Deaf Awareness Week

Posted: October 2nd, 2018

On September 24th, Deaf Access Services (DAS) joined St. Mary’s School for The Deaf and sister organizations Buffalo Club of the Deaf and the Buffalo Civic Association of the Deaf to launch Deaf Awareness Week 2018.

Most importantly, our region’s Deaf Community demonstrated their strong advocacy and pointed to progress that is underway. The Deaf Community has worked tirelessly for years to improve existing services, with little attention paid to Deaf issues on a local or even national level.

International Week of the Deaf is celebrated by the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and its national associations and their affiliates globally during the last full week of September, culminating with International Day of the Deaf on the last Sunday of the week. International Week of the Deaf is focused on the theme of Human Rights through Sign Languages. This focus gives greater attention to Deaf culture and the achievements of Deaf people, portrayed in a positive way. This focus also increases solidarity among Deaf people and their supporters, and provides an opportunity to stimulate greater efforts to promote the rights of Deaf people throughout the world. (According to the National Association for the Deaf)

The September 24th event underscored the significance of Deaf Awareness Week on a local level. As a partner in the event, Deaf Access Services (DAS) is celebrating recently passed landmark new legislation in New York State eliminating the term “Hearing Impaired” from all state law. New York State law will now use the term “Hard of Hearing” which is terminology preferred by Deaf Access Services (DAS) and by the Deaf community at large. The Deaf and Hard of Hearing community and Deaf Access Services has long advocated for positive, inclusionary language and is encouraged by the new legislation.

This fits perfectly with the theme of International Week of the Deaf: Human Rights. DAS operates many services to support the local Deaf Community, responding to the interests of Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals by promoting communication access, awareness, and opportunities in the greater community. DAS envisions a community where ALL people experience equality, empowerment, and inclusion – leading lives full of possibilities.

DAS provides:

• Interpreting Services including Video Remote Interpreting Service (VRI)

• Sign Language Classes • Community Services Navigation and Advocacy Services

• Communication Access Realtime Translation • Assistive Technology Supports

• Employment Placement Services • Health Home Care Coordination

• Specialized Deaf Refugee Services

• Life Skills & Literacy Adult Education Classes

Formed in 1983 by a group of dedicated volunteers who were concerned about the welfare of the Deaf community, DAS is the only local community organization with the capacity to serve Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals. For more information, visit http://www.wnydas.org/ or call (716) 833-1637 extension 100.

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