Governor appoints Eva Storey to the Texas SILC

The office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the appointment of Detective Eva Storey to the Texas State Independent Living Council. Storey is the CEO and President of Sign Shares, Inc. and the Founder of The Capsule Group, Inc. Her term is until June 20, 2022.

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Detective Eva Storey

“It is an honor to be appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to serve within the State Independent Living Council of Texas,” Storey said. “I will respectfully advocate for individuals of disability, creating accessibility between their choice of educational, employment, medical, and legal providers, for all to engage on positive platforms of understanding and acknowledge one another through effective communication.”

The Texas State Independent Living Council, or the Texas SILC, has a mission to “ensure that all Texans with disabilities have access to quality Independent Living services by providing a framework for service delivery.” This is done via the Independent Living Movement principles of peer support, self-help, self-determination, equality, and positive systemic change.

Within that mission, the Texas SILC develops the State Plan for Independent Living in conjunction with the state’s Centers for Independent Living. The three-year plan “establishes the goals for the provision of Independent Living services in Texas.” The SILC also monitors the implementation and effectiveness of the plan and collects input from across the state via meetings, events, and town halls.

Texas SILC meetings and events are listed at the organization’s website at https://www.txsilc.org/.

Storey will provide unique input to the SILC regarding the needs of Texans with all abilities, including those who have mobility, communication access, accommodations, and other needs.

This is the second time that Storey’s advocacy has been recognized by Gov. Abbott. In 2015, Storey was the CEO of Sign Shares, Inc. when it won the state’s 2015 Lex Frieden Small Employer Employment Award

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Samsung Reaches Out with Sign Language in Grand Gesture

What if everyone knew sign language?

According to this video, Samsung staff in Istanbul,Turkey prepared for a month to send a powerful message to a man who is Hard of Hearing.

Picture of Samsung cell phone.
One Samsung crew gave a new meaning to community outreach. photo credit: Samsung Galaxy Note Edge_2 via photopin (license)

The man’s reaction and those of Samsung staff who took part in the event demonstrate the effect of the kindness of strangers.

The planning took extra time because people interacting with Muharrem (no last name provided) had to teach and practice sign language to interact with him and provide him with one day with full communication access, everywhere he went, with everyone one who communicated with him.

For one unforgettable day, Muharrem experienced what it would be like if the world made the effort to communicate–in sign language.

Though communication is a two-way exchange, many people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing are expected to carry the responsibility for making themselves understood and deciphering spoken language, rather than people attempting to learn some signs or using captions, for example.

Old picture of Turkish hillside with buildings near the water.
For hundreds of years, Turkish sultans encouraged the use of sign language by their courts. photo credit: Rüstem Pasha Mosque BW via photopin (license)

Sign language in Turkey has a special history, because the ability to communicate silently was valued by the Ottoman Court in Istanbul. Several sultans learned sign language, preferred its use in their courts because it allowed for privacy and respectful silence, and some sultans encouraged those who could hear to still use sign language in their presence.

No one knows if Turkish Sign Language derives from this secret palace language that was used for 500 years in Ottoman courts because there aren’t written records of it.

Since Turkish Sign Language is older than European sign languages, it differs from them.

Despite the historical significance and practicality of sign language in Turkish culture, deaf education has focused on acquiring speech since 1953.

As you can tell from the video, Muharrem isn’t used to many people knowing sign language.

To create this experience for Muharrem, Samsung staff had to organize communications and cameras to make sure everyone was in place.

At the end of the video, Samsung staff say “… now we are at the service of all the hearing impaired people.”

The event promoted the Video Call Center for Hearing Impaired People–and taking our part in making communications more accessible and less complicated for everyone.

 

 

Premiere Tonight, Dec. 8: “Born this Way,” a Series about People with Developmental Disabilities

“The doctors asked her if she wanted to have a abortion of me. I could be out there dead,” a young man tells a group of people. That he has Down Syndrome is the detail that makes the doctors’ suggestion especially chilling.

Father holds daughter who has Down Syndrome.
Parents and children with Down Syndrome are often discouraged by limitations created by stereotypes. (license)

He is just one of the cast members of a new TV show premieres tonight, Tuesday Dec. 8 on A&E® Network at 9 p.m. CT. The docu-series will cover the lives of seven individuals with Down Syndrome.

Born This Way is an A&E® Network and Bunim/Murry Productions series. There are six, hour-long episodes.

You can preview the series with captions here.

According to the series’ YouTube channel, the show will explore the lives of seven adults with Down Syndrome “as they pursue their passions and lifelong dreams, explore friendships, romantic relationships and work, all while defying society’s expectations.”

One of the show’s stars, entrepreneur and public speaker Megan Bomgaars, has started her own business, Megology. Her website sells hand-dyed scarves and tote bags.

Also on Bomgaars’ website is her video, “Don’t Limit Me,” which is a message to teachers about the need to set high expectations for students with disabilities. The video has more than 338,000 views.

Room with people in meeting. Floor reads Disability is NOT inability.
Bomgaar’s video implores teachers to set high (not impossible) expectations for all students. (license)

The show also portrays their parents and explores difficult topics, such as having children, getting married, and what happens when their parents are no longer living.

Bomgaars’ mother asks, “She needs to be independent, but what happens when I die?” Can Bomgaar find a way to have it all?

Viewers will discover the show challenges their thinking.