Diversity and Inclusion: A Personal Presentation on Deaf Culture

Diversity and Inclusion: A Personal Presentation on Deaf Culture

Recently, LUNA’s Betsy Payne presented to 5th and 6th grade students at St. Malachy Parish School, located in Brownsburg, Indiana, during their diversity awareness week experience.

Betsy is a finance specialist at LUNA and is also a member of the Deaf community. She has a lot of life experience navigating the hearing world as a Deaf employee in her adult life and as a Deaf student in mainstream schools growing up. She shared her experiences with these young students, focusing on what it is like being Deaf, positive elements that Deafness brings to her life, challenges she’s faced as a Deaf person, and common misconceptions about Deaf people.

Betsy presenting to St. Malachy Parish School

Betsy shared, “I feel it’s important to share awareness about Deafness, its language, and its culture with others who are not exposed to this; to teach them how to interact with other Deaf/Hard of Hearing people the right way; and to bring diversity, equity, and inclusion experiences together to make the world a better place for all.”

Some fun positive benefits she shared with these youngsters about being Deaf included:

  • Having the ability to communicate underwater, from afar, or between windows
  • Getting a peaceful night of sleep
  • Developing a better peripheral vision – relying on other senses more to make up for the loss of one
  • Being able to communicate with her pets – teaching them how to respond to ASL cues rather than spoken cues

In the coming weeks, Betsy will be continuing her speaking circuit on this topic with other 5th grade students at Walnut Grove and Westfield Intermediate School.

If you’re interested in learning more from Betsy about Deaf culture and creating an inclusive workplace for Deaf team members, check out this webinar about reasonable accommodations in the workplace that Betsy hosted alongside our partners at the EEOC.