Thousands Participate in Sign Language Convention

Deaf, hard-of-hearing, and deaf and blind individuals participate in weekend convention

By Sara Story
|  Friday, Jul 27, 2012  |  Updated 7:41 PM CDT
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An estimated 1500 Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing, Deaf/Blind and Hearing individuals from 12 states will attend a special three-day convention that began on Friday in Denton.

Sara Story, NBC 5 Denton County Reporter

An estimated 1500 Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing, Deaf/Blind and Hearing individuals from 12 states will attend a special three-day convention that began on Friday in Denton.

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Thousands of people have gathered at a sign language convention in Denton this weekend. It's an opportunity for deaf,  hard-of-hearing, and individuals that are deaf and blind to come together as a community.

Among the crowd is seven-year-old Micah Oliver, who was born deaf.  Oliver's family is participating in the convention to support their youngest member. 

"We felt it our obligation to make sure that we take up sign language so that he could be included in our family,"  Anthony Oliver said.

Anthony Oliver is Micah's dad and said it's been a difficult journey.

"It's like 'Deaf? What? No that can't be true,'" Oliver said.

This weekend, the seven-year-old is no different than the crowd around him. Participants have traveled cross-country to the Jehovah's Witness Assembly Hall in Denton for the convention. Participants like Janice LeJeune said it's the community that brings her back each year.

LeJeune was born deaf and lost her vision at age 25.

"I meet people and get associated with them instead of sitting by myself and feeling isolated. I get to stand up and feel brave. I use my cane and go up and say hello to people. Sometimes people meet me," LeJeune said. 

Despite the obstacles they face, these individuals are not letting their differences hold them back.

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