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

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dine and Sign Episode 27, "Hot, Cold...."

Alex and his dad have another conversation, this time about temperatures and weather. Do you Tweet? Be sure to follow Alex on Twitter  @LaffRaff   He's quite friendly.

Be sure to subscribe to their channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TnoSOlrvu14

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sincere Advocacy

I recently found myself in a difficult position. When an advocate isn't professional, and isn't advocating fully for those she/he has signed on to help, I become concerned. Yet, the very people she/he are advocating for have no clue, and this is the truly sad part of the situation.

Years ago, when I had to have an attorney help me with an issue, I asked someone who was not a professional advocate to help advocate for me. When I saw the attorney one on one when the "advocate" had to leave early, the attorney warned me that the person wasn't sincere, and only cared about her own appearance. He said a few other things, as well, but because she was helping me (I thought), I felt I owed her and obligated to her and that she deserved the benefit of the doubt. In the end, the attorney was absolutely right about her. However, she was not a professional, nor was she trained to be a professional, so I will take the blame myself for that and use it as a learning experience.

Now that I'm so much older and so much wiser than when I was back then, I see an injustice and I'm having trouble not doing more about it. The problem is, the young "advocate" in this case is trained. I was putting myself forward to help people like myself, deaf and hearing impaired, and to help the advocate as well. Rather than seeing this as a situation to solve together, she/he felt it should be "either"  "or", and read the situation as we against them. All I wanted to know was "who" in the organization was having a problem with us. Once we know the "who" we could make an appointment and discuss how to appropriately address the situation and turn it around for EVERYONE to benefit. The young advocate said the organization was her/his life and  did not like that I was being negative. It is HER/HIS organization. This person unfriended me and asked I no longer contact her/him.

Oh, my. I felt is was OUR organization, and I felt the people this person signed up to help advocate for should have been the  priority. When it comes down to it, this is a public service organization, one that is supposed to be people and for ALL people.

I was not merely being negative, I was showing what could be better, most importantly, what is most appropriate and professional. I've not mentioned the organization, or the person's name, because I want to be open for this person to approach me and understand this is not about "winning" "who's right" or anything like that. This is about doing what is best for those who need accessibility and advocacy. Plain and simple,

I want the best for everyone. Yes, that means I care about others, and I care about the future and the young people, old people, and everyone in between. The newly deaf, and the Deaf as well as the hard of hearing, those who are losing their hearing, the hearing impaired. I care. They matter. We matter. You matter. Build bridges, not walls. Be open and teachable. Being realistic is not the same as being negative. Recognizing there is room for improvement, there is a problem to solve, does not mean I am negative. It merely means I want to be part of the solution, just like all those concerned.

My Fabulous Husband is so wise. He said, negative people will read comments negatively. When people read the posts of others, they read with their own voice if they don't know the person. If they know you in person, they will read you appropriately, unless they are negative, looking for negative. What an intelligent person I married.  He knows me and my heart, but most importantly, as a hearing person, he has never been isolated from society, as I have. He looks out for me and he advocates appropriately. He gives me ALL the information when I need it, not just what he thinks I want to hear. He wants the best for me and others.

When you advocate for others, are you looking out for only yourself? Are you doing it to make yourself look good? Do you really care about ALL of those you are to be advocating for? Are you sincere with your advocacy?

Passover Rhapsody - A Jewish Rock Opera

Oh, thank God for such creativity. I love this!! Captioned, great for children!

Check out their channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BRWNrk7FxG4

Monday, March 26, 2012

Plug In Stereo's "Oh, Darling" in ASL

This is just an adorable little music video of young love created by Media Productions of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. I don't know the names of these kids, but aren't they just sweet?


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Flying With John

This week, Harrisburg International Airport had guest writer John share with us what it is like being a blind traveler. John is also hard of hearing.  He is an amazing young man. Read his experience as a frequent flier here:

Be sure to check out HIA blog pages for more here:  http://flyhia.blogspot.com/

This young man is certainly going places.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

ASL of America's Godly Heritage, interpreted by Tiffany Currier

This is another important presentation I wish were available with Captions for those newly deaf or losing their hearing. I love the history behind our nation that we no longer learn in our schools as we once did. I love the documents we no longer teach or read about. We need to teach our children the FULL history of our nation and how it was founded and why.  Thank you, Tiffany for interpreting and uploading this for us. If anyone can caption, subtitle or transcribe this, many of us will be grateful!

Tiffany posted "Wanted to share a sermon that is special to me with an uncommon exposure of America and it's downward spiral since government has separated from God. Dr. Norman Geisler is a guest speaker at Calvary Chapel Golden Springs."

Respecting Cultural and Educational Choices (from the archive, June 11, 2011)

I woke up this morning with a message and a video link someone left as a comment on one of my blog posts.  I am all for free speech, understand, however, just because we are allowed to share our views doesn't mean we should support mean spiritedness, discrimination, bigotry or hatred. I have serious issues when it comes to choices and respect.

Let me explain in a way to make this perfectly clear. Do you want respect? Respect others. Do you want your own culture respected? Respect the culture of others. Do you want the best for yourself? Then respect the best for others, even if you disagree.  Don't ignore someone or a group of people simply because you don't understand them. If they are part of your organization, welcome them, make them feel their presence is valued. 

Deaf schools. I wholly support schools that accommodate and meet students on their own level to provide the best education and atmosphere for a student to reach their full potential. 

It is not about MONEY. It is about people, communication, education, community, culture and relationships and doing what is best for one another. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

"My Song", based on a true story

This film is 25 minutes in length. If you know someone who is deaf or hearing impaired, I suggest you find time to view this film. It also depicts how deafness affects the family. This is a well done, deep and touching film. According to writer Charlie Swinbourne, this film is based on a true story. I've posted this on the blog before, and you can read previous comments over there. This is for those who've not yet seen this. Have a great weekend, Friends. The link to this award winning film is below the video.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Episode 26 of Dine and Sign: China Makes Us Consumers

My favorite father and son team have another interesting conversation, this time about China and consumerism. Come on in an eavesdrop while they chat it up over dinner.

If you've not subscribed to their YouTube channel, this would be a good time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ww7js3t1e0k

Don't Unplug Me

This is unique and creative. A deaf person once told me that when people used SEE (Signed Exact English) it was very "monotone" to them. Perhaps it is because we often forget to add our facial expressions, and also in part it is the same as reading a book of just facts. There is no expression in the information, just facts.

People just learning ASL often have not learned to use facial expressions. We forget that "tone" is expressed on the face with ASL. We who used to hear, then lost our hearing, understand how the tone we use with voices express so much more than our words. (such as sarcasm-which is not picked up by deaf or hearing impaired ears). I thought this video was a great video performed by Kristina and Heath from the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. There is more about them below the video, and be sure to check out their page.  Lyrics are below the video.

The FSDB Dance Troupe performs an ASL interpretation of the song "Don't Unplug Me" by ALL CAPS.

The performers are Kristina Garcia-Santiago and Heath Humphrey. Both are deaf/hard-of-hearing students at The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind.

Visit the page and channel at the link below:


Don’t unplug meor just shut me down
Please just love mewith your steel heart
I’d reboot youIf you’d look at me
With those cold eyes
One more timeI remember, our software was compatible
I think I felt my circuit board ignite
You held my hand in your metallic grip
We may be machines but I’m in love tonigh
tBaby there is something I have to say
I think it’s time for my upgrade
I would look so good in version two
But I promise that it’s me, not you
Don’t unplug me
or just shut me down
Please just love me
with your steel hear
tI’d reboot youIf you’d look at me
With those cold eyes
One more time
Can you hear me, you haven’t moved an inch
Is this a system failure, what should I do?
Your new interface it seems to have some bugs
You’re not responding, I think they broke you
Hello and welcome to version two
Tell me what can I do for you?
What is a hug that does not compute
Please stand by for my system reboot
Just got the memoabout this upgrade to version two
it removes extraneous programs
that means emotions like loving you
I don’t wanna lose myself
for ever have to say goodbye
I want to hold on to my consciousness
I don’t want to die

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bridging Tomorrow's Communication Gap With Today's Children

Sometimes, we forget the impact we can have on others. Even the smallest gesture toward another person can have an effect greater than we can even imagine, and even much more far reaching than we even dream. Usually, we don't see or hear about the ripple effect that we as one person can make in our community, our world, or the future of tomorrow's people.

At the end of class each week, we have a question and answer period where the children can ask questions. Often they just want to know why a certain sign is gestured in a particular way. Most of the time my answer is simply, "I don't know". This week, one of my first grade students raised his hand and asked, "Mrs. E., are you teaching us Sign Language because someday we'll be deaf?"

The first grade teacher quickly spoke up while I was still processing his question and said, "There is very little probability of that happening, the percentage is pretty low". We don't want these children worrying about such things as this.

However, if we live long enough, the aging process does deafen many of us, but that is not why I teach Sign Language to these children and their teachers.

The highlight of this particular class was when their first grade teacher shared with us a story of what took place in her family's restaurant last week.

A group of people came into their restuarant, and she greeted them. After they sat down, she noticed they were not talking, they were not even moving their lips, but they were signing. She went over to sign with them and take their order. They were very surprised she could sign and carry on a conversation with them. They asked where she learned. She told them she teaches at a school where Sign Language is part of the curriculum. They were so surprised, and they thought this was absolutely wonderful!

After sharing this story with us, the teacher pointed at me and said, "You are making a difference."

This is the main reason why I am teaching Sign Language to school age children and their teachers.

This teacher made a difference in the dining experience of her deaf customers that evening. The little boy who asked the serious question about becoming deaf someday is making a difference by showing his father the signs he is learning in school. His father has a deaf student in one of his classes at a local college. These little ripples are reaching out in our community, one ripple at a time.

By teaching American Sign Language in our schools, we are bridging tomorrow's communication gap with today's children. It's all about communicating and building relationships with people right here in our community. Schools teach Spanish, German and French. It's time we taught ASL, a recognized language of our own American heritage to our own American school children. I am very pleased to be involved with a progressive school that understands this and asks me to come back and share with them each year. I'm also very pleased to be part of making a difference with Signing Time DVD's and materials as an instructor of Signing Time Academy

By the way, check out the difference Signing Time is making in Ghana

Friday, March 16, 2012

It's Not A Death Sentence, Just A Deaf Sentence (from the archive)

I had a friend many years ago who lost his hearing when he fell down his back porch steps. He hit his head in the fall and his hearing was gone in an instant. He was only 5 years old.

I've been losing my hearing over the course of many, many years slowly, not even at a noticeable rate. We often play the "What if" game or "Would you rather be this, or be that". We tend to compare which is worse, and which we would rather have.

Life situations many times are not a matter of choice, they are thrust on us in unexpected ways. Then, there are times we are allowed glimpses of what is coming. Either way, we can either stop and just brace ourselves for the worst, or we can accept and prepare and find out what we can do with the situation. In other words, we can stop living altogether, or we can find out how to live with the unexpected situation the best way we possibly can.

I was asked this week by Sarah, whom I follow on Twitter, how I felt about the discovery that my hearing loss is no longer termed so much as "hearing impaired" but "deaf". In many ways it's a relief that I no longer have to play the "Can you hear this?" game as people ask if I can hear the little bell on the counter at the register in the store or the cell phone ringing, etc. They tend to ask Fabulous Husband, "Can Joyce hear this..that..and the other". We understand the curiosity, we're curious, too, but there are so many other things we could be discussing. By simply stating I'm deaf, the understanding that I can't hear those sounds is already there, and people will communicate more clearly and bypass the hearing test and questions and get on with discussing other interesting things.

So how do I feel about using the term "deaf" over "hearing impaired"? Life is the same, we continue to adjust and modify things where sound and communication are involved. We continue to learn, adapt and live. I am deaf. It's not a death sentence, just a deaf sentence.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

ASL interpreted music video: The Best Thing I Never Had

I love how they blended Kelly's interpretation into the video. This is wonderful. It would have been even better with captions, but the lyrics are below the video. Though I don't care for some of the lyrics and songs I  post, I do recognize many of our younger readers like these artist and songs. :-)

Interpretation by kmklined: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBJjzS4Jxb8&lr=1&user=kmklined

What goes around comes back around, hey! (my baby),
What goes around comes back around, hey! (my baby),
I say what goes around comes back around, hey! (my baby),
What goes around comes back around...

There was a time
I thought, that you did everything right,
No lies, no wrong,
Boy I must have been out of my mind,
So when I think of the time that I almost loved you,
You showed your ass and I, I saw the real you!

Thank God you blew it,
Thank God I dodged the bullet,
I'm so over you
So baby go lookin' out!

I wanted you bad,
I'm so through with it,
'Cause honestly you turned out to be the best thing I never had,
You turned out to be the best thing I never had,
And I'm gon' always be the best thing you never had,
Oh yeah, I bet it sucks to be you right now!

So sad, you're hurt,
Boo hoo, oh did you expect me to care?
You don't deserve my tears,
I guess that's why they ain't there,
When I think that there was a time that I almost loved you,
You showed your ass and baby yes I saw the real you!

Thank God you blew it,
Oh thank God I dodged the bullet,
I'm so over you,
Baby go lookin' out!

I wanted you bad,
I'm so through with it,
'Cause honestly you turned out to be the best thing I never had,
I say, you turned out to be the best thing I never had,
Hmm and I'll never be the best thing you never had,
Oh baby I bet it sucks to be you right now!

I know you want me back,
It's time to face the facts
That I'm the one that's got away,
Lord knows that it would take another place, another time, another world, another life,
Thank God I found the good in goodbye!

Oh I used to want you so bad!
I'm so through with it,
'Cause honestly you turned out to be the best thing I never had,
Oh you turned out to be the best thing I never had,
And I will always be the best thing you never had,
Ouhh best thing you never had!

I used to want you so bad!
I'm so through with it,
'Cause honestly you turned out to be the best thing I never had,
Oh you turned out to be the best thing I never had,
Ouh I'll never be the best thing you never had,
Ohh baby, I bet it sucks to be you right now!

(What goes around comes back around),
(What goes around comes back around),
I bet it sucks to be you right now,
(What goes around comes back around),
I bet it sucks to be you right now,
(What goes around comes back around),
I bet it sucks to be you right now.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Traveling as A Deaf Person

Harrisburg International Airport kindly asked if I would share what it is like to travel as a deaf person. They featured this post  over at http://flyhia.blogspot.com/2012/03/guest-blog-air-traveling-with-joyce.html

HIA is a wonderfully social Airport. They have many lovely amenities for fliers and visitors. If you ever stop in, be sure to download the free e-books they have at various stations throughout the facility for your next flight, or to pass the time away while you're waiting for passengers to arrive.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

SIGNnin' In the Streets Event in Disneyland

Coming to Disneyland this weekend is the SIGNnin' in the Streets event! This event is a celebration of the creativity of Deaf community and people. The actors from Switched at Birth will be there with sneak previews of upcoming episodes. "See What I'm Saying", a documentary of deaf entertainers and "The Hammer" will by playing in the AMC theaters, and the actors will be available for autographs and answering questions. I wish we were on the West Coast so we could attend this event ourselves!
If you get a chance to attend, let us know how it is. Disneyland, always the happiest place on earth.

Dine and Sign episode 24 (Deaf in the Military With Guns?)

Alex and his dad sit down for another "Dine and Sign", this time "Deaf in the Military With Guns?" If you'd like to know more about the TED video of Keith Nolan they are discussing, the link is at the bottom of this post. Meanwhile, enjoy this clip of Alex and his dad.

Visit Dine and Sign at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=iv&annotation_id=annotation_539492&src_vid=okaxJReOe3Y&v=pgJcPcS-hOA

Keith Nolan's TED video: http://www.ted.com/talks/keith_nolan_deaf_in_the_military.html

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Why It's So Important for Churches to Do This

I've been getting so many questions about why captioning is so important, how does it work, and why should churches caption. This post by Caption Labs answers these questions quite well. One of the most important points they make regarding the necessity for churches to provide captions is quite simple, " Many others consider it as an undue burden to provide captioning for their TV program or internet media. But in doing so, they alienate viewers who really need and desire access to the church’s message, and more importantly, God" 


Read the excellent post in full and check out other posts by Caption Labs.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Amazing Worship Team

This is one of the most amazing worship teams I have ever seen, a choir, singers, orchestra AND an ASL signer all singing together! I understand they will have captions coming soon!!


by Headmistress: "A Language for Thinking"

I've posted and discussed the value of teaching children Sign Language, whether they hear or not, for many years. I've also read many research articles and books on the topic, however, I've never read anything quite like this.

If you're not familiar with Headmistress (an author and a home schooling parent), you need to head over to her blog at The Common Room and at least read this post. It's informative and quite an eye opener from a fascinating perspective.


Though it's a bit lengthy, every word contributes to it's final conclusion.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

If You Caption, They Will Come

(Links on what is CC and how to caption are below the post)

Some people erringly think that all Deaf people know ASL. What they don't know is that many were denied the use of Sign Language because others in care of them when they were young were told by "experts" that deaf and hard of hearing children should learn to read lips and speak only. Not everyone is able to learn to do this.  Lip reading is difficult, so many words look the same on the lips. We miss important information. Some people have ASL or a variation of ASL. Like English, ASL has many sign variations depending on where you are from. There are some regions that have dialects not recognized by others. In rare cases, they may need an interpreter for their interpreter. However, there is another option we can add. Total communication involves every feasible means of communication available.  Reading lips and Sign Language together is "total communication". Add captions to the equation and you have the best case scenario of communicating information.

With technological advances today, we have options we never had before. We have Real Time Captioning and Closed Caption tools available, yet so many businesses/organizations just won't take time to find out what this is or how to use it. Many movie theaters are starting to take notice and are adding this feature for the citizens in their communities, even some churches have discovered the wonderful benefits of captioning their services for their attendees.

With the Baby Boomer generation now heading toward the geriatric generation, hearing loss is a fact of life. We have more deaf and hearing impaired people than ever before. This population is going to continue to grow as we live longer. We pay taxes, we vote, we do business. However, we prefer to put our time and money into places and organizations that acknowledge us and welcome us. If you ignore us, we'll go somewhere else, and you can be sure people will know exactly why we prefer one place over another. We'll either talk about it, blog or tweet. In the area I currently live, there are over 4,000 deaf and hard of hearing people of all ages...that we know of. That's a lot of clients and business revenue that is vastly overlooked or ignored.

Hearing aids aren't always the answer, just as Sign Language isn't always the answer. We live in an age where we can have "Total Communication" and wonderful captioning programs, and yet, we're still not taking full advantage of these tools. Why not? Information, communication, people and relationships are worth investing in. If you caption, they will come.

*Want to know more about Captioning? Visit these sites:

Caption Labs: http://www.captionlabs.com/ 

Universal Studios:  http://www.universalsubtitles.org/en/

Collaborative for Communication Access Via Captioning: http://www.ccacaptioning.org/

Captionfish: (Movies)  http://www.captionfish.com/

"Deaf Like Me" short video, honest, straightforward

This short clip is honest and straightforward, uploaded by bluntrook. I like what the young woman wrote below her video, " Being deaf from birth, most children would either choose to perceive life in a optimistic or pessimistic way. People often forget that just because someone can't hear, doesn't mean they are mentally challenged or incapable of adapting to their environment. As a positive-minded and ambitious individual, I grew to accept my disability, using it to my advantage, and to see the humor in life. This is my story "


Monday, March 5, 2012

"Fine" by Virgilio Villoresi

This is something surprisingly different. This is a hand painting video that tells the story of the birth, life and death of a soldier.  It's visual, so no words are really needed except the credits and explanation of the story. It's quite a creative concept.

Be sure to check some of Virgilio's other films on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=I5swxoYRa1g

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Check for Deaf Friendly Cities Near You

Here is a great page and video to check out if you are considering moving and want to move either to a "deaf friendly" city, or  a town near one. Though these are major cities, there are smaller pockets of deaf friendly cities and towns throughout the U.S. besides what is listed here. The Video is signed and captioned.


I'm curious to see what this list will look like a few years from now.

Keith Wann Signs "Llama, Llama, Red Pajama"

This favorite children's book is delightfully signed by Keith Wann.

Friday, March 2, 2012

"Parents, Nothing More"

I saw this on FaceBook, on  DeafTV's wall. This is such a cute little couple with a cute little song. This is in ASL and captioned.

Uploaded by rosaleeshow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ICteiYZM4CA

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What the Deaf and Hard of Hearing are Looking For

This post is to help businesses and organizations be more "deaf friendly" and appropriate when providing services for deaf and hearing impaired people.

Do you provide interpreters for the deaf and hard of hearing at your events? Make mention on your flyers and on the front page of your website that you do. If you have special events and times when interpreters are available, be sure to post this important information on your front page. If you have classes available, be sure to write, "Interpreters available upon request in advance". This will allow you time to line up a professional interpreter.

When you retain professional interpreters, you're investing in helping bridge communities and building relationships. Your reaching a clientele often overlooked, but when you invest in them, you are investing in future relationships and loyal clients. Don't look at the initial costs in terms of being able to afford this, but rather, how can you not?

Do you have a search form on your website? "New Deafies", or people just starting to lose their hearing don't know slang terms such as "terps" etc.,  Include all these words "Deaf", "hard of hearing", "hearing impaired", "interpreters", "ASL".  If you have "CART" or " Real Time Captions" available, add those words on your search page as well. We use these words when search your site for services or events.

Be sure to provide an email address of a person to contact to handle inquiries from the deaf. It's a bonus if you have someone on staff who is familiar with various relay systems the deaf and hard of hearing may use. There are different systems out there, but the main thing to remember is that someone is on the phone interpreting by Sign Language via Video Relay System, or typing via tty or a caption relay system such as Cap Tel. Those who become deaf late in life will use their own voice, but rely on a Calling Agent or Relay Agent to pass on to them what you are saying.

Be patient while your message is relayed to the caller, and allow extra time for the Calling Agent or operator to relay back to you the caller's response. The most important thing to remember with these kinds of calls is to speak moderately and clearly, and never rush through the call. If there is a pause after you pick up the line, be patient. There will be pauses while the operator or agent tells the caller you have answered the phone, if you are male or female, what you have said and if there are any other sounds in the background such as music playing, people talking or even if there are dogs barking. Their job is to relay all the sounds they hear to the caller. No information is left out. This takes time. It's worth the extra minute or so to connect with a future client. Hanging up on this kind of call only frustrates your potential client. They may or may not keep trying to connect with you.

If you have questions how to do these things, need help with communication and etiquette, look for "Deaf and Hard of Hearing or Deaf and Hearing Impaired Resources" in your local directories. If that doesn't get you connected, contact your local Human Services Resource Center and they will hook you up. Don't be afraid to ask questions or ask for someone to come in and train your staff. You want your staff prepared and professional.

By being visible that you are deaf friendly and welcome hearing impaired people in your community, you will increase the reach of  your clientele. People will come back again simply based on your sheer effort to try your best to meet their communication needs. If we see the effort you are making to reach us on our first visit, you can almost be certain we will be back.