University Celebrates Deaf Awareness Month


September was Deaf Awareness Month, a month dedicated to raising awareness of the Deaf and all that encompasses their community. This includes shared communication, history, culture and social norms.

“It’s important to bridge inclusivity between hearing and Deaf individuals,” said Kaylee Pierce, president of the American Sign Language Club. “We may communicate in different ways and misunderstandings may arise, but that’s something to be embraced and learned from.”

ASL is the third most-used language in the world.

Students in the ASL Program were encouraged to attend educational events throughout the month. The Division of Services of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DSDHH) hosted a Zoom session in which a panel of successful Deaf individuals shared their experiences and struggles with students.

SFU ASL Assistant Professor Ronald Jiu offers some tips on how to talk with your Deaf friends:

  1. Get their attention by trying to wave or tapping their shoulders gently.
  2. Speak as you normally would, don’t shout. They cannot hear you.
  3. When you talk, face your friends directly and maintain eye contact. Make sure they can see your face clearly and communicate in a well-lit area, if possible.
  4. Don’t assume that Deaf people can read your lips.
  5. Find another way of communicating, such as writing on paper, texting a message, pointing at what you are talking about, and using non-verbal communication, especially gestures.
  6. Learn basic sign language.

The ASL Club will host a Sign Jam on Oct. 21 at 6 p.m. in the Auxiliary Gym. No previous signing knowledge is required and interpreters will be provided. CES credit will be available at the event.