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Morris to host world-class training program for deaf curlers

The project, beginning in spring 2019, is aimed at providing facilities for Canadian deaf and hard of hearing athletes.

World-class training facilities for deaf curlers will soon be open in Morris.

The Canadian Deaf Sports Association (CDSA) announced Monday that Morris Curling Club will be the home of the first national deaf curling training centre.

The project, beginning in spring 2019, is aimed at providing facilities for Canadian deaf and hard of hearing athletes an opportunity to train for international competitions, including the Deaflympics and World Championships.

“This ground-breaking partnership will allow deaf and hard of hearing curlers of all ages from the beginner to the elite to fine-tune their skills to learn a lifetime sport,” said Lorne Hamblin, a level 4 Olympic curling coach.

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Woman with lifelong health challenges steps up to care for her mother


Jennifer Zelez gets surprised for 13 Days and Knights of Giving

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — JenniferZelezhas struggled with her health since before birth.

While her mom was pregnant with her, she had multiple strokes. She is deaf and suffers from grand mal seizures. Although she graduated high school, got married and had a child, her cognitive function has deteriorated over the years.

“In many ways, her thinking is like a child’s thinking and then you’ll just see amazing adult thinking and behavior,” said Coleen Humble, Jennifer’s mom.

Now in middle age, Jennifer has spent much of her life being cared for but over the last year, Coleen had two major surgeries – the caregiver needing care herself. Jennifer stepped up in an incredible way.

“I help her a lot – feed her. I asked her, ‘do you need anything? Do you need anything?’ She said, ‘no, I’m fine.’ Sometimes she’d say, ‘yes,'” saidZelez.

“She did the laundry, cleaned the house, helped me so much without even complaining. I think she was delighted to be the caregiver for once in her life,” said Humble.

Coleen wants something simple for her daughter: recognition.

“She thinks that people don’t even notice her but I keep on telling her that she’s amazing, beautiful, she’s so sweet. She’s our angel and the kindest person,” said Humble.

Zelezwas surprised for our 13 Days and Knights of Giving, sponsored by the Vegas Golden Knights Foundation, Subaru of Las Vegas and America First Credit Union.

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Pipe breaks, cancelling some classes at the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind

GOODING, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) – Some students at the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind can’t attend class this week after a pipe broke Friday.

Administrator Brian Darcy told KMVT they had a sprinkler pipe break on Friday at around 4:30 p.m.

Classes for part of the deaf/hard of hearing elementary school have been cancelled for the rest of the week as crews clean up the damage.

Darcy said many of their students come to the school from across the state, so they had to make the decision of cancelling those classes rather quickly.

“It’s just anytime we lose instructional time with our kids, it’s a major hit for us and our kids. We haven’t come to any decisions regarding whether not we’ll be able to return. We have to wait until we get the all clear that it’s safe and secure environment before we make that decision,” he explained.

Darcy said six classrooms had water impact, three or four that were “pretty heavily damaged.” About 40 students attend those classes, he said.

They are still waiting for the final count of damages and restoration time, hoping to have more information by the end of the week.

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Happy Birthday Thomas Gallaudet!!

Thomas Gallaudet was born on December 10, 1787 in Philadelphia, PA. He graduated from Yale and began a study of sign language and European methods of education for the deaf after meeting Alice Cogswell, a nine-year-old deaf girl. In 1817, Gallaudet established the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut.

Gallaudet’s future changed when he met Alice Cogswell, a young deaf mute girl. He became determined to help her and, upon the request of her father, went to Europe to learn educational methods for teaching the deaf. Dr. Mason Cogswell and others had offered Gallaudet the opportunity to open and become principal of the first deaf school in the United States. Upon his return, in 1817, the Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons opened in Hartford. Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc, a European teacher he had recruited, began teaching students. The school’s success brought the attention of President James Monroe, and subsequent government funding for large lands and a big facility for the growing institution.

Thomas Gallaudet’s work was instrumental because it allowed society to understand that those who are deaf could be educated. His school was one of the country’s early grass roots efforts that diversified education and brought it to the disadvantaged. Also, his work helped develop the American Sign Language, the most widely-used form of communication for the deaf community in the world.

In September 1851, Gallaudet passed away from complications of the lung disease that he had suffered from since he was a child. His youngest son, Edward, had followed in his footsteps as an advocate for deaf education. Dedicated to starting the first college for the deaf, and with the support of President Abraham Lincoln, Edward turned Colombia Institution into a college for the deaf and became its first president. Graduates of the college, asked its governing board to change the institution’s name to Gallaudet University in honor of Thomas Gallaudet’s work to promote education for the deaf community.

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Members of Idaho’s deaf community want to see more open captioning at theaters

BOISE – It’s a classic way to spend your Saturday night. Grabbing a tub of popcorn, heading into the theater and watching the drama on-screen unfold, but it isn’t an experience that translates well for everyone.

“Hearing people wouldn’t enjoying having put a headset on every time they enjoyed a movie, but yet deaf people are required to put on all this extra equipment to their bodies, to enjoy a movie,” said Idaho Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Steven Snow.

In Idaho, there are more than 200,000 people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Newer statistics show nearly 20% of our state’s population has some hearing loss. Per ADA rules, movie theaters must have equipment to provide deaf and hard of hearing moviegoers with closed captioning. These glasses don’t always meet the needs of those wearing them.

“I’ve used the caption glasses but they are really, really annoying, they’re heavy on my face and they often don’t workout throughout the movie,” said 9th grader Katie Baker.

The deaf community wants to see more open captioning options. Local movie theaters are typically on board.
“We don’t want limit anyones availability to our films. It’s entertainment, everybody should have access to the entertainment,” said movie theater manager Josie Pusl.

However, they’re facing a problem on the distributors end, who are either not sending films with open captioning or not approving open caption showings on a corporate level.

“The open caption is maybe about 50% but closed caption and glasses is almost 100% of the films,” said Pusl.

Leaders with the Idaho Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing say besides lack of comfort and embarrassment associated with the closed captioned glasses, it’s more cost-effective to use open captioning.

“The glasses cost a few thousand dollars per one set, so if you buy a few for a theater not only are they bulky and cumbersome, but they’re expensive whereas a more simple solution and in fact the deaf community would prefer to have open captions,” said Snow.

One movie theater in Boise and one in Emmett have a weekly open-caption showing, but with help from Boise State’s ASL department they’re trying to share the message with more theaters.

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John Krasinski on ‘A Quiet Place’: Casting A Deaf Actress Was ‘Non-Negotiable’

John Krasinski’s debut feature “A Quiet Place” tells the story of a family with a deaf child, and the “Jack Ryan” star wanted to make sure he included a deaf actor in the film.

“It was a non-negotiable thing for me,” Krasinski told Rosamund Pike of the casting during their conversation for Variety‘s “Actors on Actors.”

Acknowledging that “A Quiet Place” was his first time directing a studio movie, Krasinski gave props to Paramount for having faith in him despite his lack of experience with visual effects or using sign language to work with a deaf actress.

When it came to casting Millicent Simmonds as Regan, besides the benefit of an organic performance, “the more important reason to me was I needed a guide,” Krasinski said. “I was writing a movie about a family who had a deaf child, and I know nothing about that. I needed someone to walk me through, ‘What do you feel when you wake up in the morning to be the only person who can’t hear in your family?’”

Simmonds’ family was very open to answering all of Krasinski’s questions, which lead to one of his most dramatic choices in the film — to show the audience how Regan’s character heard the world by going silent when shifting to her perspective.

He remembers unveiling that choice to Simmonds’ mother. “To see her mom come up to me crying as hard as she was,” Krasinski said, was “the most moving experience.”

“She said, ‘I’ve always wanted to know what the experience was with my daughter and I finally have it,’” he said.

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Promoting sign language – one video clip at a time

42-year-old Danny O’Connell who has been severely deaf since birth is posting daily videos on Facebook and Instagram to teach people different words and phrases using BSL.

The idea came to him after plans to move to the UK last month to take up a job fell through. With time on his hands, he decided to promote a language he is now so proficient in he has learned more than 10,000 signs.

He said: ‘I just woke up and thought “I’m going to start doing some signing videos”. With my passion for signing I can do interpreting and talking. I did them myself with my mobile phone and a tripod. I edit them all myself. I go round the island to record them. I’ve done some Christmas ones, so it’s going to be really nice.’

Danny says it’s his way of raising awareness of the 4,000 Islanders who, he says, have some form of hearing loss.

‘I’ve got lots I want to do with it to bring awareness for hearing people who want to learn it. I want to do one-to-one tutorials. I want to make people aware.’

He wasn’t diagnosed as severely deaf until the age of five. Until that point he was non-verbal but says it was put down by others to him being ‘just a naughty boy who didn’t want to speak’. It took his parents seeking out an expert in the UK for him to be diagnosed.

Danny learned sign language at the age of 16, and is continually learning new words. It is thought only 35 to 40 people in Jersey use BSL to communicate, he hopes awareness of his videos will in turn generate more interest in it.

‘People have said they’re good, fantastic. It’s something small at the moment that I’m just doing it at the weekend. I work ahead so, at the moment I’m recording signs that I’ll put out next February. I do different themes, including transport, colours and Christmas.’

Danny’s ambitions stretch beyond his videos, though. Having been inspired by the Beresford Street Kitchen in St Helier – a cafe where people with learning difficulties can gain employment and skills – he’d like something similar for the deaf community.

He explained: ‘My future plan is to open a deaf café to offer a warm welcome. It will create jobs for deaf people who can’t currently work. I think it could be great. A nice atmosphere so deaf people can chat with other deaf people, and others can come in and learn.’

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‘America’s Got Talent’ star Mandy Harvey teaches students to feel sound

When Mandy Harvey walked onto the stage at Opperman Music Hall, most of the elementary and middle school students clapped to welcome her. But some students raised their hands, spread their fingers and shook their hands back and forth — the American Sign Language symbol for applause. 

The musician, who is deaf, performed for about 50 students on Friday from W.T. Moore Elementary School, Swift Creek Middle School and Florida State University. The event is part of Opening Nights in School, which pairs performers and schools.

“For the students, this is one of the best things we can do,” said Opening Nights Director Michael Blachy. “The communication with the young people today opens a whole new world for them.”

Some of the students are just like Harvey. They are deaf or have hearing impairments. Harvey told the students about her love for music and how it was almost squashed when she lost her hearing at 18. She was born with a degenerative neurological disorder. 

It didn’t stop her from learning to play and sing again. She eventually went on to America’s Got Talent in 2017. She won the Gold Buzzer award.