Algonquin Area Public Library Launches New Series of Diversity Programs with Deaf Sensitivity Training – Shaw Local
Signing the word computer involves making a circular hand motion, a reference to the floppy disks and large circular machines inside computers that marked computers when American Sign Language was developed decades ago.
It was one of a few key library terms that Chicago-based Deaf Planet Soul vice president Zaineb Abdullah taught during a program Tuesday night, part of a new library initiative. Algonquin Region public service to recognize the diverse cultures in the community, Adult Services said programming specialist Kate Cundiff.
Two back-to-back sessions included teaching children the ASL alphabet, followed by a presentation by Abdullah on current challenges for the deaf community and what local municipalities — and libraries — can do to help.
“There are deaf people in every community, so why not educate Algonquin? Cundiff said.
The library was an appropriate setting for deaf sensitivity training because of the low literacy rate within the deaf community, said Abdullah, who became deaf at the age of 20 ten years ago. In addition to his role with Deaf Planet Soul, Abdullah also works as a behavior analyst for deaf children, including some with autism.
“We never developed a system to teach deaf children to read fluently,” Abdullah said. “So this is a huge, massive problem in our community right now.”
Additionally, nearly three-quarters of deaf adults are unemployed or underemployed, Abdullah said, due to an ongoing stigma against hiring deaf employees or fears that it will be difficult or uncomfortable to work. with them.
“Deaf adults have spent their entire lives figuring out how to communicate with hearing people,” Abdullah said. “If you just wait a second, they’ll figure out how to talk to you, they’ll pull out their phone or a notepad. Don’t be scared, just give people a minute.
Abdullah also encouraged people to try to attend Deaf-centric events or check out media centered on Deaf topics — with the exception of music videos on TikTok, which Abdullah says often include incorrect ASL and are “terribly made”.
Several participants said afterwards that they found the session very useful.
Algonquin resident Anne Shahbaz, who is learning sign language, said she found the statistics about the difficult dynamic between parents and deaf children was something she didn’t know much about before.
“Hopefully we can do it again in the future,” Cundiff said. “We don’t talk about it enough”