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

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Most Overlooked and Forgotten Population

This short film by Jade asks important questions what we as Deaf and Hearing Impaired people can do to access help in the case of an emergency, or situations with Police and Fire. I ask, after all these years of ADA, why we don't educate about Deafness and basic Sign Language in schools as a requirement to help our AMERICAN deaf citizens?  Immigrants have  access of our laws and information in their language more readily available than deaf and people with hearing loss do.

Schools offer Spanish, German, French, but not ASL. Why? I think it's time we start asking schools to provide basic Sign Language for our community. I would even go so far as to say we are treated as second class citizens, yet, immigrants aren't. We are treated as second class citizens in many situations, ignored, forgotten. At least foreigners are acknowledged.

We have more to do to reach our communities to educate and to help one another.We need more films like this one by Jade. We need more schools like the one where I was asked to teach Sign Language to "hearing" students from Preschool up. We need closed captions access on all videos and media where available. We need more.



  1. It's a nice video. I had a situation once, about four years ago, where I got up from my cubical and saw through the window - all of my co-workers were outside. I thought, uh oh, why are they all out there??! They were ready to come back in, so I didn't go out. I realized there was a fire drill and the building is a new building and I had never heard how the fire alarm sounded. I am hard of hearing. I later discovered the alarm had a low buzz and not the typical high frequency, plus, there were no strobe lights! My hearing loss is mostly low frequency. So, I went to my boss and said, ya know - if there was a real fire, I could be dead. A new fire strobe light with high frequency was installed in various places in my building after that. And, now our office emergency plan include several responsible person that will make sure those who have disabilities are notified or assisted to get out of the building. This is common, and a good emergency plan will ensure everyone is safe. It's unfortunate, but, we have to be on top of it and keep educating many.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story, Candy. You have a good employer. Some won't ask what exactly you need to help you and will just assume you need a one size fits all solution. I applaud their efforts for trying, but so many make assumptions and don't ask for input of what would be most suitable for their employees personally. I'm glad it was just a drill and that you were able to educate and be part of the solution, and that they let you.

  3. Candy just provided a good example of why we need to start speaking up for ourselves more. It is unfortunate that many people don't think about those who are deaf or hard of hearing and their needs. I don't think it is because they don't care; it just did not cross their minds to think about accommodating them for certain things, such as fire alarms. Most people are more than willing to help if you go to them and let them know the problem. If not, then that's when we must complain. If you don't get a full resolution of the problem, then you find out how you can appeal.

    It takes a lot of work and is no fun. But, we cant expect others to do the work for us. We must be willing to speak up. When you advocate for yourself, you are advocating for others who are going through the same situation.

  4. Similar experiences here. was in an training complex and they organised regular fire-drills, no-one told me and there was no alarms for the deaf and no-one nominated to tell me. When I complained they said "It's only a drill..." !!!

  5. MM, that is the worst thing, "it is only" to say to someone who is disadvantaged to begin with. They are the fortunate ones, actually, because had this been a real fire, they would have been accountable for not getting the information to you. This is such an important video, and I'm so glad Queen Jade is using her talents and resources to help the rest of us reach as many as we can in educating and advocating.