Amy Crumrine is a distinguished teacher and advocator for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community. She loves the community, saying that “whatever way we communicate, we’re all human,” and that respect for that fact is what really matters in such a small community.
She first started to get involved with Deaf Culture when she became a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), the mothership for the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID). Here is where she really began to feel at home, and where she met life-long friends on similar journeys to her own. She also developed many leadership skills and qualities while in school, which spurred many of her future projects.
After finishing her schooling, she went on to be a deaf and hard of hearing teacher for 12 years. She started an ASL program at the high school she works at to give any the opportunity to learn to sign. The principal of her high school is CODA (child of a deaf adult), and that has opened many doors for inclusivity and ease of working for Amy. Often those who are deaf or HoH may run into issues needing interpreters. The ADA may support the need, but those in the workplace can still look at it as a nuisance.
Amy is also the president of CueSign, Inc. (www.cuesign.org), which is a group that advocates for the use of cued English and sign language to help everyone communicate to everyone to the “maximum potential.” She wants not only children to be aware and have the chance to learn visual language (cued speech and/or ASL), but also to have parents and professionals understand the positive effects of being bilingual with a visual language.
Amy has worked on reaching out to professionals and families all of the United States to show various ways they can easily bring ASL and CS into their homes. This not only shows how easy it can be to incorporate, but also spreads awareness on the positives of learning cued speech and ASL.
Amy herself is a native cuer, which has made her feel distant from the Deaf and HoH Community to the point where while at RIT she did not even tell anyone about her cued speech background.
She doesn’t want that for anyone else. She believes that any way to communicate is valid and that learning both can help communication all over, and not just within the Deaf and HoH Community. She understands that there is, to this day, people who do not support cued speech for a variety of reasons, but hopes with her organization those reasons can be discussed and the true uses of cued speech can be realized.
All Amy wants is for all those growing up deaf or hard of hearing to feel accepted no matter what way or ways they communicate and believes that their emotional well-being and sense of acceptance is the most important thing.
Amy is currently married to a deaf man, and they have a wonderful family together. Their children are CODAs, and all adults now on their own journeys.