The Hub International Week of the Deaf 2018

International Week of the Deaf 2018

Athabasca University is a proudly accessible university. Our Learner Support Services area works in partnership with our learners to provide access to distance education for students with disabilities, providing them with the tools to successfully complete undergraduate and graduate programs and courses.

This week the United Nations declared September 23 as the International Day of Sign Language (IDSL) as a part of International Week of the Deaf.

This year’s theme of ‘With Sign Language, Everyone is Included,’ we join the World Federation of the Deaf in their collective goals of the International Day of Sign Language and International Week of the Deaf. In their most recent blog post, they set out some really easy tips on how you can better interact with people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Making a small effort goes a long way!

Tips for better interaction

  • Be aware of the signs – watch the body language and gestures
  • Get their attention before speaking to someone
  • Speak correctly – speak so lip reading is easy, don’t mumble or shout
  • Use simple body language and visual cues – sometimes gestures can help and even swapping notes
  • Don’t speak to the interpreter, don’t be rude
  • Learn to sign even just the basic phrases
  • Patience – repetition and back tracking is sometimes needed

We at Athabasca University echo these tips and the entire thrust of the week. Our own Carrie Anton, Interim Supervisor, Assistive Technologist from Access to Students with Disabilities outlines a few more useful tips that are specific to AU:

  • Ensure multimedia content has closed captions and or text transcript
  • Use an accessible multimedia player such as AblePlayer
  • Use Computer Assisted Real-Time Translation (CART) for discussions and web conferencing so everyone can understand the audio content and participate.

“Equitable access to education is a basic human right. Access to information in that education is everyone’s responsibility. Think of a time when you were left out of a conversation? Did it impact your engagement, affect your self-esteem, or made you not want to be there?”

– Carrie Anton

Get involved

You can get involved this week by:

  • Using the hashtags #IWDeaf2018 #IDSL2018 or #SignLanguagesDay
  • Sharing this with post friends
  • Attending events and activities held by your local Deaf society or association