Saturday, March 17, 2007

My response to Jay on "The mind is a terrible thing to waste"

Jay,

Thank you for delivering your valid points in your vlog. I truly enjoyed how you presented your perspectives that made a lot of sense but it surely stirred up a lot of emotions inside of me.

We will always cherish and value our Deaf heritage where we can preserve and pass it on to the next deaf generation by educating them. We cannot live without history since it provides us a blueprint of who we are today. A rapid changing society along with innovative technology surely affects how we live and interact making us different than our deaf ancestors.

To make our goals more successful, as you said, we should be including hearing people who advocate ASL and bilingual education just the same way Martin Luther King included white people. Without white people, I doubt that the civil rights movement will be as successful. So we need to look at this way, we do need them to be on our side where this powerful message can make more impact. I have a dream for us to march and make a speech at the Capitol Hill where we can push for Bi-BI NOW! This is very possible for us to get to this point. I would like us to talk about this plan :-) so let's brainstorm. I get the feeling we will get to somewhere with our messages but we need a solid and organized plan. Do you think this is possible?

As far as deaf education goes, we do have a long way to go battling the concept to fit bilingual instruction in deaf education. It is much more challenging since today's hearing devices (digital hearing aids, cochlear implants) hinder the value of bilingual since parents and educators don't feel it is necessary to include ASL that these deaf children can manage English alone. We need to prove that bilingual will benefit these deaf children anyway but that is the challenging part.

I felt honored when you used me as an example and I surely hope the others will follow by providing their examples to make it more visual and heard. The use of deafread.com is a mechanism for us that we can take a great deal of advantage to use the system. I think we are in an awakening period where we realize that we have found this precious gem that unlocked our cages allowing us to interact by sharing our comments, thoughts and knowledge that facilitate the others to broaden their horizons.

I found that it is more powerful using youtube (I know you are an advocate of videoegg!) because it is more commonly used by international deaf people where you may make more impact by delivering your future messages. This is what I've experienced when getting e-mails from deaf foreigners since they discovered my video through youtube not only from deafread. There are many, many deafies here in USA not paying attention to deafread.com. There are several friends of mine who are involved in deaf education field and they are not that familiar with deafread yet. I urged them to take the time to view and engage. So this is only a beginning but we can move forward as we continue to spread the word about deafread.

The more deaf advocates (and hearing) get involved, the more powerful and unified we will be. I was inspired seeing a lot of deafies involved for the Unity for Gallaudet cause that lured me to this v/blogosphere but what happened afterwards? I noticed people respond less to issues such as deaf education but more to "personalized" issues. I was comparing the number of people viewing my vlogs about an incident in the aiport and about deaf educational issues. Guess the difference on how many people saw between those types of vlogs? The airport story is now viewed by 16,000 people while deaf educational issues, the highest I could get, is 3,000 (the airport story was posted 2 weeks after the Future of Gallaudet: Deaf Education vlog).

But I am not giving up since I realize that people are slowly discovering this kind of information and day-by-day. I keep on receiving e-mails asking me to use my vlogs about bilingual education in their research and universities. You never know how any vlogs can make an impact that will be picked up as a resource by educators/administrators. We always are thirsty for visual examples of bilingual education especially that there are plenty of bs red tape getting permission to have deaf children shown in the public video. I am fortunate to have young deaf children that I, as a parent, can go ahead and decide to tape them as long as the experience is positive for them. My kids gave me the green light and I give them plenty of rewards. They got to hear from others who told them how proud they are about them reading and participating in the process. These words inspired them so much that they said they would do it again.

There is so much more I want to say but I realize I will just talk about this from time to time. Thanks again for the inspiration!

Your old "neighborhood" friend,

Barb DiGi

15 comments:

Deaf Niches said...

Yes, Jay's vlog was directly powerful.

Why don't you contact the deaf schools in Sweden (I looked up and there are 5 schools for the deaf and hard of hearing) and ask for help in making Bi-Bi a law for the educators? Yup, I am reading/surfing about Sweden's deaf schools now and learning one thing or two. It seems that Sweden has an union, so I believe that there is an union for the teachers for the deaf schools in America, right? Contact the union and share the info... more info more power. Make a proposal at your school if it would be happy to send a few teachers to Washington DC for training at CAEBER???

I have been blogging about Bi-Bi, sharing what I have learned from the professionals, with the readers who take their time to read my blogspot. I might not be a professional, but I am educating myself so that I could advocate my children better and share the information with the readers (as well as sharing my experiences with mainstreaming my son... good and bad.)

You are doing fantastic. Looks like you found your path! :)

Today is your daughter's birthday, so Happy Green Birthday!!

Deaf Niches said...

I wonder if DeafRead has a link to ASDC's (American Society for the Deaf Children) website? The majority of viewers of ASDC is hearing, so it would be a good idea to ask for DeafRead to be linked to ASDC, hmmm?

Anonymous said...

Barb--

Well-inspirational you have. First of all, I like your vlogs and very deep discussion. So does Jay's vlogs.

Bi-bi is very preservance we have now. I did not recall there were some b/vloggers who mentioned that there is something about the British Sign Language (BSL) would be "eliminated" in England. (I am hoping someone in England could give us some details about the controversial of BSL.)

I truly would love to participate to push for the "Bi-bi" now! However, as you know, many hearing parents who have thought their children's welfares. For instance, the hearing parents will think that their "hearing-loss" children CAN talk and hear many words. Just like a "miracle" but it won't happen OFTEN. I know it's pretty hard for us to convince them that bi-bi "would-be" a huge success. I feel like it would be "Bi-bi vs. Oral."

Oh, boy, Barb, I realized it would be a powerful controversial.

Anonymous said...

It's me, anonymous 8:36.

Sorry if I forgot to put my name.

White Ghost.

John Lestina --- said...

RESPONSE TO BARB

Jay said...

Thank you for your kind words, but I am humble. I am only a peeble, and all of you, when united, make it a beautiful beach.

Yes, I recognize posting vLogs on YouTube and/or Video.Google increase chances of reaching an even larger audience in the world. People from all over have subscribed to my videos, and I was contacted via email by international folks as well.

I tried to inform them to direct their attention to my blog site directly, but I know I may have lost some of them.

I have almost reconsidered switching back when I watched Oscar the Observer's discussion of his low vision issues. It had moved me into using those two video hosts because they offer large screen feature (videoegg is coming up with that feature soon too). I figured if it takes only few additional minutes of my time to achieve things of this magnitude, it will be well invested.

But unfortunately its still not "few minutes of my time" but alot of my time. These video hosts takes forever to "process" my videos.

I guess I need to work on my patience. I have told myself, maybe I am being selfish, but I guess that didnt work, grin. Any tips, anybody, on how I can improve my patience, will be welcome, chuckling.

I am sure I will come around soon!

Barb DiGi said...

HI Karen,

Yes, I have been studying and researching about Sweden's use
of BI-BI. I found that they have more advantages than we do because to begin with, the population is more homogeneous and much smaller making it easy to unify with this concept. Here in America, it is much more challenging because of our diverse population with many different backgrounds and values not to mention a long history of varied educational methods.

Some schools for the deaf
have been resistant to this BI-BI approach unfortunately but we just
need to continue to develop more visual examples and data to show the effectiveness of using BI-BI.

Actually the last I heard was when Shane Feldman, Chris Heuer from DC blogs and Deaf Pundit brought it up about contacting ASDC. Any
updates folks? I have contact with Barbara Ramaindo and I can follow up to see what are the possibilities.

The question is: Do we need to cluster the postings into a deaf educational related blog center? For example, let's call it DeafEducation4Children.com where editors can post all related issues in that page. Parents still have options anyway to access deafread.com, deafreadextra.com but why not make it another page
designed for them?

Hey you are doing a great job with your blogs. You provide invaluable information coming from a parent's perspective that will help us be more aware of situations happening in this country. Of course, I will catch up with what you just posted. Keep it up!

White Ghost,

I don't know about BSL being in the process of elimination of BSL but we do know that ASL is to be pushed away from CI kids in Canada. This is a dilemma we are facing. Although it is happening in other country, we should back up to give support. Who knows our country will be next? I just feel that we need to be more visible and heard in them media much more frequently.

John,

Top of the morning to you! Thank you for your vlog response. It is nice to see a smiling face in the morning! I always enjoy your vlogs as well! You are right that the media molded people's choice of viewing stories that are considered wacky or absurd. As far as deaf educational issue go, people may think it is for the professionals to take care of it. Perhaps that's the reason but it would be interesting to analyze why there is a low number of interest to engage in such related topics.

Jay! What a way for you to say about the beach concept.

We continue to experiment a variety of video web engines that may be more suited to our needs. I know how much time it consumes when processing but I find that it gives me a break to give attention to other stuff for a while then go back to the computer. Presto, it's done!

Remmy, patience is a virtue!

For all what is worth, keep on vlogging everybody!!

Toby Welch said...

Hi Barb,

I agree with you and Jay's vlog. Your vlog/blog about Bi-Bi education. I am with you. I am planning to teach Deaf students after I graduate with master's degree. The problem is there is not enough Deaf teachers to teach Deaf students in Bi-Bi education. Yes, you are right, we have to work harder and march to have all school to change education to Bi-Bi education. Some hearing people wouldn't accept because they don't know about it.

Thank you for bringing up.

BEG said...

Yes, yes, yes, and yes!

I couldn't agree more.

There are, I think, many avenues and methods to pursue -- none of us can do all of them, but all of us can do some of them -- in furthering these goals.

As you say, we need to raise general awareness of this issue on a national level. A march might be good or perhaps several simultaneous marches.

Identifying state level and federal level politicians and administrators involved with education (and ADA/IDEA type things) and writing letters.

Creating and supporting regional groups aimed at disseminating information. I'm thinking along the lines of the Hands & Voices model, although not as neutral (since we're advocating bi-bi). The key here is to reach hearing parents of deaf children.

Supporting existing high quality schools for deaf children. We need to identify these schools, especially in the elementary grade levels and support them, and figure out how to migrate their success out to other schools. These schools can also provide examples of success to refer to in letter writing.

Increasing the amount of information online (as we are doing simply by blogging here) I believe also helps. I've written a fair amount about being an isolated mainstreamed deaf child and have had several hearing parents contact me with questions. As you note, personal stories, "bearing witness," are very popular and these can be constructed to pass along information. In my case, here is a deaf adult, who is basically functional in the hearing world, STILL telling them HEY -- I should have been taught in ASL and that choice was wrongly taken from me! Makes 'em think.

Your vlog on teaching your children to read with ASL -- I think we need to produce more examples of this. I'm thinking in terms of making resources available to families who may WANT to use the bi-bi approach but who cannot for lack of resources (no such school in their area, or active hostility towards it, etc) and so need to try to apply it at home (or rather, with other deaf adults in the area, to help with the fluency angle).

Much of this various kind of activity could be collected and made available online through a community CMS setup. Drupal I think would work very well here. That would allow for forums, for individual contributions (or "columns") and organized articles on all the different subjects, available lists of people and organizations and so on. It could host multiple blogs (each of which register with deafread.com as well! :-)

The list goes on and on, doesn't it!

BEG said...

Argh, I do this all the time, don't I (posting again)? Another component I consider extremely necessary is deaf teaching deaf, which means more of us in the educational field. So also, identifying and listing all kinds of institutional programs that do NOT treat deafness as a "communication disorder" (damn, that makes my blood boil every time I see that) but have a comprehensive and balanced program. Advocating for the identification and hiring of qualified deaf teachers in our schools, and so on. This in of itself is a huge project, but would be so worthwhile. I would have given anything to have had a deaf teacher when in school. OK, so maybe other kids weren't deaf, but if there's no deaf adults around, how do I know what kind of deaf adult I will grow up into? Extremely important, I think...

Jean Boutcher said...

Is it possible for a new generation like you, Jay Kreiger, Candace McCullough, Sharon
Duchesneau, and other interested parties who have deaf children to
set up something like a brainstorm conference? Hope you will consider.

IamMine said...

I couldn't contribute to this blog because others have written well!

But I wanted to write and say what a great idea Jean Boutcher has - perhaps you all could do this together in one vlog, somehow.

Something can be worked out...

Michele said...

If we were to use Bi-Bi approach in schools, deaf kids go home, they cannot communicate with their hearing parents. This is a big barrier that many hearing parents have a desire to communicate with their deaf child. So they probably prefer a method where the deaf child can talk, parents think that they can finally communicate with their child. Also ASL classes cost money and takes time. If ASL classes were free, would hearing parents take it? Also it would be great if someone could come up with a crash course in ASL where hearing parents can learn ASL in 6 weeks, something like that to make it very attractive and easy and of course free to hearing parents. Is that possible???

Barb DiGi said...

Hi Toby! I am happy to know that you are gonna pursue your master's! We always need more deaf teachers! Know what? When I enrolled in Gallaudet back in '84, I was told by a deaf guidiance counselor that I should reconsider my major since the job market for deaf teachers was limited due to dwindling population at schools for the deaf. So I changed my major to social work and graduated with a bachelor's. It was not in my heart to pursue a career in social work since I realized that advice I got was not true. So always believe in your heart what you want to do and it goes the same for everyone else considering pursuing deaf education. We always scream for ASL fluent teachers who also have a good understanding how English works by using ASL as an instructional tool.

BEG!!! May I beg you to be a part of this progress or movement (whatever it is)? I can see how intelligent you are as I read your blogs since I started to participate and admired how you express your thoughts. We are together in this and I do believe we are going somewhere because I ain't gonna let us just do the talking. I think we are going through a period of awakening for us to throw in our concerns. Solutions should be on the road to get to this point making a difference. Actually you are already making a difference to parents of deaf children who seek for advice. Way to go! I amnot sure what is a Drupal? Perhaps you can help me out by elaborating how it works. Thanks!

Jean! Since we have established our network contact, anything is possible. I will definitely consider it!

IamMine: Yes, it is possible to do it but it requires time, committment and passion. It will be a challenge but I can try to see what it will lead to.

Michele: I went through the same argument before and now I came up with ideas how to confront these issues. All ASL classes should be offered for FREE at all schools for the deaf including mainstreaming schools. At where I go to work at a school, ASL classes are offered for free and yes parents attend to these classes. As for crash course, it won't be possible to learn ASL less than 6 weeks but it may be possible to learn "survival related signs". I have seen some parents picking it up rapidly and some not at all. It all depends on their determination and level of involvement.

Early intervention education is very critical that we need to work closely with doctors on making referrals to deaf professionals as an early intervention consultants.

Also, we have shared reading program where deaf fluent signers go to parents' homes to sign stories to their children and for parents to learn.

Anything is possible as long as we work together to set up a system for all deaf children's needs to be met. It is not an easy task but somebody gotta do it.

BEG said...

Oh, sorry...I was being a geek. Drupal is a popular free program that is a Content Management System (CMS). It makes it very easy for a team of people to put together a site that has a variety of information such as articles, media (video clips, etc). It also allows forums (online discussions) and blogs and so on. Kind of like WordPress or Blogger on steriods.

If you go to this page:
http://drupal.org/cases
I'm thinking in terms of it being a resource directory.

The nice thing about it is that it makes it very easy for a community of people to maintain the site, add material to it and so on, without having to be a computer whiz (again, like wordpress or blogger). It also allows for lots of interaction via the forums and/or blogs with comments.

The link I gave to you gives lots of examples to sites that actually use drupal so you can see how configurable it is.

So my thought with this was to create a central ASL Bi-Bi resource website, a place for us to put up articles, links, video clips and so on. For example, the free clips and instruction manuals for new parents? Could be made available by download from here. A Q&A forum for parents, another one for deaf educators, and so on. A couple of columns (blogs) by people with ongoing commentary: as an example, Barb could have a blog documenting how she teaches her own children, another member could blog about, say, her journey through the master's program in deaf education, a hearing parent could blog about the daily rewards and frustrations...and so on.

Now, I am personally enough of a computer whiz to help set this all up, from the underlying webhosting and so on, to installation and maintenance of the drupal program itself. I'd be more than happy to volunteer my time on the technical side of things.

It's not actually too expensive to purchase and set up a website for this purpose. For example (and I'd recommend them, actually; I've used them before) check out www.dreamhost.com -- if you prepay about a years worth, it's an extremely affordable option, particularly if you can get any fundraising going.