Grade 3: Understanding Our Differences, May 31, 2012

Dear Parents,

Understanding Our Differences is a non-profit organization that works in partnership with the Newton Public Schools to teach elementary school children an understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities in our schools and in our community. The Understanding Our Differences Deafness and Hard of Hearing unit will take place in your child’s classroom on May 31, 2012, and we invite you to join us in the classroom.

 There are several themes central to this unit:

§         Hearing loss is only one of the many traits that contribute to making a person the individual that he or she is.

§         Individuals can experience varying degrees of hearing loss.

§         Technology is playing an increasingly important role in enabling people with hearing loss to communicate and do everyday tasks more easily and independently

§         People have a variety of communication choices. Interpreters are often used as a link between those who are Deaf and the hearing world.

§         Without communication a person can feel isolated.

During this unit, students will participate in a variety of activities where they get hands-on experience with fingerspelling, sign language and lipreading. They will learn about sound, frequency, communication and the anatomy of the ear. Students will discover that assistive technology can enhance both communication and independence.

For many students, the high point of each unit is the speakers who share their personal experiences and answer the students’ thoughtful questions about living with a disability.

The Understanding Our Differences program is presented by parent volunteers. Many parents find the experience of helping to implement the program to be very rewarding. Please contact Ydelsa Cassidy and Doreen Rachal, 3rd grade coordinators at or 617-877-0462 and or 617-795-2082 if you would like to join the volunteer team or if you have any questions or concerns.

 Sincerely,   Doreen and Ydelsa