I'm Back! Sorry for the long break. I am ready to get back at it again.
Dear Deaf/Hard of Hearing Students,
Back to school time! I hope that you all have a fantastic school year. I know that some of you will struggle with different subjects. I urge you to work hard. Don’t give up! Strive for success and being a better person. Make sure you set goals and work to them. Whether it be good grades or getting into college. I believe in you. You have so many people rooting for you. You teachers, families, interpreters, etc. I know you will have a great year. Don’t give up and keep at it.
Have a great school year.
Dear Teachers with Deaf/HoH Students,
As the school years begins for you I just want to take a moment to say thank you. Thank you to the Deaf ed teachers that are working with limited resources and making it happen. Thank you to the mainstream and inclusion teachers that are working with Deaf students with little to no training but are doing their best to make it work. Thank you to the coaches and extracurricular activity leaders that find ways to include Deaf/HH students.
You all have a big long task in front of you and I know you will succeed. We have a whole school year to educate and engage the minds of young Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. I know most of you have no resources, minuscule budgets and little support. However you all work miracles every year and this year will be no different.
Like you do every year you will find Deaf and Hard of Hearing Adults to role model to your students, find a way to use American Sign Language even if that isn’t what is done in your area. You will make the impossible happen.
So I wish you the best of luck this school year.
Thanks for all you do!
***Note I will not be captioning this video. Please read the transcript. I sign these words out of gratitude to all of the interpreters. If you doubt their worth ask them to interpret this for you. And then say Thank You.
Dear People who think interpreting isn’t a “real” job
Interpreters provide a valuable service. Interpreters are there to facilitate communication on a daily basis for thousands of Deaf consumers. We couldn’t get through our day with out them. There is no mundane interpreting task. Interpreters are there to make sure that we understand in our own language the world that is happening around us. They interpret the food stamps form we are filling out so that we can feed our families and calm us down by empowering us with knowledge before the heart surgery we are about to undergo. They sit beside us for months of cancer treatment explaining every step that is happening and passing on those caring words from the nurses. They are some of the first people to lay eyes on our newborns. They are there so that we can say our wedding vows and so we can understand a divorce decree. They represent us when we are interviewing for a new job and when we receive our 10 years of service award. Interpreters are there in the middle of the night when our loved one is near death. Interpreters are there to ensure equality during court proceedings. They are the Deaf communities biggest advocates. Interpreting will never be a 9-5 job. It is a calling to serve a culture to which they aren’t citizens. They have a passion for the facilitation of communication and they empower Deaf people every time they pick up their hands. Not a day goes by that I am not incredible vested in the profession of interpreting and work to further it. Not a moment goes by that I am not thankful for those hands that move beside me. Those hands and heart next to me that provide inclusion, equality and hope for a better future for the Deaf world. Interpreting is a REAL job. One that few people can handle with grace and poise. Thank an interpreter. Recognize all that the give. They have been up interpreting all night at a hospital. Or haven’t been to the bathroom all day because there student is taking a math test. They are interpreting for us on holidays and the middle of the night and on their kid’s birthdays so that we can participate with equality. They give us equality in communication access. And that is the most real thing I know.
Thanks for watching! Who should I write to next?
Dear Parents of D/HH kids that are learning sign,
I have had the pleasure to visit with several families of kiddos you are D/HH that are learning sign language. Nothing warms my heart more to see families working so hard to learn their child’s language and work to communicate with them. Some thoughts for these hard working families.
1. Thank you! Thank you for sharing our wonderful language with your family. It can’t be easy to have a job and a family and a child that is different than you and learning a new language all at the same time.
2. Deaf Culture! You are opening your child and your family up to a new culture. Meet Deaf adults and join our community. We want to meet the young Deaf people in our community and we want to help you learn to sign. We have much to accomplish and we can only do it together.
3. We are proud of you! This is not an easy journey. Way to go Mom and Dad. You are signing and learning. We are so very proud of you. Never Give up! Yes your child will learn to sign faster than you. Sign and learn anyway. Learn as often and as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or make mistakes.
4. Please expose your d/hh children to Deaf/HH adults. It is so important for them to see a role model that is like them. D/HH kiddos need to have a vision of adulthood. They need to see D/HH adults working, going to college, and being self-sufficient people. They need to see how to navigate in the hearing world.
5. Deaf Pride! Your child has a beautiful language and culture. We are proud to welcome your child into our world and proud to count you and your families as Deaf allies. This won’t always be easy or pleasant. People will say hurtful things and stare. But take pride in your child and the culture. We are an amazing people.
Let your hands be heard
Jennifer Dahlgren Richardson
Let Your Hands Be Heard will address issues relating to Deaf Culture, Interpreting, Self-Advocacy and students entering fields pertaining to the Deaf community. Jennifer will format each blog like a letter to a specific group of people. Who do you want Jennifer to write to? Thanks for watching!