Sign2sing project aims for a Guinness World Record

8 02 2013

Ten-year-old Ruby Tuckley from Wallingford taught sign language to her fellow pupils and staff at St John’s Primary School in Wallingford for a charity world record breaker yesterday (February 6, 2013).

Ruby and her Mum Hannah Bullen, who is deaf, were joined by pupils and SignHealth’s mascot, Olli the monkey for the sign2sing world record breaking attempt on Wednesday February 6.

Jane Ratcliffe, Headteacher at St John’s Primary School on St John’s Road, said: “Ruby taught the whole school, including myself, the signs to ‘sign2sing’. Ruby was particularly keen to get involved with the world record breaker as her Mum is deaf. She even registered the school to take part.

“We were all really excited to be involved in the sign2sing world record breaking attempt for the most people signing and singing a song at the same time. It was a fantastic event.”

Young people from all over the country and overseas signed a song called ‘sign2sing’, which was composed especially for the event.

Steve Powell, Chief Executive at SignHealth, which is the national healthcare charity for deaf people, said: “It’s fantastic that Ruby was so enthusiastic about the event and managed to get the whole school on board to take part. We are thrilled that St John’s Primary School took part in the world record breaking attempt for the first time.

“sign2sing is also a fundraiser for us through a suggested £1 donation from everyone taking part. Children were asked to wear a scarf like Olli the monkey to school on the day of sign2sing and take in their £1 donation.”

The money raised from the event will be used to continue the charity’s work helping to improve the mental and physical health and well-being of deaf people, including deaf children.

Steve continued: “Hundreds of schools from all over the country and overseas registered to take part in our Guinness World Record sign2sing project for the most people signing and singing at the same time.

“They range in size from 30 to 800 pupils, which, from our calculations, means more than 135,000 schoolchildren took part in the event. The exact number of participants will be confirmed by Guinness World Records™ at a later date.

“The previous world record, which we set last year, was 114,277 so we are hoping to have smashed this.

“It has been a truly fantastic event and we’re extremely grateful for everyone who took part. At the moment we’re still counting the money raised but we’re hoping it will make a significant contribution to the work of SignHealth.

“The song, entitled ‘sign2sing’, is also now available for people to download. It can be purchased from iTunes and various other digital music outlets, and costs a maximum of 79 pence per download.

“We hope lots of people will download the song. It would be great to see it in the charts and get even more people talking about sign2sing.”

For more information about sign2sing, please visit the website above or contact SignHealth on 01494 687600. Alternatively, sign2sing is on Twitter at www.twitter.com/sign2sing and on Facebook





Mimix

13 06 2011

I discovered a new start-up in the Middle East, called Mimix. Mimix’s aim is to translate speech to sign langage and to teach deaf and others sign language. What do you think of it?

Mimix





My Song

12 06 2011

This film demonstrates how I felt growing up, with no one understanding my communication needs. I was given a FM radio system for school and told to get on with it. My social needs were totally disregarded. I know too well, the farce of pretending to understand what’s being said, then being told by my family ‘You can hear perfectly well when you want to’. Being unable to sign, I wasn’t part of a deaf culture either – heck, I didn’t even KNOW such a thing as a deaf culture existed. When I first got to know other deaf people, through Friends for Young Deaf People, the other young deaf people told me that I’m not deaf as I didn’t sign (oh, the irony!).  I just felt so stuck between the deaf and the hearing.  It’s bad enough when hearing people don’t understand and won’t meet you halfway, but when deaf people won’t meet you halfway either, that’s a real kick in the teeth. Deaf people who won’t accept you as a deaf person and deaf people who say you shouldn’t be using sign language – both are reprehensible. We’re all entitled to acceptance and to communicate in our chosen way.

Now that I can sign (not fluent though), lipread and hear, I can live my own life in my own way. I have great friends from both cultures – who can hear, lipread, and sign – and I wouldn’t change this for anything.

Thanks to Billy and Charlie for giving us another blinder!





Better telephone access for deaf people

2 09 2010

A news release from TAG hit my inbox today, calling for better access to telephones for deaf people. This saga is really dragging on, but it wasn’t easy obtaining captions either. Dan offers a possible solution. Read on …..

NEWS RELEASE

Government call for improved disabled access for 2012 must include better access to the telephone for deaf people

2 September 2010

Government must take the initiative to modernise telephone relay services for deaf and hard-of-hearing people if its call for companies to improve disabled access in the run up to the 2012 London Olympics is to mean anything to deaf people, says TAG, the deaf electronic communications consortium.

The Government-commissioned report 2012 Legacy for Disabled People: Inclusive and Accessible Business shows that almost one-third of disabled people have difficulty in accessing goods and services they want to use. Because of poor access to the telephone network, the percentage of deaf and hard-of hearing people unable to access goods and services is very much higher. As a result the economy suffers and deaf and hard-of-hearing citizens are marginalised.

Ruth Myers, Chairman of TAG, said: “This Government report reflects what TAG has been saying for a very long time: deaf and hard-of-hearing people are excluded from many social and commercial opportunities because of the antiquated way that they must communicate with the hearing world via the voice telephone. Email and texting communications only meet some needs – access to voice telephony is crucial for many employment, commercial and social purposes.

“TAG is campaigning for new types of relay services, such as captioned telephony, video relay and IP relay services, all of which are already available to deaf people in some other countries. Everyone accepts that the provision of additional types of relay service is the way forward, but the trigger for action has to be a Government commitment to find the necessary funding mechanisms. The costs are not high in comparison to the economic and social benefits which will accrue.

“We call on the Government to act now to ensure that modernised telephone relay services for deaf people will be up and running in 2011, ready for use by deaf people to make their booking arrangements for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

TAG is a consortium of the main UK deaf organisations concerned with electronic communications and is campaigning for improved electronic communications for deaf, deafened, hard-of-hearing, and deafblind people, and sign language users.

Follow TAG on Twitter @DeafTAG

Telecommunications Action Group

Media Contact

Stephen Fleming at Palam Communications
t 01635 299116 (voice)
e sfleming@palam.co.uk


Dan says this one is a no-brainer to fix – for free.
  • Go to i711.com and sign up. You’ll be prompted to be assigned a relay phone number.
  • You will enter your address (for expanded 911 service); and then choose an open number in the pool from the pop-up. Write this number down.
  • Now, you can make unlimited free outbound relay calls from your web browser.
But Wait, There’s More!
  • Now, minimize the i711.com browser window — We’ll come back to it in a few moments.
  • Next, in a new browser window, go to AIM.com and get a screen name (skip this step if you already have one). Then, either download the free AIM software, or if you already use another IM service (ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, MSN, Google Chat, etc…), download the free Trillian IM software, which will funnel all of your IM services into one small app on your desktop.
  • Install & configure your AIM or Trillian software to automatically launch on startup, and also to autoconnect on launch.
  • Go back to the i711.com window and enter your AIM screen name. You can now close that window.
  • Click back on AIM or Trillian and add i711relay to your buddy list. Send an IM with “Hello” in it and you’ll get an autoreply with a couple lines of text.

You now have two additional ways to handle calls:

  1. You can place a call via AIM by sending an IM with the phone number in it.
  2. You can now also receive voice calls on the free number you received when you signed up a few minutes ago.

Now, you can give out that number to hearing friends, family, & businesses as your voice number. When someone dials this number, they will get a relay operator who will send you an IM, and initiate the call.

But Wait, There’s Still More!

Let’s say that the only internet access you have is on a mobile (Blackberry, Treo, or iPhone) via a $35/month data-only plan for the hearing impaired. Simply load the AIM or Trillian software on your mobile, and you can place and receive relay calls, just like on your PC in your home.

Now, let’s say you live in another country and work for an American company: simply enter the US address when you sign up for the i711.com service. You will now have a free phone number in the United States for your hearing business associates (and friends & family) to reach you via relay.

How is this all possible… And for free when one end of the relay call is in America?

Every phone line in the United States is taxed about 50 cents per month to fund relay services for the hearing impaired, allowing free enterprise services (such as i711.com) to thrive in the open market providing services for us. The simple fact is businesses can leverage internet and telephony technology to provide voice relay and turn a profit while doing so.

What a country!


Personally, I would love to see the return of CapTel to the UK. CapTel uses a CapTel phone handset, and WebCapTel uses the internet and any phone including a mobile phone. I was lucky to be able to use both in my job and I found it fantastic – no one realised I was deaf. Unfortunately the company supplying the CapTel service was unable to continue providing it, as it was too expensive to do this without public or government funding. Hence the campaign by TAG to improve telephone relay services in the UK, by either improving Text Relay (formerly Typetalk) or appropriately financing the provision of services such as CapTel and VRS such as SignVideo. You can see SignVideo in action here, provided by Significan’t in London. I found the screen display very clear and could lipread the person.

In the US, you have more than one CapTel provider. You can even get it for Blackberry!

CapTel
Hamilton CapTel
Sprint CapTel
Ultratec

There is also a service called PhoneCaption.





Help to improve BSL learning methods for hearing people

8 02 2009

Katie Marshall is a researcher working at City University London and the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre (University College London).

She is looking for hearing BSL (British Sign Language) learners who have passed level 2 and/or are taking pre-level 3/level 3 classes. She needs people “who are in the processes of learning so can have a conversation in sign but who are not yet ‘fluent'”, to participate in a small research project for her MSc studies.

I think it’s worth spreading-the-word because her research might help improve teaching learning/methods of hearing BSL learners.

Katie is quite happy for her email address (katiemason @hotmail.com) and the documents below to be circulated freely and would be very grateful if anyone would be willing to take part. Please email Katie if you would like to help her out.





Deaf man wins £50,000 business award

1 12 2008

Andrew Thomson runs a business in Scotland called Sign-Now, providing online BSL video-conferencing for deaf people. This service enables deaf people, who do not speak but use sign language, to communicate with hearing people over the internet. Brilliant.

He’s now received an award from easyGroup and Leonard Cheshire Disability for his work.





Signing to all deaf / Deaf people!

20 11 2008

Middlesex University researcher Catherine Carlton wants to contact members of the Deaf community n a project looking at the importance of BSL to Deaf identity. The research aims to highlight the importance of British Sign Language to the Deaf community and explore Deaf Identities.

if you would like to help by completing the questionnaire, the link is HERE

There is a £100 prize draw for all those who answer the survey.

~~~~~ UPDATE FROM CATHERINE 21 NOVEMBER 2008 ~~~~~~~
Thanks for hilighing my website to others, however, I am sorry to say we’ve suffered a bit of an overload on the server, and it’s currently being fixed.

If anyone wants to fill out the questionnaire, then they can email me at bsl@umbongo.net and I will let them know as soon as it’s up again.

Please accept my apologies for the problem, and I hope this doesn’t put you off helping me with this very important reseach.

Catherine Carlton.