Sunday, October 30, 2011

ALDAcon 2011 Day Two

My day began with continental breakfast and a newcomer's meeting. I enjoyed this event very much. It was informal in nature. Longtime members of ALDA and representatives from the ALDA board introduced themselves briefly. Then, we newbies took our turns introducing ourselves. When it was my turn, I mentioned that I write a blog, and one of the regional directors asked me the name of it. When I replied, "Speak Up Librarian", he smiled and told me he reads it. Nodding his head, he added, "That's why you look familiar." What a great start to my day! I was also blessed to meet two ladies in particular. One who had come by herself I made a special point of introducing myself to. It helped that I grew up near where she lived. As we talked we found we had other things in common as well. The other lady recently joined my ALDA Chicago group so I was delighted to meet her. Hopefully, she will be someone I can see again after the convention is over.

At the convention's opening session, race car drivers and cousins, Jaki and Tomas Scheckter were introduced. Jaki lives in South Africa. He has a hearing loss and has bilateral cochlear implants. His cousin Tomas arranged for him to get these implants at a hospital in Indianapolis. He even raised money for the operations. The Gift of Hearing Foundation also donated money. Today Tomas is a board member of the Gift of Hearing and Jaki is on the board of a similar organization in South Africa that raises money for children to receive cochlear implants. They told us these stories and then shared with us how exciting it is to be a race car driver. They explained how adrenaline rushes through their bodies during the race and afterwards leaves them feeling drained and empty. They love it and wouldn't choose any other occupation.

Jaki and Tomas Scheckter

Next, we had a luncheon which featured Patti Spitler as the keynote speaker. Patti worked for 23 years as a news anchor and entertainment reporter at WISH-TV in Indianapolis until she retired for health reasons. She has Meniere's disease, a permanent and progressive condition that causes dizziness and vertigo in addition to severe hearing loss. Her therapy dog, Louie, helped her overcome the isolation she experienced after retirement. Recently, she has returned to the television business with a new show that she hosts called Pet Pals. She is also a spokesperson for Hear Indiana.

Patti Spitler and interpreter

Then I attended two workshops in the afternoon. The first one was called "Living with Deafness: Positive Self Advocacy and Career Success". It was taught by college professor, Dr. David Baldridge, who is researching the workplace experiences of the deaf and hard of hearing. The second one was titled "The Resilient Self: Surviving and Thriving Through Your Deafness". This session was taught by Sally Skyer of NTID.

Here are a few photos from the Exhibit Hall:

The CapTel display. Many of the 
booths featured assistive technology.

The Scheckter cousins graciously signed our program
books and posed for photos at the Gift of Hearing table.
Learn more about this nonprofit organization here.

Each sponsor was given a trophy.
Wasn't that a nice touch?!!!

1 comment:

Liz said...

I would have loved to have a chance experiencing one of these events. Looks alot to take in though. :)