Callier Center Begins New Deaf History, Awareness Event

Children in the Callier Child Development Program interacted with toys and devices aimed for hearing impaired children during a deaf history and awareness celebration.

The children in the Callier Child Development Program moved quickly through the activity stations in the gymnasium during a recent celebration at the UT Dallas Callier Center for Communication Disorders.

Their small hands grasped brightly colored Play-Doh, letter stamps, hand-shaped puppets, letter blocks, costumes, and books. The toys and devices were specifically aimed for hearing impaired children who practice American Sign Language (ASL).

Nearly 150 students participated in the Callier Child Development Program’s Deaf History and Awareness celebration held in April, a month which is nationally designated to recognize deaf culture and history.

“Between 35 and 40 of the Callier students are children who are deaf or hard of hearing and attend the Callier Child Development Program through the Dallas ISD Regional Day School Program for the Deaf,” said Karen Clark, director of Callier’s Education Division.

During the celebration, many children followed along with sign language videos and storytelling, while others preferred the hands-on activities. Assistive devices such as flashing doorbells, vibrating alarm clocks, and caption phones were available for children to test and use.

Several of the activities involved sign language.

“We believe this event was able to teach and bring awareness to the children in ways they were really able to understand,” said Elaine Jacobson, the main coordinator for the event. “It provided them with many learning opportunities through the three most common learning styles—visual, auditory, and kinesthetic, all through the guidance of the teachers who were there to support that learning.” 

At one activity station, children molded Play-Doh into the shapes of hearing aids and cochlear implants.

“We could really see the interest in the typically developing hearing children to make their own assisted listening device, and the pride in the deaf children who were able to help in this process and bring attention to their own assistive listening devices in such a positive way,” said Jacobson.

The event promoted the contributions of those in the deaf community by displaying photos of famous deaf or hard-of-hearing athletes, inventors and artists.

The celebration was the first of its kind at the Callier Center and will likely become an annual event, organizers said.

“This event and these activities turned out to be a great success,” said Jacobson. “We can’t wait to do it again next year.”

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].