Royal Signers Club Hosts Silent Simulation

April 10, 2018
By: Christina Brannon '19


The University of Scranton Programming Board and the Royal Signers (the American Sign Language club) put on a Silent Simulation event that brought awareness to the experiences of those in the deaf community. The event featured several activities that immerse hearing individuals in everyday occurrences for deaf people.

Club President, Jordan Thomas, began the event with an Irish blessing for the moderator, Rebecca Haggerty. Following the blessing, the Royal Signers performed “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw in sign language. This song is a message of hope and kindness, even when life presents mountains of difficulty.

The keynote speakers for the evening, Lisa and Andrew Lopatofsky, then shared their story and experiences with deafness. The Lopatofskys are the parents of two (soon-to-be three) daughters, Michaela, 4, and Lexi, 2. Both Michaela and Lexi have the most severe type of Ushers syndrome, and Michaela attends the Scranton School for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children. Ushers syndrome is a genetic disorder that causes severe deafness and vision loss. Both girls are bilaterally implanted with Cochlear Implants, but still have their vision intact. The Lopatofsky’s third child is also expected to have severe hearing loss due to this dominant recessive genetic condition.

While to most people this disease would come as a life-altering setback, the Lopatofskys prove that it is possible to stay positive even in the most difficult of situations. Tim McGraw, in “Humble and Kind,” sings the line, “Bitterness keeps you from flying,” and the Lopatofskys illustrate just how to soar through setbacks with hope.

The evening also featured a fact or fiction quiz on deafness. Participants answered by holding up contrasting color glow sticks, so questions could be answered without words. As the night came to a close, the final event let the participants visit four stations, one on lip reading, one on levels of hearing, one on vocabulary and one on snacks.

“These stations featured several vocabulary words and immersion into common items the deaf community face regularly. The event had a greater than expected turn out with an active audience and thorough questions,” Thomas said.

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