AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas School for the Deaf is celebrating Deaf Awareness Week, a time to promote social inclusion in the community.
FOX 7 Austin spoke to the school's superintendent Claire Bugen and director of outreach Bobbie Beth Scoggins about the misconceptions surrounding deaf people.
"Deaf Awareness Week is primarily for the hearing world, but at TSD it's a week for kids to celebrate their identity," Bugen said.
The best thing people can do for the deaf community is to be an ally and a myth buster, according to Bugen.
One of the biggest misconceptions about deaf people is that they all use sign language, that sign language is universal, and that deaf people read lips. Like other languages, sign language exists in its own unique form in different countries, from France to Pakistan, with 130 variations of it worldwide.
Not all deaf people are the same. Some people have been deaf all their lives, others have severe hearing loss and some have mild cases.
"One of the goals that we would really like the Austin community to be aware of is that deaf people are here throughout the city, and we are thriving in our community, and we want to encourage hearing people to look at us, and partner with us," Scoggins said.
Because of the many misconceptions surrounding deaf people, they are often left out of the workforce and face disparities in healthcare.
The Texas School for the Deaf is the oldest continually running school in the state of Texas.