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Teachers College Receives Award for Services to the Deaf

As Coordinator of Services to Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students, Deborah Swamback runs several programs that benefit the people who interpret for the deaf community at Teachers College and elsewhere. Her hard work has garnered TC the 1998 Consumer Award from the local chapter of the Register of Interpreters for the Deaf.

Since Swamback started working here a year and a half ago, TC has become a site for the national written and performance exams for the Registry. In addition, workshops are held for interpreters on skills such as developing "facial grammar," an interpreting tool that Swamback says functions in the same way that intonation does in spoken language.

Working with people who are both deaf and blind was the subject of another workshop. Two individuals who are deaf and blind led the workshop, which included ways to represent facial grammar through tactile means of communication.

The Deaf Education students at TC and the interpreters were treated to a session led by 89-year-old deaf filmmaker, Ernest Marshall. Marshall used a videotape presentation spoken in sign language to illustrate what life is like for children born to deaf parents.

Swamback, who is also a Nationally Certified Sign Language Interpreter with certificates in Transliteration and Interpretation, added, "We are also working in partnership with LaGuardia Community College's Interpreter Training Program to provide more training to area interpreters."

In addition to workshops, exams and training, the organization "Black Deaf Advocates" holds its monthly meetings at TC.

"While the award technically goes to the College," noted Richard Keller, Director of Services for Students with Disabilities, "it is in recognition of Debbie's tenacious advocacy and leadership in responding to the needs of individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing."

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