Deaf Awareness Day provides education, experiences


Photo by Elli Swanson

A poster outside of ASL teacher Amy Caslow’s room. The poster includes dates and information about Deaf Awareness Day, held on April 27 and will be hosted at Stillwater Area High School by the American Sign Language classes. The Deaf community will gather together and be able to commune with each other, see people they may have not seen in awhile and participate in fun activities.

Elli Swanson, Photographer

Deaf Awareness Day occurs once a year and aims to celebrate the Deaf community and bring the community together as one.

This year Stillwater Area High School honors this day by hosting the event at the high school. On April 27, the Deaf community and different high school students taking American Sign Language will gather together for a day filled with different activities and vendors.

“People come in from all over the state of Minnesota and Wisconsin, even other states to come in and learn about services that are provided for the Deaf, to see arts and crafts or things being sold and made by the Deaf, to get to see each other and commune,” American Sign Language teacher Amy Caslow said.

This day is important for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people because they are around other people who can communicate with them more than they might be able to on a regular basis. Some Deaf individuals do not have people they can communicate with at home, so events give them a chance to communicate fluently with others.

“Many of them don’t get to catch up but once a year, so that’s their opportunity to see each other and just hang out and celebrate being deaf and everything that in encompasses,” Caslow said.

By making this possible, students taking ASL will participate throughout the day as a part of a classroom assignment by “helping with setup and takedown, they will be running concessions and that will be a fundraiser for the American Sign Language classrooms and they will be volunteering to help in the kids area to monitor the kids,” Caslow said.

Many of them don’t get to catch up but once a year, so that’s their opportunity to see each other and just hang out and celebrate being deaf and everything that in encompasses.”

— Amy Caslow

As another part of the students classroom project, they will interact socially for an hour with the Deaf community.

Deaf events can be different in comparison to each other depending on the event attended.

“It’s fun, but also intimidating. I went to silent bingo and I did not expect it,” senior Tavia Deloach said. “I was totally silent but I was talking to this one woman and she was very nice. She was semi deaf and hearing at the same time. She went to a school that had no deaf interpretations so it was very inspirational.”

In the past, deaf people have not always had interpretations so they could be able to learn sign language. Instead, they were forced to speak and lip read as a their way to communicate to others. Over the years, this has changed and deaf people are more likely to be provided a education where they can then learn sign language and speak it fluently.

Deaf Awareness Day will bring the deaf community together where they have a chance to catch up with friends and meet new people. Students will be able to experience what it is like at a deaf event and experience more of the deaf community and the people a part of it.

Deloach is most looking forward to being able to meet new people and sign at the event.