I understand the cellphone companies are concerned about profit, so why not offer an unlimited text and limited Web plan? The price range could lie somewhere between what it costs to add text messaging as an extra service and plans that bundle texting with unnecessary voice minutes. To ensure that the service wouldn't be abused, it should be limited to users who can prove that they are hearing-impaired and would truly benefit from it. I believe such a plan would attract more hearing-impaired customers to mobile phone providers.
As for jobs, I have to fill out an application, submit a resumÃ©, and attend a job interview just like everyone else. But that's where the similarities stop. It's hard for a person who is hearing-impaired to excel at a job interview when the interviewer doesn't speak my language. A lot of interviewers accommodate applicants who speak Spanish, French, or many other languages, but most can't handle American Sign Language. Sure, I can use a pen and pad, but I'm also concerned about the possible biases of the interviewer. Does he think I'm not intelligent enough for the job just because I can't talk the way he does?
I wish more employers seeking to diversify their workforce would include on their recruiting staffs individuals who are fluent in ASL.
And, yes, we enjoy movies, but it's difficult to have fun at theaters the way hearing people do. For starters, there are no closed-caption theaters in Philadelphia. And, in my experience, headphones don't work. They might make the sound louder, but usually I still can't understand what the actors are saying. Text boxes are even worse. By the end of the movie, our necks are ready to fall off after having to keep looking from text box to screen throughout the film.
If DVDs must have closed captions, why can't the same be required for movie theaters? Hearing-impaired people want to have an equal share of fun, too.
We may talk differently, but that doesn't mean our needs and wants are different. We like to talk, work, and play like everybody else. The only difference is, we can do all three with our hands. So, please, extend your hand and work not around, but with your deaf and hard-of-hearing neighbors.
E-mail Joalisa De Jesus at email@example.com.