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Old 02-11-2013, 04:56 PM   #1
jsilvers
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Interacting with a Deaf CM

On a recent visit to the MK, the CM that rang up my purchases at the Briar Patch shop was deaf. I found this out only through a bit of gesticulation and confusion (she asked that we ask any questions/make any requests on a small notepad).

That had me thinking ... shouldn't there be a better way for Disney to enable the CM to do her job? (Of course, I don't know if the notepad method was actually her own preference.) Likewise, would there be a better way to alert guests how best to communicate with her (without stigmatization)?

I would welcome thoughts from those more knowledgable than I...
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:03 PM   #2
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I don't know that there's really a good way to "alert" people- what are you going to do? Stick a note on her forehead? Obviously that would be bad, so the most appropriate thing is probably for her to nicely ask people to communicate in a mutually agreeable format- which seems to be the notepad.

That way she can still interact, but if there is a transaction where there isn't an issue plenty of people probably go through and never know, so she gets to skip any and all of their judgement and just be a CM like everybody else.

I'm not deaf, so I don't know what it's like but I would guess you get some real jerks to interact with at a tourist destination.
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:48 PM   #3
clm10308
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Not sure about the note pad, but as far as identification goes, I have run across a deaf cashier (not at Disney, might have been at Target) who had a small sign attached to her name tag letting customers know that she was hearing impaired.
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsilvers
On a recent visit to the MK, the CM that rang up my purchases at the Briar Patch shop was deaf. I found this out only through a bit of gesticulation and confusion (she asked that we ask any questions/make any requests on a small notepad).

That had me thinking ... shouldn't there be a better way for Disney to enable the CM to do her job? (Of course, I don't know if the notepad method was actually her own preference.) Likewise, would there be a better way to alert guests how best to communicate with her (without stigmatization)?

I would welcome thoughts from those more knowledgable than I...
Last time I was at Disney the cashier at one of the hotel gift shops was deaf. She was trying to speak and lip read with the guest in front of me in line. The guest had a particularly tricky transaction. The guest and the staff member were clearly frustrated and the staff member whipped out some paper.

My moms bed friend is deaf and I sign. Even with me signing we had to call a manager due to the complexity of the transaction. I would guess most deaf cast members function just fine without guests being alerted. Sometimes the transactions are just tricky.

I interact with deaf persons at least on a weekly basis at various businesses. I never sign unless they ask for help or pull out the paper. Most deaf people are highly competent and are able to fully function in both the hearing and deaf world. No notification needed.
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:31 PM   #5
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She didn't have sign language on her name tag. I find most of the deaf castmembers do. For me the minute the CM brought out pencil and pad I would switch to sign language. Why should a deaf person have to alert people that they do not speak English. We don't ask that of the Hispanics, French or Germans, etc. Pad and pencil is a common way deaf will communicate with hearing people. I find that the deaf castmembers are extremely helpful and often very intuitive. An example is a friend who is a castmember in Studios. We had ordered our meal and my husband brought it over and realized that a mistake had happened. He saw the look on my husband's face and immediately picked up on it and asked what was wrong and then corrected it for him. My husband is the type who would have just eaten what he was given but the castmember would not hear of that and exchange the wrong item.
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talking Hands View Post
.Why should a deaf person have to alert people that they do not speak English. We don't ask that of the Hispanics, French or Germans, etc.


What's the problem with asking people if they speak English? In my travels, I have asked this question of natives in many different countries. I have also "alerted" non-English speakers that I do not speak their native language. I never realized this was not an appropriate thing to do
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Old 02-14-2013, 07:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talking Hands View Post
Why should a deaf person have to alert people that they do not speak English.
Actually, if there was a CM who couldn't speak English at WDW (where English is the expected language of interaction) than I would assume that I would somehow be alerted to that fact, no matter what language they did speak (e.g. German or ASL).
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Old 02-14-2013, 05:50 PM   #8
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But he did in effect alert the OP he didn't use English by producing paper and pencil to facilitate communication. That is all that is needed. The CM probably also had a language attachment on his name tag indicating he can speak American Sign Language. (usually just the letter S and L in signed alphabet) I don't have a label on me saying I have a hearing loss and I don't expect to see one on a deaf person that says deaf. I do have it on my emergency information but otherwise many have no clue I don't hear 50% of what is said to me.
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Old 02-15-2013, 12:24 AM   #9
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Each person has their own way of facilitating everyday life in the "rest of the world" with their disability, special need, linguistic minority, etc. I know some deaf people who really encourage me to sign as much as I can (I am in the process of learning) and some who really prefer not to see me mangle their language (like I said, learning, hardly fluent) and we communicate through other means.

It sounds like the deaf CM was doing just fine in the OP's scenario, so that might be her preferred method of working in the predominantly hearing world.
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