National Deaf History Month

Submitted by Lori Barton, IPS Admin

The first public school for the deaf was opened on April 15, 1817 in West Hartford, Connecticut.

Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. was the world’s first institution dedicated to advanced education for the deaf and hard of hearing.  It was officially founded on April 8, 1864.

Deaf Awareness Week got its start back in 1996 when a couple of deaf employees at Washington, D.C.’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library taught sign language to their colleagues. The week of awareness was a period of time that allowed people to gain a greater understanding of the deaf community, which later evolved into a month-long period.

I remember as a young girl my mom learned sign language and wanted our family to learn it.  I can recall going to a Christmas party with her at the Tennessee School for the Deaf in Knoxville.  I had a wonderful time meeting lots of new people.  I knew very little sign language.  Actually, I only knew the alphabet and a few other signs.  One thing that stood out to me and I will never forget is the excitement and look on their faces when I started talking with them.  They got so excited and started signing so quickly.  I had to hurry up and ask them to slow down, but they did not mind one bit.  They did not care if I had to spell everything out letter by letter. They were just excited someone took the time to learn to talk with them and show an interest.  By the end of the night, I knew more sign language.  It was exciting for all of us. 

I still do not know a lot of sign language, but just taking the time to say hi, tell someone my name, ask their name, and ask how they are doing has brought numerous smiles to people’s faces through the years.

If you haven’t done so already, please take a moment and look over the alphabet.  Try starting with that and see where it takes you.

U.S. Dept of Health & Human Services – National Institutes of Health

National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)

Deaf Chat Chattanooga meets the 3rd Saturday of each month from 10am-12pm at Starbucks located at 2217 Hamilton Place Blvd., Chattanooga, TN 37421

Library Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

615 Church Street, Nashville, TN 37219

TN Disabillity Pathfinder: Navigating the Path to Special Education Support Webinar – Thursday, March 4, 2021 11am to 1pm CST

Disability Day on the Hill 2021

Please schedule your meeting with a representative by February 25th  SCHEDULE YOUR VIRTUAL MEETING:

Psychological Impact of AudismWednesday, March 17, 2021 Online – Zoom $20 per webinar

Audism in Deaf EducationWednesday, March 24, 2021 Online – Zoom $20 per webinar