Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Clamor on Functional Inequity

Clamor magazine is one I only discovered three issues ago. (And I mispelled it as "Clamour" in an earlier post which led to a few e-mails asking what I liked about Glamour, sorry!) It's a bimonthly magazine and I'll assume many people are already familiar with it but if you're not please check out the web site and if you're lucky enough to find a physical copy, flip through it. (Not all articles are available online.)

In the current issue (November/December) Yolanda Best writes "Functional Inequity: Despite progress made on many fronts in America, millions in the deaf community are still struggling."

There are a number of issues addressed in this article but I'm going to focus on two paragraphs.

Jamie Berke, the Deafness/Hard of Hearing guide on, points out that accessibility to proper health care and health information continues to be an issue. "Deaf people have sued for interpreters for medical appointments," she says. "My own most recent insurer did not provide interpreters and I had to make do with writing notes with my doctors." Being unable to fully communicate with doctors can become especially hazardous when serious or life-threatening health issues are involved. Currently, there is no law requiring that health insurers provide qualified interpreters during doctor visits for their deaf clients.
According to Strassler, slanted coverage of many deaf issues by the media can cause the hearing world to not fully understand the needs of the community. "As long as newspapers highlight the isolated 'deaf success' stories but ignore the 'deaf failures cases' then we are presenting a false image," says Strassler. "Like the story of a deaf child being able to speak well or lip read well giving a false impression that every single deaf child can do the same." The images of 'deaf success' story in the media coverage tend to obscure the real issues the community continues to face, especially since recently, many of these gains are being withdrawn."

I loathe going to the doctor to begin with. A lot of "uh-huhs" while no one's really listening and I'm trying to convey what's wrong and answer questions while I'm competing with my medical file for the doctor's attention in the ten minutes he's actually going to spend in the examing room with me. (And ten minutes may be too generous a figure.) I can't imagine going over my history with pink eye, for instance, during this limited time via passing notes. Maybe the doctor would take the note writing into account and give me more time but I seriously doubt it.

The article raises other issues so if you're able to find a copy of the magazine, it's worth picking up. The following information is provided at the end of the article: the phone number to NAD (National Association of the Deaf) is 301-587-1788/TTY 301-587-1789 the phone/TTY number for CIMI (Chicago Institute for the Moving Image) is 847-332CIMI is the web sites for AT&T's VRS service