Resources for Deaf Awareness Week

Deaf Awareness Week occurs annually during the last full week in September. It is also known as the International Week of the Deaf (or International Week of Deaf People). Originating in Rome, Italy in 1958, the purpose of Deaf Awareness Week is to provide a united front on a global level to raise awareness about the Deaf Community and its accomplishments, and to promote the rights of deaf people.

During this week, many deaf organizations hold various activities to celebrate and conduct public information campaigns to educate people about deafness. Companies, agencies, schools, and colleges and universities often hold on-site awareness events during this week. Attractions, such as movie screenings, keynote speakers, sign language instruction, and hearing screenings, may be part of their events.

Three college-aged women having a conversation in ASL outside school
Lokibaho / Getty Images

Tips for Communicating with People Who Are Deaf/Hard of Hearing

  • Make sure to obtain the person's attention before trying to communicate.
  • Ensure lighting is good; bright enough to see well but not creating shadows on the speaker's face or shining directly in the other person's eyes.
  • If speaking, do so clearly and at a normal volume. Do not exaggerate mouth movements or facial expressions. If you have a mustache/beard, be sure it is well-trimmed. Do not cover your mouth with your hands.
  • Check for understanding. If there is a breakdown in communication, figure out another way to say, spell, or write down the main ideas.

Deaf Awareness Events and Classroom Ideas

To find an event near you, the National Association for the Deaf and the International Week of the Deaf websites are good places to start.

For teachers, Deaf Awareness Week is an excellent time to bring awareness into the classroom. Ideas such as teaching about the ear and hearing, famous deaf/hard of hearing people, and even working on fingerspelling and basic signs with the class will all foster awareness. For older children, discuss barriers to communication and see how they can creatively solve such problems, or attend a theater performance with sign language interpreters.


Books for children and adults with a deaf awareness theme include:

  • Freddie and the Fairy by Julia Donaldson
  • The Deaf Musicians by Pete Seeger and Paul Dubois Jacobs
  • Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
  • Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language: Hereditary Deafness on Martha's Vineyard by Nora Ellen Groce
  • A Loss for Words: The Story of Deafness in a Family by Lou Ann Walker
  • Inside Deaf Culture by Carol A. Padden and Tom L. Humphries


You can find movies and television series with a deaf awareness on Some of the many titles available include:

  • Silent Victory: The Kitty O'Neil Story (1979)
  • Tin Man (1983)
  • Children of a Lesser God (1986)
  • Mr. Holland's Opus (1995)
  • Breaking Through (1996)
  • Dead Silence (1997)
  • Sound and Fury (2000)
  • Sue Thomas: F.B. Eye (2002-2005)
  • I See the Crowd Roar: The Story of​ William Dummy Hoy (2007)
  • Switched at Birth (2011-2017)
2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. World Federation of the Deaf. International Week of the Deaf.

  2. IMDb. World Deaf Culture films, TV movies and TV series.

By Jamie Berke
 Jamie Berke is a deafness and hard of hearing expert.