"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." Anaïs Nin

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Oticon's 2017 "Focus On People" Finalist Cheri Hyatt Perazzoli

My friend, Cheri Hyatt Perazzoli is one of this year's finalists for Oticon's "Focus On People awards in the category of "ADVOCACY" for looping Seattle. Loops make it possible for people with hearing aids and Cochlear Implants have access to language with loop technology that transmits sound directly from PA systems and microphones to the TCoils of Listening Devices - much like an FM radio. Loops in conference rooms, libraries, churches and classrooms allow people with listening devices equal access to language - which allows us to attend and participate meetings and events. 
"Let's Loop Seattle" can be found on FaceBook.
Please join me in casting a vote for my friend Cheri as Oticon's 2017 Advocate of the year for "Focus On People" Awards.  


It only takes a moment to cast a vote.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Casting Call

Themi Chahales messaged me today regarding a new documentary series they are casting. The series will be following a day in the life of a Deaf family. Let's connect her with an overwhelming number of amazing families. Contact her or help get the word out. Share, share, share. Details are below:


Bunim/Murray Productions, producers of Emmy Award winning BORN THIS WAY, PROJECT RUNWAY and REAL WORLD, is developing a show for a major TV network about a family ideally with both deaf and hearing members. Preferably the family would be part of a larger deaf community. We are interested in meeting families who communicate by American Sign Language, those who use assistive technology or speak and those that combine both. The show will be a documentary style show – following a family through ups and downs of daily life. We would love to meet families and interview them via Skype with a sign language interpreter should one be needed.

Please email Themi Chahales at tchahales@bunim-murray.com or call
818-756-5157with any questions.  If your family is interested, please contact us ASAP with some contact info and a brief bio about your family.


Friday, April 8, 2016


I highly admire Stacy Abrams!  With MILLIONS of Deaf and hard of hearing tax paying American citizens being excluded because of language, I believe ASL should be taught in every school preK-12. It is a recognized language and credited in Colleges. Many people on the Autism spectrum and their families Sign as well.  

I would like to see this movement progress toward the goal of making ASL recognized to it's fullest extent of inclusion. I believe education would accomplish that.

#whyisign - I Sign to communicate with my darling baby granddaughter. 

Video #WithCaptions 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Coming Attractions Theatres Captioning Response

Captioning update: I am pleased to share this response from James Sandberg, Director of Operations of Coming Attractions Theatres with you and my return reply regarding captioning at our local Poney Village Cinemas. His response is below my reply. 

Good morning, James,

Thank you for your informative reply. We are pleased to know you are looking into options regarding captioning access for deaf and hard of hearing audience members. 

There are some things we would suggest to consider while you weigh all your options. 

One of the things your web designer can do now is add an "Accessibility" link on your front page with the information you shared regarding notifying the theater a couple of days in advance requesting Open Captions. This lets people know that you are accommodating and what they need to do. I couldn't find any such link when I looked up your website to contact you. I also looked under the FAQ link. This would be another good place to mention what is available.

Please note that "advance notice" is not true "equal communication access" since the "hearing" customer does not have to use advance notice. 

The Sony Captioning glasses are wonderful for most adults who use them, but not reasonable for young Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children. The glasses are heavy, bulky and uncomfortable for them. With busy schedules of families today, it is also hard for most to plan 1 or 2 days in advance which movie and time they would be able to attend. Again, keep in mind that advance notice is not true "equal communication access" since the "hearing" customer does not have to use advance notice. 

The glasses can be very expensive and children aren't always delicate with technology. The result could be broken pieces or loose wiring if the child has to keep adjusting these to fit on their small heads. These devices are reportedly broken so many times by many users across the USA that it becomes a frustrating experience for the theater as well as the customer. It then becomes yet another added expense to the theater.

For these reasons, having Open Captioning for all children and family movies turned on all the time would be an optimum choice for those showings.

While I was living on the East Coast, a group of people with hearing loss attended a theater that had the Sony glasses, but they did not have enough glasses for everyone attending.

With the ordinance now in Portland, Oregon mandating all public places in the city to have captions turned on for every television, as well as the recent mandate in the state of Hawaii for ALL theaters to have Open Captions turned on, why not consider turning captions on for all viewing audiences all the time in all of your theaters and move progressively into the future and direction captioning advocates are headed for inclusion and access? Coming Attraction Theaters can follow the example of Hawaii and be ahead of all the other theaters in your territory. If offered a choice where there are captioning glasses, or open captioned movies available at all times, Millions of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people and their families will go where access and inclusion are most easily and readily available. This would be a nice boon to your revenue.

In addition, keep in mind that OC (Open Caption) does not require any additional investment on your part.

Kindest regards,

Joyce Edmistion,

P.S. Copy to CCACaptioning.org, a non-profit all volunteer advocacy and education organization with whom you may wish to confer.

On Feb 9, 2016, at 3:38 PM, Coming Attractions Theatres Support <jamess@catheatres.com> wrote:

Good Afternoon Joyce,

Thank you for reaching out to us regarding the availability of closed captioning at our Pony Village location. Currently, we as a company are in the process of evaluating the available options with regards to closed captioning systems (where the subtitles are viewed by a single viewer via glasses or small LED display). Given the substantial financial investment required on the part of our company, we have been speaking with several manufacturers as well as well as our theatre equipment supplier to find the best solution available to us. We have even gone as far as testing a couple of the different systems at our Eureka, CA location. We really do hope to have a decision soon.

That being said, in the mean time we do have the capability play films with open captioning (where the subtitles are projected on the screen and visible to the entire audience) on any film that was released with them (most are nowadays). We only ask that you reach out to us 1-2 days before you plan on attending a film so that we can test and confirm that there are no issues with the playback. At that time, we also coordinate a time that is mutually beneficial for everyone for you to come in and watch the film so that we can inform the rest of the audience that there will be subtitles.

Please feel free to email the theatre at pony@catheatres.com if you are interested in an open captioned show time of a specific film. I have copied the theatre on this email so that they know to expect an email from you. 

Thank you again for reaching out and I hope we will have the opportunity to see you at the movies again soon. 


James Sandberg
Director of Operations
Coming Attractions Theatres
2200 Ashland St
Ashland , OR 97520

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Letter to Coming Attraction Theaters regarding access for Deaf and Hard of hearing patrons

Here is my letter which I sent to their website on the "contact us" link. I sent a form to each of the categories they offered for comments. I'll post their response when I "hear" back from them.

I took my children  and my grandson to see the latest Star Wars movie in 3-D at pony village cinema on December 27, 2015 at Pony Village Cinemas in North Bend, Oregon. We were charged $42.00
I asked for reasonable, accommodation for my disability (I am deaf) which is access to language via captioning. I had asked for the caption glasses or if the film has open captions.  

Imagine how astounded I was to be handed a pair of headsets, which are totally useless for millions deaf and hard of hearing people. My children kept saying how sorry they were that I did not have reasonable accommodations at a public place - your theater.  

I sat through this long, long movie not having any access to the dialogue of the film. I was not able to discuss them with my children when it was over because I could not share  the content or story of the film because I did not have any captioning. This is an ADA violation. 

My questions are:
How can we get OPEN CAPTIONING for our local theater for ALL movies as Hawaii has implemented for their deaf patrons? 

Millions of deaf and hard of hearing need this access, and open captions is not only reasonable, but for you, no added cost to implement. Your theaters will make millions more dollars for accommodating those of us with hearing loss and deafness.

What can we do to change this? 

Btw... I can't hear on the phone and prefer you had asked for only an email address on this form. 


Joyce Edmiston

Want to add your voice? Contact them here: http://www.catheatres.com/Page.asp?NavID=273#.VrfcI0U77CQ 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Longer I Love....

"The longer I love, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.
We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes." 
— Charles R. Swindoll

Monday, November 30, 2015

Love is the ability...

Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care about to be what they choose for themseselves without any insistence  that they satisfy you.
- Wayne Dryer

Monday, November 9, 2015

How is it to be Born Deaf in Cameroon?

This guest post is written by Marc Serna from Reach Out Cameroon. Marc shares the story of a beautiful young deaf girl, Thelma, who needs help reaching her full potential. Learn how you can help.

Thelma and her mother

How is it to be born deaf in Cameroon? 
Buea School for the Deaf
Thelma is a 6 years old girl living in Tole, a village in the South-West Region of Cameroon. Like many other children there, she is daughter of a single mother and an absent father, and from a very tender age she knows what hunger and poverty mean. Unlike the children around her, she happens to be deaf and that could condemn her to a life of isolation and dependency. The Cameroonian Government does not support deaf children in any way, there is no government school for the Deaf, and there is no subsidy to have access to the scarce private institutions. It is still common to hear expressions like the “deaf and dumb” in Cameroon, as most citizens do not have knowledge on the deaf and hard of hearing realities and believe they are born stupid. So many deaf children actually grow up to be underdeveloped adults after not attending formal education and not learning sign language or how to read and write. 
I discovered her one afternoon, as I was interviewing her mother who benefits of the Keep a Girl Alive Program (Our NGO, Reach Out Cameroon, uses cash transfers and trainings to empower young vulnerable women). After one hour interview on her progress and her business I just added casually if there was someone else she would like to tell me. “See, my child is deaf and she is not going to school, I don’t know what to do”. After that I always add that question at the end of any interview. 
Without Government support, NGO’s and private institutions take up alone the task to take care of the Deaf. IBuea (Capital of the South-West Region) Buea School for the Deaf is a deaf-led boarding school that does an excellent job. But government also fails to support them with proper financial assistance and they see themselves pushed to plead for international help and raise the school fees to more than 5 times the fee any other school or high school would ask for (More than 10 times what the cheaper institutions costs).   
Given this government vacuum there is also absolute lack of coordination between teaching institutions, as they are mostly small charitable institutions with very limited resources and left to take care of whole regions with populations over the million. Schools in the North-West are teaching American Sign Language, in the South-West Cameroonian Sign Language is taught. These are the two Anglophone regions. In the West Region, francophone, French sign language is taught. (These are examples I can talk about, there might be more in different regions). This condemns successful students to a very small personal network of former students of the same institutions so that even among other educated deaf you are not always able to communicate. This to not mention the majority of rural populations in Cameroon won’t even have physical access to these institutions; there deaf children limit themselves to the rudimentary communication methods they use with their parents and they live all their life under that constraint, growing to be underdeveloped adults in most cases. 
We were worried when we learned about Thelma, she was on the risk of going towards that path. Thelma’s mother, Stephanie, is one of those amazing women who are transforming their lives slowly and steadily. But she is still far from being able to pay for the school fees in Buea School of the Deaf, she might be in a few years, but she is clearly not there yet. She was not receiving either any orientation or support on how to adequately address her child needs. Reach Out Cameroon is an NGO that cares about all vulnerable groups and about enforcing human rights, we had a mandate to do something about her. But we did not have any funding addressing such issues, and we barely have any running budget to cover emergencies. Luckily we are partners of globalgiving.org and we could start a crowdfunding campaign to obtain the necessary money for one year of schooling. 
We were incredibly lucky, a few benefactors quickly came to her assistance and every one (her mother, her school and ourselves) could finally be certain that she could make it for at least one year. Her evolution was impressive, she is still picking up with so many things but there is no doubt she is an amazing child. She managed to teach her mother sign language during the holiday period and in this video you can see how she communicates with her. Thelma tries to write the ABC, and when she hesitates she looks at her mother, who will make the sign for the necessary letter. No one but Thelma, 6 years old, taught Stephanie those and many other basic signs. 
So now we are facing another year and funding has not yet come to her assistance. The School for the Deaf has accepted her, as they are a trusted partner of us, but this is just temporary, if funding does not come through her situation will have to be revised. 
This is the kind of absolute abandon to chance you are subject to when you are deaf and poor in Cameroon. If funding come through she will be allowed to remain in school, her progress will continue and she will be on track to realizing all her potential, and fully communicate with her mother and the world around hershe will have an education and a real opportunity to make it in life. If there is no funding then she will go back to her mother and just wait for years till maybe in the future she is able to raise the sum required for her to resume her education. There are many children in Cameroon facing this situation, we have identified the problems and we want to start addressing the issue of lack of coordination between institutions, lack of government implication and overall lack of access to deaf education among the rural and the extreme poor Cameroonians. Hopefully our efforts will be fruitful, but right now we are certain that you can help this one. (Consider a small donation and share this story among your friends and family) 
If you want to support Thelma’s education follow this link: 
Thank you. 

Marc Serna works in Reach Out Cameroon, a Cameroonian NGO based in Buea that works for the rights and development of the most vulnerable groups all over the South-West Region of Cameroon. 
E-mail: marc@reachoutcameroon.org 

Thelma's page: https://www.globalgiving.org/microprojects/send-thelma-to-school/

Additional Links 
Buea School for the Deaf:  http://www.bueaschdeaf.org/ 

Friday, September 25, 2015

National Daughter's Day 9/25/2015

Happy National Daughter's Day!  I love the child you were, and the woman you have become, Mary!

Mary is beautiful..... Inside as well as out. Mary loves deeply in ways some people would never understand, and in ways I highly admire.  Hoping she someday writes and shares her story. She has gone through difficult things in her young life, and despite what she has been through, she graciously forgives and loves through all of it without becoming bitter, hateful or vengeful. She has amazing people skills and problem solving skills and truly wants the best for everyone. I not only love her, I highly admire her.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Oticon's "Focus on People" Candidates for 2015

Here are the nominees for the National "Focus On People" 2015-2016. Read each story and cast your vote for one person in each category. 
As last year's winner for Advocacy, I can say  Oticon is a company that truly does put "People First".

Friday, September 4, 2015

Selling Our Cottage on the Coast

We put my mother's corner lot cottage on the Southern Oregon Coast up for sale. It's a charming old home and right by the park a few blocks from the library and downtown. If you know anyone looking to buy an inexpensive home and likes to fix things up, this would be perfect!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

How Far You Go in Life Depends On...

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, 
compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant
 of the weak and strong.  Because some day in life you will have been 
all of these.
- George Washington Carver

Friday, August 21, 2015

Bad Lipreading "Republican Debate"

The young men who created the "Bad Lipreading" series do a fabulously hysterical job! I often misread what is on the lips, but grateful I don't misread this badly.  If you need captions, be sure they are turned on.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Reiki - An Interview with Rickie Meryl Freedman

My friend and mentor Rickie, aka "Reiki by Rickie"  was recently interviewed by Amy of ABC Channel 27 News program Good Day PA. Below is the transcript Teresa Russ, professional captionist provided for me. There will be captions available for the video soon, as well.

Good Day PA video link is below the transcript:

ABC Channel 27 News
An Interview with Rickie Freedman
Reiki By Rickie

GOOD DAY PA: When it comes to healing techniques like Reiki, I think some people are skeptical of whether or not the practice actually works, but for some, it has a profound effect on their health and well being. Rickie Freedman is the owner of Reiki by Rickie, and she is here to get us on board with it.
Honestly, before I met you and experienced it, I wasn't really sure what Reiki was; so I'm sure there's lots of folks that feel that way; so what is it, Rickie?

RICKIE FREEDMAN: True. A lot of people are skeptical the first time that they try it, and it's very much an experience once you feel it, then you understand it, but Reiki is a very gentle and very deeply relaxing hands on healing. It was originally from Japan, primarily, for stress management, and we know that stress on your lives probably 90 some percent of doctor's visits.
Helping people relax is a very deeply healing experience itself; so Reiki helps to balance your energy, and then you feel more peaceful and able to handle all the stresses around you and in a much more calm way.

GOOD DAY PA: I mean, what is a session like? What happens during a session?

RICKIE FREEDMAN: Yeah, so Reiki is a very comfortable session.
You get to be fully clothed. You're on a massage table, and there's absolutely nothing that you need to do or think about or try. You get to just relax and allow and be. It consists of a gentle-like touch and also some balancing in your energy. Reiki is an energy balancing. A lot of people can feel that even though I'm not physically touching them. GOOD DAY PA: Yes, you had described that to me.

RICKIE FREEDMAN: So people describe feelings of warmth, tingling, sometimes vibration. Many people fall asleep or go to a very deep meditative state where your mind is finally quieted and that is a very healing place to be.

GOOD DAY PA: Well, Rickie was so nice. She actually let me come experience it before your appearance here on the show. I found it very relaxing, and I told you that, when you were doing this with me, I did feel like my face felt warm at some point, you know, and now I was under a nice cozy blanket, which was lovely, but I did feel that warmth.
It just felt so relaxing like I could have just zoned out from everyday life for a little bit. Do other folks share the similar experience?

RICKIE FREEDMAN: Absolutely, yes, and that deep sense of peace and calm and relaxation is a very common after effective Reiki, and when you go back out into the world with that more peaceful centered place, you're able to handle all the stresses around you much easier, and so Reiki can be experienced by everyone.
Everyone can tolerate because how gentle it is; so from the tiniest little newborn infants to women who are pregnant to even people on a hospice program because of how gentle it is. It can help bring a more peaceful acceptance, also can help with pain or side effects of medication.

GOOD DAY PA: Well, I want to get to the special event that is coming up. This is really neat. I mean, who doesn't love a fun time at sea so tell me about this.

RICKIE FREEDMAN: This is a really unusual opportunity. Next
January, January 16th of 2016, I'm co-producing the Healing
Water Holistic Cruise with Scott Travel in the Canonsburg; so in addition to all the regular cruise and fun and activities, you'll get to experience the work of six healers and practitioners as they share sessions and workshops onboard --

GOOD DAY PA: Now, another thing our audience -- excuse me -- might be interested in is a special offer you have just for the Day PA viewers today. 

RICKIE FREEDMAN: That’s right. Anyone who contacts me by the end of this month we can get you scheduled for your first session in ReikiSpace & Learning Place, and you'll receive a ten-dollar discount.

GOOD DAY PA: Woohoo! Ten-dollar discount. Love when folks bring offers for our viewers.
It was lovely having you on the show today. You're going to come back with us to share more about this in the coming weeks.

RICKIE FREEDMAN: Looking forward to it.

GOOD DAY PA: Okay. Ricky, good to see you. We'll see you again soon.
[End of Transcript]

Transcribed by:
Teresa Russ, CSR, CRI
Certified Court Reporter
CART/Provider Captioner
(For the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing)

Click here to see the video (captions coming soon): http://abc27.com/2015/07/16/reiki-by-rickie/

If you need videos transcribed or captioned, I highly recommend you contact Teresa Russ. She is fabulous!