- The National Association of the Deaf (NAD)
This is the nation’s civil rights organization formed for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States of America. NAD was established in 1880 by deaf leaders to help champion the rights of deaf and hard of hearing community of people to congregate on matters important to them and to have their interests articulated at the national level.
On the international platform, the NAD represents the United States of America at the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), an international human rights organization.
Being an organization of purpose, the NAD inarguably has a mission, a vision and values for proper governance, (http://nad.org/about-us).
The National Association of the Deaf has a mission to preserve, protect and champion the rights of deaf and hard of hearing people in the United States of America. Rights may include civil, human and linguistic rights.
The vision NAD has vision to ensure that the language, culture, and heritage of the members of deaf and hard of hearing members of American society will be recognized and held in high esteem in their pursuit of life, equality and liberty.
The NAD observes the following core legal and community values for efficient operation.
- Core values
- Language: NAD values the acquisition, usage, and preservation of American Sign Language.
- Culture: NAD values the right of members of the deaf and hard of hearing community to share similar beliefs, have experiences, and belonging as members of the signing community.
- Legal Values
- Civil Rights: NAD believes in and upholds the justice, dignity, and equality for all members of the deaf and hard of hearing community in the American society.
- Human Rights: NAD believes that acquisition and use of American Sign Language is an essential human right.
- Linguistic Rights: NAD believes that American Sign Language must be preserved, protected, and promoted.
- Community Values
- Diversity. NAD values deaf and hard of hearing Americans with diverse perspectives, experiences, and abilities. They have a commitment to the elimination of audism, racism, linguicism, among other forms of discrimination.
- People: NAD values advocates and allies as the builders of the American deaf community.
- The NAD has a broad scope of advocacy, covering a lifetime and creating a difference in the lives of future generations in the areas such as early intervention, education, technology, health, telecommunications, employment , care and youth leadership, and by and large improving the lives of millions of deaf and hard of hearing Americans.
- NAD has a diversity statement which captures the agenda of the association in whole. It states:
- Gallaudet University
This is arguably the oldest institution for higher learning for the deaf and hearing impaired individuals in the whole world offers undergraduate and graduate programs that are designed to specifically target students belonging to the deaf community. Students are free to choose from a wide range of majors, including but not limited to deaf studies, interpretation, information technology, governance, history, business administration among others.
Normally students affected by deafness are not able to fit into school environments designed for normal students. This is because the curricula in these schools are not designed to cater for the needs of deaf people. Besides the other students may not understand the special requirements of the deaf culture and this may make the deaf students feel discriminated against.
As such there are schools and institutions that have been put up in different parts of the country with specially developed curricular to cater for the educational needs of the students affected by deaf and hard of hearing. One such institution is Gallaudet University, (http://www.gallaudet.edu/about_gallaudet.html)
Identifying deafness in children is an essential exercise in ensuring quality as well as mental intellect with regard to the education of these special members of the society. One of the most currently applied techniques of identifying deafness involves the use of audiograms. However, in very young children, certain behavioral signs such as failing to respond the mother or father’s voice or any arbitrary loud noise may also signal moderate to severe hearing loss in the child.
It is also worth noting that, there are a number of ways that can be used to provide the members of the deaf and hard of hearing community with education services with the most proffered method by the deaf culture being the all inclusive approach in which, students from deaf community spend greater parts of their day in classrooms going through the daily learning routine together with students who are not deaf or any form of hearing impairment.
- The http://www.deafwebsites.com/sign-language/
This is a link that leads one of the web pages that is especially dedicated for sign language. On this page you find an array of links. Of interest is the link http://www.deafwebsites.com/sign-language/american-sign-language.html that leads to the page containing only content related to the American Sign Language (ASL).
The link leads to the American Sign Language (ASL), has a wealth of information regarding ASL. ASL is a visual language used by most Americans and Canadians. When using this language an individual will use standardized hand and arm gestures together with facial expressions to convey intended meaning.
Individuals who are no deaf and who may want to find an easier way to communicate with deaf friends and family members may consider taking ASL classes in order to familiarize themselves with the semantics of language gestures using hand and face after which they may use a sign language dictionary to enable appropriate vocabulary refreshment.
It is of importance to note that unlike English, ASL is a complex language that uses its own syntax, instead of simply using the word order of an English sentence.
ASL is the native language used by the deaf community in the United States and much of Canada. Contrary to popular misconceptions that ASL is English or simply uses signs to represent spoken words, on the contrary ASL is actually, a complete, rich language whose early roots are primarily are traceable in ‘langue des signes française’ (French Sign Language or LSF).
The various signing systems that attempt to represent English manually are known as Manually Coded English or MCE.
People who use ASL also employ finger spelling, a sign language alphabet, to communicate names of people and places. Interestingly some deaf people might also have a customized unique sign nickname that can be used to refer to them, instead of having to spell their names manually with the sign language alphabet.
The link leads to the website of Deaf Talk, LLC. Deaf Talk, LLC has the commitment to providing the best quality of American Sign Language Interpretation services. It is available in central Florida. With a motto of “Bridging the Gap”, Deaf Talk, LLC can provide English/Spanish ASL interpreting for all communication needs onsite at a client’s location(s). Deaf Talk, LLC has a mission to advocate for and facilitate equal access to quality and comprehensive services that champion better quality of life for the members of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing community living and working in Central Florida.
The interpreters for Deaf Talk, LLC are qualified, skilled and dependable and take pride in their work and who follow a Professional Code of Conduct (CPC) which ensures that no matter how private the issue being interpreted is, the conversation stays confidential.
The range application settings to which Deaf Talk, LLC offer their services includes: Businesses Employment (Job interviews, training, and meetings), Educational (All levels) Governmental Agencies and Political Events, Medical, Seminars and Conferences, Courtroom and Legal, Artistic (shows, theater and other entertainment-related scenarios) and Public events.
Deaf Talk, LLC offers sign language classes in two fashions namely; large group classes and one -on-one private lesson.
- Large group classes:
There are organized group of 12 or more with common Sign language learning needs. These classes are clustered as follows; (i) Basic Sign Language class: this is designed for students with either little or no initial skills in Sign Language, (ii) Intermediate Sign Language class: designed to target students with some initial skills in Sign Language and (iii) advanced Sign Language class: is designed to cater for students who are relatively highly skilled in Sign Language and who wish to take their skills to a level deeper.
- One-on-One (Private Lessons)
These lessons are customized to a client’s particular specifications and needs. The lessons are tailored based on the client’s schedule, objectives and current knowledge levels.
Deaf Talk, LLC has an advocacy office which educates and advocates on behalf of and to empower deaf and hard of hearing people.
Education: Deaf Talk, LLC provides help with dissemination of general information on deaf-related matters and individual rights based on what the matter it is about. This information is availed to deaf and hard of hearing people, as well as to employers, service providers and even businesses.
Advocacy: Deaf Talk, LLC advocate on issues of concern to the deaf and hard of hearing community. The can provide an individual with referrals or guidance on who to contact regarding matters of disability, discrimination and/or his/her rights.
Deaf Talk, LLC organizes Awareness workshops in which organizations and businesses are trained on awareness of; Deaf Culture, the needs of Deaf consumers/clients and how to work with Sign Language Interpreters
The workshop format comprises a lecture and role playing to provide an experience that is both informative as well as entertaining. Understanding the deaf culture, about understanding the deaf culture, it is important to note that often the needs of the Deaf go unaddressed as a result of ignorance of employees, family and friends about the cultural norms with which members of the Deaf and hard of hearing community are associated. Deaf Culture Awareness workshop is therefore important in helping to educate and give hearing employees a greater insight into the world of the deafness and hard of hearing members of the society and in effect increases their awareness of Deaf Culture.