High School Students Navigate Through Silent ‘Deaf, Deaf World’ at USAO
CHICKASHA – It’s easy to take for granted the sounds of another voice, the wind, even breathing itself. But local high school students experienced life without sound March 1 at the University of Science and Arts as part of Deaf, Deaf World, a program designed to simulate the everyday challenges faced by deaf persons.
“The major goal of this project was to foster an awareness of deafness and deaf education, as well as to increase the number and diversity of future applicants in our deaf education program,” said Leah Decker, deaf student services coordinator.
Guest motivational speaker Miss Deaf Oklahoma Bree Logan joined more than 70 students from John Wesley Charter School (Oklahoma City), Lawton High School, Anadarko High School, Riverside Indian School and Chickasha High School for a day on the USAO campus. Throughout the day, the students toured the University and spoke with faculty about the deaf education program.
Deaf, Deaf World culminated in a workshop designed to simulate the deaf lifestyle. Armed with only basic sign language instruction, students tried to interact in real-world simulations such as going to the doctor, picking out travel plans and conversing with a judge.
Because they could not speak, participants were required to use whatever skills and ingenuity they had available to communicate information and needs with workshop members.
“Struggling to make a bank deposit, reserve airline tickets and respond to emergency messages, participants become aware of how a hearing society creates handicapping conditions for people with hearing loss,” said Decker.
After completing the activities in the Deaf, Deaf World simulation, students were given the opportunity to express their experiences and frustrations in an open discussion lead by Tulsa-based Communication Service for the Deaf, which conducted the workshop sessions for the day.
Deaf, Deaf World was funded by a collegiate grant from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Minority Teacher Recruitment Center.