The Earth Hour and the Deaf

שעת כדור הארץ והחרשים

ביום חמישי 24.3.2011 שעה 20:00, שוב יכבו את האורות לשעה כדי להעלות את המודעות לאיכות הסביבה.

ושוב, אצטרך להחרים את האירוע כמו שהחרמתי אירועים דומים בשנים קודמות. וזאת למרות תמיכתי ברעיון השמירה על איכות הסביבה.

הסיבה – בגלל חרשותי, אני צריך אור ואביזרים חשמליים שונים כדי לתקשר עם אנשים אחרים.

קישורים נוספים (additional links):

Omer Zak and Peretz Zack – a medical examination confusion

Today I was in Memograph in Petah Tikva, a medical diagnostics institute to which my health fund refers patients who need to have their ankles (and some other body members) X-rayed or subjected to ultrasound examination.  I needed to have my ankle X-rayed.

I arrived at the place to find a long and overdue queue.  The delay was about an hour and half.  I gave the X-ray requisition form and Form 17 to the receptionist and told her that I am deaf.

Then I waited.  The wait was made more bearable thanks to the coincidence that three other Deaf men came for their own tests, two of whom I already knew and the third was a new acquaintance for me.  It was nice to pass the time chatting with them.

About the time I was due to enter the X-ray room, the receptionist surprised me by trying to hand over to me a CD which purported to have already contained my X-ray photos.  I protested and explained that I was not examined at all.

After some investigation and head scratching, it turned out that the X-ray technician called out for a Zak.  The receptionist did not realize that my shoulder needs to be tapped.  So another Zak got in – Peretz Zack, who by coincidence needed to have his ankle X-rayed as well.  His ankle was X-rayed according to the instructions in my form and he left soon afterwards.

After the confusion was clarified, I was called in and had my ankle X-rayed.  Some time later I got the CD and analysis results – which I hope that they indeed correspond to my own ankle rather than to Peretz Zack’s.

As I walked back home, I analyzed the event.  The mistake was due to the following:

  1. The patients have their paperwork taken by the receptionist, who hands it to the X-ray technician.  When a patient enters the X-ray room, he is not positively identified by the X-ray technician as corresponding to the paperwork waiting for him inside the room.  A post-it paper with the patient’s name given to the patient in exchange for the paperwork would have solved the problem.
  2. The receptionist was not trained to warn the X-ray technician NOT to use the public address system to summon a deaf patient, but rather to have someone tap on his shoulder.  This is more tough one, given the relative rarity of deaf patients.  Today’s get together of 4 patients was probably once in a lifetime coincidence.

From now on I’ll probably have to be on the lookout for medical records really belonging to Peretz Zack, which got into my medical files because he, by mistake, somehow assumed my identity.  At least until the medications, which I take due to my heart attack, kill him.

“You are fortunate to be deaf because…”

One of the clichés to which the Hearing World subjects us deafies countless times is the remark, by some sufferers of the so-called “noise pollution”, that we are fortunate not to suffer from the noise.  Nevermind the fact that the hard of hearing are even more bothered by noise than the normally hearing.

Few days ago, I witnessed a new twist of this cliché.
Recently, I started working for another company, meaning that I have new co-workers.  One day, at lunchtime, one of them remarked to me how fortunate am I, as a deaf person, to have no use for cellphones.  Obviously he got tired of the constant interruptions due to cellphones.

With glee, I pulled out my cellphone and showed him that I, too, was assimilated by the culture of the cellphones…

Now he knows what he needs to know about SMS and 3G video chats.

Guide dogs for the deaf and the deaf-blind

Everyone knows about guide dogs for blind people.

There are also guide dogs for deaf and deaf-blind people.  Those dogs are trained to alert their masters when there are some important environmental noises.

Those who serve deaf-blind people are also trained to pick up things, which are dropped on the floor, and bring them back to their masters.  This is useful since when, for example, a deaf-blind person loses his keys, he doesn’t hear the noise of their dropping on the floor and once he notices the loss, cannot easily look for them by sight.

People, who need to have such dogs trained in Israel, can contact the Ali Hope nonprofit, which specializes in such a training.

Two 25th year anniversaries

One famous anniversary is the 25th anniversary of the GNU project, which happens today.

One much less famous 25th anniversary will happen three days from now, on Sept. 30, 2008.  This is the best choice for an official starting day of the Israeli TDD Project.

On Friday Sept. 30, 1983, I at last went to the computer shop, plucked down my money and bought my Commodore 64 home computer.  This model was chosen because it supported software-defined fonts, and because it had a cheaper brother, known as VIC-20.

My game plan was to use the Commodore 64 to develop software for both VIC-20 and Commodore 64.  This software was to serve as terminal/chat program, which supports textual communication in Hebrew.  At the time I already had a 300bps modem connected to an ADM 3A terminal, which belonged to my employer at the time, and which I used to connect to my employer’s computer systems and monitor jobs, which ran overnight.

When I returned home with my spanking new computer, I found in my mailbox a letter, which took 23 days to reach me.  The letter was from Susan Bullowa, who subsequently partnered with me in the project.  It took us a while to meet, but when we met, it turned out that she has a lot of useful information which complements my own information.  And on the other hand, I had in my possession technical information and experience, which complemented hers.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

An accessible video clip

… which is in stark contrast to the ultra-Orthodox attitude against people with disabilities.

The captioned (in Hebrew) video clip is the second video in http://www.hofesh.org.il/articles/books/books.html (in Hebrew), and it is about a book shop, which avoids displaying an anti-religion book due to threats from the town’s rabbi’s wife.

Mark Drolsbaugh’s question to parents of deaf children

Mark Drolsbaugh is a Deaf guy, who also runs workshops for hearing parents of deaf children.

In his Evolution of a Cochlear Implant Attitude article, he writes about getting a number of parents breaking down in tears in a simple workshop closing exercise:

“All I did was ask them to share positive traits and abilities their kids have. More specifically, traits and abilities that have nothing to do with deafness or the ears. All I wanted was for them to stop looking at the disability and start looking at the ability. Even though I made my point, the emotional reaction catches me off guard.”

This reminded me of the deaf man from nightmares. This man, DB, is a deaf psychologist, who is very strong advocate of oralism. He spends a lot of time improving and polishing his speech. What I find especially troubling about him is that every time we meet, in a social function of the hearing impaired, the one and only subject, which he would discuss with me, is the uttermost importance of my getting speech therapy and improving my speech. Nothing else is important or worthy of discussion. SHUDDER!

We the deaf are not only ears. We are also software development, sports, art, parenting, and simply living human beings. This is what those parents and DB failed to acknowledge.

A new software developers’ mutual help Web site (no longer) rudely excludes deaf software developers

The newly announced http://www.stackoverflow.com/ Web site confines all communications to the audio format. No provision for textual transcription of the audio podcasts exists. Users’ submissions are accepted only if they are in audio format. This is probably the founders’ newest idea for filtering out spam and flames.
However, it is a case of rude inaccessibility. Please do not contribute and do not browse the Web site – and let the founders know your opinion about this case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
The announcements in the founders’ blogs are as follows:

What next, a Web site, which excludes gay software developers?

23 APR 2008 UPDATE:

The podcasts are now transcribed into text, making them accessible to the deaf as well as being helpful to people, who want to discover them using search engines, and people having no time to listen through the entire podcast.
The transcription mechanism is Wiki-based, allowing people to transcribe text piece by piece. So even if you have only 15 minutes to spare, you can still make a contribution.
It is still necessary to persuade them to accept questions as text in addition to sound clips…

The Earth Hour and the Deaf

I am not going to participate in the Earth Hour, which is due to be held tonight in Tel Aviv between 20:00-21:00.
This is in spite of my support for the idea of taking care of our environment.
The reason – due to my deafness, I need light and various electronic appliances to communicate with other people.
Note: I do not live in Tel Aviv itself, but I’d participate in the project if it were not for the accessibility issue.

Additional links: