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April 2, 2004

Signing Together: Students, Community Experience Deaf Social Day At John A. Logan College

From: The Southern Illinoisan - IL,USA - Apr 2, 2004

[Fri Apr 02 2004]

CARTERVILLE -- Inside the conference center at John A. Logan College Friday afternoon, quite a ruckus could be heard.

Ironically, the reason for the noise was a program devoted to those with hearing impairments.

It was the 10th annual Deaf Social Day at the college, sponsored by the John A. Logan Interpreter Preparation Program and the American Sign Language Club.

It is part of the program at JALC, a chance for the students learning to be interpreters to get hands-on experience with other students as well as deaf children and adults within the surrounding community.

The interpreter program, which began in 1988, is the third longest standing interpreter program in Illinois, according to event organizers and was open to all community residents.

The event, which started at 9 a.m. and lasted until about 5:30 p.m., contained many different activities throughout the day for both the students of the program and community members.

One of the first events was a deaf panel that discussed some major issues concerning the deaf community in the morning.

Before lunch, students and community members participated in a skit where a mock family communicated despite simulated hearing problems. At first, every "family" member could hear except one child. Then, the simulation was switched so that all members but one were deaf.

The child singled out to be either the only deaf one or the only hearing one had the hardest time communicating within the same framework as others in the group.

Some businesses brought products to demonstrate to the attendants. Sprint demonstrated its new relay system that allows the deaf to communicate with a telephone operator/interpreter who can see them via video and verbally relay the message to the person on the other end of the line. This helps speed up the process that was used previously, Teletype, where deaf individuals typed their message across the phone lines.

Following lunch, students and community members participated in a contest known as "ASLympics" where students used the dialogue they learned in their first class at John A. Logan, only tweaked, to communicate to other participants. To complicate matters, another person's hands were used to make hand signs while communicating and facial expressions had to match partners' signing.

After other events, a legislative workshop brought the day to a close. 618-529-5454 x15080

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