1. What are the goals of the ICOC’s Deaf Ministry? The goals are to be unified in Christ, building new friendships worldwide, enhance communication with each other through technology, and share inputs on how to improve our ministry.

2. Who is in the Deaf Ministry? Members who are deaf, hard of hearing, and the deaf and blind are unified in this group. Their special needs are focused on having an interpreter during church services because they are not able to hear very well and are dependent on using sign language.

3. What does the interpreter do? He or she is a certified interpreter that translates during all parts of the church service such as prayer, songs, communion, sermons, and announcements. He or she can be certified by the state or have a national certification. It is recommended to have two interpreters in a rotation with 15-30 minute breaks. This will give them time to rest and avoid carpel tunnel syndrome.

4. What is hard of hearing? Hard of hearing people do have a partial hearing, but they wear aids or have other devices allowing them to hear sounds clearly. They are able to lip-read and watch facial expressions to assist in adding to their understanding of the speaker.

5. What is the definition of the deaf? Deaf is partially or wholly lacking or deprived of the sense of hearing; unable to hear.

6. How do they communicate? Some hard of hearing use Pidgin Sign language (PSE) this is a mixture of English and American Sign Language. Most deaf people communicate by using American Sign Language. The latest iPhones 12+ and Samsung S10 are the most popular mobile phones used in the Deaf Community. They can communicate with people by sending text messages, emails, instant messaging, and videophones.

7. What is American Sign Language (ASL)? It is the 3rd most used language used in the United States. ASL is a natural language that can use facial expressions, fingerspelling, gestural, visual, and body language. It is not a written language, but it has phrases that can be seen and signed. In 1817 a young girl named Alice Cogswell was the inspiration for a famous Minister, Thomas Gallaudet, to open a school for the deaf. This Thomas Gallaudet is the Founder of the American School for the Deaf. Gallaudet University located in Washington, D.C. is named after him. It was the first deaf school in America. Many countries in the world have their own version of sign language, therefore it is not universal.

8. What is the Sorenson videophone? It is the next generation of telecommunication for the deaf. Ntouch VP2 is a very popular device for the Deaf Community. It is connected from Ntouch VP2 audio out white plug and video out yellow plug to the televisions audio and video inputs. Ntouch VP2 needs to be connected with an Ethernet cord from the router. Deaf and hard of hearing can receive free local, long-distance, and international calls while using their ntouch VP2. They can apply for a free videophone online. The limit is one ntouch VP2 videophone per household and one at each customer’s worksite i.e.(Joe does have three videophones at home). The time process to receive it depends on the schedule of an installer. The Installer will arrive at their house to install their new videophone. They can see a live interpreter on the TV screen. More information can be found at www.sorensonvrs.com.

9. Can visitors register on this site? To become a member of ICOC, we encourage you to click the ICOC locator link from the home bottom page then contact the nearest church location for further details. Visitors are always welcome and encouraged to write comments post suggestions on this site.

10. What is the most efficient way to learn American Sign Language (ASL)? I do encourage anyone who wants to learn ASL to attend classes at their local Community College or search for basic ASL lessons online. The fastest way to learn ASL is by attending deaf events. The more you attend deaf events, the more you learn to socialize and build confidence in meeting deaf people. The more you practice ASL with your partner, the more you will improve your skills to become an “ASL Expert”.

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Loving the Deaf Community as Disciples of Jesus