Archive for December, 2012


Being a part of a Deaf family we have had many experiences both good and bad. Unfortunately, living in the area we did as children my brothers being young deaf males had an encounter with law enforcement. Growing up, they were taught to gesture towards their ears to indicate deafness when someone tried to talk to them or if they encountered a situation with officers. Thank goodness this did not result in a negative encounter but the other person usually  understood  what they gestured. In my years of experiences I have not met many officers who had deaf sensitivity training, especially with the growing population of deaf individuals or officers who work in a heavily populated deaf area. I met a couple, maybe two who had some type of generic training to deal with people with disabilities. I was excited about that experience.

Today, I watch this video on YouTube by Deaf Inc.  and it is awesome! I think law enforcement should have additional training to deal with disabled populations. I understand they probably have enough training as it is but when your job is to protect and serve the community; training and further education never ceases. It is similar to teachers who seem to face non-ending professional development, changing standards, learning to accommodate new disabilities and so on we understand the value and flexibility to adapt to a changing world. I understand.

English: A collection of pictograms. Three of ...

English: A collection of pictograms. Three of them used by the United States National Park Service. A package containing those three and all NPS symbols is available at the Open Icon Library (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The American with Disabilities Act is vital to people with disabilities. Although, deaf individuals do not consider themselves disabled they are included in this Act. The ADA prohibits individuals and/or businesses from discriminating against a disabled individual in forums of public accommodations/stores/businesses, employment, state and local governments and telecommunications. These sectors must provide reasonable accommodations to disabled persons depending on the disability and circumstance. Some of the most common accommodations that are well-known is the use of an American Sign Language Interpreter, Closed Caption on media devices such as T.V.s, and Teletype communications devices on public phones but more commonly used  now are videophones. If you are a person with a disability please become familiar with the ADA Law as it is a good resource and form of protection for you.The world we live in there are still companies and individuals who are not familiar with ADA when dealing with persons who have disabilities. They are not aware of the reasonable accommodations they must provide. If you take the time to educate yourself, you can educate others to be able to help provide you with equal opportunities/access and services as the hearing and non-disabled communities receive.

An example of  the lack of education on the behalf of organizations is my twin brother who was deaf  died at the age of 32 of congestive heart failure. The last year of his life I became his care provider although I had somewhat been a provider to him all of our lives as the only hearing child in the family. That role was fine for me growing up and remained the same until the day he passed. My brother was somewhat familiar with the ADA and utilized his rights when necessary but as he became more ill it was a challenge to stand against a hearing world. My brother entered hospitals frequently, there were several hospitals where we were well-known. One in particular because we had to go through several levels of management to have an interpreter placed at the hospital. This stemmed from doctors and nurses giving my brother medicine and explaining vital procedures without an interpreter. The hospital felt he could read the information they wrote on a tablet (which I kept all the tablets) but this was not good practice because they assumed he understood what they wrote and if something medically negative happened it would be their responsibility. There have been times as an educator with a higher level degree where I do not understand medical lingo and need to retrieve a dictionary or ask the doctor to explain it in layman’s terms.  Therefore, relying on written communication is not the best choice. Since written communication was not successful, the hospital asked if I could be there during certain times to interpret information, I am a full-time employed teacher, wife and mother, I would do anything for my brother but there are times my schedule would not permit. So what did I do, you might wonder. I moved up the chain of command, we had a discussion as nice as possible about ADA and I shared documentation and the next day my brother had an interpreter (reasonable accommodation). The interpreter was not there around the clock but the nurses/doctors knew to share important information when either the interpreter or I was present to ensure my brother had access to communication and knowledge of health related topics. I am grateful I could make a difference for him and help him obtain communication by advocating on his behalf.

To sum it up, knowing your rights makes a difference. I do not encourage abuse or bullying when using the ADA and asking for unreasonable accommodations. I encourage using the ADA when it will provide equality in communication, access, and all other forums that will support the disabled population in being successful and capable of living a limitless lifestyle.

 

Below are resources that you can view for more information about the American with Disabilities Act with an emphasis on the Deaf population.

Resources:

http://www.ada.gov/

http://www.nad.org/issues/civil-rights/ADA

http://www.captions.com/deafrigh.html

http://www.disabilitylawcenter.org/publications/ADA%20Effective%20Communication%20(2).pdf

Photograph of a female Monarch Butterfly en ( ...

Photograph of a female Monarch Butterfly en ( Danaus plexippus en ) on a hybrid Milkweed en ( Asclepias tuberosa en x Asclepias incarnata en ). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

butterfly project

Children love butterflies! During last summer I began teaching my daughter how to sign certain signs and she asked about the sign for butterfly. When I showed her it was like she was amazed at how beautiful her hands were as they formed the sign and moved outwards and upwards. At that moment I decided to make a mini-lesson about butterflies. I taught her the sign again (reinforcement), I printed a picture of butterfly and she colored it and cut it out to post in her bedroom. There after, as we went on our walk the perfect opportunity came, we saw a butterfly and she signed it and I signed it with her and it was a great opportunity to reinforce what we just learned. That is what teaching ASL to children is about. Teaching the vocabulary, supporting the vocabulary through activities and in natural environments.

Please use this activity with your children and let me know how it works:)

As I sit here thinking about the new year and lesson planning:) I ponder on the reason why I teach the subject that I do or why I teach at all. I teach my subject because it stems from who I am.. a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults). My mother and brother was deaf, I have one brother still living who is deaf also. My mom had a personality larger than life with blue eyes and Carmel skin and a heart filled with faith. Her motto in life and for her family is in all things keep the faith. She passed away five years ago but each day feels like it has not been that long ago. I think of her to remind me why I do what I do..teach ASL. I could teach anything but ASL is my passion it is the electricity that ignites my core.

I remember our experiences growing up in a Deaf family some good and some bad but I use those experiences to make a difference with the students I work with. My mother never let anything interfere with her life plan, each of my brothers (both have blue eyes too) and stood against discrimnation..against audism to become the people who they became. My twin brother sadly passed away three years ago and he reminds me to “try life” to live and love and not regret. I share that passion with my students as well. I love them whole-heartedly as their teacher, mentor and the person who may be able to make a difference in their lives so they can make a difference in someone elses.

All in all, I strive to remind myself of my purpose as a teacher and the subject I teach. My purpose is to show the importance of American Sign Language to the Deaf community and the hearing community and to bring life to the lessons I teach. As well to make sure I empower and educate others to reach out and connect with populations other than their own despite their abilities and in abilities. Most of all, to keep the lessons of my family in my spirit to keep me passionate about who I am, will become and what I do.

Use this video to practice your beginning receptive skills. After watching the video answer the questions and go back and watch the video to check your answers for understanding.

Questions
1. How many hearing students does Howard have?
2. What did the Deaf students understand?
3. What homework did Howard give them?
4.Is Howard deaf or hearing?
5. What are the students excited to do?

fingerprintHello! Happy after Holidays. As I begin to prepare to return to the classroom I am thinking of all the review methods I can use for students to relearn what they have forgotten (most everything). After any break I review before moving on and this is one of many tried and true ways to relearn. Students are engaged and energized and ready to play this game. They always comment how much games help recall what they did not think they remembered. The pdf file with the games directions are located below. Try this game and come back and leave a comment to let me know how it worked for you.

Fingerprint Game

copyright 2011

Students are excited to learn ASL and to demonstrate thier skills. I love to see my students show me new signs they have learned or ask so many questions because they are intrigued with ASL. One of the number one concerns students have is how can signing skills be lerned or improved..here are a few strategies for learning ASL.

 

1.Focus on learning a certain amount of signs at a time and become skilled in using those signs in conversation.

2.Sign Language uses facial expressions and body language don’t forget them. Use them at all times! A facial expression can change the meaning of a sign.

3.Focus on the overall signed conversation: Mostly the face but don’t forget about the hands and body language.

4.Participate in signed conversations by following along and showing active listening behaviors.

5.Find resources to assist with your learning. Such as  books, online dictionaries and videos.

6.Form a group to pratice with. These can be family, friends or deaf community members.

7.Practice, Practice, Practice.

question

The joys of teaching in a classroom are great however sometimes I look at my skills and wonder where did they go? As a former interpreter I had opportunities to network with other interpreters daily. I could always ask what the new sign was or a variant of one or if there was altogther a better choice to use.
Now that I am in a classroom that is more like its own world, some days I do not even leave the confines of its wall. I find that I may have to think twice before selecting and producing a sign. In addition, if I don’t network with other professionals I become reliant on various curriculum and texts.
I know that real-life experience, direct communication is best that is how native signers maintain thier skills and improve receptive and expressive skills along with other resources such as videos, workshops and other options.
So what do I do when I feel this way and don’t want to go to textbooks, websites or my routine videos???
I get out there and network, attend events, use skype or google chat to connect with deaf individuals, attend deaf organized meetings or simply go back to my roots as a reminder of how the community signs. That way I have a broader selection to offer students to include: community signs (varies depending on a lot of factors), curriculum,updated signs learned from Deaf professionals and other signs I can round up.
It can be easy to fall into the routine of classroom teacher and satisfactory skills but if you love ASL like I do you always seek wayslearn new information to improve yourself.
If you are a teacher, interpreter or fluent signer in another profession what are your thoughts how do you maintain your skills?

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Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Français : Logo de Facebook Tiếng Việt: Logo Facebook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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www.facebook.com/Empwru

This is a great video to show first year students and expose them to all of the things Deaf can do. I use this as one of my introductory lessons to begin the process of changing thier thinking. I begin with asking students to list all of the things deaf people can’t do or experience and report back to the class. Next I show the video and after the video I ask them to share with me all of the things deaf people can do and experience. I also ask them to share thier feedbac on the video. At the closing, I ask students to leave their hearing mentality at the door and focus on what the deaf community and thier language can do as this is the way they will be successful in class (in the deaf world).