ALDA traces its roots to a self-help support group for late-deafened adults that was formed in Chicago in 1985. The leader of the group was Kathie Skyer Hering, a late-deafened social services worker. After struggling for about a year the self-help group disbanded. Not too long thereafter, Bill Graham, who had joined the original self-help group only shortly before it broke up, organized a purely social gathering for late-deafened adults. Invitations to the party were based on a list of 25 local “contacts” that Kathie Hering had “accumulated.” The party was held at Graham’s apartment on March 28, 1987, and was attended by thirteen adventurous late-deafened individuals. The good feelings generated that evening led to friendships, more social gatherings, and the beginning of a newsletter. The newsletter was written, edited, and published by Bill Graham (he did everything but lick the stamps). Like many other late-deafened adults, Graham had struggled with progressive hearing loss for years, and had gone through a long period of denial, discontent, depression, anger, hatred, and hurt before he finally began to accept his deafness. The newsletter was well received and its circulation grew steadily. In 1989 ALDA was incorporated, and the first ALDA group outside the Chicago area began in Boston. In addition, the First ALDA Leadership Workshop (retrospectively dubbed ALDAcon I) was held in Chicago in October of that year. It was attended by forty-two (42) late-deafened people from different parts of the United States and Canada, and provided the emotional impetus that was needed to sustain a truly national growth in the organization.
The mission of the Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA) is to support the empowerment of deafened people. Late-Deafened Adults are people who have lost the ability to understand speech with or without hearing aids after acquiring spoken language. ALDA is committed to providing a support network and a sense of belonging by sharing our unique experiences, challenges and coping strategies, helping one another find practical solutions and emotional support, and working together with other organizations and service providers for our common good.
In order to ensure that different perspectives inform all decisions of the ALDA Board of Directors, the world is divided into four electoral regions. A member of the Board of Directors is elected in two of these regions every year. These Regional Directors are elected by the votes of current ALDA members in their region.
ALDA REGION I (Regional Director: Laura Sinclair)
Connecticut, Washington DC, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Virginia, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, United Kingdom, Finland, Norway, Netherlands, Europe, Middle East.
ALDA REGION II (Regional Director: Diane McDonagh)
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin, Manitoba, Ontario.
ALDA REGION III (Regional Director: Debbe Hagner)
Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Central America, Africa, South America.
ALDA REGION IV (Regional Director: Michelle Yook)
Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Yukon Territories, Japan, Pacific Islands, Asia, Australia, New Zealand.
ALDA BOARD OF DIRECTORS
ALDA is incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in Illinois. It’s policies and activities are controlled by its Board of Directors. The ALDA Board consists of nine people all of whom are elected by the general membership. The Board consists of five officers, a President, Past-President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer, and four Regional Directors. All director’s terms are for two years, and they serve without pay.
ALDA ALL-VOLUNTEER STAFF
ALDA began in 1987 and since that time has had only one paid staff member, that was Bill Graham who was paid $1.00 for the year (1992) that he served as ALDA’s first and only Executive Director. Both before that time and ever since ALDA has managed to pursue its mission only because various members have volunteered their time, energy, and talents to serve in unpaid staff roles. These all-volunteer staff activities have included editing the ALDA News, managing the ALDA website, producing the annual ALDA convention, managing the ALDA membership database, and many, many more. Without a doubt, ALDA owes its life to the army of volunteers who have served in staff roles over the years. To them, ALDA extends its heart-felt gratitude.
Have you ever wondered “Are there others like me who can’t hear well or can’t hear anymore?” “How will I manage?” “Will I be able to keep my job?” “What services are available to me?” “Where will I find the help I need?” You are not alone. ALDA, Inc. has the general objectives of providing Education, Advocacy, Role models and Support (EARS) for people who have lost their hearing, and those objectives are pursued in part through the publication of its quarterly newsletter, the ALDA News, its frequently distributed electronic anouncements, E-Notes, and other items.
ALDA News prides itself on being the premier newsletter for hard of hearing and late-deafened adults, featuring articles written BY people with hearing loss FOR people with hearing loss. While many ALDA members are professionals in the field of deaf and hard of hearing services, our articles focus on the consumer perspective: one person connecting with another through personal experience. ALDA’s communication philosophy, “whatever works,” is evident in the wide range of experiences displayed in the ALDA News. Each issue generally focuses on a selected theme that gives writers the opportunity to share their experiences concerning that topic. Additional articles and regular features also appear in each issue. All writers are volunteers and may or may not be ALDA, Inc. members.
ALDA E-Notes is our way of distributing timely announcements, advocacy action news, and up-to-the-minute information about what’s going on in and around ALDA. We want to keep you up-to-date on all the latest news that is pertinent to late-deafened adults as well as current advocacy issues, new technology, and events of interest with email updates delivered directly to you. You need not be a member of ALDA to sign up for ALDA E-Notes. We distribute E-Notes on a frequent basis; however, we will send email updates of time sensitive information as it becomes available. ALDA respects the privacy of your email address and will not use your email address for anything other than the email updates described, and you may unsubscribe at any time. Do NOT miss any important information.
ALDA PRESIDENTS BOOK
“In Their Own Words” ALDA Presidents ● 1990 – 2015, edited by Bill Graham and Roy Miller, is a collection of memoirs by ALDA presidents since the birth of the organization. Their stories provide a fascinating and very personal portrait of the volunteer leadership that has guided the growth of ALDA over the years. As I. King Jordan says in his Foreward to the text, “The presidents, perhaps more so than any others, have been especially important to the development and success of ALDA. Here are their stories, in their own words. You’ll read about who they were before they became deaf and who they are now. How did deafness change their lives? How did ALDA change their lives? What took place within ALDA during their presidencies?” The answers to these and many other questions fill the pages of “In Their Own Words,” and bring to life some of the history of the unique all-volunteer organization that is ALDA.
Each year the ALDA Board of Directors honors various people and organizations that have either improved the lives of late-deafened adults or significantly contributed to the activities and well-being of ALDA. The “ALDA Awards Archive” contains descriptions of all the awards given out by ALDA, and lists the recipients of those awards over the years. Anyone may nominate a person they would like to see receive one of the ALDA awards, but final selection of recipients is the responsibility of the ALDA Board of Directors.
If you want to contact any of the officers, Regional Directors, or Chapter or Group Leaders that are listed on this page, you simply need to complete the “Contact Form” located on this website, put “Attention Of (Name of Person for Whom Your Message Is Intended)” at the beginning of your message, and “submit” the completed form. Personal email addresses are not provided on this website as doing so results in a lot of spam in the inboxes of those addresses.