:: The Joplin Globe – Deaf woman’s story captures pupils’ attention ::

Deaf woman’s story captures pupils’ attention

By Nammi Bhagvandoss
May 08, 2007

Karin Sack used her hands and facial expressions Monday to read a book about a deaf dog to second-graders at Columbia Elementary School in Joplin.

Kyler Kemp.jpgSack, who is deaf, signed in American Sign Language while Betsy Pendergraft interpreted for her.

Sack also passed out alphabet cards and went over the sign language alphabet, teaching such basic words as hello and goodbye.

One pupil asked about Sack’s voice.

“Sometimes I use my voice, but I’m not going to today because I have an interpreter,” she said.

Sack told the pupils that she was born deaf and learned American Sign Language from her parents. She has two children, ages 19 and 16, who also are deaf.

A pupil asked whether she can drive.

“I look in all my mirrors,” Sack said. “I use my eyes instead of my ears to drive.”

Sack showed the children her cell phone and said she uses text messaging.

“I can send it to you like e-mail or instant messaging,” she said. “It helps me to communicate, and I love it.”

The pupils also wanted to know how someone gets her attention.

“Stomp on the floor to get my attention,” Sack said through her interpreter. She said she can feel the vibration in the floor.

“Never ever run up to a deaf person and grab them. It’ll scare them,” she said.

Susan Flowers, community relations coordinator for the Independent Living Center, said Sack’s presentation was part of an effort to reach out to the community and offer disability education to elementary pupils. Sack previously spoke to second-graders at Stapleton Elementary School.

Chip Hailey, who is blind and works for the Independent Living Center, also will be speaking to second-graders and showing them some of the technology he uses. He will speak on Thursday and Friday at Irving and Royal Heights elementary schools.

“You could just tell they were so interested in what they were saying,” Lori Musser, Columbia Elementary principal, said of the pupils. “They really learned a lot I think today.”

Classes available

Karin Sack teaches American Sign Language classes through the Independent Living Center, 1001 E. 32nd St.

Details: (417) 659-8086, or http://www.ilcenter.org.

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