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Information for Parents: Student Access During COVID-19 Transcript

[Title slide appears, “The Least You Need to Know During COVID-19 for Deaf/Hard of Hearing Students: Returning to In-Person or Hybrid Schooling. Parent Video.”]

[Split screen. In the left screen is a woman voicing. In the right screen is a working Certified Deaf interpreter (CDI). There is captioning on the bottom of the screen. The woman on the left begins to talk.]

Emily Manson (teacher)>> All children are facing new challenges and new opportunities during the Covid-19. These challenges are evolving as we navigate going back to schools in person. This webinar has been developed to provide guidance to parents about how accessibility for children who are deaf and hard of hearing may be affected because of the protocols put in place at schools when returning from COVID-19. This webinar will provide you with an outline of some problems your child may face and some possible suggestions about how to support your child through this challenging transition. It is important to remember that solutions continue to be explored and are evolving. All of the people you see in this webinar are either deaf or hard of hearing themselves and are sharing lived experiences from their perspectives. We encourage you to have ongoing conversations with your child about these concerns and consult your child’s school team to ensure they have access to people and instruction in the classroom.

[Onscreen there are five different videos streams participating. One is from teacher Ann Mayes. One is CDI Sarah Houge. The remaining three are students and young adults Paige, Kobe, and Luke. They take turns participating in the discussion. The captioning is onscreen.]

Ann Mayes (voicing)>> Please share your experiences understanding people speaking when they are wearing masks.

[Screen switches to Luke for the full frame. The following text is briefly displayed onscreen, “Luke Stadelman – Lakeville North High School Class of 2019.”]

Luke (signing)>> I think in my experience a lot of times it has been with family and it has been a tough time understanding people, you know, if they’re laughing a lot or, you know, I’m not understanding what they’re laughing more often than I normally would be. And also I’m not sure who’s speaking.

[Screen switches back to all five participants.]

Ann>> So, you've shared about what some of the challenges are when people are wearing masks. But now could you talk about how you feel, how you have felt or how are you feeling when you approach someone and they're wearing a mask?

[Screen switches back to Luke.]

Luke>> I guess I really feel left out. It really makes me feel lonely, sad, and I almost feel like people don't enjoy me.

[Screen switches back to all five participants.]

Ann>> What are some tips that you have for parents when they're communicating with a deaf or hard-of-hearing child when they're wearing a mask in public or when they're riding in the car and they might be wearing a mask?

[Screen switches to Kobe. The following onscreen text is displayed, “Kobe Schroeder – Lakeville North High School Class of 2019”]

Kobe (signing)>> For riding in a car, I would think it would probably be better to, if you're not driving, if you're stopped at a stoplight or something, you could write a note real quick to give that to the kids or for -- if you're, I guess, in general public, writing a note or using text messaging. You know, I don't know how well the speech to text works when you're wearing a mask, but that might be an option also.

[Screen switches to Paige on the left side and CDI Sarah on the right side. The following text briefly appears, “Paige Gerlach – Farmington High School Class of 2020.”]

Paige (voicing)>> For my family when we go grocery shopping, I usually can't understand what my parents are saying with their mask on because there's all this background noise coming in. So they will text me if they're going somewhere or we're in the same aisle but I'm going to stay in that aisle and grab whatever I need to grab, they're going to leave, they'll get my attention and they'll point over to where they're going to go so that I know that they're leaving the aisle, like what direction to go walk in when they're leaving. And just being very visual with them instead of auditory. Texting where you're going, writing it down, or being closer to them instead of being on opposite side of the aisle. Because you can be by your family because you guys have to go home together already. But just having that, like, a known agreement that you guys are going to communicate with each other even if it's not through spoken words. 

[Screen switches to all five participants.]

Ann>> How are you preparing yourself emotionally to return to in-person classes?

[Screen switches to Kobe.]

Kobe>> I guess I do have a lot of concern about that being left out, like Luke said earlier, and just the limited accessibility for the emotions on the face and the facial expressions.

[Screen switches to Luke.]

Luke>> I guess maybe practicing a little bit with the family or friends who have been staying in place together.

[Screen switches to all five participants.]

Ann>> What are some things that parents could be thinking about and asking for to help their children have better access?

[Screen switches to Paige on the left side and CDI Sarah on the right side.]

Paige>> So, for me, I do not use an interpreter in my classrooms. But when I got into high school, I started using a DHH teacher and, you know, wearing hearing aids, all that. And we were asked to write our own emails to our teachers about it, but a younger kid will either not have access to write it or maybe not know the right words. So for parents to have a conversation with their kids, like, okay, you're going back to school, what are the things that you maybe want to tell your teacher, you want me to tell your teacher. And then kind of getting the more younger language that they have and then you can translate it and make it more understandable for a teacher as to what the kids need, if they need more help with a certain subject or certain area, if there's a CART interpreter that they want to try out or that they had before that they need and just making it more, I guess, understandable to an adult what they need, rather than, well, I don't know what I need, but I'd like this, to, like, make it assertive.

[Screen switches to all five participants.]

Ann>> What are some things that you would like parents to tell their teachers specifically about accessibility?

[Screen switches to Luke.]

Luke>> the importance of parents, really making sure that the teachers are aware what the -- what access that student needs because sometimes there are other teachers or interpreters that are not saying anything or they forget to say something to a particular teacher. And it needs to be said. So I think that's very important for the parents to make sure that the teachers are aware of everything that their student needs, everything that needs to be provided for them, for that deaf student and to tell them if they're missing something.

[Screen switches to all five participants.]

Ann>> What are some things that parents need to remember with that social distancing and communication in public places?

[Screen switches to Kobe.]

Kobe>> I did have one thing that came to mind. Just from my own personal experience at my high school, really used to touching, hugging, handshaking, bumping fists, and those types of things. I'm thinking without, it might be more stressful for us because we're human and we need to make social contact too. You know, so I think that's one of the things to keep in mind.

[Screen switches to Paige on the left side and CDI Sarah on the right side.]

Paige>>I guess I would just say advice for teachers and parents, to be patient with the kids, be understanding. If they say "what" a bunch of times, ask you to repeat it, to slow down, say it differently, they're not doing it to, like, just play games with you or to annoy you or just because they feel like it. Like they truly -- if it annoys you, it probably annoys them ten times more that they have to ask you so many times just to get what you were trying to say the first time. So be understanding that it's not their fault, they're trying harder than most people to understand you. And just, like, give them space and time if they feel really agitated by it, let them take a break and, like, relax or calm down.

[Screen switches to Kobe.]

Kobe>> I think the parents will need to remember, you know, when we're very stressed, you know, situations may be very stressful, to give the kids time and, you know, not need to control them all the time and check in with them, make sure that they're okay, make sure that they're not being left out or feel that they're being left out and to really have sympathy and understand what's going on. And, you know, try different methods, try writing, try texting, try whatever works best for them.

[Screen returns to all five individuals.]

Ann>> So I think we're just going to wrap that all up, and I just want to say thank you again for your time and for sharing some of your personal experiences and then also some of the challenges that you anticipate you yourself are going to have to be preparing for. So thank you very much.

[Closing slide with the following text, “Thank you to the following individuals who contributed their time, knowledge and skills to this webinar production:

“Emily Manson, Teacher of Deaf/Hard of Hearing – St. Paul Public Schools

“Ann Mayes, Independent Contractor – Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing

‘Anna Paulson, Director of Educational Advancement and Partnerships – Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing”]

[Second closing slide with the following text, “Thank you to the following people who shared their Lived Experiences as students who are deaf/hard of hearing:

“Paige Gerlach, 2020 graduate of Farmington High School, incoming freshman at St. Cloud State University. She is a student who experienced rapid progression of hearing loss starting in the fall of her sophomore year. Within three years, Paige progressed from hearing aids to cochlear implants. During the last three years of high school, Paige started using a hearing assistive technology system, closed captions, a buddy system and had services from a teacher of deaf/hard of hearing. In her junior year, she started learning American Sign Language in anticipation of becoming deaf.

“Kobe Schroeder, 2019 graduate of Lakeville North High School, current student and football player at Gallaudet University. Kobe was immersed in a bilingual program with cued American English and American Sign Language as the languages of instruction from preschool to graduation, including sign language interpreter and cued English transliterator services. In his senior year, he also had C-Print services for a few classes, including anatomy which sparked his interest in physiology. 

“Luke Stadelman, 2019 graduate of Lakeville North High School, current student at University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. Luke attended the same program with Kobe and other students who are deaf/hard of hearing from preschool to graduation. During his junior and senior high school years, Luke completed several Advanced Placement classes with C-Print services, sign language interpreter services and closed captions. AP and honors classes prepared Luke for architectural studies in college.”]

[Third closing slide with the following text, “Thank you to the certified sign language interpreters, including a Certified Deaf Interpreter, for their services to provide access.

“Thank you to the communication access real-time (CART) provider for her service to provide access as well.”]

[Fourth and final slide with the following text, “Thank you to the following sponsors and contributors who provided funding and support:

“Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing

“Minnesota Low Incidence Projects” and the logos for both organizations.]

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