The Straits Times
Published on Sep 05, 2012

US university at forefront of design for the deaf


WASHINGTON (AFP) - With a funny anecdote, college football player Tony Tatum recently sparked a rousing round of applause. The only thing is, you couldn't hear much clapping. But you could see it.

Those listening to the charismatic student emphatically waved their hands in the air in a sign of appreciation - because Mr Tatum and his audience were communicating via sign language.

Mr Tatum is hard of hearing and attends Gallaudet University, an institution of higher learning that offers programs specifically for the deaf.

Located on a lush green campus in the United States (US) capital, the school whose charter was signed by then president Abraham Lincoln in 1864 has developed into a hotbed of architectural design geared toward a community that predominantly interacts through the motioned - not the spoken - word.