The Deafhood Foundation aims to build economic and social justice by offering classes, presentations, workshops, special seminars, consulting, and ASL translations of pertinent resources. It is through these offerings that the Foundation can outreach and encourage networking within our communities. We aim to expand knowledge, change attitudes, create affirming behaviors, and strengthen beliefs that 1) the economic exploitation of Deaf people is unjust, 2) audism has no place in our communities, 3) signed languages are to be celebrated and 4) everyone, including Deaf people, deserves to experience full humanity.

The Foundation has been providing a variety of classes, presentations, workshops, and ASL translations since its’ founding in 2009, using Paddy Ladd’s Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood book as a framework. In 2012, the Foundation began to formalize their class structure and process after identifying key themes in conjunction with community issues and needs which resulted in the provision of Deafhood 101 and 201 classes. On the workshop end, two main workshops have been formalized with specific target groups. Since then (by end of 2017), over 80 classes and 50 workshops have been provided to nearly 2,000 participants within 30 states and District of Columbia in United States of America.

In addition, the Foundation aims to add Deafhood 301 as an offering along with the current Deafhood 101 and 201 classes. We are currently exploring how we can make our class curricula more inclusive, especially for Deaf People of Color. We also plan to train more class facilitators so that more Deaf people can either teach for the Foundation as an endorsed facilitator or they can integrate our class curricula within their classrooms back in their home towns. We want to also expand our workshop, presentation, and seminar offerings that focus on certain topics or are designed for specific groups.

Please see below for a list of our current offerings:

Deafhood Classes

Deafhood classes follow an established curriculum that uses the work of Dr. Paddy Ladd’s book, Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood, as a framework. Each class is composed of 10 modules totalling 20-hours, typically spread over 4 days. The language of the class is in American Sign Language (ASL) for Deaf people only.

Deafhood 101 is an introduction to consciousness-raising of the “Deaf Being” through the lens of phonocentric colonialism of the Deaf peoples. We explore the hidden discourses behind the medical/scientific hegemony controlling the education of Deaf people. We promote better understanding of the unlimited potential of our Deaf people. WIthin our curriculum, we cover the following: phonocentric colonialism, Deafhood vs deafness, the Deaf community before colonization, Deaf culture status, minorities within the Deaf community, subalterns and what it means, identity, deficit thinking, eugenics, reframing and 1,001 victories. Deafhood 101 is a prerequisite for Deafhood 201.


  1. In Search of Deafhood- Introduction
  2. What is Deafhood
  3. Colonialism
  4. Pre-Colonialism
  5. Colonialism of the Deaf World
  6. Culture or Sub-Culture?
  7. Deaf Minorities, Subalterns, & Elites
  8. Identity and Deficit Thinking
  9. Framing
  10. 1,001 Victories

Deafhood 201 continues to explore topics covered in Deafhood 101 that focus on raising consciousness within our Deaf community. Topics covered are Oralism and its impacts, residential schools and Deaf education, a need for a “Deaf Identity Restoration” program to develop or restore healthy identities for all Deaf people, Deaf clubs and third places and their importance in our community, why it is critical to engage in discourses to unlock the doors to a positive and holistic future, and why there is a need for healing within our community. Deafhood 201 will be a prerequisite for Deafhood 301.

  1. A Recap on a Search of Deafhood
  2. Colonialism Review
  3. Oralism
  4. Impact
  5. Deaf Clubs and Third Places
  6. Residential Schools
  7. Identity
  8. Dimensions & Discourses
  9. Healing & Relationships
  10. Wrap-Up

Deafhood 301 is not yet offered, as the curriculum is currently being developed. This class will emphasize applicable action plans within the advocacy and activism parameters that will help communities work towards meaningful and positive systemic changes.


Deafhood Workshops

Introduction to Deafhood: This is a 1 to 2 hour workshop designed to provide a brief description about Deafhood Foundation, its mission, and journey to bring awareness on how understanding Deafhood as a concept can enlighten individuals and communities-at-large for the better. This workshop would be a good fit for state or national conferences with limited timeframes.

In Search of Deafhood: This is a 6-hour workshop for Deaf people only. This workshop is a condensed summary of the Deafhood 101 class and focuses on the word “Deaf” and what it could mean. Touches on the Deaf World before 1880, effects of colonialism, dimensions of Deaf people, and why we must critically examine, frame, and reframe ways of being Deaf. Provides a hint of what a Deafhood Vision could look like. This is a good workshop for communities that may not feel ready to host a Deafhood 101 class, or communities with a desire to just receive a brief overview.

Allies in Deafhood: A 3 to 6 hour workshop designed for hearing people who are interested in learning how they can become a great ally for Deaf people. Contents of workshop includes differences between deafness vs Deafhood, why we use application of “colonialism” in the understanding of our individual and collective experience/ history, an expanded definition of Audism, and what the Five Dimensions of Deaf people are. This workshop can be specialized for specific groups such as Sign Language Interpreters or Professionals working with Deaf populations, where lectures and group-work discussions will be pertinent to their field.



The Future of Deaf People: This is a 1 to 2 hour presentation that is open to the community and offers ideas of how we can realize a Deaf Vision of what a future could look like based on lessons of our past and actions of the present.

Professional Development with Deafhood Lens for Board-members and Staff: A 2 to 6 hour professional development presentation geared for Board members and/or staff members who are interested in learning more about Deafhood and what Deafhood could mean to their organization whether this is internal, external or both. Discussions will also focus on how they can analyze and/or realize organizational effectiveness by moving away from the medicalization view of Deaf people and thus become more Deaf-centered in their practices.

Deaf Whole… Shaping Our Future: A 2 to 4 hour presentation that explores the experience of a Deaf person, usually in the face of obstacles, making a journey to realize their full potentials. Thought-provoking and inspiring discussions will focus on how the search for Deafhood can shape Deaf people as they become further empowered.

Recommended Materials

This is a partial list of what have inspired people affiliated with the Foundation and/or that the Foundation recommends to further the understanding of issues that affects the Deaf community or the concept of Deafhood, effects of colonialism, framing and reframing, healing, among others. The Foundation is not responsible for the contents nor does it benefit financially from them.


Reading Resources

Branson, J. & Miller, D. (2002). Damned for their difference: The cultural construction of deaf people as disabled. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.

Breivik, J-K. (2005). Deaf identities in the making: Local lives, transnational connections. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.

Bruggerman, B.J. (1999). Lend me your ear: Rhetorical construction of deafness. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York, NY: Seabury Press.

Gladwell, M. (2000). The tipping point: How little things can make a big difference. New York, NY: Back Bay Books.

Jankowski, K. (1997). Deaf empowerment: Emergence, struggle, & rhetoric. Washington D.C.: Gallaudet University Press.

Ladd, P. (2003). Understanding deaf culture: In search of deafhood. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters Ltd.

Lane, H. (Ed.) (2006). The deaf experience: Classics in language and education. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.

Lane, H. (1992). The mask of benevolence: Disabling the deaf community. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.

Lane, H., Hoffmeister, R. & Bahan, B. (1996). A journey into the deaf-world. San Diego, CA: DawnSignPress.

McKee, R. (2001). People of the Eye: Stories from the Deaf World. Wellington, New Zealand: Bridget Williams Books.

Memmi, A. (1965). The colonizer and the colonized. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

Padden, C. & Humphries, T. (2005). Inside deaf culture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Van Cleve, J. V. & Crouch, B. A. (1989). A place of their own: Creating the deaf community in America. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.

Wrigley, O. (1996). The politics of deafness. Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press.


Video Resources



  • Antonia’s Line
  • Cry Freedom
  • Evelyn
  • Gandhi
  • Hotel Rwanda
  • In My Country
  • Iron Jawed Angels
  • Mona Lisa Smile
  • No Man’s Land
  • Nowhere in Africa
  • Precious Knowledge
  • Rabbit-Proof Fence
  • The Long Walk Home
  • The Magdalene Sisters
  • Whale Rider