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Friday, September 25, 2015

International Week of the Deaf

Happening on an annual basis is the International Week of the Deaf or IWD. First introduced in 1958 in Rome, Italy it is celebrated annually by the global deaf community. Held the last week of September the same month as the first time it was held. During this week there will be marches, debates, campaigns, exhibitions, and meetings. The goal is to gain support for those directly involved in the deaf world. Families, peers, governmental bodies, professional sign language interpreters, disabled peoples organizations and others will be represented.

It is a great week to get involved, become united and show that unity to the rest of the world. Global advocacy to raise awareness about the deaf community at individual, community and governmental level. It is a great time where discussions of the rights of deaf people and brings about topics that need attention that deaf individual that merit attention.

One of these rights of the deaf is the right to sign language. It helps to recognize deaf individuals as primary visuals beings belonging to the deaf community and calls for sign language to be made available to deaf persons as a birth right. This would give the members of the deaf world the ability to use sign language as their first language whenever and wherever they are.

While I personally do not have a hearing problem, my son lost much of his hearing ability as a child and we also lived in an area where there is a large deaf community. Jacksonville, Illinois has a deaf school where my uncle taught as well as a large deaf community. I have had friends within this community and cherish that friendship. I have seen my friend struggle through problems such as being understood, making friends and living in a world that relies largely on the ability to hear. She has taught me many different signs and I watch as her fingers fly as she speaks. Now that we are older I do not get to see her as often as I would love to but the bond of years ago is still rather strong.

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