Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Before and After

Through different social media, I am getting back in touch with different friends from high school. I attended three high schools (Sugarland, TX., Valrico, FL., and Belleville, IL.) and in no school did I have an IEP or attend special classes for the deaf and hard of hearing. In fact, despite my deafness on my right side, I was in three different choirs my senior year and sang and participated in theatre throughout my entire high school experience. I don't think many of my friends even knew I was deaf on my right side and hard of hearing on my left.

So, when I find them on Facebook and they find out I'm now totally deaf and depend on American Sign Language to communicate, they're all pretty much surprised.

Isn't it interesting? The things you discover about people from your life whom you thought you knew? People tell me about their lives and what they're doing now. I can't help but be excited for them or sad if something has happened. But then I find out things about them that I guess they assumed I knew about and it gives me a whole different perspective on them and our friendship from long ago. People really are a puzzle, aren't they? I guess that's a good way to be, Keep people guessing.

As for me, I never really hide anything. If people are surprised about me, I can certainly understand why, but my life is an open book. Ask me anything. I've got nothing to hide. Well, maybe something, but I can't think of anything at the moment. Give me a minute....

Monday, October 6, 2014

Feds Loosen Rules For Deaf Truck Drivers

Hearing-impaired truck drivers should not be prohibited from operating commercial motor vehicles because of their disability, federal regulators said Tuesday.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced it will loosen longstanding English language requirements for truck drivers who are deaf as long as they can still understand traffic signs and signals.
"The English-language rule should not be construed to prohibit operation of a commercial motor vehicle by hearing-impaired drivers who can read and write in the English language but do not speak, for whatever reason," the FMCSA wrote in the Federal Register.
The requirements are intended to make sure truck drivers understand the rules of the road, but the FMSCA said some state agencies have misconstrued the rule by denying commercial drivers licenses to people with hearing impairments.
"Because some hearing-impaired drivers granted exemptions do not speak English, it has been asserted that they may not meet the requirements and may not be qualified to operate commercial motor vehicles," the agency noted.
After the National Association of the Deaf complained, the FMCSA said it will grant exemptions to hearing-impaired truck drivers who demonstrate that their disability will not affect road safety and does not put other drivers in danger.
The rule goes into effect immediately.