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

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New Blog Series Coming: ASL Around the World

As an instructor with Signing Time Academy, I have the good fortune of being connected with other Signing Time instructors around the world. We actually have two forums where we meet, a lounge forum designed just for us, as well as a FaceBook page. These were created for us by Signing Time so we could share our experiences together, as well as exchange tips, ask questions and overall support one another. We have grown into a strong, active online group.

We share a love for ASL(American Sign Language) and teaching others how to sign. Baby Signing Time is widely spreading everywhere because mothers and fathers want to communicate with their pre-verbal children. Many of these families later find  Signing Time Series One and Signing Time Series Two help build their ASL vocabulary, giving them a strong foundation to learn ASL as a second language.

If you are teaching ASL classes in countries other than the United States, I would love to hear your story. Submit a guest post to xpressivehanz@hotmail.com and add a photo or two along with your submission.

Are you someone interested in taking a class? Find an instructor near you

Happy Signing!

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Quietest Place On Earth

How long would a hearing person be able to sit in "the world's quietest place" Did you know there was even such a place on earth? There is! While it may be therapeutic for some, such as this sailor, for others it would be a bit unnerving.

While it wouldn't make any difference to a profoundly deaf person, I wonder if it would make any difference to those who are deaf and have tinnitus.Would it fade, or increase? Would it even matter?


Would you want to try out this room?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A GIVEAWAY and Review of My Class by Still Playing School

Last Saturday morning was lively.  "Lively" was a typo, I meant to type "lovely", but lively is accurate. It was also delightful.

Holly Keich at Om Baby & Pregnancy & Parenting Center invited me to come to Om's Earth Day Fair and offer a free demonstration Baby Signing Time Class. Thank you, Holly, it was wonderful seeing all of the adorable babies come out and play, and their parents, too!

Devany LeDrew, a former kindergarten teacher, now a mom and a blogger over at Still Playing School joined our class with her baby, D. She not only shares her experience of Saturday's class, she is also hosting a GIVEAWAY of 2 copies of a fabulous book on her blog with her review of the class here:


Thank you, Devany for coming to class and for such a kind review of our Baby Signing Time class. It was a delight to have you and Baby D in class.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

2013 Summer Camp American Sign Language (ASL)


For Deaf & Hearing Elementary Students!

Come for fun, learn a new language, and make new friends!

Identify ASL as a world language, characteristics of deaf culture, demonstrate basic sign language skills, describe technology used by deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals and HAVE FUN!

The Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf Outreach Center is pleased to announce the dates for our 2013 ASL Camp.

The camp will take place at the Outreach Center located at:
3820 Hartzdale Drive in Camp Hill
The dates are: July 15, 16, 17 and 18
The times each day are 9-11:30am
Cost: $60 per child

For More Information, please contact Jessica Marks
Office:  717-909-5577 or jmarks@wpsd.org  

Monday, April 22, 2013

RSS Feeds, 100,000 Blog Hits and A Word of Thanks

RSS feeds will be going away, along with Google Reader. If you wish to continue to follow this blog by Xpressive Handz, you can "subscribe by email". The link is on the column to your right. Just scroll until you see it between the banners of "AllTop" and "Search this Blog".

I also want to take a moment to than YOU, Readers and Vistors. As of April 21, 2013, Xpressive Handz has had over 100,000 hits from nearly 50 different countries. This is due to many of you sharing the post by email, Twitter, FaceBook as well as sites like DeafRead.com  and deaf.alltop.com featuring our posts.

I also want to thank e-dailys and e-zines which feature Xpressive Handz.

Rashed Al-Foudary shares this blog on Silent World daily. He also writes his own blog with his experience of deafness at http://www.bilaterallynumb.com/

Varsha P. Joshi has added us to Decibles dBs, and shares the story of her daughter and CI (Cochlear Implant) journey at http://vanditacantalk.blogspot.com/

I especially want to thank all those in the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and the Hearing Impaired communities for being such a wonderful group of supporters and readers. I love reading the posts and stories you write. We've become a strong online presence, educating and helping not only ourselves and each other, but also the hearing communities around the world.

Together we have become "International Deaf Bloggers", "International Hard of Hearing Bloggers" and "International Hearing Impaired Bloggers". We have become a global voice on the internet educating and bringing positive changes to the world by sharing our issues and communication needs. Thank you for allowing me to be a participant.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Amelia Wins, Expresses Gratitude

I am so pleased to share these words with you from Amelia:

 "I am delighted to let you know that I won the scholarship, and so I will be able to produce this fiilm this summer.

Thank you for all of your help, I am very grateful for this.

I hope that people who voted and shared it will see that it paid off."

Thanks to all  of you who took time to help this young woman by casting a vote of confidence for her. 
May you have much success and happiness as you follow your talents and dreams, Amelia.

Here is the link to our previous post, in case you missed it: Meet Amelia

Smart Phone App Captions Cell Phone Calls

I love my CapTel IPhone App. Now there is also an Andriod App. If you are having trouble hearing on your cell phone, this is the App for you. It allows you to use your own voice, and the Calling Agents (CA's) type to you what the person on the other end of the call is saying, along with all the background noise so you have most of the same information a hearing person has.

The extra features are wonderful. You can adjust the font size to your personal preference, as well as the color of the font and the background color. I like the yellow background with the black font.

You can store your list of contact numbers. The new number feature is fabulous. You can choose to have the new "call me #" and your callers no longer have to dial into the center, then dial up your  number from there. Now, they have one simple number by which to call you. No more confusion or long explanations how to dial you up.

Another fabulous feature, and this is my favorite, the app saves everything that the other person has said. You can go back and review the conversation if you need to copy that address or phone number or any other information you may need. Just bring up that conversation, highlight it, copy and paste to your notes or email the copy to yourself.

It also has a "send to printer" feature. You can print out that important information or those right from your phone. It does it all for you.

Did I mention it is FREE? Try it and see how it works for you.

Now you can make calls from anywhere.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Captioned Streaming Online News Coverage

Regarding the horrific events in Boston .. There is live online captioned coverage right here:

Reflections Through Recovery

As many of you who regularly visit my blog know, I've been recuperating from surgery. It was much more difficult than I had imagined, but the "down time" has brought me to a point of much needed reflection.

I've been fortunate this past decade to have some amazing life changes. It's interesting how things have come along in my life when I'm not looking for them. When I was in elementary school, I wanted to grow up to be an English teacher. I started college with this same dream, but as my hearing progressively got worse, I worried about not being able to hear the children in the classroom setting.

There were no resources available to me at the time (ASL interpreters or CART weren't offered). The third time I attended college, I changed my major from education to Human Services in the counseling field in hopes of helping others learn the issues and coping skills of living with hearing loss and deafness. I lost more hearing the last year I attended college, so much so, I did not return. It was a dark time, and that's all I have to say about that.

I had made friends with a couple of people in our local Deaf community and joined an advocacy group, B.A.R.D. (Bay Area Resources for the Disabled). When B.A.R.D. ran out of funds to continue its mission, I volunteered at my daughter's school. They set me up with a computer in my home so I could help with the spring history and English projects each year.

Then I became isolated and didn't socialize very much.

That was about 20 years ago.

These last few years have been wonderful. I met and married a FABULOUS man who is a wonderful role model for the little boy I adopted. My life is filled with friends who are encouraging  me to continue to advocate for the silent voices in our society, to advocate for "awareness" to bring changes that will provide inclusion for those of us overlooked society; the deaf, hard of hearing and those who are losing their hearing through the various causes of hearing impairments. I did not go looking to do this. It simply fell into my lap.

I did not go looking to teach Sign Language. It was not something I even thought of. It, too, simply fell into my lap. Four years ago, my son's Kindergarten teacher asked if I would be willing to come to class one day and show the students a few signs. I was hesitant at first. My old thought patterns cropped up, and I worried about not functioning in the classroom. I told the teacher I would have to think about it, but in my mind, I was set to say, "No."  I knew I couldn't function in the classroom or distinguish what the children's voices were saying to me.

After a couple of weeks, I talked with the Kindergarten teacher and explained that classroom situations were difficult, and even more difficult to decipher were the words and voices of young children. I told her if I did this, I would need her nearby to help me "hear". She helped me by sitting close enough so I could read her lips as she repeated the children's questions and comments. I loved it!

My husband found the Signing Time materials online. He ordered the The Signing Time Class Room Edition.
click this link to go to Class Room Edition: http://shrsl.com/?~3ntn
When I started teaching the Kindergarten Class, the First Grade teacher saw what we were doing, and she asked if I would come teach her class as well. After explaining how I would need her help with communicating with the children, I had another class.

I didn't realize right away that my childhood dream had come to pass in such an unexpected way. Though I started out thinking I wanted to be an English teacher, I had no idea I would be teaching another language, an American language. American Sign Language. ASL.

Later this spring, I will be teaching Baby Signing Time. Though this conjurs up images of me sitting and teaching babies how to sign, I will actually be teaching parents how to teach their children to sign. Parents are the most important communicators in a child's life. As the parents come to class each week, the children will simply see me reinforcing the signs their parents have been modeling all week.

It's exciting for me to see parents wanting to communicate with their children so much that they are willing to take the time to come and learn a new language, an American language. The basic root words of American Sign Language.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


I've had some wonderful things pop up of late. Xpressive Handz is now a feature on Alltop under the category of "deaf". It is a wonderful privilege to be featured with other deaf and hard of hearing bloggers on the site. Check out the "Deaf" category to see more: http://deaf.alltop.com/ 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Story of Nathan and Sylvia

I saw this story posted by Susquehanna Service Dogs on FaceBook and felt compelled to share it here in honor of Autism Month. As many of you know, I have applied to receive a Hearing Service Dog from this wonderful organization, myself. You can learn more about them here. But first, watch this open captioned story of Nathan and how Sylvia changed his life, and brought about positive changes in fellow students after facing many challenges.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

How to Get Our/My Attention

My husband uses these ways to get my attention, with the exception of throwing things at me. :-) My favorite one is the on/off light flashing technique. There are times when he scares me to death by suddenly appearing from out of nowhere. Our floors are solid and carpeted, so I don't feel him walking up to me.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Meet Amelia

There are so many creative young people that deserve a good chance to follow their dreams and sometimes need a little help. A simple vote of confidence can go a long way. I would like to introduce you to an up and coming film maker, Amelia Hassard

Amelia is working hard to win a scholarship to New York. In order to win, she needs your votes. Why am I asking for you to vote for her? I like what she has in mind for her story from a deaf perspective.

Amelia writes, "I'm writing a short film about a young deaf man. Since I am hearing, and have no contact with any young people who are deaf, I've been reading a multitude of blogs written by deaf people to understand deaf experiences better. As a result, I found myself referring back to your website on several accounts, particularly with respect to signing culture...

"I would be really grateful if you would watch my film pitch and would greatly appreciate any feedback you may have

"I am in a competition to win a scholarship to film school in NY, and this will get my film funded and mentored. If you are happy to help, please could you post the link below so that others could vote for me too? No money is required, just a popularity contest on Facebook.

I would be delighted if both BSL deaf and ASL deaf audiences saw my pitch (and eventually my film! It will be subtitled where necessary but will not focus on 'word-based' communication anyway)."

I submitted my vote for Amelia, you can, too!

To vote for Amelia, you must FIRST be logged into your FaceBook account.

Then click this link http://bit.ly/128jDEa  that will take you straight to Amelia's video. You will need to "like" the film school's page "The International Film Institute of New York".

You can then click "VOTE". You can also help share the video by posting it on your wall, if you wish.  You can always un-like the page after voting, your vote will still be registered.

Be sure to check out more of Amelia's work: http://ameliash.tumblr.com/

Best of luck Amelia!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Yosemite Scenes and Deaf Services

With spring and summer upon us, many will be planning vacations. I thought this would be a good time to share a couple of videos recently posted by the yosimitenationalpark YouTube channel. I remember driving my family through Yosemite on one of our road trips back in the 1970's. It was one of my favorite summers growing up.

Not many know that the park actually has Deaf Services and interpreters available. Below are 2 videos  signed and captioned.  The 3rd video is a brief presentation by Ranger Shelton Johnson sharing a few of his personal favorite places in the park, it, too, is captioned.




Monday, April 1, 2013

BEAUTIFUL: Through Your Child's Eyes (captioned)

This wonderful video, "Through Your Child's Eyes" explains the importance of signing and communicating with your babies and children. Though it focuses on deaf and hard of hearing children, the benefits are the same with hearing children. Babies can learn to sign to you and express their specific needs, thoughts and wants before they can speak. The muscles for speaking aren't fully developed until after they are two years old. Some babies can sign by the time they are seven months old. My son was signing to me at eight months of age.

The most powerful moment in this video is the moment where the mother and her adult daughter are sitting together sharing what Sign Language meant to them. It is powerfully moving and poignant. This is 13 minutes,  and it is captioned.