Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Orange County Deaf Advocacy Center Newsletter - March 27, 2010

The Orange County Deaf Advocacy Center Newsletter - March 27, 2010


This week eBay is making some changes to it's policies and fees. We have been actively reviewing things and getting ready for the changes. The first thing we have done is upgrade the store. We now have a premium store subscription. This is a big step in growing our assistance and fundraising efforts.

We would like to remind you that we are using the giving works program and you can use it to donate part of the sales you make on eBay. If you have some things you would like to list and sell on eBay to benifit the Orange County Deaf Advocacy Center you can find out how at

We would also like to remind you that we are on facebook. Our fan page is Please visit us on Facebook and become a fan.

Brought to you by the Orange County Deaf Advocacy Center



We have lots of new items and our webstore count stands at over 660 items!

Lots of products for the deaf, and blind, and other disabilities. Remember your parents, grand parents, brothers, sisters, family members, co-workers who need adaptive equipment. Employers can shop here for equipment and accessories for their hearing impaired workers.

Buy Here, Buy Now, Pay Less with our ADA kits! This includes long term savings associated with ADA compliance.

Stop by today to start your shopping.



State sued for failing to provide mental health services for the deaf

While the state is focusing on repairing its damaged mental health system, the deaf who need those services have been totally shut out of getting any help, according to a federal lawsuit.

The suit was brought by 25-year-old Gwinnett County woman and a 22-year-old Harris County man, but they ask the court to allow 350 other deaf people with mental be included in the complaint as a “class.” The federal lawsuit says the state has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution because there is no system for matching those with mental disabilities with providers who are fluent in American Sign Language.

“How would you ever be able to be able to diagnose someone if you couldn’t communicate with them?” attorney Lee Parks said to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s a good example of a hole in the public health matrix that is heart rending."

Tom Wilson, spokesman for the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, said the state agency was already developing a plan to address the special needs of mentally ill people who can communicate only in sign language.

“We do have a plan that we’ve developed to help enhance our services for people who have hearing impairments,” Wilson said. “We have done that on a one-to one basis.”

The state’s mental health system serves about 200 deaf people but the plan under development would be more comprehensive, Wilson said.

But it’s hard to set up a system to serve so few people with specialized needs and are scattered around the state, he added. The process often requires an interpreter, who does not have training in the mental health field, to serve as a communications bridge between the patient and the health care provider, according to Wilson.

“What we’re trying to figure out is how to expand those services to even having counselors who sign themselves,” Wilson said.

According to the suit, Georgia fails to provide services that are “equally accessible to and culturally and linguistically appropriate for the deaf [who are now] excluded from the enjoyment and use of the benefits, services, programs and activities of public accommodations.”

The suit seeks to ensure that the deaf “who are involuntarily committed to state mental health facilities receive adequate evaluation, diagnosis and treatment.”

When this suit was filed on March 1, Georgia was already trying to resolve another problem in its state mental health system. A 2007 U.S. Justice Department investigation found a flawed state hospital system was to blame for more than 100 suspicious deaths in five years, all first reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Federal authorities and the state reached an agreement on ways to improve the state hospitals in January 2008, but the Justice Department said recently Georgia continues to fail to be in “compliance with federal law.”

The suit detailed the problems Renita Belton and Matthew Erickson, the plaintiffs, have faced since they were children. Both are deaf and mentally ill. It took years to diagnose their mental problems and still they could not secure services in Georgia from mental health care provoders who also were fluent in sign.

Initially, Belton's mother tried to get help when her daughter’s grades began to fall but the Gwinnett County school system was unable to diagnose her, according to the suit.

The mother turned to The Atlanta Area School for the Deaf but that organization lacked the financial resources to diagnose and treat mental disabilities, according to the suit.

Belton was sent to out-of-state programs after a “series of incidents of behavioral problems related to her mental illness,” the suit says. She was diagnosed with “major” depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and mitochondrial disorder. The suit said Belton required 24-hour “’awake’ supervision due to the risk that she poses to herself and to others,” according to the suit.

The state covered the cost of Belton’s out-of-state care until she “aged out” of the system on her 22nd birthday.

She then qualified for Medicaid to cover the cost of a “group home” but there were no programs in Georgia designed for those with hearing and mental health problems.

Erickson’s problems were similar.

After he was dismissed from the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf because of behavioral problems he too had to seek help out of state. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, Asperger syndrome and pervasive development disorder spectrum. Georgia also covered the out-of-state cost until he too “aged out.”

While the lawsuit progresses, Wilson said, the agency was still “looking at ways that will work well with people with [hearing] impairments and is doable for the taxpayers.”

Brought to you by The Orange Deafie Blog



Blackboard Learn Platform Brings Accessibility Enhancements for the Blind

San Diego, California (March 25, 2010): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation’s leading advocate for equal education for blind students, and Blackboard Inc., will present and demonstrate the new accessibility features of the Blackboard Learn™ platform at the California State University, Northridge, (CSUN) 25th annual International Technology & Persons with Disabilities conference, held in San Diego, CA, March 22–27. The presentation of Blackboard’s improved and more accessible experience will be held on March 25 at 4:20 p.m. Pacific Time.

Blackboard Learn, an online learning platform, is used by thousands of institutions to provide online education, course materials, discussion boards, assignment submissions, electronic grading, and numerous other components intended to enhance the learning experience or to provide distance education. Previously, blind students encountered a number of accessibility barriers when using the Blackboard platform with nonvisual screen access technology. Blackboard Learn, Release 9, showed great improvement over prior releases, and during the past year, Blackboard has invested further in a range of enhancements to Blackboard Learn that represent significant improvements to the usability of Blackboard for blind users.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “We are pleased to help Blackboard present the accessibility features of the Blackboard Learn platform to the influential audience at CSUN. These features will ensure that blind students are not at a disadvantage in classes utilizing Blackboard and can access course materials online just as their sighted peers do. We commend Blackboard for their hard work in this area.”

The accessibility improvements to Blackboard Learn include faster navigation and improved form interaction, allowing blind users to submit assignments, participate in discussion forums, send and receive e-mail, take tests and quizzes, and participate in polls. Blind instructors can also submit content with the improved accessible forms.

For more information about the National Federation of the Blind, please visit

Brought to you by Modern Deaf Communication



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We get a $50 donation for each person who completes the signup, and uses the card.



Hearing Sister Takes Child from Deaf Sister

Livfully is a heartbroken mother who has posted on the forum about the fact her hearing daughter has taken custody of a young child from her deaf sister. The mom blames a communication breakdown and lack of understanding of deafness. The mother and the deaf daughter are going to court to try to get the child back. She is seeking sources of help in this battle.

This case reminds me of another, similar case years ago that ended when the deaf parents broke the law in order to get their hearing child back from the hearing people who had taken him.

Brought to you by ASL News


Take a look and bookmark our new search page! . It's a good source of information you can use.



Nominee to Disability Council Is Lightning Rod for Dispute on Views of Autism

When President Obama nominated Ari Ne’eman to the National Council on Disability, many families touched by autism took it as a positive sign. Mr. Ne’eman would be the first person with the disorder to serve on the council.

But he has since become the focus of criticism from other advocates who disagree with his view that society ought to concentrate on accepting autistic people, not curing them.

A hold has been placed on Mr. Ne’eman’s nomination, which requires Senate confirmation. Whether the hold is related to the criticism of Mr. Ne’eman (pronounced NAY-men) and what it might take to lift it is unclear.

But Mr. Ne’eman, the 22-year-old founder of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, seems to be a lightning rod for a struggle over how autism will be perceived at a time when an estimated 1 in 100 American children and teenagers are given such a diagnosis.

Mr. Ne’eman is at the forefront of a growing movement that describes autism as a form of “neurodiversity” that should be embraced and accommodated, just as physical disabilities have led to the construction of ramps and stalls in public restrooms for people with disabilities. Autism, he and others say, is a part of their identity.

But that viewpoint, critics say, represents only those on the autism spectrum who at least have basic communication skills and are able to care of themselves.

“Why people have gotten upset is, he doesn’t seem to represent, understand or have great sympathy for all the people who are truly, deeply affected in a way that he isn’t,” said Jonathan Shestack, a co-founder of the advocacy group Autism Speaks, whose mission is to help finance research to find a cure.

Mr. Obama’s seven other nominees to the council were confirmed this month. But parliamentary procedure in the Senate allows one or more members to prevent a motion from reaching the floor for a vote by placing an anonymous hold on the action, which an official with knowledge of the proceedings said had been done in Mr. Ne’eman’s case.

The hallmark of autism is impaired social interaction, but the disorder can take an array of forms. Some people may hurt themselves or be unable to speak. Others may be hyperarticulate but unable to parse body language or facial cues. Some may have cognitive disabilities; others may have savant skills.

Mr. Ne’eman declined to be interviewed, citing the pending action on his nomination. But in previous interviews with The New York Times and other publications, he has argued that those most severely affected by autism are the ones who benefit least from the pursuit of a cure, which he suggests is unattainable anytime soon. Instead, he says, resources should be devoted to accommodations and services that could improve their quality of life.

Historically, the kind of genetic research supported by many parents of children with autism, Mr. Ne’eman has said, has been used to create prenatal tests that give parents the ability to detect a fetus affected by a particular condition, like Down syndrome, so that they can choose whether to terminate the pregnancy.

“We just think it makes more sense to orient research to addressing health problems or helping people communicate rather than creating a mouse model of autism or finding a new gene,” Mr. Ne’eman has said.

A senior majoring in political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Mr. Ne’eman himself has a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism.

Mr. Ne’eman, who grew up in East Brunswick, N.J., has said his condition caused him to be bullied in high school. His social anxiety was so great, he sometimes picked at his face until it bled. He was eventually transferred to a school for students with developmental disabilities.

He founded his self-advocacy organization, which has grown to have several chapters across the country, in 2006, and he served on New Jersey’s Special Education Review Commission, where he wrote a report calling for legislative action to end the use of aversives, restraint and seclusion on students with disabilities.

Mr. Ne’eman also became a critic of Autism Speaks, the largest advocacy group in the country, organizing protests last fall over a fund-raising video.

But the split among autism advocates, suggests Lee Grossman, director of the Autism Society of America, may simply reflect the unmet needs of a growing population, for both research into potential treatments and for programs to support jobs and independent living.

“We have this community out there frustrated and bewildered and reaching out for any assistance, and that makes us battle-hardened,” Mr. Grossman said. “We need to reframe the discussion. From our perspective, it’s great to have a person on the spectrum being nominated to this committee.”

Brought to you by the other Orange Deafie Blog at



The Orange County American Sign Language Meetup Group - - and the Orange County Deaf & Hearing
Impaired Meetup Group meets each 3rd Fridays of the month.

We are currently pondering a new locations for all of our meetup events because our competition appears to have hijacked the excitement, prestige, and normalcy of our cherished monthly gatherings.



Barbara Kay: The bourgeois tyranny of the fully-abled
Posted: March 10, 2010, 8:00 AM by NP Editor

It was revealed by The Wall Street Journal in late January that at a private strategy session in August, Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama’s chief of staff, blasted the internally divisive political ploy proposed by some aggressively left-wing Democrats as “f-----g retarded.”

An intense brouhaha, with disability advocacy groups, Special Olympics spokespeople and even Sarah Palin piling on, confirmed that the word “retarded” — though still a bona fide medical term — has almost achieved the same social radioactivity as “the N-word.”

Objectively there’s no viable comparison between the two.

The N-word is an odious racial slur targeting an identifiable group of humans endowed with immutable genetic characteristics. From its inception, the N-word has been identified with real immiseration of blacks by real racists.

By contrast, “retarded” is merely descriptive of an objective condition, and applicable to culturally disparate individuals. The term may even be said to be a euphemism: “delayed,” after all, suggests more hopefulness than is usually warranted for these unfortunates.

But, like its predecessors, “idiot,” “moron” and “feeble-minded,” the once-benign “retard” has lost dignity through constant association with juvenile humour, as well as coarsely-couched impatience with normally intelligent people acting stupidly, Emanuel’s peccadillo. Medical and support groups now prefer “intellectually disabled.” (Strangely, the same fate has not befallen “gay,” despite its parallel downward trajectory in popular usage.)

To be fair, although never enslaved or maligned as a group, the disabled, until relatively recently, were overlooked at best, and often shamed, depersonalized and marginalized in all societies. But again to be fair, the West can be proud of its progress on the disability file. Over the centuries our perceptions of the deformed, the diseased and the disabled as ritually unclean or loathsome have evolved into attitudes of compassion, inclusion and frank admiration.

The Paralympics, beginning this Friday, are a testimony to the sensible modern understanding of disability as a modifier, but not a disqualifier, for participation in athletic competition — a far cry from the original Olympics where the slightest physical imperfection (even circumcision) disqualified candidates for inclusion.

None of this happened by magic. Activism amongst the disabled and their sympathizers followed the well-trodden path traversed by blacks, women and homosexuals in their legitimate, rights-claiming phases. Slowly but surely curbs became sloped, elevators were installed and wheelchair-friendly transportation was made available. Much remains to be done, but the principle of equal accessibility to public resources has been firmly established, a principle roundly supported by liberals and conservatives alike.

Until political activism morphed into a field of academic study. Then — as with women’s, queer and African-American studies — disability studies fell prey to the post-modern anti-intellectual credo amongst intellectuals that “studies” means the advancement of “theory” and political activism rather than disinterested free inquiry. Many liberals may like what they see on campus, most conservatives not so much.

On its face, the relatively nascent phenomenon of disability studies is an attractive concept. Disability in literature (fairy tales, mythology, Homer, the Bible, Shakespeare), in the plastic and visual arts, in family dynamics, in sports, in politics: All of these make lush intellectual pickings for real scholarship.

Instead the field has been colonized by leftist ideologues. You’ll find in its academic literature all the buzz words you see in race and gender studies: “progressive,” “oppression,” “bourgeois,” “empowerment.” Riffle through a few conference papers and it’s the same old, same old: “At the heart of disability studies is a recognition that disability is a cultural construction; that is, that ‘disability’ has no inherent meaning”; and “The exciting thing about disability studies is that it is both an academic field of inquiry and an area of political activity ...”; and “Social justice is at the heart of disability theory and changing morality in the Western world.”

In other words, disability studies’ academic stakeholders have co-opted the disabled — for the most part apolitical individuals seeking nothing more than a physical levelling of the playing field in order to pursue their unique personal goals — as eternal Marxist victims of “ableist” oppressors. (The University of Toronto disabilities studies department claims it “aims to examine and deconstruct ableism.”)

That’s where the animus against “retarded” comes from. The word suggests there is a normative IQ against which the — er — “cognitively different” can, and should, be measured. Like feminists who won’t hear of discrepancies between male and female faculties in maths and sciences, disability activists rebel against the bourgeois tyranny of the fully abled. The same denial of reality prevails.

(The deaf “culture” or “linguistic community” who resist integration through lip-reading is the most egregious example of the syndrome. Extreme disability correctness led two deaf lesbians to seek a congenitally deaf sperm donor to ensure a deaf child.)

Disabled individuals are owed all the help society can reasonably provide to live as normal a life as possible. Colour me ableist: I said it — the other N-word — “normal.” For “normal” is what any reasonable disabled person wants to be. If disability studies academics resist this reality, they may be cognitively abled, but they are ethically ... delayed.

National Post

Brought to you by the Hearing For Life Foundation



Tinnitus affects people with or without hearing loss.

Tinnitus is the ringing sensation that occurs in the ears. Severe tinnitus can be painful and disable a person. Orange County Deaf Advocacy Center has two people serving in a patient advocacy council. Orange County Deaf Advocacy Center wants to help people retain their productivity by helping them manage tinnitus.

We are introducing a nutraceutical cocktail of Ginkgo Biloba, Zinc, and Garlic to manage tinnitus (ringing) in the ears. New studies show that a combination of these three working together helps manage tinnitus. We have the research that suggest the cocktail helps manage tinnitus.

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Tinnitus management kit contains Ginkgo Biloba, Zinc, Garlic, pill minders box, carrying case, and 2 sets of ear plugs.

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If you care about your ears, please shop through our paypal link below now

Tinnitus 2 month management kit $79.99 - Free Shipping On All Orders!

Refills each month $29.99 (Link will be mailed to you with your order)

The funds generated from this offering will be returned to the community in the form of assisted housing, education, advocacy, free equipment, outreach, and conference activities.

***These Statements have not been evaluated by the US FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease. There is no guarantee this will help you manage tinnitus. This may work on some people and this may not work on some people too.



Marlee Matlin - Voices on Social Justice

ILO TV interviews Marlee Matlin, Oscar winning actress, author and advocate.

Each year, World Day for Social Justice draws global attention to efforts to eradicate poverty and promote social well-being, equality and full and decent employment. In 2010 this search for a "society for all" faces severe challenges brought on by the global economic and jobs crises, resurging poverty and long-term social uncertainty.

Against this backdrop, the ILO has launched a year-long Voices on Social Justice Campaign to provide a global platform for perspectives on what social justice means today and how it might be achieved in the years to come.

Brought to you by the Eye Fire Vlogs


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The OCDAC Newsletter is designed to share information of interest to people with disabilities, their friends, associates, and relatives and promote advocacy in the disability community. Information circulated herein does not necessarily express the views of The Orange County Deaf Advocacy Center. The OCDAC Newsletter is non-partisan. OCDAC Newsletter does not sell advertising space.

The Orange County Deaf Advocacy Center is a community based organization that puts people with disabilities first in their advocacy for equal opportunities in safety, health, and productive living.

The Orange County Deaf Advocacy Center provides services for disabled individuals and their families in our community who need help in navigating the social services maze. Every day people go without proper food, shelter, and essential medical care every day due to a variety of factors including low wages, job loss, injuries, illness, age, domestic violence, or divorce. While all of us are susceptible to hard times, disabled individuals are at the most risk. With the generous support of people like you, we are able to help many of these families and individuals not only to meet essential daily needs, but to work toward a brighter future with programs in job training, education, counseling, elderly assistance, and temporary housing.

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