Can we compare a hard-of-hearing from a deaf?

Or if I may rephrase my title, is it better to be a hard-of-hearing than to be a deaf person?

Erasmus, a famous Latin scholar during the Reformation once said,

in regione caecorum rex est luscus, or in English

in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king

Is the proverb also applicable to the deaf and the hard-of-hearing people?

Hard of Hearing (HoH) refers to someone who doesn’t hear well. This may be because they were born with a hearing loss or they may have lost some or all of their hearing later in life. Many hard of hearing people don’t know that they have a hearing loss.

ndpr2
Deaf audience

A few weeks ago during our yearly National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week (NDPR) celebration, our deaf students were invited to attend the “Persons With Disabilities Networking with Employers Talkshop” hosted by the Persons With Disabilities Affairs Office of Quezon City. Resource speakers from various sectors of disabilities gave their “from rags to riches” stories and how they overcame their barriers to attain their success. As always, a great majority of those who attended were deaf people.

ndprtarpaulin
NDPR Tarpaulin

I should say, it was truly a very inspiring activity. However, when it came to the “hearing impaired” sector, the organizers chose a “speaker”. I consciously quoted the word speaker because he really can speak! His story started when in childhood, he emphasized that he can hear. His sense of sound eventually diminished as he grows older due to a disease. He is what the deaf studies call, “post-lingual deaf”.  He then mentioned about how he was bullied and discriminated during his elementary up until his college days. But then, he succeeded and completed his education.

Again, he experienced discrimination while applying for a job. Luckily, his passion for photography earned him a work in an online news site. Eventually he became a regular government employee. His is truly an “against all odds” testimony. Oh by the way, he only communicates through lipreading and writing. He confessed that he knows little sign language and he chose not to learn it.

Some deaf from the audience cannot hide their feeling of a tinge of envy from this successful guy. They signed, “good for him” because he can talk! “Good for him” because he has work! “Good for him” because he passed the Career Civil Service Examination (CSC) that is why he is now a regular government employee! Upon comparing their current situation, the deaf attendees started questioning themselves. “What would become of us?”

Let me state it clearly here. I AM NOT PREJUDICIAL AGAINST THE HARD-OF-HEARING PEOPLE. God blessed them with this residual ability to hear. They are what we call in graphics animation, the in-betweeners in the deaf world. They are neither here nor there. And since they can hear a little, then they are at an advantage compared to those who are profoundly deaf because probably once in their lifetime, they were able to appreciate sounds and speech clearly.

When one of the deaf participant asked a direct question to him, “you can hear that is why you found a nice job, now what about us who cannot hear?” Still another one asked him, “you passed the CSC Exam because you know Tagalog, now how about us who have a language barrier since we don’t know the language?”

 

reverse interpret
Me reverse interpreting MCCID’s Sir Ervin as he questions the speaker.

For these questions, he simply replied, “you must be more patient and strive harder.” Now this is such a tall order, an advice that is too difficult to fulfill. But then again, saying this would make us sound so pitiful and hopeless.

So I am more inclined to side with him and agrees with his reply. Our Lord Jesus Christ said, “if someone wants you to go one mile, go with him two miles”. We must double our effort in achieving our goals. As another saying goes, “slow and steady wins the race.”

* – I deliberately did not mention the guy’s name because I don’t want to put him in a bad light. He is a good friend and I truly admire his tenacity and advocacy for his group. I may put his name here if he allows me to do so.

1st Deaf Festival in Baguio City

To all the Deaf Community and their family, Deaf Schools, Deaf Organizations and its members, other NGOs, NGAs, LGUs; the New Media Services Cares (NMS-Cares) invites everyone to come join them. It will be held in Baguio City from May 19-21, 2017.

The 1st NMS-Cares Deaf Festival will kick-off with a grand parade by festival participants from all over the country starting from Session Road to Melvin Jones Grandstand, succeeding a motorcade
blast following Harrison Road towards Camp John Hay.

NMS Cares 1st Deaf Festival Logo May 19-21, 2017
NMS Cares 1st Deaf Festival Logo

The 1st NMS-Cares Deaf Festival with the theme “A community that DEAFinitely Cares” intends to provide a venue for the Deaf community to showcase their skills; gain knowledge, employment opportunity and personal development; at the same time promoting Deaf Awareness. This 3 day event will feature performance highlighting Deaf talent, art exhibit and trade fair, seminar, job fair, sports contest and film screenings all to foster and gain deeper understanding of the Deaf Culture.

Schedule of Activities for the Event are as follows:

  • May 19, 2017
    Morning – Assembly (8 AM), Parade (9 AM), Opening Program (11 AM – 12 NN)
    Afternoon – Caravan/Trade Fair (1-7 PM), Job Fair (1-5 PM)
    Evening – Breaking the Noise: Battle of the Bands Finals, Deaf Got Talent, Deaf Fashion Show (6 – 12 MN)
  • May 20, 2017
    Morning – Sports Festival (10 AM – 2 PM), Caravan/Trade Fair (10 AM – 7 PM), Cooking Competition (10 AM – 1 PM)
    Afternoon – Workshop 1 and 2 (2 – 5 PM), Dinner for a Cause (5 – 7:30 PM)
    Evening – Cocktail (7:30 – 8:15 PM), Red Carpet (8:30 PM), Gala Night (9 – 12 MN)
  • May 21, 2017
    Morning – Caravan/Trade Fair (10 AM – 3 PM), Workshop 3 and 4 (8 AM – 12 NN)
    Afternoon – Workshop 5 and 6 (1 – 5 PM), Closing Program (5 PM)

The NMS-Cares, Inc. is a local non-profit organization that aims to provide program and service in enhancing Deaf education, skills development, sign language training, scholarship grant and community support to Deaf children and their family; with the vision of Deaf children experiencing a full life in a barrier free society.

upcoming-activities-poster

For more information you can also check out their website at www.nms-cares.org and nmscares.deafestival.org and FB: NMS-Cares Deaf Festival. For further question and/or clarification, feel free to contact them through:
email: info@nms-cares.org;
Mr. Jerry Jericho L. Caballero at (074)620- 2730
Mr. George Lintag at (+63) 917 685 5518.

See you there!!!

Join us! Bring Filipino Sign Language to the public schools!

*PLEASE SHARE / FORWARD / POST as widely as possible. Thanks!

To: Videographers / Editors / Animators / Storytellers / Writers / Actors / Artists / Producers / Designers / TV / Mass Comm students, networks Fine Arts students, alumni & organizations / Teachers / education students / language or culture students / Web designers / administrators / Lawyers / law students (interested specially in copyright, IPR) or any dynamic, resourceful team players, volunteers who want to be a part of Deaf History! :o)

++
Greetings co-advocates / supporters / friends of the Deaf community!

After five years of having P100M in the Philippine budget authorized by law to be used for “Instructional Materials and Textbooks for the Handicapped“, the DepEd is FINALLY going to start to act and use this fund to develop materials together with civil society organizations!

This is based on two laws which require the use of Filipino Sign Language in the public school system:
Republic Act No. 10410 known as the “Early Years Act”: in Day Care Centers in all barangays
Republic Act No. 10533 known as the “K-12” law.

I, along with the Philippine Federation of the Deaf (PFD), the DLS- CSB School of Deaf Education and Deaf Studies, (CSB-SDEAS) the Manila Christian Computer Institute for the Deaf (MCCID) and the CAP College – School for the Deaf (CAP-SFD), the major institutions who have advocated for the use of Filipino Sign Language, have come together to start this challenging task: to bring FSL to the public schools of the Philippines, and FSL materials to the eyes and minds of deaf children all over the country.

In order to be able to use FSL as the “Mother Tongue” (or first language) for deaf children, there need to be Learner Materials (in video):
– in FSL as a subject (from K-3, or Kinder to Gr. 3; plus in the Day Care Centers)
– of all other subjects (Math, Araling Panlipunan, etc.) in FSL.

Some aspects of FSL may be taught in the classroom using print. But as a visual / spatial language, video will be the best medium. Video Learner Materials may be disseminated using TV.

Because of this, we will need volunteers, supporters, technical experts, education graduates, teachers, etc. who can assist the 4 institutions above.

Whether you sign or not, if you are willing and able to contribute to this historical undertaking, we would be happy to have you!

For any questions, pls email this address.
Thank you and we hope to hear from you!
In service of the Filipino Deaf community ~
Liza B. Martinez, PhD
PDRC (2001-2013) / Deaf Resources Philippines

Philippine Census Leaves PWD Count

I count myself as one of those who affirmed with the sentiments of the disability council. MCCID was one of the fortunate places where the National Statistics Office handed over a census questionnaire. I personally read the form and was very disappointed that there was no question there about the number of PWDs residing in the school campus/dormitories.

The situation is truly lamentable because the Philippine government merely guesses the number of PWDs. That is why the services provided for their welfare are very inadequate. Census is very important because this is the basis on how the government will spend the people’s money. When are we going to learn?

Sticker posted by NSO at MCCID premises after getting the result of the questionnaire they provided.

You may view the original article on this link.

Census leaves out PWDs, angers disability council

Philippine Star

Deaf People and MRT

A little over a week ago, I was invited together with one of the deaf trainors of our college for the deaf and my deaf idol Moises Libot, by the HR Personnel of the Manila Light Rail Transit Corporation (MRT) as one of their resource speakers. We lectured about the needs and concerns of deaf and hard-of-hearing people in accessing the mass transport system, specifically, using the MRT system.

Long lines of commuters using MRTThis awareness project was part of the series of Sensitivity Seminar for Persons With Disabilities conducted by the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) in partnership with other disabled peoples organization. Aside from me and Moises, other teams were assigned to speak about the needs of those with visual impairments, psycho-social disabilities and mobility impairments. So far this year, we already conducted these seminars in various government agencies like the Department of Trade and Industry, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and the Department of Science and Technology. We also had these trainings in private firms such as Cebu Pacific Airlines and HSBC.

At first, I did not want to participate because I don’t want to add more tomatoes thrown on the faces of those who manage this part-government part-private company due to their sheer inefficiency and blatant incompetence. Aside from that, deaf and HOH don’t have any mobility issues. They just want to be left alone and free to travel wherever they go.

Sea of commuters enter the MRT carriages.But then, I believe that it’s about time for the government to be aware that among those with physical disabilities, it is the deaf and hard-of-hearing people who use these mass transport system very often. They also fall in line to buy tickets, brave the harsh weather and sea of people in order to commute from home to work. And they are the group of people who do not need any major physical modifications in the system in order to access the service. And since they are one of those who suffer together with the rest of the commuting public, the management might perceive them as “one of those that can be ignored.”

The seminar was held in three batches. I had a prior commitment on the first day so I joined in the last two batches. The audience were a mix of HR Personnel, front-end service personnel like ticketing officials, crowd control and security personnel.

Deaf Trainor Moises introduces himself.
First I explained to them about the nature of deaf people by giving them a quick guess on who they believe are persons who cannot hear from the photo I showed to them. As expected, majority of them made wild guesses which made them realize that deafness is a hidden disability. They cannot just pinpoint a deaf person from a crowd, unless, they made sign language gestures or show their PWD IDs.

I then explained to them about what-not-to-do in dealing with deaf people. I also gave them the politically correct terms in addressing the person and the community. And finally, the one they are excited about, we taught them about fingerspelling using Filipino Sign Language as well as a few polite expressions.

I enumerated to them about the problems deaf people encounter in riding the MRT. These are:

  • MRT/LRT Personnel cannot distinguish a deaf passenger from a hearing one;
  • Difficulty COMMUNICATING with staff behind ticketing glass screens (lip reading on dirty, stained or poorly lit glass screens);
  • Difficulty understanding signages, written information, ticket price displays and announcements on station stops;
  • Lacking visual alarms for emergency and door closures

Me explaining to the MRT PersonnelIn the Philippines, Persons With Disabilities, pregnant women, children accompanied by their parents and senior citizens are given priority seats in these mass transport systems. So the deaf people are allowed to use the first train cabin reserved for these groups. However, they are usually not given priority in falling in line since, as one of the problems I mentioned, security personnel are having difficulty knowing deaf people from among the sea of commuters.

However, based on their reaction and comments, the rest of the problems can be solved and categorized as a “reasonable accommodation”. They promised that they would look into it by giving recommendations to the proper decision makers. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that they would do what they promised.

In behalf of MCCID and the deaf community, we are truly grateful to Metro Rail Transport Corporation for conducting this worthwhile activity. 🙂

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