965 108th St SW
Byron Center, MI 49315
Cell: 616-262-3516

We now have reprints of four of the previous Deaf Awareness Posters. Contact me if you wish to have posters, etc.

American Manual Alphabet: This poster is one that we did not have to reprint. This poster could be used in schools, churches, libraries, Grange Halls or anywhere that people come in contact with deaf or hearing impaired people. For example, our Grange delivered Dictionaries to a third grade classroom, along with Deaf Awareness items (one being the Manual Alphabet poster) and in one of the thank you’s we received, one of the students had learned the alphabet. Another third grade teacher had her students do their spelling words in sign language. There are many possibilities with this.

Your Noisy World Could Get Silent: This poster is a chart that shows the potential hearing hazard of the loudness of sounds combined with the length of exposure to sound and how it can create a permanent hearing loss. Preventions are suggested on this poster. It shows the decibels of many electronic devices that we are in contact with everyday.

Pledge of Allegiance: This poster could be placed in schools, Grange Halls, libraries, etc. An idea that can be used is to do parts of it at each of your Grange meetings until everyone can sign it.
Do You See the Signs: (of hearing loss) This poster could be placed in church nurseries, day care centers, pre-schools or wherever adults can view them. It is a poster to make parents aware of what an infant to 12 months should be able to do, from 12 months to 2 years, from 2 years to 4 years and 5 years old.

Grange Deaf Awareness: Awareness – communication is key to qualify of life – hearing loss is permanent- early detection and treatment is essential, etc. Education – educate the public with printed material, video programs, classroom instruction, special equipment, information, programs. Prevention- hearing protections used, hearing testing, newborn hearing screening, personal education.


This is going to be a really different article from me this issue.  Usually you see pictures of the students at the Christmas party at the Michigan School for the Deaf in the Adopt-a-Child Program “listening” to a Christmas story interpreted for the students and the Grange guests. They would have pizza and all the goodies for them. They would then be really excited about the presents that were wrapped for them by Grangers. What a great experience it was to see this.  Pictures were taken of all the students and the activities they had at that time and published in the Michigan Grange News. I really missed doing this for the students. In some cases, this was about all the gifts these students received for Christmas. Hopefully we will be able to return doing this at Christmas time next year.

​I have checked with Susanne Middlewood, my 
contact person at the school as to when the students would possibly return to school and I am sure they would like to be back. I will also check with her to see if there would be something we could do for the teachers and students at that time. At this time I have not heard from her so hopefully I can have this information in my next Deaf Awareness Bulletin.

​You wish me a “Happy New Year” as a toast
 And a hearty good wish it appears;
But when you perceive I’m as deaf as a post,
 You should wish me “two happy new ears”.
I wish each of you and your families a Happy and Healthy New Year!

You Have to be deaf to understand the deaf
What is it like to "hear" a hand?
 You have to be deaf to understand.
What is it like to be a small child,
 In a school, in a room void of sound --
With a teacher who talks and talks and talks;
 And then when she does come around to you,
She expects you to know what she's said?
 You have to be deaf to understand.
Or the teacher thinks that to make you smart,
 You must first learn how to talk with your voice;
So mumbo-jumbo with hands on your face
 For hours and hours without patience or end,
Until out comes a faint resembling sound?
 You have to be deaf to understand.
What is it like to be curious,
 To thirst for knowledge you can call your own,
With an inner desire that's set on fire --
 And you ask a brother, sister, or friend
Who looks in answer and says, "Never Mind"?
 You have to be deaf to understand.
What it is like in a corner to stand,
 Though there's nothing you've done really wrong,
Other than try to make use of your hands
 To a silent peer to communicate
A thought that comes to your mind all at once?
 You have to be deaf to understand.
What is it like to be shouted at
 When one thinks that will help you to hear;
Or misunderstand the words of a friend
 Who is trying to make a joke clear,
And you don't get the point because he's failed?
 You have to be deaf to understand.
What is it like to be laughed in the face
 When you try to repeat what is said;
Just to make sure that you've understood,
 And you find that the words were misread--
And you want to cry out, "Please help me, friend"?
 You have to be deaf to understand.
What is it like to have to depend
 Upon one who can hear to phone a friend;
Or place a call to a business firm
 And be forced to share what's personal, and,
Then find that your message wasn't made clear?
 You have to be deaf to understand.
What is it like to be deaf and alone
 In the company of those who can hear --
And you only guess as you go along,​
For no one's there with a helping hand,
As you try to keep up with words and song?
 You have to be deaf to understand.
What is it like on the road of life
 To meet with a stranger who opens his mouth --
And speaks out a line at a rapid pace;
 And you can't understand the look in his face
Because it is new and you're lost in the race?
 You have to be deaf to understand.
What is it like to comprehend
 Some nimble fingers that paint the scene,
And make you smile and feel serene,
 With the "spoken word" of the moving hand
That makes you part of the word at large?
 You have to be deaf to understand.
 What is it like to "hear" a hand?
 Yes, you have to be deaf to understand.

​Written by Willard J. Madsen,
Professor of Journalism, Gallaudet University​

Zoom Addresses Accessibility for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Zoom Has added accessibility features that will let users with hearing loss arrange windows to see a sign language interpreter better while viewing presentations.
Zoom has introduced features to improve accessibility to its video conferencing service for people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

The latest capabilities spotlight or make stationary multiple screens for participants instead of one. The pin and the spotlight will make it easier for participants who are deaf or hard of hearing to place a sign language interpreter along side the presenter. The positioning helps them understand what is said while viewing the presentation. 

People can also rearrange the windows that show up on their grid, allowing users with hearing loss to place the sign language interpreter in the best corner for them.

While the changes improve overall accessibility, they are somewhat limited in scope. For example, presenters can show only 9 people at a time to pin two windows and presenters can pin only 9 windows themselves.

In addition to the pin and rearranging options, presenters can overlay themselves over their presentations.

Eric Bailey of digital accessibility advocacy group A11y Project said seeing two speakers at once is vital. This is especially important for situations where interpreters are required, such as government briefings.

Having accessibility in video conferencing services is not new to Zoom. Competitors Weber and Teams have had similar functionality for a while. Weber has all of the functionality that Zoom just introduced. Teams lacks a rearrange option.

Jon Henner, a deaf assistant professor at the University of North Carolina said the new Zoom features would make it easier to do his work. He regularly attends conferences and panels, does workshops, teaches classes and holds meetings – all of which require video conferencing.

Henner said he has some qualms with the closed captioning Zoom provides. As a deaf person, he would like other ways to designate that he wished to speak. The hand-raising option is not the best when non-deaf people are talking over each other. Henner added that he prefers an option that would light up windows of people who wish to say something. 

In Zoom, closed captions in real time can be added to meetings for attendees who are deaf or hard of hearing. To do so a CART (Communication Access RealTime Transcriber) reporter from a third-party provider. Many use ACS (Alternative Communication Service). The CART reporter can caption directly to Zoom.

​For captions to be directly connected into the 
Zoom meeting, the meeting host has to activate closed captioning in Zoom and assign a captioner.

​Some attendees may request American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters for a meeting and need to 
hire an (ASL) interpreter from a third-party provider.

​For meetings, the interpreter must join the meeting as a participant. The host must ensure that the 
deaf person is able to “pin” the interpreters in order to see the interpreter at all times. Alert that all the participants that an ASL interpreter is provided.

​According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau 
Deaf people make up about 3.6% or 11.5 million people.

​Zoom first unveiled the accessibility features August 31, the International Day of Sign Languages. 
The company developed the features with the help of the A11y Project.