Deaf Community

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If you are connected in someway with the Deaf Community (deaf, sign language interpreter, family, friend….), then you might often find yourself wondering “What if I were deaf?” as situations arise throughout a normal day.

Typical daily outings take on a new awareness. Post Office, Grocery Store, people speaking to you without first gaining your attention.

Do they assume you are ignoring them? How rude!

Yesterday, a community gardener came to my door with a request to move something on my patio so that they could do their work. He was Hispanic. He had a heavy mustache and a thick accent. I thought *How would I have been able to communicate with him if I couldn’t hear him? How could we communicate by writing if he doesn’t write in English?*

Later, I came across this news article.

EL PASO, Texas – A new community in Northwest El Paso is sprouting up to cater to the deaf and hard of hearing community. 

Daily tasks that are easy for hearing people, like ordering a cup of coffee, are much more time-consuming for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. The concept of the community is to gather, and provide people, who can all communicate via the same language: American Sign Language.

“It’s hard for deaf people to get opportunities for advancement,” said Brian Smithson, who works for Deafville and is deaf. “We have a lot of difficulties in communication. We often have to write notes to communicate with people.”

Sales just started and more than 30 lots have been sold. Phil Cabbage, Deafville Regional Director, said the different types of affordable housing will include built-in technology designed for deaf people.

“If the phone rings, or somebody rings the door bell…the alert won’t be a lamp on the table, it will be a light in every room that can blink two or three different colors,” said Cabbage. 

Condos sell for around $800 a month, including taxes and insurance. Townhomes are around $1,200, and single-family homes range from $175,00 to $300,000. 

Deafville will be a part of The Village of Rio Valley. Plans include a thriving Main Street filled with businesses staffed with people who can communicate orally or with ASL

University of Texas at El Paso Speech and Language Pathology Associate Professor Vannesa Mueller said the concept of deaf people living together in a community is wonderful. 

“Deaf people can be very successful and there’s really no limitations, other than that the hearing world isn’t very accommodating to them,” said Mueller. 

Critics say this may prove to be isolating for deaf people….comparing this kind of compound to an Amish Community. The argument being that deaf people need to be able to interact with hearing people.

This argument reminds me of the 1950’s argument advising parents to refrain from allowing sign language in their homes. “Deaf children are best served if they learn to read lips and speak clearly….so that they can function in a hearing world.” This sounds good in theory and is still being preached today….mostly by people who have no personal experience walking a mile in the moccasins of a deaf person.

Deafville may not be perfect for everyone, but it offers a choice for those who find much comfort in the word “community”.



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About Evelyn

Evelyn Hunter is a SODA with years of experiential study in Deaf Culture. She attended Gallaudet University to immerse herself in this unique deaf world while working for the University and studying sign language to hone her skills. Evelyn has served in training, relationship sales, and marketing -- always seeking to expand awareness of Deaf Culture and the unique challenges the deaf face on a daily basis. The Sign Language Company has recently established a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and a website with a blog, as Evelyn coordinates the marketing and outreach efforts for the agency. Her goal is to attract new clients seeking exceptional service, while maintaining optimal relationships with clients who have selected The Sign Language Company for over 20 years.

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6 Responses to “Deaf Community”

  1. Katherine Leonard Says:

    Hi Evelyn, I just moved to El Paso and until I moved I was studying ASL at the University of Houston. I’m wondering if there’s a way to get in contact with Deafville to see if there’s some way I can help facilitate progress. 🙂


    • Evelyn Says:

      Hi Katherine….I’m guessing they would welcome your participation 🙂 Here is the contact information I have:

      6441 Westside Drive
      El Paso, Texas, TX 79932
      (877) 277-3323


  2. Aileen Says:

    Hi Evelyn, I am currently taking classes for ASL as a beginner and I’ve been searching for deaf communities here in El Paso but no luck. I want to be part of to learn more and to help in anything. My classes for ASL are only two days every week and practicing on my own is not much of help. Do you know any deaf communities I can go to here in El Paso ?


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