Friday, July 30, 2010

Summer Highlights

Me at White House
• What are the very best experiences you remember most readily
about your summer here?
I remember warm-hearted welcome of co-workers esp Kimberly, Deanna, Terri,
Andrea, Val B, Harold, Mike, and Cozette and several others. I
remember getting told how to get places by Mike and Ron. I remember
being invited to join coffee clubs, birthday clubs, eat chocolate, and given fun
magazines. I remember getting to get off work early with my supervisor’s permission on Mondays and Tuesdays to go to sign language class, and the old 80s songs he signed to, and professions and animals, and doing the signs for food when was getting hungry for dinner. I remember being
able to use every scrap I'd learned and trying to practice on the 2
Davids and Anwar, who did understand some sign but lip read mainly. David C
is very chivalrous and also listened to all my attempts at sign, and Anwar taught me more about communicating with a deaf or hard-of-hearing person.
I also enjoyed going to church Sundays at a little town in Georgetown, the dog that took communion, visiting the little restaurants and big bookstores and the homeless people who didn't bug me for money but sat patient in the muggy alleys. I remember buying and reading Street Sense and other papers and reading them, unusual for me.

At work, I learned about communicating with others but also how to work more effectively with my own disability. I guess this is a little self-absorbed, but I was inspired to work
harder with my own obstacles, because I saw people who had more severe
physical ailments being capable workers and solving their
computer-related tasks. I admired Matt McCullough for being an
activist and choosing that despite his corporate experience and
talents. Other people also like Daman Wandke took time out of their
busy schedules to teach me new skills. I learned a lot about
disability activism from both these people. Daman also helped me with suggestions for accommodations at school and in future work that might help overcome a learning disability. Another accomplishment was at work, with the help of coworkers.
Since the very first day I came to work, and Terry and Deanna warmly
welcomed me and I was able to be honest that I had a learning
disability, I had a personal breakthrough, in that I started thinking
truly and regularly about what kinds of accomodations such as tape recorders or notetakers would help. The last two, going on 3 weeks, I have both worked with Terri, the accessibility consultant, following her to see job duties and also trying out adaptive technology to see how it works. I have also worked in the Help Desk, as Deanna suggested I do. I am not sure I can adjust to the fast-paced tech support arena, but I will at least have a good couple of weeks where I shadowed in dealing with same/different
people, having productive conversations, advising and teaching, installing etc.

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