CART Captioning, Sign Language, The Library, Emmett, Another Typical Day For You, Right?

CART Captioning, Sign Language, The Library, Emmett, And Another Typical Day For You, Right?

~~  Originally published in my column “Beyond The Comfort Zone” within NCRA’s Journal of Court Reporting, JCR

By Monette Benoit, All Rights Reserved.

This sunny, cool Saturday in January involved a trip to the San Antonio library.

My father, with cancer, enjoys listening to books. He rents audio books and purchases library cards to expand the selection, so he can listen to books.

This man, with a deep educational training and medical background (social worker, medic, psych work in the Army and worked to develop the ‘new’ Vet Admin psych department in Houston) will not dwell on his illness.

He continues to volunteer in the local E.R. assisting triage nurses admit E.R. patients before he revamped the entire E.R., so “they could more efficiently assist E.R. patients waiting for hours – ‘and’ the wonderful nurses – working to assist everyone.”  (Oh yes he did…)  And the nurses loved Mr. Emmett.  He called them “my girls.”  I would gasp each time.  “Dad, women do not like to be called ‘girls’ by anyone, especially a man.”  The nurses would smile and laugh, “He CAN.  We like it when ‘he’ calls us that.  We do.”  I always stood silent, staring direct to my father who insisted I never permit anyone ever to call me “a girl” in my adult life.  We had us a father-daughter moment each time this conversation occurred because he would smile and the nurses would laugh – having ‘their’ moment.

After his E.R. revamp (he created spreadsheets he showed me, designed the “efficient flow”) the hospital then terminated this volunteer man (really) and hired two full-time people to run their “more efficient” E.R.  (Oh yes they did.)

Then, hospital asked Emmett to ‘stay’ — Emmett refused to sit at the hospital front desk answering questions directing people to the cafeteria, he told them – and me.  Oh yes he did.

Emmett then created a confidential position in the hospital as a “patient – nurse advocate.”  Only the hospital CEO knew… CEO created new nametags for he and Emmett with ‘football’ favorite teams.  Each proudly wore their unique tag listing the football team and their name’ when inside the hospital. (“I like helping people,” Emmett frequently shares. “And I want to help others who are less fortunate or in need. I have to get on with my life. Busy, busy, busy, that’s me.”)

Doctors recently told Emmett Donnelly they are unable to explain why or how he is here since 2002.

He was told, quote, “Go on, live your life; we can not explain this.” The lead specialist then shook his hand.

We, his family, live white-knuckled, moment to moment; Emmett lives adventure to adventure.

And Mom?  She has ‘upped’ her praying, she says — eyebrows raised to us.  Yes.

The library trip was way up on his list, so Dad could borrow my card tapping a larger audio selection.

Who says no to this request? Not moi.

After lunch, we drove to the library, updated records, I was handed an updated library card.  I handed Emmett my card for his key ring.

Emmett’s eyes lit up; you would have thought he’d won the lottery.

Immediately, he headed to the computers.

During lunch, daughter answered father-questions to include books daughter is reading.  This was an ongoing conversation my entire life – from the man who took his only daughter – sans his three sons to the library each Thursday.  Every. Thursday.  Our. Evening.  Then, we often went for ice cream.  “Those who do not read are condemned to live but one life,” I learned at a very young age from Daddy.

Back to lunch – as daughter answered questions and we sipped our wine, father wanted to share an author he thought daughter should read. Hang in here, I’m getting to the fate, luck, serendipity, blessings.

Emmett knelt on the floor in front of computer.

I sat on a child’s seat as father typed John Dos Passos for daughter.

Daughter typed Nigel Tranter for father. The computer displayed ‘author unknown’. I gasped. Nigel Tranter has written over 90 historical novels; I was sure I had mistyped.

The lady to my right leaned over, “excuse me” – knowledgeably sharing how to access the city terminal.

“Oh,” was our father and daughter response, communed in perfect unison – in realtime.

Emmett and I politely listened; then she volunteered, “I come here all the time. I’m finishing my degree online.”

I stepped back one step knowing Emmett, high school guidance counselor and adult career counselor for decades, historian, grammarian, master’s degree in education would bite the hook. Oh yes he did – quickly.

The lady volunteered, “I come here because I have a visual problem.”

We nodded, listening; she shared more information – then she included her child has special needs.

(My mother has a master’s degree in elementary special education – certified in two states; I was raised with a sibling who was labeled ‘always’ as special needs. We know code.)

I asked if she was familiar with Jaws (software assisting blind), she nodded, ducked her head, smiling.

As she spoke, I thought I saw itmotion; I watched as she placed her right wrist over the left wrist. Yes, I have seen that before.

Sonya (not real name) is new to Texas, her daughter is deaf-blind.

Once she shared this information, I asked a question about sign language – watching her wrists.

Sonya replied, “Yes, I sign.”

Then I went for the answer to the big question, “ASL certified?”

Sonya ducked her head, smiled, replying softly, “Yes, Level 5.” (5 is considered ‘master’ ASL level in many areas.)

In one fluid motion, I stepped forward, extended my hand, introducing myself as a court reporter and CART captioner who works with onsite and remote sign interpreters. She burst into laughter; I too busted-out laughing – in the silent library. (Another realtime deaf-moment within my world.)

Everyone in the library turned and stared – until we -in unison- stopped our outburst of laughter.

Emmett stepped back two steps (for privacy).

I asked if Sonya needed assistance, contacts; did she need people to help her family?

Sonya shared personal facts; I listened, then detailed people with whom I have worked in places she mentioned, and we laughed.

Again, librarians and others stared. Together we stopped laughing; we blinked in unison, smiling.

I asked about her deaf-blind daughter; Sonya shared daily multiple challenges.

Sonya and I covered a lot of ground – fast.

I gave her my business card for All ARTCS, Inc., All American Real-Time Captioning Services, Inc., volunteering to email names, services I knew would help Sonya’s family.

Sonya giggled, then shared her knowledge and skills of ASL (American Sign Language), HandSpeak ( and Cued Speed (

We breezed through multiple methods to communicate, CART (voice to text), sign interpreters, transliterators (sign to voice), how she handles hospitalizations with her child admitted into pediatrics – communicating with medical professionals and parents with children admitted on her child’s floor – where once one hears there’s a deaf parent or deaf child in the ward, deaf and hearing children quickly sit together on one bed signing away, happy, content, communicating. Softly we giggled together.

A librarian soon hovered four steps away; I frowned at him.

Sonya stated her computer time was up; we had to “step away from the computer.”

We laughed softer, and I listened as Sonya shared specific needs.

In realtime, I was able to further digest, filter, network and share information to help with sign, deaf-blind and CART information, relevant facts – due to many blessings of this occupation and my passion.

I gave Sonya the name of Deaf Link, Inc. (They helped Texas Katrina evacuees with onsite, remote interpreting for six months) for her interpreting needs or possible future employment (herself Level 5).

I shared how I met a deaf PGA hotel employee in Phoenix now living here, working with Deaf Link, married to an employee within Deaf Link. Mike Houston, Deaf, is expanding his goal to open international children’s deaf golf camps.

Sonya giggled; she ‘got it’ (that instant deaf-connection).

I told Sonya about Frances Dobson within the United Kingdom who has the most accomplished resume and skills of anyone I’ve ever met with reporting and deaf-blind talents.

I shared articles I had written for my NCRA Journal of Court Reporting column.

Sonya asked if I would email all information to her home, so she could use assistive software, adding, “My daughter will be so excited! She loves computers, too!”

Then I commented about her ‘wrist holding the other wrist’ when she first spoke.

Sonya smiled, “Yes, I have to do that – otherwise I just sign.”

I nodded and thought about the court reporters who find fingers tapping on their lap or steering wheel. Together we stood within the library and giggled softly.

As I said good-bye to Sonya I knew this moment, with my new friend, would benefit both she and her deaf-blind daughter. I welcomed her to Texas. My father had his new library card; Sonya had new facts, information.

I am never, never surprised where or how our skills, knowledge of facts involving CART, sign language, deaf and deaf-blind information can open vast new paths for so many.

Leaving, Emmett quipped, “Well, just another typical day for you, right?”

We laughed, and I looked to Sonya – standing in the library alone, waving.

Eyes bright, her smile big, I signed my departing message to Sonya, so I would not disturb anyone within the San Antonio library on a Saturday afternoon.

Fate? Luck? Serendipity? Blessings? I know. Now you decide. You. Decide.

—- Monette, named the Court Reporting Whisperer by students, may be reached:

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Monette Benoit, B. B.A., CCR, CRI, CPE, Paralegal, CART Captioner, Instructor, Consultant, Columnist

Since 1990: Multiple Title Author of Books & Purple Books Test Prep for the Court Reporting, CART Captioning Profession

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About Monette Benoit:    As a 30+ year court reporter, CART captioner, author of NCRA and State test-prep material, instructor, public speaker, Monette Benoit has taught multiple theories, academics, all speed classes, and 225-homeroom within NCRA-approved schools and a community college. She understands challenges many adults face in our industry.

In 1993, she began to CART caption to a large screen for a Deaf mass, San Antonio, Texas.  Wonderful opportunities then presented from Big D, Little D, Oral Deaf, HOH consumers -each with special moments.

Monette Benoit has worked with thousands of professionals, court reporters, CART captioners, students, instructors. She has helped to create new court reporting training programs, worked with federal grants, and assisted instructors in developing curriculum for both in-class and at-home students.

Her one-on-one tutoring, private coaching, has assisted thousands of students, novice and experienced professionals to reach the next level.

Monette’s Musings is an informative, motivational, and funny blog for busy professionals and students who seek to create their success and who seek to enjoy this special path.


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