Tag Archive: deaf community

How do you Treat Deaf People with Psychological Disorders?.



This is a great piece about treating deaf people with psychological disorders. I formerly worked for Department of Social Services and one of the most difficult aspects of providing mental health services to the deaf community is the inability to find providers who can use direct communication in sign language and the lack of cultural awareness to meet the needs of deaf patients. All sessions normally include the provider, patient and sign language interpreter. Sometimes along the way information can be changed because of vocabulary, concept or expression. There have also been instances where a mental health provider does not understand the function of a sign language interpreter or cannot understand how confidentiality clauses work with using an interpreter. There are very few mental health providers that are fluent in sign language and are very uncommon which makes them difficult to locate. It would be great like this author said if providers who have a large number of deaf patients learn information about deaf culture and sign language to better treat their patients. What would be fabulous is if more people became mental health providers that are fluent in sign. I encourage my students to not only focus on interpreting as a career choice but to be fluent signers who become speech pathologists, doctors/nurses, social workers, mental health counselors/psychologists or whatever their desire but always consider how they can incorporate ASL into their field or consider  a field where there is a need in the deaf community.

Thankyou Philippa Berry author of IL SE INTERIOR-THE INNER SELF blog for a great post


sponsored by the Alumni Association and co-hosted by the Old Farts Racing Team                       


Happy Days Reunion Annual Benefit Car Show and Craft Fair


March 30, 2013


Spectator Admission is free!

Flyer attached for more information.


car 2  car

ASL in family

ASL in family (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do I have to interact with deaf people??????? Yes, you do! This is what I tell my students.

The best way to learn sign language is to “dive into the deaf world”. Students ask all the time how they can receive a name sign or how to become more fluent…my response is….. by practicing and connecting with the very people whose language you are learning. What better way is there to increase your signing abilities both receptive and expressive than by practicing with deaf individuals. I understand using your skills as a beginning signer can be nerve-wracking but as I tell my students be like the Nike slogan and “Just Do It” jump right in and do your best. Deaf people are straightforward and seek to make connections with other signers, one of the key elements of the culture is communication. The Deaf community appreciates when a hearing person has a sincere interest in learning sign language and a level of respect for the language, culture and community.

This past week one of my ASL 1 students attended the Sean Forbes concert at California School for the Deaf Riverside. When she came back she was enlightened and excited about the skills she was able to use at the concert. She shared with me her experience and how she was happy when she realized how much sign language she understood. I was soooo proud of her because she now understands the importance of what she is learning, how to use it and its benefits.

I encourage students to attend any deaf event but the best events are the ones that are on a smaller scale and allow one to one communication. As students attend these events and return to the classroom they share how comfortable they felt, the signs they learned and conversations they clearly understood. These experiences are confidence builders which are great for the spirit when learning a new language and putting it into action.

I love that ASL is becoming increasingly popular but as an ASL educator and Child of Deaf Adults I want my students to understand that it is vital to connect, involve and grow in the deaf community, doing this will enhance your perspective of deaf culture and increase your signing fluency.

So…ASL students Get out there and sign!

Good Luck:)

deaf manSign Language is  a Deaf Language not a Gang Language, there’s a difference!

A deaf man by the name of Terrence Daniels was stabbed because gang members thought he was using gang signs. This is an unfortunate event. It reminds me of the world we live in where cruel or uneducated individuals see gestures and mistake them for gang signs. Have they ever heard of American Sign Language??? Maybe not because as an ASL educator I am still defending ASL as a language.The North Carolina Terrence Daniels, 45 was signing with another deaf man and a third person saw the two of them signing and  stabbed Terrence Daniels multiple times. Thank God he is in stable condition and made it through the attack and the arrested the man who stabbed him but what is the aftermath of this attack? Will gang members target deaf individuals or will they become more aware of sign language? Will deaf individuals become fearful to use their language freely in public and not worry about someone harming them because they mistake their signs for gang communication? Too many questions and thoughts.

I think this further upsets me because in my area there have been two attacks on deaf individuals. I am not sure if the assailants knew they were deaf and purposely preyed on them or they  acted out of opportunity either way it is inhumane to hurt another person. Law enforcement managed to arrest the individual responsible for these attacks but it still does not excuse that it happened.

My family and I grew up in the inner city. My grandmother would always tell my mother and brothers to sign low, put their hands down or to wait to talk when were in the car. I know she was not embarrassed but afraid of gang members that might mistake my family for rival gang members and this began at an early age. They listened but it did not make them feel confident about their form of communication. When my twin brother became a young man he experienced the very incident my grandmother wanted to protect him from. While at a store with a friend, the two them were signing and gang members saw them and begin to harass my brother and his friend and began to bust my brothers car windows until a resident in the area told the gang member he was deaf and to leave him alone. The guy gestured a warning to my brother and left. Thank you to that person who helped my brother but they never arrested the guy who vandalized my brothers car. My brother learned to be cautious of  but never let that incident change how he used his sign, how he felt about hearing people and how he lived his life but it changed me. I make sure to advocate for the deaf community and educate others with a passion because no one deserves to have an experience like my brother or Terrence did.

According to the website www.projectcensored.org  individuals with disabilities are more likely to be victims of crimes. They estimate about 5 million individuals are victims of serious crimes annually in the united states. How can we decrease this number? How can we protect this unique population? How can they protect themselves?

We must be the voice and educate others, the deaf community cannot be afraid to use their language and gang members must be held accountable for harming innocent people. “We” the hearing and deaf communities must stand together and protect each other. I know it’s easier said than done when fighting against individuals who care for no one and nothing and believe in killing and bringing harm to anyone they can but we must be the change we want to see like the person who stood up for my brother.

Below is an article about the incident:

Deaf Man Stabbed

Sean Forbes is a Deaf musician with a passion for sharing music with everyone especially the Deaf community! Love him!\

Check out the flyer below:


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.