Treating Drug Abuse in the Deaf Community

By Supporter Contributor Emily Syane

This is a chart showing trends in arrests for ...

This is a chart showing trends in arrests for drug abuse violations divided by age groups from 1970-2003. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While the media and social networks teem with inspirational stories about deaf individuals and the deaf community, few people outside the community know about its dark side. One such topic few people discuss it drug abuse. Deaf and hard of hearing people are at higher risk for drug and alcohol abuse, especially the youth. Isolation, unemployment, and communication problems – these are just some of the reasons deaf people get into drugs. Some may try drugs “to fit in” and soon find themselves addicted. Many family members ignore problems. They may think they can simply wipe away drug problems, using a magic toxin wash to wipe the slate clean. Rehab is the only answer, but few facilities can cope with deaf patients.

What are they or family members to do? Regular rehab programs and treatments may not work. Although many of these programs have been around for decades and have been proven effective, few are geared toward deaf drug addicts and some are even counterintuitive. Most treatments require group therapy sessions, which not all deaf people can join. Some facilitates May not have an ASL translator around all the time and sometimes, there are some issues people with regular hearing will not understand. They may miss out on many of the interactions in facilities and might not be able to express themselves fully.

Image courtesy: Dailymail.co.uk

Image courtesy: Dailymail.co.uk

What would be an ideal scenario? The Minnesota Chemical Dependency Program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals (MCDPDHHI) is a good example. This facility has a special program that meets the needs of HHI and deaf people and helps them get the treatment they need. The facility has three phases in treatment:

Phase 1: Assessment

Like any type of treatment facility, the patient must first go through an evaluation. Their medical histories and backgrounds are reviewed, but also the patients’ drug abuse history, social history, and of course, a communication assessment.

Treatment Art Card.

Treatment Art Card. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Phase 2: Primary Treatment

The second phase consists of many standard items found in regular rehab facilities. The center uses the 12 Steps and teaches this to their patients, with modifications to fit the needs of their patients. The family is also involved in the treatment and is invited to join some sessions. Many drug issues are related to family issues so this phase is important. Behavioral contracts are also a part of this process. Patients are given guidelines on how they should behave and how they can help make the treatment progress better.

Phase 3: After Care and Extended Care

As with any treatment program, the real work comes when the patient has to go back out into the real world. The patient now has to go back out and try to be on their own and stop themselves from going off the wagon. The center will arrange for patients to join 12 Step meetings, go to relapse prevention classes, and have a therapist fluent in ASL to help them. For those who need assistance, the center may also help them find a halfway house or perhaps vocational assistance so they can slowly integrate back into society.

Places like the Minnesota Chemical Dependency Program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals are few and far between. Not many people understand and give priority to deaf and hard of hearing individuals, which is why more education, and less prosecution, is needed when dealing with people who abuse drugs.

Emily Syane is a health blogger and customer service representative for YourCleanDrugScreen; she loves to write a blog about life, career, and anything about new research. She is doing a job as secretarial assistance at body Detoxification Company www.synergydetox.com
Get in touch with Twitter & YouTube

 

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Conversation at the Supermarket

By Joanne Greenberg

I was standing near the onions trying to figure out which kind I wanted, when I spotted a neighbor who greeted me. During our chat, she mentioned that her husband had new hearing aids. “They cost a mint, but he never wears them. I’m exhausted by his saying. ‘What?’ all the time and having to repeat myself 3 or 4 times before he gets what I’m asking him, and I’m almost howling. All our incidental conversation has been lost, the little back-and-forth that’s half the fun of being with someone.”

I nodded. “Same here,” I said. I was aware of movement behind me. I turned and there were 4 women, all nodding, and then they all broke out with similar stories about hearing loss and the fact that the person isolated by it isn’t the only one suffering.

Joanne Greenberg was born in 1932, in Brooklyn, NY. She was educated at American University and received and honorary Doctorate from Gallaudet University – the world’s only college for the Deaf. She has written 2 books on the subject and has spent decades working with state mental hospitals for appropriate care for the mentally ill Deaf.

I Meet McCay Vernon

By Joanne Greenberg

About 40 years ago, a man called me up on the telephone. “I read your book, In This Sign, and I think you would be the one to work on a film I have in mind.”

I was annoyed. “I’ve never written a script,” I said.

He went on. “I have a grant to make a film about the effect of deafness on the families of deaf children.”

That was easy. Who was this clown? “I’m not interested in children,” I said. “My interest is in deaf adults. If I were to write the script for such a film, I’d have to know about the effect they have on families.”

“What if I got 20 or 30 sets of parents of deaf children to meet with you and talk about their experiences so that you would learn about them?”

“Sure,” I said, knowing it would never happen.

The next week he called again. “I have a a group of 30 set up in Denver, but you need to tell me when you will be free.”

I told him, scarcely believing what he said.

“I’ll be there to introduce you, ” he said, “so that we can tell them of the plan.”

I picked up McCay Vernon at his hotel and we started out, getting hugely lost in the wilds of downtown Denver, ending up at a Safeway Truck depot. He was patience personified. We got to the meeting late, but not too late.

The meeting was a revelation to me. We made the film. At first, I realized that the ordinary speech couldn’t be used, even though I had 3 hours of tapes to listen to. I made a script using bis of this and that and summarizing what I had heard. Our EXT problem was that using the parents themselves resulted in an artificial and stilted feeling and McCay finally went to a local (Westminster, Maryland) drama group. The film won a prize and I had a 40 year friendship with one of the most gifted, genuine, human people I would ever meet.

One of his gifts was, that he could sense what you were best at, and that would be the task he’d assign you. Most people – when putting together a project – will pick any warm body for a given task, but McCay had an almost 6th sense for assigning people the work at which they were best suited.

We did many projects together. I miss him deeply.

Joanne Greenberg was born in 1932, in Brooklyn, NY. She was educated at American University and received and honorary Doctorate from Gallaudet University – the world’s only college for the Deaf. She has written 2 books on the subject and has spent decades working with state mental hospitals for appropriate care for the mentally ill Deaf.

ASL Kids do Wizard of Oz

By BitcoDavid

Have a half an hour to kill, and wanna have some great fun? You’ll love this ASL version of the Wizard of Oz, performed by Eyes Alive! they are an elementary school performing arts group at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. The kids are just great, and it’s good practice receiving Sign. Enjoy.

In order to help me improve my skills at receiving (reading) other people’s Sign, I watch a lot of ASL videos on YouTube. I stumbled upon this, and loved it so much, I decided to post it. These kids are amazingly talented, for Grade school, and the Sign is exceedingly watchable. The video has an interpreted audio track, and subtitles. So everybody can enjoy it.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

A Brief Discussion on C.I. Debate with Jean F. Andrews

By BitcoDavid

There appears to be an ongoing debate on the value of Cochlear Implant technology within the Deaf community. Many people see these devices as a threat to ASL. Others believe its an attempt by the medical community and other hearing people to fix what isn’t broken. Still others feel that C.I.s can enhance the living experience of Deaf people with no detriment to either their Signing ability or their community.

Many doctors refuse to implant Deaf children who are not already oral. They believe that the child will continue to Sign, and that the opportunity to learn oral language will be squandered. Often parents of Deaf children are told that once the child is implanted, the family must stop using Sign altogether, hoping that immersion will force the child into speech.

Also raised, is the question of filtering. We learn to hear. We learn to differentiate between say, the person we’re talking to – in a crowded restaurant – and the ambient noise from the 400 voices surrounding us. Your brain does this automatically, but only because you grew up, training it to do so. Sign provides a natural filtering. You are looking at the person you’re Signing to, and she is looking at you. It could be quite a shock to take someone who has lived their whole life in silence, and to suddenly throw them into the deep end of the audio pool.

Some people also question the efficacy of taking a Signing child out of her Deaf school, where she has friends and is socially accepted, and placing her in a mainstream school – while she’s wearing this linkage on her head. Bullying of the Deaf and HoH is a real problem, and one which we – in the Hearing community – must address. But it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to put an end to bullying before any more children suffer from it. Many people feel that CIs can place their children in a position of being unnecessarily bullied.

In response to a piece entitled, How To Learn About Deaf Culture? Read Tom Holcomb’s Introduction to American Deaf Culture, by Jean F. Andrews, I posted the following:

I find the Cochlear Implant debate to be a fascinating one. On one hand, proud Deaf people feel that this is a feeble attempt at curing deafness – fixing that which isn’t broken. On the other, the world is definitely biased in favor of the Hearing, and CIs could provide Deaf children with an added weapon to carry into the battlefield of life.

In Rachel Coleman’s video – which we published here: http://deafinprison.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/this-video-will-rock-your-world/ – she states that although her child was raised signing, and was doing quite well, the child herself indicated a desire for the implant. This child was OK with being Deaf, but wanted the extra advantages afforded her by the implant.

Unlike many in this world, I have had my share of rough patches. I know full well, just how hard life can be – even if you’re firing on all eight. My attitude is, any asset we can provide to our children is one more asset they can exploit. I don’t think this technology will destroy Deaf culture – I think it will help it.

Here is Dr. Andrews’ reply:

Tom Holcomb presents one view of the Deaf community about CI. There is diversity in the Deaf community about the CI. About 10% of students and faculty at my institution who are Deaf wear the CI and consider it beneficial while still using ASL as their dominant language and considering themselves part of the Deaf community.

While CIs have resulted in some speech production gains for young deaf children, we are still not certain of the long term effects in terms of their language and literacy growth.
There is also little documentation of surgeons, audiologists and SLPs on the many deaf children who fail to benefit from CIs.

More often than not, ASL is not provided as an option by pediatricians, SLSs and pediatric audiologists and this is unfortunate. There is no evidence that ASL hurts a deaf child’s speech. In fact, the opposite is true. Signs help support the acquisition of speech because it provides the underlying concept for the child.

Dr. Laurene Simms at Gallaudet University is leading a national reform movement aimed for Early Child Educators and parents. She and her colleagues are developing curriculum for parents and Early Childhood Educators that present both languages–ASL and English as early as possible. It is called the bilingual/bimodal approach as many deaf CI children will use speech and signs with their hearing families but then switch to ASL with deaf peers and adults.

Both languages–ASL and English–should be presented to the deaf child as early as possible. And more research in Emergent Literacy is needed to document how deaf children develop both languages through the use of picture books, parent/shared reading and teacher/shared reading.

So, CIs are not detrimental in themselves. Short-term, they are a feel-good solution to hearing parents and professionals who are elated when the deaf child says “mama,” or “thank you,” or “hello” or “how are you?” ASL carries the child much further and quicker. ASL allows the young deaf child to go beyond social, superficial chit-chat and develop cognitively rich concepts, and thus learn to think, reason and communicate at an early age like their hearing peers, but using ASL.

What is detrimental to the long-term development of the deaf child is how CIs have been indiscriminately used with deaf children without signing support and the Deaf community’s input.

ASL is proving its value everyday, and in every walk of life. Deaf, Oral Deaf, CI patients, HoH and yes, even amongst the hearing. Many Hearing learn ASL to become Interpreters, teachers at Deaf institutions, or simply to communicate with Deaf family and friends. It has demonstrated a usefulness in environments where hearing is difficult, such as construction sites or sound stages. Above all, Hearing parents of Hearing infants are beginning more and more, to use Sign as a way to introduce their children to language and speech. Numerous studies now reveal that visual language is easier for pre-lingual children to assimilate.

Deaf people can make use of this stunning advance in medical technology – Cochlear Implants – without sacrificing any of the benefits of their community or of their language. Furthermore, a Deaf child who does gain oral proficiency, will attain all the cerebral advantages of being multilingual, long before her hearing peers.

There are 2 things that I feel need to be said. First, this is implant technology. So, yes, doctors are putting cybernetic devices inside your body. That troubles a lot of people. Mankind isn’t as smart as we like to believe we are, and the thought of installing tiny machines inside our fellow Human beings can be pretty scary. Secondly, this technique replaces a damaged or non-functional ear-nerve connection. Deafness due to brain damage may not be corrected by CI technology.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

July 2013 at DeafInPrison.com

By BitcoDavid

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

How To Learn About Deaf Culture? Read Tom Holcomb’s Introduction to American Deaf Culture

By Jean F. Andrews

Tom Holcomb, writer-scholar-teacher who is Deaf, captures the heart, mind and soul of the Deaf community in his book, Introduction to American Deaf Culture.

Respect me as a member of a cultural-linguistic group, don’t pity me as a member of a group of disabled individuals.

While sign languages are not universal as each country has its own indigenous sign language, Deaf people worldwide have universal shared experiences that few know about.  These include adopting similar solutions for effective living in a dominant hear-centric society, the use of a sign language, the congregation of like-minded deaf people, and the sharing of information.

Holcomb begins each chapter with a painting or drawing of a Deaf artist and ends with a poem written by a Deaf poet.  Readers will also learn about the vibrant culture of Deaf people, its history and heritage, sports, organizations and leisure activities, the politics in education, their feelings, aspirations and goals,  protective legislation and laws for Deaf rights, policies that have harmed deaf children such as the history of the exclusion of Deaf teachers and the keeping of ASL and how information about Deaf culture is routinely kept from parents with newly diagnosed deaf children.

The book has its uplifting parts. For instance, Holcomb inspirationally chronicles the journeys and accomplishments of diverse Deaf Americans as well as international Deaf people. Readers will also learn how technology has been a boon and bane. Videophones , text pagers, email, instant messaging, VRS, VRI, captioning, voice recognition technology and the like have provided access to communication but cochlear surgeries, auditory technology such as cochlear implants, hearing aids, and genetic engineering have sought to eradicate the Deaf culture as well as stimulate the economy by capitalizing on treatments for deafness for financial gain.   Parents and professionals interested in Deaf culture will benefit from this book.

Medical school students, doctors, audiologists and Au.D. candidates and other professionals who unknowingly impose “contrived solutions” on Deaf people rather than involving Deaf adults in decisions affecting young deaf children may find this book refreshing and enlightening.

The book is available through Amazon.com by going here.

Jean F. Andrews is a Reading Specialist and Professor of Deaf Studies/Deaf Education at Lamar University.

The Shoe on Another Foot, and a Hat-tip to Dave Chappelle

By BitcoDavid

I recently went to a Barnes and Noble, seeking ASL books, to help bolster my study of Sign. I walked into what is easily my favorite big box store, and approached the information desk. “Can I help you?” asked the woman in the kiosk.

“Yes,” I responded. “Do you have an ASL section?”

“ASL?” she looked at me quizzically. Realizing that in our modern alphabet soup world, ASL could mean anything from Anti-Soviet Literature to Arctic Singing Leopards, I answered with, “American Sign Language.”

Oh!” Her voice increased by about 6 dB, and she began pointing exaggeratedly. “Go up those stairs. Those stairs right there. Go up those stairs…

“I can hear you, you know?”

The poor woman blushed, crimson, and began tripping over herself, attempting an apology.

English: ASL phoneme of the word "WHAT'S ...

ASL phoneme of the word “WHAT’S UP / WHAT’S NEW” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I realized, from this experience, how possible it would have been for me, as little as about a year ago, to create this same social faux pas. I don’t think this woman bore any malice towards the Deaf. I merely think she – like most Hearies – had no idea how to interact with Deaf people, or any understanding of why a non-Deaf individual would be interested in learning Sign.

But – and this is what is even more surprising – I found myself feeling complimented by her mistake. Instead of being angry with her, for mistaking me for Deaf – I was actually quite pleased with myself. What’s that tell ya?

I’m reminded of the skit by Dave Chappelle, regarding a blind Black man, raised as White, who becomes a leader of the White Supremacist movement. At one point in this absolutely hilarious bit, this blind racist is in a car, waiting at a light. Some young White kids pull up next to him, with Rap music blaring from their car stereo. Chappelle’s character starts railing and cussing at them, telling them to turn off that “damn race music.” The light turns green, and Chappelle’s car takes off, leaving the car with the kids, still sitting there. One kid turns to the other and says, “Did he just call us niggers? Awesome!”

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

This Video Will Rock Your World

By BitcoDavid

Jeffrey Swartz posted a link to his latest blog story on the ASL Learner’s group. He makes numerous valid points on his own, but at the bottom of the post he embedded this video. After watching it, I knew I had to post it as well. This video is utterly amazing, and it will change your whole perspective on Sign, Deafness and even Cochlear Implant technology. It is a long video – just over an hour, but once you start watching, you won’t be able to stop. Rachel Coleman is an amazing woman, and her story is both moving and inspiring. Trust me, if you don’t absolutely love this video, I’ll… well, you’ll just love it.

Also worth noting, the video has flawless embedded captioning. You will not need to turn on the YouTube automated captioning thing, which is known for its 30% accuracy.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Dumbing Down Deaf Education

By Jean F. Andrews

Bush signing "No Child Left Standing" Law Image Credit: Weld for Birmingham

Bush signing “No Child Left Standing” Law
Image Credit: Weld for Birmingham

Following the NCLB mandates for achievement testing, linking teacher salaries to student test scores, the National reading Panel, the Common Core Standards and other expert panels–what is next to further dumb down deaf education?

Where are graphic arts? Painting and sculpture? Reader’s theater? The dramatic arts including dancing? What about ASL literature, ASL poetry and ASL storytelling? Quality English children’s literature translated to ASL? Deaf history? Math, science and social studies curriculum that is accessible in two languages—ASL and English?

Instant Mannequin by ADNA

Instant Mannequin by ADNA

Today, we are narrowly focusing our vision in deaf education to fit a non-existent cardboard deaf child who has a high-test score on a standardized test primarily in English. Our tax dollars pour into institutions that continue to deprive and delay deaf children’s early acquisition of both ASL and English. Public education for deaf children is fragmented. Our deaf children are Deaf culturally illiterate. Instead of capitalizing on deaf children’s visual learning strengths we sabotage their success by focusing on what they can’t do—hear like hearing children.

We also obstruct our own desires as teachers for success in the classroom by providing deaf children with a curriculum that does not teach, motivate or provide enjoyment of learning, but instead focuses on teaching to a state test. We fail to motivate children by our knee-jerk response to every “expert panel” and law that comes down the pike. Such misguided educational efforts are “shooting ourselves in the foot.” They simply don’t work. Blaming the “deafness” is an easy answer instead of looking critically at our educational institutions stale with convention and lacking in innovation.

Image Credit: Author Joyce Oroz

Image Credit: Author Joyce Oroz

Seldom, do we ask the critical questions–are these laws and panel recommendations necessary to teaching deaf children how to think, to express themselves in ASL and English, to feel at home in “Deaf” and hearing worlds? Do they motivate deaf children to want to enjoy life long independent learning? Do they motivate deaf students to go back into the Deaf community as leaders to solve the English literacy and other educational challenges that hearing professionals have been unable to solve?

While we are skilled in obtaining grant monies from the government for projects, many project managers fail to include culturally Deaf researchers who may very well assist in solving these challenges of underachievement and illiteracy.

Priorities in deaf education need shifting to include both languages–ASL and English– from early childhood to postsecondary and professional training.  Indeed, we need earlier and continuous bilingual and bicultural education to provide full access to both the languages and cultures across all levels of schooling.

We need to include more culturally Deaf researchers are part of our research teams. To not to include Deaf professionals at all levels of research and training is negligent. Inclusive strategies as these may very well stop the rising tides of the dumbing down of deaf education.

[Editor's Note: We thank Jean for this excellent post. Another area in which we are involved, and one which you can help, is the #Keep ASL in Schools campaign. A video is currently in production, and I have been chosen to handle the editing chores. Click on the link to learn more, and to join the campaign. -- BitcoDavid]

Jean F. Andrews is a Reading Specialist and Professor of Deaf Studies/Deaf Education at Lamar University.

Casualties of our Educational System: The Illiterate Deaf Inmate

By Jean F. Andrews

Teaching a deaf child how to read and write is an area that has perplexed befuddled and flummoxed deaf educators for hundreds of years. Why is reading so difficult to teach? What is it about the alphabetic code of English traps deaf children, youth and adults into lives of illiteracy? Is hearing really necessary to learn to read?

Interestingly, deaf children of deaf parents learn to read more easily than most deaf children of hearing parents. This is because deaf children with deaf parents learn sign language early and upon this language base they can build English language skills in reading and writing. By logical extension, it would seem that deaf children would only need to be taught sign, then base English on that sign. But this does not always happen so smoothly. This is because most deaf children are learning both sign and English at the same time and this slows their development.

Another aspect of learning to read and write revolves around classroom instruction. In preschool and kindergarten classes there is a lot of  matching activities where children match letters to sounds, words to pictures, signs to words, rather than having children read storybooks and texts. Now there is nothing wrong with these matching games as children often enjoy them.  But the focus of quality reading instruction should focus around shared book reading–both provided by the teaching in translations of stories into sign, and by independent book reading by the child on their own. But how can a deaf child read a book if he or she does not have the vocabulary?  That is the Catch-22. Indeed, many deaf children do not have the vocabulary to independently read storybooks on their own. However, there are picture books with simple words and simple phrases that teachers and parents can use develop in children a love and enjoyment of holding a book, or an e-book, and reading a story.

There are numerous reading paradigms that reading researchers bring to the table, in the journals and at conferences. For instance, do deaf children use phonology or do deaf children bypass phonology and go directly to print? Do signing deaf children use a special kind of visual phonology, using the repetition and rhythmic features of ASL and fingerspelling? Neuroscientist Laura-Ann Petitto thinks so. Petitto and her work with other cognitive scientists, linguists and psycholinguists, bilingual researchers, literacy researchers and neuroscientists at the Visual Language Learning Lab ( VL2 lab) at Gallaudet are producing research findings that may send reading instruction into new exciting directions.

Today, while researchers in deaf education are seemingly oceans apart, in their views about reading acquisition and development, they are in the same boat. Deaf educators do have common ground. Their common ground is that they agree of the harsh penalties and social injustices we impose on the Deaf community when we do not teach young deaf children how to sign, read, write, think and reason. And one only has to visit a deaf inmate in a state prison or city jail to meet these casualties of our educational system, whom we failed to teach how to read.

Jean F. Andrews is a Reading Specialist and Professor of Deaf Studies/Deaf Education at Lamar University.

“Kissface” the Horse

By BitcoDavid

Years ago, I lived in Boston‘s West Fens – a corner of the ghetto area, Roxbury. In those days, Boston police had one of the few mounted police divisions. These cops loved their horses, and saw the posting as a position of honor and dignity. The cops would be assigned to different beats throughout the city, and would become intrinsic parts of their neighborhoods. Our particular horse-cop was a Black woman of about 40, and her horse was a brown and white Appaloosa.  Every morning like clockwork, a certain elderly woman from the community would apply her fire engine- red lipstick, and kiss the horse in the middle of the white patch on his face. After a while, the lipstick began to stain the horse’s fur, and he developed a tattoo of red lips – right smack on his kisser (sorry, couldn’t resist). We nicknamed him, “Kissface.”

Kissface and his mounted partner did more to prevent crime than we’ll ever know. This cop knew everybody in the neighborhood, and usually referred to us by our first names. She’d break up fights, get brown baggers to find some shelter for their imbibing, help abused spouses to find protection – and above all – counsel us. Sitting atop Kissface, this woman would gently remind you that what you were doing was illegal, and it would probably be a good idea for you to knock it off. In all the years I lived there, I saw her intervene in hundreds of situations, but I don’t think I ever saw her make an arrest.  She relied on the peer pressure only a neighborhood is capable of – and an understanding of the inherent decency buried within all people.

But those days are gone.

And something has changed in the makeup of police. Marsha Graham of AnotherBoomerBlog reports today, on 2 separate cases of police, beating Deaf offenders during traffic stops. In Settlement reached in police abuse of deaf motorist and in Hard of Hearing, Mentally Impaired Woman allegedly Battered by Police Officer, Ms. Graham restates the need for training of police in dealing with the Deaf and HoH, and for interpreters to be present at arrests and other police interactions with the Deaf community. I couldn’t agree more with this essential point, but I think the problem goes much deeper.

While it’s easy for cops to say they don’t know how to deal with the Deaf, and that training would help prevent these tragedies from occurring, I find that to be an overused and overly convenient excuse for simple bullying and bad behavior. I’m not a cop, but you can’t tell me that the woman above did anything to warrant the kind of beating she endured. We’re all capable of telling when we’re dealing with someone who’s confused or at a mental disadvantage – Deaf or not. And truthfully, it wouldn’t have mattered if she was a Rhodes scholar with perfect hearing and 20/20 vision. It wouldn’t even matter if she were Bonnie Parker. There is absolutely no excuse for beating someone like this. I don’t care how tough your job is. If you can justify this kind of behavior – then it’s time to switch careers.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Amazing ASL Video Informs About Domestic Abuse

By BitcoDavid

This video, originally posted to YouTube by DeafHope, was featured on Bellamie Harvard’s The Broken Phoenix Blog.

Not only is the message powerful and enlightening – but the Sign is beautiful. Maybe someday, I’ll be able to sign this well.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Stop Hearing Loss Bullying Video Now Online

By BitcoDavid

I was chatting over a plate of Edamame, with my good friend Quentin Tarantino  the other day, when he said, “BitcoDavid – dude! You did such a great job on Shanna Groves’ Stop Hearing Loss Bullying campaign video, I’m totally jealous of your immense talent.”

Well, all kidding aside – I’m deeply grateful to Shanna for allowing me the opportunity to work on such an important project with her. Shanna has agreed to do a couple of Supporter Contributions for us. She’s an awesome writer with a great deal of experience and insight. I’ll be getting that ball rolling in another day or so.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Broken Sign: Important Announcement from BitcoDavid

By BitcoDavid

I must admit, I learned this the same way a Japanese rock singer learns an American song. Nonetheless, I’m pretty proud of myself.

If you would be interested in doing this, use the contact form below. Please hurry, the window of opportunity is closing fast. Shooting is scheduled for the 1st week in June.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

The Half Message

By Joanne Greenberg

Many people who have been through strongly negative experiences will declare afterwards, that their sufferings gave meaning and richness to their lives. I’ve never heard these emotions expressed by people who have been in prison. Incarceration is an experience its designers made for the purpose of changing lives. Each country’s prison system mirrors its society’s values. We prize liberty – liberty is denied. We prize individuality – prisoners are given numbers for their names, dressed alike and regimented. What stops the prison experience from bringing meaning and thus growth to the experience is the huge inconsistency of the system, which was once planned to be strict but fair, and has ended up being capricious and undependable hour to hour. What is OK on Monday is forbidden on Tuesday. Where there is randomness, meaning shrinks and dies and so does learning. Lab animals are driven mad by random rewards and punishments; people fare hardly better.

I could imagine Deaf people doing well in a structured, consistent and fair situation. They follow a lifetime of watching the body language of the Hearing, which may be inconsistent with what the hearing person is saying. Unfortunately, the randomness of prison life has militated against guards or prisoners expressing outward emotion at all. Deaf people can read displeasure, fear or rage by closely watching the pupillary reaction of a subject, with this beyond conscious control. Staring however, which is what such monitoring takes, is liable to land the starer in the infirmary, or worse. In addition, body language can tell what – anger, fear, etc. but not why. The half-message  is often worse than none.

Joanne Greenberg was born in 1932, in Brooklyn, NY. She was educated at American University and received and honorary Doctorate from Gallaudet University – the world’s only college for the Deaf. She has written 2 books on the subject and has spent decades working with state mental hospitals for appropriate care for the mentally ill Deaf.

Them Hearies; Who Can Figure ‘Em?

By BitcoDavid

Marsha Graham raised an interesting point, this morning. In a post on her site, she asked why Hearies often leave the TV blaring in the background, while attempting an important business call. I responded as best I could with a comment. The above links will take you to her original post, and my comment. I suggest you check them both out. The whole exchange got me thinking about communication in general, and some of the more glaring social differences between the hearing and the HoH and Deaf communities.

For example, we don’t consider it rude to talk over one another. At a group get together, say a party, we will commonly carry on conversations while others are talking around us. Our brains have learned to filter out the extraneous noise of other people talking. But I’m beginning to realize that for some HoH, that is very difficult and uncomfortable. We also carry on multiple conversations, simply interrupting one another to say hi to a passerby or when speaking in a group. Signing requires the two individuals to be more or less locked in to one another. You need to be looking at one another, and maintaining that level of concentration.

Computers are well aware that simply because I say something, you may not have heard it – or may not have understood my meaning. When you log on to a Web site, the machines engage in a process called handshaking. A computer would never be so ignorant or arrogant as to simply assume the other computer understood the information exactly as it was being sent. I find the Deaf to be much similar in their communications. One needs to establish a visual contact, and then proceed with the conversation – and both can tell when either is not being understood.

We Hearies on the other hand, commonly will speak to the crowd, or toss a sentence fragment over our shoulders, and expect the intended listener to hear and understand. We speak to the backs of each other’s heads. Our world would probably function much more smoothly, if we also did handshaking. “This is what I just said, did you understand?” “Yes, I understood. Go on”

But what I’m finding most interesting is that much of what we do, we are unaware of doing. I hadn’t thought about the TV thing, until Marsha brought it up, but I do it all the

time. I also talk to myself when working. I never realized it until last night. One has to remember to take one’s hat off when signing, because many signs involve touching parts of your head or face. One has to be careful not to cut between two signers. We’ve learned to stop when we see someone taking a picture, so as not to ruin the shot, but we often will walk between two people signing.

At one point, I worked with a sightless individual. He was one of the soundmen at Woodstock. A very capable engineer, and a very dear friend. He was so capable, in fact, that I would often forget that he was born blind. He could see with his hands, almost as well as any sighted person can see with their eyes. In one exchange, I asked him to hand me a certain tool, explaining that it was in the blue toolbox. He simply said, “blue? Moron?” We take so much for granted.

 

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

H.E.A.R.D. Public Meeting Event Next Week

By BitcoDavid

http://www.behearddc.org/

Logo image Courtesy of HEARD

Interns will present on their projects involving deaf possibly wrongfully convicted individuals, deaf prisoners & about lobbying the FCC for telecommunication access equality.

Guest organizations: Council for Court Excellence & the Corrections Information Council

We will be in the Library–>LCB112

There are shuttles to/from NoMa and Union Station Metros to Gallaudet University Campus: http://www.gallaudet.edu/Transportation/Shuttle_Bus_Services/Continuous_Shuttle_Schedule.html

Here’s the link to their FaceBook Event page, and this event will also be listed on our Events Page.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Event! DeafNation Expo at Gallaudet University

By BitcoDavid

DeafNation will be having their expo at Gallaudet University on Saturday, April 20th. Admission is free, and you can register here.

Saturday, April 20, 2013
Gallaudet University – Field House
800 Florida, Ave, NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
HOURS: 9:00AM-5:00PM

View this event in our Events Page.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

LipreadingMom’s Hearing loss bullying Campaign

By BitcoDavid

Shanna Groves is working on a new campaign to bring awareness to the subject of bullying of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. LipreadingMom is one of our favorite sites, and she’s been a wonderful asset for us. We are honored and happy to help out with this campaign in whatever way we can.

As a person with hearing loss, I have seen bullying first hand. I’ve been called ‘stupid,’ ‘mule-headed,’ and have been nicknamed ‘La-La-Land Shanna.’ I simply want to be known as Shanna. Help the more than 48 million people in the United States and worldwide with hearing loss and deafness by bringing awareness to the need to stop this kind of harassment and bullying. People who are deaf or hard of hearing need acceptance, not rejection, to thrive in school and the workplace. Repeat this: “Hearing loss and deafness bullying ends…with ME.” Learn more about my story at LipreadingMom.com.

Here’s the link.

https://www.change.org/petitions/hearing-loss-bullying-in-schools-and-the-workplace-stop-the-bullying-of-students-and-employees-with-hearing-loss

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.
 

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