Monday, August 16, 2004

deaf academic bowl

Well! The Western Regional Gallaudet University Deaf Academic Bowl went very well! It was held in Riverside, California, and I was the Wyoming team captain this year. Anyway, we did pretty well for Wyoming's 2nd year of being part of the competitions. This year we have won 3 matches and lost 4. Last year we won 2, lost 5. Not bad not bad! Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind won first place (YAAAAAAAAY!), University High School (somewhere in CA) in 2nd place and Rio Mesa High School (in CA) 3rd place.

I had a LOT of fun in California. I WANT TO LIVE IN CALIFORNIA! Man it's just beautiful in Riverside! The matches were fun, I made new friends, saw some students that had competed last year, etc. It was just a blast, and I'm extremely happy Wyoming got to compete again. Sadly, I won't be able to be part of the team next year as I am graduating June 3, and the competition is only for deaf and hard of hearing high school students in grades 9-12. I've had tons of fun, but am very happy to be back home. Just not happy about coming home to 12 inches of snow though

Thursday, June 17, 2004

new phone

I got to try out this new phone, which is specially made for the deaf and hard of hearing the other day. AWESOME! I think that was on Monday when I tried it out, or perhaps Tuesday.. I forget, but I really liked it! It's from AblePlanet, and anyone can use it. Even people with hearing aids or cochlear implants can use it. I found it to be much clearer and more easier to understand than any other phones I've used. Mom and Rob have said they'd buy one for me, and I would like that. It's a really nice phone. For those of you that might be interested, go to for more info. I also tried out this new FM system, which the receiver is in the form of a hearing aid. It's large and bulky on the ear, but I really liked the sound quality of it and everything. I don't have much info on the FM though.

Well, I'm gonna get this posted and get out of here. I'm at work right now, and I have an appointment with my audiologist which is in less than half an hour. Need to have my hearing aid adjusted as I'm not doing as well with it now as I was when I first got it. I'm just not hearing as well! And mom's annoyed with my "HUH" and "what?" and the confused looks I give her.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

letter to editor about ASL classes

I wrote a letter to the editor and it was published in the papers May 7th. I thought I'd share it with anyone who's interested in American Sign Language.

I am 16, deaf, and a sophomore at Kelly Walsh High School. My interpreter, Jo Otterholt and I are working on a project together. We would like to get American Sign Language (ASL) accepted in high schools as a foreign language class. Sure, I already am learning ASL at school, but I won't get a foreign language credit for it, and that's not right. Casper College and the University of Wyoming accepts ASL as a foreign language class and both even offer classes for credit which fulfills the foreign language requirement! I have talked with Dr. Jim Lowham for a little bit, and he believes that the state wouldn't accept ASL as a foreign language, but the district might. About 27 states accept ASL as a foreign language and Wyoming is not one of them.

There are many states that do not offer ASL in high schools but they do offer the classes for credit at the colleges/universities like in Wyoming, Delaware, Colorado, Arizona, New Hampshire, and New Mexico. If the colleges accept ASL as a foreign language, why not the high schools? American Sign Language IS the third most commonly used language in the United States! There are classes for Spanish, German, Japanese, Russian, etc. but none for ASL in high schools. When are these students ever going to use German or Japanese in their lives? ASL or a sign language of some kind is ALWAYS being used somewhere.

You'll find deaf people everywhere, like hospitals, police stations, dentists, stores, restaurants, anywhere and they'll be using sign language to communicate. How can the deaf person communicate if someone who works in that certain place doesn't know sign language? The deaf person and the employee would have to exchange written notes and that takes quite some time to do. If the employee knew sign language or ASL, then things would go a lot quicker for both. Not all deaf people can speak well, and some have poor English skills.

American Sign Language is not just for deaf people. Hearing people use it as well. There IS a shortage of sign language/ASL interpreters. It would be nice if more people learned ASL and some became interpreters of the deaf. Deaf people need interpreters at school or someplace else like the doctor's office, hospitals, police station, etc.

My mom, Jo, and I are working on starting a petition and we plan on having students sign it. I am very sure that there are many students that would like to learn American Sign Language, but they can't since it isn't offered in high schools. The staff at Star Lane Center are supportive of this project as well as Mr. Larry Allison at Kelly Walsh High School, and they believe ASL should be accepted as a foreign language.

Getting American Sign Language to be accepted as a foreign language in high schools may not happen right away, but hopefully it'll be accepted for the younger students who have to have a foreign language credit in order to graduate. No matter where they go, they'll always find a use for this language since it is needed everywhere, and things will go a lot easier for the deaf person if more people knew ASL or a sign language of some kind.

I should have the petition typed up and printed out tomorrow and I'll be passing it around throughout the town until May 22. I'm leaving May 22 for a 2 week vacation. I may continue with the petition through the summer too. ASL SHOULD be accepted!!!!!!!!!! Many of my relatives and friends and even teachers are very supportive of this!

Thursday, April 15, 2004

new hearing aid!

New hearing aid tomorrow! I just can't wait haha. This whole week I've been anxious. Phonak's Supero.... dude I just really cannot wait to try it out!

Tuesday, April 6, 2004

I found a new hearing aid

Today was definitely a good day. Sunday afternoon, I came across a mention of this new programmable digital hearing aid from Phonak, the Supero.... So I went to the Phonak US website, and printed off info. The Supero is the hearing aid for severe to profound losses, which is what I have. And I think the Supero will be even better than the Claro (the one I currently have). Anyway, I shared the info with mom and she got all excited about it.

So! Today, I went to see my audiologist, Shane, to get my new earmold. And I put the printouts on the counter smack in front of him. And I told him I'm considering getting this hearing aid someday. So, he got my new mold fitted on my hearing aid and all (btw, you can not even see the earmold when you look at my ear, unless you REALLY look at it, pretty cool!). Then we talked about the hearing aid and a possible trial period for it. He says he runs like... 45 day trials or something like that. He picked up his phone, dialed the number for Phonak and got the Wyoming customer service or whatever, and ORDERED one. Haaa cool! He's hoping it'll be here by Monday.

I told mom of what went on after I got done seeing Shane. She's all excited about it. She says if DVR doesn't pay for it, we'll just put it on her credit card... and DVR has told us they'd buy a pair of hearing aids for me or whatever. We'll have to talk to them and all. Just for one Supero HA, it's about $1,700 from what Shane had told me. It might be a bit more than that as he also ordered the Phonak FM boot thingy for the hearing aid, considering I already have the transmitter for my current FM on my HA. When the Supero hearing aid and FM boot comes in, Shane's going to reprogram my remote control I think? so it'd work with the Supero. I'm pretty excited about this! It'll be here soon, hopefully by Monday so we can get the HA programmed before Spring Break ends.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

CI presentation

afternoon presentation went very well. Mom, Dad, Riece, Rob, they showed up. Both audiologists from deaf school were there, Sarah who works for state department of deaf education or whatever was there, as well as another interpreter and yeah... some other people... but HEY! we atcually had an audience! unlike the morning, they only had 1 person for the audience. it went very well. And I have to say it was one of our better presentations that we have ever done. Some of the others we've done were good, but not as good as today's! so that's good! and I didn't even use any notes.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

CI presenter

Went to Star Lane. Good of the order a snooze. Chelsea came (deaf lady who gotten an implant at age 16 but wasn't successful). So Jo and I snuck out of good of the order early. Three of us chatted a bit. Then went into Vlasto's room. I sat at the table eating my lunch. Soon enough the seniors were in the room and Chelsea was sharing her story in ASL while Jo voiced for her. She lost her hearing to meningitis at 8 months! I never knew she had meningitis too! WHOA! but yeah. It was interesting, what she told us. Really interesting. Then she left to go to work. Rest of us prepared for the presentation on Tuesday, getting everything planned out and figured out who was doing what part. I start the presentation, and I'm also going to talk a little on hearing aids so people know there IS a difference between hearing aids and cochlear implants. I don't think I'd even need any.. cheat sheets or anything! I mean, when I started the presentation, it's just the intro (Hi welcome to our presentation blah blah blah), and then I go off talking about myself... like how I became deaf, what hearing loss I have, etc. Then others do their parts, then I get to hearing aids. And I've done a speech on hearing aids in 9th grade! and yeah, I'm gonna explain how things sound with a hearing aid and that sort of thing. We got the plan set, then got to work on the visuals. Thursday night I spent like 2 hours gathering up all sorts of pics off the net and putting EVERYTHING I had onto a CD-RW. At Star Lane, I put all of the pics from my CD onto the sharefolder on the network so all the seniors can take whatever pics they wanna use for their part.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

ci stuff at school

got to Star Lane. Good of the order, nothing important. in Vlastos's room, Mr. V popped in the Sound & Fury videotape, and started showing it. I sat at the table and wrote answers to questions for the morning group. Jo and Angela arrived, so I went to Jo's desk. Told them they just started the video. We interrupted the video, and I introduced Angela. Angela talked of her deafness, getting the implant, how difficult it was to adjust to the way everything sounded with a CI and everything. Answered a few questions. She was GREAT! Jo then had to drive Angela back to the deaf school and I went with them! We dropped Angela off, then Jo and I went to TCBY and had ice cream. Then we returned to Star Lane just in time for the video to end.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

ci stuff for school

went to Star Lane. Good of the order was a snooze. Informed Jo that Angela will be at the deaf school at around 12:15 tomorrow so that Jo can drive her over to Star Lane. Then break (after tiny discussion of the 3 different implant brands). Then Tom talked of the ear, audiogram, blah blah blah blah. This time I took notes (2 1/2 pages! lol). Tom left, another break. Got together again and we discussed the presentation. Basically I'm gonna start the presentation, talking of how I became deaf and of wanting the implant and whatnot. Then I'll jump out of the presentation and just help with the visuals. We're gonna try to make this presentation a bit different from previous presentations we've done. Like add in a little roleplaying or whatever, you know? And I'm gonna throw together a simple webpage with graphics and whatnot for the presentation.
after everyone left for home, Jo and I chatted with Mr. V some more. blah blah blah blah ya know! lmao yeah. And Mr. V is planning to video tape this presentation. I was like YEAH! I would like to have a copy of that tape!

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

ear presentation

Went to Star Lane BEFORE 9 today! and arrived before 9 too! and Tom the audiologist had BEAT me! Anyway.... I informed both senior groups that he was here. Then Vlasto's group migrated on over to Hollis' room. Tom brought his ear model and poster into the room and sat at the table. Went on talking of how the ear worked and all. Showed off the different parts of the ear. Answered a bunch of questions.
After he was done talking and the seniors went for a break, I talked to Tom a bit, as I wanted to understand more of how meningitis could cause ossification in the cochlea. I sort of understand it now. Yeah. asked him some other stuff too, we talked a bit more. He left, I hung around. Went home for lunch, and checked Email. ANGELA responded to my reply to her. I gave her directions of how to get to Star Lane along with an attachment of a map with 2 different possible routes highlighted.
Had lunch heated up (left over macaroni with cream of mushroom soup, tuna and peas). Grabbed caffeine free Dr Pepper, covered my lunch bowl and went back to Star Lane. Jo was already there. Ate my lunch during good of the order blah blah. Jo told me of her mom's funeral, and of how Jo DROVE her mother's casket to Nebraska for burial! Yeah. Then we go into Vlastos room after good of the order (turns out both afternoon senior groups are now 1 once again). Vlastos read off the drafts (like 5 different drafts from different students). A little bit of discussion. We go out for a break. Then journaling. I didn't write in my journal nor did I even have my journal with me. Just a bunch of metaphor junk and I was just coming up with absolutely NOTHING! yeah.

Tom's at Star Lane tomorrow afternoon WEEEEE! and then Angela will be the visiting guest speaker on Thursday afternoon. WHOO HOO! Angela has an implant herself (implanted in late May, turned on in like very eary July). Angela is a neat person and I'm happy that she's willing to talk to us and share her experiences. WEEEEE!

Monday, January 12, 2004

hearing test for ssi

Went to Star Lane this morning.. Gave Mr. Vlastos a copy of the info I had found on how electrodes and channels for CIs work. He was HAPPY when I gave him the copy. Talked to Mrs. Hollis' group for a bit. Hollis found some info on the web involving the ear and yeah, and printed it out. Gave me a copy as I asked her I would like a copy and yeah. Explained to her of what I had learned of the connection of hearing sounds and the brain and of how later deafened people and deaf babies getting implanted early do better with the implants than those born and raised deaf as those born and raised deaf don't really make the connection as they have never heard sounds for so long and yeah.... errr.... Did I even make any sense?

Drove home, grabbed the note mom wrote. Drank a DP, had a couple of Reeses peanut butter hearts.... Went back to Star Lane. Checked emails, blah blah. I had transferred all of my printouts from over the year into a 2 inch binder as my 1 inch binder was just not gonna cut it! Jo arrived! we chatted a bit. went to good of the order, blah blah. Seniors went into Vlasto's room to discuss crap for tomorrow night's cosmo presentation. I'm not doing the presentation cause I didn't even do the 1st presentation as I was sick. I started writing out a very messy outline for my paper. I have waaaaaaaaaaay too much stuff and it's all disorganized. So I did an outline to help me out a bit so I wouldn't forget anything when I turned in the paper.
Then I left, met mom at the flower shop by 1. Mom was unpacking boxes of valentines day stuff for the shop. Soon enough we went to the clinic, mom filled out forms for me at the ear doctor office.
Forms are filled, we waited a few minutes. Then an audiologist comes to get me. We go into her lil office, talk a bit. Then I'm taken to the sound-booth. Frequency tests, speech discrimination tests, blah! I did okay on the speech discrimination tests according to the audiologist, and she couldn't understand why the results were so different from the ones on the 2 previous tests I had done over 2 years. Must be cause I've had my hearing aid readjusted several times and all... whatever! then mom and I go back to waiting area, wait a long time. Mom calls Riece and had her call the dentist office for mom. Mom had an appointment for 2:45 at the dentist, but the doctor visit took longer than expected. Then my name's called after... like 15-25 minutes of waiting? We're taken to another office/small room, whatever. We wait some more, ear dr comes in. He and Mom talked (I could BARELY hear the dude much less understand him!). Talked a bit of cochlear implants too.

With audiologist, she says she doesn't think a CI would be good for me.. I do too well with my hearing aid or whatever? I dunno.... don't really quite understand what she meant or whatever.
With the dr, just from looking at the audiogram, he said I would be a very good candidate. Then mom mentioned meningitis as cause of my deafness, then he said maybe not cause of ossification/scar tissue in the cochlea which is common after meningitis. Who knows! Only way to find out is by CT scan which is part of the evaluation process before the CI team decides if person is a candidate or not. yeah *shrugs*. But mom told me it sounds like he's gonna write a good letter for SSI and yeah.

Tuesday, January 6, 2004

ci stuff for school

We weren't to get into a group until 1:35, so I went into Mr. V's room. There were questions on the board from the morning group so I answered all but 2.... yeah I think.... and answered some from the group. then went to Mrs. Leotta's room and yeah. more discussions, and again more of me jumping in! I went to, the Cochlear Inc. website, maker of the Nucleus implants, and found an animation that demonstrated and explained how the ear works. We went through that, had a small break, then started looking at how a cochlear implant worked. Then it was time to go. Chatted with Mrs. Leotta a bit, then left. Stopped by the deaf school and with the help of Ruth, we found Tom the audiologist. I talked to him a bit, and he said he'd call Star Lane within the next few days to leave a message to inform me of when he'd go over to Star Lane to talk of the ear, show a model of the ear and all, etc. yeah. good afternoon!

Monday, January 5, 2004

starting the CI problem at school

we're FINALLY doing MY cochlear implant problem at Star Lane! YEAH BABY! about time too! Man you have no idea how much I wanted to do that problem! When chatting with Ruth, Darla came over and told me we were doing the problem at Star Lane, and I was like OOOO better go home and find my CI notebook!

good of the order was okay.... then we were split up into new tutor groups. Seniors have been divided into half so we have 2 senior groups. fine with me, I think it'll be better this way. HAAA and I didn't even do any research cause I had it all right in front of me! WEEE. and I was actually sorta jumping in here and there during discussion.... like clarifying some stuff and yeah.

Mr. V has snagged me for tomorrow after good of the order so his seniors can ask me questions cause I think they were gonna build a case or whatever...? I dunno.

Also put together a list of sources that ALL senior tutor groups could use for info and whatnot. yeah.