my blind ASL users group/ my signing story so far

Group information


This group is for anyone who is learning or wants to learn about using asl as a blind person. It will hopefully be a safe place for discussions about the complex and unique process of this task, as well as a supportive place to discuss issues around not only learning but interacting with others. Victories and hard times alike can be shared. Hoping for a wide variety of blind ASL users as well as caring supportive deaf or hearing sighted signers




Group Owner: blind-ASL-users+owner

Writing this post is hard for me. I’m an outsider to a very tight knit community, that is people who are deaf. ASL is their first language something they’ve worked so hard to protect and stand up for, I have been told this. I had no idea about that struggle before, and as an outtsier will never fully get so many things related to wanting to cross what some people feel is an uncrossable bridge, between people with disabilities that seem so opposed to one another.

I have nothing but good intentions. Want absolutely nothing more than to just make friends. Because I have this strong feeling that there can be deep and lasting connections between all people as humans regardless of any disability. But since I don’t live in the deaf world I’m afraid I will say something upsetting without even realizing it. I feel the same tention and uncertainty I felt when writing the ritual abuse post. But that was tempered by knowing RA survivors for years, and feeling as comfortable as a supporter can to be able to write well about the experience. As it stands right now I haven’t really interacted with enough people to feel comfortable just saying whatever’s on my mind. Which is my default to say whatever’s on my mind and then realize I don’t have a clue.

I’m not sure when I first thought about wanting to sign. I’m trying to think if it was before coming here, which was of course where things really took off or then. Since living at friedman I knew Robbie had taken sign at the school he went to. But really didn’t ask many questions then.

Yeah, I think it had to be coming here. And meeting Katheryn, and Jo and Jessica. Our three deaf residents. I was so happy they were there. It meant that Jonathan is very open minded and truly sees the person not the disability. And as long as the person isn’t asking for accomidations as if here was a place specifically for their disability most issues could be worked out.

But it really really bothered me that he was the only person to really know to sign. Some staff learned over time, learned and left and then new ones learned. Jo and Jessica could speak, or voice as it’s called, be verbal at times. But Katheryn really couldn’t. In the beginning I was a little unsettled by her squeals and various other sounds she made. But when people made fun of her it killed me. I always stood up for her.

Along came an asl speaking caseworker. At the time I was often in such a state it would be hard for me to really talk about how I was feeling. So would so often hit staff bang the walls or scratch. I was thinking if I learned a few signs, for emotions, yes/ no, things like that it might help. My caseworker agreed. The problem was this guy was incredibly busy. So we never sat down to talk about it much. He showed me how to spell my name, and ILY. But the turning point was when we played a card game, the UN game where they ask you questions about yourself. He interpreted for Katheryn. And it was amazing to watch. Amazing to see her come alive to me for the first time, as obviously I couldn’t pick up on any visual cues. To know some things about her likes and dislikes and get a sense of her personality. It was so good. And it made seeing staff not interacting with her properly hard. I know how alienating a disability can be. Being one blind person in many situations all my life. But the staff wouldn’t budege about signing being something they just didn’t have the time for.

I then read Hurt Go Happy, a children’s fiction book about a deaf girl in a family that refuses to allow her sign. And how she meets an elderly man and his very talkative chimpanzee. And how they change each other. She learns to sign through them. Different signs were talked about through the book. After reading that amazing book I wanted to learn it. But the huge barrier being I can’t see. So every sighted person I talked to had that same answer they didn’t want to even try.

It’s been an up and down journey. Jess and I tried a lot. Hard to just copy off a video when you don’t know what you’re doing. We frustrate each other easily so that was hard. Edith did take an interest in helping me and has the advantage of having worked with disabled people on hand coordination so was good with me with that. I really practiced. Got the alphabet pretty ok (c, o, and z are still issues) and some other signs. But then she left. Saying to my surprise to please keep learning and never be embarrassed. Surprised as I didn’t think she was that passionate about it.

So now I know Katheryn prefers to be called Kat. Some people call her Kate. People are like oh it’s no problem about the name because we don’t really use her name a lot in conversations. Just would feel horrible in any case if someone got my name wrong. Most of the time Jess and she will write back and forth translating while I say what I want. Jess has an amazing ability to read Kat though doesn’t remember many signs. I call her my little interpreter.

But I was still totally stumped on finding anyone in the area who was confident in teaching the blind, or any other hearing blind individuals. I kept furiously browsing youtube for anything to do with blind ASL.

I found this video

I was totally amazed!! I didn’t know a blind or deaf blind person could be an interpreter. And I just wanted to learn to sign, tis person was way ahead of the game.

I watched a couple others, so good they put the English version below the videos.

After this I was very moved and commented on the videos right away. After a few weeks Nai responded very positively. And we connected that day. We skyped for two hours, that was on me LOL! We learned so much about each other beyond just having signing in common. I’m happy to say I found a new friend in them.

Their confidence and one of Robbie’s friends saying my signs looked good, on camera, made me want to learn more. So recently went to Robbie’s we had a real signing lessons. Turns out my signs aren’t so good off camera. Robbie’s style of signing is very slow but very clear which is a huge plus. And we’re best friends so if I mess up we both just laugh about it. He’s taught me a couple things along with redoing the signs I thought I knew. I plan to continuously bug him on this. As a deal I’ll be helping him learn braille.

Still can’t find anyone able to help in the Chicago area and this is after contacting several schools suggested. What has struck me the most was actually being able to have the full process of signing with Robbie someone confident in it. Such an intimate connection transferring information through your hands just something you have to do to believe. Hoping to meet many that do. I know my friend here sees the effort and appreciates it. I have a handful of words. I ask how she is, if she’s having a hard time I frown and say sorry bad. If she’s doing good I say good! Mostly smile encouragingly. I’m sure this journey will open up new connections to people I never expected.

I’ve made a group for people who are interested in this in anyway. Allies, supporters are always welcome.

Hoping to form a solid group of support around this new part of my life


a yummylicious treatyby day!

Hi everyone,

Today was an awesome day!!

Because of Halloween we:

Ordered out for the second day in a row! Since I had pizza yesterday I had cheese bread today and cinnamon sticks later. I couldn’t finish those way too much overly sweet sugar. But it meant that we didn’t have to leave the floor which was a huge yay!!

They have a halloween party but I don’t go to any parties here because of the noise and crowds and just yeah not for Sammy

I got an ice cream sandwich twice in one weekend!!

I didn’t have to wash my hair!

I got candy earlier from Jess, all this stuff was from her by the way thank you Jess!!

So yeah I had an awesome chillaxing day. Listening to a the new casey Watson booktalking to people on e-mail and generally doing Sammy stuff.

I thought about Halloween at my house when I was younger. My favorite costume was me as a hawaian dancer girl with coconut bra and rass skirt. I liked eting toys along with candy. Remember when my mom went to the five and ten and got me a toon of toys so many that my fanny pack couldn’t even close! That was where I carried all the toys I threw back and forth in my hands and zoned out with. They had all kinds of small rubber toys like a witch, a pumpkin, a boxing kangaroo, and mom made me a teddy with pompos and glue gun. She did all this while I was at school and there were probably lots of other toys.

And then years later she threw out my fanny pack and said I didn’t have any interests that were normal.

I still like little toys better than candy fyi

So it was a yummylicious kinda day.

And tomorrow is the huge best treat ever! Ready… ready! We’re going to dunkin doughnuts!! And to CVS! Yay!

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mental health book club e-mail group

Wanted to share a group I’ve just created.

There are so many mental health related books out there as there are so many different aspects to mental health. Self-help, psychology, memoirs fiction. This is like the one genre I read practically!

And I wanted a place where we could talk about any book in that category. And really have good discussions it. And if someone hasn’t read the book we could put a spoiler warning, or the person can just pass on by or they could find out the ending it’s just a book.

But I think these discussions will connect people and hopefully that will be the point of it. To get to know each other over a common interest.

The description and subscription links are below.

Really hoping some of my followers will join.

Group Description

Hello. This is a list to discuss all books pertaining to mental illness/ mental health. This could be self-help/ psychology, memoirs, fiction. I particularly li enjoreading and discussing young adult realistic fiction IE Ellen Hopkins, Sheryl Rainfield, Lauri Halse Anderson. Also authors like Casey Watson and Cathy Glass. We can find a structure as the group goes along. Perhaps reading one book a month and discussing or anyone posting about whatever their reading. Giving recommendations, quotes, discussion whatever. Please join for a stimulating and cool group of psychology/ mental health nerds!




Group Owner:

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I am evaluating the quality of mental healthcare across the US. Help me by taking my survey! is the new yahoo groups

Quick post but something I feel is important.

My own story about e-mail lists/ groups.

I’ve heard of e-mail lists like maybe late high school early college. Mostly stuff for the blind. But it seemed like a lot of anouncements and just weird stuff I’d never read. I didn’t think you actually got to know people on them.

Then in 2013 I was really unhappy with the forum I was using. Which was psych central. For the most part people were supportive. I didn’t feel they really understood how my blindness did, and didn’t play into my mental illness. Some people could be extremely hard on others particularly as many post like almost all day and give all the details of their experiences especially in therapy. To the point that the other members feel they “know” the person and their therapist. I thought that was pretty nuts. And nott sure how the therapists would feel if they knew their clients were spending huge parts of the day speculating about their therapy to strangers. Using words like “rupture” and “termination” and even trying to analyze the therapist’s feelings. And talking about everything from where they sit in the office, to what they and their therapist normally wear, to (and this really got to me) whether they go to the bathroom at therapy, more specifically poo!

So anyway with all that I got tired of the forum. And I got tired of moderators letting these know it alls keep know it alling. So I asked on the forum as I didn’t know where else, where you could start your own group and I was told yahoo groups.

Apparently this has been around since the 90s, and particularly early 2000 was very popular with huge mental health community groups. Huge DID groups apparently.

But I didn’t know that then. It seemed easy and accessible and so I started a group advertised it and went off. When I advertised it everyone seemed to know what yahoo groups and e-mail lists were.

But around 2014 yahoo groups really went downhill accessibility wise. Til there was no way for a blind person to use the site. For awhile I think the whole time we had a sighted moderator to do sighted visual things. And as time went on we needed that more and more. Until we had to leave it was just too crazy But there seemed to be ery little other options. I tried to get free lists to work for like two days it took forever and just never could even get it set up. Same with google groups just very weird. I was like really?

I don’t know how I learned about Probably Robbie he tells me about every new thing under the sun and if I have a problem there’s probably some new thing that I’ve never heard of to fix it. If it’s easy enough I’ll do it, if it sounds too complex for Sammy I fight Robbie on it LOL!

Lucky this wasn’t. And so we switched. And it’s been fine. It’s really just like yahoo groups.


It was started by mark fletcher let’s see what he has to say

Oh ok it was started September of 2014, right around the time yahoo crashed.

Oh wow ok so this guy literally started yahoo groups in 2000!

Ok so rather than you all reading a running commentary of my remarks as someone who didn’t do her research beforehand and has never read this article, you can just read it!

The one thing it did say that I’ll put as a major quote is”E-mail groups are still one of the best ways to communicate with people!!”

Maybe it’s because yahoo groups and google groups both kinda never were updated like this article says. But now when I advertise my group, or when I asked in my preferred methods of online support survey , many had never heard of an e-mail list/ group

I’m hoping that since I’ve found this awesome everything you need to know about it article, by the founder people will be more up to date on it and more eager to maybe join a group, like mine! Or start a group.

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When Halloween and other holidays are not happy ritual abuse and DD

This is a very special post. A hard for me to write as it’s hard for me to convey the experiences I’m talking about from an outside perspective. I can’t even imagine what it’s like writing or talking about these things as a survivor.

I learnd about dissociative identity disorder, at the time multiple personality disorder in high school I believe. I’d heard of Sybil and was told to read it. It was a brilliant bookabout the shattering of a mind into many different parts due to the intensity of traumas in childhood of a physical sexual and emotional nature. Without such self-protetive splitting the person would be completely shut down and might even die.

I also totally admired Sybel’s therapist and her persistence in helping the alters communicate and working through their traumas individually. She also used hypnosis wquite skillfully.

I never met someone with DID until I started my blind mental health group. Right away we had several members with dissociative systems, I was really honored that they chose to share horors that are unimaginable knowing they were with safe people.

It was then I heard words like ritual abuse, cults (which I thought long had died off), mind control, programing. I had never known about these things. And was in a state of disbelief especially with the cult thing I thought that was just gone away.

I never doubted my friends though each disclosure or comment on thesituation made me shiver.

As stated above I don’t feel qualified to write about this subject in any real detail. As I have no personal experience with it. I don’t want to hurt anyone by saying the wrong thing or something unintionally ignorant.

But to simplify things.

Ritual abuse an extreme, sadistic form of abuse of children and non-consenting adults. It is methodical, systematic sexual, physical, emotional and spiritual abuse, which often includes mind control, torture, and highly illegal and immoral activities such as murder, child pornography and prostitution. The abuse is justified by a religious or political ideology.

This takes place within many generations of a family. Children are often born into the cult or parents are forced to give up their children or be killed.

This straightforward description says nothing about the horrific ins and outs of the abuse how different programs, just like computer programs, are systematically embedded into people’s minds to block any kind of healing even once the person escapes the cult.

I’ll be providing some links if you want to learn more. Please be gentle and trust your body and emotions. Even as a supporter it gave me anxiety and fury over what one person can subject others to for who knows what kind of twisted logic.

The main point of the post is around holidays like Halloween. If you have a friend they might be able to tell you the details of what they’ve been through, even if they’ve confided that they’re multiple which is a huge risk. Your friend seems extremely out of sorts around one or another of these dates: Below is a link to a calendar.

To summarize basically every month there are several trigger dates. Obveous things like Halloween, mother’s day, solstaces, but other ones too for holidays I’ve never heard of. On many months it seemed like every day was a trigger. But every person has different ones it’s up to the cult they were in andf what’s important.

Your friend might just want to take it easy. May want to ask for support of you being there to keep company/ distract with some neutral activity. Or may say they need to be alone. This could be risky as it could be seting off a program for cult access. Hopefully survivors try to make a safety plan around these dates but from an outsiders educated perspective they won’t know serious it is. I’ts important to do whatever the person feels most comfortable with. Realize they’re terribly wounded and need to be treated with the gentle care you’d treat someone who’s experienced any other trauma.

The moral is to be compassionate and go with what the person is wanting. Realize that these days are not happy and having reminders that they are for others is not helpful.

I hope this shed some light on how to be a good supporter for an RA survivor. I honestly couldn’t go into specifics it’s not my place. But hoping this will give you some idea on the subject. I will provide some links for further reading.

Ritual dates calendar

RA info

end ritual abuse

I hope this is a good starting point. To all survivors please be safe on these days and take it one moment at a time.

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good day today computer sent off, Jonathan session odds and ends !

So today was pretty good.

Big news the HP was finally! Sent out!!

Interrupted him in a meeting today with a bunch of people in his office earlier and he said I could come in and he told me that. Said that the guy said it should get there in a few days and hopefully back in a week or two. Staff are like OMG it should take three weeks just to get there. Jonathan’s like not this place after all the trouble it was to set it up. Everyone laughed.

So took forever to see him at three. The lobby is like a zoo of people all wanting to see him! Arguing over who’s turn it is name calling and everything. If Jess hadn’t texted him and he hadn’t said stay we would have left. But we waited and I got my hour. He’s amazing that way. I absolutely do not for a minute take it for granted.

He took a look at the braille sense at the switch that doesn’t seem to want to turn on but will turn off. He says actually sometimes it just does turn on but it’s random and probably a lose connection. After his complete amazing success with the braillenote he’s eager to “take it apart and find out!”

We did address the money issue of all the stuff he bought. He was extremely generous, halved the amount though I could have paid it all eventually. He said he was proud that I came in and honestly asked about it. He said if I hadn’t I would have had to pay the whole amount LOL, and I’m sure he’d be less likely to buy stuff. He knopws we need the stuff and we can’t pay like $100 but it’s the point that one needs to pay something. He does this with all residents and it makes things not murky

I told him about my lovely skin. Told him the nursing drama. Especially being called a liar by the one nurse and the other just not caring. He listened. It came to me lamenting that why couldn’t I just have the stuff there, and him saying between us if I had a tube no one needed to know. And of course I told him! About our secret little purchase.

So that did make me feel better. He had teased at first that my arm looked like I’d have to be put in a 26 room, observation as there are scratches, non emotionally driven but yeah. Told him the theory that came to me in the middle of the night one night. That maybe my unconscious mind is creating a way for me to scratch in an acceptable way. I think I’m getting too into this book one of my favorites, where all the therapists are very psychoanalytic. Talking about information being somehow passed from therapist to client unconsciously. But anyway. He said maybe and that I was a clever girl if it was true.

So my skin problem is we need a refill. The tube we got was very small because we didn’t want to spend $6 or whatever and I was so paranoid about it. We can’t go to Walmart til next month. The little store across from here doesn’t have it. Places that do are too far for Jess or I to walk. The only two residents who could are my deaf friend and another who goes to the store for people but I think she takes money for it. Plus wouldn’t trust either of them with my debit card.

And I can’t just go with a staff because remember I’m not supposed to be buying this stuff.

But we’ll see what happens. Oh anyway so Mr. J was saying after all that that in the spiret of not keeping things in and learning to talk to people when it’s hard. I should report this to Karen ya know the whole drama and especially that they’re not even checking. That like it or not she’d make them put it on. It’s just soo weird. Like I know other residents who have treatments, what they call ointments and whatever. I don’t know if they’re just more demanding, which is probably some of it, or more medically needy probably some of it. Or they persist and deal with nursing’s so obviously doing it on their time. I’m glad that he sort of oked the ointment under the radar.

He was very happy with the conversation Stephanie and I had last week. Though for all that she didn’t show up tonight again! I really don’t like that. I know they’re short staff and there’s a newby there but Edith was so good at going out of her way to let me know beforehand if she was late. Or coming really late or the next day and being so genuinely sorry that it was just like melted your heart. I know what happened. She and another PRC probably got so busy and it just went out the window of her mind. The demanding residents get the attention. Believe me I know. I was talk of the PRSCS for months when I first came in with all my cutting. Just sad that’s what you have to do.

Really not much else going on. Oh my deaf friend came by and gently tucked my hair behind my ears and tried to sign something that I couldn’t figure out, with her hands on my hands but it was soo beyond cute!!

That’s my all over the place Friday update.

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upcoming health issues for those around me

So my mom and friend are going through some medical issues right now. I’m so glad to be doing well myself minus the still itchy spots. Thank you ointment that we’re getting as prescribed now, and things are looking a whole lot better.

So the first thing is my mom. She dealt with the disks in her neck last year. She’s been putting off doing her back for way too long. She also has hip issues but the back makes it all worse. She finally had a MRI to see what they’re dealing with. Three hynerated disks and two pinched nerves later!

She has an appointment with the doctor who did the first surgery who’s like one of the best. It’s not til the end of the month but they’re gonna try and make it sooner. In the meantime do physical therapy.

I am worried for her but at the same time I know she’s had these physical problems for so long and really neglects herself then complains that she’s neglecting herself/ no time for her.

But I’m glad she’s making time.

A second issue is believe it or not she’s borderline diabetic. We really don’t know how that is as I know she’s a very healthy eater. She doesn’t have any kinda routine with eating and often doesn’t eat in the morning. Plus stress and her age, she’s early sixties late fifties I think could be a factor. She’s going to a nutritionist instead of getting meds she can’t tolerate.

I really do wish I could be there for herphysically somehow. Knowing this is going on probably means the visit home won’t happen til early 2017. She’s excitedsaying that after all this is done she’ll be ready

To have us over. Of course she said the same when she had her neck done so we’ll see.

In other news Jess is going to go for a trial of that cpap bipap mask thing for if you have sleep apnia. Her weight I guess is what’s causing it and she’s unable to breathe properly at night. I had a feeling as I often hear her snore and gasp for air for a second. I know they’re pretty uncomfortable and I freak out over the slightest medical issue if it were me but she’s handling it well. Doesn’t like it but doesn’t want it to get worse. This likely has gone undetected for years sadly.

I do try to be there for my mom emotionally. We’ll talk for an hour about everything tell her funny/ frustrating stories of life here she entertains me with antics from crazy coworkers at her retail job. I sent an e-mail saying I was thinking of her when she had her Dr. visit yesterday.

Of course I will worry about Jess and this mask thing and that she does have the apnia. It’s very scary to think the person justBut I hope the mask will help and then she might have more energy during the day. How she can do homework is beyond me. She’s still doing very very well at school.

Just wanted to update on this so if I mention it again you have the basic idea.

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short update


So short update for today. Might have said a couple of these things in the last couple days sorry.

Monday I found out fur sure that Aetna insurance is not leaving the state of IL! Was about to call my caseworker from Aetna who comes by to check that you’re getting taken care of basically, every few months and then he knocked on my door. He reassured me like four times that they’re not leaving. Huge sigh of relief don’t need to bug ten million people about this.

I got my new cell phone battery so no random phone turning off stuff!

The HP computer was cloned before Jonathan left on vacation, and should be sent out either today or tomorrow.

There are two PRSC openings really want to help Mr. J job hunt but have to wait til he says yes LOL!

My mom is doing really bad medically major back issues and high blood sugar and stuff. So we’ll see what happens. Has similar things in her back that she did to her neck so yeah.

Other than that I’m doing well.

It’s a relaxing week no need to go out which I’m happy with.

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great day Jonathan is back!

Hey everyone,

So today was great. Jonathan was back and so excited to see him all refreshed. Incredibly before going away he took the computer to his apartment and did the system cloneing. So he says, ready…. He’s sending it out tomorrow! Can you believe it? Months in the making here.

He also got my cell phone battery going so no more worries about the phone randomly shutting off.

Stephanie put it in though he said he’d do it but got caught up with stuff. We have this joke about him coming to my room to lay on my floor and chat away as he’s done before, once high on painkillers!

Speaking of I heard from stephanie that Vesur one of our newer people and her office mate had a terrible accident and broke her leg falling down the stairs at home. She needs surgery and won’t be back for awhile.

They still have the two open spots and with one going on maternity leave at some point. So yeah hoping Jonathan will let me go resume hunting as I love to do.

Started listened to a new Casey Watson book. I love her books my only wish is that all of them would be put in audio which seems to be something hard to find out why when other similar authors under the same publishers have been able to so quickly. So will keep figuring out a way forward with that.

Other than that things are good. Jess says she wants to push her advising appointment back so will be just hanging out here this week.

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How do you time yourself with your laptop’s battery?

I’ve been wondering this with all the battery issues and my computer.

Now that I finally got a new battery for my Toshiba I’m wondering how in the world do you like time yourself so you get off when the battery needs to be charged? Like if you’re in the middle of something? Because it always seems like I’m in the middle of something when the battery needs to be charged and it only lasts a few hours and I’m on all day.

So I plug it in and forget it’s even plugged in. And the cycle of the battery wearing down because of it starts again. In the beginning I tried so hard to be careful but I’m back in the habbit again just realized a couple minutes aggo it had been hooked up all day. The only thing I can think of is using my ipod/ braille note or braille sense for things. If I get a victor stream from a certain bestie I’ll have that to listen to audio books on. Really don’t have any other thoughts.

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