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3 Ways To Spread Awareness About National Deaf History Month

In 1997 the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) introduced National Deaf History Month. It ran from March 13 – April 15 to recognize 3 important dates: March 13, 1988 marked the hiring of the first deaf president, I. King Jordan, of Gallaudet University; April 8, 1864 was the date that Gallaudet University was founded as the first institution dedicated to advance education for the deaf and hard of hearing, and April 15, 1817 marked the founding of the first public school for the deaf, The American School for the Deaf.

This year, the NAD moved the timing for National Deaf History Month to April 1 – 30, 2022. The NAD Deaf Culture and History Section (DCHS) along with organizations that represent marginalized communities recommended making this change to be more inclusive of Black Indigenous People Of Color (BIPOC) Deaf People and celebrate all Deaf persons in the U.S. Watch their video explaining the change:

How can hearing people help to celebrate National Deaf History Month?

We learn! We watch and listen! We help spread awareness!

  • Learn the facts about the deaf community.

    • One in eight people in the United States (13 percent, or 30 million) aged 12 years or older has hearing loss in both ears, based on standard hearing examinations

    • Of those with hearing loss, approximately 2,000,000 are classified as deaf (they can’t hear sounds or speech even with hearing aids)

    • For approximately 500,000 deaf people, American Sign Language (ASL) is their first language, the language learned at birth. Some deaf people learn ASL as their second language.

To learn more about the deaf community visit

Learn about the history of advocacy for the deaf in the U.S. The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) was established in 1880 by deaf leaders to represent the interests of deaf people on a national level. Through the years there have been new laws that have grown out of advocacy that include:

  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) - a federal law that requires states and school districts to ensure that children with disabilities receive a Free Appropriate Public Education in the Least Restrictive Environment.

  • The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 - the federal law that approves grants to states for vocational rehabilitation services, supported employment, independent living, and client assistance.

  • The Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990 requires television receivers with picture screens 13 inches or larger to have built-in decoder circuitry designed to display closed captioned television transmissions.

  • Watch & listen to stories from the deaf community. The movie “CODA” has had a great deal of publicity this year. CODA stands for Child of Deaf Adults and follows the journey of Ruby and her family. Her parents and brother are all deaf and she is the only hearing person in their close-knit family. CODA recently won Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars. It has done a great deal to spread awareness. The deaf actors in this film made history with these Oscars.

What Else Can We Do to Foster More Inclusion for the Deaf Community?

  • Include ASL interpreters at meetings and events. Ensure closed captioning is turned on in your Zoom meetings.

  • Become an online advocate. Post information on social media about Deaf History.

Join us as we engage in learning and celebrating the deaf community this month and take actions to be more inclusive.


1 Comment

Scott Gombar
Scott Gombar
May 18, 2022

Thanks for sharing!

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