When a teen comes into the department with a guide dog or using a walking cane, or wheeling himself in on a wheelchair, we get a pretty clear first impression of that patron’s potential needs and challenges. But what about when it isn’t so obvious? For the deaf or hard of hearing teen, having their needs met in the library can be a struggle, simply because their needs aren’t initially obvious to us.
According to the NIDCD, 2-3 of every 1,000 children are born deaf or hard of hearing. With statistics like those it is pretty much a guarantee that each of us serves deaf or hard of hearing teens who need us to be aware of the challenges they encounter in the “hearing culture”. These barriers deal mainly with communication, but we also need to be aware of what library materials we may want to introduce these teens to, and how we can improve our programming to be more inclusive. (more…)