OKLAHOMA CITY ─ Oklahomans who are deaf and supporters will celebrate Deaf Awareness Week September 18 through 24.
“Services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing staff look forward to participating in various activities and awareness campaigns to celebrate the annual event,” said Terri Williams, field service coordinator. "It is a time when we can rally together in activities in a concerted effort and enjoy socializing."
Williams, whose responsibilities include supervising SDHH, is hard of hearing.
SDHH is a program in Vocational Rehabilitation, a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.
“Deaf Awareness Week is a great opportunity to promote the contributions and potential of deaf Oklahomans,” DRS SSDH Program Manager Jonathon Cook explained. “We also want employers to consider hiring qualified, hard-working people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and ready to meet their business’ needs.”
The number of SDHH clients who became employed increased by 67 percent in 2015, which is the highest success rate in reported history.
Cook explained that 2016 job placements are keeping pace with the 2015.
Client applications for career planning and employment services increased 21 percent this year, which is also a record-setting number.
Cook’s staff have decreased application processing time by 59.5 percent, which means job seekers are getting employment assistance more quickly.
DRS’ Services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing staff in Tulsa will participate in a week-long series of activities hosted by the non-profit service agency TSHA. Activities include a rummage sale, bunco game night, silent dinner and Deaf Awareness Day at Woodland Hills Mall from 12 to 4 p.m. on Saturday (September 24). TSHA’s has more information on these events at http://www.tsha.cc/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/deaf-awareness-week-2016-f... or 918-932-2022.
SDHH staff will provide information at exhibit booths on Thursday (September 22) at the Oklahoma State Fair and Saturday (September 24) during Deaf Awareness Day in Tulsa.
Nearly 169,800 Oklahomans or 4.5 percent are hard of hearing, according to U.S. Census-based estimates developed by Gallaudet University.
Gallaudet University, a liberal arts university for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, is located in Washington, D.C.
Services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing serves the state from two offices. For more information about services, email SDHH@okdrs.gov or call 800-833-8973 in Oklahoma City or 918-836-5556 in Tulsa. The phone numbers are accessible by phone, video phone and telecommunications equipment for the deaf.
Services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and DRS Vocational Rehabilitation staff coordinate to help clients reach employment goals. Counselors based in Oklahoma City and Tulsa have specialized training in hearing and speech disabilities enabling them to communicate directly with clients using sign language or other techniques. Clients may receive evaluation, career guidance and counseling, medical assessment, training, rehabilitation equipment or devices, and job placement assistance, supported by sign language interpreters and real-time captioning through the Interpreter Services Program. Services to the Deaf staff manage the Oklahoma Quality Assurance Screening Test program, which evaluates and certifies the proficiency of interpreters for the deaf in Oklahoma.