Deaf Seniors of America (DSA) is a nonprofit organization that serves as an advocate for Deaf seniors by providing information and educational programs designed to enhance their physical, economic and social well-being and promote the common interests of Deaf seniors. We recognize that Deaf senior citizens have a unique community, language, and cultural needs. For these reasons, the golden years pose new challenges and experiences. Through providing resources and support, we endeavor to ensure communication access, health, education, and social support for all our members with the goal of a healthy and thriving Deaf senior citizen community.
The Story Behind DSA
Deaf Seniors of America first started in 1992 as an idea for a statewide conference for Deaf senior citizens to be hosted in Austin, Texas. It attracted considerable interest from Deaf seniors across America, and from there, the idea evolved into a national organization focused on the unique needs of American deaf seniors. From 1992 onwards, DSA has been hosting biennial national conferences, which offer an engaging array of resources and entertainment, from seminars to comedians and talent shows. In 1997, DSA’s members decided on Deaf Seniors of America (DSA) as the official name of the organization. In 2001, DSA established a quarterly publication, New Horizons. In 2017, we celebrated DSA’s 25th anniversary a city away from the site of the first conference, in Houston, Texas. Deaf Seniors of America is a thriving organization committed to ensuring communication access, health, education, and social support for all Deaf and hard-of-hearing senior citizens.
In 1992, Ralph H. White worked with the Travis County Association of the Deaf in Austin, Texas, to set up a weekend conference for Deaf senior citizens. They ended up with a remarkably high number of registered people — 850 — for what ended up being the first national conference of deaf seniors. At this conference, the idea of a national association for deaf seniors was floated. White reached out to all known senior organizations around the country, resulting in an overwhelming positive response towards that idea. Two years later, in 1994, the second conference was hosted in Columbus, Ohio. It featured 24 seminars, comedians, a talent show, and even an Oscar-winning actress, Louise Fletcher.
The result of that conference was the organization of the National Association of Deaf Senior Citizens (NADSC), and the decision to host conferences during odd-numbered years. Ralph H. White served as its president from 1994 to 1999.
During the fourth conference of 1997, in Phoenix, Arizona, a name change for NADSC was proposed — and that is how the current name, Deaf Seniors of America (DSA), came about. A new quarterly publication was also established, New Horizons.
At the fifth conference in Atlanta, Georgia, Gertrude Galloway was elected president. After Atlanta, DSA conferences were held in the cities of Boston, San Francisco, Orlando, and Las Vegas. Las Vegas now holds the record of attendees, at 2,334 total. With the unfortunate cancellation of the 2011 conference in Chicago, IL, DSA came into challenges of confidence. However, those challenges were overcome and expectations surpassed when DSA successfully hosted a 2013 conference in Baltimore with an extensive and exciting program. The 2015 conference was hosted in Asheville, NC, at a 100-year-old resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains, instead of DSA’s traditional hotel venue. In 2017, DSA celebrated its 25th anniversary in Houston, Texas, one city away from the location of DSA’s very first conference.