Chatting with Chelsea
Teens who are deaf or hard of hearing are finding ways to connect to each other using all the latest technologies. High school junior Chelsea Bruha of Colorado shares some tips on how deaf and hard of hearing teens can find each other.
Well, the first thing you need to realize is, you're not alone! It's a known fact that one in every 10 people has a hearing loss of some sort. So, the question is-where do I find them?
The Internet is a great way to meet people. Here are a few things you can do to find deaf and hard of hearing friends on the Internet. (But remember, be safe-DON'T give out phone numbers, addresses, or any personal information online!)
Myspace.com: This website allows you to set up your own profile, along with your picture, and you control who you want to contact. It's a great place to meet new friends, get reacquainted with old friends, and stay in touch with current friends. They have deaf groups you can join, so you can meet new friends in that group as well. For you sidekick users, it is possible to go onto myspace on your pager.
Deafs.com: It's for deaf/hard of hearing individuals to find each other and meet one another! They have chat rooms and blogs, and its noodles of fun.
Google.com: Just type in deaf and see what comes up. It honestly works!
Non-Internet solutions: Ask a teacher of the deaf at your school, a parent, or your audiologist to put together events with all of the deaf/hard of hearing teens in the area. They're a blast! Some ideas of where to go include laser quest, mini-golfing, beach, lunch, shopping, paint balling, anything and everything! After having some fun, exchange email addresses and/or numbers and keep in touch. I've found my closest friends through these events.
AG Bell Convention 2006: This convention is going to be held in Philadelphia this year and should be one of the best. There are tons of people of all ages going, and it offers tons of information on new products and services for the deaf/hard of hearing. Check out http://www.agbell.org/DesktopDefault.aspx?p=Convention for more information.
Colleges: Look online or go visit one of the surrounding colleges in your area. Some will most likely have some deaf/hard of hearing programs and will know of events going around the state that you can go and check out.
Aspen Camp School for the Deaf: This camp is for deaf or hard of hearing kids starting from age eight all the way to 18. There are summer and winter camps. Aspen Camp is located in Snowmass , Colorado and has classes in wilderness survival, photography, pottery, self-defense, and so much more. There's a ropes course and a zip line, campfires and complete access to all the communication whether you're oral or ASL deaf. Everybody's welcome, and everybody comes. For more information, visit
Colorado Field of Dreams: Field of Dreams baseball camp is a summer camp designed for the kids who are deaf or hard of hearing. Coach Galen Graf heads it, and with the help of his Littleton , Colorado , High School Lion's Baseball team, they teach you the necessary skills to play baseball! Even if you don't know how to play, it's still a bunch of fun and a great opportunity to meet new friends. Ages range from 5-18, and volunteers are always welcome! Watch for news about registering for this neat opportunity on the events page at handsandvoices.org.
Take the resources that you have and use them to your advantage. Even if you don't have a computer at home, you can visit your local library and use it for free. Have fun with this, and just be yourself! Remember to be safe, do not give out personal information if you decide to create your own website. Until next time, Ciao!