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The term handicap has become a thorn in the side of the English language.  It is one of the words most associated with the argument of political correctness. So what is a handicap?

I read on CNN’s Young People Who Rock about a young fellow, Sean Forbes, who performs music videos with American Sign Language for the Deaf Community. He is an inspiration to the Deaf Community and he brings to them a piece of the world most people never expected they could have. Below the passage there are a number of comments flaming the mention of deafness as a disability [handicap]. In my mind a handicap is something that significantly alters the way a person experiences society. The Deaf Community is indeed a culture. ASL is the third most used language in the United States. But it is impossible to say that when outside of the Deaf Community communicating can be a struggle. I have taken a course in ASL, but having not actually sought out situations to use it, I have only used it once in the four years since I first started. People who have speaking difficulties are often considered to have disabilities or handicaps, but it merely a communication barrier. Perhaps that is why deafness is not considered a handicap because it is a communication barrier similar to the growing English-Spanish barrier. But then speaking difficulties should not be disabilities.

It is impossible to toss around the word handicap or disability without making someone angry. It is almost as if the terms themselves make people lesser than others. They are social categorizations similar to race. Ultimately, I must agree that deafness is not a handicap, but such a term can only be defined in the eye of the beholder. If I went to Russia could not someone say I am handicapped?

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In the past few years, people have been becoming much more concerned with the enivronment. Even some who are outside of environmentalist groups have begun throwing punches at global warming. Way back in 1971, Dr. Seuss published his children’s book, The Lorax. Apparently, few readers listened to the lesson found in this Dr. Seuss title. Throughout the next three decades, environmental decay had not slowed.

To stop smoking is the single most important thing a smoker can do to improve their health. To never smoke is one of the most important things a non-smoker can do to maintain their health. Yet, over 45 million people in the U.S. alone still smoke. People use excuses like stress and coolness to justify their choice to start or continue smoking. But there is no reason that justify destroying your own lungs, and many people will suffer in the future because of their decision to smoke. Even those who say they only smoke a little, or only socially, are putting themselves at risk.

As a volunteer at a hospital’s pediatric emergency room, I read books to children and gave some books away to the younger children as a part of a program. I basically had the responsibility to enter the rooms on my own when doctors and nurses were not perfoming their duties. One evening, I came into a room to give a boy a book. Two men were in the room as well, one I assume was the boy’s father. Each of them were deaf. Thankfully I took an American Sign Language course in high school, although the importance of those lessons didn’t sink in until now. I probably looked completely shocked while I shaped my hand and arms to ask “he want b-o-o-k?” I knew the sign for want, but not book so I spelled that out. The guy gave me a thumbs up. I hope that meant good job, or at the very least ok he can have a book. Unfortunately I didn’t have the same success when confronted with Spanish. I would advise anyone working in a hospital to learn as much about communication as possible.

This is overdue. I thought I posted a blog about this, but it seems I left it on draft. After I made an entry on WordPress about overdoses, I decided to make another sonic sez health video about using medications. I think my voice acting as improved a little bit, but I’m still hoping for more people to watch or comment on the videos. This one has a lot of meaning with the fairly recent release of The Dark Knight. A report came out shortly before I wrote the script about the increase in accidental overdoses and deaths caused by improper use of medications. The coincidence is eerie that research over 20 years in the making was released the same that Heath Ledger’s death brought the issue to the forefront. This video is dedicated to Heath Ledger, and to the promise of better knowledge about medications.

I recently made a Sonic Sez health tip video about seizures and epilepsy. I put good amount of effort into the construction of this video, and I had a fair amount of previous knowledge about the subject which I used. I wanted to project that seizures are not only convulsions, and that many of the causes are unknown.  I had a number of special reasons to learn about seizures, and having read a few books about them I probably know more about seizures than any of the other topics I tackled. The effort I put into this was well worth it from an educational and amusement standpoint (I hand made the set for this video). And of course the video isn’t too serious. I think the intro is enticing for anyone who likes sonic, and I still used a silly saying at the end.

What happened to Heath Ledger was not a fluke. Research done over ten years showed that fatal medication errors have increased almost 4 fold since the early 1980s. The release of this information is merely coincidental, but if the death of a celebrity can’t get people to educate themselves about medications, then this research certainly won’t. Ledger did not die of some strange circumstance, and people need to be aware of the reactions they might have to their medications, changing their medications, or consuming street drugs or alcohol in addition to medicine. Just as importantly, doctors, nurses, other hospital staff, and pharmacists need to help inform patients about how to properly deal with using medication and the seriousness of the possible consequence from deviation (citation: medline plus).

Language is very intriguing. This is a picture of the cover on one of my notebooks. Unfortunately, this is mostly filled with boring notes from lectures, although I do have a couple of writings in it. I actually find covers like this to be inspiring for writing poems and stories.

The words of Michael Savage led me to creating another sonic sez (says) video. This time I wanted to contribute to the awareness of Autism. Certainly difficult to understand, a lot of people have misconceptions about what autism is. There is no excuse for what Savage said and my video will hopefully inspire some people to learn about autism. It doesn’t have in-depth information, but I think it suffices for a video done on a whim. The definition I use in the video is from http://www.assew.org/what_is_autism.htm. I think i have a little more humor in this one simply because Savage set himself up to be cracked on.

Citing fiction is merely a round-a-bout process of citing non-fiction. That is, the reference to another person’s thoughts, which are real whether fact or opinion. It is certainly a mistake to believe fiction can give us statistics, but to assume information based on the fictional works of a number of authors is not really different from assuming something based on a yes/no poll. In fact, the former may be more useful in a number of situations since yes/no polls offer no explanations, no additional input, and no interpretation on part of the sample. Reality is much more complex than a simple yes or no, and fiction is deeply embedded in reality.

The idea of citing fiction often can easily be criticized as too abstract. One can only try to understand what an author was truly thinking or what a passage  truly meant. Yet, one reason for citing a literary work of fiction or non-fiction is to back up a statment or presented argument. Words and numbers have a strong history of being pulled out of context or twisted. Other proof, aside from the hard facts, other proof must be coupled to make the strongest argument possible. in this way, fiction can be just as effective. And depending on the audience maybe more so, considering the impact of the fictional styles on human emotion as compared to the raw language often used with words of fact.