Live captioning comes to South Africa

30 04 2015

Live Captioning at a university in Cape Town, South Africa.

The client connects to the captioning service via a microphone set up in the classroom. The captioner hears what is being said and writes the text back – coming up live on your device in 1 second. Your device can be a laptop, smartphone, Google Glass, Kindle…. whatever connects to the internet.

Used effectively in classrooms, meeting, conferences, and teleconference calls – having the text coming up on a big screen and on participants’ own devices in 1 second. Making conversation accessible to all disabilities!

Live captioning enquiries –
Follow on Twitter @121captions

Blog post: Live captioning in South Africa

Narrowing the educational gap between deaf and hearing children

20 05 2011

According to the 2009 statistics from the Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID), 840 babies are born each year in the UK with significant deafness, and 20,000 children aged 0 to 15 years are moderately to profoundly deaf. Despite this, educational provision for these children has been identified as being limited.

In light of this the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre at UCL (DCAL) held a debate on the gap between deaf and hearing children’s educational achievements on 10 May. The debate was well attended and dynamically argued.

Article continues….

The NDCS have a number of news articles and events on opportunities and services for deaf children and their families. Ian’s blog, Campaigning for Deaf Children, is a great resource for news on what’s happening on the ground, so check it out!

4th Deaf Academics Conference

3 06 2008

Theme: The Role of Deaf Academics in the Pursuit of Social Justice

Date: 25 – 27 June 2008

Place: Dublin, Ireland

Organiser: John Bosco Conama, Coordinator

Address: Deaf Academics 2008
C/O Centre for Deaf Studies, Trinity College
University of Dublin
40 Lower Drumcondra Road
Dublin 9



International Symposium : Instructional Technology & Deaf Education

1 06 2008

Date: 23 – 26 June 2008

Place: Rochester, New York, USA

E. William Clymer, Symposium Chair NTID/RIT
National Technical Institute for the Deaf
PEN- International
52 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623-5604

Telephone (Voice) & TTY: +1 585 475 6894
Fax: +1 585 475 6544

Let’s be deaf for 5 minutes

26 05 2008

Last week, someone asked me ‘What’s it like to be deaf’? I find this a very difficult question to answer. I said it’s like permanently having a very bad cold, and hearing constant noises in the ears after spending too much time in a noisy nightclub. It’s very difficult to explain to hearing people what it is like to live with imperfect hearing.

Caroline of Irish Deaf Kids brought this simulator to my attention. It’s a great tool for raising awareness of deafness, blindness, dyslexia and autism. I worked my way through the hearing impairment simulator. You’ll need Shockwave for the simulators to work, and don’t forget to switch on your computer loudspeakers.

The main problem hearing loss creates is an inability to cope with background noise. I can’t screen out unwanted sounds or filter voices so I can’t concentrate on one person speaking, I’m hearing all the background sounds as well. Check out this demonstration of background sounds – click on the clock, the pencil, the computer and the printer.

Demonstration : Annoying background sounds in the office

Who would believe that a deaf person can hear all these sounds? Yes, we can! Add on top of that, trying to listen to a person’s voice. So, a learning point here: always try to minimise background sounds – move to a quiet room. This is easy enough to manage in a working environment, but try doing this in a social context – when you’re out on a date and trying to listen to the other person ….. (can’t think of anywhere quiet, can you?!). I was surprised to learn that people with autism have this problem too.

Demonstration : Trying to listen to someone against background sound

I have a complete hearing loss in the high frequencies. This means I can hear the vowels in speech but I can’t understand speech, as I’m missing the consonants (high frequency sounds), therefore I need to lipread. Your voice sounds just like baby talk. This also means I can’t understand the TV or listen on the phone.

Demonstration : High frequency hearing loss

The next demonstration is of low frequency hearing loss. I also have a low frequency hearing loss, although I do have some residual hearing in the low frequencies. This demo has 4 buttons – I thought 2 of them weren’t working (high frequency, low frequency) as I couldn’t hear anything at all – a perfect demonstration!

Lipreading is really very tiring but it’s a necessary evil. There are many factors affecting my ability to lipread someone, and this is something that is often controllable by the deaf person. Being very tired will mean lipreading is much harder as I’m not alert enough to sustain the high level of concentration required.

Relying solely on my eyes means I have one channel of incoming information rather than two (eyes and ears). This makes learning and taking in information much more difficult and time-consuming. I find I learn much better at my own pace and with lots of printed material to take away with me. Obviously, that means I need more time to revise and reflect on this information. It’s also harder to remember material that is received in a visual way and not in an auditory way as well.

Demonstration : Taking in information in an educational setting

And remember, there’s always that pesky problem of distracting background sounds, and tinnitus which is like having a permanent headache, except you hear it. Mine is luckily fairly quiet so I can ignore it, but gets louder when I’m tired or stressed. Tinnitus is often one of the most upsetting side-effects of hearing loss as it can’t be cured, it can only be managed. I find the management tactics that help the most are being relaxed, having other noise in the background such as a very low TV, and concentrating on other things instead of worrying about the tinnitus.

Demonstration : Tinnitus
(thanks to the British Tinnitus Association)

I also have musical hallucinations and loudness recruitment where some sounds are too loud for me. This is because hearing aids amplify a range of sounds around the frequencies used in speech. In order to amplify speech, environmental sounds are made louder as well. So it’s actually quite a noisy old world out there!

Adult Education fights for its life

8 05 2008

Calling all lipreading teachers and students!

The Government’s consultation on the future of non-skills based adult education ‘Informal Adult Learning – Shaping the Way Ahead’ can be accessed at the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills website.

Please respond to this consultation – the deadline is 12 June. You have a chance to stop the government reducing the quality of access to Adult Education by promoting “informal adult learning”. The government is seen to be placing too much emphasis on internet learning rather than classroom-based learning with the valuable interaction such learning offers.

You may like to look at this article from the Independent newspaper on this topic.

Withdrawal of Access to Work funding?

28 02 2008

I have just heard of a Department for Work and Pensions current consultation document that includes a proposal to withdraw Access to Work Funding from Public sector bodies – see the link below.

Full consultation

The relevant section is Chapter 5 from page 57 onwards and, in particular, paragraphs 23 – 25. The consultation questions are on page 64.

At Leeds university there are some individuals who are planning to respond in their own right and they are looking into the practicality of a University response.

Would you consider a response from your own HEIs, in which case the deadline for responses is 10th March.

A mass response is being organised from the University of London. If you are interested in lending your support to this response, please email

They have stopped paying for palantypists in Scotland, and I don’t want England to go down the same road or I’ll be working in a cat food factory!

What price a decent education for the deaf?

5 02 2008

The future of the Frank Barnes school in London is precarious. To lose an award-winning school is shocking, not to inform parents that such a school exists for their deaf child, even more so.

This news has been around for a while. But do read this article summarising (and clarifying) the situation by Councillor Adrian Oliver HERE.

I’m shocked I tell you. Shocked.

Association of Communication Support Workers

18 01 2008

ACSW Central & East Anglia

Theme: CSWs — Language professionals or support workers?

Keynote speaker:Jeanette Wright.
Jeanette is a well known deafened freelance Deaf Awareness trainer. She will speak about her own experience of becoming deaf and of using CSWs and Interpreters.

Free workshops will be run twice concurrently, so that each delegate can choose two to attend. Handouts will be available for all four. ACSW committee members will attend, so there will be opportunity for updates, announcements and questions.

Free refreshments through the day. Lunch available at local food outlets.

ACSW Regional Meeting
Saturday 9th February Chelmsford, Essex
Venue opens 10.30am, closes 4pm
Admission Fee: £5
Free to ACSW members

Register with Janice at:

This meeting is hosted by Janice Daniels-Dey, ACSW Regional Rep, Central & East Anglia.
Room M118/M119, Chelmsford College, Moulsham Street Campus, 102 Moulsham Street, Chelmsford, Essex CM2 0JQ
This meeting will be BSL interpreted and speech-to-text reported.

Book Now!

Workshop 1 : Is this the wrong decision?
The transition process for new students entering Post 16 education can be a time of stress & uncertainty or a welcome home. Students are from different styles of educational establishments. Post 16 Education structures, attitudes and procedures can be alien to the new student and their family. What is their preparation for this transition? What makes a good transition?
Jill Bussien, Teacher of the Deaf/Hearing Impaired and CSW Tutor at West Kent College.

Workshop 2 : Do CSWs over-modify student’s work?
CSWs have many roles. One is often the role of editor — checking and modifying the student’s
written work. CSWs are faced with many issues: What is the student trying to say? What is the intent of the written work? How much is the tutor expecting in terms of lucidity? Will an over-modification affect the student’s progress adversely? What are the implications for the student’s future?
Vicky Nunn, CSW and ACSW Treasurer.

Workshop 3 : What are the roles & responsibilities of a CSW?
They can be a mixed bag. It often depends on where the CSW works — what service they work for — who they support — the philosophy of the particular educational establishment. Also, CSWs roles and responsibilities have changed over the years. Even today they are in a state of flux. What is the answer to this confusion? Is there a right and wrong way?
Kenneth Culver, Deaf Services Manager at West Kent College.

Workshop 4 : What is the role of CSWs in examinations?
The role of CSWs is to support the student with access to exam questions by using BSL without
reinterpreting or giving clues. But what is the correct procedure if a student cheats? What if the
invigilator doesn’t understand the CSW role? What if there is no invigilator? What if the CSW is asked to support three students at the same time?
Andy Owen, CSW, author and ACSW Secretary.