Thursday, October 17, 2013

Educational Deaf Videos

To everyone who's been interested in what I've been preoccupied with (and to anyone who isn't, tough), I've been busy transferring some promotional old deaf videos from the CHIP office for a powerpoint presentation for elderly people.  More precisely, I was dividing up the numerous clips of videos by Psychologist and Educator of deaf studies, Sam Trychin giving examples the right and wrong ways to communicate between hearing and deaf people.  Kind of a Goofus and Gallant kind of thing with two scenarios presented and the proper way of conduct to be followed.  For reference, all the deaf person in the videos below are identified with an asterisk (*) above their heads.

The differences are subtle, but they're the difference between aggravating a situation and making it worse, and not letting any one person feel neglected or offput by their lack of understanding.  The other kind of videos in Did I do That? showed only the mistakes and bad examples, with no alternate follow-up present, which would give the impression that deaf people were intentionally choosing their selective hearing.

The truth is, it can be frustrating to constantly repeat people to slow down and look at the deaf person, when they'll instantly forget these rules when talking to a regular hearing person.  Once they're back on familiar territory, they'll completely forget everything they've learned and completely neglect the deaf person.  Having to constantly verify and repeat what everybody is saying can be tiring in the long run.

In these videos, hearing people aren't entirely blameless - deaf people need to learn how to properly conduct themselves so they don't wind up alienating the very people they're trying to talk to.  This kind of behavior isn't instinctual - it has to be learned through rote, and is tricky for hearing people who're used to talking at normal speed.  Even more when said hearing people start to lose their hearing, and find out firsthand just how hard simple lip-reading can be.

People losing their hearing basically have to relearn how to use skills naturally deaf people lived through their whole lives, which can make the whole proposal extremely difficult.  It's like learning a new language, only it's their home language, and without certain verbal cues to help them along, they find out for the first time just how difficult the process they took for granted can be.  This feeling of frustration and incompetence can reflect badly on the deaf person and the people they talk to, which can lead to mishearing similar words, bluffing their way through conversations and basically nodding their heads without ever applying any input.  This kind of alienation can weigh heavily on people used to communication, and can turn the most devout extrovert into an introvert.  The purpose of these videos is to show basic communication tips that'll benefits both sides without making either party feel bad.  These short clips such as making the environment deaf-accessible isn't just restricted to being in an echo-proof room do more to show desirable results than extremely long preachy speeches ever could.

"Putting yourself in a strong backlight makes it difficult for your students to see your lips.  A simple thing like closing the blinds can make all the difference."

Of particular interest in the video I see What You're Saying is the cameo appearance of Gene Wilder of Willy Wonka and See no Evil, Hear no Evil fame.  See if you can recognize his distinctive features behind his impressive mustache.

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