Volume 35 Issue # 3 Summer
Association of Late Deafened Adults
Summer 2019 Newsletter
Volume 35 Issue 3
In His Own Words…ALDA’s President Rick Brown
I recently spent time with Bill Graham, a co-founder of ALDA, and Ken Levinson, a long-time friend who is active in AG Bell. I mentioned to them that a few of our members think we would grow our membership if we changed our name from Association of Late Deafened Adults because some prospective members—who are hard of hearing—but don’t identify themselves as deaf, believe that they do not fit into our organization. Bill gave me a little history lesson. When the group was forming and had about 40 followers, Bill held a contest to name our group. Names nominated included such nonsense as Beginners Organization of Late-Deafened (BOLD), Growing Organization of Late-Deafened (GOLD), People who Lost their hearing in their Adult Years and Eventually Regrouped (PLAYERS), and so on. 25 or so people voted—given the other choices, it was not surprising that ALDA won out. The name that got the second most votes was United Society of the Late Deafened (UNISOLATED). “Could have been a lot worse, eh?” said Bill. Then, we proceeded to dream up a lot of different acronyms, mostly hilarious, and which won’t be repeated here.
But Bill and I came to the conclusion that no matter what we called ourselves, no catchy phrase or acronym could really define our organization. ALDA is over 30 years old and has always been an all-volunteer organization, fairly small in comparison to HLAA, AG Bell and NAD, and without paid staff, unlike the other three. Still, we have survived.
How is it that we have survived and what makes us different? Bill had an opinion. He said our organization is social whereas the others are more political. When I mentioned to him that it as ALDA which has carried the legal fight for theater captioning when the others either were uninterested or came late in the game, Bill agreed. But he still thought that what keeps us going is that people just love to come to the convention every year. It’s the one time when everyone can communicate in whatever form they think will work and know that everyone else is in the same boat. Patience is the rule of the day at the convention. Seeing old friends, singing karaoke, just being so comfortable, is what makes us who we are. You don’t feel that way when you go to an HLAA convention or an AG Bell conference. Nor do you feel that way at an NAD gathering. But you feel it at the ALDA convention.
I think Bill’s observation is spot on. We are all about warmth. And that makes it special. Special enough to want to continue, special enough to want to volunteer. Just special.
So, to those who are still on the fence about coming to Kansas City and those who don’t identify as late deafened and have never been to a convention, come.
Come and feel the warmth.
Come and feel special.
Meet the ALDA 2019 Board of Directors
President: Rick Brown
Past President: Sharaine Robertson
Vice President: Cynthia Moynihan
Secretary: Kim Mettache
Treasurer: Matt Ferrara
Region 1: Wendy Ting
Region 2: Tina Childress
Region 3: Debbe Hagner
Region 4: Michelle Yook
Want to learn more about ALDA’s Board? Click Here!
With love, Grace Avila
It feels strange to say I’m ALDA’s Newsletter Editor now, but it’s a title I’m super grateful and thrilled to have. As an incoming junior at the University of San Francisco with a major in sociology and a minor in journalism, I feel very lucky to get the chance to do this!
Being a student, I’m fortunate to have this little break before the fantasy is lost and summer comes to a close right before the eve of when school starts.
My summer consisted of catching up on my reading, dabbling with new writing, binging Netflix, but most of all, learning more about what it means to be a hard of hearing person. A lot of times, I’m met with frustration that I can hear somewhat with the help of my hearing aid, but I can’t understand. ‘Why am I just not completely deaf or completely hearing?’ is a question I find myself asking.
My mom helped me see the answer to this question. I get the best of both worlds. If I was born Deaf, I probably wouldn’t know the hearing friends I have now, and if I wasn’t hard of hearing I wouldn’t know ASL and the deaf/late-deafened friends and be able to share my love for the language with people I encounter. 50% of me is in the hearing world and the other 50% is immersed in deaf culture.
It wasn’t until more recently that I’ve learned more about my rights and resources and how to get by as a hard of hearing person, and the amount of information is overwhelming for sure, but it’s also super helpful. I took three semesters of sign language in college, am still looking into tons of apps that could transcribe live conversations, and very recently learned that a hearing alert dog could be helpful too! Also, did someone say SSI? What’s that?!
People say you find yourself in high school, and I feel like I’m doing that all over now. Who am I? The question of my identity is something that haunts my mind day and night when the world around me is passing by faster than I can keep up with.
I could hear (with the help of a hearing aid) pretty well until the second semester of senior year when Neurofibromatosis type 2 snatched my hearing away, leaving me with tinnitus and words with no meaning — words that I could hear but couldn’t piece together to make sense in my head. How do I fit into a world that I seemingly no longer have a place in?
Right now, I still don’t have an answer.
School began August 20th and I’m still both nervous and excited. Two weeks in, and I can’t wait to find a routine of learning new things in class, homework, and seeing my friends. I’m also nervous to learn more about myself and what it means to me to be hard of hearing. It is a new part of my identity that I (still) struggle to accept, and I want to be okay with it.
One word always crosses my mind when I think of all this: risk. I need to put myself out there. I need to take the risk and ask for help. When I order boba, I need to tell the cashier that I’m hard of hearing and ask them to speak clearly instead of not saying anything and feeling embarrassed by my hearing loss. I need to stop saying sorry I don’t understand someone and kindly ask them to repeat themselves (but slower). I know I need to accept my hearing loss, and more than that, I need to be more than okay with it.
This is the school year where I reclaim my independence and be as social and extroverted as I was in high school… just in a different way. And I need to be okay with different!
Advocacy Corner John Waldo, Esq
In another example of ALDA advocacy, I’m pleased to report that the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed live theater must provide captioning whenever a request is made in advance unless the theater can explain why it can’t do so. The court affirmed a groundbreaking trial-court decision to that effect, making this essentially the law of the land.
The began in 2016 when Tina Childress, who virtually all of us know through her frequent presentations at ALDAcon, asked the Fabulous Fox theater to provide captions for “Rent,” which was scheduled more than a year after her request. Fox said it did not provide captions but would provide an ASL interpreter. Childress replied that while she is fluent in ASL, she is late deafened, her native language is English, and she wanted to understand the words as written by the dramatist and lyricist, and not as interpreted.
I sent a letter to Fox stressing its obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which Fox ignored. With no alternative available, we filed a lawsuit in St. Louis. Both ALDA and the Greater St. Louis chapter of HLAA joined as organizational plaintiffs, representing the interests of their members and similarly situated individuals.
Fox later hired a local court-reporting firm, which displayed the captions on individual viewing tablets, usable from any seat. The any-seat approach eliminated the logistical problem of blocking out specific seats for caption-users and, since we had agreed that a prior request for captioning was reasonable with no need to bring in the captioner if nobody wants captions for that performance. So we asked Fox why captioning could not be provided when requested. As noted in the last issue of ALDA news, the argument was based on a provision of the ADA which requires entities to offer people with disabilities an equal opportunity to enjoy the services of the business. The trial court agreed and entered an order requiring Fox to provide captioning whenever requested, which it has done since the entry of the order and Fox appealed.
Fox stated ADA requirements are met if the business provides “meaningful access,” and this is met with the offer of reasonable, although unspecified, number of captioned performances. They sated captioning was provided whenever a request was made and, as such, the case should be dismissed.
The appellate court agreed with our position stating the “meaningful access” standard requires an equal opportunity to gain the same benefit as a hearing person, and stated that providing fewer opportunities for people with hearing loss failed to meet that standard.
As to the argument that Fox had never denied captioning, when Childress could not attend one scheduled captioned performance and asked for an additional alternative date, Fox agreed but explicitly stated that this agreement was an exception to its policy that would not always be available. The appeals court agreed. We should not have to wonder every time we wish to see a show whether it will be captioned. Fox needed to change its policy to state that captioning will always be provided. (The court obviously was aware that the whole purpose of the appeal was to provide Fox with the opportunity in the future to deny captioning, even if it had not done so in the past.)
Captioning, like ASL interpreters, are defined by the ADA as “auxiliary aids and services,” which are “effective methods of making aurally delivered material available to individuals with hearing impairments.” The ADA requires that aids and services be offered unless the business can demonstrate that doing so would impose an “undue burden,” which ADA regulations describe as “significant difficulty or expense.” (Substituting the adjective “significant” for the adjective “undue” is little or no help in determining where the line lies between “too expensive” and “not too expensive.”)
Regardless, determining “undue” or “significant” costs requires a balancing of cost vs. resources. During the pre-trial, we asked Fox to disclose its revenue and they declined, declaring it was not relevant information. We argued that without knowing how many requests for captioning it might get, Fox could not possibly know what the ultimate cost of on-request captioning would be.
Again, the court of appeals agreed and stated Fox did not raise the “undue burden” defense at the trial level, and could not do so for the first time on appeal. But as we had urged, the court also stated if the number of requests actually reached the level that Fox found overly burdensome, it could always go back to the trial court at that time and raise the issue again.
In addition, the court awarded attorney fees. This is important as advocacy of this nature is of no cost to the individual or organization plaintiff(s). If the court rules in favor of the plaintiff, the ADA requires the defendant to pay the plaintiffs’ attorney fees, as well, presumably, the fees of their own attorneys. However, the fee-shifting provision is not mirror image, and the plaintiffs do not have to pay the other side’s attorneys if the defense should win.
This decision came while Tina and I were at the annual Kennedy Center Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disabilities Conference. Ironically it was issued during a presentation Tina and I did on providing accessibility in difficult situations, and immediately prior to another panel I was part of talking about live-theater access. With many performing-arts organizations in attendance, they understood that this ruling does apply to them. Fortunately, there were also a number of people in attendance with imaginative ways of providing every-seat, every-performance captioning at a cost even the smallest of theaters can bear.
My overall takeaway from the case is – yes, it imposes legal obligations on live theaters that many are not prepared to meet at the moment. But it does mandate for every-seat, every-performance captioning that will continue to incentivize technical providers and theater managers to develop better ways of doing things. While much of that work has been ongoing for some time, the trial court decision lent a new sense of urgency to that effort. Thankfully, the appellate-court decision will keep that process moving forward.
The appeals court decision is a public record, freely available online at https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/19/08/182352P.pdf.
Nurse On Call Ann Marie Killilea, MSN, RN, EdDc
Emotional and Verbal Abuse
Hello to all of you and Happy Summer! This summer has been jammed packed with treacherous weather patterns which has changed many plans and altered many ways of living. While I usually like to write an upbeat article on nursing news and helpful hints, I would like to touch base with a type of ailment that continues to plague our society and way of living: emotional and verbal abuse.
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline (2019), older women who have disabilities have a higher rate of being abused. That does not mean that older men who are disabled are not abused, but that they are abused at a lower rate. Abuse can manifest itself in many forms, and if not physical it can be difficult to prove. Emotional and verbal abuse tend to be more difficult to prove and yet have longer lasting invisible “scars”.
In the book, “Verbal & Emotional abuse” by June Hunt (2013) emotional abuse is loosely defined as any ongoing negative behavior that is designed to control and devalue another person. Emotional abuse is extremely difficult to prove and is usually the result of the abuser being abused during their lifetime. Over time, the abused individual becomes brainwashed and loses their self-worth and confidence, including losing trust in themselves and others. Some types of emotional abuse are: isolation, induced exhaustion, excessive compliance, ignoring, forgetting, and exploiting.
Hunt (2013) describes verbal abuse that can begin as a simple joke which was not funny. The abuser may say the abused individual was “too sensitive” or that what was said did not come out the right way. Over time, the jokes may turn sour and more hurtful which begin to chip away at the very soul of the other person. Unnecessary sharp criticism and negative comments begin to wear away at the heart and soul of the abused individual leaving them to feel empty and mistrusting of the outside world. A few types of verbal abuse are listed here: intimidation, indoctrination, belittling, name-calling, insults, ridiculing, and labeling.
What can be done?
In most cities and towns within the police departments are “Domestic Violence” officers ready to sit down and listen. They do not judge. These officers are highly sensitive and educated individuals who are ready to help. If the abused individual is not ready to file a complaint, notes can be taken and saved in case of future repetition of acts of violence.
Contacting the National Domestic Violence Hotline at https://www.thehotline.org/ is another source of sensitive and useful information. This service also stresses the importance of protecting the abused individual by not leaving a “paper trail” for the abuser to find, and provides opportunities by which the abused individual can disclose the nature of the violence without being exposed.
If the abused individual is religious, contacting a member of the church, mosque, or synagogue and talking about the abused is important. Not only does talking to other person give validation of the abuse to the abused individual, it also helps the abused individual make a connection and reduces the isolation felt by the abused individual.
Hospital emergency rooms can offer sources of comfort in case the abuse occurred after hours. Medical and Nursing staff are educated to provide avenues of safety for the abused individual. Name of emergency shelters and homes can be given to individuals in case they feel it is unsafe to return home.
This years ALDAcon will host a special Mental Health workshop for all. Attend and get involved! Helping others to get the physical and mental help they need is a main part of the mission of ALDA.
What should the abused individual personally do?
1. Don’t blame yourself. You did not start this. You do not deserve this.
2. Talk to others. Make the connection with others and reduce the isolation that the abuser uses to keep you locked in.
3. Get out and begin to get involved with enjoyable things to do. Try to realize that there is a tomorrow and there is hope.
4. Try to forgive. “Forgiving” releases the bind that the abuser has on the abused individual. Do not forget! Learn from this and work towards creating a better life surrounding yourself with good people.
5. Move on. What are your next options? Will counseling help? Is divorce a better route? Choices will have to be made, but in due time and when you are ready.
My personal journey
I am a victim of emotional and verbal abuse. After 40 years of “jokes” and belittling comments, my husband became emotionally and verbally abusive to me. On the outside, he is a caring friend to all and ready to help anyone in need. He even says nice things about me in public. At home, he is different. At first, I thought he was just tired or worried, but letting things go was not good for me. Over the years, his comments and belittling increased to where I would be crying in the car or at home by myself.
When I became deaf, I asked him to call the doctor for me. He turned to me, in front of my sons, and stated, “You heard yesterday, you can call the doctor yourself.” When I went back to school during the first 18 months, he began ending my sentences and correcting my speech if I said a wrong word. Even though I did try to stop this behavior, he continued. Becoming deaf was a life-changing event for me, and I felt I needed him, regardless of how he treated me.
It was not until recently when he was drunk that he made horrible derogatory comments about women. I could not stand it and defended myself and women. He became angry and did things to me. I was in shock. Numb. I could not talk to anyone (which was the absolute wrong thing for me to do). A month later, he was angry again and almost got me killed in the car. I told him he needed help and should go to a counselor. It was not my fault.
A sad spinoff of this abuse is that I have seen my sons imitate the emotional and verbal abuse and learned how to put me down. Two have pushed me away and the other cannot believe that his father can be abusive and needs help. “That does not sound like my father!” one son said to me.
I am now into counseling and surprisingly, have a male counselor who helps me see that side of the emotional and verbal abuse. I spoke with my professor, Dr. Sue Beier, and other supportive staff at Capella University to explain why I have not been able to keep up with my studies. They all have been supportive and help keep me on track. In addition, I spoke with the priests in my church. Everyone knows, everyone is supportive of me. I am safe. I am better.
My husband is now in counseling and is working to control his anger. Out of this counseling, he has unearthed the realization that his father was a raging alcoholic and used to physically abuse his mother. He used to be the “punching bag” and take the abuse from his father to protect his family members. How sad to harbor this information in the heart and not be able to unload this safely! While the abuse did not end there, it will end here.
I also chose to write about emotional and verbal abuse as, since I have opened up and disclosed what I went through, others who have been abused have talked to me. I have a very good friend who has lived with a chronic illness for many years. She too shared she has been the victim of verbal abuse. I shockingly have learned how my dear friend and other individuals are abused and quietly take it. Many feel they have no way out. But in reality, we don’t have to live with it anymore. We have a right to live a safe and happy life and be with others who really care about us.
While this article contains very sensitive material, it was meant to help you or anyone else who may be going through emotional and verbal abuse. You do not have to take it. You have the right to be safe and happy. Most of all, you are not alone.
Anne Marie Killilea, MSN, RN, EdDc
Hunt, J. (2013). Verbal and emotional abuse, victory over verbal and emotional abuse. Choice Books: Bristow, VA.
The National Domestic Abuse Hotline (2019). Retrieved from https://www.thehotline.org/
TREASURER’S REPORT by Matt Ferrara
The Balance Sheet for the ALDA Bank accounts as of the end of June:
ALDA Operation Expenses: $47,920
ALDAcon 2019 Account: $27,210
Scholarship Funds: $33,775
ALDA Bank account balance: $108,905.
Wow, the Board year is past the halfway point. I guess as you get older, time goes faster. That is the news on the financial end. Now on to the additional activity in other areas of ALDA News.
I welcome volunteers for the Finance Committee. If you have any suggestions for fundraising campaigns, please contact me at Treasurer@ALDA.org
As a reminder, ALDA, Inc. is a non-profit corporation and any donations may be tax deductible. Also, some employers have matching donations plans. If you have any questions regarding donations, please contact me at Treasurer@ALDA.org.
Meandering Through A Hearing World
New Hearing Technology
By Linda Bilodeau
I visited my audiologist a few weeks ago. After a conversation about how I was doing and after he made sure my hearing aids were in working order, we talked about what is new in the world of hearing. Our discussion filled me with hope. I believe there will come a day when technology or medical solutions will stamp out the hearing problems of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.
New hearing technology takes into account that hearing is a very complex mechanism. Medical professionals understand how sound travels from the outer ear into the hearing canal and how sound waves become electrical impulses and enter the hearing center of the brain. They do not fully understand how we distinguish one sound from another nor do they fully understand how people hear with noise. However, researchers have made some great discoveries in these areas.
To help those with hearing problems hear in noisy environments, researchers are developing brain hearing aids. There are several manufacturers of these types of hearing aids. If you scan the websites of the major manufacturers, i.e., Oticon, ReSound, Starkey, Phonak, etc. you will see what is available.
Beyond that, Columbia University is working with artificial intelligence (A.I.) to develop a hearing system that will allow the user to actually read another person’s brain waves. If that doesn’t sound like science fiction, I don’t know what does. It’s fascinating research and linked to the idea that normal hearing individuals can hear what another individual says even in the midst of the din. The folks at Columbia are developing a hearing aid that will help the wearer distinguish a single sound amongst the cacophony of what we hear in the streets and in public places. How many of us have wished for something like this?
There are medical advances as well. Though the study is currently on hold, researchers are working with a drug called CGF166, which might help some people regenerate hair cells. Early participants in the study had mixed results and Novartis (the pharmaceutical company who developed CGF166) is now assessing their results.
For those interested in Cochlear Implants from Cochlear Americas, Advanced Bionics and Med EL (and Oticon who will eventually offer Cochlear Implants here in the United States) there is much new technology. Including automatic link between the hearing processor and a designated hearing aid, thus creating a surround sound hearing system and research on ways to internalize the implant, thus freeing all C.I. users of having to wear external hardware and more.
I’m sure there are many other studies and other technology out there. If you are interested in keeping up, some good sources are your audiologist, ALDA, Hearing Review, and Hearing Loss Association of America,. All have websites indicating what is available and what is coming.
“Never give up on your hearing” has become my motto. As I meander through the hearing world, I’ve come to believe that one day we might find just the right solution for all that suffer from hearing loss.
ALDAns as ADA Pioneers
By Marylyn Howe
Years ago when I was the publisher of ALDA News, I wrote an article titled “O Pioneers!”. This was about the original 42 brave pioneers who attended the first ALDAcon in Chicago. Over the years, I’ve noticed that ALDAns continue to pioneer bold new fronts. I stared telling you about one exciting new frontier in the previous edition of ALDA News but saved the details for this edition with the Telecommunications Frontier.
When Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) was mandated nationwide by Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), each state and US territory was required to provide this service whereby Communication Assistants (CA) facilitated conversations for persons with hearing or speech disabilities to have equal access to telecommunications network. Existing regulations were in place that assured that persons with hearing loss using TRS would be able to access the telecommunications network in a reliable and equally accessible manner as those without. Telecommunications giants, including AT&T, Sprint, and MCI were to receive ample reimbursement from each state under FCC regulated provisions.
Dial and Pray: Around this time in 1998, MCI Communications Corp. was an American telecommunications company that was instrumental in legal and regulatory changes that led to the breakup of the AT&T monopoly of American telephony and ushered in the competitive long-distance telephone industry. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., it grew to be the second-largest long-distance provider in the U.S. In the mid-1990s, after a questionable bid, Massachusetts awarded the contract to MCI to provide TRS service in the state.
After only a few months of MCI Telecommunications Relay, consumers of this service were distraught enough about the poor quality to bring their complaints to the attention of the Department of Public Utilities (DPU), the Massachusetts Attorney General, and the Disability Law Center in Boston. Irate that CAs did not appear to be properly trained and defied residency requirements, advocates demanded that MCI hold “community meetings” where leaders of the disability community were forthright about the apparent flagrant disregard for equal access to the telecommunications network. Matters became intense with charges of legal violations brought before the DPU and Attorney General, who agreed that MCI did not suitably perform and was operating as “business as usual” without compliance with the ADA.
The DPU subsequently issued a ruling that Bell Atlantic, the court-appointed arbiter of service, must re-issue an RFP (Review for Proposal) that would allow open competition for all telecomm companies to bid for TRS in Massachusetts. In this environment, MCI was required to compete.
This consumer victory was only Step 1 in a highly charged and on-going competition by telecomm giants like MCI and Sprint. After an initial competitive bid, Bell Atlantic, then selected my agency to lead the community forward by developing an entirely new RFP; reviewing all the proposals that were submitted by the given deadline; and make a recommendation to Bell Atlantic for the final TRS award. Each proposal was to be very detailed with telecomm-specific regulatory requirements and clear and comprehensive plans for how the bidder would meet or exceed each regulatory area for the next five years.
O Pioneers!: I needed a team of skilled leaders who were multi-faceted in our approach to TRS issues, who were rich in FCC jargon and requirements, and who were competent in ADA Title IV areas. I found the perfect team with my fellow ALDAns: Judy Viera, Kathryn Woodcock, Tom Driscoll, Larry Littleton, Miguel Aguayo, Janet Marcous, Carol Menton, Doug England, and Mary Clark.
These ALDA advocates comprised the right team of skilled TRS and FCC-savvy authorities from a pool of candidates around the USA and Canada. After several in-person sessions in Boston, we issued an extensive RFP and reviewed and scored the proposals in a manner that was fair, efficient, unbiased, and which could withstand an audit by the Inspector General of Massachusetts. Our team also required the assistance of ASL & PSE interpreters at our in-person meetings as well as for those where one or two team members were joining on the phone.
Each ALDA professional brought a significant and heterogeneous degree of expertise to the table. This TRS team of ALDAns met six times over a period of 3 months. We debated and detailed every major requirement as well as hundreds of value-added components, before reaching a consensus for the TRS award. We made our recommendation to Bell Atlantic, despite an unsuccessful attempt at being strong-armed by one telecommunication giant.
In the end, Bell Atlantic agreed with our team decision for an awardee for TRS, and began a rather arduous regulatory process to disengage the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from a contract with MCI and install the new TRS provider who performed successfully for the following five years. As a result of ALDA member involvement and their sophisticated knowledge and expertise, Massachusetts then instituted new TRS requirements that were more stringent than elsewhere in the USA. But even better, our efforts eventually paid off nationwide. Within 5 years, the FCC embraced all of Massachusetts TRS regulatory standards and issued an order for each State and US territory to follow our lead.
Lessons Learned: Now 20 years later we reflect on these accomplishments. ALDA members spoke up and raised the flag of awareness when our civil rights as telecommunications users were subpar and unequal. We also went beyond the “file a complaint” stage, and took up the challenge to create whole new standards of TRS. What started as a statewide initiative for Massachusetts became so highly regarded that the FCC ordered the rest of the country to adopt our standards. On 2019 and beyond, as we enter an exciting new world of sensational listening technologies, let’s not ever be left behind. Lead on, ALDA Pioneers.
Chapter/Group Outreach! Per the new submission guidelines provided in the Fall issue of AN, chapter/groups can now submit their reports directly to ALDA News Submissions (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Our Chapters and Groups are working hard to make a difference for their respective members and ALDA and we appreciate all they have to offer. Stay tuned for more information on Chapter/Group outreach.
The instructions for chapter/group submissions include “Submit articles, videos, and photos to email@example.com”. The guidelines were established to provide the window for additional submissions about ALDA Chapter/Group Happenings.
Please advise if your chapter/group are using other outlets to share your news and events. We would love to link to the sites where you are posting. Our new html-enabled newsletter easily allows this to occur. Thank you in advance for your time and support in our ALDA and ALDA Chapter outreach.
“Lisa and I met back in 2012 at the South Carolina ALDAcon. She impressed me as being very straightforward and open.”
One of Us
by Karen Krull
This issue’s interview is with Lisa Harbour.
Please read to gain insight into why Lisa is definitely one of us.
Lisa is the program chair for 2019 ALDAcon. Lisa was born and still lives in Martinsville, Virginia, a small town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She initially lost her hearing at the age of 8. It was a complete loss at first, but she regained some hearing and it was up and down like a yo-yo until her early 30’s. The diagnosis was enlarged vestibular aqueduct syndrome. Lisa is married and does part-time work with elderly people now. She formerly worked for WalMart for 21 years in a variety of positions.
KK: What book or books do you recommend others read?
LH: My latest reading obsession is “Not Fade Away” by Rebecca Alexander. I love to read though but not the typical “girly” books. A favorite author is William Forstchen.
KK: You simply cannot live without…..
LH: My kids and coffee… coffee might be first on the list. The kids are alive for a reason.
KK: Your little known talent is:
LH: Dancing (like no one is watching).
KK: The hardest thing you’ve done is:
LH: Lose my sister unexpectedly. A failed cochlear is also on the list.
KK: Your funniest hearing loss moment is:
LH: Probably not fit to print, so I will say TOO many lip reading fails to count. Madison (my daughter)- “Mom, I want to dye my tips” (talking about her hair) Me- “What? You want to die in your sleep?” We laughed and laughed.
KK: When and how did you learn about ALDA?
LH: From Tina Childress after my first hearing loss convention ever (HLAA in 2012).
KK: Do you belong to an ALDA chapter or group?
LH: ALDA Carolina Flight. It’s out of my region but the closest one to me.
KK: Have you ever attended an ALDAcon?
LH: Yes!! First one was in Columbia, SC in 2012.
KK: In what ways has ALDA enhanced your life?
LH: I have so many deaf friends now that understand what I’m going through where before I had none.
KK: Who or what inspires you the most?
LH: Anyone who overcomes an obstacle inspires me.
KK: People would be surprised to learn that you…
LH: Can run super fast.
KK: Your biggest pet peeve is:
LH: Slow drivers in the left lane.
KK: Your favorite childhood memory is:
LH: The many family reunions we used to attend. I really miss that generation of my family. They were the glue.
KK: Your favorite saying is:
LH: Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.
KK: The bottom line is:
LH: Never give up. There are way bigger problems to have than a hearing loss.
ALDAcon is a special time to see old friends, make new friends, learn and encourage each other! With this year’s location in Kansas, of course our theme is “There’s No Place Like Home!”
Cady Macfee and Tina Childress, your Planning Co-Chairs look forward to welcoming you to this year’s ALDAcon, October 23-27, 2019 at the Marriott Overland Park Kansas City! The various committees have been working tirelessly to provide you with an exciting, informational and motivational event, full of workshops, opportunities to network and socialize, learn about products and services in our exhibit hall and be with others who “get it.”
If you haven’t already registered, there’s still time! Online registration ends on October 1, 2019. Sign yourself up, encourage others to attend and be ready for ALDA hugs, complete communication access and rockin’ the night away at our world-famous Karaoke party!
Whether you travel by balloon, bubble or broomstick, join us!