Category: Deaf Community


#BlackLivesMatter

essenceFor the past months, I have been reflecting on events that have and are taking place in the world in regards to “Black Life”. “Black life” is part of who I am and know very well. The lens I use to navigate the world is through the lens of a Black woman, a wife to a Black husband, the mother of 3 Black children and a Black Child of Black Deaf Adults. The way we conduct our lives are different from other races and cultures. Noting, that all cultures have different lifestyles, beliefs and systems but the experiences and driving factors of decisions and life styles is where the difference lies. As a Black Family, our family gives care to many thoughts that other races and cultures may not such as, who our friends are, how we represent our direct family and community, where we live and how we can work harder to be a better contributor to society and receive equal opportunities. As well as, how to be the best we can be to have people see us as individuals first and then Black. Conversations that take place in our home often and are not unusual, is to explain to our youngest daughter (8 years old) why children cannot play with her at school because their parents said she is “brown” and different than their own race/culture. Another topic is impressing upon my 14 year old, that there is no room for failure because minorities are behind in academics in comparison to other races (seen as their counterparts). She must work harder and push herself harder because no matter what she will be at the bottom due to the color of her skin and hidden biases towards her on behalf of teachers and student counter parts. I encourage my children to be the best they can be and more… because we are a people who will have to fight and prove ourselves worthy to be respected as educated, deserving and human counterparts of the dominant race and culture.

blm

These are similar conversation I had in my Deaf and Black household growing up. My mother encouraged my brothers as Deaf Black boys to become educated and hard working Deaf Black men. I witnessed as well as learned from my mother and brothers the oppression and dual discrimination they faced simply on their inability to hear and the difference of race. They faced academic, employment and social challenges and no matter how hard they fought they were knocked down, the skill of resilience will only apply and be used as a strength for so long. After a while, they were over taken  with a downward spiral of negativity and hopelessness. In the end, my mother and brothers pulled themselves up by the bootstrap and did the best they could with what they had but not without the constant reminders of the daily dissimilarities, challenges and discriminators they continued to face.

How does this all relate to the focus of my blog “The Deaf Community”? Some of their struggles are the same. Where African-Americans/Blacks face discrimination based on their race (physical features) and ethnicity (culture), Deaf individuals face audism (The notion that one is superior based on one’s ability to hear or behave in the manner of one who hears.-Tom Humphries) based on the inability to hear and use the dominant language.

dp

I have attended meetings/gatherings where Deaf individuals relate their struggle of oppression and being devalued by the dominant culture to that of what the Black community has battled with for decades. Both cultures continue to fight for awareness, equality and acceptance of who they are as a community without having to transform to the the expectations of society and the dominant race/culture.

Can all races and cultures live in harmony and acceptance? Or do we continue to build our communities separate and not equal. How do we break the viscous and deeply woven cycle of racism and audism(although there are more “isms”). It seems to be through information, exposure, and accountability.

I read a couple of articles yesterday from a fellow word press website that remained in my thoughts in regards to racism and audism and if you are interested you can use the links below to read both of the articles.

On the Topic of Racism with Teija O. Kishna, or Bravo CSD!

Deaf Culture Hijacked-The Hearing Minded Taking Advantage of the Word Deaf

Also great resources are the video links below. Each were of interest and worthy to view to become informed on topics not regularly addressed. Each video has a topic and goal that is unalike but in general the subject matter is related to the topics of the Black community and the Deaf community.

I will continue to the navigate the world through the same lens but I will seek to make a difference with whom I can, where I can and when I can through information, exposure, and accountability but with a positive perspective.

Deaf Hope Video-Black Lives Matter ( Shares perspective about learning about other communities)

Tiffany T. Hill-Black Voices (Speaks about the perception of Black Voices in the interpreting field)

Advertisements

Deaf In Prison

I watched the #Deaf In Prison video from You Tube and I must say I feel dismal  but not surprised..which is unfortunate. You would expect that all citizens have a right to be treated fairly and their basic needs being met such as love, nourishment, clothing( if you desire), shelter and communication. Of course our basic needs over time have grown to a laundry list of items that may or may not be a need but more of a personal desire. However, the items I listed above are common to any individual in the human race.

When thinking of the Deaf community and their basic needs-communication, equal access and civil rights are key to their abilities to thrive in a hearing dominated society. When deaf individuals are deprived of these necessities they are set-up for an uphill battle one that cannot possibly be won.

The documentary clip Deaf In Prison shares experiences that deaf prisoners are facing that are all too common place and should not be. I understand people are responsible for their actions and must face the consequences but in that they remain human beings and require their basic rights while repaying their debt to society.

 

 

Hands Talk Too is all about resources! Here are some deaf news sites to take a look at.

These are independent news reports that shares headlines and deaf related news with the deaf and hard of hearing community. Take a look and sign to receive subscriptions!

 

Click on each name to check out the websites:

Deaf Weekly News

Deaf News

Deaf Newspaper LLC

Deaf News Todaynews

leadArticle @ Deaf Immigrants Event at Cal Baptist on July 28,2013

Website : Hector Project  (A non-profit organization that provides resources for Deaf Immigrants such as ASL classes, job search and referrals)

On Sunday July 28, 2013 I was fortunate to volunteer at the Leaders Empowering Advocacy for the Deaf (LEAD) event created by Immigration Law Offices of Hadley Bajramovic (ILOHB) hosted at Cal Baptist University. This is my second time participating in this event and each time I am blessed with a tremendous experience.

Speaking for myself, I often focus on the “don’t haves” in my life instead of the “do-haves”. This experience reminded me of the basic needs I have and the over and above indulgences I have compared to those who have less based on the status they have in this country we call so great. Side note: there are people who are citizens of the land of opportunity and their needs are not met, which is sad. That only those who the country deem worthy “elite” to have all the joy and prosperity that it has to offer and the poor, less fortunate, middle class and black sheep of this US must work twice as hard, live without and suffer to partake in a piece of the American Dream which never actually transpires. Back to the topic….LEAD.

As I volunteered as an interpreter, I learned so much about the level of language comprehension and expression in deaf immigrants compared to mainstreamed deaf society. I enjoyed finding creative ways to convey concepts of ASL at individual levels of comprehension. These types of encounters which were not always the case  opened my mind to developing my skills and enduring I provided accurate interpretation for the clients served at the event.

At the end of the event a gentleman asked if I could interpret for him with a police officer who was a guest speaker at the event. I cannot share to much of his story but the point that it was all too common of a story about law enforcement and the misconduct and treatment of people who are immigrants, have disabilities or are other ethnicities. His experience was sad but what is worse is the fact that as an interpreter, woman of color and a disability advocate it is difficult to not become desensitized when you hear these experiences. Law enforcement will not change but we have to equip special populations with tools to educate them and protect them against these encounters.

Law enforcement is not the only problem for immigrants. Side note again: Riverside Police Department shared that  police officers are no longer able to pull someone over and ask their immigration status (racial profiling) wish they would be the same where they would stop pulling over people of color based on ethnicity..any who…we will see how successful this is. Back to the other concern shared by the officer that immigrants are afraid of being deported or getting into trouble by being here illegally they are often victims of crime in which they do not report the crime because of fear and criminals prey on this population. The department is looking for ways to connect with this community to encourage them to stand up and speak out.

So many lessons in one day. To sum it up attending this event stimulated a desire to serve others, to appreciate the “haves” in my life, and as I grow in my field, life and educating others, I would like to remain connected to a cause that will make a difference for me, the community and the students I work with.

 

ASL_Painting.jpg

ASL_Painting.jpg (Photo credit: robert.barney)

As technology advances opportunities evolve in teaching American Sign Langauge. I am taking an online class to learn how to become a certified online educator. In this class the technology I am learning about and how it can be applied in my field is amazing. Often as an educator being complacent is a danger to both me and the students. The learning environment should be innovative, exciting and inspiring. It has been proven in numerous research that students learn best in this kind of environment. Especially now with the common core movement, teachers of all backgrounds to include core classes, electives and career technical education classes are encouraged to develop project-based assignments with a real-life relevance for students to participate in and learn from. This online training has my mind turning as to how I can apply more web 2.0 tools into my curriculum which is what students are using anyway.

So far in this class, I have learned about screen casting, google docs, presentations and more, as well as simple programs such as snipping tool that have been on my computer all this time that I never used…lol. Wow! This proves I need to explore a bit more. I have also taken a look at how Oovoo can be used as a tool in a sign language class. I never bothered to look at it before but now that I have Oovoo allows up to 12 people to interact at one time, students can send video messages, chat live, send written messages and watch YouTube videos with friends. This type of technology can open the door or provide continual development for complete online or blended (online &face to face) ASL classes. Of course there are other tools that can be used but this is a short list of examples.

A complete online ASL class maybe a challenge as ASL is a language that requires interaction more often face to face but as the world evolves and technology advances the deaf community is already connecting via web tools and online resources. The Deaf community is evolving too in methods of  socializing, techniques in education and technology to make environments “deaf friendly”.

Online learning is a trend in education that is growing and looks as though it is thriving and great success is happening. I would love for ASL to be a part of this trend that will become permanent. Even if educators considered offering ASL as part of a blended program both face to face and online offerings. This type of program would be great in to begin high schools and community colleges.

I do want to note that there are websites that have already begin using online curriculums and teach classes completely online. Therefore, it’s possible and is being done. I have not seen this yet in high schools, colleges nor universities and this is where I would like to see it begin.

So the driving question is why not?

Why not have an  ASL class completely online which opens the door for increased student enrollment?

Or maybe the class can be  blended  part online and part face to face?

What are the benefits/drawbacks of an online ASL course?

What are your thoughts?

Often as an educator, blogger and human being. I begin to rant about all the information in my head. Not a one moment do I think stop and ask if the person listening or sharing in the conversation have a question or insight to share. I know quite often I learn best through discussions and interactions with others. Therefore, what questions do you have about the Deaf community, Deaf culture and/or American Sign Language? Or what insight do you have and would like to share with readers to help us gain a better understanding pertaining to these subjects. I would love to hear from you.

Blessings, Love and Light,

Dahlene

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)

It seems odd that I would ask this type of question especially with my background but very often people ask me is deafness a disability? Or is it a handicap? Or both?

My answer is that Deaf (Big D) individuals do not see it as a disability nor handicap but instead a unique way of life and a culture bonded by a common language. Deaf individuals do not focus on what they cannot do but what they can do- this would the disability vs. ability perspective. Hearing individuals tend to focus on the limitations associated with deafness until they are introduced to the “can do” perspective of a deaf person.

The hearing communities and deaf organizations have established programs and resources for deaf individuals to have equal access, resources and opportunities to be successful and a productive citizen in society based on what may be perceived as a disability. On average deaf individuals appreciate and utilize the resources and opportunities provided but they take advantage of the offers not because they feel and agree with the disabled perspective but to use the resources to accomplish goals, to advance and to thrive.

According to www.ehow.com

Disability Defined
  • According to the World  Health Organization, a  disability is “any restriction or lack (resulting from any impairment) of  ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered  normal for a human being.”

Handicap Defined

The World Health Organization’s definition of a handicap is the “loss or  limitation of opportunities to take part in the life of the community on an  equal level with others; encounter a person with disability and social,  physical environment. Is an inability to accomplish something one might want to  do. The term emphasize the focus on shortcomings in the environment and in many  tasks and activities, ex. in education, occupation, information or communication  (social dimension).”Read more:  Difference Between Disability & Handicap | eHow http://www.ehow.com/facts_6141081_difference-between-disability-handicap.html#ixzz2TQ7D4Ymx

According to www.wisegeek.com

Impairment: occurs when there is a problem that affects the normal human body structure or organ.

Disability: refers to the way in which the impairment restricts the movements and activities of the individual.

Handicap: stems from the extent of restriction that the impairment and disability impose on the individual. The criteria for measuring the handicap is by assessing how other normal people in such a situation would cope. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-difference-between-impairment-disability-and-handicap.htm

 

All that being said, which there is more to the Disability vs. handicap topic, how do you define each and what do you think the difference is and which applies to the deaf ? Maybe your perspective is that neither applies to the community.

What are your thoughts respectively shared:)

imagesCAB1NI2Q

International Symbol of Deafness / Hard of Hea...

International Symbol of Deafness / Hard of Hearing This symbol indicates individual(s) who is deaf, hard of hearing, or having some degrees of hearing loss. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Office of Deaf Access is a California Government Department of Social Services program that provides resources to Deaf, Hard of hearing and Hearing communities that work with Deaf. It has a wealth of information and can be of assistance to bridging the gap of information between the deaf and hearing communities.

Office of Deaf Access website: Offers resources for medical professions, education, field officers and employers. As well as hosting a directory for Deaf consumers who are looking for mental health, social services and other programs and a list of service providers for each region.

Retrieved from website 5/1/13:

HISTORY : In 1980, at the urging of California’s deaf community, the California State Legislature and the Governor created the Office of Deaf Access (ODA) to administer the state’s Deaf Access Program (DAP). The DAP was created to ensure that state operated public programs address the communication needs of people who are deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing and late-deafened.

PURPOSE : The ODA has two primary purposes. First, it acts as a liaison between the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Director’s Office and the deaf community, various programs, agencies, and other organizations concerned with deafness or hearing loss. Second, the ODA provides contract administration and program oversight of CDSS’ contracts with a network of eight, private, non-profit agencies that provide a variety of DAP services to California’s deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing and late-deafened populations.

PUBLICATIONS : The ODA has developed a number of publications that are available for download by clicking on the links provided below. If you are unable to download any of these publications, please contact the ODA and a hard copy can be sent to you. These three brochures are designed to provide American Sign Language assistance in specific communication situations.

Hello Everyone !

It has been some time since my last post. I apologize but  life simply happened and I have been so busy. My students are preparing for their first ASL showcase, we are signing stories at the local library and I have been attending common core training. Too many things too little time…smile.                                                              travel

This week’s post is about travel resources for the deaf community where hearing people are welcomed too.

Last week, my class learned vacation themed signs and that Deaf people enjoy going on vacation  and types of accommodations they should have rather in a hotel or airport. One of the main concerns deaf individuals may have at times is accessibility and receiving information given to travelers on cruises, flights, tours and other travel. I gave them an  homework assignment  to look for deaf friendly travel agencies  that include resources and accommodations for the deaf, other important services, destinations and contact information.

One of my students researched The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) this act sets requirements for disability access at airports and airlines. Great idea! I will give some information on the ACT.

1. Prohibits U.S. and foreign airlines from discriminating on passengers based on disability

2. requires Airlines, facilities and services accessible to passengers with disabilities

3. Require airlines to take steps to accommodate passengers with a disability.

Key information:

1. Passengers must let airline personnel know they are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf blind and the services they will need.

2. The airline must make information available through text or the best resource for the passenger.

3. Service Animals are permitted

4.Safety Assistants are permitted to travel with people who are deaf-blind

5.All televisions must have caption in the airport

Hotels, Motels and other like businesses ADA requirements: This law applies to all lodging (except for  buildings in which the owner lives and that have five or fewer rooms for rent)

1. Must provide auxiliary services when necessary to ensure communication, unless it would result in an undue burden or fundamental alteration. Auxiliary services can be an interpreter , computer-aided transcription services, written materials, amplified headset, open and closed captioning telephones compatible with hearing aids, video texts displays or other effective methods. No charge can be given for this.

2.Hotels and other lodging must be installed audio and visual  flashing fire/smoke alarms, doorbell lights, electrical outlet for TTY use near telephones, can provide assistive listening devices.

If you need to file a complaint you can contact: http://www.ada.gov/t3compfm.htm

Summer will be here soon are you looking for a Deaf friendly travel agency???? Here are some resources they found below:

www.greatdeafvacations.com

www.handsontvl.com

www.ncl.com

www.kerstinsdeaftravel.com

www.passagesdeaftravel.com

www.disabledholidaydirectory.co.uk

travel 2Happy Travel!