Sites of interest to the deaf

--> Select Internet Resources then
--> Internet Resources for the Physically and Mentally Challenged


Sites of interest to the deaf

     About American Sign Language
     College and Career Programs for Deaf Students
     Council on Education of the Deaf
     Deaf Encyclopedic Resources in English
     Deaf Resource Library
     Deaf World Web
     Deafness Hard of Hearing -- Home Page
     DeafWeb Washington's Home Page
     Interpreters' Network
     National Information Center on Deafness, Gallaudet University
     National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

For further information:


--> Internet Resources then
--> Search the 'Net
--> Search the web using Cyber411

Just enter the query "deaf", without the quotation marks.

This will search 15 search engines at once. Cyber 411 is my search
engine of choice. I put it on my site because theirs loads so slowly
due to the heavy reliance on graphics.

I would appreciate feedback on this and the WebSitez engine. Contact
information is located at the end of this message.


Deaf students are free spirits on Internet
tech.k12 / Joyce Kasman Valenza

Several years ago, a group of my students, mostly boys, corresponded
by e-mail with a group of students in Australia, mostly girls.

Sure, it was an exciting cultural exchange, and part of the appeal
was certainly cross-gender. But what struck me most powerfully was
that no one was more interested in the exchange than David. For the
first time, David had a lengthy communication in which his deafness
was absolutely invisible.

"For the deaf, e-mail and chat [ rooms ] provide anonymity," says
Glenna Shire, a teacher of the deaf for the Montgomery County
Intermediate Unit. "My students can talk to people anywhere in the
world. In this environment, like no other, they are identified by who
they are, not what they are. They are finally offered the privilege
of having honest and true communication. E-mail and chat eliminate
the need for interpreters or third-person intervention. Conversations
can be truly personal."

Wissahickon School District is host to the deaf education program for
Montgomery County. I sat down with several of our students and asked
them why they were so enthusiastic about the Internet. Many deaf
students are feeling a sense of greater autonomy and self-reliance
with new options for communication that don't depend on the ability
to hear. The students' comments revealed the struggle they have
experienced with telephone communication.

"When I need to leave a message, I e-mail my father from school. I
don't have to bother with the relay and it saves me 25 cents," said
Liz Jensen, 17.

It is easy to take the task of leaving a message for granted if you
are a hearing person. For a deaf person, it is not easy to tell
whether the line is busy, whether there is an answering machine, or
exactly when the machine's beep comes on. "I could never leave a
message," said Nancy McAnlis, 17. "I don't know when the answering
machine picks up. I can't hear the beep, and if people are not
familiar with my voice they would not understand my message."

"E-mail lets users communicate with each other without worrying about
telephone tag, time zones, TTYs, voice interpreters," says Phil
Mackall, director of Pre-College Programs at Gallaudet University in
Washington, D.C., which serves the deaf and hard of hearing.

Before there was e-mail, the only distance communications option was
TTY. When deaf students talk to someone on the phone, it is usually
through a relay service. The exchange takes place through regular
telephone lines, but it can be frustrating and expensive and there is
always third-party intervention.

TTYs were a major communications breakthrough. But e-mail and chat
have created a kind of deaf global village.

There is an active deaf community on the Web. Web sites list events
of interest to the deaf. Many chat rooms and Internet Relay Chat
(IRC) channels have a deaf focus or exclusively deaf participants.

"I am constantly making new connections meeting deaf people all over
the world," said Liz Jensen. "We chat with both deaf and hearing
people," said Jen Sebzda, 16. "But most important, you get to talk to
people . . . and you don't have to go through all the complication of
not being understood and not understanding."

Deaf teens cannot spend the night chatting on the phone, but they can
enjoy the same social connection through the family modem line. The
students report they use chat because it is cheap, convenient, and
allows them to find community.

"The deaf community is so small and dispersed. In the chat rooms you
can talk to many deaf people at the same time. I had no idea there
were so many deaf people nearby," said McAnlis. She recommends the
print and electronic versions of the publication DeafNation, which
often list deaf chat rooms and IRC channels. There is a room in
America Online called "Deafteen" and a listing of deaf IRC channels
on Yahoo. "But you can just type in keyword 'deaf' and see what comes
up," says McAnlis. "We always try to find other deaf people by
looking up user profiles with the word deaf."

One problem the students described was how difficult it was for the
deaf to pick up new slang, words like phat, for instance. E-mail and
chat allow them to pick up important nuances in teenage language. "We
don't hear those words, so it takes awhile for us to pick up the
latest new expressions. Seeing them appear in a chat room allows us
to pick it up more quickly," said McAnlis.

Kathy Gentner is a teacher's assistant in the classroom for the deaf
at Wissahickon. Gentner, who is deaf herself, told me: "Chat has
provided a means for my whole family to communicate. We have a set
time to chat every Sunday because we are always busy. We have no time
to drive and see each other. It is the same with my deaf friends. For
the deaf, chat has lessened our need to use phones. My friend's
father died recently. When deaf people heard about it, they expressed
their sympathy through e-mail."

The Web has enabled the deaf to avoid a few other phone barriers. "I
don't have to go through the relay service anymore when I want to
order a pizza," said Jensen. "My local pizza store has a Web site
with an online ordering system. I order my pizza on the Web and drive
over to pick it up." The students in Glenna Shire and Carrie Bunch's
class enjoy the autonomy of using the Web to help with their
research. It is especially helpful as students investigate college
choices. Some are trying to identify colleges with deaf programs and
services such as note-takers and interpreters. This information was a
struggle to find before the Web. Most of the print college-selection
guides did not go into great detail; telephone calls were frustrating
and expensive.

"I use the Web to find out about deaf news," said Gentner. "For
instance, the Deaf Olympics was in Denmark this past summer. My
friend's brother was a coach for the women's team. On the Internet I
got updated news of wins and losses through Web sites like
DeafNation, Silent News, National Association for the Deaf, Gallaudet
University and other sites maintained by deaf colleges. I have
recommended its use to help others investigate job possibilities."

Any drawbacks? Shire said they are the same as for other young
people: "It is wonderful that my students are exploring their
interests independently, but some kids tend to get too hooked into it
and they believe everything that comes off the Internet has value.
They don't always evaluate" sources. But the biggest problem is that
"some of the kids who really need it don't have it." The students
noted another drawback. Multimedia features on Web sites and CD-ROMs
are inaccessible. Few audio/video segments are captioned, though they
may be essential to the understanding of a work.

E-mail and chat allow the deaf a new kind of freedom, addressing
issues of privacy and independence. Though all the students I spoke
with had only the most positive things to say about their
interpreters, they confided that having to have any third party
involved in every conversation can be an issue, especially for a
teenager. "I don't want to include an adult in all my business," said
one student. "E-mail eliminates that issue entirely. I can say
anything I want, without restrictions or inhibitions."

For the deaf, a communication gap is being closed. "I love e-mail and
chat," said Sebzda. "I meet a lot of people who have no idea that I
am deaf. On the Internet, they treat you like you are normal. All
they see is your words."

Also in this issue:

- Un-Red: Russian Army Goes Online
    MOSCOW - The doors of Russia's long-secretive Defense Ministry
    creaked open Wednesday when it launched its own Internet site after a
    battle between old-school officers and those with an eye on the
- Smaller ISPs Face Mixed Future In Deregulated Europe
    Deregulation of the European telecommunications market will lead to
    an explosion of Internet use in Europe, but smaller ISPs will have to
    specialize to survive, Internet market watchers said Thursday.
- Usenet II: Freedom or Tyranny?
    Fed up with spam, chaotic newsgroup naming, and excessive
    cross-posting, some long-time participants in Usenet discussions have
    quietly started their own hierarchy of discussion groups, dubbed
    Usenet II.
- Deaf students are free spirits on Internet
    Several years ago, a group of my students, mostly boys, corresponded
    by e-mail with a group of students in Australia, mostly girls.
    Sure, it was an exciting cultural exchange, and part of the appeal
    was certainly cross-gender. But what struck me most powerfully was
    that no one was more interested in the exchange than David. For the
    first time, David had a lengthy communication in which his deafness
    was absolutely invisible.
- Student info left exposed
    Crisis in Chem Annex reveals students social security numbers were
    available on internet and in classrooms
- 5 cents-a-Minute Internet Calls Coming Soon
    Even if you don't have a computer, the Internet may save you money on
    long-distance phone calls.
- New Lists and Journals
    * ET-ODEN - Internet Conference List
    * ANNUAL_FUND - Fund Raising Through the Annual Fund
    * FISH-SCI - Fisheries Science discussion list


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