Serving Deaf, Deaf-Blind, Deaf Plus, Hard of Hearing and Hearing Loss Individuals
“Choose your battles wisely. After all, life isn't measured by how many times you stood up to fight. It's not winning battles that make you happy, but it's how many times you turned away and chose to look into a better direction. Life is too short to spend it on warring. Fight only the most, most, most important ones, let the rest go.” ― C. JoyBell C.
C. JoyBell C.
Inside this issue WADHH services
Black Lives Matter Protests
Black Lives Matter by WADHH
A Change in My Work
A Challenge of Wearing a Mask Reminiscing Alda
Suspect COVID—what to do?
What is anti-bias
Special points of interest
• CEO Statement
• Financial Assistance
• Free hearing aids
Edited and published by Stephen Hucke & Terese Rognmo
The summer is here now - I am sure you are all ready to go out for a nice walk and enjoy the warm weather.
As you may be aware that the COVID 19 is still around—it has not yet resolved. The governor Inslee has ordered that all people must wear the mask in the public setting; otherwise, the case of the COVID 19 will spike up higher than expected.
Vancouver and Spokane are in Phase 2 while TriCities is in Phase 1. TriCities office will not accept any walk-in clients, except for emails/text or any kind of virtual operation. Spokane staff can work with clients through the window inside the building as long as they are wearing the masks. Vancouver Office will not accept any walk in unless an appointment has been made in advance and wearing the mask is a must. Other than that, all sessions for the client services can be provided through VideoPhone, emails, text, Marco Polo, or others.
The COVID 19 was not the only thing that changed people's lives, but also Black Lives Matter (BLM). It is very unfortunate that George Floyd was killed by white police who mishandled him physically. It has impacted many of us—more worms came out of the can unexpected. Is it a bad thing? No, it is a good thing for us because it is time for us to step out of our comfort zone.
WADHH staff and I do support Black Lives Matter because many Black people are in a high risk of being mishandled by the police in the public settings. It has been going on for 400 years, and it is time to break the vicious cycle.
You may ask how do we plan to break the cycle? Two things we can do: First of all, unpacking our white privileges, and use our privileges to open the doors for POC’s who need to access to resources and services. Right now, they do not have equal access based on their color of skin.
Secondly, we need to dismantle the systemic racism that is hurting POC communities. Our agency is in process of dismantling system racism as it is our goal to ensure that our services and resources are inclusive to all diverse community members.
Another thing that happened to our WADHH recently is that we lost our funding for Senior Citizen Services due to the COVID 19. We were not able to do more work for seniors due to technical difficulties. It has been a challenge to reach out to seniors who do not have access to the internet, email, text, or VP. However, we STILL provide case management upon the request of senior clients. We want to emphasize that Deaf, DeafBlind, and HOH seniors are not forgotten, and our Community Advocate, Robin Traveller, will keep in contact with seniors to ensure that they have access to their needs.
Until then, enjoy reading the newsletter. Stay safe, healthy. Remember, wash your hands, wear your mask, and keep 6 feet distance in the public settings.
Farewell Maribeth Jensen
Our Community Advocate Coordinator, Maribeth Jensen is no longer with us. She decided to leave Washington for a life-changing opportunity.
The fact is that I met her in Austin, Texas in 2012 where she was seeking resources and services from an agency where I worked. We formed a friendship until our paths took a different direction, and we lost contact for some time.
We met again in 2017 in Spokane, WA for a short time. She used to work for a non-profit agency in Spokane, WA. Several months later, she became one of WADHH staff.
I have seen how much she has grown personally and professionally in the past three years. Being in Vancouver, WA gave her the opportunity to have a healing journey. Now, she is on her new journey where she will have a new chapter of life somewhere else.
She will be greatly missed at work, and I am sure that she will do great in her new life in a different state.
It may be a bittersweet farewell, but it is not the last time we will eventually bump up somewhere else at a different time.
In this newsletter article this is to let you know that I (Maribeth) will be departing from Washington Advocates of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (WADHH) at the end of July. I moved to the Pacific Northwest almost four years ago and have enjoyed the opportunities for growth and development that were passed along during these times. During these times, I enjoyed meeting clients and learning how to develop new forms, keeping track of monthly reports, attending booths about what WADHH has to offer, giving educational workshops, and working with the community advocates from each center, and many more. I wish the community of Vancouver and nearby all the absolute best going forward as well as Washington Advocates of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
- Maribeth Jensen
Black Lives Matter Protests
Three staff members from the Vancouver region attended multiple Black Lives Matter protests. Many of you have probably heard about the event of one George Floyd having a knee on the back of his neck for a total of 8 minutes and 46 seconds causing him to suffocate and die. This caused a wave of realization for many Americans. For many, this was an awakening to the underlying systemic racism and police brutality in our country. Far too often, policemen get away with abusing their power. This leads to a gap in our country where the Black community is at an unfair advantage and finds themselves still fighting for equality.
We as Washington Advocates of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing staff want to show we address this issue and we are humbly open to improvement and critique from our community and our goal is to prove we are allies to all oppressed cultures.
WADHH held long conversations amongst our staff about our thoughts and feelings on this topic of systemic racism and inequality of Black Americans. Ultimately, we agreed it is best to be open to the oppressed groups in these kinds of situations and aid in amplifying their wounded voices.
The first opportunity we found to peacefully protest and show our support was from a Facebook group. The post was advertising a protest being held at Burnt Bridge Creek. When we arrived, there were approximately 30 people, and a tent was set up with refreshments and shirts and other things for sale. An interpreter was already there ready to go. The crowd was chanting various phrases like, “Black Lives Matter”, “No Justice. No Peace.”, and “Say his name, George Floyd” are just some examples. There were high energy and cars would honk loudly in support as they passed by. There was a brief break when some members of the Black community stood to share their stories of how inequality and police brutality affected their lives. Everything on this first day was very impactful.
On the second day, one staff went to the Clark County Correction and joined the same group. One deaf person tagged along to join the protest. An interpreter was also there presently. The crowd was chanting several phrases such as “Black Lives Matter”, “No Justice. No Peace” and “Say (his or her) name, George Floyd/Sandra Bland/Breonne Taylor/Eric Garner…” while walking around the building. The noises from the prisoners inside the cell rooms were heard – it was clear that they were inspired by the crowd’s chanting. A young white girl with blonde hair, perhaps age 8 or 9, led the crowd to chant viciously. What an inspiring sight!
Terese had an opportunity to chat with Lexie, who is the leader of the BLM protest, to share her experiences of racism, and her main reason for selecting the location was because some of her family members are in jail and their basic needs were not met adequately. The week before the BLM protest, the Clark County Correction encountered some fire, yet the prisoners were left in their cell rooms intentionally where they had to swallow the smoke and did not even get any immediate medical attention after the fire was extinguished. The BLM protest really inspired many protesters and the prisoners greatly. Terese shared with the WADHH staff that the protest will happen again at the same place on the very next day.
On the third day, two staff members were headed for the jail again to protest but after working later than anticipated they were worried they would not make it on time. On the way, they spotted another protest, so they pulled over and joined them instead. After talking with some of the people there, we learned it was being hosted by the local school district. Only 3 blocks from the Deaf Center, this protest had over 100 people protesting at a large intersection holding up signs and yelling “Black Lives Matter”.
After a couple of minutes, a white man drove very slowly past the protesters holding an “All Lives Matter” sign and attempting to engage in a debate with people. Most ignored him and only responded that if he had better educators growing up maybe he would have a more educated opinion and spelling because on his sign he misspelled the word, ‘support’ as ‘support’. Afterward, our two staff members had another conversation about the impact this movement has had and how important it is to stand behind our communities.
WADHH does not intend for this to be our only moment to show support and allyship. This is just the beginning of our mission to support all communities of oppression. These protests teach us a lot about the dilemma of police brutality, inequality, and the systemic racism our country is built on and how it is all our responsibilities to dismantle it. We stand with the Black community and support Black Lives Matter.
- BonnieKaren & Terese
Black Lives Matter
WADHH staff and Executive Board Members support the BLM. It is important to stand together as an unity, and fight against racism. We stand together as one unity with NO exception.
Are you with us?
A Change in My Work
When WADHH lost its funding for the Senior Citizens Services program, I am now a Community Advocate and will continue working with seniors who are 55+ regardless.
I had the best 13 years of Daddy’s life before he passed away in 2002. As I told my Daddy, I vowed to help any Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deaf/Blind, and Hard of Hearing with vision loss with their hearing loss needs about anything that they may not understand.
I’m good about advocating to make sure the hearing people understand where and how people with hearing loss understand. I have repeatedly told many hearing professionals, family members, relatives…… how to talk to a person with hearing loss. They have a right to understand people and be understood.
Look at the next page of a handout you can share with your family members, friend, or professionals like doctors, nurses, hospitals. Communication is a 2-way street.
If you are a Senior 55+ and are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deaf/Blind, and Hard of Hearing with vision loss, please contact me. I’m happy to help! If you are homebound and lonely with no one to talk to, I’m here and feel free to contact me! I’ve been sending letters to my current Seniors with short stories, Deaf Jokes, WordSearch, and small simple craft to make. When COVID goes away, I will visit or call you! If you are interested, contact me!
- Robin Traveller
Census: What is its purpose?
The census helps the government to determine how much money to place aside in the fund,
covering ten (10) years period. The more people filled out the census and mailed/reported it,
the more money from each individual place in the fund. The fund will be used to provide the
money to cover special programs for all people who may need it in the future.
The fund also will be used to determine the number of essential services – fire stations, clinics, food banks, etc.
The census also determines the number of seats in the Congress.
For example, if only ten persons filled out and reported the census; in the coming ten years,
there are 13 children with special needs, who may need specific programs to assist them, then
there may be enough funding to cover ten children while the other three receive none.
It is still not too late to fill out the census if you have not done yet; the deadline for the census is
October 31. If you need assistance, please call (844) 330-2020. If you are Deaf and resides in
the counties of eastern Washington, you can call me at (206) 406-2098 (VP) or email at email@example.com.
- Calvin Brown
The Challenge of Wearing a Mask
Face masks are now mostly mandatory and has become the new normal until the COVID-19 gets under control, by reducing its COVID-19 spread and transmission among people in our deaf and hard of hearing community.
I am completely on board with wearing a mask, but unfortunately, this means that for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community it creates yet another barrier to our communication with other people.
For Deaf and Hard of Hearing people (including myself) who have cochlear implants or hearing aids, some of us grew up relying on lip-reading to communicate with other people. Our main access to communication is often reliant on our ability to lip-read others. This recent requirement of covering all faces has left us feeling more disabled than ever.
We are now left feeling anxious, powerless, isolated, frustrated, confused, and struggling to get on with day-to-day activities (such as appointments and essential shopping) and more disabled than ever. Going into a store now with everyone wearing a mask makes me feel I’m deafer because I now cannot see their face. It’s a real feeling of detachment from the rest of the world.
I am writing this article because as a deaf person with a Cochlear Implant and as my main mode of communication I rely on lip-reading and Sign Language together I need people to understand how to communicate with me.
On June 24th, 2020 Secretary of State of Washington John Wiesman enacted “Order of the Secretary of Health” requirements for Face Coverings. There is a bullet point that reads: Individuals may REMOVE face coverings in the event “When a party to a communication is deaf or hard of hearing and not wearing a face mask covering is essential to communication.
I would greatly appreciate it if people are able to listen, empathize, and adapt to the communication needs of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community and their communication needs. It is helpful if the participant is patient, respectful, and supportive during the conversation to prevent further anxiety.
In some cases, most people have been very accommodating in pulling down their masks, keeping social distance to communicate with me. But not always, and we need to further educate people about our needs. If people still want us to patronize their establishments, restaurants, etc they need to make simple accommodations.
- Sandra Carr
About 10 years ago, I received a phone call from a woman, Ann, who was crying extremely hard. She said her 91 years old mother, Alda needed help because she couldn’t hear, and her care providers wouldn’t listen to Ann how to communicate with her mother. After I asked Ann some questions, I was able to decide what assistive listening devices to bring.
Upon my arrival the next day at BeeHive assisted living place, Ann showed up. BeeHive Homes assisted living place was genuinely nice and clean for the elderly who have multiple health issues. She hugged me and explained about her mother’s hearing loss struggles. Ann claimed that her care providers would not listen or understand how to communicate with people who are hard of hearing.
Together, we went to see her mother, Alda. She was laying on her bed in a fetal position looking out the window. Ann sat in a chair nearby while I pulled out a Pocketalker to test and touched Alda’s hand letting her know who I am. She turned her solemn face to me. I smiled back at her. She squeezed my hand. I asked her, “How are you doing?” No response. I put the headphones on her ears and said a few words but still no response. I increased the volume halfway. All of sudden, she responded, “Well, Hello Robin! I’m happy to see you!” Her daughter burst into tears!
I asked Alda random questions like what season is it, what month, and the name of the person in a picture nearby her bed. She answered them all 100% correctly. Her daughter was shocked! I encouraged Ann to speak to her mother face-to-face and told her to use the microphone of the Pocketalker and enunciate her words clearly and slowly. This gave Alda a chance to comprehend what was being said. I watched their conversation for 15-20 minutes while they asked each other randomly questions. Alda asked about a great-granddaughter who will be born and remembered her granddaughter’s name clearly.
A nurse walked into the room with a tray of Alda’s medications in her hand and was shocked seeing Alda talking. She abruptly left speechless. It was obvious that Alda did not have Alzheimer’s or dementia. It was all about her hearing loss! I left the information about the Pocketalker with Ann so she could purchase one for her mother. Alda became more social with her other elders at her assisted living for several more years before she passed away. It’s all about the quality of life to help anyone with a wide range of hearing loss!
- Robin Traveller
Imagine yourself becoming blind due to the diabetic, sounds scary, right?
Most doctors stated that diabetes can cause mild to severely damage your eyes and could lead to poor vision or even become blind permanently. How is that possible?
Well, diabetes can severe the blood vessels of the retina, which is called diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma. Diabetes can do a lot of harm to your body.
Back to the subject on the vision, how can you tell if diabetes has affected your eyes? Here are the symptoms as following:
· Sport or dark string floating in your vision (floaters)
· Blurred vision
· Low vision
· Impaired color vision
· Dark or empty area in your vision
· Vision loss
· And many more.
Many doctors stated that diabetes does affect the vision greatly. Here are the following three parts:
1. Diabetic retinopathy: It does damage the retina, which is the section of your eyes responsible for capturing visual information.
2. Glaucoma: the pressure increases within the eyes, which could lead to greater damage to the retina area.
3. Cataracts: It will cloud the lens as it is responsible for focusing the light on the retina.
How do we prevent from it happening?
First of all, you need to maintain your blood sugar and blood pressure steadily. Keeping up with the regular eye exams and using sunglasses to protect your eyes from ironing radiation (x-Rays) and UV radiation (sunlight). Follow up with your doctor to make sure that you are on the right track whether you are diagnosed with diabetes or not. After all, we really need our eyes for visual communication accessibility.
However, you may have noticed that there are three different kinds of diabetes, which are:
1. Type 1 Diabetes
2. Type 2 Diabetes
3. Gestational Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes: It happens among people from birth to the early ’20s. Their body stops producing insulin, so they have to use an insulin shot to maintain the sugar level.
Type 2 Diabetes: Usually it may occur among people at the age of 40’s when their insulin is not functioning properly, but it is manageable with the right kind of food, exercise, and good sleep.
Gestational Diabetes: It occurs among pregnant women, but it is temporary only as it disappears after giving birth. However, they may be still at high risk of getting Type 2 Diabetes if they are not leading a healthy lifestyle after birth.
Today, Type 2 Diabetes is considered a silent killer because many people are not aware that they may have it. What are the symptoms?
· Increased thirst
· Frequent urination
· Increased hunger
· Weight loss unexpected
· Blurred vision
· Frequent infections or slow healing sores
If you have more than three or four symptoms from the list, please see your primary doctor for further tests.
How to prevent from getting Type 2 Diabetes? Here are tips for you!
1. 30 minutes workout two or three times a week.
2. Maintain healthy 4-6 meals a day
3. Drink eight 8 oz glasses of water everyday
4. Avoid any junk or heavy carbohydrates (pasta, bread, rice, chips, cookies, soft drinks, etc.)
5. Eat more leafy GREEN vegetables that have rich vitamins and minerals such as Kale, Brussels, spinach, zucchini, cucumber, cabbage, asparagus, green beans, etc.
6. Eat rich antioxidants fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, grapefruit, figs, pears, mango, cantaloupe, papaya, and tomatoes.
7. Go for eggplants, cauliflower, yellow squash, and red beets. They have excellent vitamins and minerals to control blood pressure.
The biggest benefit of eating those vegetables and fruits is that they are loaded with zeaxanthin and lutein, which are antioxidants that can protect the eyes cataracts and degeneration, which are a common complication of diabetes.
- Zachary & Terese
What to do if you have confirmed or suspected COVID 19?
What to do if you have confirmed or suspected COVID-19
If you test positive for COVID-19, or get sick after you are exposed to someone with COVID-19, you can help stop the spread of COVID-19 to others. Please follow the guidance by Washington Health State Care Authority:
Symptoms of COVID-19
Common symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell.
If you were exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and you have these symptoms, you might have COVID-19. Contact your healthcare provider for a COVID-19 test.
Participate in a public health interview
An interviewer from public health will contact you if you test positive for COVID-19, usually by phone. The interviewer will help you understand what to do next and what support is available.
The interviewer will ask for the names and contact information of people you have had close contact with recently. They ask for this information so they can notify people who may have been exposed. The interviewer will not share your name with your close contacts.
Stay home except to get medical care
You should stay home except to get medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis. Ask friends or family members to do your shopping or use a grocery delivery service.
Call before you go to the doctor
Tell your health care provider you have COVID-19, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. Put on a face-covering before you enter the building. These steps will help keep people in the office or waiting room from getting sick.
Isolate yourself from people and animals in your home
People: As much as possible, stay in a specific room away from other people and use a separate bathroom if available.
Animals: Limit contact with pets and other animals. If possible, have a member of your household care for them. If you must care for an animal, wear a face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.
How long should I isolate myself?
1. If you have confirmed or suspected COVID-19 and have symptoms, you can stop your home isolation when you are have been fever-free for at least 3 days without the use of fever-reducing medication. Your symptoms have gotten better. At least 10 days have gone by since your symptoms first appeared.
2. If you tested positive for COVID-19, but have not had any symptoms, you can stop your home isolation when: At least 10 days have gone by since the date of your first positive COVID-19 test and you have not gotten sick with COVID-19.
Prevent the spread of COVID-19:
· Wear a cloth face covering when you are around people or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a face covering, people in your household should not be in the same room, or they should wear a face-covering if they enter your room.
· Clean your hands often. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Do not touch your face with unwashed hands.
· Cover your coughs and sneezes. Throw used tissues away and wash your hands.
· Clean “high-touch” surfaces every day, like counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, and follow the directions on the label.
· Don’t share personal items with anyone, including dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with people or pets in your home.
Monitor your symptoms
Get medical help quickly if your symptoms get worse (if you have breathing trouble, etc.). If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, tell the dispatcher that you have, or may have COVID-19. If possible, put on a face-covering before emergency medical services arrive.
What’s the difference between isolation and quarantine?
Isolation is what you do if you have COVID-19 symptoms, or have tested positive. Isolation means you stay home and away from others (including household members) for the recommended period of time to avoid spreading illness. Quarantine is what you do if you have been exposed to COVID-19. Quarantine means you stay home and away from others for the recommended period of time in case you are infected and are contagious. Quarantine becomes isolation if you later test positive for COVID-19 or develop symptoms.
Stay up-to-date on the current COVID-19 situation in Washington, Governor Inslee’s proclamations, symptoms, how it spreads, and how and when people should get tested.
The risk of COVID-19 is not connected to race, ethnicity, or nationality. Stigma will not help to fight the illness. Share accurate information with others to keep rumors and misinformation from spreading.
Questions about COVID-19? Call our hotline at 1-800-525-0127 and press #. For interpretative services, say your language when the call is answered. Hotline hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. For questions about your health, COVID-19 testing, or testing results, contact your health care provider.
What is an Anti-Bias?
Anti-bias is an approach with an understanding of differences and values to a respectful and civil society. It is also meant to actively challenge bias, stereotyping, and all forms of discrimination in various settings.
It is important to understand different forms of discrimination so you know how to tell whether this person is actually being biased toward you or not. An example will be provided with each term and its definition.
Discrimination: “The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.”
Example: A Deaf person has an excellent resume and applies for a job online, and it asks whether this person is disabled or not. The company screens all applications and may reject any that indicates their disability. Because they think that disabled people would be a financial burden on the company. That’s a discrimination approach by the company.
Prejudice: “Preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. “
Examples: A hearing person may assume that the Deaf person is not smart because she or he could not speak orally that well. The Deaf person is being prejudiced by the hearing person.
Stereotype: “a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing. “
Example: A hearing person sees a Deaf person signing loudly and may view this person to be very rude or crazy. The hearing person may assume that ALL Deaf persons who sign loudly are rude or crazy. This hearing person is labeling (stereotype) the whole group based on one Deaf person.
Privilege: “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group. “
Example: A Deaf person is in the first line to speak with the manager about an item, but the manager ignores him or her and chooses to speak with a hearing customer behind the Deaf person. That is a hearing privilege.
Microaggression: “A statement that can be either indirect, subtle or unintentional discrimination against a member of a marginalized group. Racism, ableism, ageism, and sexism are good examples. It occurs in most worksites and academic settings. “
Example: A deaf staff is being complemented by a hearing staff that she speaks well and should continue speaking instead of using sign language. That is a microaggression approach.
- Terese Rognmo
Found Objects Collage
· Cereal box
· Colored duct tape
· Collage Papers (scrapbooking, wrapping, colored, old art)
· Other collage materials (pom-poms, straws, feathers, buttons, and ribbon)
· White school glue
· Collected small objects from home and/or nature
· Cut the front (or back) off of a cereal box.
· Tape the sides with colored duct tape.
· Gather lots of collage papers, like scrapbooking, papers, old art, or colored paper to cover the bottom of the cereal box.
· Now just glue on your found objects and trinkets. Anything goes!
You’ll love the result! You’ll have a piece of art that looks like a shadowbox and has a story to tell!
- Amanda Wood