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April 28, 2004

Space Camp Speaks Volumes to Deaf Students

From: WHNT - Huntsville,AL,USA - Apr 28, 2004

Lisa Washington reports, 04/28/2004

For most students, a week at Space Camp is an experience that's out of this world. Only their eyes and hand gestures tell the story.

With the help of an interpreter 11-year-old Emilio Garcia recounts what he's learned. "I've learned a lot about space and space suits and rocketry, what they look like and the controls," he signed.

Emilio is one of about 80 deaf students at Space Camp this week. "Some teams are fully deaf, some have deaf and hearing together," said Amy Newland, the organizer of the Space Camp for deaf-students. "I think it's interesting and it's pretty cool here," said one student.

Special accommodations are made to ensure these students get the full experience of the camp. Newland said, "We have cameras and TV'S set up so the kids can independently communicate without an interpreter by signing into the camera and looking into the tv for the answer."

"I like it, you feel like you're floating," signed Myra Samdoval. You can't hear her describing space walking, but the energy in her expressions conveys her delight. "I'd like to stay an extra week but I have to go back on Friday, I have to go to school," she added.

"I'm gonna tell my parents about wow, it was cool and what I was talking about," signed Adam Peterson. The tasks may be a little more difficult for deaf students, but certainly not impossible.

Garcia signed, "Deaf people can be astronauts, I could go ahead and be the first deaf astronaut, so I think I would definitely support deaf people in space flight." And that's a statement that speaks volumes.

Each year one week is designated for deaf students to attend Space Camp. There is also one week in the fall, for students who are blind.

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