Tag: hearing loss

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Happy Deaf Awareness Month!

Hello Everyone!

Here are some things that you can do to help spread Deaf Awareness at your campus, in your department, in your school, classroom, community and beyond. This post has context. Im a Deaf and Hard of Hearing college professor teaching here in CUNY. This post is about representation, advocacy and awareness.

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month

This month you can help spread awareness about Deaf culture, what it means to be Deaf & Hard of Hearing (HofH) and experiencing the various spectrums of hearing loss. You can get involved and be proactive, here are a few ways to take-action, and by all means, SHARE THIS WIDELY!

What is it like to Deaf? Check out this video!

Understanding comes through Awareness, lets dig in: even awareness takes practice!

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month - finger-spelling the word: practice

1. Learning, Sharing and Informing your Family, Friends, Colleagues and Students:

First, spread the word by sharing this post! Simply talking about Deaf Awareness Month is a great start. Let other people know by reaching out. This can easily take place in a department meeting, in the classroom, via a group e-mail or by creating an event or meet up to discuss. In your department, reach out to the Human Resources office and ask about the resources your campus offers. This may mean connecting to a specific person in charge or the office of accessibility / disabilities on or off the premises. If there aren’t any current resources, (and sadly, there may not be) then it is time to create them! Let this post be a guide and a starting point. Again, awareness is everything!

 

an ASL GIF animation for the word "Inspired"
via – https://giphy.com/signwithrobert/

Obviously, the Internet is filled with tons of resources, here are a few to help get you started and inspired!:

NAD https://www.nad.org/

American Deaf Culture

Deaf Culture – Wiki

Sign Language – Wiki

What Does it Mean to Be Deaf/ Hard of Hearing?

 

Lets learn a bit of ASL Historyhere is a great short video to help introduce you:

 

A bit more on ASL history can be found here:

https://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-layout/history1.htm

https://www.handspeak.com/culture/index.php?id=86

 

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month with a NYC subway train loop

(translation – the subway cars above read: “Deaf Awareness Month Graffiti”)

 

the american sign language alphabet - fingerspelling and hand shape chart

1. Learn A Sign Language: It’s time to learn a sign language! Here in the USA we use ASL, also known as American Sign Language. ASL is beautiful! It is an official foreign language. Even learning the basics of fingerspelling and the ASL alphabet goes a very long way. I’m a big fan of smartphone applications like: The ASL App

Dr. Bill Vicars has a great website and his YouTube channel is a great place to start learning ASL! I love Handspeak.com and Giphy also has a great search archive of various ASL teachers and personalities here

Gallaudet University also has a great free online course here.

There are a lot of options! Choose one and get started!

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month -finger spelling the word- brooklyn

Above: Now you know how to finger-spell ” BROOKLYN” in the American Sign Language Alphabet 🙂

 

For those of you here in NYC (and beyond as remote classes are now fully in place) I highly recommend taking classes at the Sign Language Center – they are so wonderful! I am a student there and cant say enough about how great they are!

Several CUNY colleges (and private colleges) also offer ASL classes at the beginner level (did you know that?) Take a peek at your college’s course catalog or do a search for ASL / the name of your college, online.

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month

3. Join or Create a Sign Language Group: All colleges and university campuses have an allotted “club-hours” time each week for clubs on campus (and now remotely as many of us work, teach and attend classes from home.) Does your campus already have a Sign Language group or club? Inquire! If not, perhaps you can use the club-hours time to form an ASL club and practice learning Sign Language together. Learning with a friend or a group of people is a great way to inspire, encourage and motivate each other.

 

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month

4. Support! Reach out to your local Deaf & Hard of Hearing Communities: This means, People, Businesses, Organizations and Groups! Once again, by reaching out to your campus HR dept. and or office of disabilities / accessibility and make an inquiry about how to get involved and who the contact names are for various groups, communities, events and businesses. Reach out!

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month

5. Creativity – Go on and Create Something to Express Yourself: I made most of the animations in this post specifically for Deaf Awareness Month. You can get creative too! This can be done individually or in your classroom, it can be done with your department and fellow faculty members, administrators and staff. Collaborate! Make a sign, make a flyer, make a poster or a digital illustration. Hang them up around your department offices and in your classrooms online and offline. Get creative! Im going to be launching a multi-campus wide project soon to bring further awareness, I will be reaching out to YOU!

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month

6. Closed Captions, Accessibility & Inclusion –  (THIS MEANS YOU!) – It is time to caption your videos and video meetings, yes, all of them! Its long overdue, its time to be inclusive and to provide accessibility for all. From now on, use ONLY a video conferencing application that has live and real time captions. Record your videos with captioning and make transcriptions available.There are so many platforms available today that work really well, they all provide transcripts and or the ability to record the video with captions. Zoom & REV, Google Meet, Skype, & MS Teams are just a few to name. This is the perfect month to take action and make the necessary changes, updates and adaptations so that all communication is inclusive and accessible. As a college professor teaching all of my courses remotely this semester, I have been using Zoom with the REV add-on for live and real time captions (I am 100% dependent on captions). I find that these two tools together work best for me and my disability. The captioning is fast and consistent while Zoom gives me the ability to see all of my students and select how I want to see the speaker/speakers in a full composite meeting. Yes, I lip and speech read! When I record my classes, I automatically record the captions and also produce an audio and text transcription.

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month

Contact me! Want to learn more, chat, connect and create some kind of an awareness based creative project with your students, class or faculty members? I’m here to help! e-mail here – rseslow@york.cuny.edu

The More I Missed, The More I Made..

The More I Missed, The More I Made..

I am overcoming a lot of my fears by directly putting myself in public positions to have to talk about how hearing loss and being deaf has affected my life. As a college professor (yep, for 14.5 years now) I have to be in front of a lot people each and everyday. I have to be more direct with my students and colleagues by telling them how I feel and what I need from them. By being honest about who I am and what I am missing, the feelings of compassion and empathy become mutual. This helps both parties make an emotional connection that I feel is necessary in education. (I believe this will play a huge role in the future of education.) Often I have to ask people to repeat themselves, or to speak slower, or louder. I answer incorrectly to questions often and everyone laughs or looks at me with a priceless look of confusion. These two things always make me laugh as it always creates a connection and reminds me to take myself lighter. Almost as if, that is where I begin to know someone, because they would now know me as I am. I need to be more honest and forward about why. It is my responsibility to make people aware of what and how much I am missing. It is natural to seek deeper meaning out of yourself and how that applies to the world around you. This is how we grow, through self-discovery as we interpret ourselves in relationship to our time here on this planet. However, I have learned the hard way that it can slip away all too fast if we are hiding from ourselves. Hiding seems to perpetuate more hiding. I often wonder how many other people with sever hear loss and deafness are out there doing what I used to do?

As an artist, I have had an epiphany about my work recently throughout this healing and fear facing process (and I continue to do so). Maybe you are already familiar with my work but most likely not. I have been a high volume output kind of artist for my whole life. Always making many many things at once in an immediate sort of way. Volume and production, productions in volumes and accumulation. Ah what a metaphor, right under my nose no less! By connecting my physical limitations of hearing to the question, “Why do I make so much stuff?” “Why have I put the emphasis on physical output and high volumes of works produced?” It’s about filling in the fear and deficit of how much I have been missing and have missed in this world. Overcompensation. I was missing a lot from early childhood, and as time went on, the more I was not hearing the more art I would make. Production and Volume = Missing. The funny part is, most of the art that I make and have made is not dark or representative of frustration as a whole. It does not communicate unhappiness, but I do see a huge common thread of a lack of meaning in some of these pre-hearing and deafness aware bodies of work. The context has changed and this plays a huge role in the kind of work that I greatly need and want to produce. I will work on understanding where the new works will best be displayed and presented. The best is really yet to come.

The animations above continue to explore the soundless looping GIF format. These pieces begin as digital image fractures and manipulations. They are re-composed and organized as new imagery and content. How does that process play a role in communication? Missing 5-8 words in any sentence can have a profound effect on how one may respond, comprehend or take away from an interaction. What does this look like when that actual missing fragment(s) takes place? Repetition is used to display the distortions and metaphors for how this experience may be interpreted visually. If you are a hearing person viewing these animations you may be “missing” the usual audio aspect to the videos you see, watch and hear each day.