Posts Tagged ‘sign language’


“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.”~┬áHelen Keller

I went to a show earlier. It was a colleague of mine that I knew who was also in a wheelchair. He doesn’t sing, he obviously doesn’t dance as one would think of dancing is, but he does a mix of comedy mixed in with education and culture.

What he does is something that I have always done in the comforts and privacy of my own home. He does it on stage in front of crowds and rolls away with money in his pocket. Bastard.

Anyways, he does have a bit of a stand-up comedy routine, but he doesn’t really rely on it too much. He really gets into his show by showing how awesome Sign Language actually looks when you put it to different kinds of music. His point is that the deaf and hard of hearing community also can enjoy music just like people who can hear.

Today though, tragedy struck. Sort of.

He was into his signing bit and  the crowd was really getting into it. He had costumes and everything and then he got to the genre of heavy metal music. He was doing a set of songs from the band Disturbed. And it looked really awesome as he had his sunglasses on and a leather jacket with the collar up and a ripped up t-shirt.

He was totally getting into the music and rolling around stage wildly. But he wasn’t paying attention.

In the blink of an eye, he went too far forward and fell OFF of the stage and into the crowd. His wheelchair crashing down below as he got some considerable distance away from it and landed into the crowd.

But he never hit the floor. The people in the front rows grabbed him as he descended upon them, and they lifted him up high above their heads. The next thing the audience knew was that he was crowd surfing without his wheelchair. And a huge majority of the people thought it was part of the show. But his recorded tracks were playing without him. The people working the venue wanted to stop the show to make sure that he was unharmed, but as he floated away into the middle of the venue they decided to let it flow.

Eventually someone picked up the wheelchair and floated that overhead as well. So there was an empty wheelchair and a body that was surfing the crowd of amused people.

I guess the crowd attempted to connect him to his wheelchair to get him back in it, and then surf him around some more. But the audience was not successful.

The thing of it was that he really did make it look like he did that intentionally so that he could crowd surf.

I personally have done that before at a Metallica concert. Up I went during “Enter Sandman” and I barely got ten feet from where I originally was before I plunged to the ground.

There’s always that danger with crowd surfing that people are not able to catch the person or that they are unable to support the weight of a person as they attempt to pass them along. Adding the weight of a wheelchair into the mix, makes that danger even higher.

I got passed over a flock of girls and they just dropped me like a stone. Terribly bruised but nothing broken.

Crowd surfing takes commitment from the audience and a lot of trust for the person doing it. If neither party has what it takes, then they are going to go down in flames.

But my colleague wasn’t harmed. His wheelchair on the other hand had a piece broken off of it when it hit the floor. Nothing a little repair won’t fix.

I just found it amusing to share because of the fact that everyone involved in the accidental falling off of stage made it look so planned and perfect.

Okay. Now you’ve done it society. You’ve REALLY done it!!

What kind of butt head in charge believes that a three year old child, who is deaf, is going to be a VIOLENT threat by using a name sign?

It is not like he’s tossing up gang signs that his parents taught him at an early age. He is not going around to other children, promising to bust a cap in their ass. He is simply attempting to communicate in the hearing world because he is deaf.

The child uses something called “Signed Exact English”. Or “SEE”.

SEE is an artificial system that was devised in 1972 that has been proven to function as the first language of children with hearing loss. It is based on the more well known system of ASL, or “American Sign Language”.

Based on the studies that I had years ago in Sign Language, everyone has their own “name sign”. It distinguishes an individual. For example: In a classroom setting, there may be more than one student with a common first name, such as “Michael” or “Jennifer”. Each individual name sign helps tell one from the other.

But because of the “Zero Tolerance” policy that this school system has in place, it is essentially taking away this child’s identity. This is complete garbage!

It really is sad to read about this story. It just feels like a shot to the nuts for me. And to those who have lifelong ADA issues. I have my hearing. And at one point, I had been studying to be a Sign Language interpreter. And so there is a part of me that is crushed to read that this innocent three year old child who is at a disadvantage in the world is being shut down and pushed back. All because of his own name sign might look like a friggin’ weapon?!?!?!?!???


This child is there to learn and interact in a world that is very scary. He’s not there to be pushed aside, just because some pompous legislation.

I am all for safety in schools and for the safety of our children. But this “Zero Tolerance” stuff is seriously abused, outdated, and quite honestly… ridiculous.

I hope, I REALLY HOPE that the school system changes its tune. Because how much further back can you push those who are supposed to be protected by the ADA? Especially those who cannot defend themselves.