March 4, 2013
* SWITCHED AT BIRTH. 8 p.m. Monday, ABC Family. WARNING: The commercials may seem louder during ABC Family's "Switched at Birth" this week. That's because most of the episode will be in American Sign Language. (There will be subtitles.) Now in its second season, the show about two teens - one deaf, Daphne (Katie Leclerc), and one hearing, Bay (Vanessa Marano) - who were accidentally raised by one another's biological families has intensified its focus on the deaf community.
December 21, 2012
* PROJECT NIM. 9 p.m. Thursday, HBO. IF NIM Chimpsky were alive today and his life had gone a little differently, he might have his own raucous "reality" show on MTV instead of just the occasional appearance on "Sesame Street. " Maybe even a clothing line. And thanks to the American Humane Association's production guidelines, he'd likely have a saner life than he did at the hands of the people who, in the name of science, took a baby chimpanzee from his mother to be raised like a human child, taught him to speak in sign language - and to smoke pot - and then passed him along like an outgrown toy. That, at least, was what I took away from "Project Nim," a fascinating, infuriating 2011 documentary about a sloppily run 1970s experiment that makes its television debut on HBO Thursday.
November 1, 2012 |
Eddie Aldridge has been working the National Deaf Poker Tour for six years now. He's learned that dealing to deaf people is not unlike dealing to anyone else, since poker, by nature, is played mostly with nonverbal communication. Certainly, there's no "raise" and "call" to be heard; instead players use hand signals - a thumbs up or two fingers to the ear. But there are big differences at these tournaments, he said, and it's what you can't hear. "The camaraderie, the spirit, the brotherhood," says Aldridge, 48. "Something that you will never see at regular poker tables is clapping for a winner.
March 25, 2012 |
There are challenges to being hearing-impaired when it comes to basic workplace and social activities that other people take for granted. We struggle with cellphone plans. Job interviewers are often unprepared to deal with us. Even going to the movies can be a hassle. Let's start with cellphones. What good are voice minutes to us? They could offer us voice hours and we still couldn't use them. We feel like we are throwing money out the window. Text messaging is either bundled into the voice and data plan, or it's an added service for a fee. I understand the cellphone companies are concerned about profit, so why not offer an unlimited text and limited Web plan?
March 16, 2012 |
AT TRADITIONAL poetry events, poets read their written work aloud. But this weekend, Swarthmore College shows that not all poetry is composed in a written language, or even in a language that can be spoken. "Signing Hands Across the Water" is a sign language poetry festival featuring American and British poets who express themselves through movement rather than by speaking. The festival is the work of Rachel Sutton-Spence, a reader in Deaf Studies at Britain's Bristol University and a visiting professor at Swarthmore this year.
November 5, 2011 |
A deaf, mute, and illiterate man charged in a Montgomery County drug trafficking case will never be able to stand trial because of his inability to communicate, his attorney said in court filings. Lawyers petitioned Common Pleas Court last week to drop charges against Juan Jose Gonzalez Luna, 43, due to his supposed powerlessness to participate in his own defense or understand the legal proceedings against him. His case - part of an investigation into an international drug smuggling ring based in King of Prussia - has drawn attention to the challenges defendants with limited language capabilities pose to the legal system - obstacles, prosecutors say, that made Gonzalez a perfect criminal.
March 22, 2011 |
How likely is it that the commedia dell'arte character Pierrot, a passel of peculiar primatologists, and a chimp could come together in the same story? It happened last weekend at Community Education Center in S onso, Simians & Pierrot , a physical dance-theater piece by the center's New Edge resident artist, Marcel Williams Foster, who tied them up in a neat little package - and in the funniest kind of way. As we enter the performance space, five "scientists" in lab coats greet us and we realize we are playing attendees at a conference.
December 17, 2010
RE DOM Giordano's op-ed on American Sign Language: Running it was like publishing an article by a neo-Nazi degrading Hebrew and Jewish culture, or like publishing an author who openly condones genocide. As a deaf person, what I got from reading this article is that I'm less human and I need to be fixed medically, therefore my language and culture is inferior and it's acceptable to wipe it out through cultural genocide. Tim Riker, Sacramento, Calif.
November 20, 2010 |
For many deaf children, visits to a mall Santa Claus involve handing over a written list, not rattling off desires with typical Christmas excitement. But what if the jolly man in the red suit could communicate with them one-on-one? What if Santa knew sign language? Dan Swartz, 55, of Cherry Hill, a nationally certified interpreter, describes working as a "signing Santa" in Maryland in the early 1990s as "overwhelming. " Used to being disappointed, many of the children couldn't fathom Santa communicating with them in such a way, he said.
July 19, 2010 |
Toward the end of lunch, Phoenix Ferragame, 17 months old, raised both hands in front of his chest and tapped his fingertips together. His mother smiled. "You want more ? More chips?" Gina Ferragame asked, mimicking the hand movement and then passing the bowl to her son. For parents, hardly anything is as satisfying as being able to communicate with their children. But speech requires development of three muscle groups. Toddlers typically have motor control of their hands and fingers months sooner.