Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer has officially proclaimed May as Better Hearing & Speech month. To increase awareness of people with hearing and speech impairments, the Michigan City Human Rights Commission (MCHRC) would like to recognize the Michigan City High School (MCHS) Sign Language Club who will be performing Flashlight, a song by Jessie J, using American Sign Language (ALS). The performance will take place at the Michigan City High School Spring Concert on Thursday, May 11 at 7 p.m. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) approximately 1 to 3 per 1,000 children have hearing loss. Hearing loss can affect a child’s ability to develop speech, language, and social skills. The MCHS Sign Language Club, made up of 20-30 students, has been gathering every other Tuesday from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. since January 2017.
“Hearing loss can happen when any part of the ear is not working in the usual way. Whether it’s the outer, inner or middle ear, hearing acoustic nerve or auditory system; each child’s signs and symptoms differ. Make sure your children are getting regularly scheduled hearing tests,” said Heidi Brett Baker, Director of Special Education for Michigan City Area Schools. “We hope you’ll come to the Spring Concert to support our students.”
Additionally, in the month of May, Childhood Apraxia of Speech, too, is recognized. Apraxia is a neurological motor speech disorder that impacts 1-2 children per 1,000, according to the Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association (CASANA). While Apraxia Awareness Day officially takes place May 14, every year, the MCHRC will raise awareness of the speech impairment all month-long. The MCHRC will visit Michigan City Area elementary schools and local preschools to share a young girl with apraxia’s experience making friends by reading “I Want to Be Your Friend.”
“A child with Apraxia struggles greatly in that their brains have difficulty planning and coordinating the movement of their lips, jaws and tongue when trying to speak. My daughter didn’t babble as an infant, did little gesturing and was delayed in her language development,” said Joanne Tedesco, mother of a child with apraxia and MCHRC Commissioner – People with Disabilities. “It’s heart breaking when you don’t understand what your child is saying. If your child exhibits any of these signs, see a speech pathologist right away.”
The Michigan City Area Schools Special Education program serves students across the district in a variety of settings, pre-K through grade 12. Staff members provide services in the areas of academics, behavior, social-emotional wellness, speech, occupational and physical therapy, and more. For more information, visit www.educateMC.net/specialed or call (219)873-2000.
The Michigan City Human Rights Commission provides all citizens with equal opportunities in the areas of employment, housing, and education. The Commission is committed to the citizens of Michigan City and to provide and promote equal opportunities by enforcing Human and Civil Rights issues and advocating foranti-discriminatory systems and tolerance of all people. For more information, visit www.emichigancity.com/cityhall/departments/humanrights.