Deaf Awareness Week

LeslieAdrienne By LeslieAdrienne, 24th Sep 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Ears & Hearing

This article gives a brief history USA national Deaf Awareness Week

Planting of the Seed

The last full week of September is declared as National Deaf Awareness Week. The origination of this week came about like most national observances. Through the persistence and sweat equity of one person who saw a need.

Miss Jan McMichael of Denver, Colorado made the suggestion and the Colorado Advisory Council Serving the Deaf (CACSD) agreed. They thought however if the week was to have any teeth, it would need to be managed by members of the deaf community.

Snowball Effect

Jerry Moers, committee chair and David Anthony officiated the first meeting for the establishment of The first Deaf Awareness Week (DAW). The meeting took place on May 11, 1972.

The enthusiasm increased exponentially and so did the participants. People from all walks of life were pushing for the establishment of this awareness week. Media personalities, business persons, and common everyday people offered their time and support to see this observation come to fruition.

One notable supporter was Mrs Angie Avery. The wife of the late Charles Avery used every available resource to make the dream become a reality. Mrs. Avery's late husband, Charles, was truly an impetus in the community. As a manager he hired over 60 hearing impaired employees and worked tirelessly to develop a "clubhouse" for the deaf. This was done through encouraging the Silent Athletic Club to purchase and transform an old Jewish synagogue on Julian Street.

Countless others are to be honored and although their names are not mentioned their efforts are eternally established.


On November 10, 1972 Mr. Jerry Moers stood on a platform alongside the then Colorado Governor John A Love. In the audience were countless hearing impaired and deaf Coloradans who witnessed the governor sign a proclamation declaring November 12-18, 1972 as Deaf Awareness Week in the state of Colorado.

The observance has been adopted throughout the United States and Internationally. (The International observances may occur during a different time frame.)

Why all of the Hoopla?

"About 2 to 4 of every 1,000 people in the United States are "functionally deaf," though more than half became deaf relatively late in life; fewer than 1 out of every 1,000 people in the United States became deaf before 18 years of age."

"However, if people with a severe hearing impairment are included with those who are deaf, then the number is 4 to 10 times higher. That is, anywhere from 9 to 22 out of every 1,000 people have a severe hearing impairment or are deaf. Again, at least half of these people reported their hearing loss after 64 years of age."

Regardless of the age of the person or the manner in which their hearing problems came about, it is the right of every person to be treated equally in the United States. This being said, awareness of the needs, limitations, and abilities of the deaf and hearing impaired are to be acknowledged.

Awareness, resources and acknowledgement of the Deaf community was the purpose of the establishment of this observation.

The Benefit of Awareness

For generations deaf and severely hearing impaired persons were shunned and institutionalized. Some were left to fend for themselves in the streets and slums. Some, excelled and impacted the world through sheer perseverance and determination. People like Ludwig van Beethoven, German composer, Helen Keller, American deaf-blind writer, lecturer, and actor,Gideon Moore, the first Deaf people to obtain a doctorate degree (1869) and others.

But, think of the multitudes of others who were not strong enough to persevere. What talents, what discoveries and what accomplishments have been lost because of the ignorance of others?

Deaf awareness week helps take the stigma away from a people whose only limitation is that they cannot hear me when I sing. For other than that, they are quite capable of living and contributing to our lives, our society and our world. Support Deaf Awareness Week in your community.


American Sign Language, Deaf Awareness, Hard Of Hearing, Hearing Impairment, Hearing Loss, Sign Language

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author avatar LeslieAdrienne
I love to write. I love the way words can be used to paint vivid pictures in the minds eye. I love the way that the words just flow out of me, bubbling up and overflowing .....

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author avatar Denise O
9th Apr 2012 (#)

A well written page. Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Teila
9th Apr 2012 (#)

Very nice!!

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