Tag Archive: Deaf culture


Never Too Late for Language!

These are heart-warming inspirational must watch videos. Patrick’s story and the people involved reminds me to live in gratitude and inspires me to be the difference. Enjoy!

Patrick Speaks-Update

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ASL hall sign

ASL hall sign (Photo credit: swenda)

This morning I read the article by Blogger Bitco David on Deaf In Prison  titled No Child Left Signing and the site Deaf Insight Blogger: Monica Hood titled Keep ASL in School Campaign. The two articles addressed great information along with the importance of keeping ASL in schools for a number of reasons. The value of ASL to both the hearing and deaf youth, the importance of students having language options and the awareness that having an ASL program in schools offers hearing and deaf youth.

In a discussion, I had a while ago with another ASL/Deaf educator she mentioned that sometimes hearing ASL students know more about the deaf community and language than deaf students. Which made sense to me, I don’t remember receiving in-depth lessons at home or school about my culture, language or history. To learn more I researched on my own and learned new information in college by taking certain classes. Deaf youth should have the same option as hearing youth when taking ASL or deaf culture courses. They need to understand the importance of their history, language and culture along with other experiences to  develop a positive self-identity. As well as deaf youth need to see how much their language is valued and appreciated that hearing students all over are passionate about learning it and making a difference in the community. This would also encourage deaf youth to get involved to make a difference as their parents and ancestors have to fight for equality and access.

For hearing students ASL is a great option, not only for foreign language requirements and it is different from Spanish but ASL opens doors to so much more. Students can get involved in the community and make a difference by advocating, educating and promoting an awareness of  ASL and the community. This can be accomplished as early as the first course they take and continued through higher education. Once students connect with this mission it can be carried over into employment especially in places where the door has been closed to the deaf community due to discrimination. They can bring to light the needs of the deaf community and how they can be met through equal access and deaf friendly approaches. This is what both of the communities need; support and purpose.

The thought of losing ASL in hearing, mainstream or deaf schools is saddening as it has been a door of opportunity in so many ways. As a teacher I hear the stories from hearing students sharing with me even after leaving my program. Uplifting stories of accomplishment and success, of how they made a difference with one simple act of kindness or education. Deaf students share  how they feel empowered and know how to educate for their rights because of experiences they or family members  had, understanding the value in who they are and their language because of learning something they did not know in an ASL class or from an ASL professional. I watch in awe my students signing with deaf individuals as I see the excitement on both people’s faces that a person took the time to learn my language and the other person happy their signs can be understood.

English: Community Center for the Deaf & Hard ...

English: Community Center for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The one experience I wish would grow is he number of deaf events in our areas and the number of deaf that attend the events we do have. Often, ASL students go to deaf events in droves looking to experience a deaf encounter:) and practice the skills they are learning but the opportunities are not always there. As a result, they go through the event signing with another hearing person which is great because they are signing but it is not the same as signing with a deaf person which is what they need. I support more events where ASL students support each other signing but I also support deaf events in which hearing and deaf connect. In hearing and deaf connections students are more likely to learn a wealth of information than what cannot be covered in class. Such as, community signs, social etiquette and facial expressions which seems to be one of the number one struggles for hearing people. We need to connect and continue to bridge the gap between the two communities which would convey the importance of having ASL in the schools, equal access in the business world and communities and deaf-friendly experiences wherever we go. It starts with this generation because they will carry the torch and make a difference.

In closing, be the difference you want to see, encourage others to make a difference and support keeping ASL in schools!

When I look in the mirror, I see a person who is not content and looking for a way to be content with the life I have been given and has reached a clear understanding of her purpose. My faith and spirituality teaches that in all things be content because being content will present new opportunities when  appreciative for what one has and where one is but this is not the case for me. Have you ever felt that life is a never-ending race, a chase of a dream, a mission to find out who you are and your purpose? I feel like that each time I look into the mirror.

Some days I see the beauty and accomplishments in life and other days it seems like it is not enough. I question my purpose in life. I think I have participated in every activity of the “search for me”.. dream boards, goal statements, life plans, in-depth discussions and prayer you name it I probably have done it and I am still at the same point. Smiling for a moment…I think about all the things I just mentioned just to figure out who I am, my purpose and aspirations…should’nt I know this because the best person to know me is me. Moving on……

If you were to ask me what I thought my life purpose is I would say to make a difference in the education of the hearing community in regards to the deaf community. To advocate and provide  a service to the deaf community where there are needs. Why? From birth to this moment  it seems as though I have always stay connected to the deaf community through every job or opportunity I have had is connected to sign language, deaf community, deaf rights, deaf…deaf…deaf. I love being with this community but I want to do more, however, what does more look like? Maybe more is challenging my education in this topic, maybe more is being more involved, maybe more is simply letting go and letting God lead me exactly where I should be and with who I should be. I will admit, when I am teaching sign language or deaf culture or working with deaf individuals I feel such a passion inside, a spirit excitement ,of home and of love. Then why do I look in the mirror and see discontent and a never ending search?

I think it is because as a human being enough is never enough there is always more. Being content may be a distant goal because I don’t ever remember being taught to be content instead I was taught to be successful, to do more and be more. This post is serving as a sounding board into a small part of my emotional life and goals. As I type this I am thinking of content and what that looks like and how to remain that way. I am thinking of how to prepare myself for the next time I look in the mirror what will my statement be.

It will be…..This is it! My special place, my space of content wherever and whoever I am, a place to be me and live in my purpose…A place of peace, not just a moment in time where all is well but a lifetime that feels like that moment. When I look in the mirror, I am…..exceptional.

I will remind myself as a man thinketh so is he…think content and blessed. Proverbs 23:7

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/article/20130610/BUSINESS/306100003/daron-ladson-interpreter-hot-jobs?utm_source=Suggestions+for+Reading&utm_campaign=CC+05%2F10&utm_medium=email&gcheck=1

Deafhood Discussions

A few years ago I encountered the word “Deafhood” at first glance I assumed it was a label for the deaf community, the unity of it or deaf identity. As years have passed with more research I am learning more about “deafhood” and its imprtance to deaf individuals.I have read  different perspectives on this term/concept anyhow I attached five videos of an interview with  Paddy Ladd(the person who coined the term deafhood) interviewed by Joey Baer (www.joeybaer.com)

Feel free to share your thoughts on this “Deafhood”.

 

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?

Interesting that across the nation, countries realized the importance to meet the needs of the Deaf community. Even though access and equality have been a slow process it is better late than never along with the continued hope of brighter future.

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

imagesCA8QPK11During this week, a local reporter and photographer interviewed myself and some of my students for  a story for the Redlands Daily Facts newspaper. It was such a great opportunity and experience for me and the students. We were able to share about the wonderful events and learning experiences we are involved in and the difference we are seeking to make in ourselves, school campus and the hearing and deaf communities. We landed a space on the front cover of the newspaper and on the 3rd page of another newspaper titled The Sun.

So often it seems that the positive in the world goes unheard or is ignored to pay attention to the negative going on in the world. This articles highlights some of the positive that happens daily in my classroom and how students apply what they learn in outside of class.

On a personal note, I felt good to be able to share my passion for deaf culture and American Sign Language and how the topic I teach has made a difference to some students that are connected with the class. It also gave me a bit of inspiration to hang in there because sometimes as a teacher we are at the very bottom of the totem pole for recognition and at the very top of the totem pole for blame. This article along with a select group of students reminded me of the short-term and long-term rewards of teaching. To see a students smile because they were able to sign to a deaf person, to read a report about how learning  ASL has changed their life, to hear about the college or career the student selected just because it involves Sign Language and to simply feel the passion a student shows because of how connected they are to the topic. For these experiences I am grateful to simply be an educator.

A link to the article is below, enjoy:)

Silent World Gains A Voice

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.