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Awareness, Access and Change
The civil rights movement of the 1960s inspired many minority groups to press for greater self-determination and economic opportunity. Marches, sit-ins, and protests became tools for change and increased awareness.
As many Americans came to accept greater cultural diversity, deaf people began to explore more openly their cultural-linguistic identity and assert their right to access information. Interpreting services, captioning and telephone access were among the accommodations stressed.
New technologies, in medicine as well as communications, have changed the experience of being deaf and the ways deaf individuals communicate with each other and people everywhere.
Linguists, who had previously ignored the sign languages of the world, began to demonstrate that they were natural languages equally capable of communicating abstract thought, emotion, and complex information as spoken languages.
Captioning of television and movies changed deaf life. Since 1958, deaf people had gathered in clubrooms or schools to see films, often captioned as a program of the U.S. Department of Education.
The cochlear implant has inspired both strong support and vehement opposition. Among deaf people, the implants are generally hailed as a boon for individuals who lost their hearing later in life, but their use in deaf children has been controversial.
The Information Age of the late twentieth century has witnessed an explosion of new technologies and services that have profoundly influenced the lives of deaf people. Teletype machines called "TTY" or "TDDs," developed in 1960s, made it possible for deaf people to call anyone else with a TTY.
The appointment of a hearing president was announced in March 1988 and students, alumni, faculty, and staff closed down the University in protest.
Before desegregation, black deaf students attended separate schools than their white counterparts. At Kendall School, on the Gallaudet campus in Washington, D.C., African American and white students were taught in separate buildings and had segregated dormitories.
Take a closer look at the roles interpreters play for deaf and deaf-blind individuals at key moments, include the DPN movement.
In 1975, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act entitled children with disabilities to an appropriate education in the "least restrictive environment." This was generally interpreted to mean "inclusion" in local public schools.
For decades, telephones were a technology and a convenience that separated deaf people from the rest of society. On the job, for example, many deaf people were denied promotions when positions required the use of a phone.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 made discrimination based on disability illegal in employment, public transportation, public programs, telecommunications, and public accommodations such as restaurants, hotels, shopping centers and offices.
Gallaudet University, chartered in 1864, is a private university for deaf and hard of hearing students.
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