A couple of weeks ago, I volunteered at a Deaf festival. I was put in charge of the kid’s area. Think coloring, simple games and some arts and crafts. I chased balls, I colored in teddy bears, I said goodbye to balls I’d never find again underneath dusty bleachers and I handed out prizes. Mostly, I listened to what the kids had to say–either through signing or verbally. You learn a lot about kids, just by being present.
Towards the end of the day, I started cutting kids off on candy to ensure they still had their teeth at age 20 (and that I still had my sanity at lunch.). Shortly after, the concept of sharing came up…repeatedly. (I really believe kids have a tendency to hoard resources sometimes). At another point in the day, the Saint cut off a Lord of the Flies scenario from emerging with an older group of boys competing at our cornhole station. To top it off, one of the festival booths handed out Frisbees as their giveaway. Hooray. We were indoors, mind you, with hundreds of people milling about. And most of them were focused on signing. What could possibly go wrong?*
At one point an interpreter came up to me and inquired about the Deaf Kid’s Club banner we had proudly hanging up behind our area. The interpreter and I made small talk inbetween me plucking out blue and green crayons for the kid’s masterpieces. The interpreter said something that made my volunteer experience all the more vivid:
“There’s not a lot of opportunities for Deaf kids to get out and play and socialize. This is really wonderful, what you’re doing.”
Something inside of me twinged. It’s 2018, lady. Are you kidding me?
Continue reading “Deaf Culture: Volunteering at a Deaf Festival (Humor/Inclusivity)”
My spouse bought the tickets, got us free glasses of ice water and I scurried off to use the restroom. I sat down in the dark theatre, baffled by the motley collection of previews that ranged from the dramatic yet playful “Avengers” series to an odd, demonic horror movie of uncomfortable supernatural darkness. I was reminded how even though I write horror, most horror I’ve come across I dislike and avoid. More on this later.
I relaxed as the “The Quiet Place” finally began and flashed my husband a grin. I was geeked about this movie, particularly because I could learn more American Sign Language (ASL). As I mentioned previously, I’m attempting to become fluent in ASL and was curious how the language–and maybe even Deaf culture–was incorporated into the film.
“A Quiet Place” is the story of an American family cobbling a bizarre, post-apocalyptic existence while striving not to make the slightest noise. The parents are raising children, one who is a teenaged deaf girl and two younger boys who are hearing. Alien neighbors surround the town and farm where the family scratches out an existence. The aliens are blind, armored predators; they target and kill anything that makes the slightest noise (including unlucky raccoons). The family walks barefoot on sand paths, eats on lettuce plates and plays Monopoly with soft fabric playing pieces. They cannot cry loudly and struggle with expressing (and suppressing) their emotions. The parents whisper hoarsely to their kids and use ASL to communicate and teach their children how to survive.
I made it through about 40 minutes of the 90 minute film before leaving. Hats off to Mr. John Krasinski, the director, for the movie’s unique power. I walked out of the theatre, afraid to make any noise in case an alien was hiding around the corner ready to ambush me. I blared my Pandora station with courage at home and proceeded to clean my house–until 2 in the morning.
Continue reading “A Partial Movie Review & Thoughts on the Horror Genre: “The Quiet Place””
This little cowgirl is starting to volunteer at a local Deaf resource center. I have a high goal (as we INTJs do) to become fluent in American Sign Language (ASL). I took a year of ASL classes in college and continued learning through online resources. Today, I took a giant step and started interacting with the local Deaf community. I volunteered to assist with an Easter celebration and watched Deaf and Hard of Hearing (HOH) children run happily amok. Some Children of Deaf Adults (CODAs) attended, along with hearing parents and siblings. I was in bliss as we dyed eggs, held egg relays, saw eggs crack, tossed eggs, decorated eggs and hunted for eggs. I definitely learned the sign for eggs. ASL is like magic to me–I’m transfixed by it always. It’s a beautiful language.
Then a deaf woman began signing to me. We had a brief conversation and I understood most of it, enough to get the jist. Joy and rapture— I was learning! I was contributing to society and children hunted eggs happily around me, safe and secure. Then the sweet woman asked me a question: “Would you interpret for me and ask a question about that baby?”
I think I may have peed a little.
Continue reading “Deaf Culture & Volunteering: An INTJ Story”
The American Sign Language (ASL) sign for addiction is bending your pointer finger into a hook and tugging at the side of your mouth.* In effect, it’s a wry way of saying “you’re hooked.” Deaf culture–and its humor–amaze me and I can’t help but smile back. I do appreciate its bluntness.
I support families and individuals behind the scenes who deal with addiction, among other things. I help children reunify with their families, parents reunify with their kids. I help with high level administrative work, low level trench work and all the inbetween mundane tasks. The families and children will never meet me, will never know the battles I fight for them over funding or what I do to make sure they receive second chances. I prefer it that way. If I could blend into the very wallpaper I would, especially if it helped lessen distraction. Just let me work and throw me a cookie every so often; others can do the touchy feely. Am I right, INTJs?
Continue reading “Addiction & Humility in Incomprehension”
I think it’s telling that when I type the word “disabilism” within WordPress’ platform, the word is automatically assigned a red squiggly underbelly. This mark of doom gives me pause that I mistyped the term, but a quick Google search verifies my spelling. Oxford Reference defines disabilism as “Discriminating against people because they have or are perceived to have an impairment.” In other words, disability discrimination. I’m throwing myself onto the sword: I didn’t know disabilism was a word. I know some disability history and am aware of general laws and governmental support for those with disabilities, at least in America. But clearly I do not know enough to recognize the simple –ism summarizing this ugly arena of human behavior.
All my life I’ve lived with, besides or around disabled people. How then did I not know this word? Continue reading “Disabilism: A Word I Didn’t Know”