Today's News, Tomorrow's Lesson - January 24, 2014

Friday, January 24, 2014

From a young age, Derrick Coleman was told that he would never be
able to achieve his dream. “But I’ve been deaf since I was three,” he
explained in a recent
, “so I didn’t listen.”

Now Coleman has achieved his dream and more. He had always wanted to
be a professional football player. Despite initially being passed over
in the draft, Coleman persevered and worked hard. He ended up being
signed to the Seattle Seahawks and is believed to be the National
Football League’s first deaf offensive player. He, along with his team,
is now headed to the Super Bowl on February 2nd – the pinnacle of
achievement for anyone in the sport.

His colleagues have praised him for his talents and motivation on
and off the field. Speaking to the Bleacher
website, fellow Seahawk Zach Miller said: “Physically, he’s
a star, straight up. Beyond that, he’s a lot more. He's a hero to a lot
of people.”

Another Seattle player, Richard Sherman, added: “He's a humble guy
who works hard and has never made an excuse. He’s an inspiration.”

Coleman is just the latest in a line of people who have refused to
allow their hearing impairment stop them from making their mark on
society. Other notable individuals who are hard-of-hearing include
Academy Award winners Marlee Matlin and Halle Berry, Glee
star Jane Lynch, President Bill Clinton, Thomas Edison and composer
Ludwig van Beethoven.

Evidence of the inspiration that Coleman is providing for young deaf
people surfaced on Twitter last week, with a letter sent by a
nine-year-old girl.

Coleman took the time to respond to her with another letter,
encouraging his correspondent and her sister by telling them: “Even
though we wear hearing aids, we can still accomplish our goals and


1. What effect might Derrick Coleman’s letter have on young deaf or
hard-of-hearing people?

2. Many people view deafness as a cultural experience rather than a
disability. Why might this be?

3. Did you know that there are many different types of sign language?
Find out five facts about one type of sign language.