TCU Students Bring Holiday Spirit to Deaf, Hard of Hearing Children

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By Hannah Feehan

TCU student builds a gingerbread house with a child during an event held for deaf and hard of hearing children.

Photo by Alexis Hodge

TCU’s chapter of the National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association developed a new event to reach the deaf community of the greater Fort Worth area and spread holiday cheer. Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing children and teenagers came together to build gingerbread houses and sing and sign Christmas carols with students from the Davies School of Communication Sciences & Disorders December 2, 2018. Some people in attendance were even local Educators of the deaf. The event was held at Cana Baptist Church, which is located in Burleson, and was also home to the first Deaf Bible Camp for the Fort Worth area. Candiance Mullens, retired educator of the deaf and adjunct professor of habilitation of the deaf and hard of hearing at TCU, started Deaf Bible Camp and is looking forward to the continued future success of DBC, establishing the camp as an annual time for children to come together at this accessible event.

TCU NSSLHA students brought gingerbread houses to decorate, snacks, and Christmas crafts. The highlight of the afternoon of the Christmas carols “sign circle” as everyone stood in a big circle and signed the songs together. NSSLHA members had practiced and prepared four songs but everyone was having such a great time that we continued to sing and sign other Christmas carols, learning from our deaf and hard of hearing friends.

Our NSSLHA president, Claire Carter, had dreamed about this event since she attended a Deaf Bible Camp at Cana this summer.

“I wanted to create an opportunity to bring together deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing kids for an event that is not always accessible to people due to the language barriers between the Deaf world and hearing world,” Carter said. “The ‘h’ in NSSLHA stands for hearing, and it means so much to these kids who are deaf and hard of hearing that people care enough to sit down and get to know them in their language. I was so happy we could have this event. Along with Karen Hennington, faculty NSSLHA sponsor, our ASL professor, Barbara Yount, and Candiance Mullens, habilitation of the deaf and hard of hearing professor, came, which just proves the connections that our professors build and how advocacy is at the core of our profession.”

We hope to continue to have events with the deaf community with an even greater turnout next year!