This year, Deaf Awareness Week takes place from the 2nd to the 8th of May. Each year a new theme is chosen to celebrate the deaf community and this year it is Deaf Inclusion. In the UK alone there are over 50,000 deaf children and young adults and another 12 million adults who have experienced hearing loss. The World Federation of the Deaf were the first to observe the International Day of the Deaf in 1958 and from there it has been extended to a week-long celebration.
Here in the UK, Deaf Awareness Week is run by the UK Council on Deafness who strive to raise awareness of the deaf community and highlight many of the challenges they face on a daily basis. In many cases the deaf community experience exclusion in our social spheres and struggle to find the support they need. For some, deafness can be extremely isolating and can have negative impacts on mental health. The purpose of this week is to place particular emphasis on social inclusion and to educate the general public on the support they can provide.
How can you help?
Deaf Awareness Week encourages members of the deaf community to share their experiences and stories with their peers, colleagues and classmates in hopes to raise awareness of deaf inclusion. Ways people can share their experiences could be through mediums such as art and video logs which could be shared on social media. By members of the deaf community sharing their stories there is a greater chance of influencing institutional change. Through awareness building, the frameworks for education and the workforce will continue to evolve and improve their inclusion polices. With this change, society can aim to become a sphere of celebration and community.
Throughout this week in particular we encourage those not hard of hearing to show compassion and kindness for the deaf community. By being aware of our own privileges we can make a more conscious effort to accommodate the needs of those around us, especially in schools, workplaces and in our communities.
Look out for deaf inclusion events in your local community and get involved!
On Wednesday 4th of May, Sign Solutions will be hosting an online event to celebrate the week. Also check out the Sign Solutions website for other great events taking place over the course of the week and beyond.