Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas To All!

There is a video on YouTube with a young child signing, "The Night Before Christmas," in American Sign Language (subtitled for the signing impaired). Take a look and then have yourself the best two weeks of holiday you can muster.

(Don't miss out on this!)

"Night Before Christmas in ASL" -- captioned for the signing impaired. Take a look. Just clip the video above or this link: So Sweet!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Merry Christmas to All!

A Deaf Joke For Your Reading Pleasure...

There was deaf neat-nik, who moved into a new house where it was a dusty mess. She got out the cleaners and garbage bags and went to work. When she got to the attic, she dusted off a lamp and a genie popped out said, "Oh, master, what may I grant thee?" The deaf woman signed, "Give me hearing." The genie blinked his eyes and the woman could hear.

"This is amazing!" the woman said. "You blinked your eyes and now I can hear!" The genie replied, "Yes, that's how it works. You have 2 wishes left. What else do you want?"

The then hearing neat-nik said, "Well, you can clean the house to get rid of all this dust." Another blink and it was done. "The 3rd wish," says the hearing woman, "I will hold onto for a while."

Then BOOM!!! BANG!!! Various noises were coming from everywhere! The woman ran downstairs and her kids were fighting and yelling. They saw her and start doing the usual sign and talk, only she could hear them and it drove her batty. She decided to tell her husband, but when she walked into the room, he was screaming and yelling at the TV. The radio was blaring, too, and his friends were all there hooting and hollering. “Oh, it’s just the game, Honey,” he signed.

The next day, she went to her job and she could hear the copier, the printer, the people, the traffic, and more. She went back home and the house was a mess. She freaked out and finally told them that they didn't appreciate her. "Just once," she said, "I wish I could have a quiet and clean house!!!" All of a sudden, she saw the genie, who blinked his eyes. Instantly, she was deaf again, back in her cleaning clothes in her attic. The genie said, "Seems to me that is the only way to grant your wish." The once again deaf neat-nik says, “THANK YOU!!!!!”

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fake Interpreter Discovered At Nelson Mandela's Memorial

As some of you have surely heard the ruckus about the fake sign language interpreter who interpreted at Nelson Mandela's memorial, above is a link to read more about it. 

It's a shame that these kind of things happen. This is terribly offensive to the Deaf population and swift measures should be taken to have this man barred from interpreting again. Apparently he made up his own signs and the Deaf viewers caught onto that and were furious. I, for one, was! What happens next is anyone's guess, but I hope this man is held accountable for his offensive and just plain stupid actions!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Being deaf or hard of hearing can be a challenge almost anywhere. However, traveling via airplane can up the ante even more. Sure, it seems easy enough—and to some it very well may be—but to many deaf/HOH travelers (especially the ones flying solo) the airport can seem most daunting.

As some of my readers already know, my husband, Kenny, works for TSA at the airport here in Grand Rapids, MI. He also signs rather well since he’s got to be able to communicate with me and I can ‘t lipread.  Well, for a while he started noticing that some of the people on their way in or out of the airport seemed rather confused. He decided to approach some of these people and speak and sign at the same time just to see if, maybe, those people were deaf/HOH. As it turned out, more often than not, they were and they were ecstatic to find a government employee who could help them out enormously.

The more this took place, the more often Kenny would be asked signs and etiquette questions by other TSA members. It seemed to be a real concern that most TSA workers wanted to help solve. So, what did Kenny do? Kenny created a program for workers to be able to learn signs and communicate and assist deaf/HOH travelers easier and more comfortably.

I caught up with him recently to interview him about such program (he works two jobs and naps…I never see the man…that’s why I “caught up.” Wink)

Q: Can you describe, in your own words, what exactly the program entails?
A: The program involves learning a little about Deaf Culture, such as how to get someone’s attention, points of contact, ABCs, and all basic phrases and vocabulary involved in TSA experience.

Q: And how do you think this program would help the TSA employees?
A: It allows security officers to interact with the deaf/HOH population more personally.

Q: How did you come about the decision to start this?
A: I got a lot of encouragement from my wife (SIDE NOTE: I did NOT pay him to say that). I had deaf travelers come through the airport and I was able to help, but only me. I was able to do it rather smoothly and that really impressed my team and they started asking me to please show them how to do that, too.

Q: Have you or others had any use of it so far?
A: Yes! I’ve had two officers who have had multiple experiences with deaf travelers and the deaf have told me how appreciative they are that people at the Grand Rapids airport can interact!

Q: Give me an example.
A: One time a deaf woman came through and the officer at the front knew she was deaf because she had a note pinned to her shirt: “I’m deaf. I need to go to such and such place on Delta.” The officer got my attention and, when I started to sign with her she was elated and the officer wanted to learn to be able to do that, too. In fact, there was another officer who didn’t remember all of the program, but started pointing and gesturing and writing down whatever was needed. He never forced her to lipread since she said she couldn’t.

Q: How do you know sign language?
A: My wife’s Deaf and she’s helped a lot.

Q: How long have you been signing?
A: Fifteen years.

Q: On a scale of 1- 10, how good are you?
A: I’d say I’m good. 7.

Q: Have you had any interest in the program outside of your specific airport?
A: Yes. I’ve had many people inside TSA contact me for information on Sign Language.

Q: Where? How did you respond?
A: In the West Michigan area I’ve taught people in Muskegon, Kalamazoo, and Manistee. But I’ve sent information to people in Colorado, Florida, Illinois, and Boston. I’ve always responded enthusiastically that I’m here and ready to help.

Q: What would you say to other TSA employees who want to learn your program?
A: The program is readily available and I’ve both a manual and a DVD instruction video that helps them understand the questions they need to ask (sign phrases) and how to interact appropriately to deaf/HOH travelers and to remember that everyone has different needs. Be open minded.

Well, I for one am most proud. Kenny’s book and DVD is wonderful and took a LOT of work. I just wish the program would start spreading over the US, helping all airports have this kind of support available. Pretty cool, eh?