Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New Website & New Programs

We're Back!!!!  You may have noticed, our blog has been lacking content over the past months, but there is a reason why!  We have been working on our new website, upcoming events, new programs, etc.... 

Silent Echo of Harmony's Official Website has launched!  Check it out - www.seoharmony.org   
If you're a new reader -- Take a few minutes to read about the organization and our vision. The core of the business is to advocate and provide support for the deaf and hard of hearing.
* NEW! - SEOHarmony's PROGRAMS are now listed and defined on the site, those for which the donations will be used to operate. 
* NEW! If you would like to donate - we are now officially accepting online donations via Paypal (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, & Discover are all accepted). Click the Donate button at the bottom of the website after viewing it or click here.
* Last but not least -- If you have any of these social network accounts and you haven't done so already, please "LIKE" US ON FACEBOOK, FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, and SUBSCRIBE TO OUR BLOG!  
Thank you, in advance, for your support!  I'll keep you guys updated as we go!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Disney Experience

For those of you who have been following the blog and read Vacationing Tips for Deaf/HOH -- I tried out Disney's Handheld device at Magic Kingdom on June 2 while vacationing with my family in Orlando and here is my review of it:
Advantages:   Able to read the scripts for some of the attractions ( Buzz Light-year and Winnie the Pooh scripts - my kids LOVED it!)  Easy to use. Lightweight.  Remote-like automatic start of script for the attraction as it pinpoints your location.

Disadvantages: About 70 percent of the time, the device was either inaccurate or simply wasn't programmed for certain attractions.  Bulky - even though it's light, it takes up a bit of space so it was annoying having to pull it out of the backpack for every attraction.  The only color on the device was the front screen, everything else had a robot-like black and white / non color screen.

Improvements that could be made:  Smoother lighter device to hang around neck possibly?  And more accuracy with the pace of words to match the attractions actual script.   Ex: Time Machine script had words flying by like crazy on the device!  It didn't match the timing of the actual performance AT ALL.  An updated screen with color.

By the way, it was a cheaper $20 dollar deposit that you get back when returned instead of $100 for the red heavier Mickey shaped device. Considering the difference in deposits, I'm guessing the one I had was a newer & lighter version since this type of technology has evolved over the years.

Visually, it's a big difference, right?

Overall, I would use this device again with hope that it continues to evolve into a better device for the deaf and hard of hearing.  I really did have a great time though!

If anyone has used a device or recieved services on vacation with unique accommodations being made as courtesy from the establishment for deaf and hard of hearing -- Please share!!!!!   Whether is an amusement park, cruise, hotel, airline, or local attraction - we would love to keep deaf friendly businesses in the forefront when preparing for vacation!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Everyone deserves accessibility, Right?!

In our society today, certain things we do or take advantage of are considered privileges. Among these privileges are those that can be revoked. The right to vote, freedom of movement, being labeled, and even having to report one's residence--all of these things can be the effect of the loss of privilege.

Should that same concept apply to accessibility?
Are certain conveniences made possible through accessibility accommodations subject to the same revocation?

More after the Jump...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Music Video for ALL to Enjoy!

Here's a music video teaser by Sean Forbes 
We need more videos like these!  It's signed, captioned, and sung.  Look out for the entire video, should be coming soon!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Notice the small things....

.... ARE NOT SO SMALL when you really need & appreciate it! 

Live Captioning on your smart phone while walking for a cause - REALLY? 

Check out the Walk for Hearing 
Under Announcements --> Captioning w/Your Smart Phone

There are plenty of fundraising apps out there, but live captioning (CART) services at an awareness walk/fundraiser sounds GREAT.  You've got to love it when the accommodations are PERFECTLY in place for you!

Tip: Another great reason for deaf/hoh to invest in smart phones.

Vacationing Tips for Deaf/HOH

As you all know, summer is right around the corner.  What are your plans for the summer?   Will there be accommodations available for you if needed?  Sometimes it is hard to find that perfect balance of fun for your family if someone or the entire family is deaf or hard of hearing.  Here are a few ideas & tips for the deaf when vacationing this summer:
  • Instead of going on a regular planned cruise trip, try a deaf cruise?
  • Inform your travel agency or hotel that you are deaf so they can ensure that your needs are met. Ex: TV in your hotel room should have captions or if you're going on a tour, request an interpreter.
  • If you're going to a water park, it may be wise to get a waterproof Otterbox to protect your hearing aids, cochlear implants, cellphones, & other electronic devices.  They come in different sizes and colors. 
  • When visiting theme parks, plan your days out and call to see what accommodations are available to you.  Some parks have scripts you can read while enjoying their attractions. Ex: If you're going to Disney - be sure to get a hand held captioning device: 
If you try it out, come back and give us a report! =)

Check out GREAT DEAF VACATIONS, they have more info on vacations that are deaf-friendly! 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Signing with Children

When people think of sign language or ASL, a scene of a deaf person signing away would be the first thought that comes.  However, there is more than one benefit of sign language such as using it to communicate with babies, young children, individuals who are unable to speak, or unable to hear.  Young children have a great window of opportunity to learn as much as possible before the age of 5, and sign language is a great way to ensure that your children meet some developmental milestones.  

Cognitive Development:  Sign language can enhance a child's ability to learn through the concept of watching, absorbing, and repeating actions.
Social & Emotional Development: Sign language enables children to interact with others and express themselves. 
Speech & Language Development: Signing with them helps children understand and use the language.
Fine Motor Skill Development:  When signing the children use their hands and fingers to master specific movements and signs.

Can you imagine a young adult wanting to become an interpreter for a deaf politician or a professor at a deaf college because of the basic sign language they had been exposed to as a child?  Teaching your child ASL exposes them to another language and communication structure - it broadens their horizons.

Signing Time has great videos and educational kits to teach your children basic sign language. 

Silent Echo of Harmony Inc. will be having a Signing Time Screening at South Cobb County Library Meeting Room on Thursday, April 28th, 2011 from 4:30pm to 5:30 pm.  Refreshments will be served - come join us!  Young, old, hearing, deaf -- ALL are welcome!

Click HERE for a map view & get directions.

Captioning in Healthcare

Our health is a vital aspect of our lives where we rely heavily on communication to understand.  A simple thing like an informative video with captioning on a hospital's website can make a HUGE difference because it grants the deaf community access to the same important information that hearing people have.  

Dotsub.com -- This site allows for subtitles in any language to be added to videos -- More companies, hospitals, and organizations should use this site!   

Example: Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta

 "If Piedmont in Atlanta can do this, with the help of dotSub.com, then why not all major medical centers – no reason at all."  -- CCAC

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Captions? No captions? Headphones? Captioning devices? What are your movie-going preferences???

Some movie theaters have all or some of these accommodations for the deaf: Captioning on Screen
Rear Window Captioning
Headphone with Volume Adjustments

One of the major issues with rear window captioning is the positioning of the screen.  Other than that, most people have had great experiences with this device.  However, there are many other stories about the embarrassment of having to carry the cup holder designed device to the theater yourself, how complicated it was to get a good reflexion, and etc...  What are your thoughts on rear window captioning?   Silent Echo of Harmony wants to know because one of our major concerns is the lack of deaf support in theaters.  We want to help create a voice for the deaf community concerning accommodations and deaf communications technology.  Silent Echo of Harmony would like to help with providing captioning & accommodations for movies, events, and attractions -- we want it to be with both hearing AND deaf in mind so we can enjoy the events TOGETHER in Harmony =).  As far as movies are concerned: it's the PERFECT experience for the deaf when captioning is on the screen during a movie.... but where do we compromise with those who don't like captioning on the screen?  Headphones aren't the best choice considering there are a great number of of deaf/HOH that can hear sounds with or without hearing aids and still not understand the sounds or dialogue that is heard.  Or would you prefer a hand held device?  Some would argue that too many moments in a movie can be missed from glancing back and forth from the screen and device which would label rear window captioning as the best device for movies thus far.  

Here is more information on a company that creates rear window captioning: MoPix  What we love about it is: not only does it accommodate for Deaf/HOH with Rear Window Captioning but the same system with a few minor additions can accommodate the Blind with DVS Theatrical (Descriptive Video Service). 

Want to see a movie with rear window captioning?  Go to: Captionfish and look for movies in your area.
Then come back to tell us about your experience!  Those who have already tried it -- we would love to hear your stories too!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

ASL: A Common Foreign Language Course Option?

American Sign Language (ASL) is a great way to broaden the minds of our high school students across the nation.  Not only would they be enlightened about deaf culture & communication, but it would also expose them to the career advantages that are available.  With such a large number of deaf or hard of hearing individuals in America, there is a need for more professionals that are fluent in ASL (hearing & deaf).  It has been said, "its easier to train the mind of a child than the mind of an adult." - its true.  As children are exposed to more variety of opportunities then learn to use the basic skills of their interests - the more knowledgeable and passionate they can be when choosing a career path. 

Take a look at this article by Nikki Reynen:
Teen Talk: Bridging Communication Gap...

It's insightful to see other young people interested in ASL, the challenge they can face, and the benefits of learning it. 

If you're interested in ASL, take a class -- try it out!  It's challenging but fun!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Introducing Silent Echo of Harmony Inc

A Message from Founder: 
Welcome!  I'm excited to introduce you to Silent Echo of Harmony Inc, and this blog: The Echo Chamber gives you an ear to its voice! 
Silent Echo of Harmony came to life when I realized that the “hearing” world I knew as a young deaf girl was different from the “silent” world of the deaf individuals that I met as an adult.  I lived most of my life in a hearing environment, reading lips (I didn’t know ASL), in a mainstream education system, with hearing parents, children, and friends – and for some strange reason, I never met and had a real “deaf” friend.  Now that I’m an adult, and I’ve started exploring the deaf community – I see the different struggles that I had throughout my life much clearer.  The deaf community has created its own world, and it is sometimes not properly acknowledged by hearing people.  The law requires for certain things to be recognized when considering bare-necessity situations (ex: equal rights, accessibility, jobs, and resources) but in certain settings it can be difficult to recognize problems yet solve problems when there is a huge communication gap and little support.  I believe in the independence and self support of the deaf community, but I also see value in having hearing supporters with a sense of unity & harmony for good.
 I came to terms to start a communication and social evolution between hearing and deaf communities when I got frustrated after not being able to enjoy a newly released theater movie with my hearing fiancĂ©e (husband now) or children because a particular movie didn’t show captions at all or wouldn’t for another 2 or 3 weeks.  I love the theater, so I was highly upset.   I’ve also realized that a lot of hearing people don’t really know how to interact with deaf individuals or don’t understand them – so it leads to frustration for those who want the best of both worlds.  The vision for this organization is for the hearing and deaf communities to gather together for events or just simply being one another’s company without the social phobias because of the lack of support for the deaf community.  My experiences, thoughts, frustrations, and desires for a better social experience led to the birth of Silent Echo of Harmony with hope that we all can understand one another better while improving the quality of communication for the deaf and hard of hearing community. 
Hear us in this SILENT deaf world as our voice ECHOs with a desire for HARMONY to blend us as one.......
Please join us, subscribe, donate, spread the word, or learn a bit of ASL -- Support SEOH and our deaf community!  And those that already have -- THANK YOU! 


Laketa Mann