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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

That Girl

Unlike Marlo Thomas, I don't like being That Girl. Although for me That Girl doesn't refer to being a single woman/aspiring actress who wears gorgeous clothes and has the perfect boyfriend. No, in my case it refers to "that" girl - you know, the one who asks for special accommodations.

This week a new semester is starting and yesterday I met with my professor. I had to talk to her about a problem I saw with one of the assignments. According to the syllabus, for one of our class sessions, we would be watching a movie and then writing a reaction paper to it. My problem was that the movie is a "classic" and unavailable with captions.

After last semester's class experience of watching a required film with no captions, I was not going to waste two hours of my life again. So, I took a proactive approach and looked for a copy with captions. Thanks to the abundance of libraries in my area, I got my hands on three different DVD releases of the film. They were all marked CC - closed captioned - either in the catalog records or on the DVD boxes. But to my disappointment, it wasn't true. Yes, they had subtitles for the film, but only in Spanish and French, not in English. That is not the same as CC!

Well, I gave it the old college try by watching the film at home with the volume turned up. I'll admit that I got the general idea of the movie and understand why the professor picked this powerful film for our class; but many of the conversational moments passed me by. Luckily, the next day I found an English captioned version on YouTube. You may have noticed that I haven't mentioned the title of the film. That's because I don't want the person who uploaded it to YouTube to get into any trouble! What they did was incredibly helpful. I watched the film online and saw how much I had missed without being able to "read" the dialogue.

Yesterday, I shared my experience with my teacher and asked permission to be excused from the class the evening the film would be shown. She was completely understanding and gave approval without hesitation. Of course, I will be submitting the required reaction paper. I then asked my usual questions about how many will be in the class and how the room will be arranged. I found out there will be 30 students and we will be sitting at tables placed as a rectangle so we can all face each other. She told me to be sure and let her know if I had any difficulty hearing and keeping up with the discussions.

Although I hate being different and having to call attention to it, I find it's necessary if I want to succeed. I hope that by doing this, it will raise my teachers' disability awareness and make it easier on future students with hearing loss.

1 comment:

Xpressive Handz said...

Good for you, Sarah! Some time in the future, there may be another student like you in this teacher's class. Both of them will be so grateful for the experience "That Girl", YOU brought by "Speaking Up".