>>>CORRECTION: The story incorrectly stated that April Kelley is half-deaf the correct term is hard of hearing. Additionally, the story also incorrectly stated that one of the events that took place in the fall to promote the association was called Autism Awarness Lecture Series. The correct title of the event was Audism Awareness Lecture Series. The speakers for the event come to educate students about audism not autism.
Imagine living in a silent world where there is no sound, music or familiar voices.
April Kelley, a deaf studies major who is hard of hearing is familiar with this experience and explains that growing up was somewhat difficult.
There were times when children would give her a hard time because she had to wear hearing aids.
In order to better understand the hard of hearing community, CSUN has implemented the Deaf Studies Association (DSA) on campus.
Established in 1989 by Associated Students, the organization has been dedicated to raising awareness about the deaf culture on a college campus.
DSA president and deaf studies major Jaspreet Ghotra has high hopes for the organization in terms of educating other students about deaf society. Ghotra anticipates that the association will educate other students about their culture and allow perceptions to shift.
Even though events are coordinated to provide unity between all students, there are times when the deaf community is misunderstood.
Deaf Studies major and junior, Justin Pardo believes that people constantly make assumptions about hard of hearing individuals.
“People don’t understand that some individuals identify as deaf because of their culture,” Pardo said. “The term hearing impaired is disrespectful since it implies there is something wrong with them being deaf.”
While some people continue to use these terms the DSA members try to educate students to the best of their ability.
“One of the challenges we always face is our society’s misconceptions about deaf people”, said Ghotra. “Those misconceptions often create difficulties as well as barriers in our work towards educating the community as well as in developing partnerships with other organizations on campus.”
Through campus events, DSA hopes to provide other students with insight into the lives of the deaf community.
Here on campus, the National Center of Deafness helps around 200 deaf students each year. As a result a stronger foundation is formed and social justice is available for all by allowing students to grasp a better understanding of a different culture.
“Students should know about the Deaf Studies Association as it will provide them with opportunities to form new bonds, learn our ideas, and gain a new perspective,” said Ghotra.
One of the events that took place in the fall to promote the association is the Audism Awareness Lecture Series. During this event, prominent speakers such as Evelina Gaina from the deaf community come to educate students about audism and any other issues that they may face.
“In learning the different life perspectives brought on by the natural variation, we are then able to gain new vantage and ideas that contribute to furthering and bettering our society,” said Ghotra.
However, although the club is affiliated with hard of hearing students, it does not exclude other students on campus who do not have difficulties hearing.
Seeing that this club has a lot to offer to the CSUN community, Ghotra believes that club members are proud to be part of an association that represents who they are.
Pardo is one of those members.“I am able to learn of a culture I’ve never met before growing up,” Pardo said. “I believe other students should know about DSA to know that CSUN offers an amazing deaf studies program.”
Deaf studies major and junior, April Kelley is involved with the hard of hearing community, but was not familiar with DSA.
CSUN has an amazing program to help the deaf and hard of hearing.
“It is a place where we can learn and grow together,” Kelley said.
Kelley believes that having a diverse number of people in the association will allow for students to come together.
“Just because we can’t hear doesn’t mean that we are stupid or dumb. We just communicate differently,” said Kelley. “It is a chance for students to get a glimpse of the world that hard of hearing students have to deal with on a daily basis.”
Without the DSA program offered on campus, some students may not be aware of the impact that being hearing impaired can have on an individual.
“Our differences are what set us apart, but our similarities are what bring us closer together,” said Ghotra. “If we all took the time to learn about the deaf culture, we may be able to see the world in a different light.”