I know it's been a while since I last blogged... life.. kids... it all caught up to me. ;) but recently I had a conversation with a friend that made me think I really need to blog about this because it touches my life deeply. Many of you already know that I'm a deaf mom- a fierce wickedly cool one by the way.. not sure my 3 year old would vote for that today but.. haha. I digress. :)
Per my conversation with my friend- we started talking about how deaf technology has truly changed and for the better.. and wonder what the future will bring for us.. hopefully more and more access so we can finally be on the same footing as hearing people. :)
1. In 1990- ADA law set up that every disabled person must have access to any public place, with accomdations made by the place to accomdate a disabled person. In this law as well- included closed captioning. for many of you who don't know- closed captioned is when words show up on a t.v. screen with black background and white letters. If it is "subtitled" it will often be yellow or white and "open" open caption is almost like subtitles. Anyway, CC became required in that law and around 1992-1993.. my mom had gotten a voucher to get me a CC box it was a black box attached to the tv via cable cord. and a plug to the wall.. and it had buttons on it that you could turn the CC on and off. She plugged it in and got it all hooked up and she's like Lauren, you can read the words on the t.v. instead of asking what they are saying.. i was like.. what? ok?? she turned on oprah winfrey- ths was one of the VERY few shows that were closed captioned at the time....... and I remember watching the words scroll on by.. they were saying what people were saying- probably a bit delayed but I remember being amazed.... as the years went by up until about 1995-1996- then more and more shows are captioned. Almost Everything on t.v. is captioned now. For me, it is normal to have words on the screen so i can read it.. and most of the time when i go to other peoples houses- they are willing to turn on captioning.. but I also hate asking because i feel like it is a hassle to figure out how to get it on and sometimes people don't remember how to get it off also. Just funny, thinking about watching that first t.v. show with CC and being floored and now it is a normal everyday thing for me. my kids are growing up with words on the screen... I wonder what they will have to say when they go to other peoples houses and notice they don't have CC. :)
2. TTY to TTY conversations... TTY is a box keyboard computer thing almost. you place a phone on it, and you can make a phone call to another TTY and also through relay to a hearing person. and you type what you want to say, then say GA, (go ahead) then if you are done talking and say bye bye you say Stop Keying (SK SK) This is also widely known as a leader to future technoglogy as Instant messages and also texting on Cell Phones- yes you can thank the Deaf people now!! We are the reason why everyone texts. :) Texting works silimarily to how a TTY worked back then.
instant messages- that didn't come around until about 1997-1998- so Us 25 year olds and up- were born before internet... Life without Internet... and big box computers- and we had dial up too... and often got told to get off the computer so someone could use the phone- now its a completely different world- everyone has a cell phone- and the Internet is often cabled- and no more dial up!
3. Baby monitors- they finally made one that is made for hearing and deaf parents alike- a vibrating baby montior- I have used this with both kids- It is a life saver- it vibrates when the baby cries and MUCH better than hooking up lights to this special montior- that would make every light in the house flash every time the baby cried or talked or made a peep. Could you imagine having a house flashing lights every time your baby made a peep? Not me! I was so thrilled that they came out with this. It helps a lot.
I think those 3 things in my life as a deaf mom- had a huge impact on my life.. for one thing.. my kids will probably learn how to read faster because they will be exposed to literacy early because of the CC. My 3 year old already knows how to use the mouse and keyboard, and he knows when I am chatting with my friends on VP or through relay or Skype- that I am talking to someone and it is normal for him to annoy me when i am on the phone- just like you hearing moms- I have the same issues you do! :) Although I am almost done using the baby monitors- it will be amazing to see what else the future has in hold for more advanced deaf technology and also how... things have changed in just few years. I am so happy we have those changes now- and they make life easier.