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Here are frequently asked questions of the NDC | Help Team. Search by topic, or scroll through the archive. If you have a question, please ask us. Want to be alerted when new FAQs are posted? Join the NDC listserv.

FAQs About Deaf 101

There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to communication, nor is there a “typical” deaf person. Each individual is unique and brings their own set of communication needs and preferences, based on the setting and the purpose of the interaction.

When first meeting a deaf person, do not make assumptions about the individual’s communication preference. NDC's Communicating with Deaf Individuals tip sheet suggests that you inquire with the deaf person about their preferred communication needs for different settings. Writing, gestures, speech, sign language, technology, and visual aids are all options to be explored.

The National Association of State Agencies of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (NASADHH) maintains a directory of state-by-state agencies serving deaf individuals. If you do not see an agency listed for your state, NASADHH recommends reaching out to your state’s vocational rehabilitation agency for additional support and referrals.

ASL classes can be found locally or online through a number of different organizations, schools, and colleges. The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) has a page with information and recommendations on where to find classes: 

The Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center maintains a list of summer camps for deaf children and teens. Contact programs directly to see if they will offer a virtual camp or have cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additional Resources:

Deaf Awareness Week started as a day-long event in 1958 by the World Federation of the Deaf. Whether you want to learn about deaf culture, or learn sign language , seek opportunities to engage with deaf individuals in your community. 

  • Partner with a deaf organization to host a campus and community event. Engaging directly with deaf people and the deaf community is the best way to learn!

  • Spotlight deaf history, famous deaf people, and current events. Research and share information on social media platforms, posters or a webpage.

  • Invite deaf people to share their experiences. Host a guest lecture (in-person or online) with a deaf researcher, coordinate formal/informal discussions with a deaf person (e.g., a lunch & learn) or a panel with several deaf people.

  • Host a deaf-centered movie night or series. Show documentaries and films about deaf culture. Be sure the film is accessible with open or closed captions. Include a “Q & A” session with deaf community members.