Last Saturday was my workshop. I had a great turnout with 19 people attending. My target audience was hearing people and eight of my attendees were friends and family members of people with hearing loss. Because CART captioning was provided their loved ones with hearing loss could attend with them. Many were affiliated with ALDA Chicago.
I began by demonstrating what different types of hearing losses sound like through video and audio clips. In their training workbooks, I provided them with a chart that illustrated the four levels of hearing loss (mild, moderate, severe, and profound). One of the activities was for them to figure out what was being said by listening through "deaf ears". None were able to do it successfully. I think they were a little surprised to experience the listening challenges of hearing loss for themselves.
Then, I discussed three important proactive behaviors that speakers can do when a listener has hearing loss: to get the listener's attention before speaking, to face the listener the entire time, and to check for understanding. Short video clips that showed these experiences from a person with hearing loss' perspective were used to demonstrate the importance of these speaker behaviors. Then we did a simultaneous small group role play activity to reinforce this learning.
Next, we talked about the bane of background noise. To figure out solutions, we played a game of "Family Feud". The answers were based on the survey responses I had received during my front end analysis before designing the workshop's content. I had created a game board using poster board with Velcro strips so I could attach the answers as they were given. Just as in the TV game show, the answers weren't necessarily "right" but rather the ones provided through the survey. This gave the workshop participants an opportunity to think of their own answers too which I wrote down.
Finally we talked about what to do if a misunderstanding occurs. There is so much more that could be covered on the topic of hearing loss and communication, but I was limited to a one hour time frame so I stuck to the basics. I really appreciated the questions and comments I received from my target audience which gave me better insight into their communication concerns.
In this photo, you can see the CART captioner's laptop, the CART projection screen, and an open captioned video playing. Hooray for communication access through captions! When one of the attendees mentioned the background HVAC noise present, I replied that we had compensated for it by providing CART captioning for the session.
I received positive feedback from the attendees. Many of them have been watching me grow and learn over my years of involvement with ALDA Chicago. I was really honored that they chose to support me in this endeavor. My next assignment is to create a video describing my training project from start to finish.