Tag Archives: Sign language

My Stubborn Dilemma

International Symbol of Deafness / Hard of Hea...

International Symbol of Deafness / Hard of Hearing This symbol indicates individual(s) who is deaf, hard of hearing, or having some degrees of hearing loss. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hey guys! I know it has been forever since I’ve updated my blog, but the other day something happened and I felt like it was very appropriate to tell you about it!

Thursday, I undertook the task of “biting the bullet” (at least that’s how I felt) and asked for assistance from my university. I live by myself and I wanted to ask for assistance in getting an alert system for my apartment. I never like to ask for help and I get easily embarrassed when I do. I hate feeling like I’m needy or helpless and that I am left to another human being to fix my own problems.

I know, I am your typical male in wanting to fix my own issues even when it may be beneficial to ask for help.

Getting back to the story, I went to the office of disability services in order to look into possibly getting an alert system for my apartment. I have never registered with the office of disability services, and they never even knew I was on campus. When I called it obviously did not please them that I hadn’t registered. I had always hated the idea of the label “disabled” pinned on my file, or even on my life.

I know, asking for help doesn’t make me disabled, but I’ve always been a very independent person and I’ve never wanted to think of myself as a somewhat lower class citizen, so I haven’t registered. Even through high school, it was somewhat difficult for me to accept that I was a little bit different than everybody else. Thursday though, it was the idea of actually registering with the “Office of DISABILITY Services” that completely freaked me out. To the general public, the word disabled carries a negative stigma with it that I don’t want associated with me.

Apparently the alert system will cost about $3000, and I will have to move into another apartment in order to receive it’s benefits after I’ve registered. They told me that I need to consider a signer or a professional note taker because all of the other deaf people use it.

Honestly that frustrates me. Yes, I understand that they are trying to help. But not every deaf person fits their cookie cutter definition of “deaf”. That’s what I’m trying to prove to people by going to school, holding a job (several actually!), and being a mainstreamed student.

I feel like people needs to expand their belief system a little and understand that not every person is the same. The lady went on to say that I was “hard of hearing”, not “deaf”. Okay?

I was a little frustrated to be labeled by somebody who has no grounds to speak on the subject. I really have a problem with people passing judgements on another person without any prior knowledge. This applies anywhere in life, not just with deaf people.

The other day when I actually wrote this post, it was fuming with anger. I deliberately waited to post it so that I would not post something inappropriate. I was irritated with the fact that a person who didn’t know me took one look at my life and labeled me as deaf who needs a signer amongst all kinds of other services. I was mad that she looked at the outside of me and labeled me instead of looking at the actual me and finding out who I really am.

I’m afraid that that happens too much in life, I catch myself passing judgements all kinds of people even when I don’t know them. This experience has opened me up to trying to actually get to know different people in life. It has also opened me up to the ignorance of people in society sometimes, but hopefully being patient will help them in the long run.

Have a great week!

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People Can Be Something Else

User:ProtoplasmaKid explaining Wikipedia and W...

Good Morning Guys,

I hope everybody is having a good day! I’m committed to working 12 hours today, but I’m trying to stay positive.

People really can amaze me sometimes, for both the positive and the negative: positively, I got to work with amazing children this week who have overcome boundaries set on them from birth. These children are truly inspirational to me and everybody who knows their story. Most of these children were born completely and profoundly deaf, and now they are communicating with the world just as easily as the rest of the children their age would. Watching kids fight like that to learn a language that they can’t even hear is amazing and makes them my heroes.

Negatively, people can be inconsiderate and rude. Before I tell you of my run in with these people who also amazed me you must understand something about deaf culture.

Within deaf culture the views of getting a cochlear implant can be VERY split. You either like them or you don’t. The people who don’t like cochlear implants can be extremely passionate about their views sometimes. Not to say that people who get cochlear implants aren’t passionate as well, but I’ve yet to hear or read of any negative impacts of somebody talking about getting implanted with somebody who wasn’t. The extreme negativity used to be much more prominent about 10 years ago, but some negativity still resides about cochlear implants with some people.

People always have to tell you whose side they are on, and why your side is wrong. That is basically what happened with this “cochlear implant controversy”. The only difference is that these people got extremely passionate. Friends within the deaf “community” were lost because of getting an implant, I’ve read of protesting going on when kids got implanted, hate mail was written (and still is), and just your normal hate talk went on.

This is all because people feel like either, that you are going against God’s image of yourself by getting an implant, that you are trying to wipe out the deaf community, or that you are trying to abolish sign language and are not accepting yourself for who you are.

Now that you have your crash course in deaf controversies, now for what happened to me. I noticed a table sitting in my restaurant last night, one guy kept doing a familiar sign to me. I don’t speak sign language but I recognize a few signs. He was doing the sign for cochlear implant, but from what I understand there are two different versions. The offensive one and the okay one. He went offensive. He kept doing it and pointing at me, then the entire table would look at me and glare. Then somebody would say something while motioning the cochlear implant sign and they would all laugh while looking at me. After reading their lips I discovered they were making fun of my implant. They kept doing it for about 15 minutes, and then I worked it up and went over there. I asked what they needed, seeing as every other server in the building noticed them doing it too. Those people acted like nothing was going on, that really drove me crazy. I don’t think those people truly understood what they were laughing at or what signs they were using. I wasn’t really offended, just taken aback.

People just don’t understand sometimes that things other people have to go through. None of them were deaf. It just goes to show you that anybody will try to put somebody else down if they think it’ll make their night better. I just let it roll off my back and go on with my day.

I hope everybody has a good weekend!


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2 Weeks From Now

Photograph of the implanted portion of a cochl...

Photograph of the implanted portion of a cochlear implant with a ruler(centi) and a Canadian quarter(diameter:23.88 mm thickness:1.58 mm) besides it to give a sense of size. The specific device shown is manufactured by Advanced Bionics. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve always tried to be somebody who wants to make somebody else feel important, even at my own expense. I’ve always tried to be the friend that you could call at any time of the night and talk to me if you need something. I’ve always tried to live by the idea that somehow the world needs to be better than it was before I got here, by the time I leave. Everyday I try to make an impact on somebody by doing something to help them. If I live by that idea, then that will carry out through my actions.

The surgery is getting to two weeks away, that’s all I’m going to say about that. I’m done thinking about that really. Somebody had to just remind me that my birthday was in less than a week. I’m losing my mind.

Oftentimes, I get the accusation that “I’m not a real deaf person” because I don’t speak sign language. Although you may agree with me when I say that that is a very strange thing to say to somebody, it gets said quiet often.

As a child I was raised to not use sign language. I took speech therapy in a well-known therapy office in Oklahoma City. This office of speech therapy promotes the use of auditory-verbal communication. They are very good at what they do, people drive hours to have these speech instructors teach their children. I was never taught sign language because I went to this office. I’m very thankful that I never went to any other place because I have the basic ability to speak and understand spoken language.

There are two arguments in the deaf community.
One side (known as AG Bell), says that one should get implanted (or get hearing aids) as young as possible (and responsible) and then teach the child how to listen through the implants. Key speech skills are learned between the ages of 2-6. If you do it much later than that, the child’s speech ability may be hindered. You obviously know my side of the debate.

The other side (known as National Association of the Deaf, or NAD), says that everybody should wait until the child is old enough to make the decision themselves to get implanted. Which worked out fine for me because my hearing didn’t drop until I was after 18, but what do you do if your hearing drops at age 4? These people aren’t concerned with the child’s socialization. They are concerned with the fact that a cochlear implant will cause “cultural genocide”

The government is agreeing with AG Bell and my side, because now it is law to have every baby screened for a hearing test before they even leave for home. This is a very good thing because it took until I was in Kindergarten before they realized what was wrong with my hearing. Many people have stories like mine.

Have a good week err’body, it definitely was a Monday for me.

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An Interesting Thought

Helen Keller sitting holding a magnolia flower...

Helen Keller sitting holding a magnolia flower, circa 1920 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Being blind separates you from things, being deaf separates you from people”-Helen Keller

Now, I’ve never experienced the blindness part of this quote but I can honestly speak for the second part of this quote and she is spot on about this.

There are statistics out there that say that deafness can lead to depression, it can lead to separation, isolation, loneliness, amongst other things. I’ve also read articles stating that people with disabilities experience increased drug use due to the stresses from their disability. I can speak only for myself when I say that I have none of these symptoms, but I can definitely see and relate to why people with a hearing loss are experiencing this.

One of the reasons that people may feel isolated is that they may be the only person they know that is deaf, and that can be pretty hard. Luckily I have some friends that are deaf, but I don’t see them on a regular basis. For somebody that feels the need to have friends like themselves, this can be a difficult to undergo. I have always been thankful for the people, teachers, professors, and friends around me.

Another reason that somebody can feel depressed is that the people around them just don’t know how to respond to them. I myself, have had several people in my life baby me and treat me like I’m a special ed. case. That can be very embarrassing. If I wasn’t as “joking about the deafness” as I am, I’m sure I would receive this weird treatment much more than I do now.

Something that separates you from people is just the sheer fact of not hearing somebody’s voice. This is something that everybody takes for granted. Think about it, I’m sure most of the readers of this blog now awake to a screeching alarm clock, but what woke you up in elementary school? Your mother’s voice. That was impossible for me. I can’t hear anything because I don’t sleep with the hearing aids in, so I have to wait until I put them in and get used to the sound before I can comprehend everything.

I have people get mad at me all the time for not hearing them, they think I’m not listening. Sometimes I’m not, lately most times I really can’t hear them. It’s easier to just let them get mad.

When I’m talking one-on-one to somebody, I do great in conversation. I can read their lips and comprehend the entire conversation. But when a second or third person is added to the mix, this easy conversation with simple reading of lips instantly becomes as hard as solving a Rubik’s Cube while blind folded. That is when I start being quiet in the conversation and I “listen”, when I’m really just thinking to myself, “how the heck can I get away without seeming rude?” The best way to act engaged in these types of conversations is laugh when everybody else does. I know, it’s wrong, but I can’t follow the lip reading fiasco. Back and forth. Back and forth.

Many of you may have already known this, but I have never let my deafness kept me from having a social life. There is no reason why any other disability should keep anybody else from having one too.

Have a good week people.

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