Deaf Awareness Month Coming to an End, But Its Purpose Continues
SAN ANTONIO – Although Deaf Awareness Month is drawing to a close, the goal of raising awareness and creating spaces for the deaf or hard of hearing continues.
According to the National Association of the Deaf, a person with hearing loss indicates mild to moderate hearing loss.
He defines a deaf person (D) as a person with total or partial hearing loss.
Emma Faye Rudkin, founder of the nonprofit Aid the Silent, is deaf. Rudkin’s mission is to champion the creation of spaces for the deaf and hard of hearing through his non-profit organization.
Deaf Awareness Month, Rudkin said, is a time to celebrate Deaf culture, which she says is not just about translating a language.
â(It’s about) sign language and the right behaviors behind the culture,â Rudkin said. âIt’s really his (culture). There is nothing like it in the whole world. (It is) the only language (it is) expressive and visual. And also, I would say the deaf community, they don’t see themselves as having a disability. It’s more of a culture.
Although Rudkin is now proud of her hearing aids and encourages others to #ShowYourAids, she admits it hasn’t always been easy growing up in what she describes as two different worlds: Deaf Culture and the World. hearing people.
âGrowing up, you don’t see other hearing impaired people,â Rudkin said. “I think I (knew) maybe two hearing-impaired kids were growing up.”
It can even be isolation in the person’s home with their family.
âA lot of teenagers (hard of hearing or deaf) suffer from severe depression, anxiety,â Rudkin said. âThey go to school and learn ASL through the regional deaf day school programs, but it’s normal for mom and dad not to understand sign language. But (for) teenagers, it’s their full language of understanding and communication, so they don’t feel seen.
When it comes to including a hard of hearing or deaf person at a gala, conference, meeting, or other social setting, Rudkin advises organizers not to assume the needs of the person or group they are inviting.
âAlways ask in advance not to waste your resources and to make sure they meet their needs. So let them be the experts on what they need and don’t assume, âshe said.
Whether one can sign or not, Rudkin said there is a way to help bridge the gap and build community.
âDon’t let fear drive you,â Rudkin said of the mask warrants. âBe kind (and) take the time to (community) write it down. “
Deaf Awareness Month is celebrated in September.
To learn more about Aid the Silent, click here.
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