I'm announcing that I'm selling this website by the New Year.
I no longer have the time, experience, or inclination for it's upkeep and success
I'm offering my readers first chance at it.
What's not included:
I've decided to move on to other projects after 5 great years. I will stay long enough to help the new owner's transition and their questions after the sale.
Feel free to email me any questions and offers. Thanks
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 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.
Continuing along the same theme as my Crab Theory post. I'll be sharing my feelings on an old phenomenon that happens in the Deaf community plus one recent one that has popped up.
What is Deaf Identity?
I know the Deaf Identity involves more than just the three I showed, but it is the simple explanation. So, let's take a quick look:
American Sign Language is our shared language in the United States and in some parts of the world.
It is NOT "English on the hands" or "gesturing" as the misconception goes.
It is its own valid language with grammar, syntax and all the linguistic rules. Deaf people use ASL not just to communicate but also to tell stories, poetry, jokes, visual vernacular, and SO much more. In short, we cherish our ASL.
Culture is "defined as patterns, traits, products, attitudes, and intellectual / artistic activity associated with a population".
Some Deaf Culture aspects are:
Deaf pride is calling ourselves Deaf - Capital D, as opposed to deaf - Little D.
We do not see ourselves as "broken", "disabled", or "handicapped".
As Dr. Bill Vicars of LifePrint puts it "So we renounce the label of disability and shun patronizing attempts to categorize us as having a "challenge." Not because we don't have a challenge, (we do), but rather because it is psychologically much more comfortable to avoid thinking about it and focus on other things. We go about our lives engaged in the process of "living" and are then confronted by certain Hearing people feel the inexplicable, irrational need to "help" us come to terms with and/or "realize" or "admit" that we have a "problem.""
Now, let's go to the phenomenons happening:
"Not Deaf Enough"
This has been happening for generations, where one feels "too deaf for the hearing world, not deaf enough for the Deaf world". Where one may have been mainstreamed, grew up orally (speaking not signing), late-deafened, deaf but don't sign, have a cochlear implant or whatever reason the Deaf "elitists" feel. (My word choice). These "outsiders" are then rejected, black-listed, or even attacked.
My personal opinion? It's bullshit! Everyone with a strong hearing loss struggle to communicate and participate in the outside "hearing" world. We face the same rejection, oppression and patronizing attitudes from ignorant people. We all face been left out and isolation in a busy crowd at one time or another.
New Labeling - DDBDDHH
Recently there's a "trend" that's going around stating that the word "Deaf" is not inclusive enough and "we" should be calling ourselves DDBDDHH. Which stands for Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf Disabled, Hard of Hearing. Here's a captioned video explaining more:
First of all, that's a lot to memorize and fingerspell (and say). Look, I call myself DeafBlind because it's my identity as well as being a lot easier than saying "Deaf and legally blind", or to be more PC "I have a combined hearing loss and am visually challenged". Sheesh! Now you want me to say "I am DDBDDHH and have vision loss"? No. Just No.
Think the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) will now have to spend more on bigger business cards and letterheads to change it to National Association of the Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf Disabled, and Hard of Hearing.
Let's stick with Deaf.
Cherish Who YOU Are!
No matter where you are in your Deaf identity search - still "d"eaf, learning ASL, have a hearing aid or a C.I., or already deeply involved in the Deaf community - whatever, be PROUD of who you are!
Never apologize for who you are as a Deaf person and never apologize for where you are in life. You're responsible for yourself (and your family).
Ignore the naysayers and other crabs (remember crab theory?) and keep learning, keep evolving and stay happy and productive.
No, not you political reporters - go back to your petty squabbles.
I'm talking about those reporters who write about people with disabilities. Yeah I called you dumb and ignorant. Hurts don't it?
Then maybe you should stop using such bullshit terms when writing about us, hmm? The words you use to describe people with disabilities are very patronizing and paint us in a negative light.
Let me give you a few examples:
Forget the stupid "clickbait" title. Here's some of the wording that's cringe-worthy:
I already shared my disdain about the viral post of the student helping the Deafblind man on the flight. It was great she helped, but the writing was blatantly patronizing and belittling of the Deafblind man.
Some other words I've seen used are:
When you're writing these words you're saying -
"glad it's not me"
"I wouldn't be able to do that"
"how can they live like that"
"Look at what we nice people did for them"
"Look at how special and different they are"
You get my point?
So, if you want to write about people with disabilities it's best to 1) interview them and show their story as they tell it, or 2) Learn the proper terminology - read blogs by people with disabilities, look at web pages of various agencies serving people with disabilities, or ASK that group!
Because all it comes down to is that people with disabilities are just like everyone else that do things just "a bit different".
So just stop putting us in a bad light and using us to make yourself feel better!
Now if you have any questions, feel free to comment below or contact me. I'll be happy to help!
April 15th is National ASL Day! To celebrate the first school for the Deaf in the United States opening on April 15, 1817.
Students gathered there over the years and at subsequent Deaf schools across our nation. The children intermingled Native American Signs, French Sign Language, and Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language. This process brought forth modern American Sign Language.
There's a huge growing exposure to ASL in the media lately with a variety of movies, TV and elsewhere:
I think this is awesome that the world is seeing more ASL, more of our Deaf World, and seeing our Deaf Gain.
Buuuut...... the attitudes towards Deaf people stay the same....
Please read these two articles, one is an older blog post of mine and another by Pamela J. Kincheloe.
So, you see my conflict here? Love the ASL and Deaf Community exposure, but hate the stigma branded on me.
So, let me show you another article about Deaf people
Learn ASL and Deaf Culture!
I hope you share this with everyone! Please comment below your thoughts and let's have a friendly discussion.