Dutchess BOCES is honoring Deaf Awareness Week, held this year from May 1 to 7, with posters alerting students and staff about hearing loss and deafness, designed by second year graphic design students.
Teachers of the Deaf, including Amie Fredericks and her six BOCES colleagues, travel to schools BOCES students attend and typically, they are the only student with hearing loss in the building and often it makes them feel different from their classmates and isolated.

“With increased awareness, our hope is for our students to feel more included and accepted in their home schools,” Fredericks said.
The idea behind the project is to celebrate Deaf Awareness Week, bring awareness of hearing loss and deafness and teaching about deaf culture.
Creating awareness posters was discussed during a Hudson Valley Teachers of the Deaf Roundtable meeting and Fredericks approached graphic design instructor Steve Lawson to see if his students could assist with the project. She provided an outline of ideas and students brought them to life.
“This cross-collaboration between different departments within BOCES shows how BOCES teachers are willing to go above and beyond to support each other and students,” Fredericks said. “The teachers of the deaf are thrilled with the outcome of the posters and will be using them for years to come.”
Alexis Macina did not know much about deaf culture before agreeing to design a poster and did some additional research on the topic. Her final design focuses on two people using sign language with the words “Only 30-40% of speech is visible on the lips.” 
“It’s nice to learn more about it to be able to put information on the poster,” Macina said. “I hope more people become aware of it.”
Haley Winters’ green poster features black and white hearing aids inside a border with a headline that reads “Don’t Presume Understanding. Hearing Does Not Equal Understanding.” It’s a statement that rings true for Winters, who is hard of hearing herself.
“Some people can get very annoyed when I ask them to repeat stuff over and over again,” Winters said. “It’s because I can’t hear them.” 
The look of hearing aids has changed over time and Winters hopes the posters help educate people on what they resemble.
“Sometimes when you look in people’s ears, it’s not an ear bud, that’s a hearing aid,” Winters said.
The posters will be displayed in schools that Fredericks and her colleagues work in throughout Dutchess County.