On August 22nd the Deaf Community throughout northeast Indiana will once again be offered an opportunity to present and enjoy a live performance on stage at Arts United Center as Fort Wayne welcomes the American Sign Language Comedy LIVE with Peter Cook and Wink. The arrangement of this performance by DeafLink, a division of the League for the Blind & Disabled, Inc. (d/b/a The League), Fort Wayne, is another example of the strides being made to create all-inclusiveness for the Deaf Community.

Since DeafLink’s new start at The League (2006), more accessibility to the arts, communication, and social entertainment (The Fort Wayne TinCaps games, Three Rivers Festival, etc.) have created avenues of accessibility. DeafLink has spearheaded and collaborated these efforts throughout northeast Indiana.

According to Garth Sponseller, DeafLink Director, “The viability of these links for the Deaf Community has contributed to an increased awareness of an overlooked population that longs for the same rights and opportunities as anyone else; disability rights are civil rights which, essentially, are human rights.

A couple of examples of gaining access to communication in the workplace or with a healthcare provider is the use of an interpreter (effective communication), or having the use of a public videophone in places like the airport in order to call loved ones upon arrival/departure or calling a taxi through an interpreter for transportation.”

As a result, these extraordinary opportunities now provided for the Deaf Community have opened up an entirely new world of accessibility. In addition, DeafLink provides sign language interpreting services, case coordination, advocacy and self-advocacy skills, public education and more. DeafLink, initially established in 1990 has roots as deep as the Americans with Disabilities Act which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year.

“Our heart is at work to provide access and equal opportunity for all people,” adds Sponseller. “We at DeafLink and The League work to provide a no-barrier society that includes all people, community living and services, employment, transportation and more.

A good example is the fact that we recently established the DeafLink Community Series; the series includes Deaf community meetings and trainings, interpreter professional development, and community events such as the Peter Cook and Wink with LIVE ASL Comedy show that will take place on August 22nd at the Arts United Center.”

The Peter Cook and Wink show will be extremely accessible. The show will be conducted in American Sign Language (ASL). For those who do not know ASL, a sign language interpreter will provide voice translation, and for individuals who are hard-of-hearing we will have CART services. CART services provides real-time captioning onto a larger screen.

For more information about DeafLink, please call The League (260) 441-0551.

The Waynedale News Staff
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