According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, about two-thirds out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born deaf or hard-of-hearing. Just minutes from the College’s campus is the century-old state-run Marie H. Katzenbach School for the Deaf.However, the College’s Deaf Hearing Connection president and senior communication disorders and deaf studies double major, Lea Marx, believes that many people are unaware of deaf culture.
“It is important for the club to educate the College community,” Marx said. “There are major differences between the deaf world and hearing world that students should understand.”
To bridge this gap, the club held its annual Deaf Awareness Day on Wednesday, March 5.
“The Deaf Hearing Connection hosts Deaf Awareness Day each year to garner appreciation for deaf culture, as well as spread awareness of deafness,” Marx said. “We want (College) students to gain respect and understanding of the world of deafness. We aim to educate the (College) community, as well as entertain those who attend our events.”
Several events, each with an interpreter, were hosted throughout the day in the hopes they would “spread awareness of deafness, educate the College community about deaf culture, inform students about the communication options surrounding deafness and provide entertaining and interactive ways to learn about deafness,” Marx said.
The day included a panel of professionals in deafness and a showing of the movie “95 dB.” Angel M. Ramos also gave a lecture about his book, “Triumph of the Spirit: The DPN Chronicle,” which explains the 1988 “Deaf President Now” movement at Gallaudet University.
The day ended with a comedy show by C.J. Jones and Keith Wann.
Freshman interactive multimedia and computer science double major Kevin Bohinski, a student in ASL 101, went to the comedy show and said he could pick out “bits and pieces” of what the comedians were saying. According to Bohinski, while he says the only major difference between the deaf and hearing is their way of communication, the comedy show did teach him more about the deaf community.
“It taught me that they have their own language, mannerisms, sense of humor and ideologies,” Bohinski said.
Marx encourages students to attend at least one event at next year’s event not only because they are fun and informative, but also because it’s a great opportunity to connect with those in the deaf community.
“Deaf Awareness Day is a great opportunity for students to engage with professionals in the field of deaf education, as well as people from the deaf community,” Marx said.