The last full week of September is the International Week of the Deaf; its purpose is to bring awareness to deaf issues, people and culture.
The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) first celebrated International Day of the Deaf in 1958, and it was later extended to an entire week. The September date is to commemorate the first World Congress of the WFD in September of 1951.
The WFD is comprised of 130 national associations and represents approximately 70 million Deaf people worldwide. The United States’ national affiliate of WFD is The National Association for the Deaf (NAD) and they celebrate Deaf Awareness Week every year.
Throughout the week, organizations worldwide carry out events to celebrate the cultures and languages of deaf people around the world; promote the rights of the deaf; teach about education and career access to deaf people; challenge misconceptions; and more.
The school for the Deaf has been in Fulton, MO for more than 150 years, and Deaf awareness is happening here all the time.
William Woods students and Fulton community members have celebrated Deaf Awareness Week with local artists, deaf history programs, ASL workshops done by members of the Hands Up Club, film viewings and more.
William Woods and the Fulton community regularly show ASL films on campus for Lead events made by Deaf film companies with Deaf actors and completely in ASL with English subtitles. Guest speakers come to campus often, including the Executive Director of the MO Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, who is coming within the next few weeks. This year, WWU’s Hands Up club will be celebrating International Week of the Deaf further into the semester so keep your eyes open for special event information.
William Woods University offers bachelors of arts and science degrees and minors in American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting and American Sign Language Studies where students can learn the 4th most studied language in the US and take courses in the study of Deaf culture, sociological perspectives on Deaf Education, ASL Literature, Linguistics, and more.