I’m back home and already on my way out again to another conference on hearing loss! I figure I need to wrap up my experiences at HLAA – seriously, this year’s conference had a significant impact on me and especially with Day 3, I learned some things that I think I need to carry back to my chapter and talk about more in depth.
For day three, I managed to hit up 4 workshops:
The Battle for Movie Captioning – A Case Study of ADA in Practice – John Waldo from WA brought a ton of information and referenced several legal cases setting precedence on the legality of open and closed captioning in movie theatres. It was fascinating to see just how things have evolved into today’s situation where movie theatres continue to resist providing captions and hopefully paves a way to getting it into theatres or having the theatres attempt to fight ADA law.
Trying to Escape by Getting Trapped: Using Drugs and Alcohol to Cope with Hearing Loss – The drugs/alcohol workshop gave me some perspective on addiction. I have a brother who absolutely will not get off the computer – but is it an addiction, or a habit? In this case, the presenter helped me understand better how addiction manifests and what methods of treatment are worth looking into, and how people with hearing loss have approached methods of escape from their own hearing loss. Incredibly eye-opening.
Aural Rehabilitation for Adults with Cochlear Implants – while the presentation was a bit dry, it did help me understand what to look for when gauging my understanding of people around me. Perhaps the presentation was more for people who didn’t have hearing loss and didn’t understand why someone like me who has a CI couldn’t understand them, but I didn’t get much out of it.
Bluffing 201 – Masks – Gael Hannon is an absolute blast to listen to. This engaging speaker helped me exercise and admit to my behavior of bluffing (not understanding when in conversation but pretending I do). She stated something along the lines of “bluffing isn’t just for people with hearing loss, people who hear well also bluff too!” So it’s a universal problem and we all can benefit from learning how to not bluff. We took part in an exercise to explain how we identify ourselves as needing understanding in conversation (example, “I have difficulty hearing, please face me and speak clearly”) and to give an example of where we bluff (i.e., talking with someone while dancing in a loud club). One guy wrote that girl asked him something and he said yes, and 40 years, two kids and two grandkids later, he still doesn’t have the heart to tell her he didn’t understand what she said! At the end, we all took a pledge to not bluff anymore – at least I took it, I hear my traveling companions declined! :-p
Each of these workshops were fabulous and important. And I will definitely be parting that information out to my chapter meeting on July 13!
After all the workshops were done, Kelly, Sarah, Vic and I took a breather before getting everyone together at the Milwaukee Brat House. About 10 of us ate outside on the patio during a beautiful summer day, absolutely perfect temperature-wise, and sunny! Very tasty Italian sausage, would highly recommend in downtown MKE!
We strolled leisurely to the busses that would drop us all of at the Comedy Club! Having heard there would be “some food” at the club, I did eat dinner lightly, and was surprised that the eats at the club were actually pretty substantial. It was just a bit late as the busses started at 8:15pm – had dinner started at 7, all would have been good! In any case, we had a spot of socializing, a good number of people who hid themselves in the confines of the conference finally came out of the woodwork and I was heartened to meet a ton of cool people!
However, the real meat of the night was the actual improv performance, done by the comedy club pros with captioning on the screen above their stage. I gotta tell ya, the comedians were really good, and especially had the best time with the captions – integrating it into the act, laughing at the occasional misspelling – “Poppy? I said Poopy!”
The best part was when they got the audience involved and Vic got dragged on stage! Hey, man! You’re a courteous/curious monkey! 🙂 They kept me in uproarious laughter with complete accessibility – and I hear Vic and Nabeel are gonna try to make something like that happen down in Houston! Go you, guys! Need any help?
The rest of the night was pure shenanigans by the young adult group. I’d say more, but I think I made a goof of myself. 😉 We’ll keep that in the house here! 🙂
In any case, even after said shenanigans, all four of us Musketeers actually made it on time to the awards ceremony on Sunday morning. Kelly and Sarah had received scholarships from the convention, and I thought it was appropriate that they be properly recognized. The rest of the young adults and convention goers appeared and I did want to applaud Rhi for doing a fabulous job throughout 2009 and 2010 for young adults. Kudos!