Presentations to feature American Sign Language interpreters this weekend
In recognition of Deaf Awareness Month, the Aquarium of Niagara is once again partnering with Deaf Access Services, a program of People Inc., to enhance the accessibility of its daily talks and presentations for the deaf and hard of hearing community. This event is sponsored by the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area.
On Saturday, Sept. 23, and Sunday, Sept. 24, all talks and presentations will feature American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters. When availability allows, an interpreter will also be present at the Aquarium’s interactive touch pool, M&T Bank Shark and Ray Bay, to interpret the exhibit and its animals for guests throughout the weekend.
A press release stated, “Deaf Access Services stewards the community by promoting communication access, awareness, and opportunities for the local deaf and hard of hearing population. With their guidance, the Aquarium has not only taken steps to promote accessibility through events and programming, but also to develop long-term solutions by providing prerecorded videos of ASL-interpreted facts about various animals and exhibits.”
Jodie Chibi, director of Deaf Access Services (a program operated by of People Inc.), said, “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with the Aquarium of Niagara to ensure their facilities and educational presentations are accessible to the deaf/hard of hearing community. We are grateful for the team at the Aquarium of Niagara and all the focus they have dedicated to accessibility and inclusion. The entire team at the Aquarium has demonstrated a willingness to learn and implement best practices for the use of interpreting services and overall accessibility for the deaf/hard of hearing community, which sets a precedent in our region that we hope to see other organizations aspire to achieve.”
The press release noted, “This weekend bolsters the Aquarium’s commitment to becoming a quality-of-life resource to the community and to fostering a welcoming atmosphere for all. The initiative aligns with the Aquarium's other inclusive programming offerings, including sensory-friendly nights and free community events on the organization’s outdoor plaza.”
Aquarium of Niagara President and CEO Gary Siddall said, “We are proud to continue to partner with Deaf Access Services to build upon last year’s success and provide more accessible programming for deaf and hard of hearing individuals. We think there’s an obligation as a cultural institution to lean into ways that we can reduce restrictions between the types of activities associated with our mission and the guest experience.”
The Aquarium of Niagara’s daily schedule of programming includes penguin, sea lion, seal and sea turtle presentations along with two feeding demonstrations. The full schedule can be viewed here. The venue is open 9-5 daily. Tickets are available online at aquariumofniagara.org.