DHH internationals face social and systemic barriers to education and opportunity both in their home countries and here in America. While many DHH internationals may disproportionately experience social, educational, and other gaps, this is not the case for all. Deaf VISA has chosen a strategy that showcases and builds upon strengths by starting wherever people are.
Language barriers can lead even the most well-meaning teachers, interpreters, or peers to underestimate DHH internationals' capacity for communication. To combat this tendency, we design programs that place DHH internationals in situations where they can both teach and learn multiple modes of visual communication.
Through The Language Exchange, DHH internationals engage in ASL and print-English conversations with native users to reinforce 2nd language learning. In return, DHH internationals are paired with those new to visual communication to have conversations through gesturing and drawing.
DHH internationals must adjust to the cultures, procedures, and languages of America. If they come with partial or no access to information and resources that are widely available to others, this can be difficult. When DHH seek support, gaps in assumed knowledge or experiences can become glaringly evident. Many may doubt their capacity for independent thought or action.
Core components of Deaf VISA were designed to counter such perceptions and to provide direct access to information that has been widely available to other populations.
We periodically host workshops and discussions on a variety of topics that expand access to widely circulated information and that establish and time management, study skills, physical and mental health, self-defense, and more.