Keith Nolan always wanted to join the United States military — but he’s deaf, an automatic disqualification according to military rules. At TEDxIslay, he describes his fight to fight for his country. (In American Sign Language, with real time translation.)

Keith Nolan doesn’t believe his deafness should be a barrier to serving his country — and is making the case for increasing the role of citizens with disabilities in the military.

Hands On, Series 16 Programme 7


15th January, 12.25pm, RTÉ One



Forget the long days and cold, dark nights; the next programme of Hands On will brighten up your Sunday! Curl up in front of a warm fire, with a cup of cocoa and watch this Sunday’s programme!


Check out the ISL promo here: or check out our website<>



The world of Deaf sport was rocked in February last year when, for the first time in history, the Winter Deaflympics in Slovakia was cancelled. It would have been the games’ 17th run. Rumours of corruption and poor handling of the games travelled fast, while Jaromir Ruda, the head of the Slovakian Deaflympic Committee, was arrested for fraud and embezzlement. Following the scandal in Slovakia, Athens withdrew their bid for the 2013 Deaflympics, leaving the future of Deaflympics looking shaky. Ciarán Moloney finds out what really happened and what this means for the future of the Deaflympics.


Take 5! Cathy Heffernan

The world of journalism is cut-throat and competitive, but Irish Deaf woman Cathy Heffernan made it! She defied the odds and landed a job at The Guardian newspaper in London. Eddie Redmond sends roving reporter Sarah Jane to find out the secrets behind Cathy’s success! Cathy is a woman of many talents – not only is she a sub-editor for The Guardian, but she recently produced a documentary, ‘Deaf Sisterhood’ for the British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust. She shares his experiences with Sarah Jane and offers advice to other Deaf interested in getting into media.


Emergency SMS

For years the Irish Deaf Commmunity has been in the unenviable and dangerous position of having no way to independently contact the emergency services.  The emergency relay service was the only option up to now – messages were sent via the minicom, an outdated technology that relies on a landline – no good in case of an emergency outside the home or a fire that requires a quick exit!  Finally, after years of campaigning from the Deaf organisations, the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has finally launched an emergency SMS service for Deaf people and people with speech difficulties which means that in emergencies, you can now send a text to the number 112 to contact the ambulance service, Gardaí or fire brigade. Seán Herlihy finds out how to register and how it works!

To register or find out more about the new Emergency SMS text service, check out:


To find out more about the Deaflympics, check the following websites for updates:

International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) If you are interested in sports and would like to get involved then contact Deaf Sport Ireland (formerly IDSA):



I took the title of this weeks post from this wonderful, inspirational video (again from the TED Talk Series) on how entrepreneur Mick Ebeling built an open-source invention allowed an artist with locked in syndrome to write and draw. What I particularly like about this initiative is that it is low cost and accessible to those of us who aren’t millionaires! Again, another seven minutes that you should definitely take the time out to watch:



In other news then:


So, it’s been a while since I did one of these. In fact, it’s been a while since I blogged… I’ve been using the facebook & twitter a lot more, so do be sure to use those if possible.


Anyway, here’s a quick round up of some of the things I’ve heard about, and think you should to.


David McWilliams is hosting a fundraiser for Dyslexia Association Ireland, this Thursday (21st October)

If you’re an 02 customer you can support the NCI disability support service, and it won’t cost you anything. More information here

IrishDeafKids has gotten funding from Dublin Bus to run Life Skills Workshops for Deaf teens. It’s on 28th October.

Aontas has an adult learner forum in Athlone on November 3rd. I was at their last event and it provides a great opportunity to share experiences. Register here

Iphones & smart phone technologies are becoming key pieces of assistive technology as talked about by Austin Seraphin on his blog Behind the Curtain

Another example of smartphone’s usefullness: the amazing Grace App for Autism, created by Lisa of Hammie Says, won a much deserved Irish Web Award for Best Mobile App on Saturday night.