ALDA Chicago

News from ALDA

Watch this space for news about ALDA Chicago business and events and other news of interest to people who are late-deafened or have other hearing loss. 
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  • 22 Feb 2017 8:10 PM | Sarah Wegley (Administrator)

    Young hearing and Deaf actors will perform on stage together in a signed and voice presentation of Pinocchio, only the second production in the new Chicago Children's Theatre, The Station.

    Presented in association with Chicago's Neverbird Project, this all-new production of Pinocchio promises to spring to life as an inclusive and inventive take on the classic fairy tale.

    "This production is an example of ground floor inclusion and accessibility," said Levi Holloway, co-founder of Neverbird Project, which first presented Pinocchio in 2016 at Bell Elementary School, a CPS school with a focus on integrating Deaf and hearing students.

    "We are teaching all of our hearing actors ASL to tell the story, to enrich relationships between our Deaf and hearing artists onstage and off. We at Neverbird believe that total accessibility and inclusion is a necessity in American theater."

    To that end, ASL is a native part of the world of the play, and every actor will sign. Through light, sound, spectacle and ASL, this Pinocchio will speak to every age and ability for an unforgettable family theater experience about love, loss, family and hard choices that aren't so hard in the moment.

    Neverbird Project's adaptation of Pinocchio is co-written and co-directed by Levi Holloway and Katy Boza. The principal cast features Julissa Contreras, who is Deaf, as Pinocchio, with Haley Bolithon as Blu, Sarah Cartwright as Cricket, Chris Chmelik as Geppetto, Skyler Schremp as Cypress/Hannah and Mary Williamson as Redd the Puppet Master.

    Claudia Tani plays Corktopp, Steven Huetteman is Blowpopp and Elijah Jackson plays Lampwick. The Afters/Redd's Troupe of Vaudevillian Puppets are played by Makeda Duncan, Leah Healy, Paige Healy, Delilah Lane, Sofia Richter Nia Sarfo, Isabelle Teruel and Tali Vittum.

    The Pinocchio production team includes Matt Anderson (ASL director), Frank Maugeri (scenic design), Nicole Lambert (music director/choreographer), Jeffrey Levin (sound design/composer), Claire Chrzan (light design), Charlotte Mae Ellison (costume design), Yvette Alvardo (costume production), Larry Heutteman (prop design), Cole Von Glahn (production manager), Corinne Bass (production assistant) and JC Widman (stage manager.)

    Performances are April 20-May 7, 2017 in Chicago Children's Theatre's new 149-seat Pritzker Family Studio Theatre at The Station, 100 S. Racine Avenue, in Chicago's West Loop community. 

    Performance times are Thursday at 10 a.m., Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. 

    Single tickets are $25. Save money with a Family 4-Pack, only $80. Run time is 60 minutes. Pinocchio is intended for ages 7 and up. For tickets and information, visit or call (872) 222-9555. Email or call (773) 227-0180 x 321 for discounted group rates for schools, playgroups and scouting groups.

  • 11 Feb 2017 4:24 PM | Sarah Wegley (Administrator)

    Information courtesy of Joe Linder, President:

    Please be advised that the board meeting for June has been changed to Saturday, June 3 (previously announced as June 4). We will be meeting in a BMO Harris conference room at 111 West Monroe Street in Chicago, Illinois 60603. The time of the meeting has not been set yet, but is expected to start at 10 a.m. and run until noon.

  • 05 Feb 2017 5:23 PM | Sarah Wegley (Administrator)

    ALDA Chicago's 2017 Board of Directors are Michelle Donnelly, Debra Flowers, Tom Garvey, Karen Krull, Joe Linder, Marsha Swetin, and Sarah Wegley. In the recent election, Debra Flowers was elected and Tom Garvey, Karen Krull, and Joe Linder were re-elected for two year terms.

    At the board's first meeting yesterday, officers of the board were chosen. 2017 officers are Joe Linder, President; Marsha Swetin, Vice President; Sarah Wegley, Secretary; and Tom Garvey, Treasurer.

    Commitee chairs are Communications/Neighborhoods Program - Linda Belice, Education/Technology - Michelle Donnelly and Debra Flowers, Exhibits - Marsha Kopp, Facebook - Donna Punzio, Membership - Karen Krull, Newsletter - Marsha Swetin, Outreach - Heidi Adams and John Jun, Socials - Dawn Linder and Donna Punzio, and Website - Sarah Wegley.

  • 01 Feb 2017 6:10 PM | Sarah Wegley (Administrator)

    The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) will present a webinar by ALDA's own David Baldridge, BGS, MBA, Ph.D.


    February 15, 2017 from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. (EDT) 

    This webinar will focus on career success research in the general population, Dr. Baldridge’s current research on career success after hearing loss, and participants’ own employment experiences. We will discuss the types of jobs, tasks, and organizational contexts in which people with hearing loss are more likely to be successful. We will also discuss day-to-day behaviors associated with workplace success, including management of supervisors, coworkers, and accommodations. Guided by Dr. Baldridge’s current research findings, we will discuss post-hearing loss quests for meaningful work and big picture answers to “Who am I?”, “Am I still successful?” as well as redefinition of oneself (e.g., I am now both a person with a disability and a successful professional) and career success (e.g., I now care about service to society as much as I care about material success).

    Learn more an the HLAA website.

  • 06 Jan 2017 7:23 PM | Sarah Wegley (Administrator)

    Information courtesy of Michelle Donnelly and the Abilities Expo website:

    Chicago Abilities Expo will take place June 23-25, 2017 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center.

    Imagine everything you need, all under one roof! For nearly 40 years, Abilities Expo has been the go-to source for the Community of people with disabilities, their families, seniors, veterans and healthcare professionals. Every event opens your eyes to new technologies, new possibilities, new solutions and new opportunities to change your life. Where else can you discover ability-enhancing products and services, play a few adaptive sports, learn new dance moves, attend informative workshops and only scratch the surface of what Abilities Expo has to offer? 

    Register for free today.

  • 06 Jan 2017 7:14 PM | Sarah Wegley (Administrator)

    The Association of Late-Deafened Adults, Inc. (ALDA) is currently accepting proposals for presentations at its annual international convention to be held in Orlando, Florida at the B Resort and Spa on October 11-15, 2017.

    ALDAcon is held annually by and for a diverse group of people who have various degrees of hearing loss. All events will be fully accessible through sign language interpreting, real-time captioning and the availability of audio loop systems. The convention will have dozens of exhibitors, offer a wide variety of workshop presentations, and feature keynote speakers at each meal.

    We welcome and encourage innovative and creative ideas of all kinds. We invite you to submit a workshop proposal using the Call for Proposals (CFP) form.  Email it to program chair, Steve Larew, at Completed CFPs will be accepted through March 31, 2017. Our goal is to have our program line-up completed and posted on the ALDA, Inc. website by May 1, 2017.

    ALDA regrets it is not able to offer stipends or honoraria to workshop presenters. Presenters who plan to attend the convention must pay appropriate registration fees (daily or full) and are responsible for their travel, meal and lodging expenses. Presenters who do not plan to attend ALDAcon events or workshops other than their own workshop are not required to pay a registration fee but must register to receive a nametag. For more information about ALDA and ALDAcon please go to

  • 04 Dec 2016 8:21 PM | Sarah Wegley (Administrator)

    At the December ALDA Chicago board meeting, the schedule of meetings for 2017 was discussed. The schedule as it has been proposed so far is as follows:

    • Saturday, February 4, 2017 at Acorn Public Library, Oak Forest with the time TBA
    • Saturday, April 1, 2017 at Lombard Public Library from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
    • Sunday, June 4 at Oak Park Library to coordinate with having a booth at the Day in the Village of Oak Park festival with the time TBA
    • Thursday, August 3 online from 7-9 p.m.
  • 21 Oct 2016 8:27 AM | Sarah Wegley (Administrator)

    A graduate student is working on a short documentary about the relationship of music and people within the deaf community. Do you or anyone you know play an instrument, sing, or have a general interest in music? Could you help as an interpreter for the shoots or in adding subtitles in post production? If you would like to participate in this project, please contact Chad at

  • 01 Oct 2016 11:21 PM | Sarah Wegley (Administrator)

    Congratulations, Liz! Linda Belice received word this week that ALDAn Liz Booth won the Oticon 2016 Focus on People Award for Advocacy. She thanks her ALDA friends for their support over the years and votes for her in the Oticon contest. 

    Read her bio on the Oticon website here.

  • 01 Oct 2016 10:22 PM | Sarah Wegley (Administrator)

    The following information is courtesy of the Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission (IDHHC).

    Resources continue to expand for the DeafBlind population in Illinois. Below are some resources:

    Helen Keller National Center for DeafBlind
    The Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths & Adults (HKNC) gives people who are DeafBlind tools to live, work and thrive in the communities of their choice. HKNC has a regional office, known as Region 5, in Moline, IL that also covers some surrounding states including Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. 

    Judy Knisely, who is the representative for Region 5, is available for assistance and is able to connect DeafBlind individuals, their families, and service providers to programs, services, assistive technology, and more. Judy can be contacted at or 419-951-6020/419-951-0474 (VP).

    HKNC maintains a confidential National Registry of people who are DeafBlind. The collected information assists in their research, program planning, and enhances their advocacy efforts.

    HKNC offers a variety of programs: the traditional programs, youth programs, senior adult services programs, DeafBlind Individuals with Cognitive Challenges programs, professional development programs, and some online courses including “Confident Living: A Course for Individuals Supporting Older Adults with Combined Vision and Hearing Loss” and “Working with Individuals who are DeafBlind: A Course for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors and Other Professionals.

    In addition, HKNC is accepting applications for their Confident Living Program for Senior Adults to be held at the headquarters in Sands Point, NY. This on-site training will be provided on October 3-8, 2016. Please contact Judy Knisely for more information.

    Chicago Lighthouse
    The Chicago Lighthouse (CLH) provides educational, clinical, vocational and rehabilitation services for children, youth and adults who are blind or visually impaired including DeafBlind and multi-disabled. Their DeafBlind program provides communication support, crisis intervention, adaptive technology training and advocacy. The program serves people throughout the state of Illinois with varying degrees of visual and hearing losses, providing access to other Lighthouse programs, services within the community and appropriate referrals to agencies. The DeafBlind program offers the following services: telecommunication assessment and training, job readiness preparation, braille phone/Deafblind communicator training, sign language training, braille training, basic counseling and functional assessment.

    CLH also administers the iCanConnect Program (The National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program) which is a national accessibility program providing communications technology free of charge to low-income people of all ages who have combined vision and hearing loss. Individuals work with qualified program specialists to identify hardware, software and applications that best suit their communications technology needs.

    CLH also operates a north side facility in Glenview, IL, known as the Chicago Lighthouse North that sponsors a parent support group facilitated by psychologist Dr. Joseph Wallach for parents with children who are blind or visually impaired. Their Children's Enrichment Program also offers music therapy for children ages 6 months to 3 years old, a teen transition program, and social events designed to connect families.

    Project Reach
    Project Reach is a federally funded grant program that provides technical assistance, information, and training to address the early intervention, special education, related services, and transitional services needs of DeafBlind children and enhance state capacity to improve services and outcomes for children and their families. Technical assistance is designed to assure that service providers more effectively provide special education services, provide in-service training to paraprofessionals and professionals, provide activities to facilitate family involvement, provide consultative services, and promote the integration/inclusion of children with deaf-blindness with children with other disabilities and without disabilities. Project staff members include DeafBlind specialists and family specialists with many years of experience. This grant program is currently funded until September 30, 2018 and is located at the Phillip J. Rock Center & School in Glen Ellyn, IL. They distribute newsletter bi-annually and you can find this information at this page.

    Illinois Service Resource Center
    The Illinois Service Resource Center (ISRC) provides behavior support to Deaf, Hard of Hearing & DeafBlind students in Illinois. Behavior support can be for individual students with challenges, or at the preventive level with classrooms or school programs. ISRC serves students with hearing loss regardless of communication mode.

    ISRC provides free training, onsite assistance and resources for parents and educators of students who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing or DeafBlind. ISRC team members visit homes and schools to work with families and educators in developing positive behavior support plans for DHH students in need of intensive level supports. ISRC team members work with DHH programs and classrooms to develop positive behavior support plans that teach appropriate expected behaviors for all students. The ISRC logo now includes printed braille letters as well as sign language. Stay posted for more information as ISRC expands its mission.

    Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission
    The Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission (IDHHC) has a Service Animals Resource page on its website. For information, please check this page. In addition, IDHHC has a Statewide Services for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind page that gives brief information on each agency including its mission that provides services to the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind in the state of Illinois.

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