January 30, 2010

Hearing Aid + Star Stickers

Some of you may have read the post where I got bored one night and drew a face on my bte hearing aid with a sharpie. You can look at it here.  

Well, the face came off. So, I was looking at the star stickers I use with my students and this is what I came up with:

Anyone else out there decorate their hearing aids with stickers? If so, send me pictures or post them on your blog and let me know. Let's see who can be the most creative!



January 19, 2010

Fun Beginning ASL Learning Games for Kids?

Can anyone suggest fun ASL learning games for 2nd graders?

They have been introduced to it a few months ago and have been learning basic signs and ASL fingerspelling. They are hungry for more. Unfortunately for them, they depend on me to teach them more and to keep it interesting.

Thanks, I would appreciate your help!


January 17, 2010

Rear Window Captioning at the Movies. Part Two.

(Continued from Part One)

I finally got to the theater where they were playing The Devil Wears Prada, and quickly sat down towards the front of the theater where the least amount of people were sitting. That was a mistake, as I will find out later. I was tired of lugging the thing around and frankly I was embarrassed, so I sat where I thought I would not bother many people with the ugly captioning device.

I reluctantly began fiddling with the thing, putting it in the cup holder and adjusting it so the plastic window was within my view.

It was so tall. It was as if I had put a sign in front of me that said, "Look at me!"

I bent it, straightened it, and moved it around trying to get it right. I knocked it over a few times. A couple sat down near me in the same row and then I sensed that other people sat down behind me. I looked around to see if perhaps I should move somewhere else. And there was Keanu Reeves, again. He was sitting right behind me, with a friend. I did a double take. He was staring at me, probably wondering what the heck I was doing. The couple next to me were staring. I tried to explained to them what I was doing and then asked if it was bothering them. They said no, but clearly I was being distracting.

Then the movie started. I decided to stay put and see if the damn thing works. I adjusted it some more, and as I was pulling down the window part, it somehow snapped back and hit me in the nose! I cursed at it loudly and proceeded to strangle it. The couple looked at me again and I looked around to see if there are any others sitting near by. No, just Mr. Reeves and his friend. They were trying not to stare. I wanted to crawl under my seat and hide.

Of course, the device did not work.

I gave up and put the stupid thing under my seat. I thought about moving to the back, but I was done.

The movie was great. I loved it. But, there were several times where Meryl Streep's character said something that made the other people in the theater laughed and I wondered what was so funny.

Why did it not work? Because, I was supposed to sit in the back where it works best. Also, it is best to sit in the back where many people would not be distracted, because not many people usually sit in the back. But, it happens to be that on the day I used it, a lot of people sat in the back, and I did not want to bother them. Otherwise, I am sure it would have worked fine and maybe I would have liked it.

From this experience, I have concluded that movies with subtitles or captions on the screen is the best way to experience movies in the theater if you need captions. You can sit anywhere you want and you don't have to be bothered with a device that you have to carry around and use. Now, all there has to be are more movies with subtitles or open captions offered. But, as we know, to see a movie with captions, usually it is at a theater far from where I live and I would have to choose from only two movies that are captioned, and only at certain times. Usually, they are movies I do not want to see. It is frustrating.

Is there anyone who have used the rear window captioning device in a movie theater? If so, what was it like? Did it work well? Did you like it?


Related Posts:

Rear Window Captioning at the Movies. Part One.

I was really happy when I read Banner Day in Court for People with Hearing Loss about how a movie theater chain's argument for why they should not provide accommodations for deaf and hard of hearing individuals was not received well. You can also read more about it on NAD News. Finally, we may be getting somewhere. Reading this reminded me of the first time I sought accommodations at a movie theater and used a rear window captioning device.

The first time I decided to try a rear window captioning device at a movie theater in New York City was an interesting, embarrassing, and disappointing experience. And of all people, Keanu Reeves was there to witness my struggles with the captioning device.

Ok, so I decided to go to the movies by myself on a beautiful warm sunny day in New York City. I wanted to see The Devil Wears Prada. I love Meryl Streep. But, I heard that Meryl Streep's character spoke softly and can be hard to understand. I thought that it would be a great opportunity to try out the captioning devices this movie theater offers.

Before buying my tickets, I noticed this very tall man in front of me. Then I realized that it was Keanu Reeves. Cool. I wondered what movie he will see.

I bought my tickets and then asked about accommodations for the deaf and hard of hearing. The guy mumbled something about going upstairs. I had to ask him to repeat himself several times. Geez, you would think that after I indicated that I am deaf or hard of hearing that he would attempt to speak clearly and a little louder.

I went upstairs to the customer service station where they provide accommodations. There was a smiling woman in the customer service station. I went over and said that I was hard of hearing and would like to see the accommodations they have to offer. She smiled and said that I have two options. One would be to wear headphones. I quickly said no to that. The other is to use the rear window captioning device. I told her I would be interested to see it. She bent down and sorted through various things. After a few minutes of this, she stood back up and with the device in her hands. Yes, hands. It was so big that it required her to hold it with both of her hands. And, I am not making this up, it was very dusty, and she tried to dust it off in a covert manner. It must not be very popular.

She went on to describe the way it works and how I should use it. I asked if there was a visual aid or something I could look at to understand how it works. She looked at me as if I asked her if she could help me strangle a baby seal. Clearly annoyed, she stooped down again, rummaging through various things.

Not wanting to miss the movie, I told her that it was fine. She got back up, looking embarrassed. "I'm sorry," she said. "I don't know where it is. I know we have it somewhere."

How in the world do they expect to explain to a signing profoundly deaf person how to use it without any visual aids or a printed guide? Obviously, she did not get many deaf people asking for this device. Perhaps, I was the first one. After looking at the large thing, I can understand why.

She handed the thing over to me. It was heavy! It felt as if she just handed me a 10 pound dumbbell. Not only was it heavy, large, and awkward to hold, I had to carry this thing across the lobby and up the stairs to the movie for everyone to see.

I can't even begin to describe what it looked like. It was half my size and it had a long metal neck with a clear plastic rectangle attached to the top. At the bottom was what looked like a small pot where you plant flowers in it.

From what I understood from the woman, I had to put this hideous thing in the cup holder and adjust it so that I have the window in front of me. The captions are supposed to appear on the little window. But, there was one crucial thing she told me that I did not do that would have helped me see the captions. I don't know if it was because I forgot or I did not hear her say it. I don't really remember. I'll explain this later.

The looks I was getting from people made me feel like I was a terrorist holding a bomb in my hands. I even saw some people whisper and point at me. I can't say that I blame them. I was lugging the thing beside me, trying so hard to hide it. But, there was no way I could hide it. Oh, look there is Keanu Reeves again! He was going up the stairs as well.

Nevertheless, as I was approaching the movie, I was excited about learning how this thing works.

See Part Two, to continue.


January 16, 2010

Another Deaf Rapper

This video is about Sean Forbes, founder of D-PAN, the Deaf Professional Arts Network. Very interesting. I am always interested in music and I think sign language adds to it. I can feel the music more watching the signs and body move to the beats of the music. Along with the video of SignMark, I will have to show this to my students. It is very inspirational, I think.
I try to incorporate music and songs in my lessons for my D/HH students as much as I can. I don't think they are exposed to music as much or encouraged to participate in music because there is that perception of it being pointless because they may not hear it as well or experience music the same as hearing people.

Though I wonder what degree of hearing loss Mr. Forbes has. What can he hear? I am curious.

So far, when I come across musicians who are deaf or hard of hearing, they are usually hip hop artists. It makes sense because of the beats. The beats usually carry more of a punch and are easier to follow. I also know of deaf musicians who are drummers. I would like to find more deaf and hard of hearing musicians in other areas of music.


January 3, 2010

I Can Make My Ears Whistle

During my grade school years I wore these big analog *bte hearing aids. As you may know or have experienced, these hearing aids always squealed or made a loud whistling noise if anything gets close to them or covers them, causing feedback (like a microphone). Unlike the digital hearing aids we have now, where there is very little or no feedback. With my analog hearing aids, if I put my hands on the hearing aids or cover my ears slightly, they squealed and squeaked loudly.

One day, I thought it would be funny to trick the kindergartners into thinking I have a special talent. I went up to some kindergartners in the hallway (I was probably in second grade at the time) and told them that I can make my ears whistle. I put my hand onto my right ear and like magic, it whistled. Then I did my left ear, and then both ears. They fell for it. They couldn't believe it! There were a lot of "Ooohs! and Aaaahs!" They ran and told the others.

Periodically, I would perform for them making my ears whistle. When some of them wanted to look at my ears I told them no, because I feared that they may make my ears whistle too much and it would hurt me. I did not want them to see my hearing aids. I made sure my long hair covered them. I think I scared some of them. They never looked at me the same afterward. I don't think I ever told them about my hearing aids.

I am sure most of them caught on later that really I was making my hearing aids whistle. But, what about the ones who did not? Maybe some of them are wondering if they imagined the girl in the hallway who could make her ears whistle.


* bte - behind the ear