The last full week in September is Deaf Awareness Week. It is also known as the International Week of the Deaf (or International Week of Deaf People). The purpose of Deaf Awareness Week is to draw attention to deaf people, their accomplishments and their issues.
During this week, many deaf organizations hold activities to celebrate and conduct public information campaigns to educate people about deafness. Companies and agencies often mark the event, and schools, colleges, and universities hold awareness events. Amusement parks, such as Dollywood in Tennessee, may hold special deaf awareness days.
About.com Deafness visitors submitted examples of their Deaf Awareness Week activities:
Our church, Lovers Lane United Methodist Church, has a deaf ministry program. As a part of Deaf Awareness Week and with the support of the Deaf Ministry Team, we are sponsoring hearing screenings for any and all members, nonmembers, or visitors to the church the two Sundays during Deaf Awareness Week. The hope is that this will increase the awareness of everyone in the church regarding hearing impairments, deafness and related issues. We are also offering two American Sign Language (ASL) courses during the fall session provided at a minimal cost to anyone in the community interested in learning ASL. We have offered these classes for four previous years.
I currently teach sign language to high school students as a foreign language. One of the many activities they are involved in is Deaf Awareness Week. My sign Language 2 class is divided into 5 groups of 4. Each group researches information about hard of hearing, deafness, causes, famous deaf Americans, and publishes a newsletter for their assigned day. Every day during Deaf Awareness Week, my students pass out garnet ribbons to other teachers and students to show their support for Deaf Awareness Week. Last year, for my sign language final exam, my students signed a children's book to k-2 students. My student, the k-2 classes and their teachers enjoyed learning signs.
We will have a "Deaf Town, U.S.A." set up, where we will have two interpreting students set up at each of 3 tables, one table being a "bank," one being a "school," and the third being a "car rental place." The interpreting students will be "deaf" and other students will approach them and attempt to perform different transactions with them. The other students will draw from a bucket to determine whether they are "deaf" or "hearing," and also whether or not they get an interpreter. This will help to heighten awareness of what deaf people encounter in everyday life. We have a "silent lunch" planned for anyone who wants to attend. Also, sometime during the week, we will have a deaf gentleman from Sprint Relay and a hearing gentleman come to campus and set up an information table for people who are interested in different forms of communication that deaf people have access to. The best part of our week: We have an internationally known deaf performer and storyteller coming to our campus to do an afternoon workshop and an evening performance for anyone who wants to attend. (Hillsborough Community College, Tampa, Florida)
What interesting or challenging activities did you plan or have planned for Deaf Awareness Week? Send them in!