Angie C. Orlando - Deaf-Blind and Determined

contact me at neodba.info@gmail.com.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Vukovar Travel Guide

Vukovar


You can find more informations about Vukovar on our Travel Guide blog and Sitemap


Best travel destinations, travel tips and tricks, vacation places, vacation destinations, travel destinations, rent budget and cheap hotel, motels, hostels, rooms and entire flats online, travel planner, trip planner, vacation reviews. 3rOYUpEw4p

Trail Travel Guide

Trail


You can find more informations about Trail on our Travel Guide blog and Sitemap


Best travel destinations, travel tips and tricks, vacation places, vacation destinations, travel destinations, rent budget and cheap hotel, motels, hostels, rooms and entire flats online, travel planner, trip planner, vacation reviews. 3rOYUpEw4p

Montreal/Hochelaga-Maisonneuve Travel Guide

Montreal/Hochelaga-Maisonneuve


You can find more informations about Montreal/Hochelaga-Maisonneuve on our Travel Guide blog and Sitemap


Best travel destinations, travel tips and tricks, vacation places, vacation destinations, travel destinations, rent budget and cheap hotel, motels, hostels, rooms and entire flats online, travel planner, trip planner, vacation reviews. 3rOYUpEw4p

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Greater Columbia Travel Guide

Greater Columbia


You can find more informations about Greater Columbia on our Travel Guide blog and Sitemap


Best travel destinations, travel tips and tricks, vacation places, vacation destinations, travel destinations, rent budget and cheap hotel, motels, hostels, rooms and entire flats online, travel planner, trip planner, vacation reviews. 3rOYUpEw4p

Corpus Christi Travel Guide

Corpus Christi


You can find more informations about Corpus Christi on our Travel Guide blog and Sitemap


Best travel destinations, travel tips and tricks, vacation places, vacation destinations, travel destinations, rent budget and cheap hotel, motels, hostels, rooms and entire flats online, travel planner, trip planner, vacation reviews. 3rOYUpEw4p

Atlanta/Five Points Travel Guide

Atlanta/Five Points


You can find more informations about Atlanta/Five Points on our Travel Guide blog and Sitemap


Best travel destinations, travel tips and tricks, vacation places, vacation destinations, travel destinations, rent budget and cheap hotel, motels, hostels, rooms and entire flats online, travel planner, trip planner, vacation reviews. 3rOYUpEw4p

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Harry Potter and me

I was a newlywed in 2000 when I discovered Harry Potter. At
first, I wasn't interested, because I didn't know what it was
about. The stacks of books at Border's had weird covers that
appeared to be in shades of brown. Nothing grabbed my attention.

"You should read it," my husband said. "You are more child than
adult."

I playfully punched Greg's arm as we laughed and walked away.
One day I found Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the tiny
large print section that was, oddly, part of the reference book
area. I had only been reading large print for a short while. I
experienced less eye strain and pain with these books, but there
was hardly any available besides dictionaries and cross-word
puzzles. The cover still looked brown. The book jacket, now that
I was finally reading it, sounded promising.

"Are you 12?," Greg asked, when I placed the book on the
check-out table.

Later, I opened the book and read, "Chapter one: The Boy Who
lived." My life would never be the same. The MAGIC sparkled
through my brain, a world of bright colors, creativity and
beloved characters. Poor eyes be damned! I read The Chamber of
Secrets, The Prisoner of Azkaban and the Goblet of Fire in
regular print.
When I called Greg a muggle, he had to be sure I wasn't making
fun of him. He read the books in five days.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fie was the last book I read with
my eyes. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was the last movie
I would ever see.

"Is it worth all the fuss?," Mom asked when I got back from the
movie.

"Read," I commanded.

She did. Another heart was brought over to the Harry side.

The Sorcerer's Stone was the first book I read in braille. It was
like going through a port key to return home after a long
absence. I read the next three books in braille and waited with
the rest of the world for book five.

Mom went to the Harry Potter parade in Hudson, Ohio when The
order of the Phoenix was released. She was on the local news,
dressed like Professor McGonagall. Dad was a muggle. He wasn't
on the news.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released from National
Braille Press at midnight the same day the print book came out.
Joseph and I went to the Hudson celebration with my parents. I
was Hermione, complete with a SPEW badge. Joseph, who was four,
sat on my lap as Dad pushed the wheelchair. He was adorable in a
hand-sewn wizard costume, black hat and round glasses. He tossed
about a Golden Snitch while his bright blue eyes too it all in.
He won a best costume award.

I read The Deathly Hallows on a Braille Note Apex and The Cursed
Child and Fantastic beats on my Braille Sense U2. The electronic
braille felt crisp, as my fingers soaked up the words. We tried
to go to Hudson again but couldn't get near the city. Last year I
attended the first Kent potterFest in downtown Kent, Ohio. They
expected about 3,000 people, but around 30,000 showed up. The
streets were packed, and the energy of thousands of people
celebrating what they love flowed through everyone.

I'll be at the next Kent PotterFest on July 29, 2017. You'll know
me as the middle aged woman in a blue plaid wheelchair, who
communicates using tactile sign language. I'll be wearing a jean
jacket with seven Harry Potter patches on it. Even if it's 90
degrees, I'm wearing that jacket.

my technology has limitations. I can't access the quiz sites that
tell you what house you are in. I don't need to. Like James
Potter and all the Weasley kids, I knew I was Gryffindor before
the sorting hat touched my head. I've lived a harsh life darkened
by disabilities, abuse and death. I've stood in front of a court
judge to plead for custody of my little boy. The judge was no
Umbridge. Maybe he could see the Dark Mark over Greg's head. Or
maybe he sensed my heart brimming with the spell of motherhood,
because I was victorious. Like Harry, I bravely faced my nemesis
and triumphed.

Sometimes I'm overwhelmed by depression. There are Dementors
lurking in the shadows. You have to have courage to hobble in my
shoes. But I always stumble into someone: Harry Hermione and Ron
or Percy, Annabeth and Grover or Carter and Sadie or Meg, Miranda
and Makenzie. A friend, the silver glow of their Patronus pushes
away gloom and fills my life with light.

Angie C. Orlando
June 2017

Permission is granted to share.

Monday, June 26, 2017

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Friday, June 16, 2017

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Monday, June 5, 2017

neodba strawberry festival

Remember to rsvP
We need volunteers


Please join Northeast Ohio DeafBlind Association at the Kirtland
Strawberry Festival.

Saturday, June 17, 2017
1:00 to 5:00 PM

The festival is located at Kirtland High School
9150 Chillicothe Road, Kirtland Ohio 44094.

Meet in the main tent

http://www.kiwanisofkirtland.org/Berry-Festival.html

Enjoy the summer with cool, juicy strawberries that burst with
flavor! Fresh strawberry shortcakes, sundaes, and chocolate
covered strawberries, food, rides, midway flea market, crafts and
commercial area.

Free admission to the festival. Bring cash for rides, food and
flea market.

Everyone is invited: Individuals with hearing and vision loss,
volunteers, SSP's, family and friends. The use of and knowledge
of sign language is not required.

To RSVP, ask questions or sign up as a volunteer: contact Angie
Orlando.
email: dotbug3@gmail.com
text: 330-221-6499.

Please respond by June 12th so that we can properly plan.

Share this email to help spread the news.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

neodba and dno summer events

Please join Northeast Ohio DeafBlind Association at the Kirtland
Strawberry Festival.

Saturday, June 17, 2017
1:00 to 5:00 PM

The festival is located at Kirtland High School
9150 Chillicothe Road, Kirtland Ohio 44094.

Meeting place TBA.

http://www.kiwanisofkirtland.org/Berry-Festival.html

Enjoy the summer with cool, juicy strawberries that burst with
flavor! Fresh strawberry shortcakes, sundaes, and chocolate
covered strawberries, food, rides, midway flea market, crafts and
commercial area.

Free admission to the festival. Bring cash for rides, food and
flea market.

Everyone is invited: Individuals with hearing and vision loss,
volunteers, SSP's, family and friends. The use of and knowledge
of sign language is not required.

To RSVP, ask questions or sign up as a volunteer: contact Angie
Orlando.
email: dotbug3@gmail.com
text: 330-221-6499.

Please respond by June 12th so that we can properly plan.

Share this email to help spread the news.

Mark your schedule for Summer Dno!

Last Friday of June, July and August
June 30
July 28
August 25 We will meet at 5:00 in the food court at Summit
mall (Fairlawn, Ohio).

Please share with your friends.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

deaf prom

As the big date approached I couldn't resist playing the drama
queen on Facebook:

It's going to snow on my prom!

Prom jitters... They are serving pasta, and i'm wearing
off-white!

Time to Journey to Neverland. My date is a 19 year old hottie
in a lavender dress. I wear the pants in this relationship.

The 2nd annual Deaf Prom was held on April 8th at Quaker Square
in Akron, Ohio. The prom is an awareness and social event
sponsored by the University of Akron ASL Club.

I didn't attend my high school prom, Homecoming or any other
formal events. Boys tended not to like girls with both hearing
and vision disabilities. I never went on a date or had a
boyfriend.

It didn't bother me that I missed the prom. The 18 year old me
operated in survival mode. the less time out in the big, bad
world, the better to reduce anxiety and humiliation. I had no
desire to attend a normal teen right of passage. It didn't bother
me... and that's what bothers the adult me.

I know what you are thinking, and you are wrong. This isn't a
story about an adult going back to re-do the past she never had.
This is the tale of an adult with a sense of humor who wanted an
exciting night out with people who can speak her language -- sign
language, because, yes, she has some icky disabilities that makes
interacting with the public a challenge.

I was pretty in pink pants... dusty rose jeans, that is. If I'm
going to do something, I'll do it my way. No chance I'd buy and
wear an actual prom dress. But the cream colored sweater I wore
was kind of fancy. With dangling gold and cream earrings, a
little makeup and rose nail polish, I looked like a girl. (My
"lipstick" was Dr. Pepper flavored lip gloss... more doing it my
way.)

Miranda, a Kent State interpreter student, was my "date." She
bought us both flowers made to match our dress colors. Mine had
baby breath, lilies and flowers in purple and pink. I used the
neat magnets to attach it to my sweater. Miranda had a wardrobe
crisis when she knocked hers off and the inner magnet dropped
into her bra.

My friend Greg got dinner for me: rigatoni, a brad stick, salad
and sugar cookies. I did not make a mess of myself. Someone else
spilled his entire plate on his clothes... but the prom went on.

We were given party favors -- each person got a pair of
sunglasses with "University of Akron ASL Club" written on the
sides. A trend-setter put his on for dinner. Soon we were all
decked out in them. But an announcement was made asking us to
take off the sunglasses. They interfered with reading facial
expressions, which is a vital part of sign language.

After dinner, Miranda and I went to the night, starry sky back
drop for formal pictures... and goofy ones with us wearing bright
feather bows and another with me in Mickey Mouse ears and Miranda
in a hat with propellers. (I'm told I am smirking in that one.)

The prom guests were adults and college students, but the
atmosphere was pure high school awkwardness on the dance floor.
Everyone was waiting for someone else to start. I "jumped in" for
YMCA and the worm, plus other fast dances. I sat in my mobility
chair while Miranda and some guys helped me with the moves.

Some things have changed. Nominations for king and queen were
taken via text messages. The top five hearing nominees and top
tow deaf moved onto the final round of voting. Alex and Avery
were voted hearing prom king and queen. Louis was voted deaf king
for the second year in a row. At this point, I told Miranda I
wanted to leave right away. She just laughed.

The deaf prom queen was............... me!

I let out a huge mock, shock reaction as I went forward for my
crown. Louis and I did a slow dance together. It wasn't a dream
come true, I never dreamed I'd be prom queen. It was still pretty
cool. I accepted congratulations from my fans and smiled for
1,000 pictures.

From being a master to a prom queen at age 43... It's not
inspirational, just fun.

Angie C. Orlando
April 2017
Permission is granted to share.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

RE: [DBMi] deaf prom

Congrats, Angie for being prom queen.
Red

-----Original Message-----
From: dbmisfits@googlegroups.com [mailto:dbmisfits@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Angie
Sent: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 7:22 PM
To: my blog <dotbug3.blogbug@blogger.com>
Subject: [DBMi] deaf prom

As the big date approached I couldn't resist playing the drama queen on Facebook:

It's going to snow on my prom!

Prom jitters... They are serving pasta, and i'm wearing off-white!

Time to Journey to Neverland. My date is a 19 year old hottie
in a lavender dress. I wear the pants in this relationship.

The 2nd annual Deaf Prom was held on April 8th at Quaker Square in Akron, Ohio. The prom is an awareness and social event sponsored by the University of Akron ASL Club.

I didn't attend my high school prom, Homecoming or any other formal events. Boys tended not to like girls with both hearing and vision disabilities. I never went on a date or had a boyfriend.

It didn't bother me that I missed the prom. The 18 year old me operated in survival mode. the less time out in the big, bad world, the better to reduce anxiety and humiliation. I had no desire to attend a normal teen right of passage. It didn't bother me... and that's what bothers the adult me.

I know what you are thinking, and you are wrong. This isn't a story about an adult going back to re-do the past she never had.
This is the tale of an adult with a sense of humor who wanted an exciting night out with people who can speak her language -- sign language, because, yes, she has some icky disabilities that makes interacting with the public a challenge.

I was pretty in pink pants... dusty rose jeans, that is. If I'm going to do something, I'll do it my way. No chance I'd buy and wear an actual prom dress. But the cream colored sweater I wore was kind of fancy. With dangling gold and cream earrings, a little makeup and rose nail polish, I looked like a girl. (My "lipstick" was Dr. Pepper flavored lip gloss... more doing it my
way.)

Miranda, a Kent State interpreter student, was my "date." She bought us both flowers made to match our dress colors. Mine had baby breath, lilies and flowers in purple and pink. I used the neat magnets to attach it to my sweater. Miranda had a wardrobe crisis when she knocked hers off and the inner magnet dropped into her bra.

My friend Greg got dinner for me: rigatoni, a brad stick, salad and sugar cookies. I did not make a mess of myself. Someone else spilled his entire plate on his clothes... but the prom went on.

We were given party favors -- each person got a pair of sunglasses with "University of Akron ASL Club" written on the sides. A trend-setter put his on for dinner. Soon we were all decked out in them. But an announcement was made asking us to take off the sunglasses. They interfered with reading facial expressions, which is a vital part of sign language.

After dinner, Miranda and I went to the night, starry sky back drop for formal pictures... and goofy ones with us wearing bright feather bows and another with me in Mickey Mouse ears and Miranda in a hat with propellers. (I'm told I am smirking in that one.)

The prom guests were adults and college students, but the atmosphere was pure high school awkwardness on the dance floor.
Everyone was waiting for someone else to start. I "jumped in" for YMCA and the worm, plus other fast dances. I sat in my mobility chair while Miranda and some guys helped me with the moves.

Some things have changed. Nominations for king and queen were taken via text messages. The top five hearing nominees and top tow deaf moved onto the final round of voting. Alex and Avery were voted hearing prom king and queen. Louis was voted deaf king for the second year in a row. At this point, I told Miranda I wanted to leave right away. She just laughed.

The deaf prom queen was............... me!

I let out a huge mock, shock reaction as I went forward for my crown. Louis and I did a slow dance together. It wasn't a dream come true, I never dreamed I'd be prom queen. It was still pretty cool. I accepted congratulations from my fans and smiled for
1,000 pictures.

From being a master to a prom queen at age 43... It's not inspirational, just fun.

Angie C. Orlando
April 2017
Permission is granted to share.

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deaf prom

As the big date approached I couldn't resist playing the drama
queen on Facebook:

It's going to snow on my prom!

Prom jitters... They are serving pasta, and i'm wearing
off-white!

Time to Journey to Neverland. My date is a 19 year old hottie
in a lavender dress. I wear the pants in this relationship.

The 2nd annual Deaf Prom was held on April 8th at Quaker Square
in Akron, Ohio. The prom is an awareness and social event
sponsored by the University of Akron ASL Club.

I didn't attend my high school prom, Homecoming or any other
formal events. Boys tended not to like girls with both hearing
and vision disabilities. I never went on a date or had a
boyfriend.

It didn't bother me that I missed the prom. The 18 year old me
operated in survival mode. the less time out in the big, bad
world, the better to reduce anxiety and humiliation. I had no
desire to attend a normal teen right of passage. It didn't bother
me... and that's what bothers the adult me.

I know what you are thinking, and you are wrong. This isn't a
story about an adult going back to re-do the past she never had.
This is the tale of an adult with a sense of humor who wanted an
exciting night out with people who can speak her language -- sign
language, because, yes, she has some icky disabilities that makes
interacting with the public a challenge.

I was pretty in pink pants... dusty rose jeans, that is. If I'm
going to do something, I'll do it my way. No chance I'd buy and
wear an actual prom dress. But the cream colored sweater I wore
was kind of fancy. With dangling gold and cream earrings, a
little makeup and rose nail polish, I looked like a girl. (My
"lipstick" was Dr. Pepper flavored lip gloss... more doing it my
way.)

Miranda, a Kent State interpreter student, was my "date." She
bought us both flowers made to match our dress colors. Mine had
baby breath, lilies and flowers in purple and pink. I used the
neat magnets to attach it to my sweater. Miranda had a wardrobe
crisis when she knocked hers off and the inner magnet dropped
into her bra.

My friend Greg got dinner for me: rigatoni, a brad stick, salad
and sugar cookies. I did not make a mess of myself. Someone else
spilled his entire plate on his clothes... but the prom went on.

We were given party favors -- each person got a pair of
sunglasses with "University of Akron ASL Club" written on the
sides. A trend-setter put his on for dinner. Soon we were all
decked out in them. But an announcement was made asking us to
take off the sunglasses. They interfered with reading facial
expressions, which is a vital part of sign language.

After dinner, Miranda and I went to the night, starry sky back
drop for formal pictures... and goofy ones with us wearing bright
feather bows and another with me in Mickey Mouse ears and Miranda
in a hat with propellers. (I'm told I am smirking in that one.)

The prom guests were adults and college students, but the
atmosphere was pure high school awkwardness on the dance floor.
Everyone was waiting for someone else to start. I "jumped in" for
YMCA and the worm, plus other fast dances. I sat in my mobility
chair while Miranda and some guys helped me with the moves.

Some things have changed. Nominations for king and queen were
taken via text messages. The top five hearing nominees and top
tow deaf moved onto the final round of voting. Alex and Avery
were voted hearing prom king and queen. Louis was voted deaf king
for the second year in a row. At this point, I told Miranda I
wanted to leave right away. She just laughed.

The deaf prom queen was............... me!

I let out a huge mock, shock reaction as I went forward for my
crown. Louis and I did a slow dance together. It wasn't a dream
come true, I never dreamed I'd be prom queen. It was still pretty
cool. I accepted congratulations from my fans and smiled for
1,000 pictures.

From being a master to a prom queen at age 43... It's not
inspirational, just fun.

Angie C. Orlando
April 2017
Permission is granted to share.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

neodba event flyer

Upcoming event from:
NORTHEAST OHIO DEAFBLIND ASSOCIATION

VISIT COVENTRY VILLAGE

Date: April 23, 2017

Time: 1:00 to 5:00 PM

We will meet for lunch, then hang out and visit the stores. There
is something for everyone at Coventry Village, and things to do
that fit everyone's budget. JOIN US!

1:00 PM Meet for lunch at Mongolian Grill, 1854 Coventry Road,
Cleveland Hts.

After lunch, explore the village! Check out stores; Big Fun, City
Buddha and In the 216. Visit Coventry Library (they have an
extensive ASL and Deaf culture section!) And more!

Anyone with combined vision and hearing loss is invited to
attend, plus family, friends, interpreters, SSP's and volunteers.

To RSVP, ask questions or sign up as a volunteer, contact Angie
Orlando.
email: dotbug3@gmail.com
text: 330-221-6499

Please respond by April 15 so we can reserve enough seats at the
restaurant.
Help us by sharing the attached flyer with friends and on
facebook, and print and pot at colleges, churches and other sites
in the Deaf community. (Information on the flyer is the same as
the above text.)

Monday, January 30, 2017

grief

Grief

NF2 is a terrible disease
Holly has NF2
Her head is full of tumors

NF2 is a killer
Holly is end-stage
She will live forever

On January 22nd, I was reading my Facebook newsfeed when I came
across an odd message. Actually, it was two, because the first
person shared someone else's post.

It was a message I've seen in one form or another, posted by
Holly herself, the kind that drips with grief.

"Damn! Another one gone from NF2"

Not a funny message, but I laughed. The way the woman tagged in
Holly Alonzo, it looked as if Holly was the one who died. Ooops!

The second post was apparently written by Holly Alonzo.

"RIP sis"

What? Holly's sister died? She didn't have NF2. It made no sense.
I'm supposed to be intelligent, but the pieces wouldn't come
together, a puzzle that didn't want to be solved.

No no no no no no

The tears were falling as I read Holly's timeline.

"Goodbye Holly, I will always love you"

"You are in a better place now, no more pain"

"God has called his angel back to Heave"

No no no no no no

Holly has NF2
She is my friend
Holly is invincible

Holly's head is full of tumors
She could die
What about her son?

We are both fully deaf and blind with neuro-related issues. I
have PHARC. People don't die from PHARC. Holly has NF2. People
with NF2 might die in their 20's or 30's. I'm 43. Holly turned 30
on January 5th. I have a son named Joseph, age 15. Holly has a
son named Isaiah, age 9. Mommies don't die.

Neurofibromatosis type 2

Can you say it? Can you spell it? If so, I'm sorry for you.

noncancerous tumors throughout the nervous system vestibular
schwannomas benign, slow-growing tumors changes in vision
changes in sensation numbness weakness fluid buildup in the
brain deafness severe balance problems facial nerve
paralysis spinal cord compression swallowing difficulties
eye function complications Autosomal dominant disorders

Neurofibromatosis type 2

Can you say it? Can you spell it? If so, I'm sorry for you.

As long as the tumors can be removed, a person with NF2 is
not considered in terminal danger.

Holly had surgeries to remove tumors
She had many surgeries
Holly almost died in surgery many times

Holly's head is full of tumors
No more room for tumor growth
Holly is end-stage

She will die.

No, she won't die.

Mommies don't die.

Friends don't die.

Holly is dead.

Please help Holly's family. Edward is blind, and Isaiah is only 9
years old. You can make a donation at any Regions bank

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the
Memorial Fund set up for Holly Gail Alonzo at Regions Bank to
help her husband and young son.

Angie C. Orlando
January 2017

Thursday, January 26, 2017

action one

It began with an issue that quickly spread. On January 21st,
women marched around the nation and across the world. Their
issues were diverse, but their message and unity were clear. We
will not tolerate injustice.

The movement continues, and it's no longer just women who are
speaking out. We must all join together. I ask you, no matter
your gender, race, sexuality, religion, social status or
disability, to keep the fever burning. It is up to each and every
one of us.

This awesome website proposes 10 actions over 100 days:

https://www.womensmarch.com/100

The March is Not Over! Pick an issue and take action.

THE FIRST ACTION: Write a postcard to your Senators about what
matters most to you - and how you're going to continue to fight
for it in the days, weeks and months ahead.

STEP 1: GET YOUR CARDS

Get the official card printed, design your own, or be one of
10,000 people who can get a free Women's March Postcard using the
Ink Cards App.

STEP 2: MAKE them YOUR OWN

Write down your thoughts. Pour your heart out on any issue that
you care about, whether it's ending gender-based violence,
reproductive rights and women's health, LGBT rights, worker's
rights, civil rights, immigrant rights, religious freedom,
environmental justice disability rights or anything else.

STEP 3: SHARE IT WITH THE WORLD & SEND IT TO YOUR SENATOR

Before you send it, take a photo of your postcard and use the
#WhyIMarch tag when posting it to social media.

Do you live in Ohio?

To help those in my state get started, I have complied this lit
of address for our two senators.

Ohio State Senators

(write to the office location closest to you)

Sherrod Brown (D)

Cleveland:

801 West Superior Ave., Suite 1400 Cleveland, OH 44113

Cincinnati:

425 Walnut St., Suite 2310, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Columbus:

200 North High St. Room 614, Columbus, OH 43215

Lorain:

200 West Erie Ave. Suite 312, Lorain, OH 44052

Rob Portman (R)

Cincinnati:

312 Walnut St. Suite 3075 Cincinnati, OH 45202

Cleveland:

1240 East 9th Street Room 3061 Cleveland, OH 44199

Columbus:

37 West Broad Street Room 300 Columbus, OH 43215

Angie C. Orlando
January 2017
Permission is granted to share this article.t

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

when deafblind people fly alone

Guest blogger, Scott Stoffel, discusses the airline issue.

When DeafBlind People Fly Alone

By S. M. Stoffel

Recently, my DeafBlind friend was rudely informed by American
Airlines that she was not allowed to fly by herself. She had been
flying the exact same route for years without any complaints from
what used to be US Airways airlines. Why did a change in
ownership cause this sudden bias against a DeafBlind passenger?
Similar incidents have occurred with other DeafBlind flying
American or another airline. This situation is not new to the
DeafBlind community.

So what do we do about this injustice? The first step in solving
any problem is to understand the problem itself. Do you know why
some airlines have kicked (or tried to) DeafBlind passengers off
flights? Here's the reason American Airlines gave:

It is crucial for the flight crew on an aircraft to be able to
communicate with all passengers when an emergency occurs. Flight
personnel are not required by law to know Sign Language, nor are
they required to have an interpreter on board (no, the ADA does
not apply). So if a passenger can't hear spoken words and can't
see visual cues, the passenger is at risk of not understanding
and following instructions during an emergency situation. This
failure of the passenger to respond correctly may also endanger
other passengers in a crisis.

That is what the airline says. And how do they address this
issue? Sometimes, they just ignore it and hope nothing bad will
happen during a flight. Sometimes, they deny DeafBlind people the
right to fly alone. In the latter case, a DeafBlind passenger
would be allowed to fly only if a hearing person accompanied the
DeafBlind person. However, neither of these responses are what
the airlines should be doing.

Obviously, ignoring a potential problem is never a good idea. If
an emergency situation does arise, and the flight crew can't
communicate sufficiently with a DeafBlind passenger, things could
go terribly wrong.

On the other hand, denying an intelligent adult the right to
travel without a babysitter is unfair. It is certainly not a
simple matter to find a travel companion to go with you every
time you fly, even if the airline is required to pay for the
extra ticket. It's also unnecessary.

What should the airlines be doing, then? Consider the following:

Airlines should make it clear in their passenger guidelines
that a flight crew must be able to communicate information and
instructions to all passengers during an emergency. It must also
be stated plainly that the flight crew is not required by law to
know Sign Language or have an interpreter on board during a
flight.

The guidelines should encourage DeafBlind (and any other
travelers who can't understand spoken instructions) to prepare a
simple and quick communication system that the flight crew can
use during an emergency, such as cue cards or a paper describing
some tactile cues.

The guidelines should include a list of statements that the
flight crew may need to communicate to a passenger during an
emergency, so that the passenger can prepare a cue system that
covers all of those important statements.

Personnel encountering a DeafBlind passenger attempting to
board a flight should not deny access on the spot. They should
attempt to work out an emergency communication system, if the
passenger does not already have one ready.

What should you, the DeafBlind passenger, do to prepare for
flying alone? Here are some things:

When told you can't fly alone, don't cite the ADA. The ADA
doesn't cover flying. The law you should be familiar with is the
Air Carrier Accessibility Act (ACAA).

Prepare a simple and quick communication system that someone
who doesn't know Sign Language or Braille can use to tell you
things during an emergency on the aircraft. Slow systems, such as
Print On Palm, may not be quick enough in a crisis. Make some cue
cards or a list of tactile cues that allow the flight crew to
quickly tell you things like "Emergency! Stay in your seat," or
"Emergency! Go to the nearest exit," and so on. Cue cards should
have the emergency statements printed in text and Braille form.
Tactile cues described on a paper you give the flight crew could
be things like "Draw an X on my shoulder with your finger to say
'emergency'." Remember that speed is important, so make your cues
simple.

Always request that the flight safety guide be available in
Braille or large print for you. You must make this request
several days before the flight, because they generally don't keep
such materials on hand.

If you have a way to access text, such as an iPhone with
Braille, a Braille machine with a regular keyboard or a dry-erase
board, bring it with you on the flight and explain how the flight
crew can use it to communicate more complex information to you,
such as sending you a phone text to tell you that the plane had
to land at a different airport due to bad weather.

Be sure to identify yourself as a DeafBlind person at every
step of the process (booking the flight, requesting disability
services, getting your boarding pass, etc.) This is an important
step in order to get the law behind you.

If you are prepared for emergencies, but the personnel still
want to deny you access to your flight, demand to speak with a
Conflict Resolution Officer (CRO). It is your legal right to do
this, and just doing it shows them you know the law. When the CRO
comes, request to fill out a formal complaint form and explain
the situation.

Airlines and DeafBlind travelers need to work together to improve
flight accessibility, safety and convenience. Never forget: We're
people, too.

S. M. Stoffel
January 2017

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