Friday, June 24, 2016

Why It Pays to Attend Convention

The Hearing Loss Association of America's convention is taking place this week in Washington, D.C. Although I am not there in person this year, I feel I am present in spirit as some of my friends are there and sharing their experiences online with me. I have been privileged to go to two of the organization's past conventions and one convention of the Association of Late Deafened Adults, so I thought I would reflect on the benefits I received from attending this type of event.

For me, there are two aspects to the conventions that matter: people and workshops. I love spending time with others who have hearing challenges and am always ready to meet new people and add to my circle of friends. The social part of a convention is very important to me and I appreciate the fun events scheduled that create lasting memories.

The workshops are a huge draw for me because I love learning in a fully accessible environment. Before I arrive, I enjoy perusing the program schedule and creating a personal plan for each day.

For others, the vendors and array of new products on display are exciting.

Going to convention is like going nowhere else. The whole event is communication accessible and organized around the needs of people who are deaf and hard of hearing. By going to convention, you help raise public awareness of our needs and just how many of us there are.

If you missed the chance to go to the Hearing Loss Association of America's convention this week, consider attending the Association of Late Deafened Adults' convention this fall in Milwaukee. This gathering will be smaller and have a more informal, family feel. I am serving as the Newcomers Chair for this event and it would be my privilege to make you feel welcome there.

I have some exciting news to share. I will also be one of the workshop presenters. On Saturday, September 17, 2016, I will be leading a "Let's Communicate Clearly" workshop. I am greatly looking forward to this opportunity.

For all my friends at convention this week, have a wonderful time and travel home safely.

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