October 31, 2011




October 25, 2011

Free Educational Resources from American Academy of Audiology

I found some great educational materials on the American Academy of Audiology's website to use with my students who are learning more about hearing related things. There are links to all of their worksheets and posters on their site, Turn it to the Left!, where they are campaigning to raise awareness about the dangers of exposure to loud sounds and to raise funds for research in noise-induced hearing loss.

To download and print their free resources, click on Educational Resources tab on the Turn it to the Left! website.


Medical Alert System for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People?

A reader would like to know if there is a medical alert system for deaf or hard of hearing people to use at home. Because of his medical condition, in case he gets injured, he is afraid that he will be unable to call for help through traditional means if he is alone at home. He does not use or know sign language. He would like to use a system that would help him communicate with the operator or person contacted through the medical alert system.

If there is such a system for someone like him, please let me know. If you have any questions, I can ask the reader and get back to you with his answers. Or he may just leave a comment or response here.

If there is no sort of medical alert system for someone like him, I suppose he can tell the operator or person contacted his issue and let him and her know that he is deaf and will be unable to hear what is being said. At least someone would know the problem and then send someone over as soon as they can.

Thank you in advance. Would appreciate your help. And please do not leave "I've fallen and I can't get up" jokes.

Below is a commercial demonstrating how a typical medical alert system works:


October 24, 2011

5 Important Things I Learned in Preschool

  • It is not a good idea to grab a bumblee-bee sitting on a flower.
  • Just because I overheard an adult say it on television, doesn't make it right for me to repeat it to my teacher. She did not seem to appreciate me asking her, "How's it hanging?"
  • It's not nice to start singing loudly during nap time, because some of the other kids are really trying to nap. I was also rudely interrupting my teacher's break as she relished her gossip magazines.
  • If you want to be popular, start a fun game that involves imitating a teacher or a bus driver.
  • No one likes a tattle-tale and people who eat their boogers.

What more did I need to know?


October 21, 2011

Deaf and Hard of Hearing People in Movies and Television Shows

Lately, there seems to be a lot of deaf and hard of hearing people being showcased on American television shows.

It is refreshing to see deaf and hard of hearing people, especially signing deaf individuals, being portrayed as everyday people who happen to be deaf rather than as special and sweet, mute, naive, objects of pity, desperate to fit in and hear, sex maniacs, or as living in a "world of silence." Although, I don't doubt that there are plenty of pathetic, sweet, and naive deaf and hard of hearing people out there. Some of them are promiscuous and some would like to hear or be a part of general society, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I am just tired of seeing movies or television shows portraying deaf people as anything other than ordinary folks. I don't want to be thinking to myself, as I watch some show or movie with a deaf character in it, "I know, I know. You're deaf. Enough already!"

Below are two persons from recent 2011 television shows. I think both shows do a good job depicting deaf signing people in more positive and interesting ways.

Leon Lim on Work of Art 2

This is Leon Lim, a contestant on Bravo's Work of Art Season 2. He is from Malaysia whose artwork was selected for TIME Magazine's Person of the Year Edition. I personally like his public art installation piece, The Last Chairs (pictures below):

Photo from Leon Lim's website.
Photo from Leon Lim's website.

Thus far, I like how the fact that Leon is deaf is not focused on too much in Work of Art. He is seen signing when interviewed or when interacting with others, but you will hardly see the interpreter. While he does talk about growing up deaf and such it seems as if the show is more about Leon as an artist, which is how it should be. I do think it is interesting how there is one contestant who spoke for Leon a few times, trying to help with what I assume she thought were communication issues. I thought to myself, "Okay, girl, Leon can take care of himself. If he has a problem, I am sure he will say something." 

Sean Berdy on Switched at Birth

I like Sean Berdy's character, Emmett, on Switched at Birth. He is cool, confident, and smart. For the most part, there is not too much focus on his inability to hear, instead the wonderfully ridiculous teenage drama takes over.

Sean Berdy 15
Photo from Sean Berdy's website.


October 19, 2011

A Student Explains to His Class How He Hears

According to his classroom teacher, one of my students, a fifth grader, openly talks to his teachers and peers about his hearing loss. His teacher thought it was interesting when he explained why he was unable to hear some sounds, such as a bird chirping outside, while he can hear other sounds. She said that he used terms such as "high frequency" "pitches" and "degrees". He spoke to them about a variety of hearing related things such as hearing aids, sign language, speech, communication issues, and how we hear with our brains. She is impressed with how articulate he is. He is considering doing a project about hearing loss and is currently busy picking out a specific topic he would like to focus on.

Wow! It sounds as if he has been listening to me talking to him about his hearing loss, what it is and what it means. I can't believe he has been doing his own research about various deaf and hard of hearing issues.

But, I am also happy that he explores other interests, such as football and collecting rocks. I would be concerned if he obsessively focused on talking about and researching hearing loss. He knows that there is more to him than his hearing.

By the way, this is the same student who told his parents that he wants to be an advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing when he grows up

Interesting kid.


October 14, 2011

Unprofessional & Unqualified Interpreters, Better Than No Interpreters?

I came across this article about a high school student who filed a complaint with the Iowa Department of Education because she felt she was provided poorly trained interpreters with inadequate skills.

Here is part of the article:

“It’s interesting to me that there’s never a question if a teacher has to be highly qualified,” Prickett said. “And yet the person conveying every word to the child would not have to be highly qualified?”

Moratz — a straight-A student — is deaf in her right ear and wears a hearing aid in her left, where she has partial hearing. Her first three years of high school were spent with interpreters who were using temporary interpreters’ licenses and had not passed the national test.

The results were devastating, she said. At times, her interpreter would translate inaccurately or skip words because she couldn’t keep up.

 Other times, some of her interpreters would engage in conversations with others, making it difficult for Moratz to pick up key conversations and educational instruction.

Moratz wrote a 16-page report for her advanced composition class in May, calling for stricter sign-language tests and a required four-year degree.

The family’s complaint was dismissed because Iowa law allows districts to hire people with temporary interpreter licenses, which are granted to employees who have not passed the test. Such licenses can be used for up to four years. Catherine Moratz, Meghan’s mother, said that’s too long.

“She would come home from school and be so upset, but there was nothing we could do because the law said a temporary license was essentially the same as a license by exam,” Catherine Moratz said.

“Last year I would sometimes come home and just cry,” Moratz said. “It was so frustrating.”

But Lisa Van Sant, Jayden’s mother, questions whether having no interpreter is better than using an interpreter who can’t pass the test.

How frustrating.

What are your thoughts? Discuss!


October 12, 2011

Disney Sing Along Songs

Remember Disney's Sing-a-Long-Songs? The bouncing ball? I loved them as a kid.

I found a YouTube site, ACMESingALongSongs, where they include several different sing-a-long videos. Some are the original sing-a-long videos from the 1980s and 1990s while some were newly added.

Below is their recently uploaded video, just in time for Halloween, Grim Grinning Ghosts. This song is the theme song for the Haunted Mansion attraction at Disney amusement parks. I think the video is kind of creepy. The woman's head in the glass globe freaked me out.



October 11, 2011

Oh, No! Hearing Aid Battery Died! What Should We Do?!! Ack!!

I had a student whose hearing aid went out unexpectedly while at school first thing in the morning. The battery died. Her first period teacher emailed me in a panic asking me what she should do. She wondered if I should call her parents. She insinuated that the student was freaking out.

I responded with an email (names excluded for privacy reasons):

Thanks for letting me know.

She should have extra hearing aid batteries on her. We have talked about this before. If not, then continue the day doing what you plan to do just like you would when she has her hearing aid (use closed captioned films, write important information on board, face student, don't cover your mouth when speaking, etc.). She is in high school now, I expect her to advocate for her hearing needs and let you know how you can best support her in the classroom. Do not allow her to use her situation as an excuse for not doing work or participating in class.

While it must be annoying and frustrating for her to be without her hearing aid, I am certain that she will get through the day fine. If for some reason she needs to talk to me, she can call me anytime.

I will be at the school sometime tomorrow. I will talk to her and remind her why it is important that she keeps extra batteries on her while at school.

I will email the other teachers and let them know. I'll call her mother, so that she is aware of the situation.

Thank you.

I saw this student the next day. As expected, she survived the entire school day without her hearing aid. She actually was surprised that she did okay. She proudly showed me that she was carrying two extra packs of hearing aid batteries in her back pack.   :)


The Muppets' Bohemian Rhapsody, Closed Captioned



October 3, 2011

I Had a Dream About a Monkey Sign Language Interpreter

Yellow Squirrel Monkey
Photo from Markle1

This dream I had was too funny and bizarre that I wanted to share it here.

I was sitting in a small class trying to follow what a teacher was saying as he paced back and forth talking at a fast speed, his arms waving around as he got excited. There were probably four other people in the class, but I could not make out who they were. I was getting frustrated because I could not understand what the teacher was saying. I wanted to do well on the test. Then the teacher turned his back towards the class and I saw the strangest thing. On his shoulder facing me, a tiny yellow monkey stood. It started moving its hands around. It looked like it was fingerspelling. I started laughing. I couldn't believe it, a monkey sign language interpreter! Ha! But, I could not understand any of its signs. I wondered out loud what kind of sign language the monkey was using. The teacher turned around----

And I woke up.

Weird, huh?


Related Post: Weird Dream: Keith Wann Forbade Me to Wear My Hearing Aid