American Sign Language Tutors in Santa Barbara Representing USA 2017 Deaflympics

It was recently announced that one of Santa Barbara’s language tutors will be attending the 2017 Deaflympics held in Turkey and the community couldn’t be more proud. The Santa Barbara tutor will be presenting the United States in Men’s Deaf Volleyball competition. Hugo was recently interviewed by the local Channels newspaper and said, “I’ve always wanted to go to the Deaf Olympics since I was a kid and finally I get to go.” The community would really like to help support him in his effort as he sets out to raise the $4600 needed to cover the expenses of the trip. Hugo even started to design his own t-shirts and, with the help of the American Sign Language club, is begging to sell them in conjunction with a goFundMe campaign.

His presence at the Deaflympics will have a very positive impact on his tutoring students as well as the local Santa Barbara ASL community in general. American Sign Language has been increasing in popularity, even among elementary age students. Programs like the After School Languages program even began offering after school classes and local Santa Barbara tutors who specialize in American Sign Language. Their program head has even stated that there is an increasing demand for language tutors who can teach American Sign Language to toddlers and babies because it is said to produce positive communication skills and help with mental development. So American Sign Language and even the Deaflympics are becoming more and more of a house hold name and growing in influence over our everyday life. Recently Hugo spoke in a public setting to promote American Sign Language as well as sell his t-shirts to help fund his travels to the competition. He displayed himself as a positive individual and seems to have the community rooting for him.

The Deaflympics are held every four years and were first held in 1924 in Paris France. It has been said that the Deaflympics was the first international event for athletes with disabilities and one can only assume that it had a hand in paving the way for the Special Olympics and other similar programs. To qualify for the Deaflympics the athletes must have a hearing loss of a minimum of 55 db in their best ear. What is even more interesting is that athletes are not allowed to use hearing aids during the competition in order to maintain a level playing field. Participants must be very aware of their surroundings and must have a keen eye when playing because referees rely more on visual queues like flags rather than whistles.

The last summer games were hosted in Bulgaria and we look forward to watching the Men’s Volley Ball in Turkey this year with our very own Santa Barbara tutor. Good luck to Hugo and congratulations. If you wish to support Hugo’s efforts please visit his GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/hugo-2017deaflympics