10 Deaf Problems

By Malinda Jorgensen

Here are 10 deaf problem that I face sometimes, and most of them are true for other deaf people. Understand NOT all of them are deaf problems especially #7:

Deaf Problem #1:

You sometimes have to keep your eyes open to understand the person better when that person is praying.

Deaf Problem #2:

When you get an Apple product, you get earbuds as well. You have to give them to another person, because it is not totally convenient to wear earbuds with CIs and ear molds.

Deaf Problem #3:

You ignore calls from numbers you don’t know, because you know you won’t be able to understand strangers as well as you understand people you do know.

Deaf Problem #4:

You have to have an alarm that shakes and/or a light goes off otherwise you can’t hear an alarm that makes noise.

Deaf Problem #5:

Along the lines of an alarm clock, sometimes you forget to turn your alarm off when someone else sleeps in your bed. The next thing you know the person is wide awake after the alarm loudly shakes them awake. The person will comment. Not that happened to my alarm or anything…

Deaf Problem #6

You feel tired after a day of classes because you have been concentrating so hard on trying to understand the teacher and your classmates. This has happened to me many times!

Deaf Problem #7

You don’t hear anything when there is a thunderstorm at night, because your hearing aids or cochlear implants are off when you are sleeping. Then the next day people ask you if you heard the storm. You say that you did not; you slept peacefully.

Deaf Problem #8

This is more of when I was younger with CIs. I had to be careful when going down slides so it wouldn’t create too much static electricity to deprogram my CIs.
Deaf Problem #9
Saying “I can’t hear you” to warn your family members that you don’t have your CIs or hearing aids in. You know, just in case they start talking to you.
Deaf Problem #10
When you have to be careful of what you lean against. If you lean against a metal thing, your CI magnet will stick to the metal thing.

Education of Teasing of Disabled Children


By Malinda Jorgensen

Sometimes good and bad situations at school create an opportunity for education of people with disabilities. The teacher may have ignored the teasing of the classmates or the teacher reprimanded the class for teasing someone with a disability. There are so many situations where it creates an opportunity for education. In the paragraph below, a recent situation would create an opportunity for education. I know the situation has more aspects, but I want to focus on the education part of it.

In this article, a boy with Aspergers had been teased, punched, and even some of his actions have been recorded and posted on YouTube. The sad thing is that the teacher in the class room during the recording did not care about that the students were mistreating this kid. The principal, Josh Ehn, expressed his opinion about what happened. “We try our best to educate our staff, to educate our students to react to the cases, to investigate the cases we have,” Ehn said. “But ultimately, it’s got to come down to the kids to take ownership for this and to stand up for the kids who can’t stand up for themselves.” (from link above) …. huh?

Honestly, I was appalled when I read the quote, because not all children will stand up for a child with disabilities. Not all children are compassionate toward them.  However, despite this situation, it does create education for people. Here are some tips that would help the teasing situation with child with a disability, and this can apply to teachers and/or parents:

  • The teaser needs to realize that he is hurting the child with a disability. They do have feelings. This can be accomplished by talking to the teaser about what the teaser had done. Sometimes they don’t even realize that the teasing hurt the child; they turn a blind eye to it. There are times when the teaser apologizes after realizing that teasing hurt the child.
  • The teacher or parents needs to teach the teaser about the disability itself. Sometimes children tease children with disabilities when they don’t know what is “wrong” with that person. This would be an opportunity to teach them about how the children with disabilities are different than they are.
  • One of the best things you can do is to talk to the children about standing up for children with disabilities. They are the ones who are mostly being picked on. The child with a disability would feel a whole lot better if there is someone who would support the child and not be upset as much about the teasing.
  • Get the parents or teacher involved in the situation. They may provide more help for the teaser or even for the person who is being teased.

It’s all about education. It would make the world a better place a bit at a time.

Disability Terms

disabled-care-logo-vector-drawing-represents-design-32642646By Malinda Jorgensen

Often times you have to be careful of what words you say. For example,  you seldom have to be careful of what terms you use to describe someone with a disability. There are people with disabilities out there that would take offense to a term that seems derogative to them even though you did not mean to say the term. Here are some words that you shouldn’t use and the right terms:

  • Hearing impaired: Some deaf people (especially the deaf community) do not like the term “hearing impaired.” They feel like the term puts them in a negative light or less intelligent.  They actually prefer the term “deaf” (in general) or “Deaf” (deaf community).
  • Mental retardation: This one is a BIG NO-NO. I guess nowadays this term is common sense not to use, but I still hear people call people “retards” in general. This term is definitely NOT a word to describe people or even people with disabilities, more specifically mental disabilities. I would take offense to that, and I am sure anyone else would too. The right term would be “mentally challenged.”
  • Confined to a wheelchair/wheelchair bound: people in wheelchairs are not bound to their wheelchairs. They can get out of the wheelchair with some assistance. The right term is “person who uses a wheelchair.”
  • Normal“: This one is different but it is still interesting. It usually is not right to use the term “normal” to describe someone without a disability. It implies that people with disabilities are not normal. Besides, some people with disabilities think having a disability is “normal.” Also, everybody is different, so there is no “normal.”

There are many other derogative terms, but I listed a few. I know the words listed above are pretty common sense, but not everyone has as much common sense that they think they do.

So when it comes to writing or whatever it is that talks about a person with disability, you may have to consult a source about what terms are okay to use. You can even ask them what they call themselves. For example, you can ask a deaf person if “hearing impaired” or “deaf” or even “Deaf” works for them. I’m actually fine with “hearing impaired” but “deaf” -not so much. I am not “deaf” technically, because I have cochlear implants. I also prefer “hard of hearing” because I am hard of hearing with my cochlear implants on. It just varies from person to person or even community to community, which I’m sure works for any term.

Don’t stress out about finding the right term for a disability. Just keep calm and find some sources that will help you. Keep in mind if you accidentally use the wrong term, just apologize-genuinely. It can go a long way.

Concentration Fatigue for Deaf People



By Malinda Jorgensen

Deaf people with hearing aids and cochlear implants or even people who don’t have hearing assistance have to rely on lipreading and/or auditory skills. They have to do that every moment of every day. That can be very tiring, because they have to work harder to listen to people, take in information, fill in words, THEN think of an answer to the questions the teacher asks. Basically, they have to work HARDER than hearing people to gather information in different situations. By the end of the day, they are very tired and ready to pass out. But… it’s not their fault.

According to an article on Limping Chicken, concentration fatigue is pretty common for deaf people. The author of the article is profoundly deaf, and in this article, he clearly states that he struggles with it in the workplace. Honestly, I struggle with it during high school and college.

I used a FM system and an interpreter in high school, but I was still tired at night. My parents made me go to bed at 10 o’clock every night, because they knew that I needed my sleep because of me listening all day. I had to listen to my high school friends talk to me, and I had to listen to my teachers talk to the class. I guess it was pretty exhausting, but I feel like I’m even more exhausted when it comes to college. I have no interpreter (didn’t want one). I just have a FM system and remote captioning, so I guess you can say that I rely on my hearing more than I did in high school. In addition to hearing the teacher with the remote captioning and the FM system, I have to listen to other students in a class discussion. I have to concentrate hard to understand what they are saying since the FM and the remote captioning don’t really pick them up.

As you can imagine, by the end of the day, I’m pretty exhausted. The latest I have been up is midnight, and there are some days when I have to take a short nap to refresh my exhausted brain.

So I say to you people out there that deaf people, especially me, need some rest time from time. And remember being deaf is not their fault necessarily, so having concentration fatigue is not their fault either. It just comes with being deaf in a hearing world.

Movie Review- Radio

from englishmoviez.com

from englishmoviez.com


 By Malinda Jorgensen

 Radio (movie based on a true story) is about a boy, nicknamed Radio, who is mentally challenged. At the beginning of the movie, he repeatedly walks by the football field where a high school football team is playing. The coach notices him every time but does not say anything. Finally, one day the coach decides to talk to Radio and offers him the opportunity to help coach the team. Radio takes up on the offer and help coach the team. Radio turns out to be a good “coach” at the football games and treats others with respect.

However, Radio’s “coaching” career did not always go smoothly:

– The football team tortures him by tying him up and locking him in a shed

– One of the football players tricks him into going into the girls’ locker room

– A dad, whose son is on the football team, felt like Radio was more important than coaching his son. He also felt like Radio was violent, because when Radio’s mother dies later in the movie, Radio punches the wall.

– Several people in the community think that he does not belong on the sidelines, because he may cause harm to others and/or himself. Actually, the dad of the football player tries to get the community to rally behind him to get rid of Radio for safety’s sakes.


– After both pranks, the coach disciplined his team for torturing Radio.

– The football coach tolerates his abuse but when it came too far when the dad tried to rile the community up.

–  The football coach steps in and educates the community about Radio when the dad riles the community up to get rid of Radio.

The football coach is also a teacher at the local high school, and he decides to put Radio in several classes to teach him how to read and socialize with people. Radio also faces a problem with being a student:

–  The administrator of the school is concerned that Radio would injure himself or other students.


– The football coach/teacher has to educate the administrator about that Radio is not going to hurt anyone; he is just going to sit there and keep his hands to himself.

In summary, Radio faces many problems in his life because of his mental disability. The coach repeatedly has to stand up for him and to educate others. Therefore, this movie is about the friendship between Radio and the coach.

Here is the trailer:

Interviewing People with Disabilities

from ncdj.org

from ncdj.org

Posted By Malinda Jorgensen

All journalism students at Drake have to interview people for their articles for classes. Reporters for any publication will interview people at one time or another too. However, if you know before the interview that the interviewee is unique, for example disabled, what would you do?

All you can do is keep calm and keep in mind that people with disabilities are all about respect. Here are a few tips  when it comes to interviewing:

1. ALWAYS ask if they need accommodations. Many people with disabilities have a variety of wanted accommodations, so I suggest you ask the interviewee, not wait for their response. But here’s a heads up for a few disabilities: If they are deaf with no hearing assistance, they will require an interpreter OR you will have to face them so they can read your lips. If they are in a wheelchair, make sure the place is accessible.

2. Talk  TO  the person. Do NOT talk to the aide/interpreter who is with them. It shows respect when you actually talk to them, and it shows that you are interviewing the disabled person not the aide/interpreter.

3. Focus on the person, NOT the disability. Otherwise, they will feel a bit self-conscious or maybe they will ignore you. For example, if someone is in a wheelchair, focus on the person, not the wheelchair. If you do that, they will respect you and let you interview them for your article.

4. When they are answering your questions, wait for them to finish their response. Some of them may take their time. For example,  a deaf person has to sign to an interpreter and the interpreter has to relay the information to you, so it may take a bit more time to communicate the answers to you.

5. It’s not always necessary to ask about how they got their disability unless you have their permission to talk about it. Most people with disabilities are willing to talk about it, but there are some people who gets offended when they are asked those kinds of questions.

6. Keep in mind that it also can be a learning experience for you, because you may learn about how different people with disabilities are from each other and about their disabilities. It’s always okay to learn something new!

Just don’t be nervous about interviewing them. Just be mindful of their accommodations, and you will be fine. Also keep a smile on your face!

Q&A With Michelle Laughlin

By Malinda Jorgensen

There is a faculty member on the Drake University campus who is making sure that a variety of Drake students with disabilities are being accommodated. The person is Michelle Laughlin, and she is disabled herself and in a wheelchair. What makes her unique is that she was born without legs and one arm, so she only has one arm to work with daily. Despite her disability, she is the disability coordinator at Drake University.

What kind of services do you provide for people with disabilities?

I provide services for people with a variety of disabilities. I provide braille technology for the blind, remote captioning for the deaf, and a variety of other services. Keep in mind that I mostly provide services to people with “hidden disabilities”- you can’t tell they have a disability on the surface.

Are there any Drake students raising disability awareness about accessibility on campus?

A student who just got elected to the student senate wants to do a disability awareness week next spring. So he is planning different events for that week, and I think it is cool that he is doing that. It would be a great opportunity for people to be educated.

Students also have been wanting to make an organization on campus that would include people with disabilities. The problem is that some people with disabilities are not willing step forward into the spotlight of being part of an organization. I still think it would be cool if someone does form an organization that does have something to do with disabilities.

What do you see in the future for disability services and accessibility for Drake?

I would see Drake moving toward more of being technologically accessible. For example, for hearing impaired students, we could put in a FM surround sound or hearing loops in the room. I also see more wheelchair accessible places around campus, because a couple of the residence halls are not totally accessible due to the age of the buildings.

Now going a little different direction in this interview. One of the articles I have on my blog is about a lawsuit with a service dog that was filed against the Drake University Law School. Do you have anything to say about that?
The original event happened before I was here, so I don’t know much about it. I do know the issue was that the student was training the dog, not someone with a disability.

How are you going to make sure that the service dogs issue does not happen again?

There are two service dogs and their owners coming to the Drake campus next semester. I am working on putting policies in place to educate people about what they can do to the service dogs and what they can’t do to the service dogs. For example, people can’t pet the service dogs, because they are working. People are allowed to ask the disabled person if the dog is providing services. Basically, if we educate people about service dogs, we won’t have many issues.

That’s all I have. Thank you Michelle Laughlin.

Marlee Matlin-Deaf Actress

Taken by Malinda Jorgensen10/04/11

Taken by Malinda Jorgensen 10/04/11

By Malinda Jorgensen

“I have made the choices that work best for me. I know I cannot please everyone, and that’s fine”-Marlee Matlin

Marlee Matlin was born with hearing in Morton Grove, Illinois. She lost all of her hearing in her right ear and 80% in her left ear at age 18 months due to a genetically malformed cochlea (from I’ll Scream Later). After her diagnosis, many doctors told her that she needed to be at a school for the deaf. Her parents refused to and placed her in a public school with programs with support services for students with hearing loss. She learned sign language and how to speak. At age 7, Matlin got the role of Dorothy in Wizards of Oz. That launched her passion in her acting career.

She then went to college at Harper College and continued her acting career during college and afterwards. Her first big acting stint was being Sarah Norman in Children of a Lesser God in 1986, and she won a Golden Globe for Best Female Actress in a Drama (Oscar) and Academy Award for Best Actress. Then she was in various movies and TV shows throughout the years including Dancing with the Stars.

However, her life was not always that happy. She used drugs from age 13 to during her early acting career and sent herself to rehab. She also was molested twice as a child- once by her babysitter and the other time by a teacher.

Also, a year after receiving her Oscar, Matlin was asked to present an award at the next year’s program. She faced an uproar when she chose to present using her voice. The reason why it caused an uproar is that “In the deaf community there are different types of people who have different philosophies. Some believe that they should only sign. Some believe they should only speak. Some people say you should use cued speech. Some say you should use cochlear implants. Some say you shouldn’t sign. Some people say you should sign. Whatever the varying opinions were, I represented something different, and because no one knew me, they decided to make me their scapegoat or whatever it was to express their philosophy” Marlee Matlin brushed the incident off, but it made her a bit more aware of the deaf community’s opinions.

   She has written several books including her memoir I’ll Scream Later, children books including Deaf Child CrossingNobody’s Perfect, and Leading Ladies. She is on the ABC Family show Switched at Birth starring as a deaf mom which is coming back in January for their third season.

Here is when Marlee Matlin spoke and sparked a controversy:


 AP Photo/Brian Kersey

AP Photo/Brian Kersey

   I was thinking yesterday what to write about for a topic. I wrote about Heather Whitestone last week, service dogs the previous week, and my first post was about Helen Keller. Kind of seeing a pattern here, huh? Well, I will break out of that pattern in a few weeks, but I have a topic for this week and next week that I really want to do.

     I guess a prosthetic limb is self explanatory, because it seems to be well-known and seen a lot. The basics are that if someone loses a limb or even limbs through an accident, military, etc., they often think they won’t use the limb ever again. Well, a prosthetic limb would give them a different way to use their limb. However it takes a lot of practice to get used to a prosthetics limb. The person basically has to relearn how to use the limb. Remember, it’s not like a regular limb, because it does not have skin on it and blood vessels. It is made out of various things like super plastic composites, carbon fiber composites, etc. Just imagine having a leg made out of those materials. It would feel weird at first, wouldn’t it?

     Sometimes the mental and emotional part can be more overwhelming than the physical part. The person has to accept the fact that they are missing a limb or limbs. They don’t have a part of the body anymore, and I am sure it is hard to accept. I am sure it is hard to accept wearing a prosthetic limb too. It’s not a natural part of the body after all. I know I am not saying this from personal experience, but I have experienced the emotional and mental part after having knee surgery after I dislocated it.

      So why am I talking about prosthetics? Yesterday someone posted a link to an article on my wall on Facebook about a man who lost his leg in a motorcycle accident. He currently has a prosthetic leg. Get this- the prosthetic leg is controlled with the mind!

      The prosthetic leg in the article is amazing in itself. “It’s connected to his leg through two nerves that were rewired to his hamstring and linked to the limb through sensors. When Vawter [the man in the article] thinks about standing up, the limb lifts him up. When he thinks about bending his knee, the knee bends.” (from the article) Apparently it has a great range of motion too. It’s just amazing how far prosthetics has gone since the wooden ones. Just like it is amazing how cochlear implants have gone from a body worn processor to the behind the ear with a remote the size of your palm to control the settings.

     There is not much about the emotional and mental part in the article, but at the beginning of the article it says, “he thought he’d never walk like a normal person again.”  As stated above, a lot of people who loses a limb think that they won’t use it again, in this case- a leg. Well, he did walk again- in a different way. I’m sure he felt really happy when he found out that he would get this kind of prosthetic leg, and I am sure he was more than willing to get used to wearing it.

    Honestly, from reading this article, it makes me excited to see what is in the future for technology for the disabled.

Here is the article: http://gizmodo.com/worlds-first-fully-bionic-mind-controlled-leg-goes-fo-1401152071

Here is more information about prosthetic limbs: http://science.howstuffworks.com/prosthetic-limb.htm

Heather Whitestone-Miss America 1995

By Malinda Jorgensen

 “Through ballet I was fortunate to find a place to escape, a refuge from my feelings of being an outsider. The dance studio was the one place I felt accepted and ‘just like everybody else’ was in the dance studio.”-Heather Whitestone

    Heather Whitestone was born in Dothan, Alabama, with hearing, but she lost them due to a fever at 18 months old. Her hearing loss was discovered when she did not hear her mother drop a pile of pans on the floor, so her family took her to the hospital to get her hearing checked. She was diagnosed with severe profound deafness. After the diagnosis, she got hearing aids, and she took speech therapy. She did not learn sign language until she was a senior in high school. She basically was taught to rely on her hearing aids and lip reading.

   Her mother was bound and determined to get her the best education in a public school. Heather Whitestone did fairly well in public schools, and she was enrolled in dance classes as well. She actually excelled in her dancing. She had to work extra hard to learn how to dance.  She danced by feeling the music, memorizing the music, and using the little hearing she had through her hearing aids.

As a result of her hard work, she was able to go off to college at Jacksonville State University. Not long after starting there, she entered Miss Jacksonville State University, and she won. She went on to win the Miss Alabama title as well. Then the 1995 Miss America pageant was next, and she danced for the pageant. She won that as well.  The thing is that she could not hear the person announce the winner, so she had to look at her fellow contestants to assure her that she won. With her Miss America title, she educated people about people about disabilities.

     After having her Miss America title, she married and had four boys. She got one cochlear implant in 2002 and the second one in 2006. I haven’t heard much after that.

Here is her crowning moment: