September is Deaf Awareness Month!
(This post was originally published on my CUNY Academic Commons website for Net-Art & New Media Course but it has context far beyond, I hope that you enjoy and get active!)
Here are some things that you can do to help spread Deaf Awareness at your campus, in your department, in your classroom and beyond.
This month you can help spread awareness about Deaf culture, what it means to be Deaf & Hard of Hearing (HofH) or experiencing the various spectrums of hearing loss. You can get involved and proactive, here are a few ways to take-action:
Understanding comes through Awareness.
1. Learning, Sharing and Informing your Family, Friends, Colleagues and Students:
First, spread the word by sharing this post! Simply talking about Deaf Awareness Month is also a great start. Let other people know by reaching out. This can easily take place in a department meeting, in the classroom, via a group e-mail or by creating an event or meet up to discuss. In your department, reach out to the Human Resources office and ask about the resources your campus offers. This may mean connecting to a specific person in charge or the office of disabilities on or off the premises. If there aren’t any current resources, (and sadly, there may not be) then it is time to create them! Let this post be a guide and a starting point. Again, awareness is everything!
Obviously, the Internet is filled with tons of resources, here are a few to help get you started:
NAD – https://www.nad.org/
What Does it Mean to Be Deaf/ Hard of Hearing?
(translation – the subway cars above read: “Deaf Awareness Month Graffiti”)
1. Learn A Sign Language: It’s time to learn a sign language! Here in the USA we use ASL, also known as American Sign Language. ASL is beautiful! It is an official foreign language. Even learning the basics of fingerspelling and the ASL alphabet goes a very long way. I’m a big fan of smartphone applications like The ASL App, Dr. Bill Vicars and for those of you here in NYC I highly recommend taking classes at the Sign Language Center – Several CUNY colleges also offer ASL classes at the beginner level (did you know that?) Take a peek at your college’s course catalog or do a search for ASL / CUNY online.
3. Join or Create a Sign Language Group: All college and university campuses have an allotted “club-hours” time each week for clubs on campus. Does your campus already have a Sign Language group or club? Inquire! If not, perhaps you can use the club-hours time to form an ASL club and practice learning Sign Language together. Learning with a friend or a group of people is a great way to inspire, encourage and motivate each other.
4. Support! Reach out to your local Deaf & Hard of Hearing Communities: This means, People, Businesses, Organizations and Groups! Once again, by reaching out to your HR dept. and or office of disabilities make an inquiry about how to get involved and who the contact names are for various groups, communities, events and businesses.
5. Creativity – Go on and Create Something to Express Yourself: I made the animations in this post specifically for Deaf Awareness Month. You can get creative too! This can be done individually or in your classroom, it can be done with your department and fellow faculty members, administrators and staff. Collaborate! Make a sign, make a flyer or a poster. Hang them up around your department offices and in your classrooms! Im going to launch a CUNY wide project soon to bring further awareness, I will be reaching out to YOU!
Contact me! Want to learn more, chat, connect and create some kind of an awareness based creative project with your students, class or faculty members? I’m here to help.