A Great Season with Disappointing Ending.

By David Bass, Staff Writer

I know this blog is not related to our services but it’s a nice break to have something different once in awhile.

As we gather together at restaurants, pubs, friend’s home, and our own home to watch last night’s (Wednesday, 14 October 2015) Postseason baseball playoff game between the Houston Astros and the Kansas City Royals. We were disappointed with the result of Game 4 the other day and it was the last chance for Astros to win Game 5 or go home. Unfortunately, we lost the critical game. It was a great and exciting season for the Astros after having terrible losing seasons in the last few years, having lost more than 100 games three seasons straight before finally breaking the 100 losses last season. This year is the first winning season since 2008. It was great year for the Astros but it is far from perfect. Everything went well until Astros outfielder, George Springer, got hit by pitch on his left wrist that forced him to go on disabled list for about two and a half months. After that, things went south. Several problems came up, especially the road woes. Jose Altuve, rookie Carlos Correa, and Springer are the most constant batters on the team but with Springer out for two months and a half, things slowly went down because it was not enough constant batters on the lineups, and the Astros ended up in second place. Fortunately, Astros managed to grab the Wild Card spot and played in playoff against KC Royals for American League Division Series (ALDS). Also, Astros did not have enough strong and constant relief pitchers on the roster. From what I have observed over the season that the Astros did not have enough constant batters and relief pitchers to help them maintain high in first place throughout the year as it was too close for my comfort. In my humble opinion, the Astros would need to add or trade for stronger constant batters and relief pitchers during the off-season and hopefully, would have better chance to go all the way next year.


Tips for Communicating with Employees with hearing loss

Tips for Communicating with Employees who are Deaf/Partially deaf
By Christina Goebel

The National Technical Institute for the Deaf has published a booklet, “Tips for Communicating with Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Employees”
(http://www.ntid.rit.edu/nce/employers/tips-comm-deaf-hoh-employees ). Some of the strategies in the booklet include:
• facilitating lip reading by pronouncing words more clearly,
• having the individual with deafness or hearing loss sitting next to the primary speaker at meetings
• having one person speak at a time during meetings, and
• communicating messages such as announcements directly to the individual.
The institute also lists a plan for integration into the workplace, beginning with pre-employment and extending to on the job supports (http://www.ntid.rit.edu/nce/employers/working-with-deaf ). Some pre-employment tips include: providing written literature about the company and the meeting itinerary prior to the meeting, while orientation activities include hiring an interpreter during the first day and providing captioned videos. Ask new employees which communication methods they prefer, since there are a variety of communication styles used by people with deafness or hearing loss.

On the job suggestions include:
• asking the person how to get their attention,
• using visual cues,
• assigning buddies for emergency situations,
• using written communication or texts during emergencies, and
• making sure employees with deafness and hearing loss are included in conversations, breaks, and social events.
Phones that allow for using sign language or captioning exist and many are provided free-of-charge to individuals with deafness or hearing loss. If you notice your employee is struggling with telecommunications, you may find resources to share with them. If your employee uses sign language, they may already have a telecommunications service they use. If not, here is a list of service providers for Internet and Video Relay service providers (https://www.puc.texas.gov/relaytexas/relay/InternetVideo.aspx ). Some employees, generally those who speak, might prefer having someone to type what speakers say, and they might use some of these free captioning telephones (http://www.agbell.org/Document.aspx?id=1691 ).
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Job Accommodation Network, or JAN, provides extensive information and resources regarding communicating with employees (http://askjan.org/media/Hearing.html ). One of JAN’s most useful resources is their free, live assistance. You can post questions with JAN consultants at this link (http://askjan.org/JANonDemand.htm ) or call them at (800)526-7234(800)526-7234 FREE (Voice) or (877)781-9403(877)781-9403 FREE (TTY).
While most of the responsibility for communication is often placed upon the individual with deafness or hearing loss, don’t let that stop your employees from learning sign language via YouTube, website, or popular apps (http://mashable.com/2014/04/21/how-to-sign/#wNhbOov6wZk ) or by texting, emailing, instant messaging, or handwriting notes, depending on the needs of your employee. These alternative methods of communication are helpful when environments are loud or during emergencies. When all employees take active part in ensuring effective communication, everyone wins.

Audiology Awareness Month

Audiology Awareness Month
By Christina Goebel

Audiology Awareness Month is celebrated during October. Audiologists are health care professionals who evaluate hearing loss.

The American Academy of Audiology has created downloadable documents related hearing loss (http://www.audiology.org/publications-resources/consumer-information/fact-sheets ), including “Assistive Listening Devices” and “Age-Related Hearing Loss.”

Not sure if you have hearing loss? Try the academy’s “Hearing Health Quick Test” (http://audiology-web.s3.amazonaws.com/migrated/Fact%20Sheets%20-%20Quick%20Test.pdf_53998b2f4e9c58.60227146.pdf ).

The academy has also created PowerPoint for various audiences, including adults, different school levels, and physicians (http://www.audiology.org/public-awareness/powerpoint-presentations ).

We All Love to Blog!

Happy Weekend! Check out our different teams members blog about their favorite events, local, nationwide, and international news. We love to share regarding important issues that affect our communities. We will all have our contributions as we all have our own plights in life within our very own disabilities. Currently, Staff Writer, and Community Advocate, Mr. David Bass has a video – blog going. Check him out, as we appreciate his social activities and his humor!

First Deaf Con Meeting

By David Bass, Staff Writer

At a quiet cabin behind the church where the first face-to-face Deaf Con meeting took place, there are some deaf and ASL/interpreting college students attending the meeting where Leyel Hudson had presided this evening. The agenda for the evening is to get the new event, Deaf Con, up and running by determining which area that are need to be address to make it a successful project. We had special guests at the meeting, Melody Brzezinski-Ynfante and Kate Pettijohn from Comicpalooza to give us their shares of experiences and invaluable advice behind the scenes at Comicpalooza and Texas Renaissance Festival. In addition, they were more than happy to join our online planning team for Deaf Con!

We discussed many important issues that will bring challenges to us to ensure that we can achieve our goals and be sure that we also follow the rules of the land as well. We will have a logo contest for the deaf and hard of hearing community from all over the United States very soon. It will be opened for those who are 16 years old and above. With the help of Kate Pettijohn, we will make the winning logo copyrighted symbol with some royalties to the winning designer.

Each of us took a turn in discussing which issues that we can work on such as admission, booth, security, media, and hospitality for special VIP guests, and other issues. Some of biggest issues we had is security because of recent disappointing news of Texas government passing of on-campus carry gun law that actually threatens the safety of students and guests at Texas colleges, especially Lone Star College-CyFair campus where the Deaf Con will be located. Melody Brzezinski-Ynfante gave us an answer by saying that the Deaf Con is a “private event” on campus, therefore, we will have the right to keep out those gun-carrying people from the event. Everyone was relieved to hear this answer that we will have a gun-free event. As for cosplay guests, they need to “peace-tied” or zip-locked their swords or have an orange tip on toy guns.

We discussed admission. There will be a bracelet for general admission while VIPs will have a badge. We will have a different color of bracelet for each day or the whole weekend for guests. We have not determined the costs yet, but we agreed that the special VIP guests will make their own costs for their photos, autographs and photo sessions to our Deaf Con guests. Those who have booths will have their own special bracelet or badge so that they will be able to roam the events and to come in and out the event. We will have various types of people promoting their products from artists to writers at their booths.

There will be a team of photography to cover the events, the photo op with special VIPs, and other things that are connected with the event. We will advertise for professional and amateur photographers to help with the event soon.

There will be a tier of sponsorship for the event. We will have few level of tiers for who pay certain amount of funding and the sponsors’ company names and logos will be on back of Deaf Con volunteers and staffs t-shirts as well as on advertising and other things. Some sponsors will have booths while others will just give us some funding. We will have both volunteer and professional interpreters for the events from Lone Star College and other area colleges along with sign language interpreting agencies such as Sign Shares, Inc., and others. There will be no competition among anyone at the event as it is a community-wide event.

Soon, the meeting was over but that did not end here. Melody Brzezinski-Ynfante and Kate Pettijohn stayed on for the “Renaissance Costume on Budget” workshop for Leyel’s “Signs of J.O.Y.” biweekly event in same building. She had a demonstration on how to get various Renaissance era Gypsies clothes and use it. It has been very educational for the people. The clothes were very colorful and easy to use. She said that you can get shirts and skirts from Wal-Mart and other stores. Other fabrics such as pillow case and other can transform apron and other things on the dress, etc. Very informative and educational. Soon, we stayed on for chats after the special guests left.

Vlog and Blog for Sign Shares!

By David Bass, Staff Writer

Howdy Y’all!!

Now that our Sign Share, Inc. website has new looks and is back online. Something new on that website is the Blog/Vlog section of the website that we can share our stories, social events, important information, and other things that we want to share with our community.

First of all, let me tell you a little story about it. When we finally got the website back up and running, we got the blog website for it. However, I was unable to get vlog (video blog for deaf using sign language) connected to the blog, as many deaf people prefer to see signing video than reading blog, because it was new. So, I had to learn “this and that” to find a way to get videos on my blogs and other part of the website. Finally, I was able to get it working by linking my newly set-up YouTube account that I have to create only for Sign Share instead of my personal account. Then I read the blog and translate it into sign language (ASL) for the video and post it together with the blog. The purpose of having both blog and vlog on same section is to ensure that both deaf/hard-of-hearing can watch the vlog while hearing read the blogs. Some of you may have noticed that the blog and vlog are not exactly the same way because ASL use different grammar method from written English. We want to ensure that everyone can have access to our blog/vlog regardless of their disabilities.

Now, if you have anything that you want to share with the community, please feel free to let us know so we can share with the community by emailing to me at dbass@signshare.com or leave comments below.

Deaf Awareness Days at Texas Renaissance Festival!

By David S. Bass, Staff Writer

This year is extra special! Why? Because there will be two days of Deaf Awareness Day at the Texas Renaissance Festival. It will be on Nov. 7 and 8, 2015. Before, there was just one day of Deaf Awareness Day for a few years. This year is the first time it has expanded to two days. Most of the ASL interpreters are volunteers from area colleges, such as Lone Star College and the University of Houston. You can volunteer and have fun too! You can contact Brandy Cabe at brandylcabe@katyisd.org if you are interested in volunteering as an interpreter while having fun there.

Renaissance outfits 2015

Yes, you can dress up in Renaissance garb as many of the volunteer interpreters have done in the past and will continue to do this year. You can check it out at their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/DeafASLRenfestTx?fref=ts I will be wearing a full Renaissance garb or Celtic kilt garb at this event because I am an amateur historian and proud of my Celtic heritage. I will be there two days straight that weekend as I will be staying at their campground and I will be wearing two different garbs each day. If you go there on that weekend, be sure to find me in my Renaissance garb or Celtic kilt garb. Maybe hang around with me at my camp afterward or during chowtime breaks.

The Texas Renaissance Festival is a great place for family and people who want to learn about what life is like during the Renaissance era. There are many people dressed up in the period garbs. Many stores sell garb and other Renaissance-related items. There are shows and presentations on many Renaissance-related subjects and entertainments. My personal favorite is the birds of prey show where they show different birds and some fly around the arena. If you have any questions about certain events during the Renaissance era, you can ask me about it and I will be glad to answer! There are activities that you can participate in, such as archery, axe throwing, and others. And, yes, you can even have a wedding there – of course, you have to contact them to make arrangements! Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and, if it rains that day or recently rained, wear your old shoes or rubber boots as the ground can get muddy in some areas. If you have any medieval or Renaissance costumes, wear it there! For more information about event, go to www.texrenfest.com  and have a blast of a time!