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Deaf Awareness Week kicks off Sept. 22

September 20, 2007

Did you know that there are approximately 26 deaf students at ASU who need interpreters in every class that they take?

And that there are 20 interpreters on staff to help them? (As well as two Computer Aided Real Time staff members who provide speech-to-text services.)

Many people who work and study at ASU are not aware of the deaf students because they are largely invisible. They don’t use canes or seeing-eye dogs, and they aren’t in wheelchairs.

Those students will be acknowledged during national Deaf Awareness Week, Sept. 22-29, with events ranging from silent dinners, American Sign Language games and T-shirt sales. The entire ASU community is invited to participate in the events, said Donna Leff, a lecturer in the ASL Program at ASU.

ASU’s Deaf Awareness Week begins Saturday, Sept. 22, with Deaf Awareness Day at Fiddlesticks Family Fun Park, Tempe, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets are $14.

From 2 to 7 p.m. Sept. 22, there will be a silent dinner at Arizona Mills Food Court. Guests are invited to come to dinner and try to communicate without speaking aloud.

Sunday, Sept. 23 is Deaf Awareness Day at the Arizona Diamondbacks. Watch the D-backs play Los Angeles at 1:40 p.m. at Chase Field. Tickets are $10.

On Monday, Sept. 24, there will be ASL Games at the Student Recreation complex Tennis Court from 6 to 8 p.m. This is an opportunity to learn some ASL and finger spelling, Leff said.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 26, ASL cards and the new “Signing Sparky” T-shirts will be sold by the ASL Club at ASU from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the ASU Bookstore, Tempe campus.

Another Silent Dinner will be held Thursday, Sept. 27, at Pitchforks in the Memorial Union, until 7 p.m., and then there will be bowling at the ASU Bowling Center from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, there will be a Deaf Awareness Sidewalk Sale at the ASU Bookstore on the Tempe campus, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The week will culminate with the Arizona Association of the Deaf Convention in Tucson Sept. 28-30.

Leff, who was born deaf because of medical complications with her mother, began learning to speak when she was 2. She also reads lips, but is more comfortable communicating in ASL.

She said “people know that there is a deaf community at ASU, “but they don’t know a lot about it.

“We want ASU to know that we have Deaf Awareness Week. It’s our most important week. You don’t have to learn sign language to join in the fun,” Leff said. “It’s a good learning experience for everyone.”

For more information about Deaf Awareness Week, or ASU’s four-semester ASL Program, which fulfills ASU’s foreign-language requirement, contact Leff at Sorenson Video Relay Service 1-866-327-8877 or Videophone (VP): 480-727-6084, or

Or, contact Paul Quinn. ASL coordinator, at (480) 965-9356 or