Monday, August 6, 2012

The end to a beginning...

It has been nine weeks and four days since I landed here in D.C. and this upcoming week marks our tenth and final week as interns. Looking back I’ve experienced both positive and negative experiences, but if I had to do it again, I would. Whether I go into a disability related field or not, I am still walking away with a better understanding of my own needs as a person with a disability. Prior to this internship, I used to be wary about requesting an interpreter for any event outside of school and simply accepted lack of accessibility for the DHH in movie theaters and concerts as “just how it is”.  I used to consider myself a self-advocate, but being an intern here has really made me open my eyes to the world of accessibility and possibilities. Being here has helped me become a better advocate. Just this past weekend I experienced my first captioned movie in theaters. It was an amazing experience knowing that I wouldn’t have to wait for a movie to come out on DVD in order to watch it with subtitles. Afterwards, I did some research on my home state and was disappointed to learn that the closest theaters with captioning are either in Minnesota or Illinois. Even a friend back home, who works at a movie theater, was surprised to learn of the lack of accessibility for DHH individuals in theaters. With the digital projectors used today, it shouldn’t be hard to accommodate DHH individuals, especially when there is technology available that would allow DHH individuals to watch the same movie with their hearing companions via infrared captioning glasses. Whether I end up pursuing a career in mental health or economics, I hope to be able to apply what I’ve learned from this internship about myself and others with disabilities, whichever direction I choose in life.

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