You may remember my "Low Vision Products for the Home" series I did previously, now I'm going to do one for those with hearing loss.
I do admit that this series is going to be much shorter as Deaf & HoH people don't need as many adaptations as those with vision loss, so I will also focus on various issues that the general public may be unaware of.
Areas I'll cover:
* In the Home
* While Driving
* On the Job
* Hearing & Listening (for deaf and hard of hearing who do depend on aural assistance)
If anyone has any topic they want to see covered, please let me know!
This vlog explains what will eventually happen when you don't accept your disability and it's effect on those around you.
Transcript can be read here.
I was contacted about a new upcoming project for a movie that will include the first DeafBlind actor in a movie.
The film is called "Feeling Through" and its a documentary chronicling the journey of that DeafBlind actor and the unique process of bringing this story to life.
They are still in the early stages and working on collecting the funding for this movie.
Here's what the Helen Keller National Center (HKNC) has to say:
"We are proud to be working in association with the Feeling Through team to further our mission of Deaf-Blind Awareness" ~ Sue Ruzenski, Executive Director HKNC
I'm excited about this movie!!
Check out their video and website and help out however you can!
Here's an ASL Video:
The week is almost over and you're probably flooded with videos and blogs about Deaf people, Deaf Culture, & ASL.
Maybe it perked your interest to learn more history or culture?
Maybe it perked your interest in learning to sign?
Now the question is Where? Who's reliable? I've put together a list of good resources to start off with.
Deaf Culture Books
These are a few of my recommended books to learn about Deaf Culture, Deaf Life, and more.
American Sign Language Books
A few ASL Books I trust, but please note you can't really learn to sign solely from books. ASL is a visual language and books "don't move". It's a good resource once you've learned to sign and want to look up a new word.
Now here's a list of my favorite websites for online classes, online dictionaries and social media groups to check out!
Even though I've given you a bunch of resources to check out and learn but the reality is to learn in person.
Take a class at a college, library, organization or even online. Teachers will be sure to show you much better than any book or app can. They can also give you feedback on your signing as well.
Then the next best thing is immersion, go out into the Deaf community and interact and practice your signing and your receptive skills (reading other signers). Look for Deaf Coffee chats, Silent Dinners, Deaf events and local Deaf agencies.
I really hope you decide to learn ASL, as many Deaf people have commented "any little bit helps".
Feel free to contact me with any questions, I'll be happy to answer!
I admit I had trouble coming up with something to focus on for Deaf Awareness Week.
I knew social media would be flooded with a multitude of different posts, vlogs, videos, and so on....all celebrating, educating, sharing, and more.
I didn't want to sound like a broken record, or get get skipped over because people "saw it already".
So, what do I do?
Discuss one major hangup between the Deaf and the "Hearing" or General Public:
Stop Pigeonholing the Deaf
Yep, stop pigeonholing those who are Deaf.
Stop assuming that "you've met one deaf person, you've met them all". We are as wide and varied as any other community with only one common link - we're Deaf. (And even that isn't common - there's s spectrum of hearing loss too).
I've heard so many stories among the Deaf community of different incidents that happened:
Those in the Deaf community come from different backgrounds, other cultures, different schooling, different experiences, have different talents, different jobs, and so on.
So, next time you meet a deaf person, it's just someone with hearing loss - first simply find out what communication method they'd like "how can we communicate better?" Text, pen & paper, lipreading, ASL interpreter, and so on. They'll be glad to tell you. Then just go about how you would treat anyone else!
Now Switching the Tables
Now I'm going to switch things up and address the Deaf community.
Stop pigeonholing the Hearing community!
Lately, I've seen a rash of posts and videos going around ranting about hearing people's audism against the Deaf community. Yes, sadly it happens frequently, but I'm not addressing that here. I've seen different wordings that are pigeonholing the hearing community. Such as:
See? "You hearies", "you as a hearing group"....you are also pigeonholing the general public that can hear.
Yes, there has been negative incidents on both sides but it's unfair to those who are innocent bystanders.
So, stop pigeonholing everyone and treat everyone as a first-timer into your world.
I was asked my opinion on a Facebook discussion about interpreting for the DeafBlind, I couldn't believe what I was reading! Here's a rewrite of that post (not naming the group or the source).
"Should DeafBlind people tell their SSP or interpreter that they are sick or contagious? Do interpreters and SSPs have the right to protect themselves and refuse to do the assignment? Even if it leaves the DeafBlind person without communication access and more?"
What were you Expecting?
I have one sentence for y'all!
You signed up for this!
What were you thinking when you wanted to be an SSP or interpreter for the DeafBlind?
An SSP's job is to guide, inform them of their surroundings, people and noise happening, some minor interpreting, and more.....depending on the client - this is mostly hands-on.
As for interpreters if you're worried about getting sick - don't accept the assignment in the first place, or stick with Deaf-only clients. Don't arrive to your assignment only to abandon them.
Many professionals know what they're getting into when they read the job description - nurses, medical assistants, dental assistants, physical and occupational therapists, personal care aides and so on and on. Why not SSPs and DeafBlind interpreters?
The Suggestions & Excuses
Here's a list of some of the suggestions and excuses folks gave:
Let me answer those:
Preparation is the Key
Now, I don't think it should be required that the DeafBlind client tell their SSPs or interpreters that they are sick, but I know many would be courteous to do so. I would personally tell my SSP if I have or had a cold or other symptoms or I would have cancelled any appointments and outings if I'm still sick.
In the case of the Deafblind client needing to go to the doctor or hospital because they're sick - you know where the assignment is and can prepare beforehand (take extra vitamins, wash hands more diligently, or just turn down the assignment).
It's hard to pinpoint that you got sick directly from your DeafBlind client - there are other people, the environment, the bathroom door you touched, the handrail, and so many more. Don't stick it on us eh?
What you're Insinuating
It's my opinion that the fact this discussion even came up just isolates the DeafBlind community even more.
There are approximately 30,000 to 40,000 adult Deafblind folks in the United States, the number of DeafBlind served per year vary from 5 to 80+ based on the 30 states who responded to inquiries on services provided.
5 to 80+ DeafBlind clients served in each of the 30 states!
Out of 30 to 40 thousand "Deafblind" people?
I know that not all deafblind will require SSPs or even interpreting, but still that's a very low number of SSPs. I also know that many DeafBlind are independent and can and are fully capable of managing on their own. Then there's the small factor that don't even know that SSP services exist and rely solely on family for what little information they need and spend the rest of the time in isolation. (Then there's another group who have refused to do anything except mope alone about being deafblind - but not going there).
My point is, those DeafBlind - the independent ones, the ones with SSPs and are out participating in life to the fullest - face a lot of resistance from the hearing-sighted world (and even the Deaf-sighted) and now these people who are supposed to be working for us, our allies, are questioning whether to dump us or not?
Seriously, that's how I see it.
You signed up for this, take precautions and grow the hell up.