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CSCDHH GA Newsletter - September 1997 Issue

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NOTE: This is an abbreviated version of the CSCDHH GA Newsletter. Articles not included have the article title in Italics. To get the full text of the newsletter, become a member of CSCDHH. Thank you!!

Community Service Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
1609 19th Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98122-2848
(206) 322-4996 V/TTY
(206) 720-3251 FAX

Interpreter Referral Service (206) 322-5551 V/TTY

CSCDHH Hours: Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri - 8:30am - 5:00pm; Wednesday - 11:00am - 7:30pm

September 1997
1997 - Issue #8

An American in Munich

by Branden Huxtable

We all know Howie Seago as an actor and director in sign language theatrical productions and as Riva in a couple Star Trek: Next Generation episodes. His most unusual project is starring in a German movie, Beyond Silence, which was a big hit in Germany. Recently, the Seattle International Film Festival showed this movie twice, giving most of us an opportunity to see it here. Just how did he manage to be in a German movie?

A friend of Howie's in Los Angeles told him that a German movie director, Caroline Link, had heard about Howie and was interested in him auditioning him for the role of Lara's father. Howie was interested, of course, but felt that she should consider a Deaf German actor instead. Caroline sent Howie a four-page fax explaining the problem that faced the Deaf in Germany, especially with the older generation. Germany had been famous for oralism that became deeply rooted into their thinking. Many Deaf people ended up having a stigma against German Sign Language (GSL). Using GSL in private was fine, but never in public. As a result, very few older Deaf have ever become actors. Caroline would have loved to use Deaf Germans for the roles of the mother and father, but, since this is a professional movie, what she really needed are good Deaf actors. Fortunately, times are changing. The younger Deaf Germans are starting to establish their own identity with freer use of GSL and even performing on stage. The change started only recently, so the younger generation are too young for the roles.

Howie was impressed with Caroline's research and attitude. With no previous experience of the Deaf culture, Caroline studied the Deaf people, their way and even some of their language. Howie decided to go ahead. He sent her videotapes of himself, flew down to Germany for an interview, felt comfortable with her and got the job. For the mother, the role went to a Deaf French actress, Emmanuelle Laborit.

The movie started shooting August 1995. The first two weeks Howie spent preparing for the role, and the last three weeks shooting the movie. Even the winter scenes were shot on the hottest day of the year using foam for snow. Howie remembered a funny moment while watching one scene that took place in wintertime where Lara's mother, standing outside, signs to Lara who was sitting inside during class. Emmanuelle stood all bundled up shivering in the "snow." Only ten feet away, outside camera range, some tanned guy in tank top and shorts was eating an ice-cream cone. Quite a difference in only ten feet!

Howie's family stayed in Munich in a hotel nearby three wonderful restaurants with a good variety of dishes (better than 1977 when he and his wife found too many meat, potatoes and wiener schnitzels on their menus). The movie was shot in the nearby countryside where Howie would spend some of his free time riding his bike. They also visited some Deaf German clubs which are more alive than here partially because we are more spread out than they are. The Deaf Germans were, at first, quite reserved but once the Seagos got to know them, the Germans appeared no different than us.

Howie's first exposure to GSL was when he first met Caroline. She signed to him in GSL, but spoke in English, helping him learn GSL. Later, when he met some Deaf German people, he would sign in GSL but, by habit, mouth in English. After confusing everyone around him, Howie learned not to move his lips while signing to the Germans.

The first two weeks, Howie learned GSL with the help of his language coach Günther Puttrich. When they were ready to shoot, Caroline started filming scenes where Howie had simple sentences so he could gradually build up his GSL skills. The first scene shot was the church scene where Lara's pregnant mother broke water. When Howie and Günther arrived on the set, they both felt quite a chill from all other Deaf actors, those singing in the pews during Mass. Why is a Deaf American starring in a German movie? Why not a Deaf German? But, Caroline wanted professionalism. Like any good movie directors, she shot and re-shot and re-shot until she got the take she wanted. They took a whole day to shoot that scene. After realizing just how much work it is to act, the other Deaf finally respected and admired Howie. By the end of the day, everyone left in good spirits hugging each other. After that awkward beginning, the rest of the shooting was very enjoyable for Howie, more so than in Hollywood, which tends to be large and busy. The people working on Beyond Silence were friendlier, more intimate and more supportive.

What's next for Howie? He would love to make more movies, but so far, no prospects. Unlike America, Europe has plenty of roles for Deaf actors because they are used to diverse communities. Emmanuelle already has made several movies so far and is on her way up. Howie is, right now, developing a project teaching parents how to read books to their Deaf children. Until then, we hope Howie will get further opportunities to make more movies.

Letter from the Director

Rob Roth

September 1997

Deaf Youth Program

Look for the article on the new Youth Program for deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing youth, ages 13-19 elsewhere in this issue. CSCDHH is very excited at this opportunity, not only to serve youth in this population, but also to be collaborating with Seattle Mental Health and their excellent staff. It is truly great to see two agencies in the community collaborating and sharing resources to create a much needed program for our youth.


As I write this article, I am looking forward to seeing the Seattle Mariners play the Milwaukee Brewers tonight at the Kingdome. What else am I looking forward to? Seeing 176, yes 176 screaming and stomping deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing Mariner fans at CSCDHH's annual Deaf Night at the Mariners event. Wow! 176 people is a huge jump from last year's 108 fans. A special treat will be Billy Seago signing the Star Spangled Banner, as part of increasing Deaf awareness to the Kingdome and to many fans watching the game on television. I hope the Mariners win continue on their way to the World Series. And, I hope to see more of you at next year's Deaf Night at the Mariners!

New Faces at CSCDHH

I want to take this opportunity to thank three people who have been part of the scene at CSCDHH this summer. Brad Gallaway is the temporary office assistant at the Interpreter Referral Service, working through the end of September. Shanda Miller temporarily assisted us in the bookkeeping office through the end of August. Aletheia Oliver just completed in mid-August an internship in the 9-1-1/TTY Education Program. They have made the long, hot days interesting and fun. Thank you!

Laurent Clerc Hall Remodeling

Sometime during January or February 1998, the Laurent Clerc Hall, our multi-purpose room, will be remodeled. We are not yet sure of the dates. We are accepting room reservations, but strongly suggest that your organization have an alternate location. During this time, it will be a good idea to call ahead and see if the event will happen at CSCDHH as scheduled or be at an alternate location.


Deaf Connection is one of four national sites to be awarded a grant from the Pre-College National Mission Programs at Gallaudet University to establish a literacy effort called The Shared Reading Project. In this unique project, a tutor makes weekly home visits to families with deaf children for 20 weeks to demonstrate how to sign a children's storybook in American Sign Language. The tutor answers the family's questions about book sharing, observes a family reading session, and offers feedback to the family. A different storybook and accompanying videotape are loaned to the family for each week. The family uses a journal to keep a record of their reading sessions, to offer comments and to remember questions they want addressed at the next tutoring session. Parents involved in previous projects said they really appreciated that the project allowed the entire family to participate and connect, including grandparents and siblings, in the relative comfort and safety of their own homes.

Howie Seago is the Deaf Connection site coordinator and is now recruiting families with deaf children up to 7 years old and tutors interested in participating in this exciting project. The project will be from mid-October 1997 to April 1998. There is no charge to the participating families and qualified tutors will be paid for approximately 6 hours a week for 20 weeks.

If you are interested in being one of the participating families, or a tutor, please send your name, address, phone number and what information you would like to Howie Seago, 2852 NW 60th St, Seattle WA, 98107 or call (206) 784-7076 (TTY).

SMH and CSCDHH Announce New Youth Program

Parents and teachers of deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing youth have been asking for a program where these youth can get together after school and during the summer so that their isolation in mainstreamed programs can be minimized. Finally, this gap in services for this youth population has been filled!

We are proud to announce that United Way has funded a joint collaboration between Seattle Mental Health (SMH) and Community Service Center for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing to provide a free program for deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing youth that are residents of King County, ages 13-19. This new program collaboration combines SMH's long experience in serving the needs of deaf youth with CSCDHH's facilities and service provision. Youth will meet once a week after school during the school year, and at least three times a week all day during the summer. Program activities include educational workshops on teen issues, tutoring, counseling, and field trips, all in a culturally accessible format. All program activities will be at CSCDHH's Laurent Clerc Hall.

SMH and CSCDHH have developed an exciting and positive program that will enable deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing youth to lead productive and happier lives. We look forward to a successful program. Of course, a big part of its success will depend on YOU, as a youth, teacher, parent or volunteer. For more information on how to participate, call Sheli Barber at (206) 860-5644 (TTY) or through the relay service at (800) 833-6384 (V).

Remembering Gary Ward

Reserve December 1st on your calendar. It is World AIDS Day. AIDS Project of the Deaf (APD) will be hosting this event again from 4:00 PM till 8:00 PM at CSCDHH. The purpose of this event is to remember Deaf, Deaf-Blind, Hard of Hearing, and Hearing members of the Deaf community who passed away from AIDS.

For this World AIDS Day event, we will have a special tribune to Gary Ward. Gary, who passed away 10 years ago, is considered the first known Deaf person in Washington State to die from AIDS. APD needs your help in locating Gary's family and friends.

Also, APD will present a display of pictures and stories of some Deaf community members rather than quilt display. If you have any mementos that you can lend for this World AIDS Day ceremony, or with to volunteer for this event, please contact Donna Platt, the World AIDS Day event coordinator, at (206) 324-4621 (TTY) or write to her c/o AIDS Project of the Deaf, PO Box 24011, Seattle, WA 98124.

Your Library

by Mildred Johnson

In 1984 I donated books, magazines, and pictures to a new community service center for the deaf. These were given to the deaf and the library to be managed by the deaf. That was, and is, my wish.

Since then a number of deaf people have worked in the library sorting, stamping, typing, and many are donating books so our collection has become very special.

It's all about deaf history and Deaf culture. We have newsletters, WSD Annuals, magazines, newspaper clippings, catalogs, books and videotapes. You can keep up to date by reading the latest news about the deaf world.

What do I do there every Tuesday? Students need help in getting information for school reports. Some people come to look back at their school days. Others are borrowing. Others are following national deaf affairs in our several newspapers, some just come to explore ideas. All are welcome. Ideas are born here from those conversations.

The future has many possibilities. The two boxes of clippings are turning yellow so we need to copy them. Donations keep coming in. They need to be sorted, stamped, etc. We donate extra copies to our other deaf centers rather than discard them.

We need help. You do not need to be a librarian. All in needed are willing hands and hearts. Common sense rules here. Call Rebekka at (206) 322-4996 and volunteer to help in the library.

KODA Corner by Holly Parker Jensen

Here's a warm hello and a big welcome! In a few weeks, when the leaves change colors, a crispy chill will be in the air to welcome us every morning along with the ever-familiar sight of school buses picking up children from corner to corner. Our summer soon will be no more. With the memories of a fun-filled summer put away in our hearts, may we all begin our new year with a big bang!

There are many exciting new developments happening within our KODA organization that I am very pleased to announce. First, Kellie Ramey and I are on the AD HOC committee working collaboratively with the CODA International organization to help organize a nationwide KODA organization There are a few independent KODA chapters here and there but there is no unifying force as of yet. Also, we have taken the initiative for lead in sponsoring a first national KODA summer camp along with establishing a Big Brother-Big Sister program for older CODAs to serve as role models/mentors with our hearing children. Yes, our dreams are big but with your energy and support, we will succeed.

Our hearing children are the least recognized population within the Deaf community. As our children, they carry our Deaf heritage. They live in our Deaf culture. They talk using American Sign Language. Yet, they are often treated as marginal members of the Deaf community because they can hear. Many of them, as a result, ask themselves, "Am I hearing or am I Deaf?" May we, as their parents, be more sensitive and help foster a positive integration of both hearing and Deaf cultures into healthy and well balanced personal identities in our KODA children?

Our work is cut out for us. The road ahead of us will be long and hard. Nevertheless, I challenge each one of you to become active members in our KODA organization and contribute your time and energies to the cause of enriching the lives of our hearing children.

Please Repeat by Branden Huxtable

Community Announcements

CSCDHH as several job openings. Jobs are Community Education and Volunteer Coordinator (full-time), Interpreter Referral Service Manager (full-time, possible part-time job sharing), Referral Specialist (full- and part-time), and Office Assistant (full-time, possible part-time). Contact Rebekka Berger at (206) 322-4996 (V/TTY).

Seattle Mental Health: After School Program Specialist. Motivated and energetic people needed for approximately 4 hours/week for an after school program for deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing youth, ages 13-19. Earns $8-$10/hour, depending on experience. For job description, call Sheli Barber at (206) 860-5644 (TTY) or through relay service at (800) 833-6384. Deadline: September 22, 1997.

Deaf Consultant for Tupperware is available. Amy Anderson is willing to help with parties. If interested to be a host or order anything, please give her a call at (425) 228-0769 (TTY) or e-mail .

Newswaves for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing People, a national newspaper, is now on the Web. The address is

Hearing Speech and Deafness Center, a United Way non-profit agency, is offering conversational sign language (ASL) classes beginning Tuesday September 30th. Class fees are $80.00 per quarter. Adults and children over 10 welcome. For more information, call (206) 323-5770 (V/TTY).

American couple living in London with a Deaf 10-month old son is seeking energetic Deaf American willing to teach them ASL. This is a good opportunity to live in London and meet the British Deaf community. Pay is £100 ($165) a week with light housework. The couple will move back to America within a year. For more information, contact Kirstin and Todd Pearson 56 Antrim Mansions, Antrim Road, London NW3 4XU, England or phone 011-44-171-722-5261 or e-mail .

Deaf Connection is recruiting qualified tutors to demonstrate to families with deaf children how to read various children's storybooks using ASL. Responsibilities include selecting and delivering Family Book Bags; demonstrating how to read various children's storybooks using ASL; providing feedback and reinforcement; sharing information about Deaf culture and answering questions in a non-judgmental manner; submitting reports to Literacy Coordinator; and attending initial training session and periodic staff meetings.

Qualifications include high school diploma or GED; native or near-native ASL skills; ability to read English and translate into ASL; experience working with deaf children and tutoring individuals/groups; thorough knowledge of deafness and Deaf culture; ability to establish and maintain an effective professional rapport with family members; own transportation or ability to use public transportation; available to work evenings and weekends.

The position will be $20 an hour for approximately 6 hours a week from mid-October 1997 to April 1998 on an on-call basis. If you are interested, please send your name, address, phone number and what information you would like to Howie Seago, 2852 NW 60th St, Seattle WA, 98107 or call (206) 784-7076 (TTY).

Seattle Mental Health is offering free sign language classes for parents of deaf children. Classes will be available from September 1997 to September 1998. Classes will be offered at the Northgate and Capitol Hill offices. For more information, call Anne Hollomon Baldwin at (206) 324-9317 (V/TTY).

CSCDHH Upcoming Events

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