Be There For Your Disabled Friends During Holidays (Vlogmas Day 2) | Rikki Poynter

Hello and welcome back to the channel,
and Vlogmas. Today, I wanna talk about
being there for your deaf friends, your disabled friends. This is no new video to the channel. I feel like I talk about this every Vlogmas, but, really, it bears repeating,
in my opinion. YouTube loves updated videos, you know, so. But before I give you the whole speech,
if you have not yet, please do subscribe
and hit that notification bell, so you don’t miss out on any videos. And if you would like to help
support the work that I do, please consider pledging on Patreon
where you will get exclusive content, more videos, some writing. It really helps me out. Alright, speech time. So, the holidays are stressful for anyone. But, in my experience, in my opinion, it can be incredibly even more stressful
for deaf people, for disabled people, since, a lot of the time,
we’re the only people who are deaf/disabled. The main reason being
Dinner Table Syndrome, which essentially means that when you are the only
deaf/disabled person at the table, everybody else is abled or hearing, both. And nobody really knows sign language,
anything like that. So, it’s really difficult
to keep up with what is going on. If you can lipread,
if you have hearing aids or a cochlear implant, those can help you out a little bit. But for those of us
who can’t really lipread very well and don’t use any assisted devices, it can be extremely or a lot more difficult. Really, it’s just overall difficult for all of us. I know, for me, I always get stressed out. I get a little bit more angry. I’ve been open about my anger problems,
my mental health problems. And, yeah, the holidays are no fun. When I was in a past relationship,
it was always stressful. There were always fights. I struggled between
really wanting to be around people because I grew up, really,
with no family, holidays were like- they started out as a thing
when I was younger. And then, gradually,
as things got worse and worse, holidays just completely went away for me. So, I was struggling between really wanting
to have a chosen family or whatever, but also not wanting to get involved
with anything holidays because I wasn’t able to keep up. I wasn’t included in the way
that I should have been included. And it can suck. And I see stories on Twitter
and Instagram all the time where people, or fellow deaf people,
are ranting because they’re just going through it. And this is why I really wanna encourage
hearing people to really get involved. Like, don’t have your deaf friend,
your deaf family member, whoever, do all the work with communication. There are apps, which, tomorrow,
I will have a video dedicated completely to apps that you can download on your phone
to help with communication. But also, now’s the time
to use your resources and possibly learn some sign language. I’m gonna say sign language generally
because it’s different around the world. Every year, I always wish
that there was more and more ASL and not just from one – that’s two. Not just from one person, because then they end up
having to be like- I carry the main load,
and they carry the main load that’s next in line. I have no idea what English
is coming out of my mouth right now. And for me, it’s always felt
a little bit embarrassing to have to constantly
turn over to the next person who would possibly know something
and be like, “I’m gonna need you to do this.” “Wait, what? What’s going on?” And then everybody’s always being like, “Hey, you, I’m going to lean on you to do this,” instead of everybody just kind of
taking that big load and then breaking it up so that it becomes a more even thing. I had a deaf Friendsgiving
that I went to last week, and it was one of the best times
’cause it was just so nice to, one, not only have a holiday sorta thing, even though we know how Thanksgiving is, but to just be in an area
where everyone was deaf or – I don’t think everyone,
but everybody had ASL. Everybody had access to language. It was just so nice. I didn’t have to feel shameful, although there’s always
some embarrassing moments when I don’t understand everything, and then everybody’s like,
“Don’t worry about it.” But I can’t help it
because that’s just how I am, ugh. If you are a hearing person
and you were to see the look on my face or any other deaf person’s face
when they’re around places that are equal, where they’re in places that are just equal, why would you deny that happiness?
(LAUGHS) So yeah,
I highly encourage putting in some effort to help out your deaf friends, so let’s get specific and say ASL right now. Right, there’s a lot of free resources out there
that you can use. The main one that I use,
and I’ve used for years, is, aka, Bill Vicars. He is a deaf professor,
and he teaches ASL in California. And he has many videos
that go from the beginning stages to the advanced stages. There’s a video that’s called
100 Basic Signs, I think. I’m pretty sure there’s some holiday ones, and there’s some other websites that I use when I can’t think of a certain vocabulary word or I just don’t know it. It’s like a little dictionary to have,
and it’s free. And when you have your phone with you,
you can pull that up in case you need a little bit of a refresher. And, yeah, there are apps, but I feel like, for me,
there’s a lot of playing catchup. It’s like when you’re using captions
at a live event. You have to play catchup, and then the conversation’s
at a bit of a halt or whatever. So, for me, I think if it’s –
if there’s a mixture of sign language and apps and then you just kinda merge them together. That is also really, really good. I’ll have the link to Bill Vicars and Lifeprint
down below in the description box. And, again, if you wanna know the apps,
if you’re interested in that, check out tomorrow’s video
’cause it’s gonna be all about that. And then let’s talk about
not just your deaf friends but your friends with other disabilities. Or you might have your deaf friend
with other disabilities like me, chronic pain and fatigue. There may be times
when we’re not gonna be able to really sit at the table or whatever it is because if flare-ups occur, the last thing we probably need
to be doing is being on – at the table looking absolutely miserable ’cause it’s no fun for anyone. And if we get rest early, then we might be able to recover
a little bit earlier on. And, you know, when you’re deaf,
there’s concentration fatigue. That’s a whole thing in itself. But, yeah, if you see us going through
a fatigue or a pain episode, if you have medication in a cabinet,
both pills and liquid, I cannot take pills. I wish folks had liquid medication
more readily available, but that’s when I just bring mine. Or chewable aspirin. That’s really awesome. In case we forget,
because brain fog is a thing, if you have your medicine cabinet stocked up,
that’s fantastic. If we’re going through a flare-up,
please be patient with us. It’s not that we don’t necessarily
wanna be there, but it’s just, sometimes,
our bodies are like, “Oh, god, this is – can I step out for a moment,
and I’ll come back when I can? And we’ll keep on going
with these fun festivities.” Please don’t get mad at us. If your disabled friend
is a wheelchair user, please make your place
a little bit more accessible. I know that there’s a lot of homes
that are not wheelchair accessible. My townhome is not even accessible
for wheelchairs, unfortunately. We’ve got steps and stuff like that. That’s a bit of a bummer,
but you know what? If you can get a ramp, get your ramps. Clear out your living room,
things like that, so you can have room
for the wheelchairs to go around. I’m not totally experienced
with the whole wheelchair thing ’cause I only use them at the airports, but my fellow disabled friends
who do use wheelchairs more than I do, please leave your advice
down in the comments, so, you know, if somebody needs some help, they can get that down in the comments. I think those are the basic things
that I can think of right now. If you have anything in mind
that I may have missed, feel free to leave them
down in the comments. If I write an article about this sort of thing, I’ll leave that down in the description, as well. Nobody deserves to be alone on the holidays except for maybe murderers
and people like that. But, for your nice friends and family,
let’s get together and have a really good time and work together to make that happen. If you would like to help translate this video, I’ll have a link to do so in the description. Make that video more accessible,
’cause maybe, maybe the people that are at your Christmas dinner table
might know some of the languages that are in the translation files. So, then, when you see this video,
it’s more accessible. Share this video. Give it a thumbs up. Always really appreciate it. Really, really helpful. Thank you for taking the time
out of your day to watch this video. And I will see you later. Bye.


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  2. I didn’t even know liquid pain relievers were a thing until this very second. We always have a ton of the pills because my parents have back problems and I get chronic headaches/migraines but yeah. I didn’t realize how bad my hearing was until I started working at a cafe. It’s not fun having to ask people to repeat their orders or phone numbers 4-5 times. Thankfully it’s not as bad at holiday gatherings, but I still struggle understanding sometimes.

  3. I count you as a special beautiful friend you're awesome and you're a beautiful person inside and out love you rikki

  4. For a long time most of my disabilities were invisible. Two and a half years ago I almost died and was diagnosed with Mosaic Down Syndrome so many things made so much sense once I found that out. My mom knew I'm pretty sure but didn't tell me. I wish she had but I think she had the best of intentions. So many people understand me better now and more importantly I understand myself. I have to use a cane because of dizziness and balance issues also sometimes because of pain. Now that I'm in my 40s people don't look down on it as much as in my 20 when even doctors and mental health therapists thought it was either mental health related or attention seeking. It seems to still be that way for younger people especially if they don't need a particular kind of help all of the time. Great video as always.

  5. this was a really helpful video, thanks! I'm also deaf (based in the UK) and spending Christmas for the first time with my boyfriend's family which I'm really nervous about because they're all hearing D:

  6. Also I confess, because this was pre-filmed before it actually happened, that the Deafsgiving thing wasn't a full fledged event because I got there a few hours later because of an unexpected thing happening and only the people who lived there were left, LMAO.

  7. For having wheelchair users over to your home for the holidays, it means the world if you have a grab bar in your bathroom! They are not too expensive (around $20) at Walmart or other such store and don't have to be permanently adhered to your bathroom wall. Your wheelchair user friend or relative will greatly thank you for being able to use the toilet (or shower if they're spending the night) in your home!! This is also applicable for elderly relatives or those with balance or weakness issues as part of a disability.

  8. Get a ramp, get all the ramps. Even a permanent ramp is not a bad thing. You may need it in the future for yourself or someone else. Also it will make it more accessible for disabled people who might want to buy your home some day. 🦽 🦼

  9. Concentration fatigue is a real thing for sure. I was so relieved to see a video by you and Chrissy discussing it. It really helped me. I have fatigue anyways (I have Menieres Disease) but trying to follow conversation really exhausts me. This was a really great video (as usual), thank you

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