Deaf LPS student shares her story during International Week of the Deaf

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – International Week of the Deaf, or Deaf Awareness Week, runs through Sunday, and Lincoln Public Schools is teaching students about people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

To help showcase how they teach these students at their school, Ku Hal (koo-hay), a fifth grader at Beattie Elementary, shared her story.

Ku Hal is from Myanmar and is deaf and nonverbal. She has cochlear implants in her ears but still can’t hear speech sounds or use them for communication.

She often works with interpreters at school, and during her interview with Channel 8, she signed and used an interpreter to speak with us.

Ku Hal said that when she came to America at about 7 years old, she began learning sign language. She is currently 12.

She said that she has several friends at school who sign with her and that many students and teachers are learning sign language to communicate better with her and the other hard-of-hearing students.

“It’s a little scary because I don’t understand,” she said.  “An interpreter interprets in sign language so that I can understand.”

Ku Hal hopes that during Deaf Awareness Week, more people will want to learn sign language.

Lindsey Flori-Plummer, a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing, said the school has been working with Ku Hal on her writing, reading comprehension, spelling and more so she’s able to translate American Sign Language to English.

“Ku Hal came to us in first grade, and she had no language when she came because she was in an environment that didn’t foster that and didn’t know how to work with a student who is deaf,” Flori-Plummer said. “So, we basically started from scratch with her.”

Flori-Plummer said it makes her happy to see how the school embraces the deaf and hard of hearing students.

This week, the school has been doing activities with students to teach them sign language and make them more aware and accommodating of people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

“They really get to see what it’s like, a little bit, to be deaf and hard of hearing,” Flori-Plummer said. “The students, they enjoy the week, they enjoy the challenges and things like that, so we try help them learn something along the way but still make it fun.”

Deaf Awareness Week Image

Pictures of cochlear implants that students at Beattie colored and hung up on the wall.

Students get to meet with school interpreters and guest speakers and participate in activities like a scavenger hunt to learn about deaf celebrities and historical figures.

They also decorated their own coloring sheets of cochlear implants.

“It kind of sets them up for being able to be accepting as they grow older,” Flori-Plummer said.

She said learning how to communicate with people who are deaf or hard of hearing will teach you “they’re just like everybody else.”

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