Deaf Awareness Month Highlight #22

The 22nd day of Deaf awareness month is also the second day of International Week of the Deaf! World Federation of the Deaf has established the theme for today at “Inclusive Sign Language Environments.”

Today C.A.N. is celebrating by looking to the past and finding guidance and hope for the future, with a focus on The TRIPOD Legacy Archive hosted by Rochester Institute of Technology, and curated by Joan Naturale.

Why TRIPOD today? Because they are a wonderful example of an Inclusive Sign Language Environment!

TRIPOD was founded in 1982 by Megan Williams, the mother of two young children- deaf and hearing-  to meet the complex educational needs of deaf children and their families.

Inspired by her own family’s experience, Megan developed the concept of a holistic learning environment where communication was no longer a barrier. The children’s father, film producer Michael Shamberg, enlisted the help of Hollywood to make the vision a reality. 

From inception, TRIPOD was fully inclusive with Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing individuals participating as members of the board of directors, as administrators, in the classroom as teachers, and among students and their families.  At TRIPOD deaf parents with hearing children were as welcome as hearing parents with deaf children. 

Here is a letter from Megan welcoming you to explore the resources of the Tripod Archive:

Welcome to the TRIPOD Archive!

The archivists at NTID and RIT’s Wallace Library have created this on-line archive as a resource for all who care about the quality of deaf education – parents, students, teachers and administrators.

It is hard to believe that almost 40 years have passed since my infant son was diagnosed as profoundly deaf. It is even more difficult to accept that many of the educational challenges we faced in the early 1980’s still exist today.

TRIPOD was a perfect storm where a hearing family with a deaf infant met dedicated educators and generous benefactors to create a truly ideal educational setting. At TRIPOD, we all learned and flourished.

I hope you find some of what we accomplished meaningful and helpful. Please let us know how you use the TRIPOD archive, and of course get in touch with any questions.

Best wishes,

Megan Williams
Founder, TRIPOD

Please take the time to discover the resources and inspiration available to you on the TRIPOD Legacy Archive website at

You can direct questions to Joan Naturale through mail, email, phone/videophone, fax, or chat on this page:

Watch the Academy Award Nominated documentary which Megan produced in the early 80’s, “Language Says It All” here:

Together, with inspiration from TRIPOD, let’s work toward inclusive sign language environments!!