Tuesday, October 14, 2014

General Meeting Minutes #3

Hi NSSLHA! We had such an interesting meeting today with our guest speaker David Simmons, and we hope you all thoroughly enjoyed it as well. As always, below are our upcoming events :)

Service Opportunities 
Growing Roots Tuesday: As per usual, we will be having another volunteer Tuesday a week from today, 10/21 at the Pan Am Cantu Rec Center from 5:30-8:00 PM. Remember, preference is given to the first four volunteers!
Best Buddies Fall Fundraiser: Preference was given to those who signed up first and they should have received an email. For those who were selected: if you cannot attend the fundraiser this Sunday, 10/19, please email prior to the event so we can allow another member to take your place!
Texas Academy of Audiology Conference: Unfortunately, this event has been cancelled :(
REMINDERS: Any volunteering at Texas School for the Deaf counts for service points. Also, two weeks at Austin Speech Labs counts for 2 service points. Please use the Volunteer Form (linked in the October Events post) to receive your points!

Fundraising and Social Events
Austin's Pizza Fundraiser: Going on right now and counts with both food AND alcohol!!! Will end at 10 PM, so please stop by and mention you're with UT NSSLHA. Don't forget to email or text your receipt to Gabby @gnicole92@live.com or (210) 364-5094
Bake Sale: Our first bake sale is tentatively set for November 5th! We will confirm this at a later date :)
Iowa State Tailgate: Don't forget our first tailgate this Saturday, 10/18 at 4PM. You are more than welcome to bring a date and please wear your NSSLHA shirt. This event will be catered by Fat Sals and we will be having our group picture taken around 5:45-6 PM. Please RSVP to our FB event and come out!
TSD (Texas School for the Deaf) Football Game: Come support TSD November 7th at 7PM!

Miscellaneous Points
GRE Study Group: Our first study group will be this Thursday, 10/16, from 5:30-8PM, hopefully in the same room as our meeting. An email will be sent out and don't forget that attending two sessions will count as one misc. point! Even if you are not taking the GRE yet, this is a good way to prep and see what to expect. *ETS website has free material to print*
Please bring your own materials and come out to study!
NSSLHA Brown Bag Meet Up: Thank you to everyone who signed up. Assignments will be emailed out Wednesday night so be on the look out for that!

Just a few side notes
Support the CSD Doctoral Students that are selling t-shirts in a variety of styles! The link to purchase is on our FB page.
A message from Dr. Franco: Helpers are needed 6hrs/wk to support young adults with autism in the home and community. Approximately $11-12/hr.
Also super important: If you sign up for an event, you MUST attend. Not only are other NSSLHA members counting on you to be there, but the people we are serving are looking forward to it too. Please keep this in mind, and if you absolutely cannot attend an event, please email us 24 hour prior so that we can making adjustments if needed. There is a new implementation of negative points meaning we will deduct points for every unexcused or missed event.

Guest Lecturer: David Simmons, American Sign Language Lecturer
David Simmons was born profoundly deaf and moved from South Africa to the US where he learned American Sign Language at Gallaudet University. He moved to Austin on August 8, 2008 and he began teaching ASL at ACC. Dr. Bernstein later hired him to work here at UT. He says he is incredibly blessed to be here - "My name is David here, in South Africa my name is deaf."

Difference between Deaf and deaf
Deaf: Cultural perspective
deaf: Medical/pathological perspective

Deaf people tend to be placed into a specific category of people and they tend to be left to the side and ignored. This results in a lot of missing information.
Helen Keller had a real huge impact. She was both deaf and blind and she became well known throughout the world. Blindness cuts people off from things because they can't see what's out there. However, deafness cuts people off from communication, it's the loss of vital stimulation such as music from the radio, jokes shared amongst people, and the sounds of nature. Her mission was to prove that she wasn't cut out from the world. Professor Simmons apologizes to Helen Keller because she was born in the wrong time and didn't get to experience the development of technology - deaf people now have cell phones that allow them to talk via their interpreter and can use video to connect.
Not everything has been solved for the deaf community, but students like us are taking it step by step in helping to bridge the relationship between deaf and hearing people.
Being deaf is a 180dB loss. However, parents now have more options instead of just forcing their deaf child to conform and learn English. Throughout time, the development of the cochlear implant and the acceptance of sign has changed the perspective of deafness. Speech therapy allows for deaf individuals to learn to speak, even perfectly, like in the case of his mother who learned to speak after undergoing speech therapy for four hours a day for three years.
The deaf population is booming rapidly, especially locally. In the Austin Metropolitan area, the population is roughly 1.37 million. From that number, about 870,000 people are deaf. According to the Department of Assistive Rehabilitation Services, 17.8% of the population is either deaf or hard of hearing and 3.8% is culturally Deaf using ASL.
In the case of ASL, approximately 2,190 students enroll in ASL classes every year. There has been a 432% increase of ASL enrollments since 1988 due to the rebellion at Gallaudet University, when they hired a hearing person as the university's president. Many in the community had advocated for a deaf president to be elected given that this is single deaf university in the world. This event created a lot of attention, mostly good, for the deaf community. Now, sign language is the 4th most taught foreign language in the world and the 3rd most used language in the US. It's even generated a great influence in baby sign language where studies show that teaching an infant sign language makes it easier for them to communicate with their parents at a younger age. There is a critical period for language acquisition, usually before the age of 10. Studies show that delayed or degraded language input results in incomplete grammatical knowledge and less efficient grammatical processing as well as deficits that persist regardless of length and intensive language experience.
So, what can we do?
In our field, we can offer parents the FULL options. Let them decide what is best for their child and provide them with enough information and selection for informed options. Along with ASL, speech and hearing are great too.
If you would like to have more involvement with the Deaf community, ACC Cypress Creek and Rio Grande offer ASL classes. There is also a Facebook group, Sign Horns, that shares several on and off campus events to volunteer. If you would like more information or have any pertinent questions, you can contact Diana Mendoza or Professor Simmons.

That's all for now everyone. Please join us at our next meeting on October 28th, which will be our Graduate School Panel! Enjoy your night and good luck on midterms! :)


  1. Got it! Claire Howington

  2. Got it! Elizabeth McCord

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  31. Halle Finkley hf3795