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November 5, 2002

Appreciate deaf technology

From: Northern Star Online
Nov. 5, 2002

Deaf Awareness Week will host presentations for community

NIU is hosting its annual Deaf Awareness Week this week to promote how technology has impacted the deaf and hearing-impaired community.

This year?s theme is ?Deaf Technology: Communication is the Key.?

By Linda Luk
Greek Affairs Reporter

“It is a week of activities that has something to do with deaf or hard-of-hearing community,” said Tricia Eey, a member of NIU’s Program for the Hearing Impaired. “So the community is aware of how hard it is to survive in a world for the deaf or hard of hearing.”

Fellow member Chris Brown explained the reasoning behind this year’s technology theme.

“Technology is improving and most hearing people don’t understand or realize there is technology out there to better communicate,” Brown said.

Eey explained how technology eases communication.

“It is faster than pen and pencil, and it is more efficient,” she said.

“Deaf and the City” will be held at 7 p.m. today at Wirtz Hall, Room 103A.

“[‘Deaf and the City’] is a play we are putting on,” said Ryan Kaatz, another member of the program. “People in the Program for the Hearing Impaired will be acting as different parts of the town. No one from the program can speak at all. We either communicate through sign language or paper and pen. People from NIU can walk through it.”

Maggie Cormier, counselor for the Program for the Hearing Impaired, thinks this is a way to challenge and educate students about the barriers deaf or hard-of-hearing students face.

“It is for students to find out what being deaf or hard of hearing is like,” Cormier said. “We’ve turned the table around.”

“CyberSign Sync” will be held at 9 p.m. on Thursday at the Carl Sandburg Auditorium. It’s a high-tech song interpretation via sign language performed by NIU students.

“A lot of hearing people like it because it connects the deaf and hearing worlds in a a unique way, by having songs signed so both worlds can enjoy the music,” Cormier said.

Members of the program hope that through this week, people would be able to share the difficulties that deaf communities face every day.

“It is an opportunity for participants to learn more about the deaf community, advocate for our own culture and help the hearing community accept the deaf community,” Cormier said.

Cormier said that people should not assume that all deaf people are the same, or that one person prefers sign language instead of voice. It also is important to respect each person as an individual.

“We have one disadvantage, but we are exactly like everyone else” Kaatz said.

For information, e-mail or call 753-1694 (V/TTY). Star Poll

Deaf Awareness Week
All events are free and open to all:

• Today: “Deaf and the City” – 7 p.m. at Wirtz Hall, Room 103A

• Wednesday: “Integrating Technology into the Classroom” – 7 p.m. at Wirtz Hall, Room 101

• Thursday: “CyberSign Sync” at 9 p.m. – Holmes Student Center’s Carl Sandburg Auditorium

• Friday: “Hear This!: Turning a Deaf Ear to Negativity” – 7 p.m. HSC’s Sandburg Auditorium

© 2002 Northern Star. All Rights Reserved.