Deaf Awareness Week: UTRGV ASLI program activities to support the Deaf community

On Wednesday evening, UTRGV students celebrate their victory in the ASL Lotería activity of the American Sign Language Interpretation Program. The activity was one of many activities organized as part of National Deaf Awareness Week, September 20-24, at the Edinburgh campus. The week includes various activities to promote positivity, inclusion and understanding of deafness. (UTRGV photo by David Pike)
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Texas border affairs

By Renata Perez

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TX – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley American Sign Language Interpretation Program marks National Deaf Awareness Week, September 20-24, with various activities to promote positivity, inclusion and understanding deafness.

Dr Brian A. Cheslik, assistant professor and program coordinator for the ASLI program, who is himself deaf, emphasizes that it is crucial to use this week’s events as an opportunity to shine the spotlight on this often underwhelming population. -represented.

“Accessibility for the deaf and hard of hearing is often not considered until someone has spoken,” said Cheslik. “So this week is a way for us to spread knowledge and to spread knowledge about our culture and our language to help people understand us better. “

A virtual quiz night kicked off the week, followed by in-person events, including a movie night, featuring A quiet place part II, Tuesday and an ASL Lottery Wednesday in Edinburgh. The week continues with the following events:

Thursday 23 September – Guest speaker Sandra Mae Frank, a deaf actress on NBC New Amsterdam, 7:00 p.m., Health Affairs West Building, Edinburg Campus.

Friday September 24 – ASL Virtual Class / Café Sourd at Moon Beans Coffee at McAllen / Deaf Night Out at the Main Event in Pharr, from 5 p.m. ABOUT ASLI AT UTRGV Although the UTRGV has been celebrating Deaf Awareness Week since 2016 and ASL courses have been offered to students for over 15 years, an increase in demand from students has resulted in the development of the ASLI minor in 2019.

Implemented in 2020, the Bachelor of Science in American Sign Language Interpretation program under the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders prepares students to become adept in all areas of language, understanding of Deaf culture and valued professional skills in the field of American Sign Language. This program, which began with an instructor, is now comprised of five full-time instructors and six part-time instructors. “Our goals include growing our program, welcoming more students in the interpretation major, working with other departments and programs to raise awareness of deafness, accessibility issues on the campus and to become a staple of the UTRGV family as well as the surrounding RGV community. Said Cheslik. He said anyone can become more informed, inclusive and accommodating to people who are deaf and hard of hearing through these simple acts – by using the notes app on your phone to communicate with our deaf peers or by learning sign language from basic thanks to the free ASL courses of the ASLI program. “Don’t think that we are inferior, broken or that we need to be fixed,” Cheslik said. “We are like everyone else; except we can’t hear.
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