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Access:Ability March 2024 Newsletter

The March 2024 edition of the Ability Central monthly e-newsletter, Access:Ability.

National Deaf History Month

A diverse group of adults communicates in sign language as they sit outside and laugh. A Black woman in the center wears an assistive hearing device

Celebrating Deaf History Month: Resources from Ability Central

National Deaf History Month begins tomorrow! Read on to discover the history of this month of remembrance, its impact, and ways to get involved. 

From March 13th to April 15th each year, people around the country honor the accomplishments of leaders in the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community. National Deaf History Month is a time to remember major moments in the growing Deaf community and celebrate how far we’ve come.

When did National Deaf History Month start?

National Deaf History Month began in March of 1996, when two Deaf library employees in Washington D.C. decided to teach American Sign Language (ASL) to their team members. The project was such a success that the library turned it into a week of Deaf awareness and history.

From there, the event grew into a month-long time for celebration and remembrance that gained national attention by 1996. And in 2006, the American Library Association (ALA) and the National Association of the Deaf officially declared March 13th to April 15th as National Deaf History Month.

This time period includes three major milestones in Deaf education history:

  • On April 15th, 1817, the United States’s first public school for the Deaf opened.
  • On April 8th, 1864, Gallaudet University—the first higher education organization dedicated to the Deaf and hard of hearing—opened its doors.
  • On March 13th, 1988, Gallaudet officially nominated its first Deaf president in response to a student campaign called Deaf President Now.

How do I celebrate National Deaf History Month?

Each year, people around the US celebrate National Deaf History Month by:

  • Learning or teaching American Sign Language (ASL).  
  • Supporting Deaf-owned or led businesses.
  • Volunteering with Deaf organizations.
  • Learning about Deaf historical figures and major events.
  • Educating others about sign language inclusion, Deaf advocacy, and Deaf culture.

This National Deaf History Month, the team at Ability Central encourages you to educate yourself about your local Deaf community. Use our Service Locator tool to find a nonprofit organization near you that supports people who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

For more information, check out our resources about the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community on the Ability Central Portal.

March 12th is World Glaucoma Day!

A senior Asian woman sits in her living room on the couch, rubbing her eyes in pain

First celebrated on March 6th, 2008, World Glaucoma Day is now an annual event hosted on March 12th by the World Glaucoma Association (WGA) and the World Glaucoma Patient Association (WGPA). Together, the two organizations raise awareness about glaucoma and the importance of regular eye exams in an effort to prevent vision loss around the world. 

Did you know that most people who have glaucoma don’t have symptoms? In its earliest stages, the eye disease glaucoma is only visible in certain tests given by eye specialists. That’s why it’s crucial to get your annual vision checkups, especially if you have a preexisting medical condition like diabetes or heart disease. Learn more about glaucoma in Glaucoma: Seven Quick Facts You Should Know. 

Resource Round-up

March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable central nervous system disease that affects the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerve, causing muscle weakness, “pins and needles” sensations, and trouble with balance and coordination. Check out these Ability Central Portal resources to learn more about MS.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Quick Facts: 6 Things to Know

A young Black woman with curly natural hair rubs her head in pain while sitting on a gray couch in a nicely decorated home

Ability Central shares research into the uniqueness and unpredictability of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Read more on the Ability Central Portal.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Signs and Symptoms

Senior Black man looks out window, rubbing back in pain

Inconsistent multiple sclerosis symptoms can be confused with other conditions. Ability Central helps you understand the disease and its progression.

Read more on the Ability Central Portal.

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