Upcoming events — Fall 2014

Summer vacation may be over, but that doesn’t mean the fun and festivities have to stop! There’s quite a bit going on this fall, so let’s jump right in and start marking our calendars!
Hearing Loss and Mental Health — Wednesday, Sept. 24 from 7pm to 9pm at the Leawood Pioneer Library, 4700 Town Center Dr., Leawood, KS 66211
HLAAKC will be hosting an educational presentation as part of Deaf Awareness Week. Join us onWednesday, Sept. 24 to learn more about mental health issues related to hearing loss. Elijah Buchholz, Director of Deaf Services for the Missouri Department of Mental Health, will be presenting. CART and sign language interpreters will be provided. Visit our Facebook event page for more information. Sponsored by HLAAKC, Deaf Professionals Network and Kansas School for the Deaf.

Kansas City Parent Group for Families with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children’s —Wednesday, Sept. 17 at Kansas School for the Deaf Early Education Center (450 E. Park St., Olathe, KS) 
Sara Chinnock, Engagement Manager for Cochlear Americas and former teacher of the Deaf, will be sharing information with the group regarding Cochlear America’s Kansas City Support Group and will also present information regarding services for deaf and hard of hearing children in the mainstream school setting. If time allows, a short documentary, entitled “95 Decibels,” will be shown. Childcare will be available.  Click here to download and share a flier about the video, and click here to visit the Facebook event page.

Mark your calendars!

Liberty Corn Maze — Saturday, Oct. 18 in Liberty, MO. Hosted by HLAAKCFollow us on Facebook for more details!

HLAAKC Holiday Party — Saturday, Dec. 6. We’ll email more details, so keep an eye on your inbox! Not on our email list? Send us an email — hlaakc@gmail.com — and request to be added!

Special event!

Young Adult Midwest Meetup — October 10-12, Chicago, IL

If you’ve been to an HLAA or other hearing loss-related convention, you know that one of the best parts is getting to meet other people with hearing loss. A small group of young adults would like to get together and build friendships outside of the conventions, and have planned an informal regional gathering — the first annual Midwest Meetup! This is primarily aimed at drawing in people with hearing loss who live in the Midwest, but anyone is welcome to attend! It’s a great way to meet others with hearing loss in our general area, as well as get to know people in a low-key environment so that when you go to the 2015 HLAA Convention, you’ve already made some new friends!

If you plan to attend and stay in the selected hotel, a deposit is due by Friday, Sept. 29 — details about lodging and activities are posted on the Midwest Meetup Facebook event. You may also click here to download and share a flier.

See you out and about!

Raffle at the 2014 HLAAKC Picnic

Yesterday, we talked about the vendors who will be at the picnic.

Today is all about the raffle!

Every year, we host a raffle to help raise money for HLAAKC. Your generous donations go toward helping us host events like these, pay for printing costs, support others with hearing loss and so much more!

If you’ve attended one of our picnics in the past, then you know that the raffle is a lot of fun! Here’s how it works:

1) We will be selling raffle tickets for the suggested donation of $1 per ticket. You may purchase as many as you want! Raffle tickets will only be sold at the picnic.

2) The raffle items will be set up on a table with a container by each item. You can purchase as many or as few tickets as you like, and place your tickets in as many or as few containers as you like. The more tickets you buy, the better chance you have of winning!

3) We’ve listened to your feedback and this year we are changing things up a bit. In order to make it fair for everyone, we are implementing a “Two-Win” limit — you may win up to two drawings, but after that, if one of your tickets is drawn again, we will discard it and draw again until a new winner comes forward. We appreciate your help in making this fun and fair for everyone!

Here are a few of the things up for grabs:

Free membership to the Deaf Cultural Center
Free one-year membership to HLAA (new members only)
Sonic-Connect 2
Movie passes to Screenland Crown Center
Gift certificates to Grace Design and Esthetics
A movie basket with treats and DVDs
Gift cards to various retail establishments

(Some of these are multiple items, so there may be two different winners drawn for those.)

So be sure to join us on Saturday, June 7 from 4:30pm to 8:30 pm at Shawnee Mission Park,  (7900 Renner Rd., Shawnee, KS) Shelter 8 (click link for a map of the park — Shelter 8 is toward the southwest side of the lake) for your chance to win some of these amazing prizes!

See you there!

HLAAKC Picnic 2014

Vendors at the 2014 HLAAKC Picnic

The picnic is just under three weeks away! If you haven’t already, please RSVP by May 22 — send us an email to hlaakc@gmail.com, or click here to RSVP on the Facebook event.

We’re excited to have so many great vendors joining us! Interpreters will be provided and booth hosts are familiar with the deaf and hard of hearing community, so communication will be a breeze! Here are some of the booths you’ll be able to visit:

Advanced Bionics
Associated Audiologists
Coalition For Independence
Deaf Cultural Center
Deaf Expression
Deaf International
Edward Jones
Hometown Hearing
MO Vocational Rehabilitation
Origami Owl and Scentsy
Sign Language Specialists
TMC Mental Health
The Whole Person

So join us on Saturday, June 7 from 4:30pm to 8:30 pm at Shawnee Mission Park,  (7900 Renner Rd., Shawnee, KS) Shelter 8 (click link for a map of the park — Shelter 8 is toward the southwest side of the lake).

See you there!

HLAAKC Picnic 2014






HLAAKC 6th Annual Picnic — June 7, 2014

HLAAKC Picnic 2014

Quick, what are you doing on Saturday, June 7 from 4:30pm to 8:30pm? We have the answer: Coming to our sixth annual picnic at Shawnee Mission Park, Shelter #8! (Click here for a handy map of the park — Shelter 8 is on the southeast side of Shawnee Mission Lake.)

This event is FREE to the public and draws in people with hearing loss from all over Kansas City and is a great way to network and get to know others in your community!

On top of that, there’s fun for the whole family! The shelter is close to a playground and there’s room to play volleyball!

Who will be there? YOU, of course! And your kids. And your neighbors. And anyone else you want to invite! Meet your HLAAKC steering committee, meet new friends and visit vendors!

Booths open at 4:30, so be sure to stop by to visit:

Caption Call
Coalition For Independence
Deaf Expression
Deaf International
Edward Jones
Hometown Hearing
Origami Owl and Scentsy
Sign Language Specialists
TMC Mental Health
… and more!

We’re also hosting a raffle to raise money for our chapter — your generous donations go toward printing costs, room reservations and enable us to host fun events like this! Some of the items up for grabs include movie tickets to open-captioned movies at Screenland Crown Center, a sonic alert alarm, gift cards and more!

We start eating at 5pm! Sandwiches, drinks and chips will be provided. Please bring a side dish or dessert to share. Please RSVP by Thursday, May 22 so we know how much food to prepare! Either indicate on the Facebook event that you plan to attend, or email us at hlaakc@gmail.com.

We plan to have so much fun that we can’t handle it all ourselves! We’re looking for several volunteers to take short 30-minute shifts throughout the picnic to help us with crafts, food, raffle, setup and cleanup. Click here to visit our volunteer signup page, view shift options and to learn more about picnic volunteer opportunities.

Vendors: We have a few booth spaces left! If you’re interested in hosting a booth, please download a booth registration form here: https://hlaakc.com/sponsorship

Please note that one booth space is about half a picnic table; you may purchase more than one space if you prefer to have the whole table. First come, first served!

MANY thanks to our wonderful sponsors:

Associated Audiologists
Sign Language Specialists
Hamilton Relay
Nexus Interpreting

Open-Captioned Movie at The Alamo Drafthouse – Friday, Sept. 27 at 7pm!

2013 has been a great year for open-captioned movies in Kansas City! First, there was Monsters University open-captioned at The Boulevard Drive-In Theater in July, followed by the double feature, Planes/The Lone Ranger in August at the same location. A huge thanks to JJ Jones, The Whole Person and CinemaKC for their hard work in bringing open captions back to KC!

This month, HLAAKC is happy to be part of the effort to encourage local theaters to show open-captioned movies. As part of Deaf Awareness Week, we are thrilled to announce that the movie Rush will be shown at 7pm on Friday, Sept. 27 at The Alamo Drafthouse in downtown Kansas City (1400 Main St., Kansas City, MO 64105 – formerly AMC Mainstreet)! Click here to reserve your tickets online – this will help you select and reserve your seats! Order them today!


The Alamo is a dine-in theater, so you can order your dinner and snacks right from your seat — servers will bring you your food and drink! Doors open at 6:15; join us at 6:45 for a special pre-show presentation from Cady Macfee from Hamilton Relay, who will be presenting the Deaf Community Leader Award.


Afterwards, hit up the Power and Light District with your friends – the fun doesn’t have to end when the movie’s over!

A few notes about The Alamo:

— No talking/no texting policy is strictly enforced – enjoy the movie free from distractions!
— Patrons must be 18 or older, or accompanied by a parent/guardian.
— Click here for directions and parking info

Thank you, Alamo Drafthouse, for providing an accessible movie for those of us with hearing loss!

See you Friday, Sept. 27!

Click here for more information about Deaf Awareness Week.

Open-Captioned Drive-In Movie event a great success! August 30 event coming up

The Boulevard Drive-In Theatre was packed on the evening of July 11, 2013. Cars lined up right next to each other, row upon row of cars, filling the entire parking lot.  People brought out lawn chairs and blankets, and drinks and snacks as they awaited the start of the “Monsters University” movie.  People from all over the Kansas City area gathered to watch an open-captioned movie on the big screen in the beautiful outdoors.  This was the appeal of the movie, where deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing individuals could all enjoy a drive-in movie theatre, with captions included.

Although there are indoor movie theaters that have caught on to the importance of captions to be used during movies, the drive-in theaters have been slower to adapt to new technology. Thanks to The Whole Person and Cinema K.C. partnering to make this event happen, more than 500 people came to watch the open-captioned movie.

Because the event was so successful, a DOUBLE FEATURE open captioned movie at the Boulevard Drive-In Theatre will be held on August 30 at 9 p.m. “Planes” and “The Lone Ranger” are the movies featured. The address for the movie theatre is 1051 Merriam Lane, Kansas City, KS 66103.  Ticket costs are $10 a person to watch two movies for the price of one!  Kids under 11 can go for FREE.

(Image posted on https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10201342091450250&set=oa.187866078040275&type=1&theater)

Below is a link to the Youtube video about the previous event on July 11. Feel free to check out more what this is all about!


Hearing Assistive Technology workshop recap

 By Andy Chandler

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending a Hearing Assistive Technology (HAT) workshop sponsored by HLAA and the Consumer Electronic Association Foundation (CEA).  CEA paid for the attendees’ hotel rooms and meals during the workshop (thanks, CEA!).  All I had to do was get myself to Bethesda, which I was able to do, thanks to Southwest Airline points (thanks Southwest!)

As you might guess from the title, the weekend workshop centered on using technology to address the challenges of hearing loss. It was like a mini-HLAA convention, which means the very best part of the workshop was meeting people from all over the country, including Hawaii!  There were about 25 of us, some old hands with assistive technology, and some brand new to the topic.

The workshop was presented by Brad Ingrao, an audiologist from Florida, and a frequent speaker at national HLAA events. You might recognize Brad’s name from the HLAA magazine, where he writes a monthly column. What I like about Brad is that he can be a curmudgeon about his profession. It’s not all peaches and roses, as some hearing aid and CI manufactures claim. Brad made two key points about hearing aids and cochlear implants:

  • They make bad hearing less bad (notice it doesn’t say, “make bad hearing good”).
  • They work well, up to 6 feet away from the source of the sound.

So that’s why we use assistive technology — to make hearing better beyond six feet. How do we do that?  That’s what we covered in the workshop, learning about technologies such as:

  • Looping, FM and infrared systems
  • Television and telephone amplification
  • Telephone relay services
  • Personal listening devices (which sometimes can work as well as hearing aids, and are a lot cheaper)
  • CART and captioning (my personal favorite!)
  • Smartphones and the Internet

We talked a lot about loops and telecoils. A lot of people think it’s outdated technology, as it’s been around for a while. In reality, it’s gotten better over the years, and it’s one of the most accessible and effective technologies — as long as your aids/CI have a telecoil. But to loop a space correctly, whether it’s a ticket booth or an auditorium, takes some audio engineering, and should be done by an experienced professional.

Of course, the best part of any HLAA gathering is the people you meet, and the gatherings that take place outside the official workshop events. There is something life-affirming about meeting others who share a hearing loss. At the workshop, at HLAA conventions and meetings, we are the majority. We understand what it means to live with a hearing loss and the challenges thereof. And darn if we weren’t going to do whatever was needed to understand one another!


Here’s a picture of a few of us enjoying one of Bethesda’s finer restaurants (I’m the guy on the right, in blue). I’m sure the wait staff had never seen so many hearing aids, CIs and ALDs at one table!

The reason CEA and HLAA sponsored this workshop was not just for the benefit of the attendees. In return for providing a “scholarship” (i.e, paying for lodging and food), attendees agree to take the information back to their local communities.  So if you or your organization(s) are interested in learning more about Hearing Assistive Technology, I would be delighted to share what I learned. Just contact HLAAKC at hlaakc@gmail.com or give me a shout at aqchandler@gmail.com.

If you are interested in attending a HAT training weekend, the next one is September 6-8 in Sarasota, Fla. For more information, including how to apply for the class, visit HLAA’s website. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, Aug. 13. 

Upcoming HLAA Picnic June 8!

Want a fun place to hang out with your friends, enjoy good food, play some games and have a chance to win raffle prizes? Where can you go to learn about TONS of products and services for the hearing loss community in one place? Looking for family-friendly entertainment with fun for both kids and adults?

The answer to all of these is The 5th Annual HLAAKC Picnic – Saturday, June 8, 4pm-8pm – Shawnee Mission Park (7900 Renner Rd., Lenexa, KS 66219), Shelter #8! Visit with vendors and learn about products and services for people with hearing loss! Buy raffle tickets for a chance to win fun prizes! Enjoy a special performance by JJ the Mime! We even have a few surprises for the kids – including a craft table and fun with hula hoops!

Additionally, there will be a free membership drawing at the raffle for non-members who can win a one-year membership to become a NEW members of HLAA!

Those who win Royals tickets will win specifically for the game on Sept. 2, 2013, Labor Day, to sit with Jacob’s Ride group.  Jacob’s Ride is a project started by a young man, Jason, with hearing loss, who is biking to all 30 baseball stadiums in the US to raise money for those who want a cochlear implant but cannot afford it.  More information can be found on http://www.jacobsride.com.

Dinner will be served at 5pm. Meat, chips and drinks will be provided. Please bring a side dish or dessert to share. Please RSVP on our Facebook event page or by emailing us at hlaakc@gmail.com so that we can make sure there’s enough food for everyone!

Also, we need picnic volunteers to help at the event with setting up, cleaning up, assisting in games, food and the raffle. Email us at hlaakc@gmail.com to sign up! Someone from the committee will then be in touch with you shortly with further details.

Resource booths will be open from 4pm until 6:30pm.

Coalition for Independence
Cochlear Americas
Deaf Cultural Center
Deaf International
Hamilton Relay
KC Parent Group for Families with Deaf or Hard of Hearing Children
Kansas Association of the Deaf
Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Kansas Telephone Assistance Program (TAP)
Lenexa Sertoma Club
Mission Electronics
Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation
Nexus Interpreting
Sign Language Specialists
Quality Transcription Services
The Whole Person

Here’s a sneak peek into some of the goodies you could win at our raffle:

Signed copy of Confessions of a Lipreading Mom
Dove chocolates
HLAA Membership (ONLY for brand new member)
Starbucks gift card
Chipolte gift card
Free interpreting services
… and more!

We are still accepting donations to the raffle! If you’d like to donate, please email us at hlaakc@gmail.com. Please note you do not have to be present at the picnic to donate to the raffle.

This event is FREE and open to the public, so invite your friends, family and neighbors – here’s a flier to share!

Hosted by the Hearing Loss Association of America Kansas City Chapter and sponsored by:

Associated Audiologists
Associated Audiologists, Inc. has provided comprehensive audiology services since 1985 specializing in diagnostic hearing testing, hearing aids, tinnitus, and vertigo/imbalance.  The practice is best known for dispensing all levels of digital hearing aid technology from a variety of the world’s best manufacturers and fitting hearing aids using the most rigorous protocols customized for each patient.

Founded by industry-leading scientists and engineers, MED-EL provides innovative solutions for those dealing with hearing loss.  By advancing the field of hearing implant technology, MED-EL’s people and products connect individuals around the globe to the rich world of sound. For more information, visit www.medel.com or call 888-MED-EL-CI (633-3524).

Nexus Interpreting
Nexus Interpreting, LLC is owned and operated by interpreters Malonda Hutson and Amanda Wittman. It was founded after 15 years of direct interpreting experience in the Kansas City community. We provide you with the best interpreting services available. All of our interpreters are level 4 or 5 in KS and MO, and most are also nationally certified through RID. We specialize in legal, business, medical and mental health interpreting. 

Sign Language Specialists
Since 2003, Sign Language Specialists has provided community interpreting services across the Kansas City metro and beyond.  Our goal is to provide the most skilled, ethical, and friendly interpreters for our D/deaf community.  Please request us for your next medical, legal, educational, workplace, or any other interpreting need.

Quality Transcription Specialists
Quality Transcription Specialists, LLC (QTS) is based in Grain Valley, MO and provides real time speech-to-text transcription services using TypeWell. A live person listens and types the message, and sends it to a laptop, iPad or smart phone for you to read in real time. We provide services in person in the Kansas City area, and remotely over the internet, anywhere in the world.

Hamilton Relay
Kansas Relay is powered by Hamilton Relay – a national leader in providing high quality relay services that make it possible for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or have difficulty speaking to communicate over the telephone.  Kansas Relay Services include: TTY, Captioned Telephone (CapTel), Speech-to-Speech, VCO (Voice Carry Over), HCO (Hearing Carry Over), Deaf-Blind Services, Voice and Spanish.  All services are free and available 24-hours a day, every day.  To learn more, contact customer service at 1-866-735-2957 or visit: www.KansasRelay.com.

Schedule of Events – 4 p.m. – 8 p.m., June 8

4:00 pm – 6:30 pm  – Event begins and vendors open

5:00 pm  – Dinner

5:30 pm  – JJ the Mime

6:30 pm-6:35 pm – Awards presented

6:30 pm-6:45 pm – Last chance to buy raffles, HLAA announcements, Jacob’s Ride information

6:45 pm-7:15 pm – Raffle drawing

8:00 pm – Event ends

Our Amazing Captioning Panel

By Terri Shirley

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HLAAKC’s event, Captioning Panel, held Monday, April 29th, was chock full of surprises and educational for everyone.  With all our energy to change the world one idea at a time, we soaked up knowledge and exchanged suggestions between the audience and the expert panelists.

20/20 Captioning & StenoCART – Real-time Captioning

The first panelist, the lovely and interesting Jeanette Christian, Founder & President of 20/20 Captioning & stenoCART, explained her chosen profession of real time captioning, also called Communication Access Real-Time Translation (CART).   As Jeanette spoke, our attendees never missed a word as conversation was relayed remotely from a captionist located in Raytown.

For all of our speakers that evening, their spoken words translated into typed words behind the speaker on a projector screen.   Our audience questions were also transcribed into written words on screen at front of meeting room, behind the speaker.  CART can also be displayed on personal electronic devices if projection screen is not available or not desired.

Jeanette engaged our audience with real stories of her work helping the hearing connect with the people who have hearing loss through the use of captioning.  She helped a medical student who has very little hearing.   Jeanette’s real-time captioning remotely came right into the surgery room.  With an iPod hanging from an IV-pole and an iPod hung around an interpreter’s neck, the student could understand the details of the surgery with CART.

If you need TV captioning or CART at work, school, conferences, place of worship, courtroom, graduations, weddings or even funeral services, go to http://www.2020captioning.com/contact  for information.

Theater League – Captioning Tablets

Our second panelist, Mark Edelman, Executive Director from Theater League, proudly displayed his new equipment consisting of a sleek thin captioning tablet programmed to display the dialog of actors.  Mark also presented a snazzy, new compact stand which the captioning tablet can clamp onto the stand to keep it secure.  The captioning tablet is a big upgrade from the older, heavier Mobile Demand device, which sat on a music stand. With the new upgraded system, software is downloaded onto the captioning tablets or your own personal entertainment devices (PED’s), such as iPads, or even smart phones.

There are five captioning tablets available now and soon there will be a total of ten tablets available for each performance.  If you would like to spoil yourself with a live Broadway performance, please contact Catherine Cone from Theater League at catherine.cone@theaterleague.org with any questions or for reserving a captioning tablet.

After years of not attending live theater, I am elated to have season tickets for the upcoming year to see Wicked, Sister Act, War Horse, Bring It On and Rat Pack Show.   Season tickets are not required to be able to reserve a captioning tablet.   Come have some fun at a Broadway performance soon!

Regal Cinema – Sony Entertainment Glasses

The third panelist, JoAnna Mattson, General Manager for Kansas City Regal Cinemas, brought the Sony Entertainment glasses.   She discussed the closed captioning features the glasses deliver to movie patrons, even with 3D movies.   Many new people in the audience had never seen these stylish devices that can also help those with loss of vision with its audio assist function.

Welcome, Trivia, invisible CAPTIONS & Finale

We had open question and answer time between audience and panelists.   We marveled over these high technology devices that help bridge those with hearing loss to enjoy life more fully at the movies, conferences and live theater. During this open time, we learned from listening to our audience and those that actually need captioning.  One member introduced us to invisible CAPTIONS, a potential new invention that features glasses that users can wear which could be lightweight and more durable than current captioning products used in the movies.

Coming from the years when captioning was non-existent, to the 1980’s of the Sears Telecaption Adaptor box, to what we experienced that evening at our Captioning Panel was very moving. It is a beautiful thing to have captioning professionals mesh ideas with people who have hearing loss and share in our hopes and dreams for the future.

Thank you Jeanette, Mark, and JoAnna, for taking time to show us your devices and your dedication to our deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Also, I give a special thank you to April Dunlap for interpreting and Emily Goldman of Photos4Good for donating your time to photograph our captioning panel event for our non-profit organization.

Our next social will be Saturday, June 8th from 4-8pm at Shawnee Mission Park, Shelter #8.   Please see our Facebook page for details and keep an eye on our emails.

Thank you everyone for joining us!

HLAAKC Committee - Anna, Lucy, Andy, Minda and Terri

HLAAKC Committee – Anna, Lucy, Andy, Minda and Terri

Live theater captioning comes to Kansas City!

I grew up in my own little world of musicals. My alone time was often spent lip-syncing to “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” from The Sound of Music, or sashaying around my house mouthing the lyrics to “If I were a Rich Man” from Fiddler on the Roof. If I was lucky and no one else was home, I would belt out my favorite solos in my own not-just-tone-deaf-but-deaf-and-unable-to-carry-a-single-tune voice. Even now, if I spend a weekend catching up on the last season of Glee, I’m prone to spend the rest of the week singing to myself and passé-ing – not walking – around my house.

What I’m trying to say is – I love Broadway musicals. I love song-and-dance numbers. I love the emotion, the choreography, the soul, the solos – all of it. But my own experience with live theater is relatively lacking. Growing up, watching a live stage production was just too much work for me. Sign language interpreters helped clue me in to the dialogue going on onstage, but watching the interpreter meant missing the stage action. Opting to watch the actors instead of the interpreters meant I missed out on important lines. I preferred to stick to videos and later, DVDs, so I could enjoy the story with captions and subtitles.

Then last summer, something wonderful happened. At the 2011 HLAA National Convention in Washington, D.C., HLAA arranged for convention goers to attend a captioned live performance of the musical Wicked. I was a little skeptical – accustomed to sign language interpreters, I could not wrap my head around using captions to understand something that was going on live in front of me. I am so glad HLAA introduced me to live theater captioning – thanks to their efforts and the cooperation of the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center, I was able to fully enjoy a live theater performance for the first time! I watched the captions in conjunction with the stage performers, much like I use CaptiView to watch a movie. It took a bit getting used to moving my eyes from the captions to the stage, but since I am used to captions on the TV, it was much easier transition for me than I thought it would be. I left the convention with one goal in mind: Bring live theater captioning to Kansas City.

Earlier this year, I found out that Les Miserables, one of my favorite musicals, would be coming to Kansas City and immediately started asking questions. Could it be captioned? Who would caption it?  How do I contact the theater? The production company? After a few months of dead ends and wild goose chases, I happened to see a billboard advertising Les Miz being brought to Kansas City by the Theater League. I sent the Theater League and email and discovered they already had a captioning device available. Mark Edelman, Executive Director of the Theater League, graciously invited members of our HLAAKC Steering Committee to check it out.

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Mr. Edelman and his team, recognizing the need for captions of live performances and understanding that not all deaf or hard of hearing patrons are able to understand American Sign Language, developed the device to assist their guests. “We wanted to come up with an audio description system that could be utilized at any performance and did not require familiarity with ASL,” he said.

The Theater League currently has two Mobile Demands that use PowerPoint to display captions for the theater patron. A transmitter set up in the theater controls the flow of the captions so that all the patron has to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

“We ask the producers of each Broadway show we present to send us a copy of the script in some sort of digital form (usually MS Word). We pay to have that format re-written in PowerPoint,” Edelman explained. “I go through the PowerPoint and make changes consistent with the flow of the show. The PowerPoint is transferred to the Audio Description System’s dedicated lap-top. We hook up the transmitter in the theater, hand out the receivers, explain the process and we’re ready to go.”

The Mobile Demand can be placed on a music stand for hands-free viewing during the show, or be held in the patron’s lap. Using the music stand requires specific, accessible seating; holding the device enables the patron more freedom to sit where they like. Once you are at the performance, Edelman explains, the “Presentation Manager will come to your seat, give you the device, explain its operation and turn it on for you.”

All of Theater League’s shows are available with captions, with the exception of shows that have no spoken dialogue or lyrics (such as Tap Dogs, Stomp or Blue Man Group). Click here for a complete list of upcoming Theater League shows in Kansas City.

If you would like to see a show from the Theater League, using the captioning device, simply contact the Theater League with the name of the show and the date(s) you are available to attend. With only two captioning devices available, it’s possible that you may need to choose alternate dates if the devices are in use somewhere else or otherwise spoken for. Catherine Cone, the Director of Ticketing for the Theater League, will help you purchase the appropriate seat for your needs.

Catherine Cone
Director of Ticketing
Theater League
9140 Ward Parkway, Suite 220
Kansas City, MO 64114
816-559-3863 (direct phone)
816-421-4979 (fax)

The Theater League also offers audio description for visually-impaired guests. For more information about the Theater League, please visit their website or email Mark Edelman at tlmedelman@gmail.com.

Thank you, Theater League, for helping make the arts more accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing community in Kansas City!

Do you know of other captioned live events? Let us know in the comments or send us an email at hlaakc@gmail.com.

Show Us the Captions – come to the movies with us!

Show Us the Captions is almost here! This nationwide advocacy campaign is the brainchild of Sarah Wegley, the social chair for the Chicago chapter of the Association for Late Deafened Adults. Sarah blogs at Speak Up Librarian and tells the story of how Show Us the Captions was born here. The campaign is sponsored by Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning.

You can find out more information about the national campaign by checking out the Show Us the Captions Facebook page, or by checking out CCAC’s “Show Us the Captions!” page on their website.

HLAAKC is proud to be part of this advocacy effort; movie captioning is a subject near and dear to our hearts! If you would like to see a movie with friends from HLAAKC, some of our volunteers will be at the following theaters and times on Saturday, Nov. 17:

AMC Studio 30 – Olathe, KS – noon
Cinemark 20 Merriam – Merriam, KS – 2pm
Cinemark Palace at the Plaza – Kansas City, MO – 2pm
Regal Kansas City Stadium 18 — 4pm 

AMC 30 and both Cinemark theaters offer CaptiView devices, and will have several movies and times to choose from. If you would like to join us at one of the theaters listed above, please sign up on our event page on Sign Up Genius. This allows us to ensure that there will be enough CaptiView devices available for everyone for that time period.

If you are interested in seeing an open-captioned movie, Regal 18 will be showing the movie Skyfall open-captioned at 4pm. You do not need to reserve a captioning device for this showing, but please sign up so we know how many people to expect. Friends and family are welcome – the more, the merrier!

And if you can’t make it to the movies with an HLAAKC group, no worries! Please feel free to attend whenever you can make it – we simply want to thank the theaters for their accessibility and increase public awareness of movie captioning. So grab a friend or two and go to the movies!

If you would like to see a movie on your own, here are links to the theaters in Kansas City that have told us they have captioning available for their movies. Captioned content and movie times are subject to change, so be sure to check with the theater before you go.

 AMC Studio 30
12075 S. Strang Line Road
Olathe, KS 66062

AMC Barrywoods 24
8101 Roanridge Road
Kansas City, MO 64151

Cinemark 20
5500 Antioch
Merriam, KS 66202

Cinemark Palace at the Plaza
526 Nichols Rd.
Kansas City, MO 64112

Regal Kansas City Stadium 18
3200 Ameristar Drive
Kansas City, MO 64161

If you have any questions or are having trouble signing up, shoot us an email at hlaakc@gmail.com. We’re happy to help!

See you on November 17!

Fourth Annual Summer Picnic – June 2, 2012!

Join us for our fourth annual summer picnic at Shawnee Mission Park! Our biggest event of the year will offer FREE food and drinks, booths hosted by local organizations with hearing loss resources, and a chance to meet others in your community who are familiar with hearing loss. We have some awesome vendors lined up, including:

20/20 Captioning
Associated Audiologists
Hamilton Relay
KS Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Med El
MO Assitive Technology
Omron Healthcare

If you are interested in hosting a booth to share your resources with the hearing loss community, please email us at hlaakc@gmail.com no later than Friday, May 19. We’d love to have you!

This year, you will also have a chance to win some awesome raffle items, including:

Gift cards
Switched at Birth DVD
One year free membership to HLAA
… and more!

Funds from the raffle will help send steering committee member Lucy Crabtree as the HLAA-KC delegate to the HLAA National Convention in Rhode Island. We look forward to learning from her experience when she returns! Extra funds from the raffle will also go toward equipment costs for our regular meetings and printing costs for promotional materials. If you would like to donate an item to the raffle, please send an email to hlaakc@gmail.com and let us know by Friday, May 19.

Shawnee Mission Park rests on 1,236 acres and boasts a beautiful 120-acre lake and other exciting amenities such as nature trails, play areas, a disc golf course and an archery range! We look forward to hosting our picnic there and hope you’ll join us for the fun!

Dinner will be served at 5pm in Shelter #8. Meat, chips and drinks will be provided. Dessert and side dish contributions are welcome, but not required.

Please RSVP so we can be sure to have enough food for everyone! Either join the event on Facebook or send us an email at hlaakc@gmail.com.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Come see Gael Hannan in May!

You’re at a restaurant or coffee shop. Your hearing aid, cochlear implant or other assititive listening device has fresh batteries. You’re in a prime lip reading spot: Your back is to the light, you’re facing your friend, you’re aware of the conversational topic. But try as you might, you just can’t understand your friend. You adjust your chair for a better view of her lips. You remove the centerpiece that partially blocks his face. Still, nothing. Sometimes, lip reading just doesn’t work. You can do everything right and still not understand the other person.

Our May speaker, Gael Hannan, understands this phenomenon all too well, and addresses it in her poem, “If I Could Move Your Lips For You,” as published in Hearing Health Matters:

If I could move your lips for you, I would.
We’ve been friends forever and I can read your emotions, easily.
But reading your words is tough because your lips don’t move,
Not much.
Friendships with new people, wonderful people, have not flourished
Under the strain of communication, but
You are my friend – I want to keep talking with you forever.


So whose fault is it – yours, mine or ours –
When for the ten thousandth time
I must ask you to repeat yourself?
I sense your invisible eye-rolling and sighing.
Immediately, I’m both apologetic and resentful

– excerpted from “If I Could Move Your Lips For You,” by Gael Hannan. Click here to read the poem in its entirety. A special thanks to our friend and HLAA member Sarah Mosher for sharing this poem with us!

Gael Hannan is a writer, actor and public speaker who grew up with a progressive hearing loss that is now severe-to-profound. We are excited for our upcoming seminar with Gael, who will be presenting on “The Masks of Hearing Loss: Bluffing 101.” Every person with hearing loss “bluffs,” pretending to understand what’s going on, even when they don’t. Some of us do it on occasion, while some of us move from one bluff moment to another! This amusing workshop looks at why and when we bluff, why we should or shouldn’t, and how we can ban the bluff in our lives.

We’ll be Skyping live with Gael on location on Saturday, May 5 at KU Edwards Campus, Regnier Hall, Room 153, 12600 Quivira Rd., Overland Park, KS 66213. CART (real-time captioning) will be provided by 20/20 Captioning.

Even if you have not yet RSVP’d, it is not too late to come! We’re excited to hear Gael speak and want everyone to have the opportunity to enjoy her humorous and engaging presentation! Please come – and bring your friends! You can find more information about this event on our Facebook page or by sending us an email at hlaakc@gmail.com.

See you there!

Save the Date – Gael Hannan is Speaking in May!

Gael Hannan

HLAA-KC is very excited to present a FREE seminar featuring Gael Hannan and her well-known topic: “The Masks of Hearing Loss: Bluffing 101.” Every person with hearing loss “bluffs,” pretending to understand what’s going on, even when they don’t. Some of us do it on occasion, while some of us move from one bluff moment to another! This amusing workshop looks at why and when we bluff, why we should or shouldn’t, and how we can ban the bluff in our lives.

Gael Hannan is a writer, actor and public speaker who grew up with a progressive hearing loss that is now severe-to-profound. You can read more about Gael at her website.

We’ll be Skyping live with Gael on location.
CART (real-time captioning) will be provided by 20/20 captioning.

This seminar will be held Saturday, May 5, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Location: KU Edwards Campus, Regnier Hall, Room 153, 12600 Quivira Road, Overland Park, KS 66213. We have a Facebook event set up also, if you plan to attend, let us know there!

Driving directions are available here. A map of the KU Edwards Campus is below (click to enlarge the map).

Here is a flyer of the event, if you’d like to print it off and pass the word on.

We’d like to thank our sponsors who made this event possible: