April 2, 2014

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Hearing Community Invited to Enter VSU’s Deaf, Deaf World April 25

VALDOSTA — The American Sign Language Club at Valdosta State University will host Deaf, Deaf World from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, April 25, in the Student Union Ballrooms. This event is open to all faculty, staff, and students, as well as the general public.

“We would like to encourage those that are involved and those that are not involved in the Deaf community to join us for Deaf, Deaf World,” noted Rencia S. Gravesande, Deaf, Deaf World Committee spokesperson. “The purpose of the event is to promote Deaf culture awareness within our community.”

Talking is not allowed inside Deaf, Deaf World. Upon entering, the hearing visitors will receive a quick tutorial in basic conversational American Sign Language. They will then have an opportunity to learn about historic figures in the Deaf community, discover technology Deaf and hard-of-hearing people use on an everyday basis, and complete a series of everyday task simulations, like making a hotel reservation.

Deaf, Deaf World affords the hearing community the opportunity to become more aware of what everyday life is like for the Deaf community. Many people become visibly frustrated after entering VSU’s simulated silent world and attempting to communicate with someone who does not understand their language.

Those inside Deaf, Deaf World will be using American Sign Language to greet their visitors, solve any problems, ask and answer questions, and so on.

Those inside will know exactly what is going on.

Due to this role reversal, Deaf, Deaf World visitors will gain a better understanding of what life is like for a Deaf person in a hearing world, a world where the majority of people communicate using sound and do not require any help from an interpreter or modern technology.

More than 200 people visited Deaf, Deaf World in 2013, Gravesande said.

VSU is the only college in Georgia — and one of very few in the nation — that offers a Bachelor of Science in Education (B.S.Ed.) in American Sign Language interpreting.

Contact Rencia S. Gravesande at rsgravesande@valdosta.edu to learn more.

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Note from Deaf, Deaf World Chairman Tray Noble regarding the use of the capital “D” as opposed to the lowercase “d”:

“‘Deaf’ and ‘deaf’ are two different words in Deaf culture. [Capital] ‘D’ Deaf is the culture/community of the group of people that consider their diagnosis not a disability. They are very proud of the way they are. Not capitalizing the ‘D’ in Deaf would be considered disrespectful to the Deaf culture. [Lowercase] ‘d’ deaf is the diagnosis that medical personnel have given to the disability. If a person misuses these two terms, it could be the difference in offending someone and calling them disabled rather than actually respecting their culture.”