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Deaf community continues to be hindered by COVID policies

In order to gain more insight and understanding, in this interview I feature the lived experience of a deaf man named Patrizio Precenza.

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Early on the in knee-jerk, unbalanced approach to the pandemic pandemonium, the mainstream media was acknowledging how inaccessible verbal interaction was for those already facing communication barriers.

In the wake of unprecedented messaging to stay home, self-isolate and socially distance (despite being healthy), the public communication of the deaf and hard of hearing community was hindered the most. They could no longer depend on facial cues, touch, and lip reading to communicate while Plexiglas muffled sound even further.

In order to gain more insight and understanding, in this interview I feature the lived experience of a deaf man named Patrizio Precenza.

As I was unable to provide him with an interpreter, his brother, Alessandro Precenza, who acts as his support person, helped me get creative with how we could get Patrizio’s story out.

Patrizio mentions how the additional barriers of masking and social distancing have further interfered and disregarded people who rely heavily on American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate, which is 70% facial cues. Hindering this form of communication has magnified the deaf community’s inability to partake in society.

Referring to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, Patrizio points out that a barrier is defined as, “anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of his or her disability.” 

He is not fully participating in society and neither are all of his deaf friends.

Becoming increasingly isolated, Patrizio and Alessandro have taken it upon themselves to try to address this inequality. By bringing awareness and education to the community, they are hoping to facilitate change and have started ASL classes to do just that.

The brothers are offering a free, Introductory Sign Language Workshop.

It will be live and interactive, as well as mostly silent for a real deaf experience. You can visit their website at www.al-marsolutions.com to find out more.

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