Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The ASL-Illiteracy Aftershock!

We Southlanders been rattled big time this morning with the subterranean rumbler below Chino Hills.

But, by the afternoon has passed, I get a lot of communications from deaf people.  This wasn't about the quake, it was about the coffee settlement, big enough to picture an interesting aftershock.

Last February I published on my other blog about an opportunity to participate in the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf settlement.

You can see that at http://www.deafadvocacy.org/blog/2008/02/for-those-who-attended-our-deaf-asl.html

A good number of people got the forms from us.

Today we got checks in the mail almost $2,000 each.

I contacted people we gave the forms out to see if they got their checks.

The thing I find interesting that most people who grew up in American Sign Language (ASL) didn't get the checks, instead they got a letter 3 months ago from the consultant stating their form was incomplete.  Did they understand that? NO. They're still waiting for their checks. They're not getting them because they didn't fix their forms because they didn't understand the letter they got.  The deadline to fix their forms has passed and they never got to understand that too.  This clearly synonymizes ASL with illiteracy.  The forms were in simple 2nd-3rd grade level.

The others who didn't grow up in an ASL only environment got their checks today.  They're happy and thankful for my assistance.

From this I can tell theres a big difference between those who got the checks and those who didn't and that difference is ASL itself.

This is one of the biggest frustrations faced by people who grew up in an ASL only environment, and one of the heartbreaking disappointments faced by people trying to help them, like myself.

The solution is to become literate and I honestly believe that ASL clearly stands in the way.

Richard Roehm