Thursday, February 28, 2013
This was my second NFTA meeting, it went well except I think I talked too much this time. There was a girl that was deaf in one ear sitting right next to me and I never even knew she was partially deaf. I had passed out my agenda for the directors and everyone else to read on what the deaf passengers need at airports and on trains. For weeks, I spent time preparing myself to make a little speech on stuff that nobody have heard about. Here I am going on and on about how I didn’t get any closed captioning screen at my gate and on the plane at the airport. And that bothers me, because this isn’t fair.
Then when I asked if the airport could provide me these services on my next flight, I didn’t get the response I wanted to hear. They told me that the airport does not always have the funding for the closed captioned monitors to display the safety demonstration on the planes and same with the captioned monitors displaying the flights at the gates. That’s when I blurted out that I had filed a complaint against Delta Airlines, I wanted them to know I thought Delta Airlines sucks. Then a few people understood where I was coming from and made some good suggestions which I really appreciated. For some reason, I kept on talking about what deaf people need on the trains and at the airports. I went on and on about it. Really, I wished I would just shut up for awhile, and let someone else talk. It seemed like all I was doing was complain endlessly, and I felt close to making a fool out of myself there.
Finally the blind lady with the cute quiet dog that came said she was amazed that I really stood up for the deaf people, and this is rare. That made me feel better and pretty good about myself being there. And I wanted to shake hands with the man in the wheelchair that supported my speech. Really, I felt like I was taking over the meeting, I have never talked so much in my life. Boy I was worried I was going to bore everyone with my endless speech. Surprisingly they all listened to what I had to say. I made two requests and asked one of the directors of NFTA to find out if they could close caption the announcements when the train breaks down and things like that on the Buffalo metro rail trains. He said he will look into that. I had also asked him if he could find out of they could educate the police on the trains better on how to talk to the deaf riders when checking out their tickets. I had made a complaint about that because the cop was talking to me from behind and I didn’t hear or understand a word being said. And he was very nice and said he will check that out also. So I thanked him and finally I stopped going off with my mouth about the lack of deaf services. The last thing was I asked for some kind of ID for me to show to people that I am deaf. And luckily there was a director there that told me I can get a visor card from his office. So I was pretty happy about that, I didn’t even know those things existed.
Right now they are updating the Buffalo Airport's website, so it will be some time before it is done. After I said something about how the Delta Airlines website sucked for the deaf people, they have been changing it. And I really appreciate that a lot. At least they are doing something. And I will continue on with my fight for the rights for the deaf passengers.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
When I was working in church years ago doing a side job the person in charge, often accused me of not listening. Especially on that day when a man name George came in with a set of tools. He gave some kind of speech for an hour standing across the room. I did my best to try to listen to George by watching him talk the whole hour. Unfortunately he had a beard and I couldn’t lip read half of what he said. So I didn’t understand any of the instructions. I got very bored watching him talk. George stepped backwards and tripped over a bucket of paint, which spilled all over the floor. One thing I did hear was him swearing, the F word. It was loud and clear. That’s all I heard.
Then Chucky the person that hired me, told me to do what George told us to do. Confused as I was,I tried to explain to Chucky that I didn’t get what George was talking about. Then Chucky got mad and said that I heard what the man was telling me, I was looking right at him the whole time. And I tried to explain that I didn’t understand what he was telling me to do. That’s when Chucky flipped out. He said that I wasn’t paying attention and for me to stop playing games.
Boy, did he make me feel bad. He wasn’t very understanding when I tried to explain about my hearing problem. Well either he was having a bad day, or just wasn’t educated on this subject. So don’t assume that a deaf person is going to understand everything you say just because they are looking right at you when you talk. And please don’t get impatient with deaf people when they can’t figure out what you said, if they can’t lip read you at the time. People need to understand that deaf people can’t hear, and it’s not always easy to lip read others, especially from a distance. It’s hard I know for the deaf at times.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Thursday, February 21, 2013
There were a number of problems as far as not getting my communication needs met in this world. For over 40 years, they did not set up close captioning in any of the movies I wanted to see in the theaters nearby me. This problem goes on today. Just recently I had wanted to see a movie over at the Regal Cinemas and asked if they can close caption it. They said sorry, they don't have that. So, now I don't go to the movies anymore. They don't caption it at the theaters nearby me, so why bother going? They provide headphones for the deaf in movie theaters. Those things don't help me to understand the movie at all, so I don't wear those.
I'm a lip reader. I can't hear over a headphone, or understand anything. My parents took me on a lot of trips by plane every single year. Not once did they close caption any of the Safety Announcements on the plane for me in over 40 years. Up to this day, I still do not know what to do if there were to be an emergency on the plane. As I could never hear what was being said over the microphone about the safety announcements. The last time I was in the airport was on Dec. 22, 2012. They did not provide any close captioning screen for me at my gate to tell me when my flight was leaving. Neither did they provide any closed captioning screen for me on the plane to help me understand what was being said over the speakers. I had to put up with this for over 40 years, and this is enough.
Just recently I took the Buffalo metro-rail train downtown this week. There were no text scrolling screens on the train for me to read where we were stopping. Every time the train stopped, an announcement was being made over a speaker. I couldn't hear or understand anything being said over that microphone. This has got to be very hard on the deaf people. It isn't fair to deaf people like me to not understand what is going on when traveling by train or plane. What about restaurants? I had recently taken my daughter out to dinner before her big trip. When the waitress asked me what I wanted to order, I couldn't understand her. Then when I tried to tell her I was deaf, she didn't understand what to do, or how to speak to me. Therefore my daughter took over to speak for me. People have got to get educated in places like this, on how to talk to a deaf person. Things have got to change for all deaf people for the better. Please help make this world a better place for the deaf.
This morning was another nightmare riding as a deaf passenger on the Buffalo Metro Rail train. As I am waking up, I figured to save gas on my car, by taking the train instead. So I parked it in the parking lot and headed down the escalator after paying 4 dollars for a round trip ticket. Then I carefully put it away in my purse, where I wouldn't lose it. By now I already knew there was no text scrolling screen displaying any of the stops. So, I had to get used to it. Finally I boarded the train as it slowly came my way.
Reading the daily Buffalo paper is a must. So I took it out and started reading as the train took off. Some lady behind me was talking kind of loud, but I thought she was chatting with someone else. I turned around, and I thought she was a passenger trying to make a conversation with me. I had no clue what she was saying. So I just turned around and looked out the window. She tapped me on the shoulder, the lady was behind me. I asked her what she wanted. By then I figured she might of been the cop, as I couldn't see her uniform. She must of had a coat on, covering it, either that, or I was half asleep. I still didn't understand what she was trying to say to me. So I said I was deaf. She then smiled and I showed her my ticket, and she moved on to the next person. At that point I was really embarrassed. People on the train gave me dirty looks, as why am I ignoring this lady? Why was I giving her a hard time kind of look on their face. They didn't know I was deaf. Neither did she. Then I looked out the window, and wondered why she was behind me instead of front of me. I can't lipread anyone that is talking from behind me.
Five minutes later, another cop was behind me. He was mumbling away and I got restless. I turned around and I didn't understand what he said, he was talking away. So I showed him my ticket to get him off my back. And I also told him a cop had already checked for my ticket earlier. He said that doesn't matter, I still need to show it to him. By then I was feeling dissatisfied. It did not make sense for them to check for my ticket twice, when I had it. What was wrong with these people? Anyway, I was very disappointed that these cops did not know how to communicate with me as a deaf rider. They went from behind me and I can't understand anything being said to me from my back. And when they were in front of me, they talked too fast and mumbled, so I couldn't lip read them either. This is a big problem for the deaf riders. Something has got to be done. When I go to the next NFTA meeting, I am going to bring this up. This should not keep on happening to the deaf riders like me. They need to train the cops who check our tickets on how to communicate with the deaf in the correct way where they can understand them.
Monday, February 18, 2013
On Dec. 22, 2012 as you know Delta Airlines did not provide me any closed captioning monitors at my gate to announce when my flight was leaving. Nor did they bother to close caption the safety demonstration on my plane for me. And the flight attendant did not know sign language and she had no knowledge of how to communicate with me as a deaf passenger. And even though I told the people in the airport I was deaf when I checked in my bags, they did not refer me to any kind of special services they had for deaf people. So, I decided to do something. So I turned around and filled out some forms, got it notarized and send it out. They received it, and notified me that they will be doing an investigation at Delta Airlines regarding my complaint.
Hopefully this will solve some problems in most airports that the deaf passengers are going through. Things has got to change for the deaf passengers. As far as I know, some of the deaf people are getting the services there. But they need to provide services for ALL of the deaf passengers, not just some of them! I will continue on with this fight for my rights!
Friday, February 15, 2013
What The Deaf Needs on the Trains and at Airports
1. There's no present text scrolling screens announcing the stops. The deaf cannot hear the announcements being made over the microphone and speakers. I couldn't see out the window when it was snowing and raining out, they were fogged up,therefore I could not tell what stop we were at. The train got overcrowded many times last year and when I couldn't see out the windows to see if it was time to get off. I couldn't go look out the door at each stop because people were standing and blocking the door entrance. It was very difficult to know when to get off.
2 When the train broke down when I was on it last summer, I didn't hear the instructions on what we had to do next over the speakers. I didn't know what to do, or if I was supposed to get off.
3. At the train station, the cops set up a table to check everyones bags, etc. The cops said something to me and I didn't understand a word being said. Same problem on the train. The person that checks to see if everyone has their ticket, checks mine and I don't understand what the cop on the train is saying to me. I can't hear on the train and it was hard to lipread what the cops were saying.
1. Provide text scrolling screens at all times displaying the words of all stops. For safety reason, they need to display any announcements being made when the train breaks down too on the text screens for the deaf. Believe me the deaf needs to know what is going on too when there's an emergency or if something happens!
2. If for some reason you can't provide any text scrolling screens for the deaf right now, then display a button on every train for the deaf person to press for help if it breaks down. That way when he or she presses the button it can send someone over that knows sign language to tell this deaf person what happened and what he is supposed to do when the train breaks down. As far as not knowing the stops if there's no text scrolling screens, this creates a big problem for those who can't hear the announcements. If noone knows sign language then have someone write down what is going on for the deaf passenger.
3. Is it possible to teach those who work in the train station and on the train a little sign language? They really only need to learn how to say, Can I see your ticket? Or do you have your train ticket? It really isnt' that difficult to learn, and it doesn't take very long. Also thank you is easy to say in sign language. If not, then try to teach the people who work on the train to face the deaf person when talking so that we can lipread him or her. And to carry paper and a pen in case he is hard to lipread. If you can't find anyone to help teach sign language, I'm around on weekends, and some week nights if you need a little help. I do know some sign language.
1. Provide signs, brochures, flyers, any kind of material to let all deaf people know you have services for the deaf at airports. Send it to them in the mail. Show t.v. commercials once a week about the services you provide to help the deaf passengers. Provide the information in these materials on how we can apply for these services. Leaving a phone number on your website doesn't really help. The deaf cannot hear on the phone. Not all people use the internet, so don't expect all deaf people to find out about your services through a website online. Please try to put the information about your Deaf services in the Buffalo Paper once a month, so that we have the most updated information on how to get these services. You can also consider emailing everyone that needs these services. I never got any email before my last flight in December from Delta Airlines telling me they had special services. When I was at the airport and checked in, I told the lady I was deaf . She did not refer me to any kind of special services I could use as a deaf passenger, therefore I didn't know the airport even had anything to help me. I also told the person at the gate I was deaf, the gate person did not refer me or tell me about any such services that was available in the airport.
2. If you don't provide close captioning screens at every single gate, then inform the deaf passenger how to make sure he or she gets the gate that has that screen. When I flew to Detroit last dec.2012. they did not provide any closed captioning screen for me at the gate even though I told them I was deaf at the Buffalo airport.
3. Please close caption all safety instructions on every plane that the deaf passenger is on. And teach the flight attendants sign language. You could consider providing a closed captioning screen at the deaf passengers seat when they do the safety demonstrations. Make sure all deaf passengers sit up front where they can lipread the flight attendant if she doesn't know any sign language.
Thank you for reading! I hope you can find my ideas useful and helpful for the deaf passengers.
Monday, February 11, 2013
This morning wasn't as cold as the other days, so I decided to take the Metro Rail to work instead of driving. At most times it's convenient for me as it saves money on gas and I get to rest and read the paper instead of driving. By now I thought things would of changed. Usually when the weather is warm, I like to travel by train instead of driving. It's been cold, so I have been too lazy to take the train every week as I usually did in the summer. So I happily parked my car in the parking lot which is free, then I walked to the station. Price is same, 2 dollars each way, 4 dollars for a round trip. Not bad at all. Seems cheap to me. It's better than having to pay 15 dollars in gas getting to work and back all in one day. There are no bathrooms in this station, and I don't know why. I grabbed my ticket, went down the escalator to the tunnel underground. My cellphone does not work down there, not at all, no service. Then I waited for the train. It comes every 10 minutes which is good.
I hopped on and did some observing this morning. There were no screens at all in the train displaying any of the stops.
As you can see on the picture above, there's nothing in the train close captioning anything up on the wall. This was bad news for deaf people like me. As the train approached each stop, I had no way of knowing what stop we were at. I did hear a faint announcement over a microphone at each stop, but I couldn't understand what it was saying. There are times when it rains and snows and I can't see out of the windows at all. The windows sometimes get fogged up, or completely covered in snow and I am unable to look outside the window to see where we are. This has created a problem for me last year, as this has happened many times. Since I can't hear the announcements of each stop, I have no way of knowing when to get off. And if the windows are fogged up, I can't see where we are. Luckily today, it didn't snow or rain, so I was able to look out the window and tell when it was time to get off by reading the signs outside the window. Then I took the train home and it was the same problem, no closed captioning screens displaying the stops. This has got to change, this is no good for deaf people and it does not work for those who can't hear. So what I did next was write a note to NFTA about this problem. They told me I was on the old train and that new trains coming out will have screens that will tell us where the train is stopping. Something like that. What I am going to do is attend some more NFTA and find out what is going on and why nothing has been done to the trains I was on today to display the announcements on a text screen. I think they should display these on all trains. Even if they are old until the new trains are out. This just isn't right for deaf people to not have any access to being able to understand where the train is stopping. How will deaf people know when to get off the train if they can't hear the announcements at each stop? This is an ongoing problem and it's very unfair to the deaf population.
Sunday, February 10, 2013
The Wake & Shake Jumbo alarm clock by Clear Sounds is the best one I ever used. Mine is pretty old. My mother brought it for me over 10 years ago. It's amazing it still works as good as new. This is the most reliable alarm clock I've ever had. I would definitely recommend this one for anyone who is deaf and that is unable to hear sounds.
In the past I had thrown this clock into the back of my closet and had forgotten about it. It has a lot of buttons, and I didn't feel like reading the directions to figure out how to work everything. Too bad I did that. A few years ago I was using a regular alarm clock. I would set the radio at full blast. When it went off, I used to hear it when it would go off for half an hour. If I was in a deep sleep forget it, the sounds are very faint when my hearing aids are off. It doesn't work. Most of the time I did used to wake up to it, only if the volume was all the way up. Then it became a problem. The sound was too loud and it would wake up my neighbors and my daughter constantly. Then my hearing got worst. Last year I couldn't hear it at all, no matter how loud it was. Then I had to give it up and use the one I threw in my closet and forgotten about. Finally I read the directions and learned how to use the bed vibrator and the phone signaler and flashing strobe light. Once you use it a few times and set it up, it becomes easy. This was the best thing I have done for myself as far as waking myself up. No more blasting music at 6 in the morning and waking up the neighbors. No more relying on my daughter having to wake me up when I'm not hearing the alarm go off. I had set it up by putting the vibrator under the pillow. And I would set it so that the strobe light would flash in the morning at the same time while my bed vibrator would shake. This worked perfect. After that I woke up on time every morning and the neighbors and my daughter finally got their peace and quiet. :)
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
The Metro Rail has always been a convenient way of transportation to work and back for me. It's fares are cheap, it's only been 2 dollars each way. The parking of cars is free at the train station, so it's very affordable. Last summer I was a regular passenger on this train. It helped me save gas, and I could sit and read the paper during the ride. So it has been very convenient for me to take this train to work.
The only problem I have is not being able to understand all the announcements being made on the train. It is said over a speaker and since I'm deaf, I don't know what they are saying. Sometimes it's hard for me to know when it is time to get off this train whenever they don't close caption certain announcements. Though I haven't been on it since November, I'm not sure what changes were made up to this day . All my life I have gone through this, so it is nothing new. I have learned to get used to it. One time the train got stuck and broke down. Some major announcement was made and it was a very important one, but I didn't understand one word of it. In the future it would be helpful if they would close caption every single word being said during the announcements especially when the train breaks down or has some kind of problem. This would certainly be useful for the deaf and for the elderly that are losing their hearing. What do you think?
Saturday, February 2, 2013
On Saturday December 22, 2012 I arrived at the airport in the early afternoon to take a flight into Detroit Michigan with my daughter. First thing we did was park and board the shuttle bus in the airport. Yes, I told the shuttle bus driver I was deaf because he was asking me where to drop me off. The driver didn't follow me, and he continued to talk and not look at me so I didn't understand a word he said. Therefore my daughter had to speak for me. And I never heard the rest. Then we went to check in our bags. As soon I gave the lady my license at the check in counter to check us in, I told her I was deaf. Listen, I can't read minds, but the first impression I got was she gave me a very disturbing look as if she was pressured and uncomfortable as she didn't know what to do since I was deaf. Then to cover up that look she smiled. She did not hand me any pamphlets or brochures with any information on any help for deaf passengers that the airport might have to help me. Therefore I assumed the airport had nothing. I looked at her hopelessly, after 40 years of flying, I thought she might have something to help me in the airport as a deaf passenger. Nope, she gave me my license back and gave me a big smile as if I was cool because I was deaf. Have a nice day is all said. She was a very nice lady, but since she worked there, she should have referred me to whatever services the airport had to offer for deaf passengers. No, she didn't, and I knew nothing about their services. Then we proceeded to the Security Checkpoint area. This is when I get nervous because after 40 years of flying, I have never been able to understand the guards in this section of the airport. There were closed captioned screens above us, about three of them. This is the first time I saw them and I applaud the airport for finally putting those up. These things were fantastic for the deaf. But there was still a problem. I didn't see anyone using sign language that worked in the Security Area, so I did my best to lip read. The worst part was walking through the booth and putting your arms up as they scan you because they tell you to look straight ahead at the wall instead of the person that is checking you through. Therefore I couldn't even lip read or understand what that guard was saying. I just pray to god, I don't do the wrong thing when not hearing what the guards are telling me to do there. This is the most difficult part. When are the airports going to notify the guards in the security area that they have a deaf passenger going through and needs someone there to use sign language to tell them how to proceed through? Believe me, I had to go through this for 40 years of not understanding what is going on. Same old story, but my daughter would be there to save me in case I said or did the wrong thing. I was worried that the security guards might think I wasn't following their directions if I didn't hear what they told me to do. Well if your airport had trained some of your staff sign language to help the deaf, why didn't you provide me with that help when I was there? Why didn't you send me any information on this, or put in the paper, or on commercials on t.v. I never knew what help you had there. You never told me about it. Oh wait, you have your information on the websites? What websites? Where? My computer broke down, I can't get online to find anything. As a matter of fact I don't always use the internet. So how am I going to find out about your deaf services if I don't use the internet? Where are the answers? How was I supposed to know you had information online? Where do I find it? So you have phone numbers to call there? What numbers? I can't hear on the phone, and I don't use the TTY. And when I tried to call the Delta Airlines in Dec. for help on my Caption Call phone, their line was always busy, or some recording kept going on it. I could never get through to you! So you have a website for deaf passengers at the Delta Airlines? Are you kidding me? Why do you tell me this after my flight is over? Why didn't you notify me before I arrived at that airport so we could make some kind of arrangements. Sorry but your lack of awareness in ways notifying people about your deaf services is very poor. Anyway I made it through the security safe this time with no problems. Knock on Wood.