Skip to content Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Persons



by Aarian Marshall

Gallaudet University, the private school for the hard of hearing located in Washington, D.C., is a haven for the deaf. The school is officially bilingual, which means students are taught in both English and American Sign Language (ASL). It also has the same sorts of extracurriculars you would see at any liberal arts university, like Greek life, a football team, and a campus television station. Still, a specific deaf culture flourishes in Gallaudet, defined by the school’s unique history, literary traditions, and behaviors.

Read more  . . . Gallaudet University




Virginia Association of the Deaf and Gallaudet University Regional Center - Southeast is sponsoring a Legislative Training event on Saturday, November 15th.

Light breakfast and lunch will be provided by VAD
* First come, first served up to 40 participants
* Participants will receive Certificate of Attendance NAD Legislative Training

Workshop will be held at:
VA Dept. for Aging and Rehabilitative Services 8004 Franklin Farms Drive Henrico, VA 23229


Register today or before November 1st to book one of the 40 available seats! 

See attachment for more information.

Download PDF Attachment


Sent by Virginia Association of the Deaf, Inc.



Gallaudet Website
Article Source

Several Gallaudet University students are working to improve the American justice system for the deaf by interning with Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf (HEARD), a D.C.-based nonprofit organization.

Corinna Hill
Gallaudet Student - Corinna Hill '14

HEARD recently was featured in two episodes of Al Jazeera America series "America Tonight." "Deaf In Prison" focused on the plight of deaf and hard of hearing inmates in prisons throughout the United States, and HEARD kicked off a #DeafinPrison social media campaign during which it promoted the Al Jazeera episodes on YouTube.

Corinna Hill, '14, is one of the Gallaudet students who helped HEARD with its outreach efforts. "I grew up thinking that the prison system was fair, and now I realize it has flaws," said Hill, a Boonsboro, Md., native who majored in history. "Innocent deaf Americans are sitting in prison."

HEARD is a volunteer-run organization founded by American University law student Talila Lewis. After a semester-long externship with the D.C. Public Defense Service, Lewis set a mission: to improve communication accessibility for deaf prisoners and fight for those who have been wrongfully convicted.

"Only five prisons in the U.S. have videophones - Virginia, Vermont, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Maine," Lewis said.

There also are numerous cases of allegedly innocent deaf Americans who have been imprisoned for years, unable to tell their story and without access to interpreters or even a TTY.

Read More . . .

 Let’s Put Laurent Clerc 
and Abbé de l’Épée on the Map

By Alice L. HagemeyerAbbé de l’Épée laurent-clerc1

Let’s put two remarkable educators:  Laurent Clerc and Abbé de l’Épée on the US map and the world as well.  Gallaudet University has been a leader in deaf education and will celebrate its 150th anniversary on April 8, 2014.  Happy Birthday!

Why should we? Well there is an estimated 119,987 libraries of all kinds and 38,225,590 deaf people with various hearing levels in America who have the right to know about existing deaf resources, especially those that are related to Gallaudet University and the history of deaf education.

Also there are many Gallaudet alumni and supporters who already know about library values to preserve deaf history and have prior experience with deaf cultural programming.  Some of them would be delighted to be invited by local libraries and OSDs (organizations serving the deaf) as collaborative partners to give a talk about their alma mater Gallaudet University and about the two famed educators who made America great:  Laurent Clerc and Abbé de l’Épée.


The FOLDA KIT: Laurent Clerc and Gallaudet University, written and compiled by the Gallaudet Class of 1957 with Alice L. Hagemeyer, is a fundraiser for Gallaudet Archives. We will sell only 500 copies.  First come, first served.

This Kit includes the following information documents and posters.  8.5” x 11”

(1) Laurent Clerc: Apostle of the Deaf in America; (2) Laurent Clerc: Some Questions You May Never Have Thought to Ask; (3) Why Gallaudet University Wouldn’t Have Been Possible Without Laurent Clerc and Thomas H. Gallaudet; (4) Gallaudet University: Chronological Timeline; (5) The Year that Changed Kendall Green: Nineteen Fifty-Seven (1957); (6)  American Gratitude  (National Association of the Deaf); (7)  Abbé Charles-Michel de l’Épée;(8) Jean Boutcher, Deaf Artist of two posters: Clerc and Abbé; (9) Acknowledgments; and (10)  Open Letter to Dr. T. Alan Hurwitz, 10th President of Gallaudet University and his response; (11). Poster: National Deaf History Month, March 13 – April 15; (2) Poster: Clerc-Gallaudet Week, December 3-9; (3) Poster: Deaf America Reads; (4) Poster Laurent Clerc and (5) Poster Abbé de l’Épée

TO ORDER THE KIT:   Each folder costs 10 dollars and each binder 25 dollars.  Add $3 for shipping. The binder includes the folder and sheet protectors.  

Make checks payable to Library for Deaf Action and mail to 2930 Craiglawn Road, Silver Spring, MD 20904-1816.  We also welcome contributions $5 or more; they will be acknowledged.     Remember we sell only 500. First come, first served.


Distributed 2013 by Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC), 3951 Pender Drive, Suite 130, Fairfax, VA 22030;; 703-352-9055 V, 703-352-9056 TTY, 703-352-9058 Fax. Items in this newsletter are provided for information purposes only; NVRC does not endorse products or services. You do not need permission to share this information, but please be sure to credit NVRC.  This news service is free of charge, but donations are greatly appreciated.

By Bonnie O'Leary  6/28/11 

It was a pleasure to stop by the Peer Mentoring Program exhibit and chat with Matt Bakke and Kaitie DeFonzo.  Dr. Bakke helped develop the program which started in 2005, and I was fortunate to be in the first group of students who were certified in June of 2007.  Kaitie is helping to teach the program while studying towards her Au.D.

The Peer Mentor program is training its fifth group of students, and is now recruiting twelve new students for the 2013 class.    A peer mentor is “an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing and trained to work with other individuals with hearing loss in need of support, information, teaching, and/or advocacy, in order to live their life with hearing loss as seamlessly as possible.” 

Students who are accepted complete a 2-year distance-learning certification program and will be trained in 1) information-sharing, 2) provision of support, empathy, and validation, 3) identification of consumer needs, 4) problem-solving, 5) establishment of goals and objectives for improved quality of life and 6) needs assessment for the applicability of assistive hearing technology. 

Program graduates receive a Peer Mentoring Certificate from Gallaudet University under the College of Professional Studies and Outreach.

Costs and curriculum
Currently, students pay $30.00 per semester for 6 semesters, and they must also pay for their travel and lodging.  There are two visits to Gallaudet – the first for new student orientation, and the final visit at the end of the program for the certification itself. 

Students will earn 16 credits over the two years.  After the opening seminar at Gallaudet, which is worth one credit, the semester courses are: Hearing Loss in America: An Overview, Biopsychosocial Aspects of Hearing Loss (this was my favorite!), Practical Audiology: Fundamentals for Consumers, Hearing Assistive Technology, Peer Mentoring for Hearing Loss, and the Final Seminar: Applications of Peer Mentoring.  Dr. Bakke told me they are currently reviewing the curriculum to provide more opportunities for hands on instruction, especially in the audiology segment where they are hoping to have the students actually give each other hearing tests. 

The peer mentor training that I received has been a huge asset to my own outreach work for NVRC.  If you are interested in learning more about Gallaudet’s Peer Mentor Certification Training or would like to apply for the upcoming class, contact Matt Bakke at

Gallaudet Peer Mentoring Certification Program

By Bonnie O'Leary 6/23/11

This workshop was led by Jimmy Lee, MS, CCC-SLP, who is a Speech Pathologist in the Hearing and Speech Center of the Department of Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences at Gallaudet University.  He introduced his program with a quote from George Bernard Shaw which most of us in the audience seemed to relate to with subdued chuckles around the room:  “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”  (This will be duly incorporated into my future outreach presentations!) 

Communication model

When communication takes place, there are components to that event:  the sender, the receiver, the environment, and the message.  The sender “speaks”, assigning meaning to the information; the receiver (or the person listening) decodes that information and assigns meaning, giving feedback by answering the speaker.  But as many of us know, a breakdown can occur anywhere along the line, creating threats to the success of the communication.  Some of these include noise, distance, reverberation, shared language, and speaking skills.

For many years, Gallaudet has used a communication therapy model for students with hearing loss and speech challenges that focuses on global areas: informational and adjustment counseling, technology, and strategies.  Integrated therapies include auditory, language, speech/voice, pronunciation, and speechreading skills.   (These services have also been available to anyone in the area who needs them, especially late-deafened adults.)

Informational and adjustment counseling

Many areas are addressed in this segment.  These include hearing loss, grief, and relationships at home, at school, and at work.   An understanding of these areas helps form the basis for recommending options in amplification and communication strategies.  Grief is a very important element in the adjustment counseling.  Particularly for those who struggle with late-onset deafness, grief is a multi-faceted response to that loss.  It has emotional ramifications as well as physical, cognitive, behavioral, and social dimensions, and it is important to understand the impact of grief on the person needing these therapies.  Many people who lose their hearing go through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, but not necessarily in that order.   


There are many technology options for people seeking solutions to their communication needs.  Hearing aids and cochlear implants are usually a first consideration, but depending on the level of hearing loss it could also be advisable to start with assistive hearing technologies such as FM or Infrared systems, hard-wired devices such as PockeTalkers, and alerting devices.  


Communication strategies are broad and varied, and it takes time to learn to use them.  I remember how many months I spent trying to hone my own strategy skills after I had learned the basics in speechreading classes.  Anticipatory strategies are useful prior to a communication event; by preparing yourself for possible conversations and what vocabulary might be used, it’s easier to focus.  Repair strategies are helpful during a communication breakdown; for instance, instead of asking someone to repeat what you didn’t understand, you would ask them to rephrase it, or ask for a key word, or how to spell a word you simply cannot understand.  Maintenance strategies are simple techniques used during communication, ensuring the speaker that you are continuing to understand what he or she is saying, such as confirming the information every few sentences. 

How well we handle strategies is often dependent upon our personality.  If we are passive (“Oh, that’s okay…”), the likelihood of communicating our needs is more diminished than if we are assertive.  If we are aggressive (demanding!)  we risk not having our communication needs met because we’ve managed to make everyone around us defensive and irritated.  Being assertive means we are stating our needs in a polite but firm manner, validating the feelings of the person we are speaking to, and making it clear that we want to negotiate so it’s a win-win for everyone.  Generally, an assertive approach assures a successful outcome for our communication needs.

Areas for assessment

The integrated approach also identifies skill areas that need to be assessed.  Auditory skills are evaluated, such as the person’s ability to communicate one on one and in a group.  Speechreading skills include both visual and auditory.  An evaluation of expressive skills covers the areas of speech, voice and pronunciation.  Overall language skills assessment focuses on everything from grammatical usage to vocabulary and written language abilities.

If you would like to learn more about Gallaudet’s integrated approach to communication therapy, contact Jimmy Lee at

James Lee, MS, CCC-SLP

Gallaudet's Hearing and Speech Center