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October 12, 2003

Deaf expo sparks awareness

From: Democrat and Chronicle, NY - Oct 12, 2003

Low turnout doesn't dampen organizer's zest for reaching out.

By Enid Arbelo Staff Writer

(October 12, 2003) — HENRIETTA — Turnout was low for the Deaf Worldwide Expo on Saturday, but hopes to bridge the gap between the hearing and the hearing-impaired were still high, according to the expo’s chief executive, Arthur Wiesblatt.

The expo was a trade show at the Dome Center for local companies and organizations to share information with the large hearing-impaired community in Rochester.

“Our goal is to provide a bridge between the hearing and the deaf,” Wiesblatt said through an interpreter. However, he was unhappy with the attendance.

While other cities sold upward of 5,000 tickets, only 565 tickets were ordered for the show in Rochester. In fact, Rochester had the smallest attendance of the first 12 shows, Wiesblatt said.

The Deaf Worldwide Expo conducts 16 shows in the United States throughout the year in cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Tampa.

Saturday’s show included booths from Rochester Institute of Technology, ministries and real estate firms.

A recently published book titled Silent Ears, Silent Hearts by Michelle and Blair LaCrosse was featured at the show. Michelle LaCrosse said the book helps give an insight into the hearing-impaired culture. Modeled after the struggles her hearing-impaired husband has been through, the book gives a real-life perspective to the communication barriers they have had to overcome.

Speaking about the LaCrosses, Wiesblatt said, “It’s really important for us to promote deaf people on a business level.”

Educating the families of children who are hearing-impaired and raising awareness of local service groups are other reasons behind the trades how, he said.

Copyright 2003 Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.