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

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Where to Find A "Deaf Friendly" City

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. Would you like to know which city is most progressive with technology and accessibility? You’ll find it listed in the report. 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 on the page is captioned, so be sure you have that option turned on.
I’m curious to see what this list will look like a few years from now.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Closed Captions May Help Improve Reading Skills

When my daughter was in school and living at home, her friends quickly found that watching TV at our house was a little different from what they were used to.

I had very tall speakers set up on each side of my chair so I could turn the sound up very loud to hear. Back then, I didn't have neighbors on the other side of the wall to worry about and I could really crank the sound up so I could hear like I used to. When my daughter was home, however, I used headphones so we would not damage her hearing. Headphones aren't perfect, especially with all the music in the background when people on TV are talking. It makes it difficult to distinguish speech sounds. We always had the closed captions turned on. She has always been an excellent reader.

Our eight year old son is currently reading books beyond his age level. Could it be because he was raised "reading" TV?

When one of my daughter's friends came over the first time, he was quite agitated with the text coming up at the bottom of the screen. He was not much of a reader, and reading was difficult for him. It wasn't long before he became used to the closed captioning, and didn't pay much attention to it, or so he thought.

At the end of the school term, his reading skills had improved at a remarkable rate. He told everyone it was because he was "reading TV" at our house.

If you have a child at home struggling with reading, I would encourage you to use the Closed Caption (CC) option on your TV. It may very well help your child's reading skills.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


This week, I met with Susan, Craig and Becky as we went over the technical details providing CART for our  presentation "Working With A Disability" which was scheduled for next week. (see original post about that here: Presentation At Lancaster Public Library with CART Services)

As we began setting up and testing the technical gadgets, some very exciting discoveries were mentioned how we could take this program to a whole new level. We all agreed that we would prefer to postpone the presentation until a later date when we can implement the "more robust program" Craig and Becky have in mind. I love technology and its innovative advances more with each passing day.

Check the library's website and watch for the rescheduled date, http://www.lancaster.lib.pa.us/lcl/site/default.asp,

or subscribe to their eNewsletter  http://www.lancaster.lib.pa.us/lcl/cwp/view.asp?a=1152&Q=464180&lclNav=|30427|

Library postponement announcement

In order to create a more robust program, we are postponing this program and hope to re-offer it in February.

Susan Schaffer and Joyce Edmiston present this disability awareness program covering auditory and mobility issues. Susan and Joyce both have experience in dealing with these challenges on a personal level, and bring with them a rich history of educating others. Issues covered in this program include challenges faced by those with disability, attitudes of the general population, and a background on the entire disability movement. (Bates Auditorium)

Please pay all outstanding library fines before attending library programs.

A Few of My Favorite "International" Deaf and Hard of Hearing Bloggers and Writers

What would International Deaf Awareness Week be without introducing some of my favorite "international" bloggers and writers? Here are 5 deaf  or hard of  hearing websites I visit regularly that are outside of the U.S. If you would like to add your favorite "international" blogger, writer or website please leave your list in the comment for a little "shout out" their way. Just keep it deaf, hard of hearing, or hearing loss related, and they must be from a country other than yours. Our online community is supportive, global, strong and growing. Let's spread some "shares" around and make some new connections.

Charlie Swinbourne, UK: The Limping Chicken

Deafinitely Girlie, UK:  http://www.deafinitelygirly.com/

Elizabeth Fisher, UK: http://lizsdeafblog.blogspot.com/

Rashed Al-Foudary, Kuwait:  "Silent World" http://paper.li/foudary/1314109118

Varsha P. Joshi, India: http://paper.li/VanditaCanHear/1306090521

Where are some of your favorite "foreign" deaf or hard of hearing bloggers and writers posting from?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

D-Pan Music Video Camp Does "I Feel Good"

What a cool summer camp! What a great "Feel Good" video! This put a smile on my face. ASL music video with captions.

Go to their channel and give them a thumbs up!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUGd8ubAhW0

Learn more about ASL video music camp from Sean Forbes here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NijXetdWcs&feature=channel&list=UL

Monday, September 24, 2012

"The Rupture Sometimes"

I saw this fascinating video posted on FaceBook by CCAC Captioning ( @CCACaptioning on Twitter ).  It is about 30 minutes in length, but well worth taking the time to view. It is captioned. This excellent film addresses some of the misconceptions we have toward disabilities and how we tend to generalize them. I like how each individual shares their experience. The woman with severe nystagmus was particularly interesting to me, as that is something I have in conjunction with my hearing loss. It makes it difficult to read lips if I'm not close to the person speaking.

"A film by Kevin Gotkin. Filmed at the University of California Humanities Research Institute, Irvine, CA. Made possible by the University of Pennsylvanis's GAPSA-Provost Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Innovation."


Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Value of Your Deaf and Hard of Hearing/Hearing Impaired Communities

 ( I post this In honor of International Deaf Awareness Week, which is the last week of September. This year, it begins the week of the 23.)

When my hearing was worsening in the 1980's, I took some Sign Language classes at the local college. While I found comfort in knowing that I was being pro-active with my condition, I was isolating myself more and more from the "hearing" community. 

When I returned to college in the 1990's for more Sign Language classes and working toward my degree in Human Services, our Deaf assistant teacher took me under his wing, so to speak. I was invited to his home with a Deaf gentleman I was engaged to at the time for movies and casual gatherings. Signing was my main language those days, and my fluency thrived. 

About the same time, a group was forming in a small room of an audiologist's office that called themselves "SHHH", or "Self Help for Hard of Hearing". It was an odd name, because most of us who had been losing our hearing used the phrase "hearing impaired", and "hard of hearing" was not a common phrase to us at the time.

Many people from other agencies outside our community found our group interesting because we were the first community they visited that had a large gathering of members from both the Deaf Community and the "hard of hearing", meeting together and working together. When we grew too large to meet in small offices, we moved a local library's conference room. We had ASL interpreting at our meetings, as well as real time closed captioning. When the PUC (Public Utility Commission) sent representatives to our area to discuss the phone directories being created for ttd (telecommunications device for the deaf) users, they commented several times that they had never been to such an inclusive meeting as ours.

Around this same time, I became involved with a local non-profit agency called B.A.R.D., Bay Area Resources for the Disabled. B.A.R.D. was a bit ahead of its time. This was an agency that had representatives of ALL disabilities involved. We were a resource center that had a lounge where people could meet for coffee, board games, meetings or just to socialize. We had many disabled veterans hanging out during the open hours, some helping kids with homework after school. 

B.A.R.D. was similar to a one stop information center. No matter which disability or issue a person was dealing with, there was someone available with the same disability to offer assistance, direction or information. We had a regular newsletter that went out not only to our members, but others in our community to promote awareness and education and information. I often wrote articles related to hearing loss and deafness. We had a writer who was blind who wrote about blindness, and other writers who wrote about living and working with their particular disabilities. What was wonderful about this agency was that rather than having many small voices and groups individually trying to raise awareness and funds for their issues, B.A.R.D. recognized that as a larger group working together, we had a larger voice. Unfortunately, even then, there weren't enough funds to keep the agency open.

One of things I often did as part of my duty with B.A.R.D. was to visit all the pay phones in the stores that had tty machines under them. I made sure they were in working order. I also frequented the police departments and the hospital to see if the person who answered knew how to use it, and if they didn't, or if they forgot, I would demonstrate and refresh their memory. Sadly, one office actually had it hidden in a bottom drawer, but that was remedied after one visit.

Along with this, I would regularly send in a letter to our newspaper's editorial page and list where the tty machines were in our area for new residents. 

I was active with these organizations until I started volunteering my time at my daughter's school and working with children. As my hearing worsened, however, I became more and more isolated and stayed at home. One year, my daughter's teacher had an organization come to my home and they gave me a computer and software compatible with what the school used. I was able to help her from my own home with the classroom projects for a number of years. That was my first introduction to using computers and a network called propoint bulletin service, which connected me to others online. It wasn't long after that I was learning how to use Windows. 

Today, my journey is picking up where it left off all those years ago. I'm looking forward to returning to school this winter and completing my degree in Social Services as I continue to become active in my new community here in PA with our local Hearing Loss of America organization,  promoting captions with the upcoming  "Show Us the Captions!" #showusthecaptions (learn more about that from Sarah at  Speak Up Librarian) event in November, sharing presentations at schools and soon at a local library about hearing loss and deafness.

The value of your Deaf and hard of hearing/hearing impaired communities are a rich addition in your neighborhood. Someone you know, a family member, or perhaps you, yourself will be touched by hearing loss or deafness at some point in life. Captions on your tv or at the movies or even one of the captioned phones that are available now have all been made possible because the Deaf and hard of hearing communities have worked extremely hard at voicing the need for accessibility, advocating for others and ourselves, and educating the public as well as being involved with being on top of ADA laws. 

I, for one, am appreciative for how my former community all those years ago helped me learn to adapt and learn how to use the old closed captioned decoder boxes for tv and video viewing, introducing me to the tty telephones, as well as continuing my education with sign language. Thank you for helping me with my journey. 

Thank you to my new community, and  the strong online support system that continues to enrich me through kind words, emails, blog posts and social media relationships. My life is enriched because of all of you.

Friday, September 21, 2012

She Turned the Tables....

Regular visitors to my blog are familiar with my friend Amy, a motivational speaker, author, life coach and teacher. I've often featured her projects and posts here with you. Last week, Amy turned the tables on me and asked me some interesting questions for her "Thriving Spotlight" series over at 


It is such an honor to be featured on her site with such FABULOUS deaf and hard of hearing people. I appreciate Amy's kindness, and her advocacy towards others who are experiencing hearing loss and deafness. 

If you've not met Amy, you can learn earn more about her and her  current passion and mission in this video. 


The statistics of hearing aids currently being purchased for our young returning soldiers astounds me. Let's help Amy reach her goal and help her help those who are losing their hearing find their way to living a quality life with hearing loss and deafness. Be sure to read Amy's story and watch her videos. They are captioned for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Presentation at Lancaster Public Library With CART Services

My friend Laura introduced me to Susan a few months back. She suggested that because Susan and I are passionate about advocating for people with disabilities and bringing awareness to the general public, we would find something in common.

Susan was kind enough to invite me to join her with an upcoming event at the Lancaster Public Library. She will be presenting information about living with a mobility disability. I will be presenting about hearing loss and deafness, focusing mostly with onset hearing loss.

Craig Haggit, Manager, Adult services of Lancaster Public Library has been wonderful helping us prepare for this presentation. The library recently updated their computer system. This makes it possible to have CART services, real time captioning available for deaf and hard of hearing people attending the presentation.

Remote captioning will be provided by Rebecca Tallerico, CCP, CBC of Word Stream Captioning.  

Rebecca explains: 

"Remote captioning of an event is an instant translation of the spoken word into text  which appears on a screen so that people who have less than perfect hearing are able to participate in and fully experience the presentation. The Americans with Disabilities Act specifically recognizes CART/Captioning as an assistive technology which affords effective communication access in a variety of settings, such as classrooms, courtrooms, religious services, doctor appointments, weddings, funerals and other personal events, civic events such as town council meetings, cultural presentations such as Broadway shows and anywhere communication access is needed."  

Rebecca Tallarico can be reached at rtallar@ptd.net

You can learn more about the upcoming presentation "Working With a Disability" and obtain tickets to the free event at 

To learn more about CART, visit: www.ncra.org/CART

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

New Blogspot Interface

It finally happened as they have been telling us all this time. Blogspot forced me over to the new interface. I struggled with this a few months ago when it first appeared, however, they gave us a choice to revert back at the time. 

When you first log into Blogspot, there is now a video tutorial that pops up. I had contacted them before about the video not being captioned, but I don't think they read the "feedback" blocks they provided. The video is still not captioned. 

I suspect Google will be hearing from a lot of deaf and hard of hearing people about the video tutorial without captions. At least, I hope so. If you depend on captions, hop over there and let them know about it.

I liked the old design much better. It was cleaner, easier to read, bolder and simpler. Of course, that is just my opinion, so many others like the new version.

Why not offer us a choice? Let US decide which works best for us, especially those of us who are more visual. 

Ukrainian "QuadSquad" Invents "Enable Talk" - An Assistive Device for Sign Language Users

My friend Ken over at http://inklingmedia.net/ sent me this incredibly interesting futuristic "interpretative" glove. I find this amazing.

According to this article, the Smart Glove: Voice Recognition for Sign Language users called "Enable Talk" invented by a Ukrainian team "QuadSquad" may revolutionize the way the deaf communicate with people outside of the signing culture. The price tag on this invention? Just under $100.00 makes it affordable for most anyone.

It looks like a high tech bike glove with 15 sensors wired within. Read more about it here: http://www.good.is/posts/smart-glove-voice-recognition-for-sign-language-users#

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"Show Me Your Ears!" by Shanna Groves (corrected)

"Show Me Your Ears!" by Shanna Groves

Today's guest post is presented by my friend Shanna Groves. She has a delightful approach to promoting Deaf and Hearing Loss Awareness.  As a good sport, Shanna is showing hers first.

SHOW ME YOUR EARS! To Promote Deaf and Hearing Loss Awareness 
By Shanna Groves / LipreadingMom.com

Official Page: http://LipreadingMom.com/Show-Me-Your-Ears     

How many of you wear hearing aids or cochlear implants? Do you like the way they look—do you show them off with gusto? Join me in my new awareness campaign Show Me Your Ears: To Promote Deaf and Hearing Loss Community Awareness. 

The idea is simple:

1) Take a picture of your ears, hearing aids, and/or cochlear implants. Even if you don’t wear anything in your ears, take a picture.
2) Email your photo to Lipreading Mom at sgrovesuss (at) msn (dot) com. Include the subject line: Show Me Your Ears. Include your first name, name of your hearing aids or cochlear implant product (if applicable), and how long you have worn them.
3) Watch my blog in the coming weeks. Your photo may be featured!

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? 

I am also promoting Show Me Your Ears on Facebook and Twitter  (#ShowMeYourEars). Please visit my pages, and help spread the word by sharing this page with your friends.
I have blogged extensively about my progressive hearing loss on this site and my initial reluctance to wear hearing aids or show them off to anyone. I was afraid of what people would think about them. Would they think I was unable to communicate with them? Would they ignore me? 

I made a decision: I am going to embrace my hearing loss. I’m going to show my hearing aids to the world. And so I do!

Here is a post I wrote a while back about my initial fear of showing my ears….

It took me two years before I’d let this much of myself show.
My bottle blonde hair
and palette of cosmetics
usually help me blend in with the other moms
who drive their children to sporting events
on a warm summer afternoon.
I turn the wheel,
hoping to avoid the stark reflection
that stares back in the rearview mirror.

A profile of me with the low ponytail says it all:
There is something different about me.

I am wearing hearing aids.


Shanna Groves is the creator of http://LipreadingMom.com, a blog inspired my her life as a hard of hearing mom raising three young children. When she isn't carpooling with kids or advocating for hearing loss awareness, she writes books and speaks professionally. Read more at www.ShannaGroves.com.

Shanna Groves
Author and Speaker
SHOW ME YOUR EARS! To Promote Deaf and Hearing Loss Awareness

"Show Me Your Ears!" by Shanna Groves

Today's guest post is presented by my friend Shanna Groves. She has a delightful approach to promoting Deaf and Hearing Loss Awareness.  As a good sport, Shanna is showing hers first.

SHOW ME YOUR EARS! To Promote Deaf and Hearing Loss Awareness 

By Shanna Groves / LipreadingMom.com

Official Page: http://LipreadingMom.com/Show-Me-Your-Ears

How many of you wear hearing aids or cochlear implants? Do you like the way they look—do you show them off with gusto? Join me in my new awareness campaign Show Me Your Ears: To Promote Deaf and Hearing Loss Community Awareness. 

The idea is simple:

1) Take a picture of your ears, hearing aids, and/or cochlear implants. Even if you don’t wear anything in your ears, take a picture.
2) Email your photo to Lipreading Mom at sgrovesuss (at) msn (dot) com. Include the subject line: Show Me Your Ears. Include your first name, name of your hearing aids or cochlear implant product (if applicable), and how long you have worn them.
3) Watch my blog in the coming weeks. Your photo may be featured!

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? 

I am also promoting Show Me Your Ears on Facebook and Twitter (#ShowMeYourEars). Please visit my pages, and help spread the word by sharing this page with your friends.
I have blogged extensively about my progressive hearing loss on this site and my initial reluctance to wear hearing aids or show them off to anyone. I was afraid of what people would think about them. Would they think I was unable to communicate with them? Would they ignore me? 

I made a decision: I am going to embrace my hearing loss. I’m going to show my hearing aids to the world. And so I do!

Here is a post I wrote a while back about my initial fear of showing my ears….

It took me two years before I’d let this much of myself show.
My bottle blonde hair
and palette of cosmetics
usually help me blend in with the other moms
who drive their children to sporting events
on a warm summer afternoon.
I turn the wheel,
hoping to avoid the stark reflection
that stares back in the rearview mirror.

A profile of me with the low ponytail says it all:
There is something different about me.

I am wearing hearing aids.


Shanna Groves is the creator of http://LipreadingMom.com, a blog inspired my her life as a hard of hearing mom raising three young children. When she isn't carpooling with kids or advocating for hearing loss awareness, she writes books and speaks professionally. Read more at  www.ShannaGroves.com

Shanna Groves
Author and Speaker
SHOW ME YOUR EARS! To Promote Deaf and Hearing Loss Awareness

Monday, September 17, 2012

"Forgiveness Does Not Always Lead To A Healed Relationship"

*Not his real name

When we recently traveled to Oregon, Fabulous Husband and I dropped in at the local clinic and visited with someone who had an important role in my life at one time. He was in a room with other chemotherapy patients receiving treatment. 

It had been five years since we last saw each other. He did not like that I had adopted a child. He did not like that I had met a man online who was coming from Pennsylvania to Oregon to meet the rest of my family. He disowned me as a family member and did not want his wife to have any contact with me.

As we entered the room, I didn't recognize *Vernon at first. I saw a man with a hat similar to the one he used to wear and thought that was him. Fabulous Husband pointed to another man. How did he know that was Vernon when he had never met the man before is beyond me. I did not expect seeing Vernon again would bring up so many past experiences and emotions. It was hard to believe this person actually had power to make me feel inept, unwanted and unaccepted for who I was and the choices I had made for my life.

It took him a moment to recognize me. Fabulous husband stood beside me. Have I mentioned how wise he is? We had discussed the moment I would be seeing this particular person and my hesitation to go visit. Fabulous Husband kindly stated, "This time it will be different. You have me now."

There was comfort in knowing that we were not alone in the room. There were other patients with family and friends lounging and visiting. Vernon was always on his best behavior when out in public.

I introduced him to Fabulous Husband. It didn't take long before Vernon asked me, "Are you hearing better these days?"

"What?" I asked, unsure if I saw his question correctly.

He did actually ask that in front of a roomful of people. Twice.

"No. I'm deaf now."

He looked at Fabulous Husband and asked, "How do you put up with that?"

I looked at Fabulous Husband, who did not say a word, but turned and looked at me with compassion, gentleness and love.

He loves. Patiently. Kindly. Truly. Sincerely.  

What Fabulous Husband said before we traveled to Oregon was true. It WAS different. It was different simply because of his love.

I saw this posted on FaceBook recently. It speaks volumes to me. I wish the words on the picture were larger so it could be read more easily. It simply says:

  "Forgiveness does not always lead to a healed relationship. Some people just aren't capable of love and can be toxic to our lives. Sometimes we have to set up boundaries to protect ourselves. Wish them well, pray for them, and take care of yourself."

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September Lancaster County, PA HLA (Hearing Loss of America) Meeting

Next HLA (Hearing Loss of America) meeting will be Tuesday, September 18 at 10:00 am. EVERYONE is welcome. We use CART, real time captioning. Come join us at Brethren Village Retirement 3001 Lititz, Pike, Lancaster, PA, downstairs in the Fellowship hall.
For more information, contact Nancy Kingsley kingsnan@aol.com

Churches and Captions

For many of my peers, coming into deafness late in life is a struggle. I am fortunate, though, because I learned the basics of Sign Language years ago, and I continue to learn today. However, so many older adults never had the opportunity. Learning a new language at this stage of life can be incredibly difficult. Many have arthritis which makes signing difficult. It's also not easy to recall the vocabulary and nuances of new or foreign language.

For this generation, worship services are extremely difficult. While many churches are thoughtful enough to offer ASL interpreters for the deaf, they overlook having Captions for the late deafened adults who are caught in a wedge between the two worlds.

Churches would be surprised to see how easy it is to provide CART,  Real Time Captioning. All it takes is a computer, a screen and a typist or stenographer. It is quite simple to do, and wouldn't cost much if someone volunteered their time and talent. If no one knows how to do this, there are wonderful professionals available to provide the service remotely over the internet. The technology to do this is amazing and worth the investment. It is heartbreaking to see Churches that are incredibly "financially healthy" sending thousands of dollars overseas to connect people with God, but neglecting the very people in their neighborhood the very same opportunity by simply providing captions.

People are asking their churches everywhere to provide this service. How wonderful that some churches have jumped immediately to meet this need.

How wonderful that Jesus made the effort to visit the women, the children and the sick and disabled and whoever was seeking God. He took the time to be sure they were cared for, their needs were met, and that they knew by his actions that he loved them. He made the intentional effort to see that they received the Good News God had for them. God is inclusive.

Providing Captions is such a small thing to do for your neighbor, yet it is an incredibly huge action of love.

Encourage your church to provide this service, and PUBLICIZE that it is available in your literature, in your announcements, everywhere you can. People are looking for God and a place to "see" the word of  God acted upon with intention, in word, and in deed.

Want to know more? Here are a few places with more information:

CCACaptioning @CCACaptioning  http://ccacaptioning.org/cart-community-clubs-religious-organizations-social-groups/

Great video and info here: http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/disability_issues&id=7997085





Friday, September 14, 2012

Deaf Girl Amy Is on A Mission

Today's guest blogger is my friend, Deaf Girl Amy Sargent. My family and I had the pleasure of meeting Amy and her husband earlier this year in Rochester, New York. She has a heart of gold, and a passion to help others. Be sure to click on her links. All her videos are captioned for the deaf and hard of hearing.

I want to thank Joyce for allowing me some space on her blog to showcase my fundraising efforts.  My name is Amy Sargent.  A lot of people simply know me by Deaf Girl Amy.  I wrote a book about a year ago called “A Survival Guide for New Deafies!”, which was written specifically for people who have a late onset hearing loss and for their family & friends.

A little history, I lost my hearing at age 27 and my life plummeted to the pits of hell.  My career in live television was over.  I was discriminated against for a non-live position in television based on my inability to hear.  My family didn’t respond well in the early days of my new deafness and my world was just a living hell. I grew depressed and angry for my lot in life. I was lost with no guidance to help me acclimate to being a deafie.  I lived in the cesspool of negativity for about five years.  I do not want anyone to endure what I have.  

So fast forward 17 years, life is great.  I am confident and comfortable with being a deaf girl.  I have been blessed through the publication of my book, I have had some opportunities to really uplift and help people through book chats and seminars (the fun kind). 

This is the premise of my crowd funding efforts.  I have been invited to speak to many informal clubs across the United States and abroad.  But I they don’t have the funds for my travel expenses.  The chats will be free to attendees and I am not going to be receiving a speaking fee either.  The funds will be used strictly to cover traveling expenses. I have two components to this campaign.   Two-thirds of the funds raised are for travel and the one-third is for the expense of developing an app that anyone with a hearing loss can share what that sounds like with family, friends and co-workers.

I have started a Video Trailer & Editing Service to support my goals www.DeafGirlAmyTrailers.com  I am trying to do everything I can to make this a reality. So I can help others and prevent people from having to endure the suffering caused by late onset hearing loss.

I am not asking anyone to support me for nothing.  All contributions have a perk attached to the level of support.  For example, contribute $10 and you will receive a free ebook.  The perks increase in value as the contribution increases.   I need 3000 people to contribute $10 each to reach my goal.  More would be fantastic.   Exceeding my goal would be beyond amazing and that would allow me to travel to more venues and help more people.   You can learn more and view my campaign video here. 

You can also find more on my website http://DeafGirlAmy.com

Thanks again to Joyce for sharing the space and helping me get the word out.  Also, I am not above a lil’ bribery.  If you contribute to the campaign, you can help pick a locale for a chat.  Thank you so much for reading this and I hope you can help. Be blessed. :D
You can follow Amy on Twitter @DeafGirlAmy

Thank you, Amy, for all you are doing for others. God bless your heart of gold.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

This Sunday is ASL Day at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire

This weekend is Pirate Invasion Weekend at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire in Manheim. Each season, Mt. Hope Estate is invaded not only by pirates, knights and jesters, but also ASL interpreters sponsored by Easter Seals. This year's ASL day is Sunday, September 16th. It's also "Make A Wish" weekend.

The link to the schedule is below. Note that the ASL interpreted shows and times are outlined in black.


Don't forget, if you plan to come back to the shire, you can pick up tickets for half price your next visit if you purchase them after 2:00, before leaving. We always get our tickets for the next visit. Our Bear likes to spend Halloween at the shire, which is also the last night of the Faire for the season.

If you would like to know what's happening each weekend at the Renaissance Faire, you can follow them on Twitter and be up to date on all their events @PAFaire

Visit this page to find our more: http://www.parenfaire.com/faire/weekend6.php

Plan on having a GREAT time! Maybe we'll see you there. We'll be waving our hands .... Aaarrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Adorable Sign Language "From Our Place to Yours"

This adorable child is 16 months old and can sign more words than she can speak. The muscles that we use to speak with aren't fully developed until we are well past toddler age. However, Sign Language is a natural, visual language that is easily understood. Children in preschool where sign language is taught communicate better and with less tantrums and frustrations because they can express themselves more clearly and are easily understood.

Nicole has done a wonderful job teaching Luciana to sign with the guidance of the Baby Signing Time DVD's and the flashcards she is playing with. Luciana doesn't know it yet, but I am sending some Baby Signing Time flash cards to her mom when they arrive next week.

Be sure to check out the link below the video and visit Nicole's blog. It's adorable, too.

Click here to visit Nicole's blog, From Our Place to Yours: http://fromourplacetoyours.blogspot.com/2012/09/practicing-her-name-and-showing-off-her.html
Isn't she ADORABLE?

Three ... Fabulous ... Years...

Happy Anniversary, Fabulous Husband. It's been the best 3 years of my life.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

May the God of All Comfort Be With You

Today, my heart and thoughts are of continued healing and strength for all who were personally affected by this tragic event, and for healing as we continue forward.

May God's peace be with you.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Elections and Inclusion

*Disclaimer:  This is in no way an endorsement for one party over another, or one presidential candidate over another. This is for informational, educational, advocacy purposes only:

The two largest growing populations among our voting citizens are the deaf and hard of hearing and our returning vets who have lost their hearing while serving our country.

This quite possibly could be one of the most influential "political" posts I've read this election season. We like to make informed decisions, but if a large population of voters is excluded from important information, you may not get those votes you are hoping for. There is much food for thought in this post over at http://www.redeafined.com/2012/09/uncaptioned-conventions-politics-of-cc.html

Read what my friend, Ken has to say over at Inkling Media

The current president has won over many in the deaf community when he mingled among the deaf at an event and responded in ASL  to a deaf person in this video clip here:

What should we do about this? Be inclusive.  #democratic  #democrat #republican #teaparty #independent #captionaction #showusthecaptions! #captionthis

Friday, September 7, 2012

"Smart" and Back To School

I am planning to continue my college education starting in January. I lost such a huge degree of my hearing when I got sick while attending school decades ago, I could no longer function in class. We did not have the technology we do today, nor the resources for deaf people back then where I was living to make it possible for someone like me to attend classes. I became depressed and did not return to school. It was a very dark time in my life. That's all I have to say about that.

Times have changed since then, and with the help of an ASL interpreter provided by the college in class with me, I'm feeling quite positive of completing my degree. I need 62 credits for this particular degree, and I already have 55 credits accumulated. This time, I'm looking at something in Social Services and Advocacy. I have some writing, math, psychology, gerontology and Human Services courses behind me, but I don't know how many of my credits can be applied toward a Social Services degree. I particularly want to take Deaf Studies, but there are no classes in that field available in our current community. Perhaps when Fabulous Husband retires we can move someplace where I can pick those up, someplace back near the West Coast. In the meantime, I have a lot to do to prepare for the classes that ARE available here this winter.

I want to mention for people who desire to attend classes who are deaf, hard of hearing, or losing their hearing, there is another option available besides an ASL interpreter. CART services (real time captioning) is available if that is preferred.  @JBHORSLEY over on Twitter was telling me that this service has been wonderful for him. When the professor is speaking, the stenographer types, "professor" and when a student is asking a question, "student" is typed. This way he knows who is speaking. At the end of the day, he gets an email from the stenographer or typist (I don't remember which phrase he used) and in that email is the COMPLETE transcript from everything that was said in his classes that day. That makes a wonderful study tool for him and he doesn't need a note taker.

I hope to get my degree so I can advocate for older adults who are losing their hearing, as well as for mainstreamed hard of hearing children and their families. I know what it is like to be a mainstreamed hard of hearing child. Currently, I do presentations at schools and in my community about hearing loss and deafness. I am not paid to blog, this is just an extension of what I do in my community and the schools. 

Here is a lovely Signing Time video of Rachel and friends signing "smart". Learn more about Signing Time's Class Room Edition at the bottom of this page.


The Signing Time Classroom Edition is a GREAT program for educators who want to add Sign Language to their daily curriculum. This item comes with classroom guides, projects, such as the family tree, as well as illustrated guides of the signs in each lesson for the children to take home and share with their families. I use this program for the kindergarten classes. Learn more this particular program here: http://www.signingtime.com/classroom 

Learn more about Rachel and Signing Time at http://www.signingtime.com  

"Super Dog" and the ASL Sign for "Dog"

No words or captions necessary. It's just amazing to see this dog do this! Would you like to learn to sign "dog" in ASL? Check the link below the video. There is also a link to a discussion of various ways you will see "dog" signed at the bottom of my post.


Here is a quick demonstration  how to sing "dog" in ASL:


There is also a discussion of various ways to sign "dog" in ASL here: http://lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-signs/d/dog.htm

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

"The Double Life of Zhane Rain"

I've seen a few interesting ASL music videos on YouTube lately by a young woman working on various projects to break into the film industry. Currently, she is working with Indiegogo platform  to raise money for a unique film "The Double Life of Zhane Rain. 

"Everyday, we deal with oppression, ignorance and bigotry. I tell these stories in a passionate manner with a strong urge to spread messages of love, awareness, diverse communication, education, uplifting, and peace-sharing that have been neglected by today’s ignorant and troubled world. These messages need more potency to be heard everywhere. As an artist who is deeply in touch with emotions, I respond well to human connection and the human condition; I want to tap into these emotions by making films that expose the human side of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people from all backgrounds, especially people of color."
Ann Marie Bryan  

*A link to that interview is below this post.

There is a list of production needs and people already working behind the scenes to make the movie happen here. Be sure to scroll down her page to learn more: http://www.indiegogo.com/zhanerain

*Ann's interview is here: http://elizagalesinterviews.com/2012/07/17/an-interview-with-filmmaker-ann-marie-bryan/

Here is another project Ann is working on:
36 Million Deaf and hard of hearing people have no access to music, still. Learn how we can change that here. As they say, "There's an app for that", but not quite yet. Help Ann make this possible. Learn more here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDiW0_arI6w

Because "We Love Music Too" : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbQJcJx_D58

"Bob Dylan Was the First Rapper"

 Something a little different from Sean Forbes, or as he says at the end "whacked out song". Love the feel of the black and white style  reflecting the times of an era of the past.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Show Us the Captions #showusthecaptions

My friend Sarah is spearheading an event this coming November with Collaborative for Communication Access via Captions (CCAC). This national event, "Show Us the Captions" is a wonderful opportunity for us to educate the general public of the need for Captions for deaf and hard of hearing people everywhere.

There are templates for flyers already created for you to fill in the information if you would like to add your community theater in this nation wide event. Together, we can make a positive contribution to bringing about wider understanding and usage of Captions for our deaf and hard of hearing neighbors everywhere.

Take a look at Sarah's latest post:  http://speakuplibrarian.blogspot.com/2012/09/show-us-captions-is-going-national.html and visit the CCAC website at http://ccacaptioning.org/show-captions-cinema-captioning-advocacy-november-2/ for more details.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Real Food, Is That Too Much To Ask: Video and Transcript

Below is a video (worth 20 minutes to view) and a transcript of is at the bottom of the page.  Headmistress over at http://thecommonroomblog.com/ kindly volunteered her time to listen and type this up for us. One of my friends recently asked if I would share this post and transcript for her friends who've not yet seen this. Do share this with people you know who would be interested. I wish this was captioned, perhaps one day soon it will be.

 This is a loose transcript of Robyn Obrien's speech 
here: http://www.wimp.com/realfood/ I slip in and out of a precise transcript, where I use the first person wherever Robyn did, and paraphrase, where I use second person. It's not meant to be professional, just something to help those who need closed captioning get what she was saying.------------

I am such an unlikely crusader for cleaning up the food supply, born and raised in Houston, Texas on twinkies and poboys, wasn't a foodie. Was a first born child, oldest of four, and everything you read about those first borns, Type A, over-achiever, thankfully channeled that to business school, top honors in her class, and when management teams would come in to visit from groups like Whole Foods and organic places, they thought well, you've nice marketing niche carved out, lifestyles of rich and famous or some hippy thing, not on board with that.

Traded in briefcase for diaper bag, in typcial overachiever manner, had four kids in five years, and up until that point, had still really not given a lot of thought to what was in the food supply, if it was on grocery store shelves it was safe, don't tell me what to eat and don't tell me what to feed my kids, four  picky eaters, limited time, limited budget, I didn't want to hear it.

 And then one morning over breakfast, life changed. Youngest child had an allergic reaction. Lego waffles, blue yogurt, and scrambled eggs. Child's face started to swell up- she didn't even know what it was, took child to pediatrician, who said it's a food allergy. What did the kids have to eat for breakfast? Legomyeggo waffles, blue yogurt, and scrambled eggs.

The pediatrician said that breakfast included 3 of the top 8 allergens, rattled off stuff about food allergies and Robyn started wondering how a child could be allergic to *food*. She got the baby calmed down, took the kids home put them down for naps, and then every analytical gene in her body went off. She'd never known anybody growing up who was allergic to food. She wanted to dig into the data, understand what was going on.

That morning she learned that: From 1997 to 2002, doubling of peanut allergies.1 out of 17 kids under 3 now has a food allergy. According to CDC, a 265% increase in hospitalizations related to food allergic reactions. Doctors checking kids into ER, not moms. So she wanted to know 'what is a food allergy?'

A food allergy is when your body sees food proteins as foreign. so it launches this inflammatory responseto drive out that foreign invader. This raised the question, is there something in our food that wasn't there when we were kids? She turned to the USDA and learned that yes, in the 1990s new proteins were engineered into our food supply (this is the table shown at about 4:31).

And it was done to maximize profit for the food industry. This makes perfect sense to her as an analyst; it drove shareholder value, which is absolutely the fiduciary responsibility of the corporations creating these proteins, but at the same time, no human trials were conducted to see if they were safe. 

So, milk allergy is the most common allergy in the US according to wsj and cnn, so she wondered is there something in the milk supply that wasn't there when we were kids?[Image] Beginning in 1994 in order to drive profitability for the dairy industry, scientists were able to create this new genetically engineered protein and this synthetic growth hormone and inject it into our cows to help them make more milk. The business model makes perfect sense. It's a brilliant one. but at the same time what happened is that it was making the animals sick (this is the table at 5:30): causing ovarian cysts,mastitis, lameness, skin disorders, and for that reason it increased antibiotic use in those animals and governments around the world said they would exercise caution and would not introduce it into the milk supply because it hadn't yet been proven safe. 

We took a different approach. We said it hasn't yet been proven dangerous so we'll allow it.as I learned that I thought, how many sippy cups have I filled with this milk and how many bowls of cereal have I poured it on for my husband, not knowing that Canada, the UK, australia, japan, newzealand and all 27 countries in europe did not allow it when it was introduced in the us in 1994? I wanted to know what are the conditions we're seeing here in the us because one of those concerns about the around this new growth hormone, this synthetic protein is that it eleveated hormone levels linked to breast, prostate and colon cancer.I turned to remarkable organizations like Livestrong and the American cancer society because I wanted to know the US cancer rates compared to the rest of the world (this is the table at about 7:08)

The US has the highest rates of cancer of any country on the planet. According the American Cancer Society, migration studies show if you move here from somewhere like Japan, your liklihood of getting cancer increases four-fold.1 out of 2 American men and one out of 3 american women are expected to get cancer in their lifetime. 1 out of 8 women has breast cancer. but only 1 in 10 of the breast cancers are genetic, which means 9 out of ten are environmentally triggered. (she says it was like looking at a car accident, she wanted to stop looking, but couldn't)

She wanted to know about the other allergies we're seeing, have foreign proteins been introduced in other foods, too? shortly after milk was engineered with this new protein, scientists engineered soy, (which is also one of the top 8 allergens), again, to drive profitability for the soy industry because soy is primarily used to fatten livestock. Scientists were able to engineer the soybean so that it could withstand increasing doses of weed killer, the business model made perfect sense, you engineer the seed so you can sell more weedkiller, and at the same time you've engineered something new into the seed so you can patent it and you have a patent on the seed and are selling additional weed killer.

Once again governments around the world said no studies have been done to show that this is safe to feedto our lifestock and to feed to our consumers, and so to exercise precaution and prevent the onset of any resulting disease we won't allow it, but in 1996 here in the US, we took a different approach. As I kept learning more about food allergies I was hearing concern from parents about corn allergies. So I wanted to know, did corn get engineered? In the late 90s when concern grew about spraying insecticide over corn fields, scientists were able to engineer that insecticide into the dna of a corn seed, so that as it grows, it releases its own insecticide, As a result, corn was regulated by the EPA as an insecticide. As you can imagine this was hard information to learn. 

We had introduced a term called substantial equivilance, a conceptual tool used by tobacco industry to facilitate the approval process of something for which no human trials have been conducted, and that was the justification for why we were introducing these things in the US. As I sat down one night with my husband I said I can't unlearn this and I don't know what people will see if I try to teach them, but I have to try.

 Next day sat down and said to her four kids,"you know how mom has learned some tough stuff about what's going on in our food and how it's not in food in other countries and especially not to food fed to kids? I have to do something about that" and one of the boys looked at her and said, "Mom, how many people are on your team?" She said, you four, and your daddy." He said, "You need a bigger team."

He was right. I had people come up and say "You're foods Erin Brokovich, you should reach out to her!" I did not want to be foods' Erin Brokovich, how could I reach out to her? then the type A genes started going off and I thought I have to try. If I could get through to somebody like her, maybe we could change things here. 

So she spent two weeks crafting a four sentence email, and fired it off. Erin replied. That really impacted her and she thought maybe one person can make a difference (cheering) so as I began to really dig into this and look into the fact that we were using new ingredients in the US food supply that weren't being used in other countries. It drove me nuts how expensive organic food was so I looked into the business model, what I learned is that as a national familiy sitting down at the national table with our national budget, our taxpayer resources are being used to subsidize the gorwth of these crops with all these chemicals, but over here the organic crops grown without these chemicals? 

 Those guys are charged fees to prove that their stuff (this is about the 13:26 mark) is grown without it and then charged fees for the lable and then on top of that they don't get the insurance and marketing program assistance that these guys over here do. so not only is their cost structure higher, but it's not just those farmers it's impacting, fourth and fifth generation farmers who have been feeding our country for generations, because those seeds are patented, they now have a new cost structure, too. they have to pay royalty, licensing and trade fees to even begin to plant those seeds on their farm.

 So when I thought about this I thought how are our American corporations exporting their products if these other countries don't allow these ingredients? I realized and found research that Kraft, Coco Cola, Walmart are doing a remarkable job of responding to consumer demand in other countries and have formulated their products differently. They don't use those ingredients in prodcuts distributed in other countries. At first that was depressing, then I thought "we just need to teach other here."

 As I reflected on the thought that as we introduced these proteins with all these toxicity concerns I wanted to know what do we spend on health care compared to the rest of the world. the US spends more on health care than any country, 16 percent of our GNP goes to managing disease. 

Starbucks spends more on healthcare than coffee.

 This could be effecting our global competitiveness, rather than driving profitability toward our core competencies in the global market place. We are managing disease. We don't need to wait for regulation and legislation we can exercise precautions in our own families, communities and corporations so we can protect the health and well being of our families and ultimately of our economy and was coming through all this knowledge. 

It was paralyzing when I realized you can't make perfect enemy of the good, and it's really all about progress. None of us can do everything, all of us can do one thing. Just as you don't potty train a kid overnight, you don't wean from sippy cup overnight. this is a process that doesn't happen overnight but as each and every single oneof us does one thing we have the ability to affect remakrbal change because each of you have talents and attributes you are uniquely good at and when you leverage that with something you are passionate about you can affect remarkable change in the health of your family, companies, and country and the bottom line is that there is nothing more patriotic that we could be doing. 

Thank-you (standing ovation, cheer, cheer)( the moderator? woman in black calls Robyn back on stage to acknowledge the standing ovation and says, "you may get a standing ovation every time you give this talk, but we don't get to give one every time, so thanks for taking that in.