Deaf Students Breaking Language Barriers 10/2/12
CBS 7 News
October 2, 2012
Big Spring - Silence. That's the only difference between the deaf world and the hearing world. That's the message of Deaf Awareness Week.
"We want them to be involved in deafness because we all have to work together and we all have to be unified," Christopher Harlan, a student at SouthWest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf said.
Students at SWCID are spending the week spreading that message to the people of Big Spring.
"Often times they're reluctant. They think if you're deaf, does that mean you're mentally retarded too? and that's just not the case," Harlan said.
They say often times people let the fear of a language barrier get in the way of building a relationship.
"They get frustrated with the communication. If we try one mode, they get frustrated and don't realize there's other ways we can communicate," Omar Valdivinos, student at SWICD said.
The college trains interpreters to help break down those barriers.
"It's so worth it to go through the process of learning sign language. They love talking with you," Elizabeth Ball, student in the interpreter training program said.
Students say once that language barrier is down for good, we can all live a life without fear.
"Just be fearless when you approach a deaf person, don't worry about being afraid. Break through any anxieties you have about approaching a deaf person," Harlan said.
SWCID students also will be promoting awareness around town, serving customers at Bean's World in downtown Big Spring and conducting American Sign Language seminars at the county library.
For more information on SWCID's Deaf Awareness Week celebration and the Interpreter Training Program, contact the school at 432-264-3700.