Martha’s Vineyard Apartments
Deaf Outreach, Inc
When my husband Carl and I were in Dallas, we stopped at the Martha’s Vineyard Apartments.
The Deaf Action Center (http://dactexas.org/) has been helping the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing in this area of Texas for about 30 years. Martha’s Vineyard is named after the unique, historic Deaf community that once populated Martha’s Vineyard, a Massachusetts island. There were so many Deaf living there, that the norm was to sign, sort of the dream world for Deaf people. Such an apartment complex was a dream of DAC that has now come true in this community. The complex houses 100 families/individuals about half of whom are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing.
They have 14 staff, 12 of whom are Deaf and all of whom sign ASL.
We arrived a little after lunch-time on a Friday and were met by the receptionist (who is Deaf) who gave us a tour. It’s exciting to be greeted and to have all the explanations in ASL. In this reverse environment, ASL is the norm and hearing people have to be accommodated for. While we were there, a hearing person came in and typed into a two way communication device.
There was a “Club House” social time going on in one of their open spaces and a killer domino game in the other. Sign language flying everywhere!
Upstairs there is a big open space with private areas for appointments with clients, but all doors are open, so it’s clear where people are and easy communication is possible.
The apartments are very nice, open space, two bedroom-two bathroom with a small balcony.
When the gate is locked in off hours, there is a two-way video intercom system that connects the visitor to the person in the apartment he or she wants to visit. This allows both persons to sign with each other.
Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing people come from far away to live in this Deaf-friendly environment. We were impressed. Makes a person dream of what could happen someday in Delaware.