Monday, September 23, 2013

Deaf Expo Asking visitors Driver License!

Yesterday, I went to Deaf Nation Expo which was held at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York. It was my first time going to the Deaf expo. When I arrived they asked me to show an  ID, and I gave them my University ID. To my surprise, they demanded that I show my drivers license with an address, otherwise, I would not be able to go in. I asked why they would  need to write down my address and my drivers license?  Moreover, the person asked for my email, but I did not give it to them because I did not want to get advertisements and promotional  emails.

A drivers license is a sensitive and personal piece of information. They do not have the right to collect people’s personal information since this is just an expo not a bank where people  obtain credit cards.  According to their website, “DeafNation provides exhibitions and entertainment around the United States at no charge to the public” Their mission is good and it promotes Deaf culture, however, there should not be restrictions regarding who can attend the expo and excessive demands for identification.

I am concerned about deaf expo motives regarding their request for a drivers license. I wonder if they collect people’s information, and sell it?  On their website, deafnation claims “We are a trusted one-stop center for deaf and hard of hearing,” but honestly, I do not trust them now.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My Attempt to Understand BSL

Getting lost in a deaf conversation when you are deaf is definitely not funny!. Tonight, I was at deaf meeting in Brighton, England. It was my first time that I go to such meeting. Since I came in the UK a week ago, I did not have much opportunity to meet with the local deaf. I was excited about going to the meeting tonight and I was hoping I would be able to understand them; because  I thought, it should be easy to understand BSL since English is their  main language . However, I have realized that American sign language which I use  and British sign language are very different. For instance, some ASL signs are driven from written language like “Family” where you sign both hands together with F. But in the BSL, they have different signs. Both hands are used for finger spelling in the BSL and most of it, you can not relate to spoken words;  while ASL you only use one hand and a lot of words can be related to spoken language.  

After arriving at the meeting, I met few people and I was introduced to the meeting leader who knew some American  sign language. I was able to have some chat with him. However, the presenters and most of the meeting attendees were using British sign language. So, here, I have gotten lost in a deaf meeting. The good thing is that, I was with my professor who knew ASL  who interpreted for me  because there were BSL speech interpreter. I hope I will be able to learn some BSL while I am  in England. I just learned how spell my name in BSL :).

Friday, May 31, 2013

Nodding Your Head to Pretend You Understood

One  miscommunication experience that is common for deaf and hard of hearing persons   is nodding their head to  pretend they understand something where they didn't in order  to avoid embarrassment or fail to  carry on a conversation without making anyone uncomfortable. However, sometimes, we nod our head  which the person who is talking to us surprises , because they were expecting us to answer their question not to agree.

I was with my friend talking about some stuff and walking. As a Cochlear Implant user, I heavily depend on lip reading to understand when I am chatting with hearing people. Most of the time, I pretend to understand while I did not , because I might be hoping,  I will understand what they are talking about in their next sentences. Unfortunately,  this does not happen always. My friend was talking to me and asking a question. Instead, of answering his question, I replied oh yeah and nodded my head; he  was surprised and said “ that was a question!” After an awkward moment, I told him I did not  understand what he was saying  and asked if he could repeat?  

This experience is common not only for deaf and hard of hearing but also  hearing people especially those who are learning sign language. This method  of nodding head to keep conversation going, I think could be found in all people who are learning a new language and do not understand it well. But, I believe that higher number of deaf and hard of hearing experience this  compared to their hearing counterparts.