By Team IDK | March 5, 2014
IDK’s June 2013 presentation at the annual conference of the UK’s National Association of Disability Practitioners was published in the Conference Edition of the Journal of Inclusive Practice in Further and Higher education.
The first line of the journal’s piece (by Caroline Carswell) reads:
Fearing for their disabled child’s social, emotional and physical well-being, parents can go to great lengths to protect their child and, in the process, unwittingly limit their potential.
A need to value role models with disability in today’s society, is highlighted. Creators of inclusive settings like parents, educators, policymakers and tech firms, can tap these role models’ lived experience for insights to learning, studying and working with disability, using tech tools as a critical equaliser.
* Deaf Students and Inclusive Education (Disability Law News, March 2010)
By Team IDK | March 4, 2014
Canadian-born Jordan Livingston (aged 19) has won a scholarship to train toward becoming a commercial aviation pilot. The significance? He wears two cochlear implants and was born profoundly deaf, to a hearing family.
Predictably, Livingston met some nay-sayers, as is reported:
People wondered if Livingston could pass the Federal Aviation Administration’s stringent medical exams. Some even questioned whether a deaf person should fly at all.
Undeterred, Livingston is focusing on his dream job of piloting a Boeing 737 for Southwest Airlines when he graduates from his aviation business administration major at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Arizona.
* Deaf Pilots Association – demonstrating that deaf people can fly planes
By Team IDK | March 3, 2014
This presentation explored how certain aspects of sound are experienced similarly, regardless of a person’s hearing level, and particularly now that digital hearing-devices can be mapped to a wearer’s specific hearing-levels.
Sound fields were also discussed – but classrooms are rapidly altering.
Digital Acoustics For Learning Spaces
Digital tools were shared, for students and educators in a learning group (or space) to optimise their personal and environmental sound – remembering that classrooms are moving away from traditional rows of desks and chairs.
For instance… will children who wear gaming goggles for gamified education have sound-gear, too? Or, will they work off their personal hearing-devices?
Trying the Oculus Rift headset at the MissionV stand at the event was a real insight into using ears-only for communication, with eyes locked onto the headset’s 3D views, that swiveled as heads turned to the left or right.
Too Noisy – A Sound Level App
Educators have recommended the Too Noisy app for school communities to gauge sound in their vicinity. Sound levels in a noise-treated classroom or library can clock at 45 decibels (dB), but rapidly skyrocket to 85dB or more, in a dining area or assembly hall where sound bounces off hard surfaces.
Containing Potential Noise Damage
Too Noisy gives a visual monitor of noise in a physical space, with exposure to 85dB of sound for 8 hours, known to lead to temporary hearing loss. As noise levels in shared spaces rises, say to 115dB at a sports event, an individual’s hearing may be damaged by this noise in less than a minute.
Educator – And Student Awareness
Separate figures from the US show almost 12 per cent of children aged 6 to 19, have noise-induced hearing loss from blasting music via their iPods – and this damage is cumulative as the years pass.
Educators need noise awareness – and knowledge of emerging digital tools to manage sound levels in physical spaces, wherever they practise.
By Team IDK | February 28, 2014
Google’s YouTube product manager Brad Ellis, discussed provisions for web-video accessibility at Streaming Media West in November 2013. According to Ellis, the onus is on web-video creators to caption their own content, and Google is fully aware of the shortcomings in its tools to automate captions.
With 80% of YouTube views originating outside the US, Ellis says:
“Making video accessible to people who need captions is really important. And I want to encourage everybody who has power… to make their videos accessible, to add captions, and to focus not on excuses or reasons why not to do it or what’s required, but how you can have the biggest impact and reach the most people”.
Meantime, Vimeo did not support captions until recently – but has done so:
Initial reviews of Vimeo’s new caption-friendly platform show captions to be readable on multiple mobile devices – while the ability to import separate caption text files in diverse formats is welcomed by captioning technicians.
* Vimeo Brings Us Subtitles (film-maker and subtitler views)
By Team IDK | February 27, 2014
The UK has about 44,000 children with permanent hearing issues (CRIDE 2012), with over 90% being from hearing families. About two thirds of these children primarily use spoken language despite about 25% having severe to profound hearing issues that impacts their access to hearing and speech.
Accessing Phonics With Hearing Devices
Using hearing-aids and cochlear implants, “deaf children seem to follow essentially the same route to reading as hearing children. This is especially true of oral deaf children… who predominately use spoken rather than sign language” according to a new survey from City University, London (UK).
Research Study: Reading, Dyslexia And Oral Deaf Children
Note: the children in this survey are aged 10 and 11, ahead of the cohort aged 8 and under, who will have had newborn hearing tests (in the UK since March 2006). Consequently the children profiled may not have accessed essential factors for positive reading ability:
- newborn hearing tests (time to learn language before preschool)
- regular wear of digital hearing-devices from as early as viable
- sustained parent and family conversational interactions
Headlines About ‘Failing’
What’s notable, is the headlines about education systems ‘failing’ children who are deaf. With sustained early intervention, as cited in the bullet points above, future reading outcomes may be very different to today’s figures.
Read: Education system failing deaf children – survey
More positively, the researchers observed:
Our findings show very early use of cochlear implants to be protective of literacy skills. None of the 13% of children who had been implanted at 18 months of younger (most were less than a year) had below average scores on literacy, although nor were they among the best readers in the group. The child with the lowest performance in this group had social factors that may have compromised their vocabulary and reading.
Interestingly, the label of dyslexia as a reading challenge is disputed by researchers, who say the term is so broad that it has become ‘meaningless’.
* Dyslexia label branded ‘unscientific’ – BBC News
By Team IDK | February 25, 2014
Passive screen time for under-twos has no educational benefit and may slow language development, according to US-based nonprofit entity, ChildTrends.
“Children learn best by interacting with other people and the world around them”, said Kathy Hirsh-Pasek of Temple University. To this end, digital media delivers best via e-books that spark discussions between parent and child, or shared time discussing videos of places they might never visit.
Receptive – Expressive Language
Childrens’ one-way screen time as in watching videos and TVs, is passive and does not develop receptive or expressive language skills. One-to-one interaction is the key for learning language, as multiple studies show. Parents accordingly need to have descriptive interactions with their babies:
Family Language Best From Native Speakers
As Erika Hoff, a psychology professor at Florida Atlantic University confirms, “Children can hear lots of talk that goes over their head in terms of the meaning, and still benefit from it.” Notably, Hoff’s studies of bilingual families found children fare better when language is learned from native speakers.
Essentially, parents are best to use a native, home language for the child to have a solid basis in that language before adding more languages later on.
* Babbling To Babies Can Improve Their Brains (The Economist)
* ” Teaching A Deaf Child Her Mother’s Tongue ” (NY Times)
By Team IDK | February 19, 2014
Teamwork by families with schools to optimise listening environments, pays off for students like these two siblings (video). Having said that, a recent national survey by support entity AG Bell shows schools to be unaware of simple process changes and accommodations that really make a difference.
Additional tips for mainstream-educated students include drafting IEPs at the start of each term, putting tennis balls on the ends of chair legs, displaying homework tasks on the board and preferential seating in classrooms.
AG Bell Survey: Family Needs – Listening To Their Voices
Financial difficulties were reported by families in accessing early intervention services, particularly when children were aged 4 to 6, and during primary school years. Similarly, parents of under-fives were most likely to use social media services to seek advice and tips for communicating as a family.
* UK education system ‘failing deaf children’ (born before newborn tests)
* Building independence in deaf teens – including GP visits
By Team IDK | February 14, 2014
Several times recently, IDK was asked what future hearing systems for today’s children and young adults, might look like. Remember, before 2007 iPhones and mobile, touchscreen devices were unknown – while developers are now addressing wireless, inter-device connectivity and miniaturisation.
There’s good news for child and adult wearers of future hearing-devices, who will by default access tiny wireless-compatible, power-packed chips. Researchers at Fraunhofer Institute of Reliability and Microintegration IZM in Berlin, are focusing to longer battery lifespan and wireless charging options.
Charging Cochlear Implants From A Smartphone
Researchers at MIT are using the body’s kinetic energy (from ossicles, in the ear) to part-power a tiny chip for implantable devices such as ear implants, pacemakers and insulin pumps, with extra energy from smartphones:
Direct control of hearing via wireless micro-chips will be viable from smart-devices of all types. In short, that’s one less remote control to carry for hearing-devices, which today’s youth wearers will appreciate.
Hearing-devices are already manageable from a smartphone, with today’s young people tipped to be particularly quick to use device managing-apps to locate their hearing-devices when these get mislaid at home or elsewhere.
Finally, a stylish pendant necklace from Wear doubles as a wearable soundfield. Wired earphones are used at present, but tests with wireless earbuds are on the inventors’ radar now that Kickstarter funding is secured.
* New Windows On The World – Business Post Feature
* MIT News – cochlear implants with wireless recharging
By Team IDK | February 12, 2014
On February 2nd, 2014 IDK was quoted in a two-page feature in the Sunday Business Post magazine, with predictions for future hearing technologies.
Many thanks to the Oman family for interviewing in the same feature, and for sharing insights to family life when two boys wear cochlear implants.
Read (online): This Life – New Windows On The World
By Team IDK | February 11, 2014
Babies born up to eight weeks early whose parents talked directly to them while in the care unit, had better language skills at 18 months old, according to new research from Brown University in the US.
With many premature babies having hearing issues, this piece can build parents’ understanding of how language is developed through interactions (even if this process begins after a very young baby receives hearing-aids).
This research shows premature babies to benefit most from a mix of baby-talk and adult-talk. Notably the babies with higher parental interactions, had most words at the researchers’ specific age-milestones of measurement.
Result: talk to your baby early and often, to build their language progress.