Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Part II: My Deaf Mom, the Cop and the Law

Click on Part I before viewing this if you haven't seen it. Barb DiGi shares the result in the courtroom that her Deaf Mom was ticketed by a cop who refused to find a way to communicate with her. So did the treatment at Las Vegas Clark County get any better? See it for yourself!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Guess Who Showed Up in My Bedroom?

Barb DiGi encountered an unexpected visitor in her bedroom. Quicktime Brianna's response: video

Is ASL fading? It all depends on YOU!


A vlogger, Seek Geo, originally raised the question if ASL were fading since he noticed that more people who wear hearing aids don't know signs today as compared to those who know more in the past. I have a theory to why this is happening.

People with mild-to-moderate hearing loss may use hearing aids that they are capable to hear speech sounds (although it is not accessible 100 percentwise) which may explain why ASL is not even considered necessary for them. Too often, this has been misunderstood as determined by the school system or by those who have limited understanding about the role how ASL is crucial in enhancing cognitive (thinking) skills especially in Deaf babies.

Another possible reason why we see more people wearing hearing aids who don't know signs is that there is an increased number of late-deafened adults wearing hearing aids. It is becoming more acceptable to wear hearing aids in public than in the past that most of them are no longer embarrassed or humiliated to show it. Thanks to former Presidents Reagan and Clinton as models giving a message to the the society that it is okay to wear it, it is no longer considered a stigma as it used to be.

This part was edited out of the vlog:

According to the statistics from Deaf Health Task Force in 2004, it said that "approximately 1 in 10 Americans, or more than 28 million people, has some degree of hearing difficulty, and about 1 in 100 has a profound hearing loss." So we can conclude that there are more people who have mild hearing loss than those who have profoundly-severe hearing loss.

Nowhere in the Deaf Health Report said that there is a decline in ASL users.

Today, there is a growing popularity of ASL in American colleges and universities (Welles, 2004) even in high schools and some middle schools recognizing ASL as a foreign language.

This part was edited out of the vlog:

According to David Stewart and Jerome Schein, Language in Motion, (1995, pg. 148), it stated that, "Some of the laws have been supplemented by state and local acts that expand the right of deaf people to full participation in a community's affairs. For that reason it is safe to assert that the demand for sign language interpreters will increase greatly over the coming decade, as will the demand for sign language instructors. " There has been a 400% increase in establishing ASL programs in educational programs which is a bliss. This is evident that ASL programs are expanding for hearing people to learn and for ASL users to teach because the demand is higher than before. Thus, it contradicts with the assumption that ASL is fading.

We already know that the demand for ASL interpreters is on the rise than before and that we are now facing shortage of interpreters thanks to video relay services who recruit the best of best.

We already can see that the trend in schools for the Deaf is leaning toward bilingual education since oral method and Total Communication method are ineffective. ASL has been neglected in the past century in Deaf education but rediscovered when research shows that it has been helpful for students to improve better cognitive thinking skills and literacy skills when establishing ASL as L1 (first language since birth). There are more research departments sprouting across America providing more materials on ASL and how to bridge to English. If ASL is really fading then explain me why the demand for ASL interpreters and bilingual educational programs are on the rise?

Hence, it may be true that today, there are more and more CI/hearing aid users are brushed away from signs since mainstreaming enrollment has numbered for those who are isolated from other Deaf peers. The other cause has been due to the lack of educating to parents about the benefits of ASL . They have been misled to the concept that their Deaf child who has residual hearing will not need to know and use ASL. In addition to that, "hearing supremacists" (coined by Carl Schroeder?) who are resistant in exposing and encouraging ASL in school and home environments are part of the problem. Also AG Bell and AVT groups contributed greatly to this problem.

It is disturbing that they are denied ASL interpreters because they have been determined that they have the ability to "survive" throughout the mainstreamed school years since they are able to hear some, lipread some and speak quite well for a Deaf person. However this issue has been resolved by federal laws (P.L. 94-142, Rehabilition 503, IDEA) that Deaf students have a right to an interpreter. But there is a flaw.

Even when there are cases that "ASL interpreters" are provided in mainstreaming programs, it is most likely that they don't carry an educational interpreter certification and that it is not designated to provide fully ASL immersed environment. This is a major factor that prevents Deaf students develop proper ASL skills and that there are more mainstreamed solitaires that their opportunities to interact with ASL users have been diminished. We know that it has been typical that those who may not have a chance to be exposed to ASL or not properly been exposed to ASL while growing up. As they turned into adults, they may get to immerse in ASL environment mostly in colleges that have a critical mass of Deaf students. They still reported that they wished to use ASL when growing up thanks to the screwed up Deaf educational system and the manipulation by the hearing supremacists, AG Bell and AVT supporters.

George Veditz's famous quote: "As long as we have deaf people on earth, we will have signs...the noblest gift God has given to deaf people." That is so true that ASL will always be here to stay but we need to analyze further whether if the number among Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing people is declining due to varied reasons as explained earlier.

Now look (listen) here, if we continue to be apathetic and not fighting for Deaf babies and Deaf children's right to ASL just like DBC is doing, then it may be more likely that ASL will shrink for Deaf population. So it ALL depends on YOU allowing ASL to diminish in the next half century. Never mind the technology that "helps" them to hear since it doesn't come with guaranteed outcomes. ASL is 100 percent accessible and guaranteed for any Deaf child even with CI or digital hearing aids that they won't miss out any information ever. ASL helps them develop better self-esteem, leadership and social interaction skills but there are some idiots in this industry making wrong decisions to eliminate ASL in their lives.

(Note: The summary above may not include all of the information in the vlog due to excess amount of time)

Here is a list of vloggers' responses to this question:

Carl Schroeder's vlog

Tar's vlog

Steven Hardy's vlog

Correction: CAEBER stands for Center for ASL/English Bilingual Education and Research.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Who is responsible, the interpreter or the patient?

Barb DiGi describes her experience about clarifying how to communicate with the Deaf when a speaker uses an interpreter. Looking back, she is questioning about who should be responsible to explain the roles.