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

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Monday, December 31, 2012

"Happy New Year" 2013

Here is Rachel Coleman of Signing Time sharing a few holiday and  "Happy New Year" signs. Be sure to read my wishes and blessings for you at the bottom of this post.


The Lord bless you
           and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you

           and be gracious to you;

the Lord turn His face toward you

           and give you peace.

The Aaronic Blessing (Numbers 6:24–26, NIV)

May this new year be your best year yet.
       Xpressive Handz - Joyce Edmiston

Monday, December 24, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"The Heart of Christmas" ASL interpretation by Dane Lentz

Here is an ASL performance by Dane Lentz, "The Heart of Christmas". I wish the video was a little better quality, but this is still excellent, regardless.It is Captioned.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Now What?: The Blame Game, by Marilu Garofola

This is eloquently written by my friend, Marilu. There is great wisdom in what she has to say, and life lessons we can all benefit from. Let us take her advice, and be compassionate as she in times like these. Hop over to her page and take a read. It's short, to the point, and you'll be glad you took the time to do so.


Monday, December 17, 2012

"Twas the Night Before Christmas" in ASL

These students from Western Kentucky University did a great job signing "Twas the Night Before Christmas". This video is captioned.


Friday, December 14, 2012

"Jingle Bells" Signed and Captioned by wordlessjanis

It's Christmastime! I love the songs and festivities that surround this holiday. It's a great way for kids to learn a few new signs. This is wordlessjanis on YouTube signing to "Jingle Bells". This is captioned.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Summary of PA's "Show Us the Captions!"

I received this email with a summary of Pennsylvania's "Show Us the Captions!" from Alan Kutner. The organizers did a FABULOUS job putting our event together.

With this e-mail, I would like to summarize the results of our “Show Me the Captions” event of last Sunday, December 2 at the UA King of Prussia 16 movie theater.

There were approximately 105 people who attended the event, including those with hearing problems and those without.  In all, thirty-nine captioned glasses were used. Regal went out of its way to provide five dozen glasses just for us.  ASL, Looping and CART were available during a short presentation describing the use of the glasses and how captioning is finally becoming a reality, with all four of the largest movie chains in the USA committed to converting all of their digital movie houses to closed captioning by 2013.

There were eight movie titles to choose from so everyone got to see a picture of his/her choosing. Refreshments were served for those waiting to see their movie. Everyone said the experience was a positive one and that they planned on seeing more captioned movies in the future.

Some compared the glasses with other devises like CaptiView and Rear Window Captioning. The convenience and ease of use of captioned glass won by a landslide.  The following adjectives were heard: Wonderful, Exceptional experience, A Pleasure to Use, Exciting, Easy to use, Okay.

Some complained that the glasses were a little bulky or pinched their nose. Among the most common problems was that the words sometimes disappeared and then returned after a speech or two, and it was difficult for those wearing trifocal glasses to adjust to them without getting a stiff neck reading the dialogue. Also, many wanted to be able to test the glasses before the main feature, so that if there was problem it could be addressed before the film began.

For those of you who did not attend, it is worth repeating that closed captioning in movie theaters is now the law under the Americans with Disabilities Act. All movie theaters are required to convert all of their screens (in multiplex’s or smaller local venues) with few exceptions. Captioning must be displayed, every day, all day to give those who are Deaf or hard of hearing equal access to movies with our hearing friends and families.

A good place to find captioned movies is to go to www.captionfish.com. After putting in your locale, captionfish will display all captioned movies within  60 miles.

I am attaching a few photos that were taken by our photographer to help you remember our event.  If you have any questions or would like to discuss anything at all about our afternoon at the movies, just email me at www.kutner@hla-pa.org.

Yours for better movie captioning,

Alan Kutner
 Regal now has 13 theaters in PA. that are captioned and they expect to caption all PA. theaters by the end of next year's 1st quarter.  Below are the 13 theaters across the state That Regal has captioned to date.  (if you want to use this.)

Plymouth Meeting 10
Edgemont Square 10
Newton Square
King of Prussia Stadium 16
King Of Prussia
Harrisburg Stadium 14
West Manchester Mall 13
Hazelton Stadium 10
Grant Plaza 9
East Whiteland 9
Carlisle Commons Stadium 8
Riverview Plaza 17
Northampton Cinema 14
Moraine Pointe Cinema 10
Warrington Crossing 22

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Transcribed! Keith Wann's Interview with Linda Fiore Sanders

I want to thank Teresa Russ for transcribing  Keith Wann's blogtalk radio  audio interview with Linda Fiore Sanders, co-author of "Turn A Deaf Ear". If you need something captioned or transcribed but don't know who to ask, contact CaptionMatch and they will set you up. Enjoy the interview.


ASL Radio with Wann and Wink - Turn a Deaf Ear - Book
November 21, 2012

KEITH WANN:  Welcome, ASL Nation, to another blogtalkradio ASL radio interview with Wann and Wink.  Wink is out on assignment this week doing some research in another state.  He is not able to join us, but I am in Florida broadcasting to all the 49 states and even our 50 state, hopefully, soon Puerto Rico. 

I’m really excited.  As most of you know anything about me, I love reading.  I actually grew up reading at a very young age.  When I was in first grade, they sent me over to the third grade class to read those books, but the thing was I had to go to speech therapy, and I’m saying that because, when I read a book, I could not say the words out loud, but I understood them in print.  I understood what they meant, but I just could not say them.  So from a very young age, my mom and dad encouraged me to read books.  Except for signing and exact English books, I only read that when they wanted me to do a 100 sentences when I was a bad CODA.  Anyway, that joke is out of the way. 

I’m really excited today.  We have an author of a book I just read called, “Turn a Deaf Ear,” and we have Linda Sanders on and let me give you a little background on this book.  It’s about a relationship between Linda and a young man who is deaf and communicates with sign language.  This book is set in the late ‘60s early ‘70s, and as we know now near the year 2012, things were different back in the ‘60s and ‘70s.  So Linda was able to capture the time period and talk about the hearing and deaf person too. 
Linda, how are you doing today? 

LINDA FIORE SANDERS:  I’m doing fine, Keith.  Thank you.   

KEITH:  Absolutely.  Thank you for coming on the show.  I’m excited.  Your book is getting great reviews already.  Some of the reviews are like, “A passionate heart she has for the deaf world.  The writing is very personable and acceptable.  It’s a great multicultural experience.   It’s a book that covers everything about family, friendship, love, and trust.”   Before we get to the book, let’s learn a little bit about you. 

LINDA:  Did you have any specific questions that I could answer, or did you want me--.

KEITH:  Just as we were talking off the air since we met before at a comedy show, you know my lifestyle.  My question is deaf.  Who are you?  A to Z?  What? 


LINDA:  Well, having met John all those years ago was my first introduction to deaf people.  I used to go to New York with my dad to buy material.  He was a tailor, and I used to see people with their guitars and their cups in the streets of New York, and I became aware of a lot of different people, blind people, and I just never realized that deaf people are such--invisible.  They’re just invisible.  You don't see deafness when it’s walking down the streets. 

KEITH:  Right

LINDA:  So having met John was one of those pow moments and just sort of almost fell in love with him immediately, but I’m an interpreter.  I have been an interpreter for a number of years, and I am currently interpreting at an elementary school, and I love the educational interpreting field. 

KEITH:  You deserve an award.  Educational purposes deserve a raise and an award. 


LINDA:  In that order.  I have lots of varied experiences in that.  I’m a certified interpreter.  A number of years ago, not too many actually, it became imperative that we up the standards and that people didn’t just interpret because they knew the language but that they had to prove that their quality of interpreting met standards, certain standards.  So I’m certified through NAD and got that over with, and I’ve also interpreted high school, and I still interpret at the college that you actually did the comedy show for, so pretty-well rounded in that.  I also do community interpreting, which is sporadic as you well know. 

KEITH:  Well, yeah, the freelance.  So would you say you became an interpreter because of your interaction with John?  Was there something that sparked you to want to learn signing to continue and make it into a profession? 

LINDA:  It just sort of evolved into that, Keith.  I guess because I had that skill.  I never thought, when I met John and for all the times that we've been married, that it would become a profession.  I just thought it was our mode of communication.  I always loved the language.  I think it’s a beautiful language.  The manual sign language people are enthralled by it.  You must have experienced this that people just sort of stop and stare.


LINDA:  You never know if it’s approvingly or not until maybe a comment is made, but it did ultimately become my profession, and I’m very thankful for that.  It’s an up and coming profession.  I think we work very hard at keeping it that.  There’s a lot of integrity that has to be preserved when you’re interpreting, confidentiality, and things like that.  We have rules and regulations that we follow.  So I love it.  I love what I do.  Sometimes rarely I feel guilty about getting paid for it because I love it so much. 

KEITH:  Absolutely. 

LINDA:  It’s an up and coming profession.  A lot of young people are very interested in sign language as a profession now. 

KEITH:  And it’s definitely a profession.  If you want to travel, it’s the right job.  So let’s talk about the book.  Let me give you the website www.turnadeafear.com, and the book is also available on Amazon.  So how did this book come about? 

LINDA:  Well, thank you for offering the website to your listening audience.  It actually started when my sister just sort of wrote a short story about John and me.  We talked to each other almost every day, and she would sort of ask me different questions about things, and how it all got started, and I didn’t realize that she was taking notes and actually writing it down, but that’s how it started.  When she showed it to a small publisher, the publisher just said this really needs to be a book.  So that’s kind of the spine of how it ended up being more of than just a short story. 

KEITH:  Right.  How did friends and family--this was set in the ‘60s and ‘70s.  How did friends and family react to you falling in love with a deaf man? 

LINDA:  When you read the book other than my mom, who had some reservations at first, her concerns were more personal even then for me.  She was wondering, if we should have had a deaf child, how she would relate to that child and all of that kind of stuff but that’s all explained in the book.  She had those reservations, but everyone else embraced him.  He is a very unique individual.  It was just astounding.  Friends started learning sign language for the novelty of it. 

They loved him as well, but for the most part when the novelty wears off and you probably can relate to this, it’s fun, and it’s exciting to learn sign language or a limited version of sign language so that you can communicate, but really when it gets down to it and you’re going over to friend’s houses for dinner and you realize you’re on for the whole night, it gets old, and, I think, people realize this isn’t really what I had in mind that I was going to have to sign everything and interpret, and then I kind of became the interpreter, and those relationships sort of drifted off, but it was easier for me at that point, Keith, to bridge into the deaf world, which I did almost immediately. 

KEITH:  And I can definitely relate to that.  Something that my mom and I still argue about whenever we go to a family reunion the holidays are coming up, and many times for Thanksgiving or Christmas I finally had to say, “Mom, we’re going to hire an interpreter.”  I just was not able to be engaged with other hearing family members because I was always onto my mom, and it just--and how do you explain--and most all family members didn’t understand my code of ethics.  It’s my talking and this person and that person.  So, yeah, my mom still is upset that, “You
come--.”  I don't want to interpret the whole family business here, secrets, our secrets that I can't do it.  I need to be Keith.  This is family.  I needed to be calm. 

LINDA:  Right.  How well expressed because you do lose your identity when you become the interpreter. 

KEITH:  Right.  So you pretty much in your experiences as a spouse of a deaf adult you get up on stage and share your stories.  There are so many things that you experience that I don’t experience of a CODA because I’m growing up as a child under an authority figure.  You're an equal.  So I’m sure that at some times, where you go places, you don't want to take on that role.  You just—“Listen.  I’m your wife,” or “Listen.  This is overdoing it.” 

LINDA:  Well, and it’s true because, when you are seen publicly and you’re signing, it’s automatically oftentimes assumed that you are deaf because you’re not necessarily speaking to the waiter every moment, and you’re just a family at the table, and you will sign, and people are thinking everybody--although sometimes they thought John was hearing because he was the man.  So a man must be the hearing one, and the woman must be the deaf one.  I mean, just what people’s perceptions of people signing are, and like I said approving and disapproving.  I’ve had many opportunities where people have been unkind, and it’s been an opportunity to advocate for the deaf because I think that’s a big part of who we are and what we do, but--.

KEITH:  Do you think the level of prejudice against deaf people has changed from the ‘60s and ‘70s? 

LINDA:  It has changed.  I can say that we’ve moved forward, but I think, if you drew a line around a room and you measured off that was the progress of the deaf people have made, I think maybe a foot would be all that we’ve really made, and in some ways, it seems like we’re going backward, because there were times when it appears at least in history when sign language was spoken in certain towns way back when where everybody learned and felt the responsibility and the need to know it, and now it’s still, I think, perceived more of a handicap, and I don’t use that word easily. 

It’s usually not in my vocabulary, but when deaf people are applying for jobs, you know I’m really still disgruntled that people come up with things like, “Well, he can’t use the phone.”  “But in this job, when would he use the phone?”  “Well, he can’t really communicate with me,” and, “Well, can you write?”  I mean, “He can write.”  “Well, you know, we wouldn't want to have to hire an interpreter for every meeting that we have.”  It’s just like those things remind me that we really haven’t come that far if deaf people have such a difficult time doing something as simple as graduating from high school, maybe taking a couple of classes in college and preparing to go and do a trade 
where now they’re met with the fact that there’s prejudice against the fact that they’re deaf even though they can manually do the work. 

So also I make no secret about the fact--I'm not sure if I mentioned this in the book that, when I was pregnant with my first child, I prayed that my child would be deaf because I knew that John and I were equipped.  We had talked many times about what we would do as far as education and that our family would be enhanced and that we would be two deaf people and one hearing person, and the balance would be thrown on his side, and people are appalled. 

I mean, to this day people are appalled, “Why would you want a deaf child?”  “Why would you have prayed for a deaf child?” And I was like, “Why wouldn’t I?”  “You know what?  Deaf people can do everything but hear,” and you know people--so I think there’s the prejudice is that people are still not accepting of that. 

It’s like something’s wrong with a deaf person, and also we’re probably running out of time, but, when I married John, they dropped my auto insurance.  It was a huge auto insurance company, and they dropped me because he was deaf, and they said that’s a can of worms we’re not going to open.  I said that’s a what, and “We don’t want to open that can of worms,” and I was like, “So they’re out of the closet now and in a can?”


So I wrote articles to the local newspapers and to a couple of the big ones, and then I always sent copies to the insurance company that, “They’re out of the closet and into the can, and they won't insure us, and he’s a good driver.  He pulls over when he sees the red light that I don’t even hear because the radio is on.”  So the prejudice, yeah, it still does exist today and in important ways, but I hope that we’re overcoming that and making strides forward instead of backward. 

KEITH:  Often I’m just amazed the ‘88 great federal law passed 20 years ago, and deaf people like my mom still have to fight for an interpreter.  Doctors are just denying them rights left and right.  A lot of people that as well relates to the whole car insurance thing because as CODA the joke is always that, when people find out my parents are deaf, “Oh, can your parents drive?”  “No, no, they sit in the backseat with a special helmet on.”


“I still drive them.  I fly home to California and pick them up.” 

LINDA:  Take mom food shopping.  That was 20 years ago, and where have we--really how far have we come in 20 years? 

KEITH:  Right.  And then there’s technology nowadays.  Technology is just interesting too because in your book a lot of the technology that the deaf community has wasn’t there yet -- the TQI, close-caption, and now video relay service.  So that looks like there’re advancements but, no, it still--deaf people can’t get employment.  A lot do but I don’t want to say they don't get employment, but there’s a lot of--when you talk about the situation happens still when they go and the employer said, “How do I communicate with you?  What if the phone rings?  What if the sun goes down?  What do we do?”  There’s a lot of deaf doctors out there.  Lawyers.  It’s sad.  It’s ignorance.  Ignorance is still out there. 

LINDA:  It is and it’s hard to live with on a daily basis.  I see it in the schools that kids are held to standards that hearing kids are held to, and it’s just different.  It’s different, and I’m like really?  Most of the time when going through these all these tests and stuff that the kids have to perform, and I’m like, really, does this really apply to a deaf student?  And you hear teachers make comments like, “He really needs to focus on his listening skills,” and I’m like, “I think he’s going to have to be focusing for the rest of his life, but I think what you mean is attention span.” 


I mean, they use a large--unless you really understand it at a gut level, you would argue listening skills.  He’s deaf, but what she means is he has to focus more, and they don’t realize that they’re visual learners.  I mean, in a classroom where kids are raising their hands or throwing spit wads or whatever, they’re distracted by that.  It does not matter that nobody is talking, but the visuals that they are aware of.  I often have to take a student into another room where we’re sitting there, and it’s just him and I, and it’s quiet because he’s now in a quiet room because he’s so distracted by other things that are going on because that’s their ears.  Their eyes are their ears, and we’re constantly educating teachers about things like that.   

KEITH:  You know I love this interview because I love having guests like yourself who are as so advocate, who are interpreters, who are here, and we have a lot of the same things in common.  So we can go on for an hour talking about this.  I want to make sure we get back to today’s topic, which is the book, “Turn a Deaf Ear,” and, again, the website is www.turnadeafear.com.  The book is available at Amazon.  Parts of this is fiction.  There’s fictional aspects in the book.  Why did you decide to add them, and were they inspired by reality? 

LINDA:  They were based on real scenarios, I think, is probably the most accurate way to say it, and, well, has it ever happened to you, Keith, as you’re signing so fluently that you were misunderstood or--.

KEITH:  Always. 

LINDA:  --Mistaken for the deaf people.  You do know in some of those chapters in the book where you’re hearing things and people don’t realize you’re hearing things and sometimes things are said.  So some of those stories were spun off of real scenarios that happened.  Some of it was embellished. 

Some of it is obviously--well, I could do one of those disclaimers.  The names were changed to protect the innocent, but, the names were changed, but there were very many Molly’s, for example, and situations like that where your heart goes out because you’re now aware of the situation that’s intimately--you’re just at a gut level with these people finding out how their lives have been spent, and what they’ve gone through, and those things in the book are real. 

As sad and heart wrenching as they are, I just hope that, like you said, this book is an advocate as well for the experiences that deaf people such as Molly went through, and there’s a lot of Molly’s out there.  So I’m hoping we’re peaking the interest of people.  Who’s Molly?  What’s she talking about? 


For me that was a real poignant thing that we went through and, of course, her name wasn’t Molly, but so to answer your question, yes, the fictional part was deviated from to protect true life scenarios that I’ve experienced as an interpreter and continue to to this day. 

KEITH:  Is there a second book in the works? 

LINDA:  Absolutely--.

KEITH:  Yay. 

LINDA:  Typically, there is and thank you for the yay.  It’s in the works.  Unfortunately, if I were retired, I think that this would be kicked out a lot sooner, but my sister is and she’s working on it and pushing it through.  We convene and change things around, but it is.  It’s due to come out soon.  I would give you a date, but I don’t want to deceive anybody, but I appreciate the fact that you’ve read it that you enjoyed it, and I have a question for you. 

KEITH:  Yes. 


KEITH:  You know I don't know--.

LINDA:  Is that a coined--because you’re a CODA, a child of a deaf adult.  I remember one night when I couldn’t sleep, and I was going to the--.


Let’s see.  A wife of a deaf adult, a WODA.  No, that’s not attractive, but SODA kind--.


KEITH:  There are two groups that claim SODA's:  Deaf adult and siblings of deaf adult.  There’s not a national conference yet.  No one has trademarked it yet, but I kind of say SODA.  Yes, most people like, you say, they don’t want to say, “I’m a WODA or a CODA of a deaf adult,” yeah, so I think you have to go SODA.  In California we say CODA pop.  


LINDA:  Well, thanks for that.  I don’t, even if it was official, I don’t want to speak out of term.  I sort of came up with that on my own, and I heard it years later.  I thought maybe that it is a valid term. 

So did we cover all of your--because I was kind of like looking through the questions.  You know, I thought the movie “The Family Stone,” which I'm sure you’ve seen, was so sensitive in the way they handled the prejudice and the whole aspect of his being at the table and the family learning sign language and just all of that.  I thought that was one of the examples that are out there that really--so much of it is contrived, and it’s like niceties, but, I think, that really showed the troubles that a deaf brother or sister or son has with the family.  It’s real-life stuff. 

I have a friend who said he used to try to ask the family, “What are you laughing about?”  And they’d say, “Oh, this or that,” and then he said I just brought a book to the dinner table every day and I read.  It just gets you right in the heart.  She (sic) was just there reading as everybody else was having dinner and conversing.  Families either make the effort and accept 100 percent and learn the language, or they don’t, and it’s sad when they don’t. 

KEITH:  As I mentioned earlier about I wanted an interpreter for Thanksgiving dinner when my mom was there but then on the other hand, many times have I been hired as an interpreter to interpret Thanksgiving but that’s because, like you said, every hearing family member does not sign, and a couple of times deaf people used that opportunity used that platform to tear into those families.  That’s something like, “Yeah, oh my gosh, just hand me some mashed potatoes, please.” 


LINDA:  So I can eat with one hand and sign with the other. 


KEITH:  If you have a few minutes, I’m curious.  With your experience and talking about movies and books, what about “Switched at Birth”?  What’s your opinion on that as in the fact or--not in the fact.  I noticed a surge of people wanting now to learn ASL.  Usually, mostly, from these teenager girls who want to date Sean Berdy, and there’s some, like you said, niceties or embellishments or some things on that show.  It’s like, yeah, not all deaf people can read lips through seven wall (sic).  That was a little bit of Hollywood there, but for me what I get out of it--I don't watch teenage dramas, anyway, but what I get out it, I’m all, yay.  If it means more people want to learn my family’s language, good.  Go for it. 

LINDA:  Right.  And I agree with you 100 percent on that.  If it’s that awareness thing that we’ve all become so--that word has become overused--if it immerses people’s interest and if they become more aware of some of the plights that deaf people have and learning the language is the hugest part of that, I think.  Yes, that all people can’t speak. 

I have deaf kids, worked with deaf kids over the years, that have gone to speech therapy, and I’m like why?  You know, why?  I mean, if they’re not going to be able to really ever say those words.  They write down words that you don't know or write down words that look unfamiliar to you.  Well, they write down these huge words that are unfamiliar to me, and they will try to have them say it for the next three months.  He may never say--I can’t think of one right now but something.  So if there’s an awareness, I think the show is promoting that, and I think that’s huge.  I noticed that there’s a lot more things on TV and spoken about, don’t you?   

KEITH:  Yeah. 

LINDA:  That’s one of the things that I think is going in the right direction. 

KEITH:  Absolutely.  I wish I would have had it when I was a kid and more things like that so that other kids--it would have been more--I don’t want to say the word normalized.  Just would have been--kids wouldn't have stared as much.  Now it’s just--I think it’s almost passing up Spanish, or it’s right behind Spanish.  It’s the third most used language or learned language.  It would have been nice to have this stuff as a kid.  I grew up in the early ‘70s.  I wish Sean Berdy was born earlier. 


LINDA:  I bet you do.  Well, in shout out to you, I just had the pleasure of being at one of your performances, and I just--my sides ached from laughing.  You actually called up one of the teachers, and she was at pantomiming and acting out, and we just to see that as well, but I’m glad that you’re getting some of the recognition that you deserve, and I stress some of the recognition that you deserve.  You should be just on every college platform.  Those are the people that relate to you and to this thing that we call interpreting, and I want to clarify one thing. 

We’re not out there because we complete deaf people or because we feel sorry for deaf people or because there’s something wrong with deaf people that they can’t write without having an interpreter attached to their hip.  I think a lot of times deaf people could do things without interpreters, and it’s mainly the hearing world that requires us.  It’s not so much even the deaf people that require us, but we’re there because we want to bridge that gap, and I don’t have a holier-than-thou attitude about what I do.  I’m humbled by the fact that it’s sort of a service that I can provide for as long as my hands hold out. 


But I think it’s misunderstood.  A lot of people think that it’s just such a wonderful thing that you do, and it’s like, “Oh, when are you leaving?”  Because it’s not about us. 


We really want to be the invisible person there.  We want to be their voice when they have a question.  Raise your hand.  I’ll voice for you, and we want to be the ears for them when someone is speaking, and they want to be part of that audience, but it’s not some major phenomenal, wonderful thing that we do, but there is a need, and I think I’d like to really encourage young people to take this seriously. 

There’s going to be a lot of older interpreters that have been around since the ‘60s and the ‘70s that are going to leave this profession, and there’s a lot of younger people coming up that they have to--they can’t just go and interpret after their ASL 3 class.  You know what I mean?  It’s more of a dedication than that, and so it’s certification, and it’s moving forward.  So I’m sure you agree with all of that as well. 

KEITH:  I do and we can go on for another hour, but actually we have about 30 seconds left.  So I want to thank you again so much for coming on today.  The book is called “Turn a Deaf Ear.”  The website is www.turnadeafear.com, and the book is available on Amazon.  There’s an Amazon link on that main website.  Linda, thank you, very much for coming on today. 

LINDA:  Keith, it’s been my pleasure, and I hope to run into you again maybe locally on stage. 

KEITH:  Absolutely.  We’ll get you back on here soon.  Thank you. 

LINDA:  Ok.  Thank you. 

KEITH:  Thank you.  And, everybody, that is your ASL radio show for the week, for the day, for the hour.  We'll be back.  You can listen to the podcast, rebroadcast, on iTunes.  The sign language version will be up (www.vimeo.com/keithwann) in a couple of weeks.  Thank you, very much, for your support.  Wink, we miss ya.  We’ll see you when you get back.  Bye-bye. 

[End of Interview]

Monday, December 10, 2012

Holidays, Children With Hearing Loss and Deafness

Today's guest writer is Allison Schley, author of "Forever Friends". I purchased this book to read with my youngest students. It is a lovely story about a deaf dog who finds a forever home with a deaf boy. I love that the book also incorporates a few signs in into the story.

In this post, Allison addresses the issue of what it is like for hard of hearing and deaf children during the holiday season, what we should be conscious of when communicating, as well as sharing her sincere wish for this holiday season. This post is near and dear to my heart, because this was my experience as a hard of hearing child. I'm so pleased we have people like Allison speaking up on behalf of hard of hearing and deafened children this holiday season.


There are many great blogs out this time of year about how difficult it is to understand at holiday getogethers if you have hearing loss. You often feel put in a corner, left out, confused. You smile, nod, and eat a lot, so that you can avoid direct conversation. 

I want to take a step back and talk about holidays for kids with hearing loss. As I walk through the schools for my day job, the classrooms are buzzing with activities, crafts, books and songs all filled with holiday vocabulary. " That's great!" You might think." The kids with hearing loss will have these vocab words so many times that there is no way they can be confused or delayed." 

Sadly, I am here to tell you you are wrong. Did you know that if you have something as minor as an ear infection or fluid in your ears, you hear as if you are walking with your fingers in your ears. Go ahead, try it. No,really, try it. Now have someone talk to you. You will mishear words. If you are a hearing person, your brain has already mapped the correct way things sound, so your brain either "fixes" what it hears automatically or can put in the right word by context clues. Children with hearing loss don't have this as an option. They have misheard information for years. If they have an ear infection on top of it,then their hearing will be worse.

All of that means that children with hearing loss are learning the names of items wrong. In fact, sometimes, due to background noise, infections, bad lighting, etc, a child might hear the same word in the same 10 minute discussion a few different ways. "Wreath" may sound like "wreath", "wreaf", "eaf" and "eath". This causes the child much confusion and inability to put meaning to a word. If the teacher holds up a wreath and then shows a picture of it, the child will have a better chance. However, he may still be confused as to which is the "right" way to pronounce it. 

That is where the speech pathologists, parents, and I come in. It is our job to pre-teach vocabulary to these children. I am here to ask you to not allow "cute" names for things - let's call things what they are. Candy canes are not "red and white candy" - they are "candy canes." "Ornaments" are not "fancy shiny balls", but rather "ornaments." The child's team needs to work together in introducing and reintroducing vocabulary. Research has shown that children need to hear a word 90 times before it is mapped in their brain. That said, if a child mishears it many times, those times don't count. Did you know that 90 percent of what we learn is through incidental learning? The TV shows, movies, commercials, store ads are all filled with this vocabulary that our hearing children hear. Our children with hearing loss do not have equal access to this information, even through hearing aids or cochlear implants, due to the background noise, it is sound coming from a digital source, etc. 

My holiday wish to you all is if you work with or live with someone with hearing loss, talk away. Sign away. Sign away. Get that vocab pounded in your children's heads so they can participate in the joy and laughter that goes wtih the season!


Allison Schley has been in the field of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education for 20 + years and has been signing since she was 8 years old. Her passion is to help educate the hearing community around hearing loss and also to empower children with hearing loss to be proud of who they are. She recently published her first book called Forever Friends. It is a touching story about a deaf dog who lives in the Humane Society, hoping to find a forever friend. He meets Matt, who is a deaf boy searching for his forever friend. Together, they show the world that all kids are special and deaf IS ok. Find out more at www.2foreverfriends.com and join the discussions at www.facebook.com/2foreverfriends

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Inspiring Deaf Team Wins Big

We need more inspirational news stories like this. So often, our society dismisses the deaf and hard of hearing. They don't understand there are alternative ways to communicate, to perform and to be inclusive in the same activities as "hearing" people. It's simply a matter of being open to new perspectives. I think it's wonderful how the Eagles brought awareness and by example showed "Deaf people can do anything...but hear."

Go Eagles!

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Friday, November 30, 2012

willUstand Is Searching For Youth To Add Sign Language to a Music Video

I received a tweet from Heather Gere a few days ago looking for young people to add their Sign Language "voices" to a new video promoting bullying prevention. "We would just love to include some footage of youth signing along to the lyrics."  I offered Heather an opportunity to guest post today in hopes to help her with her search. I'm sure some of you can help her find ASL and BSL signers for this wonderful campaign featuring young people making a difference. All the information is provided below. Spread the news, and if you're a young person, or you know young people who could get together and add some "Signing voices" to the video, contact Heather and help make this happen. The deadline for video submissions is December 15, 2012.  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
willUstand is a bullying prevention initiative by Vermont 12-year-old, Charleigh Gere, who is using music to empower bystanders to stand together against bullying. Stand, the anti-bullying anthem, inspires youth to be the “one voice unafraid” to stand for others because all individuals, regardless of their differences, are worth standing for. willUstand offers a free download of the song and lyrics.
To help share the message of Stand in a meaningful way, willUstand is inviting youth to participate in the creation of a crowdsourced music video. Submissions should visually illustrate the themes of standing up for others and/or being the “one voice unafraid”.
"We would just love to include some footage of youth signing along to the lyrics." 
One of the themes willUstand has specifically requested is a clip of youth signing the chorus of Stand. Here are the lyrics: 
Cuz all it takes is one voice unafraid to say...
I will stand beside you
Will you stand with me, dig your feet into
The earth, cuz they're worth
Somebody to catch them
Let's join together
and Stand.

I hope you’ll participate and spread the word!  The deadline for clip submissions is December 15 and here are the submission guidelines.  You can follow willUstand on Facebook and on Twitter at @willUstand.
Bystanders are the majority. Imagine what could happen when the majority pledged to stand together against bullying.
For more information, email info@willUstand.com