A bill in the Alabama legislature had pitted "the deaf culture and the 'hearing deaf' culture," against one another, advocate Leigh Leak says.  According to, HB 253, proposed by Rep. Margie Wilcox, aims "to help deaf kids who are falling through the cracks" but "advocates in the 'hearing deaf' culture are afraid the bill will force children who use spoken language to learn American Sign Language." They complain the opt out option for children with cochlear implants is too weak. Read the full story from here or look at the bill itself here.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Deaf student says University didn't provide interpreter

A visiting student researcher from Canada says UC Berkeley didn't provide her an interpreter until she was near the end of her time at the school, which left her sitting "in a classroom trying to read lips." KTVU-TV spoke with Nancy Barker and has a video report.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Deaf Girl Assaulted for using Sign Language

A search is underway for a woman who police say attached a deaf girl because she used sign language. Read more in the Manchester Evening News here.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Parents Accused of Murdering Deaf Son

Did a New York couple kill their deaf son and then set their house on fire to cover it up? That's what Guilford, New York prosecutors think happened. They've charged Ernest F. Franklin II and Heather Franklin with murdering their 16-year-old adopted son. Here's more from TIME.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Hearing Aids Given to deaf Syrian children

A team of audiologists from the Chicago-based "Deaf Planet Soul” charity are on a two-week mission to help deaf Syrian children in clinics around Lebanon. A spokesman tells the Associated Press, "When people think of refugees, they think of cut-off limbs and brain injuries, and all these visible things. They don’t think about the invisible results of war. They don’t think that this kid who can’t hear really needs help.” Read the full story here.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Bot helps perform Cochlear-Implant Surgery

Robots "have successfully performed a tricky, delicate operation that helped implant a hearing device into a deaf woman's ear," reports Live Science. Researchers at the University of Bern in Switzerland said, ""When discussing much-needed surgical innovations for use in ear, nose and throat procedures, our surgeon colleagues would repeatedly mention that gaining access to the inner ear in a minimally invasive manner was a major hurdle that had not been resolved. This spurred us on." Here is a video with more, but there are no captions, but you can read more here.

Postage Stamp for Deaf Educator

image from USPS
The U.S. Postal Service will honor "an influential teacher and a pioneer in the field of Deaf Studies" with a new stamp. Robert Panara died in 2014 but his influence goes on,  When his stamp comes out on April 10, it will be the 16th stamp in the Distinguished Americans series. For 40 years, Panara showed students the power of sign language. He taught at both Gallaudet University in Washington, DC and at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in New York state.  In fact, he helped found the NTID, serving as the institution's first deaf faculty member.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

New Deaf Studies Degree

The state of Nevada is getting its first bachelor’s degree in deaf studies. It will be offered by Nevada State College in Henderson. The school already had a deaf studies minor. "Now, students will be able to take a deeper dive into the subject’s cultural context," reports The Las Vegas Review-Journal.

MD Deaf man Sexually Assaulted

Image from
 Wicomico County Detention Center
A deaf man was sexually assaulted in Salisbury, Maryland this past Saturday "by a woman who carjacked and robbed him," according to Delmarva Now. Salisbury Police have charged Tina Marie Graham "with kidnapping, carjacking, first-degree sex offense, perverted practice, false imprisonment and other offenses." Read the full story here

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Woman Arrested for Attacking Deaf Girl

from New York State Police
We reported Wednesday about a New York woman wanted by the police for intentionally ramming a Walmart shopping cart into a deaf 10-year-old. Police have arrested Erica Walker and charged her with assailt. Walker is out on bail but due back in a Cortlandt, New York courtroom on Monday.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Skiing accident Left Woman Deaf But Her Passion Remains

image from
A woman who lost her hearing during a barefoot skiing accident is now, more than 20 years later, planning to ski barefoot in all 50 states. When Karen Putz first became deaf, she was in despair. But she went on to raise a family (including three deaf kids) and travel all over the U.S. playing in Deaf volleyball tournaments. Read about Karen's skiing goal in the Chicago Tribune and her backstory on her blog.

School would rather take videos down than caption them

image: brainchildvn on Flickr
Many of UC Berkeley's educational videos don't meet ADA requirements, according to the Department of Justice. In response, the California school says that rather than caption more than 20,000 course capture videos accessible to the public, it would rather just take them down in order to save money. A senior is quoted in the school's student newspaper as complaining that Berkeley "does not adequately support its disabled students." Read more in the Daily Cal here.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Woman wanted for Hurting Deaf Girl

image from NY State Police
Police in a little town just north of New York City are looking for a woman who rammed a deaf girl with her shopping car at a Walmart. It happened Saturday morning. Read more about it here.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Gally comes close but misses March Madness

Gallaudet lost to Morrisville State this weekend, knocking the Bison out of contention for a spot in March Madness. Morrisville State won by a score of 72-68. Gally had a chance to tie with only 10 seconds left in the game but missed the shot. Read more about what happened in the Washington Post.

Why she refused to alter her twins' genes

Sarah-Jane Moloney O'Regan decided not to alter the genes of her twins' to prevent them being born deaf. The sign language interpreter explained why on Ireland's Late Late Show here or watch the video below.

Friday, February 24, 2017

First March Madness for Gally?

image from
The Gallaudet men's basketball team has already set a school record by winning 20 games. And they aren't done. The school is hosting the North Eastern Athletic Conference tournament for the first time this weekend. If the Bison can pull off wins in their two games, they would be the first team in Gally history to earn a berth in the NCAA Division III tournament. Read more in the Washington Post.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

New Show from Deaf West

A new Deaf West Theatre production opens March 7 in LA at the Wallis. "Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo" will run through March 26. The cast includes deaf and hearing actors. You'll find more details here.

SCOTUS sides with Service Dog

A Supreme Court ruling could have an impact on students with disabilities across the country, according to the ACLU. The high court has unanimously ruled in favor a Michigan girl who wanted to bring her service dog school with her. Administrators at the Napoleon Community School had told Ehlena Fry's family that she could have human helpers but not her Goldendoodle named Wonder. Her family thought that was a violation of ADA law. The case now goes back to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Warehouse coworkers learn ASL

Kamal Nasser is helping coworkers at Columbus's AT&T warehouse learn ASL. Nasser is deaf, so this is making work better for him, but it's also bonding his coworkers together. WSYX has a video report. No captions, but you can read the story here.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Deaf MS Man Shot to Death

Rafael Thompson was found dead in his car in Jackson with multiple gunshot wounds, according to MS News Now. Thompson had attended the Mississippi School for the Deaf before going to college. Jackson Police have no suspects in the case. Here's a video report from MS News Now. - Jackson, MS

Deaf Man Killed by Train

A Colorado deaf man was hit and killed today afternoon by train while he was crossing the tracks. KDVR-TV has surveillance video from a neighboring business in the video report below.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Large Collection of ASL GIFs now Available

A library of more than 2,000 GIFs of individual signs are now available through GIPHY, the GIF search engine. The collection of ASL looping flashcards is cut from a educational series called "Sign With Robert" featuring Robert DeMayo. There's text to make it clearer. "Sign With Robert" director and producer Hilari Scarl says, "The GIF format has the ability to loop infinitely, so it's perfect for learning new signs. [It] doesn't require the back and forth of hitting play, rewind or repeat." Particular sign can be found by using the search bar. There's an example below.. and you can access the "Sign with Robert" GIPHY library here.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Deaf Student: School Discriminated Against Me

A deaf Lousiana college student has filed a lawsuit claiming that the University of Louisiana-Lafayette did not him as required by ADA. Fabian S. Strauss says he requested a note taker but was denied. Read more about it in the Louisiana record here.

One Billion Videos Captioned.. sort of

While YouTube is bragging about have one billion captioned videos, critics are pointing out that many of the automatically generated captions are wildly inaccurate. It's been eight years since Google added the automatic speech recognition designed to generate captions and the company says it's accuracy is up by 50 percent. But in the anouncement about the number of captioned videos, Google Product Manager Liat Kaver admits the program is not where the company wants it to be:
A major goal for the team has been improving the accuracy of automatic captions — something that is not easy to do for a platform of YouTube’s size and diversity of content. Key to the success of this endeavor was improving our speech recognition, machine learning algorithms, and expanding our training data. There were limitations with the technology that underscored the need to improve the captions themselves. Results were sometimes less than perfect, prompting some creators to have a little fun at our expense!
Read the full announcement from YouTube here.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Deaf High School Mascot

Deaf from birth, 15-year-old Freshman Kamron King "has mastered sign language and how to lip read and speak." As his high school mascot, King says he "uses his eyes and his energy to get the crowd fired up." He's affectionately known as "Kam the Ham." Here is an NBC News video report.

Irish Comedian Insults Deaf with Fake Signing

An Irish comedian stood up in front of a group gathered to hear a streamed political speech and pretended to use sign language. His random gestures were not appreciated by the Deaf community, Irish Deaf Society said it was insulted by the prank. Read more about it here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Shot after not understanding gunman's demands

John Kelly was getting money out of an ATM when he was shot four times because the deaf man couldn't hear the commands of robbers. WISN-TV in Milwaukee has a video report here.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A review of Switched at Birth from a deaf perspective

The TV series Switched at Birth has gotten a lot of positive press for its protrayal of deaf characters. But one reviewer says that while the show is a "GREAT innovation" it doesn't live up to its potential. Case in point:
If you are fluent in sign and have been in and around the deaf community it is annoying that the cast can’t learn ASL properly after 4 full seasons. It’s painful to watch Vanessa Marano (Bay Kennish) struggle through her lines as if she has an ASL coach telling her how to sign off set. It’s terrible. She is supposed to have known her deaf “sister” for 4 years now plus she is dating deaf guys for a few years and she doesn’t know the difference between the sign of “English” and “night.”
Read the full review in the San Francisco News.

Police: Video Made of Deaf Man's Beating

A video shows a deaf man being beaten in Detroit by another deaf man.. and "police said the woman holding the camera in the video set it all up," reports WDIV-TV. The three attended the same school for the deaf.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Super Bowl Signing

Kriston Pumphrey
image from NAD
The Super Bowl festivities will include the talents of an NTID alum (National Technical Institute for the Deaf). Kriston Lee Pumphrey will sign the National Anthem and “America, the Beautiful.” Pumphrey lives in Detriot where he works as an anchor at sign language channel DPAN-TV, but he considers Seattle his hometown. WJBK-TV has more on his background here, NTID has a news release here, and the National Association of the Deaf here.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Ruling on Firing of Deaf School Teachers

A judge has overturned a decision by an arbitrator about the firing of two teachers at the Iowa School for the Deaf over what administrators said was poor performance. Read the full story from Associated Press here.

The Good Vibrations Music and Arts Festival

Organizers of a Texas music festival set for the summer claim it will be the first to be completely accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing community. KHOU-TV has a video report.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Man pleads guilty for Gallaudet Univ. burglary

"A former employee of Gallaudet University’s food service department pleaded guilty Monday to holding deaf workers at gunpoint during a burglary" at the school, according to the Washington Post. Just days after he had been fired, Donald Williams wore a mask and used a gun to force his way into the kitchen. Read the full story here.

On this date: A deaf man helps to stop a bank robbery

A deaf bank customer helped stop a bank robbery on this day (Jan 30) in 2003. A bank teller in Rochester, New York tipped off the man as he was going through the drive-through. The robber had entered a branch of HSBC yelled that he was robbing it, then jumped on a counter and pistol-whipped a teller. Another teller at the drive-up window just happened to be helping a deaf customer at that moment. She mouthed the words "we are being robbed." The lip-reading customer then drove to a nearby liquor store and called 911. Police nabbed the robbery suspect not far from the bank as he was trying to wash dye off his hands after a dye pack in the money bag had exploded. The injured teller suffered only minor injuries.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Getting to know.. audiologist Marion Downs

image from Marion Downs Hearing Center 
One of the people most responsible for newborn hearing screening in the U.S. was born this day (Jan. 26) in 1914. Audiologist Marion Downs published two books and over 100 articles on the topic during her lifetime. The Marion Downs Hearing Center opened nearly a decade ago at the University of Colorado Medical Center. WVXU radio in Cincinnati has more on this remarkable woman here. She was 100 years old when she died on Nov. 13, 2014.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Court hears appeal of deaf patients

Two deaf people were in federal court today because a hospital refused to give them in-person interpreters. Baptist Hospital provided VRI but Cheylla Silva and John Paul Jebian are challenging that technology as inadequate to meet ADA requirements. A lower court judge dismissed the case but they are appealing and hoping the federal appeals court overturns the lower court ruling. Read the full story from the Miami Herald here.

Gally Hoops

Gallaudet University's basketball team is 14-3 overall and 6-0 in the North Eastern Athletic Conference. The Austin American-Statesman has a look at several players on the roster here.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

City to pay for no Terp

A city in Rhode Island will pay $25,000 in damages and legal fees to a deaf man for failing to provide him with an interpreter during his arrest and night in jail. David Alves was arrested when police mistook a sign language gesture for an obscene gesture. Read the full story from Associated Press here.

Yachtsman of the Year

A deaf man has been named Britain's yachtsman of the year. Gavin Reid beat out others with Olympic medals and titles, because of his part in a "dramatic ocean rescue." As CNN reports, "Reid swam to a stranded vessel before climbing its mast and untangling a distressed crew member. All while negotiating rough seas." Read the full CNN story here. NBC has an interview with Reid below, but there are no captions. You can read that story here.

Gally: One Year with a Female President

image from
Read the story here. "In its 152-year history, Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. never had a deaf female president — until a year ago. Roberta Cordano is the first deaf woman to lead the school," reports NPR. The news outlet recently spoke with Gally President Cordano about the how the school provides a place of support and community for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Read the story here.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Charges Dropped against deaf Oklahoma man

A 67-year-old Oklahoma man was seriously injured in Oklahoma City when he was stopped by police. Prosecutors charged Pearl Pearson with resisting arrest.. even though he could not hear the officer's commands and warnings because he is deaf. KFOR-TV reports charges he resisted arrest have been dropped.

Donald Trump in ASL

Ever wondered how to say ‘Donald Trump’ in American Sign Language? The Washington Post has a suggestion here, along with some other politicians.

On this date.. Sorenson Dies

James LeVoy Sorenson
(image from Southern Utah University)
A driving force in the Deaf community died on this date (Jan. 20) in 2008. James LeVoy Sorenson passed away at a Salt Lake City hospital at the age of 86. Utah's richest man was estimated to be worth $4.5 billion by Forbes magazine. Perhaps best known for co-developing the first real-time computerized heart monitor and founding Sorenson Communication, his donations to Gallaudet University totaled more than $5 million.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Deaf Driver runs over Body in Road

A search is underway for a driver in the Jacksonville, Florida area who hit someone walking down a road and then drove off. A deaf man later ran over the body but stopped to help. Since David Bicknell couldn't call the police himself, he drove to "a gas station where he wrote a note asking a clerk to call the police," according to WFOX-TV.

Deaf Boy to be allowed to Stay in UK

We told you recently about a "six-year-old deaf boy who fled Iraq with his family after ISIS threatened to kill disabled children." His parents were told he would have to leave the UK. Here's an update: Lawand Hamadamin "has been given a last minute reprieve to stay in Britain," according to The Telegraph. His brother and parents had settled into Derby where he learned British Sing Language at the Royal School for the Deaf. Read more from The Telegraph here.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Deaf Couple Rescued from Snowstorm

A deaf California couple is safe after being rescued from a snowstorm after three days. KNBC-TV has a video report. No captions but you can read the story here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Civil War pivotal in deaf history

"The (American) Civil War dramatically changed the course of deaf people’s lives. In many ways, the national crisis empowered many to believe in their own abilities," writes Harry G. Lang, a professor at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf. Lang explains out it brought "the nation's deaf population out of society's shadows. Read about it in Rochester's Democrat and Chronicle.

Why your next Uber driver might be deaf

A new story from Quartz explains how some deaf drivers have found work with Uber. Susan Johnston Taylor says, "NAD is currently working with Uber to make its app more user-friendly for hard-of-hearing drivers (or partners, as Uber prefers to call them). These initiatives include a flashing light to notify a driver of a ride request (in addition to the existing audio notification), turning off the option to call a deaf driver, and a prompt to make sure passengers enter their destinations." Read the full story here.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Getting to Know... Hearing Tests

Here's what won't happen during a hearing test: No one will use a needle and there will be no request to strip off your clothes.

 Here's what WILL happen: An audiologist will check to make sure you don’t have a build up of wax in your ears before taking you into an acoustic testing chamber that cuts out outside noise.

You’ll put on headphones that cover your ears and listen to tones.

You’ll indicate when you first hear the tone.

 He’ll start with a low tone at a very soft level and gradually increase the volume.

The same process will be used through ten different tones.

 A second test involves placing a want behind your ear. This test how well you can hear sounds coming through your skull and not through your ears.

 The results are indicated on what’s called an audiogram. It looks like a graph.

If you have some hearing loss – whether mild or significant, your audiologist may include speech recognition tests.

 Using the headphones again, you repeat a word or sentence that you hear. The results should give the audiologist enough information to decide to recommend a hearing aid.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Airline Travel Trips

Make each airline agent aware of your situation at each stage of your trip.. from the booking agent all the way to the gate agent and flight attendants. Arrange for pre-boarding and have a friend or family member escort you to the gate. Escorts can get a gate pass that will allow them through security and to the gate. Airlines will often seat you at the front of a plane if you request it to read lips better or if you have a service dog with you. Take a piece of paper with you explaining your situation and how you’d like to communicate. Show it especially to an agent when you arrive at the gate so that he or she can make sure you are aware of any important announcements such as a gate change. Most airlines offer assistance for hard-of-hearing passengers over the phone.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Getting to Know... Hearing Loops

When you see a blue sign of a human ear that's a cue to hearing aid users that they can press a tiny button to hear a special broadcast sent directly to their device. This is called a hearing loop, a thin copper wire that radiates electromagnetic signals in a room. A tiny receiver called a telecoil built into most hearing aids and cochlear implants picks up the signal. With the flip of a switch on the device, sound comes through with greater clarity than can be heard by someone with normal hearing. This might be music, sound from a movie, a or a speaker. Hearing loops are better known in Europe than in the US, where only about a thousand have been installed in museums, stores, theaters, airports, and sports arenas.

The sign should have a "T" symbol in the lower right hand corner of the ear symbol if there is an induction loop installed. If there is solely an ear with a slash in the middle of the ear, than the sign indicates there is some sort of hearing access but good luck trying to figure out what the site has. If there are dots/slashes running through the ear then the sign indicates that an assistive listening system is present but it could be an FM or Infrared system and headsets and/or neck loops may be available.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Gally's in the middle a tech revolution

Now that the FCC has voted to "phase out TTY teletypewriter systems and transition to RTT on smartphones," Gallaudet becomes an important player in the new technology. Gallaudet’s senior research engineer Norman Williams now holds the patent for RTT. WJLA-TV has a video report (no captions) and a text report here.

Getting to Know... Service Animals

What is the legal definition of a service animal?  Therapy Animals are not legally defined by federal law but there is a legal definition for service animals in the Americans With Disabilities Act. Service animals are specifically trained to help the disability-related needs of their handlers and are not considered 'pets'.

Is using a service animal protected in public places? Federal laws protect the rights of individuals with disabilities who are accompanied by their service animals in public places.

Does a guide dog have to be certified by the State to be an “official” guide dog? No. Any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. 

Can a business owner insist on proof of state certification before letting a service animal into the business? No. Certificates, licenses or other physical proof that a dog qualifies as a service animal.

What can a business owner ask the service dog handler? If the dog’s function is not apparent, then the ADA permits only two kinds of questions. The business owner can ask, “Is this dog required because of a disability?" and “What specific assistive task or tasks has the dog been trained to perform?”

Under what conditions can a service animal be excluded from a facility? Under ADA law, an animal can be excluded if it is a direct threat to the health or safety of other people or will disrupt the regular operation of the business. Handlers of service animals must obey local leash and vaccine laws and must have their dogs under control at all times. An example of an animal being a direct threat to public safety would be if the service animal was eating at tables or sitting on chairs meant for patrons. 

Can businesses hold service animal owners responsible for damage done by the animal? Yes. Service-dog handlers are responsible for property damage just like other patrons.

Can businesses require the owners of service animals to pay “pet fees” or segregate them into “animal-friendly” areas? Because service dogs are not pets, the U.S. Justice Department, which is the ADA’s primary enforcement authority, businesses cannot subject them to “pet fees” or segregation in “animal-friendly” areas.  

Does an animal have to be able to do anything to be a service animal?  Yes. A dog must be able to perform specific tasks that relate to a person’s disability. 

Are therapy animals protected in the same way? Therapy, emotional-support, and companion animals are considered pets and do not fall under the regulations provided by the ADA. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Gally's NFL prospect

image from
Carneilus Smith didn't learn sign language until he got to Gallaudet University. He tells NFL Draft Diamonds, "I had deaf roommates and teammates that I had to learn sign language to communicate with them and as well as play on the field with them to lead. Now I’m fluent in ASL in just 4 years." Read the full interview with the football standout here.

Getting to Know.. your Hair Cells

Hair cells play a critical role in our hearing. When they are damaged, doctors say they act like blades of grass. When someone walks on grass, the blades initially lie down and then bounce back up. but if you keep walking that same path over and over again, the grass will stay down. Hair cells are the same way, if you send waves of sound from the outside without opportunity for the cells to recover or you rip them up through excessive noise. Hair cells do not grow back.