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Monday, December 31, 2012

Take Time to Dream Today

What do you want to happen in your life for 2013? I encourage all my readers to take some time today to visualize wonderful things for the New Year ahead. To inspire you, here is a quote from Louise Hay, an author I am currently reading:
Every thought we think is creating our future. Each one of us creates our experiences by our thoughts and our feelings. The thoughts we think and the words we speak create our experiences.
Last year, I shared some personal dreams for 2012 on this blogpost in which I mentioned specific experiences I wanted. Of those hopes, three happened - snowshoeing, quilt garden tour, and the Renaissance Faire, but two  of them - canoeing and reindog parade - have yet to occur. Regular readers will know 2012 held some surprises for me including adding another dog to my family and starting graduate school. Wonderful dreams I had not even thought of at the close of last year.

We do not know today what we will be looking back on a year from now. I ask each of you to lay aside any worries or concerns you have and spend some time looking ahead with love, confidence, and hopeful expectation. Create for yourself a beautiful 2013.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Show Us the Captions! Report from Chicago

One group on their way to see Skyfall
Report from the greater Chicagoland area on
ALDA Chicago's November 17 event at several locations:
  • Orland Park, IL - 11 attended, seeing Skyfall or Lincoln 
  • Chicago Heights, IL - 8 attended, seeing Skyfall 
  • Oak Park, IL - 2 attended, seeing Argo 
  • Hodgkins,IL - cancelled 
  • Hobart, IN - 3 attended, seeing Lincoln 
  • Lombard, IL - 10 attended, seeing Flight, Lincoln, The Sessions, or Skyfall 
  • Bloomingdale, IL - 4 attended, seeing Lincoln. This event was cosponsored with HLAA Lincoln Park chapter.
On November 10th, ALDA Chicago founder Bill Graham took a group of 4 to see a captioned film in Crystal Lake, IL.

Also on November 17th in other parts of the country:
  • ALDA Inc. President Elect, Mary Lou Mistretta, brought a group of 8 to the Cinemark theater in Boca Raton, Florida. Half saw Flight and the other half saw Lincoln. She has a second outing planned for an open captioned showing of Skyfall at a Regal Cinema for November 24th.
  • ALDA Inc. President, Brenda Estes took a group of 12 to see Lincoln at the Columbus Regal Cinema in Virginia Beach.
  • Kansas City HLAA had 7 come out at one of their locations. I am still waiting to hear their final numbers.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Show Us the Captions! Campaign Has Begun

Show Us the Captions! map of U.S. locations, as of November 11, 2012

Show Us the Captions! theater advocacy campaign kicked off in Europe on November 8. Lauren Storck, Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning (CCAC) founder attended a subtitled showing of "Skyfall" in France with a friend and sent a written thank you to the theater manager.
Photo courtesy of Patti White, Good Sport Captioning

The following day, the Hearing Loss Association of Greater St. Louis, sponsored the first event in the United States. A Regal theater in Hazelwood, Missouri had 50 people in attendance for an open captioned showing of Skyfall. Before the film's start, a demonstration of Sony Entertainment Access Glasses for closed captioning was presented (see above photo). The theater was unable to obtain enough Sony glasses for the crowd, so an open captioned showing was substituted. Great advocacy, Hearing Loss Association of Greater St. Louis!

On November 10th, DCARA (Deaf Counseling, Advocacy, & Referral Agency) of California, sponsored closed captioned events at 10 theaters in the San Francisco Bay area. Participating theater chains included Regal and Cinemark. I am still awaiting a report on their turnout, but will share details with you when I get them.

Next weekend is our event in Chicago which I am coordinating. So far ALDA Chicago has 37 people coming out to attend showings in 6 different locations. As I write this, we have openings for 13 more people who need captioning devices. The theater manager at the first location which filled up has accommodated us by obtaining 5 additional CaptiViews. We really appreciate his responsiveness. 

This week I found out that advocacy groups in Colorado and Utah have joined in Show Us the Captions! I've also heard that a group in London may participate as well. It's very exciting and it's not too late for anyone else to join in and participate. You can do it on your own as Lauren did if you don't have a group sponsoring an event in your area. Please let us know on the Show Us the Captions! Facebook page of your plans.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

An Online Press Room for Show Us the Captions!

In my communication studies grad school research, I learned about online press rooms. They are set up by an organization to provide journalists with information available 24/7 on the web. I thought the idea was intriguing and decided to create one for the Show Us the Captions! campaign. I took a screen shot of the site below. You can see it for yourself at

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Google Map for Show Us the Captions!

View Show Us the Captions! in a larger map

Our locations to date. More are in the works.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Two Women Making a Difference: Amy & Shanna

For Deaf Awareness Week, I would like to highlight two women who are making a difference for those who are deaf and hard of hearing.

The first one is Deaf Girl Amy. She has written a book called "A Survival Guide for New Deafies". She would like to raise funds for a promotional tour so her book can reach a wider audience. Please take a few minutes to watch her captioned video. To donate, please visit her website. Amy's passion and desire to help others with hearing loss is truly inspiring.

The other woman, I would like to highlight, is Shanna Groves, also known as Lipreading Mom. She has launched a campaign to collect photos of people's ears including those of people who wear hearing aids and cochlear implants and those who don't. Her goal is to fight the stigma associated with hearing loss. To check out her photo gallery and submit your own photo, please visit her website.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

While I've Been Busy, Blondie's Been Busy Too

 While I've been busy with school, the
morning glory vine grew into the bushes.

Blondie noticed my lack of time spent in the garden
and decided to relocate some fencing and plants
to our side entrance. See the missing piece of fencing
near the bottom right of the photo? Although at a glance,
the fencing may look like wrought iron, it's only
plastic and apparently easy to chew through.

  Speaking of chewing, this is a new shoe
I bought to replace the first pair of sneakers
she chewed. I must have a lot on my mind,
because it didn't occur to me that she might chew
these ones too. LOL - Blondie's teaching me to
put my shoes in the closet when they aren't on my feet.

 Blondie must not like my busy schedule. When I
came home from work on Friday, I found our
family calendar in shreds on the floor. I spent an hour
piecing it together just so I could write down when the
dogs' flea treatments and heartworm pills are due next.

Another day, I came upon Blondie creating a tutu. She
was unraveling a shower sponge and had it arrayed all
around herself as though she were wearing a tulle skirt.

I feel as outwitted and exasperated as Wile E. Coyote.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

What CCAC Means to Me

CCAC logo
I joined the Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning (CCAC) this past summer. I have found it to be a wonderful source of support, in particular for my Show Us the Captions! idea. When I first mentioned my thoughts for raising public awareness of the need for movie captioning on the CCAC online forum, I received immediate positive feedback. Then, CCAC decided to co-sponsor the campaign as one of their captioning advocacy projects. Most recently, CCAC devoted a page on their website to Show Us the Captions! which you can view here.

I receive daily emails from CCAC about various captioning advocacy efforts around the world. If you want to know what is happening with captioning, this is the organization for you. If you want to get involved with captioning access, the members of CCAC are the people you want to get to know.

The CCAC mission is advocacy for quality captioning universally. As founder Lauren Storck writes on the CCAC website, "Many millions cannot comprehend speech in many group situations, even with other resources and technologies. Good communications are vital for everyday life. Captioning is our “ramp” for equal communication access, similar to wheelchair ramps which are generally accepted and provided in most countries in the modern world."

To join the CCAC, please visit this link. Currently, membership in this all-volunteer, grassroots organization is free. Once you have joined, you will receive an email invitation for their online forum.

If you or someone you love can benefit from captioning, I encourage you to join this wonderful organization.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pushing Past Perceived Barriers

I'm learning a lot about communication in graduate school, but I'm learning more about myself. I can do more than I thought I could. I'd like to share some of the barriers I've perceived and how I'm handling them.

The first obstacle for me was that my class is discussion based and not lecture style. I thought I could cope with a teacher's lecture by requesting that he wear a small microphone that would send the sound directly to my hearing aids. But when my professor told me the class was a discussion format, I was at a loss as to what to do. Fortunately the size of my class is rather small with eleven of us sitting in four rows. I chose a seat in the second row. This allows me to hear some of my classmates' comments and questions, while keeping my central focus on what the professor says. I definitely do not hear all that my classmates say, but I am keeping up with the general discussion and contributing more often than I expected I would.

The second barrier I encountered was a required online class discussion using Voice Thread. The assignment was to watch a video, listen to our teacher's comments, and submit comments ourselves using webcams or microphones. I was scared by this assignment because the video was not captioned and I would not have captioning for my classmates' commentary. I contacted Voice Thread support by email and asked about captioning. To the company's credit, I received a response the next day; but unfortunately, captioning is not yet available for their service. Someday....

For now, I had to forge ahead with trepidation. The video turned out to be a compilation of several speakers' viewpoints on the scope of the communication field. Some I could hear and understand, but others I could not decipher. I responded with my own comments by webcam wherever I could. Fortunately, the instructor added several slides with discussion questions in writing. These slides were my lifeline. Also, one of my classmates provided a crystal clear audio and a couple others were fairly discernible, so I responded to them. I was satisfied with making the effort to participate in the discussion even if I could not respond as often or as fully as others did.

For tonight's class, we were required to listen to a podcast. That assignment also worried me. I set aside a block of time to listen, figuring if it was too hard, I could take it in chunks. Fortunately, the two speakers had voices I could hear and understand with only a few rewind/replays and episodes of holding my laptop up to my ear. A few times in their podcast, they referred to or read quotes in the article they were reviewing which I had printed out in front of me. Even better, they mentioned page numbers a couple of times. Those moments were like little "You are here" flags popping up and helping me stay on track with the discussion.

In summary, my first weeks of grad school have been tough, but I'm thankful to report that my workload has been hardest in the reading, writing, and research involved rather than in the listening and comprehension aspects. I'm glad I didn't let my fears hold me back.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Show Us the Captions! Trial Run

Marcus Cinema

Tonight my husband and I went out to the movies. As I had never used one before, I wanted to try out the CaptiView closed captioning device in advance of the Show Us the Captions! event in November.
Appropriately enough, we went to see a film called, "The Words" starring Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Jeremy Irons, and Dennis Quaid.

When we got to the theater, I saw a sign advertising "Assisted Listening Devices" but not one for the CaptiView devices. Before we bought our tickets, I asked about the CC device to be sure it was available. The ticket seller contacted his manager by radio and the manager brought over the device. I was a little uncertain and asked to be shown how it worked. He reassured me that he would set it up for me. While my husband got in the concession line, he walked me over to theater 14 and showed me how the device needed to be set for the right auditorium number. But, for some reason, it wasn't picking up the wireless signal. To solve this, he went up to the booth and reset the transmitter there by unplugging it and then plugging it back in again. He returned in no time and the device now had green lines of text showing. He showed me how to turn the CaptiView on/off, to set the auditorium number, and to push connect. It was all very easy.

Doremi CaptiView ready message during the previews
Photo taken during previews

Once I set the CaptiView into my cup holder, I twisted the "neck" around to align the screen right where I wanted it. This part proved tricky for me as I couldn't get it to hold its position on its own. It kept swinging around toward me and I thought I was going to have to hold it in place for the duration of the movie. Luckily, I had a husband handy. He took the device, tightened a screw on the bottom, and set it into his cup holder and it held fine. We switched seats and my problem was solved.

Sarah with CaptiView device

The CaptiView device worked great. I wear bifocals and I had no trouble focusing back and forth between the words on the small screen and the picture on the big screen. The captions ran slightly ahead of the dialog which worked great for me. "The Words" captioning included background sounds and whispered commentary. It was wonderful to follow the movie the same way I do at home with closed captioning. Although I saw all the words, please don't ask me to explain the ending of "The Words" and whether the story within a story was fiction or truth. My husband and I are still puzzling that out!

I can't emphasize enough what a difference the captions made for me. Going to the movies was FUN for the first time in a long time. Thank you, Doremi* and thank you, Marcus Cinemas. I am more excited than ever to spread the word about accessibility at the theater through Show Us the Captions!

*Learn more about the Doremi CaptiView device at their website

P.S. I highly recommend "The Words" film too. In the movie, Jeremy Irons wears a visible hearing aid which was an unexpected bonus for me. His character is not shown as having any trouble communicating or understanding speech. He wears his hearing aid as casually as other actors wear eyeglasses. I doubt most viewers will even notice it.

Friday, September 7, 2012

New Slide Show Explains Show Us the Captions! Campaign

There have been a number of questions directed my way about the Show Us the Captions theater advocacy campaign.

I hope this new slide show helps answer any questions you might have. It's not too late to get involved. We'd love to have you join us in telling local cinemas everywhere, "Show Us the Captions!"

[Please note, there is no narration to this slide show because I have a bad cold. But you may hear two sound effects, which I have captioned. This show is best viewed full screen.]

Monday, September 3, 2012

Show Us the Captions! Is Going National

August 6 - ALDA Chicago Board Members
at Marcus Cinema, Orland Park,
the first location scheduled for the event.
Show Us the Captions! is growing. From our start in Chicago, the event has attracted interest in Kansas City, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Florida, and Utah.

To spread the word, Collaborative for Communication Access Via Captioning (CCAC) has created a new page on their website to promote the project and provide updates. The Facebook page launched in July has received 47 likes so far. Most of these were from America, but we have been liked by people from Greece, Cyprus, U.K., Belgium, and Canada.

If you haven't visited us yet on Facebook, please come join the conversation. On that page, I've shared a few sneak peek websites featuring movies due for release in November as well as promotional ideas and tips for organizers. CCAC has also actively posted with helpful updates and links. We want to hear from you there if you plan to participate.

In more good news, the Association for Late Deafened Adults will place a Show Us the Captions! flyer in every conference bag given out to convention goers at their national event in South Carolina this October.

Later this month, I plan to promote the event at a deaf festival in Crown Point, Indiana. My friend John has volunteered to come with me and tape video interviews for a YouTube promo clip.

Contact me at if you want to become involved with Show Us the Captions! and have any questions or ideas for the event's organization and promotion.

Previous posts on Show Us the Captions!
Show Us the Captions - this November
What's the Big Idea, Sarah?

Friday, August 31, 2012

Amazing Just the Way You Are

One of my favorite songs performed in ASL. This video is not captioned, so I've included the lyrics below for anyone unfamiliar with the song. Joyce, this is for you. Enjoy!


If you haven't seen the Bruno Mars video, you must. Check it out here.

Lyrics to "Just The Way You Are"
Oh, her eyes, her eyes
Make the stars look like they're not shinin'
Her hair, her hair
Falls perfectly without her trying
She's so beautiful
And I tell her everyday
(yeahh) I know, I know
When I compliment her she won't believe me
And it's so, it's so
Sad to think that she don't see what I see
But every time she asks me
"Do I look okay? " I say

When I see your face (face face...)
There's not a thing that I would change
'Cause you're amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)
And when you smile (smile)
The whole world stops and stares for a while
'Cause girl you're amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)

Her lips, her lips
I could kiss them all day if she'd let me
Her laugh, her laugh
She hates but I think it's so sexy
She's so beautiful
And I tell her everyday
Oh you know, you know, you know
I'd never ask you to change
If perfect's what you're searching for
Then just stay the same
So don't even bother asking if you look okay
You know I'll say

When I see your face (face face...)
There's not a thing that I would change
'Cause you're amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)
And when you smile (smile)
The whole world stops and stares for a while
'Cause girl you're amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)

The way you are
The way you are
Girl you're amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)

When I see your face
There's not a thing that I would change
Cause you're amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)
And when you smile
The whole world stops and stares for awhile
Cause girl you're amazing
Just the way you are

Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Journalism Award for Disability Coverage

The National Center on Disability Journalism, headquartered at Arizona State University, has announced the first national journalism contest for disability news. To qualify, entries must have been aired on radio or television or published in print or online between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013.

On the organization's website, NCDJ administrator Kristin Gilger, explains that although an estimated 54 million people live with disabilities, and there are numerous journalism awards for social issues, there hasn't been one for disabilities reporting until now. By presenting the Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability, they hope to raise awareness of quality work in the media and promote further coverage of the subject.

You can find out all the contest details at To learn more about the National Center on Disability Journalism, visit

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Blessing of My Book Bag

Today at church, we had our annual back-to-school "blessing of the backpacks". Open to students of all ages, this year I participated by bringing my book bag with folder, spiral notebook, and two textbooks. At the end of the announcement time, students were invited to gather at the front of the church. I was very relieved when two other adults joined me, but it turned out they were representing their absent children, rather than taking classes themselves. Still, it helped me not stick out quite as badly since everyone else was elementary through high school age. I attend a small church so the minister had time to ask each of us to tell the congregation what grade we were. I said "Masters of Communication" and was pleased not to have to say anything more.

My book bag is a present from my dear friend Linda who gave it to me several years ago. Like our friendship, this bag has stood the test of time.

Blessing of Backpacks

For our minds and the ability to think and reason;
We thank you, Lord.

For the passion and dedication of all who teach;
We thank you, Lord.

For the gifts of wonder and creativity and the vision to see you, Lord, in things that are new;
We thank you, Lord.

For schools and the opportunity to learn;
We thank you, Lord.

For our friends at school, who share the good times and the hard times with us;
We thank you, Lord.

For our families, for their love and support;
We thank you, Lord.

For computers and calculators and all the other tools that help us learn and explore;
We thank you, Lord.

For words and stories and ideas and the chance to share them with others;
We thank you, Lord.

For music and art and drama and joy;
We thank you, Lord.

For games and times of recreation and renewal;
We thank you, Lord.

For all those people who help us learn and all those whom we are able to help;
We thank you, Lord.

For our own unique gifts and talents and the opportunity to use them in your service;
We thank you, Lord.

God of power and hope, we pray your blessing upon these backpacks, on the students who carry tham and on all students and teachers everywhere. Bless us all in our vocation as learners, in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Renaissance Faire - part 4

Watching the jousting was the most fun part of the faire, so I have saved the best for last. We saw two jousting shows, the first a prelude to the second. Before that, at the same arena, we saw a falconry demonstration. The first two photos show the falconer's helper bringing the birds around for the audience to see. I tried taking a photo of the falconer in action but at that moment the bird flew in front of his face!

Photos of the jousting:
Our champion for the first show. 
Alas, he was not the winner.

This lady was the emcee for the jousting events.

Our champion for the second round of jousting.

Our champion prepares for battle.

Our champion who was declared "Champion of
Champions" and winner of the joust to the death.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Renaissance Faire - part 3

I think the Renaissance Faire is deaf friendly entertainment because there is so much visual spectacle to enjoy. I was unable to hear the stage performers completely and missed some of the jokes, but there was plenty for my eyes to feast on and keep my mind busy. This post includes a short video I made from the faire as well as a few photos of possible deaf interest - wax hands for sale and a sign for a drum shop.

Renaissance Faire - part 2

The Faire featured a sense of humor as seen in the photos below:

Tomato throwing at a victim
who would hurl taunting insults back.

Wall humor

Would you hire this motley crew?

Artistry was everywhere as demonstrated in these photos:


Wind chimes made from silver
spoons, tea pots, and butter dishes

Samples of blown glass

Renaissance Faire - part 1

My husband Rob and I have been talking about going to this festival for a long time. After twenty-two years together, we made it there this weekend as part of an ALDA Chicago outing I organized. I hope you enjoy looking at these pictures half as much as I enjoyed taking them.

Time travellers Sarah and Rob at the Faire

Many of the attendees wore elaborate
costumes like this couple.

Maypole dancing

RenFaire singers

Decorative keys that caught my eye

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

It's a LOUD, LOUD, LOUD, LOUD World with hearing aids

I came across an excellent article that describes how LOUD the world is with hearing aids. It was written by Katherine Bouton, a former editor at The New York Times and the author of the forthcoming book “Shouting Won’t Help: Why I — and 50 Million Other Americans — Can’t Hear You.”
If you have a hearing aid, the world is, paradoxically, far noisier than it is for a person with normal hearing. The human ear is a miraculous thing. It can filter out the roar at Madison Square Garden while homing in on the voice of the person in the next seat. A hearing aid can’t do that. 
In a noisy environment like a restaurant, a person with normal hearing will still be able to hear his companion. But in that same environment, a hearing-impaired person will hear chairs scraping, dishes clanking, waiters shouting, all of it bouncing off the high ceilings, the bare walls, the chic metallic tables and chairs — an anxiety-provoking wall of noise.
Read the complete article online here.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Update: Tyler's Journey of Hope

Hi everyone,
Tyler has given me permission to share the following with you.
[For anyone who missed it, I wrote about his ambitious plans for this summer here.]

60 days. 4,000 miles. 11 states. It is done. I have honored your support for my participation in the Journey of Hope from Long Beach, CA to Washington, DC. Without your support, this life changing experience would have been impossible.

The most extraordinary aspect of my experience was not related to cycling. Instead, it was meeting people at Friendship Visits like Tim, Valerie, Jeremy, Hayden, and many others. Some of these people were paraplegic cyclists, cheerleaders with prosthetic limbs, and wheelchair basketball athletes. I thought I could inspire people with disabilities from my experience as a deaf person. On the contrary, they inspired me instead in innumerable ways difficult to express in words.

Journey of Hope is also equally a life changing experience for people with disabilities. Each cyclist has fundraised at least $5,500 and, at the completion of the Journey of Hope, altogether fundraised over $800,000 for people with disabilities. Each penny of your donation has been accounted for this grand total. You, along with other sponsors, have helped me to fundraise $5,505 for Push America and thus made my participation possible in Journey of Hope. It is YOU – not me – who have made a difference in the lives of people with disabilities. I sincerely hope I have made you proud of your contribution to Journey of Hope, Push America, and an experience that changed my life.

Thank you so much.
Tyler Swob

I am so very proud of Tyler. To learn more about Push America's Journey of Hope program, please visit their website.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Getting Ready for School to Begin

Look at this cute notebook I found at Walmart's when I was shopping for school supplies with my son. I couldn't resist a puppy who looked like Blondie, wearing glasses and napping on a pile of books. I figured since I am going back to school myself, I could buy it as a treat.
My class will be starting soon. I've received both my textbooks in the mail. I bought them used online from Amazon at a significant savings.
Next week I'm going to meet with my professor to talk about the discussion portion of the class. I was surprised, when I emailed him, how difficult it was to admit that I have a hearing loss. I decided it was important to be up front about it because I don't want to have my professor lower his expectations of me. If I don't understand something, it may be my hearing to blame rather than my intellect or a lack of interest.
I hope we can figure out a way for me to signal him if I need a repeat of something I missed. I don't want to slow the group discussion down, but if I'm going to be judged on how much I participate, I need to be able to keep up with the others. Naturally, I hope this will just be an occasional need. If it turns out otherwise, I may have to request accommodations. For now, I want to see how I do first. One thing I know is that after each class, I'm going to be as pooped out as that puppy on the notebook from all the listening.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

One of My Favorite Authors Died Today

When I saw the name of one of my favorite authors, Maeve Binchy, trending on Yahoo this afternoon, naturally I clicked. But I was sad to learn that she wasn't announcing a new book. Instead, she had died today. There would be no more new Maeve Binchy novels to come.

I first read Maeve Binchy when I was assigned to lead a book discussion on Firefly Summer as a newly minted librarian in 1989. I enjoyed the novel set in Ireland and the experience of talking about it with others and got hooked on both Maeve Binchy and book talks. I went on to read nearly all her books in the years to come. My favorites are The Lilac Bus, Silver Wedding, Evening Class, Scarlet Feather, and Quentins. I especially enjoyed the novels which featured characters that had appeared in her other stories.

If you're a fan of Maeve Binchy, which are your favorites? If you've never heard of Maeve Binchy, please take a moment to watch the short video below and get acquainted.

[captioning option is transcribed English, imperfectly transcribed]

Maeve Binchy, 1940-2012
She'll be missed by readers all around the globe.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Show Us the Captions - this November

During the month of November 2012, people with hearing loss and deafness, along with their friends and families, will be asking theaters to demonstrate accessibility, when they go to the movies as part of the “Show Us the Captions!” advocacy campaign.

Theaters can provide captioning either through showing open caption films where all seats in the theater have access or by distributing individual captioning devices with access limited to the number of devices available.

Sponsored by Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning, this campaign is intended to
  • Promote captioning to potential movie goers who don’t know their theater has it.
  • Demonstrate the real need for captioning to theater owners.
  • Raise awareness of inclusion and accessibility issues to the general public.
  • Show appreciation to the cinemas that provide access via captioning.

The Association for Late Deafened Adults, Chicago chapter, is spearheading the campaign and hosting their own event on November 17, 2012. All organizations and interested people are invited to join them in planning their own events. Talk to your local cinema now, rally friends and neighbors, select a date, and begin to get the word out soon.

Regular readers may recall that I wrote about this idea last month. Since that time, I've been busy working to make it a reality. First I created the graphic above and posted the idea on the CCAC members' forum. I'm happy to say the reaction there was very positive. Lauren Storck, the founder of CCAC, decided to take the campaign on as a Captioning Advocacy Project (CAP) for the organization. With their backing, I have been able to spread the idea even further.

To help other groups participate, I created a Facebook site and posted the following tips for event coordinators:
  1. Choose a theater near you that offers some form of captioning.
  2. Choose a date in November for your event.
  3. Ask friends, family, and coworkers NOW to save that date to join you and others with hearing loss at the movies.
  4. Contact the theater’s manager
    • to explain that your group will be coming on that day,
    • find out how far in advance the movie show times for that day will be available,
    • and if the theater uses a closed captioning system, check to make sure enough devices will be available.
  5. Announce the event to your local hearing loss support group so they can invite their family and friends, and coworkers and help you spread the word.
  6. Post the date and location of your event on Facebook at so we can promote it.
  7. Follow up with your group once the movie schedule is available to finalize your plans.
  8. Follow up with the theater manager when you have a good idea of how many will be coming and how many will be using the captioning.
  9. Let us know on Facebook if you have any questions.

Then I got started setting up Chicago's event. I've been in contact with two Marcus Theaters so far. One location has 10 CaptiView devices and the other has 6 plus the offer to get more if they are needed. I still need volunteers. Two of mine were unable to help after all, but another person has stepped up, thankfully. I will keep you informed as this project progresses. If any of you want to join in and arrange a Show Us the Captions event in your area, that would be great.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Christmas in July

I visited my favorite public library the other day to return some books. I noticed one of the library staff speaking to me from across the way, but I couldn't make out what she was saying. I walked over to her and rather unexpectedly, she said "I thought Santa had come in." I looked at her blankly. She saw my puzzlement and added, "because of all the jingling." I looked down at the key ring dangling in my hand and mumbled, "I'm hard of hearing and didn't realize..." I wanted to drop through the floor from embarrassment. The library lady shrugged it off and said it was a nice sound.

Have you ever been caught in a similar embarrassing situation because you could not hear a sound? If so, please share in the comments. I promise not to laugh (ho, ho, ho).

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Power of Communication

Is there a book for every problem?

As a librarian, naturally I turn to books for help. Currently on my night stand are How to Talk So Teens Will Listen & Listen So Teens Will Talk, Staying Connected to Your Teenager, and Wonderful Ways to Love a Teen ... even when it seems impossible. Need I say more?

Librarian to Hit the Books Again

Recently I decided to apply to grad school to study communication. I became inspired to do this after reading Bruno Kahne's Lessons of Silence. In this article, he describes his approach to training corporate executives to communicate more effectively. His unique method is to employ people who are deaf as the trainers. They do not teach sign language; instead they demonstrate deaf cultural behaviors that allow them to communicate effectively. I realized then the significance of the behavioral changes I have made and continue to make as I face communication challenges on a daily basis. I began to consider how experiencing hearing loss made me become a more attentive and strategic listener. I wondered if anyone besides Kahne had studied this and thought I would like to do that type of research.

But mainly, I want to further my knowledge of communication and hone my writing and speaking skills so I can be more effective as an advocate for people with hearing loss.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Stay Cool

Blondie keeping cool 

With temperatures soaring, nothing beats an afternoon nap in front of the fan. This picture was taken in our basement which stays naturally cool. With a fan running, it feels just like air conditioning.

How are you staying cool?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July

Protect your hearing this holiday and enjoy this accessible version of Katy Perry's "Firework" done in kinetic typography.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Not Quite Sign, But Fun to Watch

This post could also be titled "How did I miss these?" Apparently these three videos have been out on the internet for some time, but I only stumbled on them last weekend.  In case you missed them too, I wanted to share them.

This first video is a clip from a Spin City episode in which a temp, who claims to know sign language but actually doesn't, stands in as an interpreter for the Mayor's televised address. He improvises and the outcome is hilarious. It reminded me of this comedy clip I posted previously of Helen Marsh "translating" into seven languages.

Unfortunately this video is unavailable with captions.

This second video features JayFunk finger tutting. There are no words to this video, simply techno music playing, and the amazing choreography of creative fingers and visual effects.

This third video doesn't relate to sign at all, but I'm including it with the others because it reminded me of captioning. The technique used for these song lyrics is called kinetic typography.

Warning: Since listening to it on the weekend, I've had this song stuck in my head. As you may know already, the only way to fix that is to pass it along to somebody else's inner soundtrack. All kidding aside, this is a fun song for summer. Hope you enjoy!


My Jury Duty Summons Experience

Last spring I received a notice in the mail for jury duty. On the form it said I was a standby juror. That meant I wouldn't know for sure if I would be needed until the day before. How that works is you call in to a recording which tells you if you are needed. The last time I had a standby juror notice, I didn't have to go. This time I noticed the form provided contact information to let them know if I would need an accommodation. I sent an email requesting CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) service. They responded by giving me an extension so they would have time to make the arrangements. That was fine with me.

My next notice that came in the mail was an actual jury duty summons - nothing standby about it at all. Again I was instructed to contact the Jury Administration Office concerning accommodations. Once more, I emailed them requesting CART.

On my summons date, I went to the courthouse. When I checked in, I mentioned that I had requested help because I don't hear well. The woman assisting me went to check about it. When she returned, she told me to go ahead and take a seat as I wouldn't need help in this room. She gave me a panel number and a name tag sticker identifying me as a juror. She said that if my panel number got called to go into a courtroom, I was to let the deputy in the courtroom know and he would handle it. I really appreciated that she faced me and spoke distinctly when she told me this.

I took my seat in this very large room that was similar to an airport gate waiting area. After a while, a video was played on large TV screens located around the room. I was very relieved to see that the video was captioned in large type. The video explained everything we needed to know about jury service. Then it was back to waiting. I had brought snacks, a water bottle, and reading material so I didn't mind. After a little longer, panel numbers began to be called. The numbers were announced on a microphone which I was able to hear. My number wasn't called.

An hour later, an announcement was made that we would be dismissed. No more jurors were needed that day. We lined up at a counter according to our last names and received checks for our jury service.

To be honest, I was kind of relieved that it turned out that way. I knew I did the right thing by showing up and by requesting accommodations, but I was still concerned about how I would be able to hear during jury deliberations. I hoped a CART provider would be allowed in the room with me, but I wasn't absolutely sure.

I recently read an article on the Limping Chicken website about a deaf woman in England who was rejected for jury duty because of her deafness. I am glad that here in America, I was given a chance to participate.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A summer day camp for deaf/hard of hearing kids

I took this photo when I went to Goshen for the quilt garden tour.

For the first time in their ministry, College Mennonite Church of Goshen, Indiana is hosting a day camp this summer for deaf and hard of hearing children. In a newspaper interview, camp organizers explained that for most of the 16 children attending, "this camp means more than having fun and games. It means being able to fully communicate with other kids during rounds of "duck, duck, goose" or freeze tag and watching a TV show where the characters use their language." The camp is conducted mostly in American Sign Language and the television show referred to is Dr. Wonder's Workshop. The organizers' aim is for the children "to have complete access to what's going using a visual language."

I think that's wonderful and wish the children a happy, safe time making new friendships and learning new things together.

You can read the complete newspaper article here on the Elkhart Truth website. Thanks very much to the terrific person who clipped it and sent it to me in the mail.