How to Train a Deaf Dog

Dog training, photo by Gary Yeowell and Getty Images

Deaf dogs can make great pets. They adapt to their hearing loss quite well because a dog’s primary sources of communication are body language and scent. You might notice that when two dogs greet each other, they communicate all kinds of signals to each other without using any sound.

While barking and growling are additional ways dogs send messages, they aren’t their primary method. So in training, too, verbal language isn’t necessary. In fact, dogs pay more attention to cues in our body language and facial expressions than to what we are saying to them.

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Deafness ‘falls between the cracks’ of insurance DEI

James Bruner, courtesy by Insurance News

Deaf and hard of hearing individuals are a talent pool that few insurance companies actively dip into. But one program is looking to change that.

The Maguire Academy of Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) at Gallaudet University has produced 46 graduates since it started in 2015.

Thanks to strong partnerships with national companies like Philadelphia Insurance Companies, The Hartford, Selective, Gallagher, and Marsh, Gallaudet’s RMI program has been able to plant its graduates in different insurance career paths. Many now work as underwriters, retail and surplus lines brokers, analysts, and claims professionals.

As the program grows, it needs to partner with more insurance organizations to provide opportunities to its graduates, according to James Bruner (pictured top), executive director at Gallaudet’s RMI program.

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SDFF Film Submissions due by Oct. 31, 2023

SDFF Film submissions begin now till Oct 31, 2023, see links for more details

Submit your film for SDFF 2024!

Calling all Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, and Hard of hearing filmmakers. We want you!! Whether you’re a returning creative or looking to bring your project to the screen for the first time, all levels are welcome. Monetary awards will be available for each genre winner: Documentary, Drama, Thriller/Action, Comedy, and Other.
*There is no limit to the number of submissions per filmmaker.
Navigate to the link in our bio to see the rules, terms, and submission details.
The submission link is open now and closes Oct. 31st.
Submit your film by Oct 31, 2023:



At last, a diploma for Black deaf students who set historic precedent

Janice Boyd Ruffin tears up after accepting a diploma on Saturday during a ceremony at Gallaudet University honoring students who attended a segregated school on the university's campus in the 1950s. (Minh Connors/The Washington Post)
Janice Boyd Ruffin tears up after accepting a diploma on Saturday during a ceremony at Gallaudet University honoring students who attended a segregated school on the university’s campus in the 1950s. (Minh Connors/The Washington Post)

Robbie D. Cheatham knew her worth. She also knew other people didn’t always see it.

“She had a lot of things that happened to her in life, really hard, hard stuff, because of being deaf, because of being Black, because of being a woman,” Cheatham’s daughter Krissi Spence told me. “She was so strong mentally and emotionally because she had to be. She had to fight.”

She had to fight in ways that Spence only fully realized after her mom’s death in December at the age of 86.

It was then that she learned Cheatham was part of a group of Black deaf students who weren’t allowed to attend the only school for deaf children in Washington, the city where they lived, until their families filed a class-action lawsuit in 1952. Then, despite a court victory, they weren’t treated the same as the White students who attended kindergarten through 12th grade at the Kendall School on Gallaudet’s campus. Black students were enrolled in the Kendall School Division II for Negroes. They were placed in a separate classroom with separate teachers, and when it came time for them to graduate, unlike their White peers, they weren’t given diplomas.

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Other links of interest:


Deaf Education in Crisis: The Challenges Faced by Delaware School for the Deaf

As the new year began, the deaf and hard-of-hearing community in Delaware was left reeling after a sudden change was made to the job posting for the Director of Statewide Programs. The posting, which had originally included the Delaware School for the Deaf as part of the Director’s responsibilities, was quietly modified to exclude the school without any explanation or consultation.

Despite repeated emails to Christina School District administration asking for clarification and reasoning behind the change, there was no response. The Delaware School for the Deaf was left feeling marginalized and ignored by the decision-making process, potentially losing out on qualified out-of-state applicants seeking to become school leaders of Statewide Programs for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind.

The lack of communication and transparency did not end there, it extended to the proposed restructuring of the Delaware Statewide Programs leadership team. The Christina School District made this decision without consulting the affected school or the community, leaving them no say in the formation of a new structure. As a result, they are forced to place their trust in a reorganized system that was decided without their involvement or the community’s input.

The situation has left many in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community feeling frustrated and disheartened. They are calling for greater transparency and collaboration in decision-making processes that impact their education and their futures. As of now, the Delaware School for the Deaf is left in limbo, uncertain of its future and the support it can expect from the Statewide Programs leadership team.

Timeline of Events:

  • December 19th, 2022 – The Director of Delaware Statewide Programs announced they are stepping down effective Jan 20th, 2023
  • Jan 9th, 2023 – The posting for the Director of Statewide Programs was posted but was modified to exclude the Delaware School for the Deaf as part of the Statewide Programs’ Director’s list of responsibilities.

Director position showing before and after responsibility change circled.

  • Jan 19th, 2023 – March, 2023 – Repeated emails to Christina School District administration asking for clarity and why the posting was changed. No response.
  • March 14th, 2023 – During a board meeting, two individuals brought attention to a concerning situation and requested answers. The board members appeared to be unaware of the matter, and the Superintendent responded by expressing his willingness to come to the school and provide clarification.
  • March 21st, 2023 – The Delaware Statewide Programs leadership team held a meeting with the District Superintendent and the Director of Special Education. The discussion led to the following conclusions:
    • There would be no Statewide Director to oversee  all programs and services.
    • The Statewide Director position would be moved to only oversee the Outreach Coordinators and report directly to the Christina School District Director of Special Education.
    • The two school leaders at DSD and the Dean of Students in the Dorm would also report directly to the Christina School District Director of Special Education.

It was clear that the proposed changes to the structure of the Statewide Programs for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind were made without consulting the school leaders or the community. The lack of input from the individuals who know the school’s needs and operations the best raises concerns about the effectiveness of the new structure.

  • Wednesday, March 29th, 2023 – The District Superintendent Dan Shelton and Director of Special Education Becky Ryan visited Delaware School for the Deaf (DSD) and held a meeting with the staff.

Main points and Takeaways

      • The Superintendent began by discussing how the Christina School District (CSD) administers the Delaware Autism Program (DAP), which is a Statewide and State-funded program like Delaware Statewide Programs for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind.
      • In March 2019, an audit identified “excessive overtime” and other financial issues within the Delaware Autism Program (DAP) program.
      • Consequently, on January 1st, 2023, The Delaware Autism Program (DAP) became The Delaware Office of Statewide Autism Programs and is now part of the Delaware Department of Education (DOE).
      • However, it was said the leadership change that CSD is implementing is unrelated to the DAP issue.
      • CSD considers DSD as part of Statewide but does not appear to recognize Outreach as a separate entity.
      • The Superintendent claims that “nothing will change internally” except for the people reporting structure.
      • When asked why they are making these changes, the Superintendent could not give a definitive answer other than that it is how “other schools in the district operate.”
      • During the meeting, when questioned why DSD was removed from the SWP Director Job posting, the Superintendent stated that he received feedback from “other agencies,” but it is unclear who these agencies were.

April 4th, 2023 – At another school board meeting concerns were once again raised about DSD being removed from the Statewide Programs Director Job posting, which may have led to a loss of qualified out-of-state applicants who are seeking to become school leaders of the deaf. There were also concerns about the decision to restructure the SWP leadership team without input from the DSD community.

May 1st, 2023 – Despite voicing all these concerns, as of present day, the Delaware Statewide Programs still does not have a director, and the position is said to still be only overseeing the Outreach coordinators. The job posting has been posted again but still does not include DSD, indicating that nothing has changed. This situation continues to unfold, with many unanswered questions and concerns from the Statewide community and supporters of the deaf community.

May 9th, 2023 – Saw a constructive meeting between Dan Shelton, Becky Ryan, and representatives from the DSEA, discussing matters on behalf of the Delaware Statewide Programs.

Main points and Takeaways

      • The anticipated leadership transition is proceeding as planned, with the underlying motivations now clarified and understood.
      • There was an admittance that some past situations could have handled differently, which was viewed as a positive step.
      • There is an acknowledgment of the need for improved collaboration and working together to figure out what’s best for the organization, the community, and outside groups.
      • The focus right now is on finding a new Director and the next step is the interview process.

Visual overview of Delaware Statewide Programs (SWP) 

The Delaware Statewide Programs (SWP) is a Statewide organization in Delaware that includes the Delaware School for the Deaf (DSD), its dormitory, and the Outreach Services program, providing education and support for deaf, hard-of-hearing, and deaf-blind students both locally and Statewide. 

DSD current administration structure change showing Statewide at top with DSD and Outreach programs under them

It’s important to clarify that the Delaware School for the Deaf and the Statewide Programs are not programs of the Christina School District (CSD). Rather, they are statewide programs that are administered by the Local Education Agency (LEA), which is the Christina School District, assigned by the Delaware Department of Education (DOE). As such, decisions regarding the leadership team restructuring and any changes to the programs should include input from the wider community, not just the Christina School District.

Current Leadership Structure

At the highest level of the Delaware Statewide Programs leadership structure, the SWP Director oversees five school leaders who manage the various programs and services offered deaf, hard-of-hearing, and deaf-blind students both locally and Statewide.

Proposed structure changes without DSD director oversight as previously done.

Proposed Leadership Restructuring

Under the proposed restructuring, the SWP Director position would oversee only the Outreach Coordinators, removing the topmost official overseeing all of the associated programs. As a result, DSD’s two school leaders and the Dean of Students will report directly to CSD. 

The Problems with CSD’s Administrative Change

  • Statewide has evolved to become the umbrella organization in which DSD, Outreach, and others operate under, and one Director at the top leads, organizes, and coordinates the leadership team. The proposed restructuring is a setback to years of progress.
  • The loss of crucial leadership, expertise, and oversight for DSD could create gaps in the provision of deaf education to DHH and deaf-blind students. The Director of Special Education at CSD, who will oversee the DSD school leaders and the Dean of Students, does not have experience in deaf education, which could limit the development of critical programs, resources, and the overall quality of education.
  • The proposed restructuring could lead to significant liability through both the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As a result, the proposed restructuring has become a matter of concern for the DHH community. It is important to address these issues to ensure that the education and well-being of deaf and hard-of-hearing students in Delaware are protected and supported.
  • The absence of meaningful input from the deaf community perpetuates years of deaf oppression, and we continue to have no seat at the table.
  • The proposed restructuring will result in a loss of autonomy and decision-making ability, which will negatively impact the ability to serve deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind students across the State effectively.
  • The program is unique in that the student population shares similar life experiences, culture, language, and struggles as many of the school leaders and staff, and changes have a greater impact on the program than any other Statewide program or school under the District.
  • The restructure will cause reporting confusion among specialists, teachers, staff, and others in the department.
  • Having school leaders report directly to the district administration could lead to a less supportive work environment, and without a Director to oversee the management of funds and personnel, staff, teachers, and paraprofessionals may feel unsupported in their roles.

What the Delaware Statewide Programs are asking for

  • Maintain the current administrative team structure of the Delaware Statewide Programs that has been successful for many years.
  • Ensure transparency, open communication, and meaningful stakeholder engagement to ensure decisions affecting the program are made with the best interests of all parties involved.
  • Reinstate the Delaware School for the Deaf (DSD) as part of the SWP Director job posting to prevent the loss of qualified applicants and ensure continued strong leadership for the program.

The infographic below is intended to be shared with others to provide a visual guide to the current and proposed SWP leadership structures, as well as the larger organizational structure of the program. By sharing this infographic, you can help spread awareness of this issue and show others how they can support us. If you would like to take action and show your support, please reach out to the contacts listed at the bottom of the infographic.

Children face developmental delays after cochlear implant bungle at Women’s and Children’s Hospital

The Smedley family believe six-year-old Logan's hearing and speech has been delayed due to the mistake. (Supplied)

The state government will launch an independent external review into Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital for wrongly programming the cochlear implants of one in four children in its program, causing what are expected to be lifelong development problems.

It follows calls from the families of the 30 children affected for an independent investigation, with the cause of the problems still unclear nearly a year after the hospital was alerted to the issue.

Six-year-old Logan Smedley is one of at least 30 children whose cochlear implant fitted at the hospital was not mapped correctly, meaning he could not hear many sounds crucial to learning to listen and speak.

“As a result of the hospital’s failure to turn up Logan’s cochlear implants over approximately four years, we believe he’s severely delayed in his hearing and his speech,” his father, Dale, said.

“It’s stressful, day in, day out.”

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DAD Note: This happened in Australia not the USA/Canada.

Supreme Court Rules Deaf Student Can Sue School District Over Alleged Failures

Miguel Luna Perez, who is deaf, attended schools in Michigan's Sturgis Public School District from ages 9 through 20.
Photo courtesy of Luna Perez family

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled unanimously that a deaf student may pursue his lawsuit for money damages against a Michigan school district that allegedly failed for years to provide him with adequate sign language assistance.

The court held in Luna Perez v. Sturgis Public Schools that a procedural requirement under the main federal special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, does not bar the student’s claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

The decision will allow the now-27-year-old student, Miguel Luna Perez, to pursue damages under the ADA. And it will make it easier for other students with disabilities and their families to bypass often slow-moving administrative proceedings under the IDEA when their chief claim is for damages under other federal laws such as the ADA or the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

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Daily Moth also ran a similar story at


Black and Deaf family sues school district alleging abuse and discrimination

A Black and Deaf family has filed a lawsuit against a school district near Seattle with serious allegations of abuse, discrimination, and retaliation. The family prefers to keep their names confidential but wanted the public to be aware of this lawsuit.

I will summarize the complaint.

The plaintiffs are a deaf mother and a deaf grandmother to a seven-year-old girl who is hearing and has developmental disabilities. The family uses ASL at home. The mother authorized the grandmother to act in the place of the child’s biological father regarding educational decisions.

The child attended Lockwood Elementary School within the Northshore School District in the fall of 2021 at the age of six. The majority of the students are white with only 1% of students identifying as Black. The child was placed in a classroom at Lockwood for students with disabilities.

The mother and grandmother wanted to observe the classroom, but the child’s teacher denied the request to observe. The attorney said the school is supposed to provide parents of special education students the opportunity to observe.

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