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Deadwood’s First Lady Helps Children Overcome Hurdles

Published: Aug. 19, 2020 at 9:43 AM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) -

Kerry Ruth, Deadwood’s First Lady, is an outreach consultant for South Dakota School for the Deaf, and she navigates the new world of a pandemic for children who already must overcome life’s hurdles.

Ruth says "we talk about access a lot when it comes to our kids because ideal listening for a kid with a hearing aid is three feet away with no background noise and we know that's not how classrooms are."

Children living in South Dakota who have been professionally identified as deaf or hard of hearing know Kerry Ruth. She works as an outreach consultant for the South Dakota School for the Deaf and for her working with the deaf isn't a job... it was an opportunity.

South Dakota School for the Deaf serves all students through outreach. There are twelve consultants throughout the state and they serve over 550 kids birth to graduation.

Ruth says "One thing I love to do with my kids is peer inservice. I go in there classroom, build a big ear, and talk about some of the challenges they face. It's really empowering when they get to share that with their friends and teachers and that's why teaching kids self-advocacy is so important. How do you let your teacher know you didn't get the information? How do you let them know when they turn their back on you during math class?. It's a skill they need to know and it's something we work on with them"

And Kerry works with a team that does just that.

Suddenly a zoom meeting chime is heard and Julie Luke pops up. Signing ASl Julie says "My name is Julie and I work for SDSD outreach"

Julie is deaf hearing and communicates through an interpreter. When it comes to self-advocacy?

Luke says "well it's very important for our deaf and hard of hearing children and adults to advocate for themselves. They also need to have the resources to know how to do that from a very young age. They know what works best for them. It can be very challenging for them to stand up for themselves. it's an important life skill for them to have. our goal is to support them and give them the tool and resources they need to be able to do that."

For Kerry Ruth, it's a reward that she sees every day.

"I feel so lucky. I work with great special ed directors, superintendents, principals, special ed teachers, SLPs. all these people working together to give the student the best education that they can receive."

An education every child deserves.

Copyright 2020 KEVN. All rights reserved.

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