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Is Dr. Bill Deaf?
Question: Are you Deaf?
Answer: I was born hard-of-hearing and as time goes on I become more and more physically Deaf. I live in the Deaf World. I married a Deaf woman, work in the field of Deaf-Studies, hang out with people who can sign, use close-captioning (or subtitles) when I watch videos, seek out open captioned movies, watch the news in ASL, attended Gallaudet (briefly, but loved it -- lived in Benson Hall), only attend churches that use sign language, have a daughter who attended the Utah School for the Deaf preschool program, have a text-only (no-voice minutes) phone, and devote my time to developing ASL-related resources for others.
Question: Are you a member of the "Deaf Community?"
Answer: Almost all of my close friends and associates are either Deaf or strongly tied to the Deaf Community. For my entire adult life I've lived in the Deaf World: serving in Deaf organizations, setting up Deaf events, working with other Deaf, teaching ASL, etc.) I met my wife (Belinda -- who is Deaf too) at a Deaf church. Our youngest child, Sarah (our fourth) was born with a substantial hearing loss due to having Aperts (a rare syndrome) attended the Utah State School for the Deaf pre-school program.
Question: Are you certified?
Answer: I hold a doctorate in Deaf Education / Deaf Studies from an accredited university (Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas). I also hold a masters in Deaf Education from Lamar university. I am (or was -- depending on if I have renewed or not) certified by the American Sign Language Teachers Association. I was a member of ASLTA back when they were still S.I.G.N. (Sign Instructors Guidance Network). As far as I know, I was the first person from Utah to become ASLTA certified. (I'm now in California.)
Question: Where did you learn ASL?
Answer: Growing up in a small town I started learning ASL from a Deaf woman, (Kathy Hadfield of Brigham City, Utah. She later married Mark Erwin -- so she is now Kathy Erwin.) As I grew older I lived with Deaf roommates, and hung out with other Deaf people, read every ASL book I could lay my hands on, and took as many formal classes as I could find -- eventually leading to a doctorate degree in Deaf Education / Deaf Studies. Here are a few of the experiences that influenced me:
* Worked as a volunteer at the the Indiana School for the Deaf (as a teacher's assistant in Laura Gaalema's third grade class)
* Worked as a volunteer for GLAD Orange County Outreach in California
* Worked as a volunteer the (former) Indiana Branch Office (anybody remember that one?) of the National Association of the Deaf
* Lived on-campus at Gallaudet University during a summer internship program.
* Took night classes at the Oregon School for the Deaf (Salem).
* Participated in a couple hundred hours worth of "American Judicial System" - related ASL training at a summer program at California State University Northridge
* Attended many, many workshops
* Researched ASL Linguistics, ASL acquisition, and Computer Assisted Language Learning during my doctoral studies Lamar University
* Directed/participated in 15 years of "immersion excursions" to exciting places with Deaf co-hosts
* Directing an interpreter-training program for Davis County school district during which I interviewed, hired, and worked closely with many (over 30) Deaf guest-speakers and/or trainers
* And lately I spend much of my time discussing the nuances of ASL with my d/Deaf colleagues at work.
Question: Do you lip-read?
Answer: It depends. In a quiet environment, with my hearing aid in, and it is "one-on-one" with someone (and I can see their face) -- I can pretty much understand what a person is saying -- if I'm familiar with the topic. If the person is more than a few feet away, has a mustache, an accent, or a bright light behind them (or if it is a group setting) I prefer to have an interpreter.
Question: What kind of experience do you have teaching ASL?
Answer: Teaching ASL is my life's work. I taught ASL at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah for over a decade. I have also taught ASL classes and/or workshops at the Utah Community Center for the Deaf, the IRS, Hill Air Force Base, Defense Depot Ogden Utah, Mills Montessori School, the Newgate Mall, Your Community Connection of Ogden, Clearfield Community Schools, Davis County School District, Weber County School District, Ogden City Corporation, The Sign Language Studio, Lifeprint Institute, Lamar University in Beaumont Texas, The Sign Language Association, California State University--Sacramento, and dozens of other places. (Geeze, I must be getting old to have that many experiences.)
[Update: Since I wrote the above, I've added "Guyana, South America" to the list. Guyana was by far the hardest work -- and the most fun.]
[Update: Add Singapore to the list. I've done two separate week-long sign language-related workshops for the National Association for the Deaf (in Singapore).]
Audiogram: William G. Vicars (Age 19)
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