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September 24, 2004

AIDB hosts week of events for deaf community

From: Daily Home Online, AL - Sep 24, 2004

By Chris Norwood

TALLADEGA Although Hurricane Ivan delayed several of this year's events, the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind continued with several other observances of Deaf Awareness Week.

The purpose of most of these events, according to AIDB spokeswoman Lisa Sams, is to make the community at large "aware of the importance of communication, and how they can make communication easier."

For instance, first graders at Lincoln Elementary School were treated to a local deaf senior citizen, Gloria Chappell, reading a story in American Sign Language while Dot Barnett and Rosemary Harry provided voice translations. Later the same day, Charlie Chapel, another deaf citizen, visited community ASL classes at the E.H. Gentry Cafetorium, where Sams said he "told stories, sang songs and shared deaf culture."

The week's special events continued Wednesday, beginning with the launch of "Deaf Chat," which Sams said will soon be a weekly event featuring various guest speakers.

Wednesday's guests included Ricky Milford, who is a deaf minister, along with other "area adults sharing life experience stories (with) Alabama School for the Deaf students and other high school students from Talladega," according to a press release.

Also Wednesday, Sylacauga's Home Depot store donated lumber to ASD staff and students to create 20 hand shaped "I Love You" signs, which were staked in the front yard of the Talladega Regional Center.

The last event of this week was a "Deaf Awareness Motorcycle Ride" around the Kiwanis Track at ASD with participants in Sonic's Bike Night and the local chapter of the Blue Knights, a motorcycle club made up of members of various law enforcement agencies. The annual event is a special treat for students at ASD, as well as deaf students at the Helen Keller School, according to Sams.

"Just the excitement of it all, and the vibrations from the motorcycles, it's really, really exciting for them," she said.

The other two scheduled events for this week are temporarily on hold, and will probably be rescheduled for November or December, Sams said.

Both events were professional development in-service courses, one for the Talladega Police Department (originally scheduled for Monday), the other for medical and health related staff at Citizens Baptist Medical Center in Talladega.

Both classes, according to a press release, will focus on "deafness, sign language, the Americans with Disabilities Act and deaf culture," as well as "awareness and sensitivity during crisis situations and signs to recognize to assist with situations until the interpreter is available."

Also, the classes will "provide resource information," according to the press release.

"It will be basic things that can be very useful in a crisis," Sams said. "For instance, at the in-service at the hospital, they would teach things like the signs for fever, break, hurt, etc. Things that would help the medical professional in providing service until the interpreter gets there."

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