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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Deaf Group Outing to Cantigny Park

On Saturday, I went to Cantigny Park with ALDA Chicago. This was an important day for me because it was my last event as Social Chair for the group. I found I still have more to learn about deaf awareness and creating accessible events.

At the Visitors Center we viewed a captioned film. The captions were standard - we did not have to make a special request for this. When we went to the McCormick Museum, we also viewed a captioned film. I learned a great deal about the McCormick family and their influence in Chicago. So far, so good. Unfortunately, when we began our guided tour through the mansion, I discovered that the available lighting was limited. This was in keeping with the practice of the day when the house was occupied. The low lighting may have helped with ambience, but it made lipreading the guide quite difficult. I was dismayed to see several of my friends unable to follow the tour guide's speech. At the start of the tour, we were given a brochure on the home, but it had little of the information covered in the guide's narration. What our group needed was a copy of the script. I don't know whether we would have been given a copy or not (I have had the request denied before), but I wish I had thought to ask.

After that bit, the rest of the day went well even with overcast skies and a little rain. The gardens were beautiful and relaxing to explore. The First Division Museum was very informative on the soldiers' experiences in World War I.

We had lunch at the restaurant on site, appropriately named Le Jardin (the garden in French). This was a wonderful time of socializing. I think we would have liked to stay at the table forever. There were 17 of us speaking, signing, repeating, and writing - whatever was needed to communicate. This part of the day reminded me of the best of my time as ALDA Chicago Social Chair. It was gratifying to be part of making this type of social interaction possible. In future, I will look forward to participating in such events without having the management aspect.

If you would like to see additional photos from my day at Cantigny Park, you can see them on Flickr.


Anonymous said...

Photos great and looks interesting. Looks a place I would enjoy.

Xpressive Handz said...

It's not easy figuring out all the accessible places to go. You offered a variety, and while the outings are great, sometimes experiencing them together and the support of being together can outweigh those moments that appear imperfect. I'm quite certain you served your chapter well in the role. :-)

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Thanks, Xpressive Handz, for your kind words. My intent was always that by being out in public together, our group would raise awareness wherever we went, and we would feel more comfortable requesting accommodation as a group than we would on our own as an individual. I also hoped to help overcome the social isolation many hard of hearing/deaf people feel. When I finish my schooling, perhaps I can get back to this type of advocacy.