Tag Archive: Deafness


deaf md

This video explains the benefits of using the website DeafMD

Here is the link to the actual website, make sure to visit the site!

DeafMD.org

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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 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

Good insight on what it is like to be deaf. It reminded me of  some of my experiences as a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) with a deaf parent and siblings. So often, as hearing people we take things for granted (our hearing) and the small things we do not think twice about a deaf person has to think four times about. I am sooo appreciative that I was raised in a deaf household! This experience has taught me to not take life for granted and the small or big things that come along with it. My childhood gives me the motivation to get involved; to advocate and educate others on deafness and disabilities. All I can say is thankyou mom and brothers because of your lives, your struggles, your visions….I am. (I am a CODA, I am an advocate, I am passionate, I am bilingual, I am blessed, I am empathetic, I am loved, I am empowered….I am)

 

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?

Resources are one of the best gifts in the world (besides money..lol). Resources open doors, provides opportunities, support and connect people to services and each other.  One resource can make the difference in a person life, career or education.  As an educator I often, I seek resources in how to better teach students a lesson or curriculum. I seek resources to provide assistance to students and the community I work with and live with. All in all I love when I locate or receive a great resource. This link to the website below is a definite to check out. The website is titled Postsecondary Education Programs Network (PEPNET). They offer so many services along with online orientation for education professionals servicing deaf and hard of hearing clients. At the end of the orientation participants can download and print a certificate issued by PEPNET. Take a look at their site and share the interesting information you found. If you have additional resources you would like to share with me please feel free to share them under comments.resources

 

 

Postsecondary Education Programs Network (PEPNET)

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:)

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.