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Deaf Awareness Banner
 

This holiday, also known as International Week of the Deaf, is celebrated every year during the last full week of September. There are over 70 million deaf people worldwide. Deaf Awareness Week was created to draw awareness to the accomplishments and the issues that deaf citizens face worldwide. During the celebratory week many organizations hold activities and events to educate people about deafness and the deaf community. Colleges, businesses, and grade schools often hold awareness days or functions. Even amusement parks such as Dollywood hold special days in for the awareness of the deaf population.

According to the Gallaudet Research Institute, “About 2 to 4 of every 1,000 people in the United States are "functionally deaf," though more than half became deaf relatively late in life; fewer than 1 out of every 1,000 people in the United States became deaf before 18 years of age.”

Deaf Picture

There are many organizations that support and promote Deaf Awareness. The most prominent organization in the United States is The National Association of the Deaf.

“The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is the nation's premier civil rights organization of, by and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States of America.

Established in 1880, the NAD was shaped by deaf leaders who believed in the right of the American deaf community to use sign language, to congregate on issues important to them, and to have its interests represented at the national level. These beliefs remain true to this day, with American Sign Language as a core value.

Discrimination against the deaf, hard of hearing, and/or those with a hearing impairment is called audism. This form of discrimination can occur in a number of different ways with physical harassment, making negative cultural connotations, and mimicking people being a few among many.

One common form of physical audism occurs when a given person with hearing loss is judged as incapable of a given behavior, occupation, skill, ability, or achievement due solely to that hearing loss, whether or not there is evidence of that incapability, and usually without the person who engages in such discrimination entertaining the possibility of change on the part of the victim. This form of audism is a reflection of a widely-held naturalistic belief by people who can hear in their own superiority.

Eastern NC School for the Deaf

North Carolina is unique in that it supports the deaf community with two schools for the deaf in the eastern and western parts of the state.

The Eastern NC School for the Deaf is located 25 miles west of Greenville in Wilson NC. The school currently has over 100 students ranging from 5-21 years of age. The school serves over 50 counties in North Carolina. Ninety percent of the school’s students live on campus and are transported home on weekends. The school not only has residential facilities, but also has an Independent Living Center which provides the opportunity for senior students to make the transition from dorm-type living to living on their own in the community.

The students learn to balance academics, a part-time job and extra-curricular activities as they apply “real world” responsibilities. They use money earned from their part-time jobs to purchase groceries for their meals. They are taught the skills of budgeting, meal planning, problem solving, communication, and accessing community resources. Community service experiences are also practiced.

ECU Resources

Browse the Department for Disability Support Services for information on accommodations and services offered and provided by the University.

Sources

Audism
Deaf Awareness Week
Eastern NC School for the Deaf
Gallaudet University
National Association of the Deaf

ECU Libraries Materials