September is International Deaf Awareness Month! In Maryland, we have the privilege of being surrounded by the richness of the Deaf community. The Maryland School for the Deaf has two campuses and a short drive to Washington DC is Gallaudet University, the world’s only university designed to be barrier-free for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (HoH) students. Baltimore also has a strong Deaf community that contributes to the beauty and diversity of the city.
The Hearing and Speech Agency of Metropolitan Baltimore (HASA)
One of the top resources in the Baltimore area for the Deaf community is HASA. The organization recently celebrated its 90th birthday. Over the last 90 years, HASA has provided a variety of services to the Deaf and HoH community in and around Baltimore.
Their mission is all about “connecting people to their worlds.” To do this, they provide education on American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture for both hearing and Deaf individuals. They also have a few special initiatives in Baltimore to make the city more accessible.
One of their top initiatives is helping restaurants create spaces that are more inviting and comfortable for people who are HoH and require a quiet environment with fewer distractions. They have also compiled a list of the quietest and loudest restaurants in the area.
Applied Development CEO, Kimberly Citizen, is a proud member of the HASA Board of Directors.
Deaf Education in Maryland
There are a few institutions in and around Maryland that provide education for Deaf and HoH people. One of the most well-known is the Maryland School for the Deaf.
With campuses in Columbia and Frederick, this primary and secondary education institution has a mission to “provide an equitable and exemplary education in a nurturing, engaging, and challenging environment to ensure students achieve personal excellence and become responsible lifelong learners.”
In Baltimore, Gwynns Falls Elementary School provides public education for Deaf and HoH students, allowing them to connect to others in the community while receiving an affordable education.
Maryland Deaf Arts and Entertainment
Many Deaf artists, playwrights, actors, and other talented entertainers hail from the Baltimore/Washington, DC Metro area. With Gallaudet and the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) so close together, it is easy to see why.
Gallaudet includes an arts program that puts on plays strictly in ASL, allowing people who are Deaf or HoH to view and participate in theater productions. Additionally, they regularly host art and media exhibitions that feature Deaf artists to better showcase their work.
Applied Development is proud to be a part of the Maryland Deaf and HoH community, providing services to government agencies and private companies that improve accessibility for people with a variety of diversabilities (diverse abilities).
If your business needs help building a program that encourages and celebrates diversabilties or provides more accessibility, Applied Development can help. Contact us online or give us a call today at 410.571.4016.