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Celebrating Deaf Awareness week at an American university

Last week Missouri State University celebrated Deaf Awareness week

Tuesday 3 October
Celebrating Deaf Awareness week at an American university

EditorOctober 03 at 07:30

Deaf Awareness Week recognises the community of people who are Deaf, deaf, or hard of hearing and promotes the idea that diversity is much more than race or sexuality. Last week, Missouri State University in the United States celebrated it. Deafness includes all people with hearing loss. It recognises the community includes those that are Deaf, referring to linguistic and cultural identity; deaf, the audiological loss of hearing; and hard of hearing, referring to people who experience hearing loss and stand between the hearing and Deaf communities.
Holly Metcalf, a clinical assistant professor in the Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program, appreciates Deaf Awareness Week and the purpose of its observance. “I have grown up with a severe to profound hearing loss all my life,” Metcalf said. “(Deaf Awareness Week) is a time to educate people about the hearing loss and the diversity within this diverse group of people.” As someone from this community, Metcalf appreciates the respect for Deaf Awareness Week. She said that she grew up with hearing loss that was noticeable when around age five. “Hearing loss impacts one in 10 Americans,” Metcalf said. “For me, this is a critical reason people should be educated about this population. The more others know and understand about deafness, the less isolated people with hearing loss will experience.” According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, roughly 20 percent of Americans – 48 million – have reported any significant level of hearing loss. Another statistic shows, while individuals with mild hearing losses have very meagreto no drop in income in comparison to individuals without hearing loss, reduction in wage has increased as hearing loss increases.
The recognition of Deaf Awareness Week shows the fight against discrimination toward the community and how individuals develop to respond positively toward the ability. Physical abilities are considered when discussing diversity, but, often go unnoticed in discussion, Metcalf said. “Often, people automatically think diversity is associated with race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age and religious beliefs,” Metcalf said. “They often overlook physical abilities as part of diversity. It is important to recognize this because people who are Deaf, deaf, or hard of hearing are a diverse group that deserve inclusion and respect from the hearing population.” As Deaf Awareness Week becomes advocated for on campus, Metcalf said, she wants to see the Deaf Awareness Week grow on campus and the meaning behind it. “I would like to see Missouri State actively support Deaf Awareness Week by giving students an opportunity for exploration of deafness in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment,” Metcalf said. “I would also like (Missouri State University) to promote diversity and inclusion of students with hearing loss that attend at this university.”
Director of the Disability Resource Center Justin Lozano said the DRC promotes awareness on campus for students who are deaf. “I think what’s most important to recognize is that the conversation and education shouldn’t stop at the end of the week, or just happen because of an awareness week,” Lozano said. “This should be a continuing conversation, especially at Missouri State which lives and breathes their Public Affairs mission of producing culturally competent and ethical leaders.” Metcalf said the involvement of students with hearing loss in correlation with the promotion of diversity at Missouri State would create a, “stronger campus climate embracing diversity and inclusion,” Metcalf said.
Source:The Standard Missouri State University

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