Two Sign Shares Inc staff have biked 701.4 miles as Team Eva and Ant in honor of loved ones who have fallen to cancer and to raise money for children with the disease. The event was organized by Great Cycle Challenge USA, a company that has “raised $16,070,740 in support of research to develop better treatments and find a cure for childhood cancer” over the past four years.
Eva Storey, CEO and president of Sign Shares, rode 350.7 miles in honor of a former interpreter for the agency, Sharon Miller-Bless, who was a tri-lingual interpreter for the interpreting agency. “Sharon was more than an employee, but a dear friend,” Storey said.
Anthony Butkovich also rode 350.7 miles in honor of his mother, Grace Marie Rataino Butkovich. According to his dedication page, his mother was an advocate for alternative therapies for cancer. “She literally traveled the world studying the root of all cancer and seeking cures in countries that permitted unorthodox treatments.”
Over the month of June 2019, Storey and Butkovich showed determination when they biked in outdoor and indoor conditions, jointly and independently.
According to website participants, they undertook this journey because “cancer is the biggest killer of children from disease in the United States. Over 15,700 children are diagnosed every year, and sadly, 38 children die of cancer every week. Kids should be living life, not fighting for it.”
Many people with hearing loss and deafness use a variety of tools to assist their telecommunications, including video and caption phones. Another tool has been added to their access—captioning with Skype.
Skype is known for providing audio and video communications. When Sign Shares Inc. staff held a recent video conference, they learned that Skype now provides captions for video. They were pleased with the quality of the captions for personal use.
Until now, captioning for video has been limited and was mainly available through captioning in YouTube videos, but not for interpersonal communications. With this latest upgrade, individuals with hearing loss and deafness can supplement their video communications with family and friends instead of relying on a combination of lipreading and messaging.
More experience with Skype will determine its value for professional use. When business meetings are important, or when multiple individuals need to teleconference, contact Sign Share Inc. and The Capsule Group to determine the best accommodations for your needs. This involves considering the individual preferences of the personal with deafness or hearing loss, the location of the meeting, the number of individuals involved, as well as room acoustics and the distance the employee will be from the speaker.
Once you download Skype, which is available on desktop or cell phone, you can set the subtitles to run captions while the other person speaks. According to the company’s website, “Live captions & subtitles are available in Skype on Android (6.0+), Android tablet, iPhone, iPad, Windows, Mac, Linux, Web, and Skype for Windows 10 (version 14).”
The U.S. government provides grant options for governments, organizations, and businesses. According to an email from USAGov, “The federal government typically awards grants to state and local governments, universities, researchers, law enforcement, and institutions planning major projects that will benefit specific parts of the country or a community as a whole.”
The federal website www.grants.gov, provides information about the government’s more than 1,000 programs. Many grants do support initiatives to benefit individuals with disabilities.
Grant writing is a process and grants often have a structure that is different from what many people would expect. If you’re in Texas and would like to receive grant writing instruction for your organization or business, A Circle of 10, Inc. provides intensive paid workshops.
The GrantsGov website cautions that if you receive an email saying that you qualify for a free grant, it may be a scam. The Federal Trade Commission has information on their website and in their newsletter that will help you avoid all types of scams that the agency encounters.
The Federal Trade Commission has shared a link where you can verify if your security has been compromised in an Equifax breach. Equifax is a credit reporting agency. According to the commission, a settlement that was reached with Equifax and others “alleged that the credit reporting company’s failure to take reasonable steps to secure its network led to a data breach in 2017 that affected approximately 147 million people.”
Was your personal information compromised?
To learn if your information was compromised and is in danger of potential identify theft, conduct a search here.
The form requests some information to verify your identity.
What to do if your information is at risk
If your personal information was included in the breach, you have several options, including free credit monitoring by three agencies for six years, and an additional protection for four years from Equifax, totaling 10 years of protection. This service is normally $19.95 a month. It will notify you when someone uses your personal information for loans, credit, or large purchases.
Additionally, if the security breach has caused you time or money, you may be entitled to some financial compensation, but they will request documentation.
How all Americans will benefit from this
In 2020, Equifax will provide up to six free credit reports a year for seven years for all Americans, according to the commission.
How did this happen?
In the settlement of Federal Trade Commission v. Equifax Inc, Apache Struts was part of Equifax’s database portal that stores the information for millions of Americans. In March of 2017, “the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team alerted [Equifax] to a new critical security vulnerability found in Apache Struts, an open source framework used to build Java web applications.”
According to the settlement, the Equifax employee who needed the information didn’t receive the email notification about the vulnerability. Though Equifax made efforts to locate the vulnerability, further mistakes were made, which led to their alleged failure to “notice or remediate the unpatched” database. This vulnerability allowed hackers to penetrate deep into the database.
Get your free, annual credit report from three agencies
Federal law provides that all American are eligible to receive one free credit report a year from each of the credit reporting agencies, which includes TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Request yours.
Learn about scams and security updates as they happen
According to a bulletin from the Office of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities is calling for art entries for the
National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) Poster Art competition. Entries must be submitted by May 31, 2017.
The winning artist gets statewide recognition when the committee releases free copies of the winner’s art on posters to businesses across Texas.
“The winning artwork is incorporated into the Texas HireAbility Campaign #TXHireAbility,” according to the press release.
In 2016, the committee distributed 2,500 posters.
Submissions from Texas artists with disabilities can be sent to the committee via email at GCPD@gov.texas.gov with a photo attachment of the original work in a high resolution digital format, either JPEG or PDF.
They also accept color photocopies, or images on a CD sent by postal mail. The original artwork does not need to be submitted unless it wins the competition. It is free to enter.
Entries must be received by email or postmarked by May 31, 2017. The winner will be announced by June 21.
Besides having their art on a poster that is distributed across the state, the original art and the poster will be placed on display in the Office of the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities, as well as at other exhibits.
The winning artist may opt to be a featured guest at the annual Lex Frieden Employment Awards ceremony this October. Sign Shares, Inc./International won a Lex Frieden award for its support and inclusion of employees with disabilities.
Spread the love for inclusion
Join Sign Shares in ensuring that your office provides access an inclusion in the workplace. If you have an employee who needs sign language or foreign language services, request language services with Sign Shares.
Kolb was born profoundly deaf and knows sign language.
She said, “I could have chosen to use sign language today instead and that would have been a perfectly viable choice. But for me, the answer was 18 years of speech therapy.”
Kolb tells the story of a presentation she gave to her middle school history class.
Days after the presentation, she said the teacher’s feedback was: “You should never speak like that in front of a group without an interpreter. It is not fair to anyone who has to listen to you.”
This lack of awareness causes some in the d/Deaf community to shy away from speech, but not Kolb.
She has challenges though, she said, and one of those is social communication with hearing people when she relies solely upon reading lips.
“I communicate fine face-to-face, but walking into those kinds of group conversations is like watching a world championship ping pong match with ten different people and half a dozen balls,” Kolb said.
In another article, Rachel Kolb’s mother, Irene Kolb, shares about learning what to do about her daughter Rachel’s hearing loss. Irene went to the library and read about hearing loss and communication.
“I learned that the biggest window of opportunity for language acquisition is from birth to three years. We started using signs that same day and within a few months, Rachel was communicating to us with baby signs,” Irene Kolb said.
When cochlear implants were approved by the FDA and their daughter was a candidate, Irene Kolb said, “We chose not to pursue cochlear implant surgery for her because we were sensitive to the message it may send, that she was not okay being deaf. The most profound book I read was Deaf Like Me. With that book, we came to the early realization that Rachel may never learn to hear or speak, even with a cochlear implant, but we could learn to sign.”
Kolb’s father, Bill Kolb, shared a story about how he came to understand deafness through a New Mexico state-sponsored program.
He said, “Then during one visit the individual brought a record that gave me, as a hearing person, an insight to what different levels of hearing loss sounded like. The record repeated a story over and over again, and each time the narrator would drop certain frequencies until the recording lost all frequencies – that is, let me hear what it sounded like to be profoundly deaf. This recording really hit home with me. Going forward, I decided I would learn as much as I could about how to communicate with my precious daughter.”
According the the article, her parents learned sign language over lunch where they worked and took continuing education sign language classes. Their daughter Rachel studied at Deaf, mainstream, and private schools—an environment that may have helped her develop an appreciation of diverse communication.
“Having a family that signed and that worked to provide language access for me gave me a sense of confidence in myself, even when things got challenging,” Kolb said.
She signed, “As someone who understands the different forms communication can take, from spoken to sign language, I understand the value of flexibility in transmitting ideas. I see well-rounded, effective communication as essential to ideas, creativity and progress.”
In an article she wrote for the New York Times, Kolb illustrated the d/Deaf communication dilemma. She said, “While talking to a hearing person at a noisy party, I inevitably reach the point when I want to stop, switch off my cumbersome voice, and let my hands fly.”
“The general advantages of sign are numerous: not only talking through overwhelming noise, but chatting to friends from various distances, or through barriers like doors or windows. Sign, too, possesses a vibrant visual-spatial orientation and a robust directness of expression that spoken languages lack,” she said.
Kolb uses a party example to illustrate how people who don’t know sign language may have a limited ability: “…when faced with a noisy party filled with signing-impaired people, I sometimes marvel, instead, at the skill my eyes and my hands possess.”
She said people who are hearing note her ability to visually navigate a loud environment where hearing people have difficulty too. They’ve commented that it would be preferable to use sign and she encourages them to learn.
When people do learn sign language, she said it helps people to grow. “It is the human desire to communicate – which always strains to break out of presupposed categories, always insists upon its own flexibility and power.”
Communication is unique to the person and situation, to their education and experiences, but it’s valuable to embrace flexibility in communication with others, regardless of ability.
Singer, songwriter, and musician Zoë Nutt recently released a song, “Like You,” telling the story of her progressive hearing loss.
At the beginning of the Tennessee native’s open captioned official video, Nutt says, “I lost all of my hearing in my right ear. I now have progressive hearing loss in my left ear. Along with tinnitus, which is this high-pitched ringing that’s just there all the time.’
“That change in my life led me to write a song addressed to my children—whenever I have those children. And it basically says that no one will ever sound like you. Even if I can’t hear you…no one will ever be just the same.”
According to an HLAA report, Nutt says, “But releasing this music video has been more than just a letter to a possible future. It’s most importantly the start of a conversation I’ve been longing to have with others. I am going deaf, but I will not let it stop me from making music.”
The song’s lyrics describe beauty and meaning beyond sound: “I won’t ever hear you say you love me / I’ll never know whether you can sing. / But I can’t wait to watch your lips speak wonders / ‘cause no one else will ever sound like you.”
According to a review from Vents Magazine,”Nutt’s very deliberate vocal style never clashes with her effortless ability to convey sensitivity in every line. Like You, as a whole, is more than just one of the year’s best full length debuts. Instead, it heralds the arrival of a major new voice who will only follow an upward trajectory from here.”
Since they were Gallaudet alumni, they were called the Gallaudet Eleven, or G-11.
All but one of G-11’s members had become deaf early in their lives due to spinal meningitis, which damaged their inner ears in a way that prevented them from getting motion sickness. As far as space travel was concerned, motion sickness was a serious concern.
G-11 members took part in a variety of activities, including flying in airplanes performing parabolic arcs that created weightlessness, rough seas experiments, spinning room experiments, and more.
Even Earth’s Atlantic Ocean challenged hearing doctors, when Deaf volunteers didn’t get motion sickness on the rough ocean, but their doctors became sick and had to cancel the tests, according to the timeline.
“We always looked forward to seeing new experiments. It was an adventure for us,” said G-11 participant Harry Larson.
Larson had poor balance due to deafness from spinal meningitis, as did 9 other G-11 participants.
When being different makes the difference
The experiments helped improve the understanding of how our senses work normal cues for the ear aren’t there, as is the case with weightlessness, during gravitational forces, and at sea.
“We were different in a way they needed,” said Harry Larson, one of the volunteer test subjects.
G-11: NASA’s secret sauce
According to a WJLA report, Harry Larson said, “We were the only Deaf group to ever be involved in the history of the space program.”
Russia and the Untied States had competed to see which country would have a man set foot on the moon first.
Since Russia’s second cosmonaut got sick during flight, G-11 may have contributed to the the American program’s ability to land people on the moon before its Russian competitor, according to the report.
59 years ago and counting
Today, only five of the 11 test subjects are still alive.
2018 will celebrate 60 years since the G-11’s historic contribution to the U.S. Space program.
While many doctors with hearing only worry about earning good grades in their classes–doctors with deafness worry about admission to medical school after the good grades. In the past and perhaps in the present–doctoral candidates who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing wondered if they would be admitted at all, despite their other abilities.
Some pursued their profession past all advice and against the rejection from myriad medical schools. Another crossed the communication barrier and became a Certified ASL Interpreter to meet the needs of patients who wanted to openly communicate with their physician.
The following doctors are pioneers that have opened doors to medical school for people with hearing loss or deafness, and to the Deaf Community. They opened the minds of a Hearing Community that didn’t understand their abilities were less by the ability to hear than by the societal attitudes that believed they couldn’t achieve.
DEAF DOCTORS WHO OPENED DOORS TO MEDICAL SCHOOL
Dr. Judith Ann Pachciarz lost her hearing as a toddler, according to Celebrating America’s Woman Physicians. She believes she may be the first deaf person in history to earn both a Ph.D. and an M.D. She is also the “first profoundly deaf woman physician.” Dr. Pachciarz served as doctor at the 1985 World Games for the Deaf in the Los Angeles area.
Dr. Pachciarz advocated for the right to study to be a doctor when they were considering Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
“In 1963 I met all the qualifications for medical school admission as I did in 1979. In 1977 I wrote Health Education and Welfare Secretary [Joseph] Califano, who was considering the provisions of Section 504: ‘I am a thirty-five year old deaf woman who has wanted to be a doctor of medicine since early childhood. I have encountered resistance and discrimination at every step from grade school through graduate work to a Ph.D…thus the enthusiasm, expertise, and dedication I could provide to health care…is denied…When will our equal educational opportunities be protected under the law? Fifteen years—how much longer do I have to wait?’ Secretary Califano signed Section 504 after concerted collective action, and I was accepted into medical school two years later,” she said in the article.
At the time of the article, Dr. Pachciarz was a hospital pathologist and director of the blood transfusion service at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles.
According to a CNN report, Dr. Phillip Zazove, who is deaf, “makes patients feel heard.” Zazove, who has profound hearing loss, was the third if American physician. Not only does he serve the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community, but he also mentors doctors who are deaf.
According to the article, Dr. Philip Zazove is an author, physician and chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan.
Drs. Pachciarz and Zazove were both told as children not to expect much for careers. They chose to be pioneers and advocates, instead of giving up.
DR. AND INTERPRETER WHO RAISES THE BAR FOR DOCTORS
While completing prerequisites for medical school, Galboa became a certified ASL interpreter.
“People who are deaf or hard-of-hearing are said to be one of most under-served disability populations in terms of health care. Lack of sign language interpretation is the most frequent subject of Department of Justice cases regarding compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act in health care settings, according to the website ada.gov,” according to the article.
Dr. Galboa said doctors need to step up and meet the Deaf Community’s needs, “The deaf community puts up with uncertainty about their health care that leaves them poorer for it, and I don’t mean financially. As doctors, we want to know what’s really going on. The deaf community’s expectations of doctors is very low. We need to raise those expectations.”
FROM THERE TO WHERE?
How will societal attitudes limit future physicians with deafness or hearing loss? How many physicians will opt to learn ASL, or at least adopt methods of communication that are suitable for truly understanding procedures and conditions?
Have times changed?
COMMUNICATION ACCESS FOR MEDICAL STUDENTS OR PROFESSIONALS
Are you a person with deafness or hearing loss who wants to become a medical professional?
Do you want to provide communication access to medical students?
Are you a medical professional who needs more communication access?
Sign Shares, Inc. can help! We provide services for people with deafness, hearing loss, and deaf-blindness, as well as foreign language translation for people with hearing.
retinitis pigmentosa, which causes night-blindness, and
a loss of peripheral vision (side vision) through the progressive degeneration of the retina.
Retinitis pigmentosa eventually causes “tunnel vision,” where a person can only see straight ahead.
There are three types of Usher Syndrome, ranging from Type 1, where children are born profoundly deaf, have problems with balance, and eventually become legally blind, to Type 3, where children may have normal hearing at birth, and gradually lose hearing, vision, and balance.
According to the institute, early diagnosis of Usher syndrome is important so parents can enroll their children in training programs to manage hearing and vision loss.
Typically, treatment will include:
assistive listening devices,
communication methods such as American Sign Language;
orientation and mobility training;
communication services; and
independent-living training that may include Braille instruction, low-vision services, or auditory training.
Sign language can be a vital tool for communication for people who have advanced Usher Syndrome, since people without hearing or sight may choose to communicate using Deaf-Blind Tactile with an interpreter. This process allows the person with deafblindness to feel the interpreter’s hands as they sign.