Welcome to the fifth installment of Organizational Spotlight! Our focus this week is the Association of Late Deafened Adults (ALDA), which is a non-governmental organization that works to support the empowerment of deaf adults in the United States. ALDA classifies “late deafened adults” as “people who have lost the ability to understand speech with or without hearing aids after acquiring spoken language”, according to their website. As part of their work, this incredible organization reaches out to deafened adults who are seeking their place as people with hearing loss. They offer the opportunity for this demographic to interact in a comfortable, receptive environment through small group meetings as well as through their annual international convention called “ALDAcon”. As part of their mission, ALDA is “committed to providing a support network and a sense of belonging” by allowing deaf adults to share their experiences and challenges and coping strategies as well as allowing deaf adults to help one another find practical solutions to everyday life problems that may be causing them stress and worry in addition to emotional support. Also, in great fulfillment of their mission, ALDA accommodates all modes of communication by deaf persons, including sign language, lip reading, cochlear implants, hearing aids, written notes and gestural communication. This is a quality that is extremely beneficial to the deaf community and should be adopted by all NGOs working with deaf persons due to the fact that it promotes inclusion and comfortability.
ALDA currently has chapters in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, and Massachusetts. These chapters each pledge “to maintain an outreach program that will include ongoing efforts to identify and recruit new members, to work with other organizations and deaf service providers for the common good of people with hearing loss, and to promote the existence, purposes and functions of ALDA Inc. whenever and wherever possible”. In addition, these chapters pledge “to pursue one or more of the general objectives of ALDA, which are to provide education, advocacy, role models, and support for late-deafened adults”. This focus was determined by Bill Graham, who is responsible for the existence of ALDA. Graham struggled with progressive hearing loss throughout a series of his adult years and went through years of denial, depression, and anger because of it. However, he was eventually able to accept his deafness and live a life he loved without the hindrance of it. He later decided that he wanted to work towards making sure that other people put in his situation would have the ability to live a fulfilling life with their deafness as well resulting in the birth of ALDA!
ALDA recognizes that the required features of their chapters are difficult feats, so they also have a series of groups that have a less formal structure that are located in California, Colorado, Indiana, New Hampshire, and New Mexico. There is also a group that encompasses the Midwest Region of the United States as well as an International group which conduct their affairs entirely online. The accessibility of these chapters and groups to deaf adults worldwide has made ALDA a wildly successful NGO that is helping to improve the hard of hearing and deaf community alongside DOW each and every day.
Although ALDA is different from DOW in its focus sector and target demographic, the goal of inclusion and equality still holds true across both organizations. Just as DOW is working to provide equal opportunity and access regarding education to the deaf youth of Eswatini, ALDA is working to do the same in regard to communication and support for deaf adults worldwide. Their efforts and achievements do not go unnoticed and DOW thanks them for their assistance in moving the advancement of the deaf community in a positive direction.
For more information about ALDA, please refer to their website.
For more information about ALDAcon 2018, please refer to the event website.